Dillon 550B or 650?


PDA






nojoke
March 27, 2011, 11:46 AM
Sorry, my bad....DILLON 550B vs 650 (not RCBS as originally posted) :eek:

I've read the intro post here.
I've been to the Dillon site.
I'm still up in the air....

What would sway one's decision between the 550B and 650????

I have no experience in this stuff.
I'm tight on space (closet).
I only have handguns (9mm, 38 sp and maybe .357 in the future).

I do not shoot as often as I'd like. :uhoh:

"shoot from the hip" opinions?????

...I am VERY INTERESTED in getting into handloading for a variety of reasons.

If you enjoyed reading about "Dillon 550B or 650?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Bush Pilot
March 27, 2011, 11:48 AM
Don't you mean Dillon and not RCBS?

nojoke
March 27, 2011, 11:49 AM
Yes, my bad....Dillon. :uhoh:

dhfenno
March 27, 2011, 12:02 PM
I have a couple 550Bs and wouldn't trade them for the world. They are a little cheaper than a 650 and easier to switch primer feeds on than the 650.
With 5 primer tubes loaded and everything set and ready to go I can load 600 rounds of 9mm in about a hour. I don't shoot enough to justify more than that.
They are also a little smaller so take up less space on my bench.
For the price difference in the 550b and the 650 I'd get the 550b, strongmount, roller handle, bullet tray, and case bin. Grab some extra primer tubes and you can make a bunch of rounds quickly.

Bush Pilot
March 27, 2011, 12:09 PM
I have a couple 550Bs and wouldn't trade them for the world. They are a little cheaper than a 650 and easier to switch primer feeds on than the 650.
With 5 primer tubes loaded and everything set and ready to go I can load 600 rounds of 9mm in about a hour. I don't shoot enough to justify more than that.
They are also a little smaller so take up less space on my bench.
For the price difference in the 550b and the 650 I'd get the 550b, strongmount, roller handle, bullet tray, and case bin. Grab some extra primer tubes and you can make a bunch of rounds quickly.
Sound advice

TheCol.U.S.M.C.
March 27, 2011, 12:23 PM
go with the 550b I love mine. It was my first press

cfullgraf
March 27, 2011, 12:29 PM
When I was researching the progressives, I ruled out the 550B because it did not have auto-indexing. I considered the manual indexing as an increase safety problem.

Also, the fifth die station is handy on the 650 particularly with handgun cartridges where you have more dies in play than with rifle.

greyling22
March 27, 2011, 12:29 PM
the 550 does not auto index. That's always been a deal breaker for me.

if all you've got is pistol, what about a square deal?

If you don't shoot much, how about a lee turret press. 100 rounds an hour easy, simpler learning curve than a progressive, small footprint, much cheaper press and cheaper to change calibers too. and about half the size of a 550B in a strongmount.

rquack
March 27, 2011, 12:38 PM
If you're tight on space and will only be using the loader for handgun cartridges, why not consider the Square Deal B as an option? I bought one several years ago. It has provided no opportunity for compromise under any circumstance. Rifle: this loader will not do it; but I prefer to load my rifle cartridges by individually weighing each powder charge for maximum accuracy. Quality: this is NOT an entry level product. It is a physically small unit with amazing accuracy and speed. The ammo production rates cited on the Dillon web site are easily attainable; this a fully progressive unit capable of remanufacturing great volumes of ammo with amazing accuracy. Dies: Dillon proprietary product. The powder measure is very accurate and holds adjustment well; I've never noted an inaccurate load and I spot check for accuracy fairly often. Dillon's warranty of no BS for any reason applies. I use mine for 9mm and .38/.357. I've never regretted making this purchase. The unit is small enough to easily removed from my bench and store. It's just lower priced, not lower quality; just a physically smaller unit.

nojoke
March 27, 2011, 12:49 PM
Thanks for all the input.

I'm no closer to a decision tho....

A couple of votes for the 550b
A couple of votes for the 650
...and a couple of votes for the square deal.

I'm worse off with my decision now then ever :evil:

...but I do appreciate all the input.

nojoke
March 27, 2011, 01:12 PM
What's the comparison between RCBS and Dillon?

Red Cent
March 27, 2011, 01:13 PM
Square Deal is a solid press. Only Dillon dies. Slow. For my mental capacity,it is a one round all the way through every time.
550 must be manually indexed.
650 is a great press if equipped with the case feeder. Preponderously popular with the cowboy crowd and , I am sure, all the others. IDPA did a poll of the shooters for their magazine and Dillon was way ahead. IMHO, the 650 is the do it all machine for the buck. I have one for 45acp,one for 45 Colt, and one for 38s. Had them for over ten years with thousands of rounds through them.

cpo223
March 27, 2011, 01:52 PM
How long do calibers changes take on the 550B and on the 650? Maybe that would help nojoke make a decision. I have wondered that myself, I may buy a Dillon one day.

EddieNFL
March 27, 2011, 02:02 PM
I use a 550 for 5.56 as I like the control manual indexing gives me. Doubt I could get by without my 650 for .45ACP. The SDB is a decent handgun press, but no casefeed option as with the 550 (handgun only) and 650.

dhfenno
March 27, 2011, 02:14 PM
When I was first looking at Dillon 15 or so years ago I looked at the SDB but was turned off by the proprietary dies and the inability to load rifle rounds.
Many people don't like the 550 because it is not auto indexing. That has never bothered me. Once you add the bullet tray your left arm barely moves. I rest my left arm on the tray and as soon as I lower the ram my thumb is already there to push the star forward. As soon as it goes forward to index the next round I set the next bullet to be seated as my right hand places an empty cast at stage 1.
Changing calibers is just a matter of swapping tool heads and changing the base plate. Takes 5mins. if even. Add another 10mins. to that if you're switching primer size as then you change the inner primer magazine tube and the primer feed bar. Still a fast change.

rfwobbly
March 27, 2011, 07:28 PM
You need a trip over the Brian Enos Forum where they got all this worked out. Brian also has the best prices on Dillon. In a nutshell....

• The 550 is best if you want to load 300 of this and 250 of that. It specializes in flexibility. That includes quick caliber changes. Caliber changes take about 4 minutes. Add 6 more minutes for primer size change.

• The 650 is best if you need 1000 of a single caliber. It's set up for larger lot sizes. Caliber and/or primer changes take a little longer.

There is a gray area between those where they overlap. So like was said, you need to look at the future, and give this a LOT of thought. You see, the down-side to ANY progressive press is that in 2-3 years you'll have several hundred dollars tied up in the specialized tool heads that only fit that one machine. So if you have 15 calibers, then you not only have to buy the new machine, but 15 new tool heads too. If you were moving from (say) a Lee Classic Turret to a Dillon 550, then 15 Dillon tool heads with powder dies would cost as much as the new Dillon 550. :eek:

;)

dbro822
March 27, 2011, 07:44 PM
I like the manual index on the 550, lets me feel like I still have control for quality checks.

TexasRifleman
March 27, 2011, 07:54 PM
I have no experience in this stuff.

Stop right there. Buy the 550. The 650's auto indexing may cause you to get crossed up and confused since there is no way to "back up" if you make a mistake.

Also as mentioned get over to the Brian Enos forum to read a ton of info on this question. When you buy, consider getting all the accessories in the Enos "way it should be" package. Well worth it, especially the strong mount and roller handle.

What's the comparison between RCBS and Dillon?

For progressive machines the comparison is there isn't one. the RCBS Piggyback is a homemade looking, acting, and feeling machine that is cantankerous and picky about setup with lots of maintenance issues. The 550 you just pull the handle.

nojoke
March 27, 2011, 08:07 PM
#1 - Why can't I quote a reply????

Here's the quote I want to talk about: "Stop right there. Buy the 550. The 650's auto indexing may cause you to get crossed up and confused..."


That's a sticking point tho....
I've read replies where people can't go to the 650 and wish they could.....why? Because they've invested too much into the 550.

I would like to think I could take my time and figure out the 650 if that was the machine I decided to get.

Is the 650 really that difficult?

TexasRifleman
March 27, 2011, 08:15 PM
Is the 650 really that difficult?

No, but if you have never reloaded before do you really want to go from 0 to 200 mph at the first pull of the handle?

The problem is the 650 rotates every time you pull the handle, no matter what. That makes it slower but it makes it safer for a beginner. If you don't have everything ready for all the activities that take place when you pull the handle you can

a) break the machine
b) ruin a round
c) blow yourself and your gun up

Now to be fair, on the flip side with the 550 you have the chance to throw a double charge if not careful since the sheelplate doesn't rotate automatically. But, it's easier to watch for that if you are going real slow when learning the process.

Do you really need a press that reloads at the rate of a 650? Are you shooting competitively? Are you really going to sit down and load 1000+ of the same round at a time? As mentioned, changing calibers on the 650 is much more difficult and time consuming. If the answer to those questions is yes then maybe the 650 really is the place to start but....

You also mention you shoot several calibers. Caliber changes on a 650 are a pain.

And I'm not sure why people feel trapped, the resale value of Dillon equipment is fairly high.

I'd buy a 550 in a single caliber and reload for a while if it was me, and that's what I did. If it's keeping up with your shooting then get some other caliber kits. If not, sell it used and changeover to something bigger. You will notice if you talk to people for a while that the really serious shooters don't do caliber changes on their 650's, they just buy more than one and leave them set up.

Where I am now is with a 550B for the calibers I don't shoot as much and a 650 setup for my "main" caliber, 10mm. Caliber changes on a 650 are too much trouble in my opinion.

atblis
March 27, 2011, 08:23 PM
Is the 650 really that difficult?
Depends on the person. Some people are just not mechanically inclined. For me, it wasn't difficult. There are a bunch of little adjustments, but they mostly control things that are independent of each other.

The thing is, you can start out using it as a single stage press. Just put the sizing die in stage one. Run a bunch through just resizing.

Then try priming only.

Then do powder and bullet seat by loading a single case in by hand at time and running it through completely before. You can run primed cases through the case-feeder (take the sizing die/decapper out first!).

This is how you set it up anyways.

Read the manual a few times. Watch videos on Youtube. Read stuff on the net.

It ain't complicated.

atblis
March 27, 2011, 08:33 PM
Also, caliber changes aren't that bad on the XL650, especially if you're not switching between large and small primers. 9mm and 38/357 both use small primers.

minnesota
March 27, 2011, 08:42 PM
I was in your shoes at one time, and I ended up going with the hornady AP, because of the smoother cycling and ease of change over, never looked back.
:evil::what:

BigJakeJ1s
March 27, 2011, 10:21 PM
Here is a comparison between Dillon (650) Hornady (LNL AP) and Lee progressive presses you may find helpful.

http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

I personally prefer a progressive press that either a) has a station for a powder alarm/lockout die, or b) has auto-indexing. The 550 has neither. The AP, 650 and Pro-2000 have both.

Andy

Hondo 60
March 27, 2011, 11:41 PM
I think your wallet has to be the deciding factor.

The main difference is the 650 auto indexes, whereas you have to manually index the 550.
(there are other differences to, but that's the main one to me)

I have a 550 & if I had a $1000 or $1500 sitting around doin nothin, I'd buy a 650 with all the trimmings.
But I can't afford that, and the 550 does everything I need.

gshipps
March 28, 2011, 12:39 AM
For sure don't want to bag on the 650 but I sure love my 550. If I loaded a lot of one caliber I would probably look in to one. The manual indexing part is not a big deal to me. Left hand is right there to flip the wheel and set a bullet. Left hand is always waiting on the right hand to get a case and get back to the handle. Double charge is possible I guess but it doesn't take bout 3 rounds and your thumb will flip that wheel before you even have to tell it to.

nojoke
March 28, 2011, 01:13 AM
Never really considered hornady before, but it looks to be some good engineering.

Yet another choice. :(:uhoh::rolleyes:

Uniquedot
March 28, 2011, 01:38 AM
Never really considered hornady before, but it looks to be some good engineering.
Another thing about the Hornady which i really like ( i don't own one though) is that cases and bullets are fed on the same side of the machine.

atblis
March 28, 2011, 08:29 AM
I think your wallet has to be the deciding factor.
What's the price difference between the 550 and 650? I come up with $130.

Sam1911
March 28, 2011, 09:17 AM
What's the price difference between the 550 and 650? I come up with $130. Don't forget to factor in the additional costs of each caliber change, toolhead, etc.

The 650 is an amazing machine. The 550 is too, but not quite so fast. Personally, I don't care for the auto-indexing for my uses (and the 650 priming system ... grrrr!), and I've never needed to get my loading done faster-enough that the 650 was worth the hassle.

But, most of my fellow competitors do use them and if I was starting from scratch, I'd probably have one, too.

atblis
March 28, 2011, 09:33 AM
Caliber conversion kit
$45 versus $77

Tool heads
$22 versus $26

I don't see cost ultimately being the issue. Why would you buy either machine if you don't intend to load and shoot thousands of rounds?

nojoke
March 28, 2011, 11:08 AM
Why don't I have a quote option to reply????

Is it something unique to this website?


Anywhooo....Hornady is at the top of the list now. :evil:

TexasRifleman
March 28, 2011, 11:10 AM
Why don't I have a quote option to reply????

Is it something unique to this website?

Yes it is disabled here to keep threads from getting too long. If you want to quote, simply copy and paste the portion you wish to quote, then use the quote button.

ROCKMAN 308
March 28, 2011, 11:14 AM
go with the 550b the manual index is nice if a round doesnt prime right bullett cocks sideways the ooops short stroke. have had both now run 2 550's one set up for small and large primers. i load everything from 9mm to 300 win mag. quick change kits are also cheaper and make life alot easier.

RTMiller
March 28, 2011, 11:29 AM
I never reloaded until last week. I bought the 650 because I want to learn on the machine I will use in the end. I didn't pay much mind to those who said "walk before you run". I'm smart enough to be safe and learn as I go. I only reload pistol cartridges (9mm & 460 S&W).

IMO why manual index if your going with a progressive? I'm already thinking about auto bullet feeders...

cfullgraf
March 28, 2011, 11:43 AM
#1 - Why can't I quote a reply????


Click on the "Quick Reply" button in the lower right corner of the post.

Check the "Include post in reply box"

Click on go advance.

Edit the quote to shorten what you don't need in your response.

Easy but not intuitive.

Sam1911
March 28, 2011, 11:47 AM
IMO why manual index if your going with a progressive?Rockman right above you gave part of the answer to that.

If you have any kind of a stoppage or blockage, a manual advance makes fixing the problem easy without having a whole shell-plate full of rounds screwed up because you couldn't finish one stroke. It also makes it easier (the way I do it) to set up the dies, adjusting powder charge, and other administrative tasks.

But, if I'd learned to do all that on the 650 instead of the 550, I'd probably be extolling the virtues of auto-indexing and claiming that it was far safer than manual-indexing.

(And, again... that primer system! Ugh.)

cfullgraf
March 28, 2011, 12:00 PM
Without the bullet feeder or case feeder, the speeds obtainable between the 550, 650 or the Hornady L-N-L are probably comparable.

Of course, with the bullet and case feeders, the 650 and the Hornady are a bit more difficult to change over to other calibers.

I load primarily handgun cartridges on the progressive and spend about as much time setting up, then packaging ammo and cleaning up as I do stroking the handle on the press. Even with tool heads or L-N-L bushings for each cartridge, I probably don't save too much time on a cartridge change, but it is more fun than threading the dies in and out!

But, for handgun cartridges, I like the reduction in case handling since handgun cartridges requires extra steps over bottle neck cartridges.

I recently bought a Dillon SDB press set up for 9x19 to play with along with a cartridge change for 45 ACP. I have not gotten the press on line yet and am already considering buying a second to keep set up for 45 ACP. Virtually no cartridge change time. With the SDB, the entire press set up is only about $120 more expensive than a complete cartridge change kit.

I still prefer to do rifle cartridges on the single stage. The runs are smaller, I make load changes more frequently, and I prefer the powder charge control with the powder measure separate from the press. I can load 100 rounds on the single stage faster than fooling with the progressive.

cfullgraf
March 28, 2011, 12:07 PM
If you have any kind of a stoppage or blockage, a manual advance makes fixing the problem easy without having a whole shell-plate full of rounds screwed up because you couldn't finish one stroke.



It is probably what you learn to do with the press you have. I found to do with an auto index press is to not ever short stroke the press. Only make full strokes. If I have a problem, I remove the cases with the potential problems and the continue. The problems are usually limited to the powder charge area.

But, I prime off line. I got frustrated with the priming system and since I prefer to clean cases between sizing and loading, why not.:)

rfwobbly
March 28, 2011, 01:10 PM
I was considering an upgrade from 550 to 650 at one point, but backed off.
The six or seven new 650 tool heads would be way expensive
I change calibers too much to make a case feeder effective
Generally my lot sizes aren't that big
For the single caliber I do load in volume I'd be better off with a dedicated SDB

Red Cent
March 28, 2011, 05:14 PM
Where is it written that if you don't load more than 30,000 rounds a year you really need to buy.......

Red Cent
March 28, 2011, 08:33 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oemIpuRwCEQ


Mod edit: These videos show Dillon presses in use. FYI, it's bad form to post a blind link without some description.

Red Cent
March 28, 2011, 08:37 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6TGAvfNXjE&feature=related

Mod edit: These videos show Dillon presses in use.

Red Cent
March 28, 2011, 08:40 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1iavV5IGag

Mod edit: These videos show Dillon presses in use.

cemjr
March 28, 2011, 09:28 PM
I started my reloading experiance this year. I started on the XL650. As some have pointed out a progressive press is a bit " busy" for a beginner but not overwhelming. I've loaded 1k rnds of 9mm and I'm now doing a cal. change and will begin loading .223 rem. next. I must admit as I aproach two grand for equipment alone and I'm far from finished, I wonder if I'll live long enough to make my money back.

TommyD45
March 28, 2011, 11:09 PM
I have a 650 and love it. The only real down side for me is that it is slow changing between small and large primers.

but I suppose it depends how much money you want to put into it. The quick change kit is $101.95 and it has a toolhead and a powder measure. I have one set for each caliber I reload. Once the dies are set on the toolhead, it takes only seconds to swap the toolhead. Just pull a couple of pins and it slides in and out.

A couple of minutes to change the base plate. As long as you stay with the same primer size, it is very fast to swap between calibers. I load 45 ACP, 45 AR, and 45 Colt on my Dillon 650 xl. I have no problem switching between 45 ACP and 45 Colt in just a couple of minutes. Going between 45 ACP and the auto rim is even faster because all I have to change is the base plate.

One thing I like about the 650 is that it has 5 stations. You have separate seating and crimping dies as well as room for a powder check die.

The down side is that it is a pain in the you know what to swap between primer sizes. When I start loading 38/357, I will load a whole bunch of them before I switch back to the large primer calibers. I have also had a couple of primer feed jams with the small primers that I never had with the large primers.

But overall, I am very satisfied with the 650 press for pistol ammo. Never tried it for rifle ammo. I use my single stage Rock chucker for rifle. Weigh every charge. But that is a different game. Nobody expects sub MOA accuracy from a revolver.

Tom

Red Cent
March 29, 2011, 01:15 PM
Sorry. Thought that applied to original post. Thank you.

1858
March 29, 2011, 03:45 PM
the RCBS Piggyback is a homemade looking, acting, and feeling machine that is cantankerous and picky about setup with lots of maintenance issues.

Not mine! I've been using the same auto indexing PiggyBack II on a RCBS RockChucker for over 15 years producing quality ammunition without any drama and minimal maintenance. I can switch between .45 ACP and 9mm Luger in 15 minutes and comfortably turn out 150 ~ 200 rounds per hour (real world numbers). This is a sufficient production rate for me to cover USPSA matches and practice sessions on the weekends. I haven't looked into case or bullet feeders but that would definitely speed things up.

If I were starting from scratch I'd probably buy a Hornady LNL, but since the RCBS PiggyBack system produces quality ammunition, albeit at about 1/3 the production rate, I won't be upgrading anytime soon. If/when I do upgrade, the PiggyBack II will remain in service for 9mm Luger.

TexasRifleman
March 29, 2011, 06:18 PM
Not mine! I've been using the same auto indexing PiggyBack II on a RCBS RockChucker for over 15 years producing quality ammunition without any drama and minimal maintenance.

Mine must have come from the evil parallel universe, it was a nightmare. I don't know if it was a "II" model so maybe that was the problem. I bought it in like 1988 or so.

Cowboy1629
March 30, 2011, 01:58 AM
I have had a Dillon RL550B for about 17 years and load for every handgun and long gun I own on it. This winter I decided I needed the XL650 with all the bells and whistles to run my USPSA ammo on (9mm & .45 ACP). One thing is true, this baby sure can spit out some ammo!

I kept my 550 and use it for lower volume runs of ammo and rifle. Since I was already setup on the 550 didn't make much sense to buy the tool heads and conversion kits for the 650.

If I had to choose one, it would be the 550 due to the ease of changing calibers and the less expensive conversions. Besides, I was able to keep up with everything for 17 years on it before.

The 650 is really nice but if you load multiple calibers and smaller runs of 2-300 you will spend more time running it on the 650 than the 550 when you add setup time. I don't normally uncover my 650 unless I'm running a minimum of 500 to 1000 rounds.

If you enjoyed reading about "Dillon 550B or 650?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!