New Guy Here


January 1, 2013, 11:54 AM
Hello everyone!
I am Clinton and just bought my first SA XD 40 and pick it up tomorrow. Have a few other long rifles and shotguns but nothing to write home to dad about. ALSO! Been talking with a buddy who does some gunsmith work and informed me about reloading etc and so I buy once and cry less later. Picked up the Dillon RL550b. Here is the list: Is there anything else I need before they open tomorrow and I can possibly change my order over the phone.

Dillon Carbide Pistol Dies (Three-Die Sets)
Die Type: 10mm/.40 S&W - $63.95

Dillon Handgun Case Gages: .40 S&W Case Gage - $0.00

Dillon's 'Eliminator' Scale

RL 550B
Caliber Conversion Kit to be Included: 40 S&W/10MM - $0.00
Option Stock #: 20179

If you enjoyed reading about "New Guy Here" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
January 1, 2013, 12:38 PM
You will need a primer flip tray. The Dillon one is pricey, I use the $5 RCBS flip tray from WalMart. Also a set of calipers and a bullet puller.

January 1, 2013, 12:44 PM
Bullet puller im getting from cabelas, have a digital caliper, cleaner and media also going to get locally.
Lymans handbook locally too if i can find one.

January 1, 2013, 12:51 PM
Sounds like you are ready to go. Congratulations and welcome to reloading. Take your time learning the press and don't be afraid to ask questions.

January 1, 2013, 12:58 PM
Congratulations and welcome to reloading, and as mentioned before, don't be afraid to ask questions. Lots of knowledge to draw from here.

January 1, 2013, 12:59 PM
Ok, are the primers for a 40 sw small or large? Was going to order extra tubes but not sure which ones to get.

January 1, 2013, 01:29 PM
Small pistol. Small primer tubes will fit small pistol, small rifle, small pistol mag, etc. Personally, I wouldn't put money into extra tubes just yet as the startup cost is high enough.

Put that money you had for extra tubes towards another manual. Hornady 7th ed. is not the most current issue and could be had for a good price.

Lost Sheep
January 1, 2013, 03:45 PM
I have no advice for the 550 (progressive press just does not fit my style or needs), but feel compelled to ask, is your friend going to mentor you?

There is no substitute for a good teacher, especially when it comes to handloading. This is not rocket science, but it does involve smoke and flame and things that go very fast, so care is warranted. Having someone watch you load and show you the steps is invaluable.

The above is especially true with a progressive press. Since you have expressed the desire to go first class from the get-go, and also mentioned that you will be loading for rifles, too, a single stage press would be useful. Not only to learn on, but for those tasks easier to do on a single stage.

A single stage is easier to learn on for the same reason that it is easier to learn to walk in shoes than in roller skates. You can do it, though. The typical advice is to put use the progressive as a single stage until you completely understand and have 100% confidence that everything happens as you intend and 100% correctly. For that, you have to understand the process inside and out (literally) and that understanding is easier to come by on a single stage. There are simply fewer things happening simultaneously.

Get Manuals. The ABC's of Reloading describes the process. The early chapters of almost every manual published describe the process. Reading from several different sources gives you different "voices" to hear, different writing styles and different areas of emphasis. What one writer covers lightly or not at all, another will emphasize.

You are beginning a wonderful pastime and rewarding hobby. Good luck to you.

Lost Sheep

p.s. The customer service staff at Dillon have a stellar reputation. If you discuss your setup with them, I would bet they would not steer you wrong. Put another way, I doubt if they would try to sell you anything you don't need. The Dillon reputation is one of their prime assets and they would not have it if they put sales ahead of service.

January 1, 2013, 05:05 PM
You might as well get the 2013 calendar;) I didn't on my last order, now I don't want to pay shipping for just the calender .

January 1, 2013, 05:11 PM
Yep I am calling for the calendar tomorrow!


January 1, 2013, 05:44 PM
550B owner here. CONGRATS!!!! Very nice press and will serve you well for years!

There are some tricks to learn with a progressive press. What if you see something you don't like in the process. You may need to pull the handle again but this will cause things to happen (again) at all four stages that you may not want to happen.

Station two bells the case mouth and installs the powder into the case. Lets assume you notice too much or not enough powder in the case. Dump it back into the hopper and pull the handle again to deliver fresh powder? You may end up trying (inadvertantly) to push a second primer into the case in station 1. You may end up de-priming station one and having the live primer that's already in that case POP on you. It does/can happen and will leave you wishing you had adult "kimbies" on.

There are tricks to acquire/learn with any press that you will pick up through just really learning your press. Having a coach or mentor will REALLY help here. They can show you which spring to take off to not "double prime" a round. (You can't really insert a second primer but the machine coud try and that would make your heart race!)

Youtube videos can be of great help but can also get you in trouble... not all youtubers know as much as they would like to think.

Bottom line, ask questions. If you don't have a mentor to walk you through setup, show you how to re-calibrate when changing calibers, etc, STOP. Come here and ask questions and don't continue until you have/understand answers to the issue at hand.

Reloading can be safe, is fun, and is more economical. Can also be frustrating and dangerous. Be safe! Reloading will make your Buddha belly happy!!!

January 1, 2013, 08:41 PM
Congrats and welcome to a great hobby.

January 1, 2013, 09:03 PM
Welcome to the addiction. Great choice in pistols too. I like HP-38/Win231 and HS-6 with my XD40.

Hondo 60
January 1, 2013, 10:20 PM
The 550 is a great press (I have one two).
But be careful! It's way too easy to make a mistake.
Then you have a small bomb on your hands.

Not trying to scare you, just trying to make you aware.

Welcome & feel free to ask questions.
The only dumb question is one NOT asked that gets you or others injured (or worse).

January 2, 2013, 04:07 PM
Bought some berry hp jacketed 180 grain bullets some cases. Small generic priners as guy said they all work dont be brand picky. Like um ok! And unique powder. Waiting on press lol...


January 2, 2013, 10:54 PM
I think the Unique powder is a good place to start! Works well in many calibers, has a pretty good range, and is more forgiving the many other powders.

Start your loads in the bottom third of the recommened load and work up. Look in EVERY case and become familiar with what "the right ammount" looks like.

Even now, whenever I change calibers or settings, I weigh Each of the first 10 rounds, then one in 5, then one in 15 or so.

I'm anxious for you bud!!!

Let us know when you get it!

January 3, 2013, 11:20 AM
Welcome to the great world of reloading. Relatives stress and you can reap what you sow.

January 10, 2013, 05:06 PM
Well she came in the mail today. Have it settup and I think dies are adjusted correctly. I did not do any powder measuring or anything at this time.


January 10, 2013, 05:12 PM
congrats dude

THe Dove
January 10, 2013, 05:19 PM
Hey Clinton,

Can you post a picture of the calendar? ;-)

The Dove

January 10, 2013, 06:14 PM
Lol sure


January 11, 2013, 01:07 AM
If you can buy Winchester primers you don't need the flip tray. Just use the pkg.

January 11, 2013, 05:04 PM
Looks good!

January 11, 2013, 08:31 PM
Headed to the bellclair fairgrounds for the gun show tomorrow.


Magnum Shooter
January 11, 2013, 10:56 PM
That bad boy is sure looking good, nice and new. Congratulations.

January 12, 2013, 07:28 PM
So I ran through the press and this is what I got. The bullet is showing a ring around the tip. Is that normal. Barrys 180 gr jhp. Once fired round not cleaned in a tumbler. Seeing a difference in width at middle of brass where bullet ends.


January 12, 2013, 10:06 PM
Dillion makes very fine tools. You'll never regret making the investment

January 12, 2013, 10:10 PM
The slight bulge at the bottom of the bullet is pretty common. And plated bullets can run a little on the plump side.

If they pass the 'clunk' test, then they should be good to go.

January 12, 2013, 10:16 PM
Double tap

Magnum Shooter
January 12, 2013, 10:36 PM
The bulge at the bullet base is no problem as long as they pass the plunk test. You could try turning the seating plug around to see if that will help with the ring near the bullet nose. The round nose side might work better.

Lost Sheep
January 13, 2013, 02:46 AM
So I ran through the press and this is what I got. The bullet is showing a ring around the tip. Is that normal. Barrys 180 gr jhp. Once fired round not cleaned in a tumbler. Seeing a difference in width at middle of brass where bullet ends.

The bulge you see (that ends where the base of the bullet is) is because you sized the case down with the first die to be slightly undersized. This is the way it is supposed to work. Then you flare the case mouth so you cn put the new bullet into the case. When you seat the bullet (press it into the case) the bullet causes the case to stretch, hence the bulge. This is normal.

I say the foregoing is normal as long as the case chambers easily in your gun, hence the "plunk" test. Take your barrel out of your gun and drop the freshly (re)loaded cartridge into the chamber. It should fall into place with just the force of gravity with a pleasingly solid "plunk" and stop firmly when the case mouth hits a shoulder inside your chamber. This is called "headspacing". The base of the cartridge should be even with the back of the barrel hood (exactly how it looks and feels to your finger depends on the manufacturer of the barrel and the model of the gun, though). The cartridge should fall freely out of the barrel/chamber with the force of gravity.

Forgive me if this is elementary to you. I know nothing of your experience level and besides, readers of all levels of expertise are (and will be) reading. I don't want to leave any room for misinterpretation.

The ring around the bullet ogive is, I think, because the shape of the bullet seating plug/stem does not fit the shape of the bullet ogive. The seating plug is leaving that mark where it pushes on the bullet as the bullet is being seated.

Some die makers will custom make a seating plug for you if you send them a couple of bullets they can use to make a cast. Or, you might be able to make a cast yourself. In any event, if the bullet has not changed shape, the effect is merely cosmetic and no worry. Seating plugs are interchangeable and/or reversible and there may be a stock-shaped one available for your bullet shape.

Lost Sheep

January 13, 2013, 09:27 AM
Congrats on the new machine. And welcome to the club!

Some further 550 tips....

Nice that you bolted the press to a piece of plywood, but the first time you operate that you're going to find that it needs modification. The plywood is a great idea, but you'll need a much more substantial table to clamp to. And you'll need at least 3 clamps to hold the thing to the table. There's a lot of force involved and you'll find all this out for yourself very quickly. If that's your only table, then you may want to add weight to the table top, like several boxes of books! Just saying.

BTW, stability-wise if you can't get the press/table combo to calm down, then order the Strong Mount. The SM allows you to set the press back further onto the table top away from the edge. Since the press is lifted up, you'll have an easier time placing C-clamps too.

I found the Dillon easy to operate, but the method of adjusting the powder measure just didn't come up to the standards of the rest of the press. On Ebay I found these press-on plastic caps that turn the hex bolt end into a thumb screw. I'm sure they're available numerous places, but these things are very helpful, and only take mere seconds to install.

Also marking the powder measure (see photo) with a felt tip pen to indicate which way to rotate the knob was helpful.

Also discovered that Dillon does have some deals. Check out their 10 ammo boxes for ~$10. Not worth ordering on their own, but when you order the Strong Mount or other next accessory, having those thrown in adds nothing to the shipping weight, and they are great boxes.

Enjoy the new press.

January 13, 2013, 03:27 PM
Thanks. Any more tips would be great!


January 20, 2013, 09:01 PM
Safety first!
Just kidding I wasnt drankin!

January 21, 2013, 01:43 PM
Hey, Clinton! Welcome to the handloading/reloading addiction.
I'm just down the road from you in St. Jacob. See you at a gun show maybe.

January 21, 2013, 03:55 PM
Congrats Clinton! Ain't having shiny new toys fun?

I'm still waiting on my press and accessories. :( It's giving me time to build up a baby roo err, I mean loading area. ;) But your questions and some of the answers have already given me valuable tips to look out for. :)

January 22, 2013, 08:58 AM
Pj message sent


If you enjoyed reading about "New Guy Here" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!