Should I buy a Dillon square deal B?


May 15, 2012, 12:46 AM
I have reloaded several thousand rounds on a rcbs single stage press. I mostly load 45acp and some 9mm. I load few enough 9mm that I could continue to load them on the single stage. I am thinking about a Dillon square deal B set up for 45acp. What does everyone think? Is this the best option? Should I buy the Dillon or the rcbs conversion kit?

Thanks LONO

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May 15, 2012, 01:19 AM
You will not regret the Dillon...I have the 550B ...2 of my buddies have the SDB

May 15, 2012, 01:43 AM
That looks like a really nice nice press for someone that primarily loads one caliber. I say go for it. The Dillon Square Deal, I mean.

May 15, 2012, 01:56 AM
Should you buy a Dillon? I would say yes. Should you buy a Dillon SDB? I would say no. Spend the extra and get yourself a 550B press. The SDB use its own dies and setup. The 550B you can buy the conversion kits for $40 or so and do what ever caliber you like. It will use your exsiting dies and give you more flexability in what calibers you want to reload. You may only load two calibers now but what say in ten years? I would also hang on to your RCBS press as it may serve you well in doing some small groups of loads or prep work for rifle case later in life.

I bought a 550B for my 40th birthday and ten years later I still regret all the time I spent on a single stage press. What use to take all day now takes an hour and a half.

But thats just what I would do.

May 15, 2012, 02:05 AM
The Dillon 550B dies will cost about $64+, or you can use your existing dies. The shell plate is around $46 IIRC.

The Dillon SDB caliber kit costs about $85 from Dillon. You get the dies, different bullet seaters for RN or SWC, and the shellplate. To me, the cost is a toss up.

With a SDB you have auto-indexing, which I feel is safer in that you CANNOT double charge a case. The downside is that SDB dies are proprietary and do not work in any other press.

If you do buy one, I would opt for a spare parts kit. Costs about $22 and will save time while the machine is down, if it happens, and your replacement parts can be on the way to restock the kit.

You will want a can of compressed air to keep everything free of debris.

Once you get it down, expect to make 300+ rounds an hour with this machine...easily.

Best of luck to ya.

Lost Sheep
May 15, 2012, 02:07 AM
Between the Dillon and the RCBS conversion, I would go for the Lee Classic Turret. Triple the output of your single stage and cheaper and easier to swap calibers on than any progressive.

That is, if you don't need the higher output speed of the progressive.

Second choice. Dillon, hands down.

I have an RCBS Rockchucker, but have heard nothing good about the piggyback conversion (which is what you are considering, right?) Having the single stage handy for jobs only a single stage can do is right convenient. Having the Dillon for your production needs will be the cat's meow rather than something repurposed.

But seriously, for about $100, the Lee Classic Turret, if 150 rounds per hour will fill your needs is worth consideration. If you need more, Dillon.

Thanks for asking our advice and thanks for reading.

Lost Sheep

May 15, 2012, 02:26 AM
Yes, go Blue. No regrets.

May 15, 2012, 04:01 AM
You will not regret it if all you plan to load on it is pistol. If you plan to load rifle in bulk down the line consider the XL 650 now or you will be buying it down the road.

May 15, 2012, 05:09 AM
Melikes the Dillon Square Deal, because on a progressive, to heck with caliber changes. Just use it to do your main caliber, and that's it. Don't change the powder throw. Don't change the powder. Don't swap anything. Just crank out a lot of ammo, then go out and shoot a lot of it. :) You'll be so busy shooting that main caliber, you won't have time to run out of your other ammo. :) And your brass sorting will be much easier too, when it's 99% 45ACP. :)

I'm on the verge of dropping a caliber. I don't have time to shoot all my calibers, cuz I spend more time organizing my bags, carrying gear, and sorting brass. I'm more sad I don't get to load those calibers vs actually shooting them. I've got stacks of ammo that never get used. :)

May 15, 2012, 06:10 AM
I have one for the .45 ACP. I, too, loaded thousands of rounds on a single stage. Since most of my shooting is with the .45, the Dillon is a wonderful addition. SO fast to load lots of rounds.

I still use the SS for other calibers, mostly rifle, and for other quick change situations.

You won't be disappointed if you shoot a lot of that caliber. Dillon is top notch stuff.

May 15, 2012, 06:53 AM
Go Dillon (Blue) Daniel Son!! I also have the RL550b. My vote would be the RL550b for ability to use any standard die, and caliber choices availible. Either way you can't go wrong with the SDB or RL550b.

May 15, 2012, 07:47 AM
I have two SDBs, as well as a Hornady L-N-L progressive. The SDBs are dedicated for 45 ACP and 9x19 each. I like the SDBs.

I prefer an auto indexing progressive, which the SDB is.

The SDB is great for one cartridge where nothing gets changed, in my opinion. The cartridge changes on the SDBs are not difficult, but require a bit more effort than other progressive presses to insure dies are adjusted correctly after changing.

The L-N-L is more versatile and lets me do a variety of tasks and methods on the press not easily accomplished on the SDB.

Cartridge changes on the SDB are not inexpensive. I decided I change cartridges by swapping out the entire press. Yes, that is more expensive than the bare bones change stuff, but it is fast, easy, and not adjusting to get things dialed in. (Dies, die mounts and powder measure is about 2/3 the cost of the entire press, if you do not buy the extra powder measure, cost goes down, about 1/3 the cost of the new press.)

I have a cartridge change kit for a third cartridge that i wish i had not purchased. I am not sure I will ever use it unless I find a used SDB or Dillon is willing to sell the press without dies and the powder measure.

I built a storage stand to store the unused press out of the way on a shelf.

Keep your single stage press. It is handy to have around.

May 15, 2012, 08:13 AM
I've had a SDB since 1992. It's loaded a bunch of ammo. It's a very simple machine & changes in calibers are easy. The swap from large to small primer takes only a couple minutes. If you're using the press mostly for 45 ACP you'll have no regrets. That short case leaves plenty of room to work plus the stroke of the machine isn't overly long. Go for it, keep it clean, & you'll be happy.

May 15, 2012, 08:23 AM
I have two SDs that are both over 25 years old and loaded untold thousands of rounds over the years. Both have been back to Dillon a few times to be gone through a time or two, the only cost has been shipping to them. That being said, they only cost $130 or so at the time. For the price they are today, I would (and have 2) step up to the 650.

May 15, 2012, 08:28 AM
I reloaded on a Rock Chucker for a few years and then quite shooting/reloading when I moved - sold the RCBS and all accessories - I wish I'd kept it just to have it around for "extra duty."

I just went through the Dillon SDB vs. 550B (a little over a year ago) and finally decided to go with the 550 even though I was only intending to load .45 and 9mm - I still do only those two so far. I don't think either unit is a wrong decision but I recently wanted to try another maker's crimp die and I was able to do that with the 550 - you can't with the SDB. I may also load .38 special in the future and who knows what else may pop up? I'd recommend the 550B unless you're on a tight budget. Good luck in your decision.

May 15, 2012, 08:49 AM
I would go with the 550b over the SB mainly you can use std dies and load rifle if you have a need later on. Another option would be to look at the Hornady LNL-AP for a little less money. Either one will serve you well. Now with that said if you ever think you may want to add a brass feeder move up to the Dillon 650.

May 15, 2012, 11:53 AM
I have a 550B and a Square Deal. If I was going to have one press it would be the 550. My SDB is great as a dedicated .45acp, always ready to crank and never have to mess with setup, probably over 40k loaded on it.
The 550 is just so much more versatile over the long run. And my dillons are both worth more used than I paid for them new.

May 15, 2012, 12:13 PM
I have twoSDB's and two 550's, each suited for a specific purpose. I don't think you can beat the SDB for reliability (Dillon is the best IMHO). You can pick up a used SDB on most any site and it'll serve you well. There are limitations to the SDB as have been mentioned but for pistol calibers, it's tops.

May 15, 2012, 02:26 PM
I have a 550B and two SDB's. The two SDB's are dedicated to 45 acp and 38 spl. I load 40, 44 mag and 45 colt on the 550. I don't load and rifle ammo. Unlike others, if I had the space and money, I would have a SDB dedicated to each caliber. I love the little machines. They are about as trouble free as you can get for a machine that automatically feeds primers. You can really crank out the rounds when you want.

LTR shooter
May 15, 2012, 04:30 PM
I bought the SD way back in the late 1980s when it they cost $135 ready to load in caliber of your choice. It has loaded a lot of accurate ammo through the years and only one trip back to Dillon and they basically gave me a new press.

After looking over a the 550s owned by a few friends that is the way I would go if I had it to do all over again. A lot more versatile press , uses conventional dies and a lot more room to work. About the only thing I don't like is the manual indexing. With the SD it auto - indexes.

But if handgun is the only thing you'll ever load the SD will do the job.

May 15, 2012, 07:22 PM
I have a SDB and a LNL. SDB is a great little press and is perfect for pistol cartridges. The SDB is an auto-indexing press and is very reliable. If you use an auto-indexing press for a little while you won't be happy with anything else. That leaves you with the dilema choosing the Dillon 550, manual indexing, 650, auto indexing, or the Hornady LNL, auto-indexing press. DILLON 550 was out of the question for the reason stated above. This left the 650 and LNL. I didn't have access to the RCBS AP press. I have loaded on every Dillon model available. I bought the LNL as I prefered it's operation over the blue 650. It has several features that are superior, at least in my opinion. Others will certainly disagree.


May 15, 2012, 08:16 PM
+1 to the 550b. Worth the tiny bit of extra money over the square deal

May 15, 2012, 09:15 PM
I have 3 SDB's and am very happy. Also have a 550B. If you are doing a lot of handgun cartridges the SDB's are great. Changeover is not a big deal.

May 15, 2012, 10:17 PM
My first SDB came set up for .45 and I don't have to change anything. I liked it so much I bought a second one and it is set for 9mm. They come with dies and adjusted for a particular caliber you order. The 550B requires you buy dies extra. You need to consider that when you purchase one. I have thousands of rounds through each of mine and all I do is an occassional cleaning and lube. The SDB is a neat little press and highly under estimated by most people. I've loaded on a 550 and prefer the SDB mainly because of the auto indexing feature.

If I want to load rifle ammo, I use a single stage press, one box at a time. When I load pistol ammo it's hundreds of rounds at a setting.

Get the SDB and you won't be sorry later.

May 16, 2012, 03:04 PM

I have a Dillon 650 then ran across a SDB with 7 caliber sets. It is fast, reliable and very easy to use.

May 16, 2012, 07:19 PM
I've had my Square Deal for one year now. I load 9mm and .45 acp. I bought the tool head with the caliber conversion so I don't need to change any settings. I did buy the strong mount,bullet tray and tool holder also.Dillon is great for customer service, very helpful. You'll enjoy it.

Bush Pilot
May 16, 2012, 08:23 PM
I have 7 Square Deals, each one is dedicated to a certain cartridge. I like the ease of being able to load a batch of ammo and not have to change things around. I've also got 2 550s and a 1050.

May 16, 2012, 10:17 PM
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to answer my question. I think I will go with the square B deal for my 45 acp, I will also probably go ahead with the 9mm caliber change as well. I plan to keep my RCBS single stage for rifles and such. Thanks again guys.

May 17, 2012, 01:10 PM
"I am thinking about a Dillon square deal B set up for 45acp. What does everyone think? "

I don't know what everyone thinks but those who love their SDB would say "YES", most of the rest of us would say "NO." I think the decision for any progressive should be based on YOUR needed volume per loading session, not what others like or need; IMHO.

May 17, 2012, 09:38 PM
Well, there sure seems to be a lot of folks on this thread saying "Yes". Must be a reason for it.

May 18, 2012, 07:25 AM
Well, there sure seems to be a lot of folks on this thread saying "Yes". Must be a reason for it.

Your are correct. After all he did ask.

I have reloaded several thousand rounds on a rcbs single stage press. I mostly load 45acp and some 9mm. I load few enough 9mm that I could continue to load them on the single stage. I am thinking about a Dillon square deal B set up for 45acp. What does everyone think? Is this the best option? Should I buy the Dillon or the rcbs conversion kit?

Thanks LONO

May 18, 2012, 07:31 AM
As someone mentioned, the lee classic turret is a great option. Cast iron/steel construction, turret heads are $10 and swap out in literally 3 seconds with no tools. Theres no excuse not to have a turret and powder measure set up for every caliber. My output is around 175 rounds and hour.

That being said, of your choices I would go with the 550b. The square deal seems too limiting, and for that price you can get the basic loader 550, which is the 550b without the powder measure and primer system, I believe

May 18, 2012, 08:16 PM
As someone mentioned, the lee classic turret is a great option.

I agree.

May 18, 2012, 09:38 PM
Having 2 Square Deals, I don't find them limiting at all. They churn out all the quality ammo I want in a short time. Best kept secret in the whole Dillon line.

Why would anybody buy a press without a powder measure and primer system? Defeats the whole idea of a progressive. You're gonna have to buy one sooner or later of some kind.

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