Press Selection - Dillon 550B


March 2, 2013, 04:20 PM
I've been reading too much in looking for reloading set ups!

I have been asking for a bunch of advice on the forum. My Aunt & Uncle are willing to split start up costs with me on a reloading set up. We have been very frustrated with the lack of availability of reloading gear and components.

I was leaning toward a Lee Classic Turret and a Lee Classic Cast. The Lee Classic Turret is on terminal backorder & yet to be found. The Lee Classic Cast (Single Stage) is on the way.

I then found the Brian Enos site & Dillon. I am very interested in the Dillon 550B.

I really liked the changeable tool heads on the 550B (Similar to Lee Classic Turret but in a progressive). The manual indexing does not bother me.

The Lee Classic Cast will get here 5-8 weeks before I can get a 550B - so I can learn on the Single Stage first.

For now - I'm just reading bunches of reloading manuals.

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March 2, 2013, 04:39 PM
Brian Enos is a good guy. I ordered my Dillon press through him, he waves the shipping after a certain amount, if I recall.
His site is very informative on what is needed or not when buying a blue press.

One can never read too much, as long as you're waiting anyway, it's all good.

Components are as hard or harder to find than presses, it seems.

If you are 100% sure you are going to reload you'd better start shopping for them, put in for notifications from site that do that, and get a set of bookmarks to check the others that don't.
It will suck if you get your tooling, and then have to wait another few weeks trying to find components.

Those manuals will tell you what are good powders to go with the bullets/calibers.
Make a list of acceptable components/powders you are wanting. You might have luck finding a pound of powder and components at your local places if you have any, you won't want to buy just one pound from an online retailer, that will get expensive fast. Buy bulk online, but know what you want before shopping, anything and everything sells out fast, you won't have time to research once you see it in stock somewhere, it can sell out in minutes if it is a popular pistol or rifle powder/primers/bullet, etc.

March 2, 2013, 07:12 PM
I have used a Dillon 550b for several years for 38, 45 and 223 and have been very satisfied.

Dillon's reputation for good no bull service is second to none

March 2, 2013, 07:40 PM
Guys - any problem doing the 270, 308 & 30-06 in the 550B?

March 2, 2013, 07:44 PM
I'm sure you can do those larger rifle calibers, but me personally, I'd do those on a single stage. Use the progressive to run pistol and. 223/5.56.

March 2, 2013, 08:00 PM
I'm sure you can do those larger rifle calibers, but me personally, I'd do those on a single stage. Use the progressive to run pistol and. 223/5.56.

Sounds good - pistol & 556 will make up my bulk.

Can do 308 & 30-06 for Garand on the single stage.

March 2, 2013, 08:02 PM
Never owned a 270 but do 30-06 and 308 on my 550 regularly. Personally have no idea why people think you cant or shouldnt do rifle calibers on a 550. Learn to use what you have, almost any machine is capable if you do your part.

March 2, 2013, 08:41 PM
A 550 is great for reloading rifle calibers. There's no problem doing 1 station at a time if necessary. I used to size and deprime 30-06 at station 1, process the brass, then prime at station 1, and process them out normally.

A few years back I picked up a Lee CC, so I've gone to doing prep work with it. I honestly prefer using the 550 over the CC for most things, but it is easier to setup the CC to quickly run through a small batch of brass, and I don't have to tie up the 550 for it.

steve s
March 4, 2013, 07:44 PM
I bought a Dillon 550 in 1992 to replace a Rockchuker that was on long term loan from a friend . I have loaded 223, 308, 30/06, 300 Weatherby mag, 338 Lapua, 38/357 mag, 9mm, 40S@W, and 45acp. There is a learning curve though so don't rush! the machine is simple to operate and understand and Dillons No BS warranty service makes doing business with Dillon a dream. I love my 550. Dillon dies are great and the shell plates and powder measures for most of the calibers make switching between calibers simple and fast. Well worth the cost.

March 4, 2013, 07:51 PM
The 550 is an excellent press that has been used by reloaders for years. The most difficult thing at the moment is finding reloading componets.

March 4, 2013, 08:20 PM
I have the high side of 500,000 rounds loaded on my 550B as I manufactured and sold specialty ammo for about 8 years on this press. I swear by it. BTW it will load up to .458 if you check the literature. I really thing .50BMG is about the only common caliber that is out. Get the roller handle, it will make your hand happy.

March 4, 2013, 09:03 PM
I have both, well, actually two 650's and a 550. Get a 650 with case feeder and be done with it. You won't be disappointed. The 550 is a fine machine, but the 650 is better for a number of reasons. Auto indexing is actually safer, in my opinion at least, and that's one big reason. I'd rather have a squib load than a double charge. That and the primer system is better on the 650.

March 4, 2013, 09:06 PM
I love my RL550b's. I have considered selling my 550's, and upgrading to 650's, but alway change my mind. I could load faster with a 650, but I enjoy my time at the bench. 400rnds per hour is just fine with me.

March 4, 2013, 11:15 PM
I was in 3 different cabellas in Nebraska and all of them had an lct in stock. I didnt know it was so hard to find.

March 5, 2013, 02:59 AM
I have a 550 and load 9mm, 40 s&w, 45 acp, 45 Colt, 44 spl/mag, 460 Mag, 38 spl, 223, 243, 30-06, 30-30, and eventually 30 carbine. I have 15 toolheads and 8 powder throwers. I have probably around 40 sets of dies right now in various brands. It is a great press. I have the case feeder and set it up to run 223 from the case feeder (it isn't supposed to work).

I would love to have the 650 that will easily feed most rifle cases and is auto indexing. I can switch calibers, and primer size in around 3 minutes or so on the 550.

I have a 1050 with a mr. bullet feeder that is setup just for 9mm. Three of us use this press and it runs a large quantity of the ammo we shoot. We all use the same bullets and powder. Two of us run the same charge but different seating depth and the third runs a charge that is extremely hot. It is easy to make a couple adjustments and pump out 300 rounds in 20 minutes, without even pushing myself or being unsafe.

I learned to reload on a single stage. I still use mine once in a while.

I also use my 550 as a single stage or turret, quite often. I will process one piece of brass at a time while setting up dies or doing test loads. Once it is all dialed in, I will run the rest progressive.

Each press has pros and cons.

What calibers do you shoot now, and what might you want in the future? If all of you compete and shoot the same caliber in a large volume, like me, you might grow into a 1050. The single stage could take care of very low volume use.

The 550 and 650 are the most versatile.

The square deal b would be a cheap alternative for a decent supply of pistol ammo, although I have not used the square deal b or 650.

March 5, 2013, 11:36 PM
I load a bunch of stuff on mine (26 conversion kits)

If you decide on this press, get an extra tool head and powder die for each of your die sets, as well as extra primer tubes for each size primer. A couple of extra powder measures with different size bars come in handy too.


March 5, 2013, 11:54 PM
I finally bought a 550 last week, it should be here in a few days. I bought it used off of another board.

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