Dillon BL 550 (basic loader) reviews/experiences?


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Buckeyeguy525
April 24, 2012, 04:00 PM
Hello once again. I have been searching high and low and can not seem to find any info or videos on the Dillon Basic Loader 550. Ive read the info on their site and understand it does not come with the primer system or powder charger. I prefer to prime off the press anyways, and can I just use the Lee Auto Disk powder measure (with lee dies) to solve the powder measure issue? Im new to the progressive world and it seems theres always some kind of compatibility issue with something.

Heres my plan, let me know if it would work on the BL550. Decap/resize on a single stage, hand prime, use the open station on the dillon for the rcbs powder check die, use the auto disk powder measure (i have several) with the expander die and just crank out the rounds. Is there any part of that process not compatible with the dillon basic loader?

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Uniquedot
April 24, 2012, 04:14 PM
can I just use the Lee Auto Disk powder measure (with lee dies) to solve the powder measure issue?

Yes you can, but if you are loading for pistols at some point you will probably want to go full progressive especially after seeing the speed difference in a progressive press and by buying the basic press it's going to end up costing you more money for the upgrades over just buying the kit from the start.

Buckeyeguy525
April 24, 2012, 04:29 PM
Thanks for the response, you're definitely better informed that the Dillon customer service agent I just spoke with. But Im not really seeing how it would be "slower" using the auto disk powder measure? It seems it would be just as fast as the 550b with a dillon powder measure in that regard. Granted I would have to prime off the press, which I do anyway. Could you please explain what you mean a little more?

Uniquedot
April 24, 2012, 04:37 PM
The measure wouldn't speed things up, but for pistol loading you would probably end up wanting the press priming systems at some point. Some folks never prime on the press, but if you don't it's not a whole lot faster than a turret press... unless of course you don't prime on the turret either.

BTW you can buy the rl550b for $399.95 delivered to your door with everything except the caliber change and by the time you add shipping to the basic 550 it's not so good of a deal.

Buckeyeguy525
April 24, 2012, 04:44 PM
I only prime on the turret when I need to crank out some rounds fast. In my experience, the Lee priming system is junk. From the little info I can find, the BL550 has a priming arm you can manually insert primers into? Sorry to ask all this, but the Dillon rep on the phone was kind of short with me. It actually made me question their "amazing customer service". To me, customer service is more than just sending out replacement broken parts fast, but in this day and age I guess I should be happy that a person even got on the phone.

TwoEyedJack
April 24, 2012, 05:17 PM
I bought an AT500 years ago and have been upgrading it. I added the priming system and that was a major time saver. I use the Lee autodisk pretty much exclusively when loading handgun rounds. Works great. The only thing I don't really like about the press is changing primer sizes. That seems to take a really long time.

I use the dillon powder measure for rifle rounds and it works very well.

Buckeyeguy525
April 24, 2012, 05:25 PM
Thanks Jack. Did the press originally have some type of primer arm or anything to manually insert primers?

bbq fan
April 24, 2012, 05:28 PM
Check out Brian Enos. He is a first class Dillon dealer. The actual Dillon parts are same anywhere, but Brian's shipping is much lower. I saved over ten dollars on my last order going thru Brian. Brian politely answered my questions before the order. I could not ask for better service....

Buckeyeguy525
April 24, 2012, 05:53 PM
Thanks bbq, I appreciate the tip. Ill check it out right now

paul105
April 24, 2012, 06:22 PM
If this is what you plan on doing, it shouldn't be a problem.

Sze and prime on a single stage. Then on the Dillon you will:

Charge and expand at station 1

RCBS powder check die in station 2

Seat a bullet at station 3

Crimp at station 4

Iím not familiar with the the Lee Auto Disk and Lee powder thru dies, but however it works on a single stage (or turret or any other standard press), it will work the same on the Dillon 550.

As mentioned above, my inclination would be to order the 550B complete with auto primer/powder drop features and then use it as described above if you prefer. If you later decide to use it (the Dillon) as intended (or sell it), you have all the necessary parts.

I have two 550s and use them in a variety of ways including priming and charging separately and occasionally as a single stage.

Paul

dap22
April 24, 2012, 07:02 PM
Can't say enough good things about Brian Enos. I've bought a couple machines from him along with a bunch of other stuff and besides straight talk, he'll sell you nothing more than you need. Plus, if whatever you buy is over $400.00, he pays the shipping. Typically either he or his daughter will answer the phone as well if you wish to call him.

GT1
April 24, 2012, 08:35 PM
+1 to Brian Enos and the informational website he runs. I bought my 650 through him as well.

gahunter12
April 24, 2012, 11:35 PM
+2 for Brian Enos! He is great. Like the above said he pays shipping. If it was me I would get the RL550b with the caliber conversion in the caliber that you load. If you load more than one caliber you will need a caliber conversion for each caliber and a tool head/powder die. The powder funnel will come with the Caliber conversion kits. "YOU DON'T NEED a powder measure for each caliber unless you just want it. I started off with one measure, but have since add one to each tool head. The primer system on the RL550b is not a bad system at all. It's alot better than the Lee system. Once you try the RL550b complete with primer system and powder measure, you will fall in love!!

Your LEE, or RCBS dies will work great. I use all Dillon, but that's just personal preference. I used LEE dies at first and really liked them, but after trying Dillon dies I was hooked. :D

fatcpa
April 25, 2012, 11:32 AM
I have a 550B and have looked at getting a basic 550 to use as a third press (I also have a Square Deal B that is dedicated to 38 spl/357). I am pretty sure that it does not come with any type of priming mechansim. Like some of the others, I have found the Lee Auto Disk powder measures work fine for most applications. I use a lot of HP-38 and Universal powder and they meter very well with the Lee setup. The Dillon primer system certainly does speed up the reloading process. I could see using the basic 550 without the priming system if you're someone who doesn't mind hand priming while you're watching TV, etc. You still get some benefit for the remaining 3 stages of the progressive system. A lot of times, when I'm working up a load for one of my handguns, I do the priming and powder measuring by hand and then use the bullet seating die and the crimping die on the press.

TwoEyedJack
April 28, 2012, 11:27 PM
Thanks Jack. Did the press originally have some type of primer arm or anything to manually insert primers?
Manual insertion.

dbro822
April 29, 2012, 09:53 AM
Add another vote for getting the 550b, it is a great machine, also give Brian a call, hands down the best dealer you will find. If you have any questions he will talk you through any and all options, and make sure you end up with the press you want and that it is setup the way you want. Even with the 550b prime system in place you can run the press as a single stage or a semi progressive.

RustyFN
April 29, 2012, 10:28 AM
I only prime on the turret when I need to crank out some rounds fast. In my experience, the Lee priming system is junk. From the little info I can find, the BL550 has a priming arm you can manually insert primers into? Sorry to ask all this, but the Dillon rep on the phone was kind of short with me. It actually made me question their "amazing customer service". To me, customer service is more than just sending out replacement broken parts fast, but in this day and age I guess I should be happy that a person even got on the phone.

The pro auto disk measure will work fine with the Lee powder die. Even priming off the press you will be able to load much faster than with the classic turret. I load on a classic turret and a RL550. Sometimes I will prime off the press for 223 because of the crimped primer pockets. Still ends up being much faster than on the turret. If you plan loading any rifle I would recommend the Dillon powder measure. The 550 is a great press.

loadedround
April 29, 2012, 10:42 AM
First of all I can't think of enough nice things say about the Dillon 550B presses. I presently own two, the first of which I purchased over 20 years ago. I have one set up for small primers and the other for large primers that saves me about 20 minutes switching over since I load many different calibers. I have had no major proplems with either press except for some of the plastic tips on the pick up tubes and several screws that I foolishly lost. I have recently bought a Dillon 650 press that will be dedicated to 45 ACP and 44 Mag rounds and I probably will sell one of the 550's in the future. I love my Dillons and won't load on anything with the one exception of case forming. I do believe you can buy a 550 video from Dillon for around 5 or 6 dollars...go for it. :)

rikman
April 29, 2012, 11:25 AM
I have 2 550B's... I don't see the point of the BL550. I have a turret press I used for my rifle/precision ammo and a few pistol calibers that I don't shoot a ton out of and I use the lee auto disk with it. But priming on the 550b is so quick and easy ...it's as fast as you can pull the handle and push it back up and you're done.

TonyAngel
April 30, 2012, 05:36 PM
I've had my 550b since I was in my early 20s. I'm 47 now. It's been rock solid. I'd say, just go for the 550b from the get go. I realize that you are envisioning doing things a certain way right now, like priming off of the press and using the Lee Auto Disk. Been there, done that.

Shortly after getting into my 550b, my financial situation improved and I got into the habit of loading handgun rounds in lots of 1000. Doing the priming on the press using a Dillon powder measure makes it go very quickly. I can load a months worth of ammo in a matter of a few hours.

kelbro
April 30, 2012, 09:36 PM
Might as well go ahead and spring for the 550B now. You will eventually spend the money to upgrade the stripped down model anyway. Pretty sharp marketing people at Dillon :)

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