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Dillon 550B Primer Problems

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by dwpmusic, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. dwpmusic

    dwpmusic New Member

    For all you 550B owners out there I have a question. Is there any way to completely avoid primer problems on the 550B besides just hand priming? Just got my 550 changed over from .45ACP to .38/.357 yesterday which, or course, necessitated changing from a large primer to a small primer. Everything went perfectly except the dreaded primer slide. It's either one thing or another. Either the primer slide doesn't go back far enough to let a primer fall into the cup or some way the darn things get disoriented in the magazine tube and won't drop at all. So, by the way, another question. With 100 primers loaded in the magazine is where any way to get them out without taking the magazine off which results in new primers all over your work bench, the floor and who know where else? Kind of a real p***er for someone that's comparatively new at handloading. Third question, how does 3.2gr Win231 behind a 158gr Berry's round nose sound? Am I starting too low? Thanks for letting me rant?
  2. jaysouth

    jaysouth Active Member

    Most likely the problem is that the primer punch assembly is not seated deeply enough in the primer slide.

    Remove the spring from the primer slide.

    Loosen but do not remove set screw that holds in primer seating punch assembly.

    Use wooden or plastic rod or hammer handle, press down on primer seating punch assembly as HARD as you can. Holding the assembly down, tighten the set screw.

    Go to the website and view the manual for the 550B. go down to page 5 and view the inset at the bottom of the page for the primer punch assembly. the inset includes measurements for proper assembly.

    Your problem is the reason that I bought two 550Bs. One dedicated for small primers and one dedicated for large primers.
  3. gahunter12

    gahunter12 New Member

    Call dillon. They will get you on track. They make a primer alignment tool that aids in proper setup. I have never used it, but I have never had trouble with my RL550b so far. Then again I only have about 20,000 rounds loaded since I purchased it last year at Christmas.
  4. rikman

    rikman New Member

    Call Dillon for help. they're great. I also got 2 550's to avoid that problem.
  5. wrench

    wrench New Member

    Agreed, I think you've either got the wrong primer feed tube installed, or it's not installed correctly.
    My 550 is 99.9% perfect feeding primers.
  6. dwpmusic

    dwpmusic New Member

    Thanks guys. It seems to be working better now but with about a dozen primer in the magazine. When I load 100 in is when it seems to be messing up. I'll call Dillon if it doesn't straighten. I'm just now starting with loading .38spl and I didn't want to load up a bunch of rounds until I got to the range to check out what I have loaded. 3.2gr Win231 behind a 158gr Berry's round nose.
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    I always set the primer punch by getting it "about" right with the little set screw backed off just a hair, then running it into the full primer seating position (handle full forward) and holding it there while I snake the allen wrench in there and tightening that set screw down.

    That way, when I'm finally locking it in place, the shell plate is holding the seating ram and primer cup juuuust right.

    Having one primer go into the tube upside down can let that primer drop too low when the seating arm comes back to grab it, and then the drooping primer keeps the arm from coming back far enough. Usually have to slip a little pick or paper clip back in there to hold that upside-down primer up far enough for the pickup to come back and grab it. Then, make sure you clear that one out or it will end up in the next case upside down.

    I don't know what to say about the primers turning around inside the drop tube. Never had that happen. Do make sure you swap in the right drop tube for the smaller size primers.

    Once you've got things set up right, the press will run for thousands without any adjustment at all. Of course, sometimes the operator errs (like when a primer ends up in the tube upside down) and then it seems to take three hands to get things sorted back out.
  8. Jdillon

    Jdillon New Member

    I had similar issues with my 550B. First of all as mentioned above, do not tighten down the slide until the ram is completely in the down position. This will assure that the seater is centered properly. Next check the height of the primer seater in the slide. This needs to be within the tolerances listed on Dillon's website. If the primer seater is too high primers won't properly feed. Look for burrs on the primer seater rim and remove if present. Make sure the slide assembly is clean of grease and or lubricants. If it is sticky, check the alignment in the housing and ok to use a little bees wax. Next check the slide activator to make sure it is pushing the slide all the way back and under the primer tube. If not, you can slightly bend it so it provide more force. Hope that helps.
  9. medalguy

    medalguy Active Member

    I used to set up the same way Sam does. *Usually* worked right.

    In my opinion, Dillon makes the finest equipment out there, bar none. However, switching from large to small primers always raised my blood pressure to the point where I decided it wasn't worth it, and I bought a second machine, one for each primer size. Then I started reloading a lot, and discovered I could buy 450's for very little money if I watched for deals, and today I have a press set up for .45, 9mm,, .308, .30-06, and .223.

    I ended up with so many rifle calibers that use milsurp brass that I decided to do all brass prep off the Dillons, including priming, and most all of my frustration went away. Yes it does take a little bit longer, but not much, and I get a very good feel for primer seating with an RCBS Auto Prime mounted on my bench. That means never a high primer, and that alone makes it worth the extra cost. Plus I never have to reset a press for any of my common calibers.

    Today when I'm reloading something like .30-30 or .270, I use a single stage press, but when I decide to load .380 or .38 Special, I use one of the 550s for the volume. There's always a need for a single stage, and I do still use the 550s but never have to mess with the primer stage.
  10. dwpmusic

    dwpmusic New Member

    Problem Solved(I Think)

    Hey guys, I think my primer problem solved itself. At least I think it has. I loaded a dozen primers in the magazine tube by hand just a little bit ago. Deprimed and primed a dozen pieces of brass without a hitch. Performed perfectly. I've yet to work up the nerve to load a 100 primers since I'm still finding some of the first 100 on the floor. Anyway, I think it had to be something I was doing. If it continues to function correctly I just might consider another 550 for large primer calibers. Thanks for everyone's concern. Now if I could just get some concrete advice on how many grains of Win231 to put behind my Berry's 158grRN. Some are saying that 3.2gr is too light.
  11. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Active Member

    The issue I had was one of being too much of a gorilla.

    I tightened the "Primer Housing" down too tight & warped it.
    I had to use a file to re-open the housing so the "Primer Slide" could easily move back & forth.

    Or it could be a build-up of carbon too.
  12. dwpmusic

    dwpmusic New Member

    Solved, at least for now. Loaded the balance of the first 100 primers (about 70) in the pickup tube, emptied them in the magazine and promptly deprimed/primed them in short order. Worked perfectly down to the last primer. What was causing it might remain an unsolved mystery. I care but I don't care. Does that make any sense? None of us like problems, I don't think, and count me as one of them. Another 550 for large primers sure does sound tempting. Christmas is coming up, ya know. Thanks to everyone. Now to decide on a good powder charge.
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Active Member

    Yes, i completely understand.

    it is one of the reasons I hand prime with my progressives and removed the priming systems completely.

    Good deal in getting your system to work.
  14. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    It isn't just Dillon - the primer link seems to be the weakest area whether metallic or shotgun on progressives - and one of the most frustrating at times
  15. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Active Member

    Not that I know of.
    I've have a Lee O-frame single stage & had a Lee deluxe (not!) turret & a Lee Pro1000.
    The priming seems to be the weak link on all presses, not just progressives.

    Of couse that's just IMHO or my 2ยข worth.
  16. buckbrush

    buckbrush Member

    I have yet to find a weak link on my RCBS 2000, including the priming system. I am approaching 30k loaded, no broken parts, no jams , no primer problems. It takes me about a minute to change primer sizes.

    Priming system problems, changeover and maintence were some of the reasons I sold my 550 once I got my RCBS setup and tested out long term.
  17. rbernie

    rbernie Active Member

    To get the primer slide on the 550B to work flawlessly, I had to do two things - grease the slide and bend the rod inward at its very bottom to allow it to not cock the slide as much when it reaches the very end of its travel.

    Those two things have made it quite reliable.
  18. weemsf

    weemsf New Member

    3.1 is the minimum load on the Winchester Reloading Data website.

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