My dillon 550 is driving me nuts


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chutestrate
November 26, 2011, 08:55 PM
I have to stop every few rounds to adjust something.

I am using lee dies with the press. Everything is misaligned. I have to guide the case into the resizer, before I complete the stroke I have to make sure the case expander is centered. The bullet seater and crimping stations go ok. I don't complete a full 100 rds without at least 10% loss of either a case, primer, or bullet.

I might as well go back to a single stage press. I'll get more done.

I'm tired of calling dillon with questions about all these little problems. The damn thing should just work after a few adjustments.

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243winxb
November 26, 2011, 09:11 PM
The sizing die should have an extra wide mouth/flare for a progressive. I know Dillon and Redding did this years ago. Dont know about current production of Lee/others. Edit: make sure when having these problems, that the correct amount of powder is in each case before seating a bullet.

chutestrate
November 26, 2011, 09:14 PM
Lee doesn't. I was told to loosen my shell plate run a case into the lee sizing die and then tighten everything down. That's supposed to help align the cases with the dies. Nope, doesn't work.

DesertFox
November 26, 2011, 09:17 PM
I use mostly Dillon dies and a few RCBS carbide and one Forster Match die. I can't say I have similar problems with my 550. I usually am able to crank out around 500/hr of 9mm, 10mm, most pistol calibers.

Otto
November 26, 2011, 09:31 PM
Refer to the instructions about adjusting the paper clip thing. It should put tension on the case when the case is in the station but not drag on the shellplate when it rotates. Also, raise the ram with a case in the station, loosen the sizing die lock ring and tighten it with a case in the station/die.

If that doesn't work, Dillon will provide you with an alignment tool with instructions on it's use.

On more thing, Dillon works best with Dillon dies.

Ditchtiger
November 26, 2011, 10:43 PM
If all else fails, call Dillon.
They have good tech. support and they don't want anyone unhappy with their
products.

kelbro
November 26, 2011, 10:45 PM
Good advice above. First try this. Loosen the shellplate bolt. Loosen the lock nuts on your sizer and seater. Run one case up into the sizing die and one into the seater at the same time. Tighten down the shellplate to just snug and tighten the set screw. Now tighten the lock rings on your dies.

Dillon dies may be expensive but they do eliminate the issues that you are describing.

tlen
November 27, 2011, 12:30 AM
If the "paper clip" [Cartridge Spring] is adjusted properly, if might be that the shell plate is too loose and not tightened up enough. There should be very little movement when the shell plate falls into the index ball.
Dillon dies are expensive but they do have a larger case mouth chamfer allowing cases that are no exactly in the right place in the shell holder to line up without damaging the case. They also disassemble easily for cleaning without loosing adjustments. This is especially helpful when loading lead bullets. However, the larger case mouth chamfer can prevent sufficient sizing in cases shot from partially unsupported chambers, aka Glock .40 S&W.

medalguy
November 27, 2011, 01:25 AM
Quit messing around with Lee dies and get some decent Dillon dies. I did after having a few alignment problems many years ago and the Dillon dies ironed out everything. I wouldn't part with any of my Dillons for anything.

Uniquedot
November 27, 2011, 01:41 AM
The opening on the dies that help guide the cartridge or case into the die is not going to solve your problem since it will only aid in producing ammunition with cases sized crooked and bullets shoved in the cases crooked. This feature is to help with the occasional case that would otherwise catch on the die and slow your session down. Take the advice that was given in post #5 and get the alignment tool from Dillon.

MrM4
November 27, 2011, 02:08 AM
I have a 550 with thousands and thousands of round threw it, step one get rid of those Lee Dies, a good set of Dillions will go a long way. The shell plate should not be lose, the ball bearing should allow it roll but snap into the correct spot each time. That "paperclip" should not be touching the case once its all the way onto the shell plate. It takes alittle bit to get one set right but once you do they work like a dream.

northark147
November 27, 2011, 03:07 AM
I can't say for the Lee dies other than FCD which works fine, but I use mostly RCBS dies on my Dillon with no issues, so I see little use in paying more for Dillon dies. Might try that alignment tool, or Send press into dillon for refurb?

dmazur
November 27, 2011, 03:13 AM
I have a 550B and I also use Dillon dies, for .44 Mag and .45 ACP. The design feature that permits cleaning the die without removing it from the tool head is really a neat thing if you shoot lead bullets.

However, I use Hornady dies for 2 bottleneck cartridges. I'm not sure I can see much of a flare at the die mouth, but it may not be important for bottleneck cases, as the neck tends to help center it on entry. Dillon doesn't make a wide selection of rifle dies, so if you want something for .243 Winchester, for example, you have to look at another manufacturer.

+1 to setting up the shell plate to be as tight as possible without actually binding. On my initial setup, several years ago, I wound up with crooked primers due to a loose shell plate. Not enough to not be flush, but one side was a couple thousandths deeper than the other. A tighter shell plate fixed this.

Wildbillz
November 27, 2011, 08:01 AM
I have loaded 38spl, 357mag, 9mm, 45acp, 223rem and a hand full of 308win on two differant 550Bs. With the revolver case I found my cartridege spring (AkA Paper clip thingie) was miss set and pushing the case over at an agle. I got that fixed. Then I found that my shell plate was to loose. Case would wobble as I moved the ram up. Once I got it all trued up it ran fine. I did find that every thousand or so rounds you need to do a little maintenance on it. Blow out the primer dust, clean the primer feed parts that sort of thing.

Now with rifle cartridges? Thats one I am going to have to work on. I get powder sticking to the necks, falls all over the shell plate jamming it up. I am going to try processing all my brass and totaly cleaning off all the lube. This will make the process slower but hopfuly make for better ammo.

WB

Hit_Factor
November 27, 2011, 08:25 AM
Dillon presses are the best. I have two and use Lee dies for several calibers without a problem.

My suggestion is get the manual out and start over with the setup. Look for missing parts at each step. Keep an open mind. Learn the name of each part for the next step.

If that fails, call Dillon again, when you have time. They will stay on the line with you until it's fixed. They advertise die compatibility so don't let the Lee dies be the problem if they pass careful inspection.

Hit_Factor
November 27, 2011, 08:36 AM
Now with rifle cartridges? Thats one I am going to have to work on. I get powder sticking to the necks, falls all over the shell plate jamming it up.

WB

Try tapping the powder measure before lowering the ram. Your powder is bridging. This happens with stick powders like varget. Try ball powder like h335 or aa2230 for the 223, it meters very well.

Hit_Factor
November 27, 2011, 08:52 AM
Lee doesn't. I was told to loosen my shell plate run a case into the lee sizing die and then tighten everything down. That's supposed to help align the cases with the dies. Nope, doesn't work.

Tighten the shellplate, add empty cases, raise into the dies, then tighten dies. Have a case in each position. Also you can shim the toolhead with aluminum foil to reduce it's movement.

Shellplate bearing kits allow a really tight shellplate.

Wildbillz
November 27, 2011, 10:01 AM
Hit_Factor
Try tapping the powder measure before lowering the ram. Your powder is bridging. This happens with stick powders like varget. Try ball powder like h335 or aa2230 for the 223, it meters very well.

I will give it a try. I was using Win748. But I have tryed AA2230 and WC486 (or some thing like that) surplus powder. I think I may have had to much lube on the case necks.

WB

One78Shovel
November 27, 2011, 10:13 AM
+1 on tighten the shell plate.- Are you locking down the shell plate bolt with the lock down set screw in the ram?

I had the same issue when loading 223 initially. I did not have the shell plate tight enough as the case would wobble. As others have said, install the shell plate (BTW- make sure the lock down set screw on the ram is loose) and screw it down until the shell plate binds, i.e, will not rotate. Then back to off a RCH until it rotates while firmly locking into position at each station. Then lock down the set screw on the ram. This prevents the shell plate bolt from loosening as you rotate the shell plate during reloading.

Good luck.

-178S

redneck2
November 27, 2011, 10:31 AM
I've loaded maybe 20 different calibers on my 550. All work pretty much flawlessly once it's set up correctly. I mainly use Lee dies as many of my calibers aren't offered by Dillon. They work fine. I prefer Lee over all others.

If there's a measure that gives true metering with large stick powders, I haven't found it. And yes, I have a Hornady that sits on my bench as a stand alone.

I used AA2230 for a PD hunt in my AR. It metered so well in my Dillon that I quit individually weighing after maybe 20 rounds. I checked maybe every 20 or so, and they were all+/- .1, probably 90% spot on.

I'd remove the shell plate and clean the area around the detent ball. If it has powder granules imbedded, the plate won't turn. I clean it with a spray gun cleaner/lube. Next, make sure the ball and bottom of the plate have a light coat of lube, and lube the pivot bolt. I use a teflon based product. Tighten the plate so that it is pretty snug but will still turn.

Adjust the paper clip thing to hold the empty in tightly. If your case neck is catching on the side of the die, something is mis-adjusted. If it's on a station other than #1, you probably have the wrong locator buttons or the shell plate is not moving smoothly. It should click into place.

Just remember, the cause of any issues are probably 99% operator error. I'd strongly suspect that the detent ball needs cleaned and lubed, then the shell plate tightened correctly. If you've spilled ANY powder into it, that can affect smooth operation.

Kevin Rohrer
November 27, 2011, 11:03 AM
Yes, the problem is not the press and possibly not w/ the dies, either. The problem is most likely operator error in setting it up.

I am guessing the shell-plate needs tightened as it may have too much play. Or maybe the die plate pins aren't in-place?

RustyFN
November 27, 2011, 12:37 PM
step one get rid of those Lee Dies

I don't think the dies are the problem. I only load a couple of calibers on my 550 so far but use all Lee dies and never had a problem. I know a lot of people that only use Lee dies on Dillon presses and have zero problems. I would go through the setup process again and call Dillon if you can't figure it out.

Bush Pilot
November 27, 2011, 01:39 PM
I use Lee dies on my 550s and have never had any problems (also use Dillon w/o problems) If you can't make it work with assistance from Dillon and the great advice offered here you should probably sell the press and buy factory ammo. You're not doing something right.

RhinoDefense
November 27, 2011, 01:42 PM
If your cases aren't aligning in the sizing station, you need to adjust your paper clip looking wire to hold the case in place correctly. Hold a case all the way in with your finger. Get it in the sizing die so it will stay there, then move the clip so it holds the case in place. That should fix that.

MtnCreek
November 27, 2011, 02:34 PM
I am using lee dies with the press. Everything is misaligned. I have to guide the case into the resizer, before I complete the stroke I have to make sure the case expander is centered. The bullet seater and crimping stations go ok.
Yep, there's a lot going on with a progressive. I don't know much about the 550, but I will say that each station should be set up individually and running without fail. Focus on getting station 1 to function, then move on to station 2, .. When they all work individually, try running a case through the whole process. If that works, then you're ready to fill it with primers and brass. If you're still having any issues on a station, it's not worth trying to force it.

FYI: I've run Lee dies one a Dillon. After someone here told me to put the lock ring on the underside of the toolhead, they worked fine.

redneck2
November 27, 2011, 02:42 PM
FYI: I've run Lee dies one a Dillon. After someone here told me to put the lock ring on the underside of the toolhead, they worked fine. I forgot about that. Some lock rings are too thick to use on either top or bottom. If they are too thick, the shell plate bottoms on them before the die can work correctly. You don't get full travel into the dies.

IIRC this may be true of the Lee rings. I may have had to switch to Dillon lock rings. Don't remember. You can buy lock nuts that are thin enough at a good hardware store.

JIM BOB
November 27, 2011, 02:49 PM
I reloaded 25000 44cal on a 550B with very few problems but it was 100% Dillion parts.When I first started got a lot of good help and advice from their customer service.One of the few things I've bought that worked as advertised.

X-Rap
November 27, 2011, 04:40 PM
I use only Dillon and Redding dies in my 550's for pistol loads and have never had the problem described by the OP. I won't say it is a Lee problem exclusively but it is probably caused by the dies not being designed for the 550.

chutestrate
November 27, 2011, 05:31 PM
Gosh dang it, I think Bush Pilot got it right. I'll just sell the press and buy factory ammo. Brilliant

Thank you everyone. I am looking at the shell plate and there does seem to be too much wiggle in it. A fella at the range with a 650 mentioned the same thing. I'll just pull it apart and try again. It hasn't been running smoothly for a while, and I'm very frustrated with it. Someone suggested calling Dillon and keeping them on the phone while doing the adjustments. If I'm not satisfied with my efforts then that's what I'll do.

rbernie
November 27, 2011, 05:37 PM
I use Lee dies on my 550B and love the setup. I *have* moved to Dillon sizer dies because they work much better at speed than the Lee equivalents, but all of the other dies on a given tool head will be from Lee. I even still use the Lee AutoDisk Pro on all of my pistol and intermediate rifle toolheads (on the Lee flaring/powder-thru die), and everything works just fine.

About the only issues I've had is lack of lubrication on the ram causing baulky loading (resolved with lube, natch) and lack of lube on the primer slide thingee causing the primers not to get picked up from the drop (solved by lube, also).

Red Cent
November 27, 2011, 06:09 PM
RCBS sells "Cowboy Dies" that have the large mouth for pistol calibers. Does sound as if the trip to the sizing die is not smooth.

jack44
November 27, 2011, 06:47 PM
mine was doing the same last night! - but I bent that little clip that holds the brass in.

Hondo 60
November 27, 2011, 07:19 PM
I had a similar problem with Lee dies & 38 spl brass.

I finally bought a set of RCBS dies.
That fixed the problem, because the RCBS sizing die has a much wider opening so the case doesn't get crushed.

One78Shovel
November 27, 2011, 09:42 PM
I don't know about Lee dies, but I use Hornady dies in my 550B and it is flawless.

-178S

chutestrate
November 27, 2011, 10:07 PM
Problem fixed. Thanks for all the help. I did it to myself. 6 mos. ago I completely broke down the press, and cleaned it. I didn't align it when I put it back together. I found my alignment tool, and voila I'm aligned.

GaryL
November 28, 2011, 12:09 AM
Glad to see the OP figured out the issue.

I was just going to say I have about every brand of die on my 550, but more Lee than any other. It's not the die sets.

I did have an old RCBS sizer die with a really tight throat that has a new radius on it. It used to catch a lot of cases and wrinkle them before I decided I didn't care if it survived my garage. A little work with a die grinder and now it works pretty well.

RustyFN
November 28, 2011, 05:29 PM
Problem fixed. Thanks for all the help. I did it to myself. 6 mos. ago I completely broke down the press, and cleaned it. I didn't align it when I put it back together. I found my alignment tool, and voila I'm aligned.

Working good and with crapy Lee dies, who would have thunk. :D
Glad you got it working right again.

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