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Dillon 550B - Primer tube safety

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Triumph, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Triumph

    Triumph New Member

    I've been reading a bunch of confusing things about primer tube in 550B's having primers they like better than others.

    Also, Lee reloading manual where Lee says he doesn't like primer tube systems at all and warns against Federal primers with the Lee Safety Prime.

    Some other threads say don't use this or that brand of primer.

    Couple questions?
    1. Is there a brand of primer the 550B primer system does not like?
    2. How safe is the 550B primer system?
  2. GT1

    GT1 New Member

    The 550 is pretty safe.

    I'm sure you noticed the tube you fill from the pick-up tubes is heavier(The primer tube on the press) and is sitting inside another steel tube, for that reason.
    I don't recal reading of a 550 going kaboom though.

    Federal primers are known for being more sensitive than any other.

    I would not hesitate to use just about any other brand(CCI, Tula/Wolf, Win and Rem).

    There are certain things one tries not to do. Like pushing hung up primers through a tube by force(Clean the tubes once in a while).

    Briam Enos website has a reloading forum just for Dillon, it has loads of info about what guys are using and doing to make their blue presses run.
  3. mtuckrn

    mtuckrn New Member

    I've had no problems with Federal small pistol or small rifle primers in my 550. I also use CCI without any problems.

    I have heard of primer tube issues on the 650 but not the 550.

  4. gahunter12

    gahunter12 New Member

    With the Blast tube on the RL550b it's pretty darn safe. Above is correct about Federal Primers being softer. For that reason I use Federal primers for my IDPA loads. The softer cup allows for better ignition while using a reduced power striker spring in my Glocks. Oh by the way I load on a RL550 also.
  5. dmazur

    dmazur New Member

    When comparing Lee with Dillon, I would note that Lee sells (for one of their presses) a primer feed blast shield as an option...
  6. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Active Member

    1. Is there a brand of primer the 550B primer system does not like?
    Not that I've ever seen or heard

    2. How safe is the 550B primer system?
    My 550 was purchased new in 1993 - The buyer never had an issue
    I bought it from him in 2010 I've never had an issue,
    and I've loaded close to 30,000 rounds using many different brands.
  7. Triumph

    Triumph New Member

    All, thanks for the info.
  8. GaryL

    GaryL Active Member

    I've mentioned it here before, but having done work in an ammunition manufacturing plant, I can state that the Dillion primer tubes are not unlike the feed system on equipment the preps and primers centerfire cases. If there is a problem, the energy is directed safely away from any machine operators. Trying to contain it would be like having a live grenade in the room. Speaking of, just last week a guy on an automotive board I belong to posted a small pic of a guy local to him who had to have a number of primer parts pulled out of his face. He was using an old Lee hand primer tool with the primer feed tray. It's not a pretty sight. I won't post it because I don't have a link or permission to do so.
  9. GW Staar

    GW Staar Active Member

  10. HighExpert

    HighExpert Member

    I have loaded for over 30years on a Dillon 550B and never had a primer go off and I have loaded a bunch of Federal primers. I did have a stray that got away from me to the floor and then set my chair leg on it go off. That was a bit of a thrill.
  11. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Active Member

    My 550B was purchased new in 1992, and has loaded ammo with Tula, Wolf, Winchester, CCI, Federal, and Magtech without any issues.

    The majority were Winchester (in the tens of thousands). Wolf small rifle primers were a little tougher to seat but that is because of their dimensions, no fault of the press.
  12. Triumph

    Triumph New Member

    Very excited to get my 550B in 5 or 6 weeks. Get to play with a Forster CoAx until then!!
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Active Member

    Tubes need to be cleaned of primer dust every now & then. Never force a jammed primer feed. [​IMG][/URL][/IMG] [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  14. Magnum Shooter

    Magnum Shooter New Member

    It appears to me that on the rare occasion that a primer does detonate on a RL 550 that the blast is directed up and away from the operator. Sounds like a safe and well engineered design. Also Dillon will replace any and all damaged parts free of charge. Can’t beat that.
  15. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Active Member

    I've had a Dillon set up from the day they went factory direct and that's 30 years at least and never had a problem with the priming system and I've used at least 5 different brands of primers. On other boards I've read of rare primer detonantion but the Dillon priming system directs the blast upward. Dillon will replace the parts but can't replace the clothing that's ruin from have the daylights scared out of you.
  16. Triumph

    Triumph New Member

    I feel better with the blast tube & forces being directed up. It appears the pictures we are seeing are the "inner tube". The blast tube appears to be a good safeguard.

    It would scare the **** out of me & would definitely earn a slap from the wife.
  17. Legion489

    Legion489 member

    Well like a lot of things, it is generally the USER, NOT THE PRODUCT, that is the problem when things go horribly, catastrophically wrong. Like the guy in the ammo factory in WWII who carried primers in a bucket from one place to another (yes, really). He would shake the bucket to hear the primers jingle and one day there was a huge BOOM! Reportedly all they found were his shoes and red painted walls. seems the primer compound was being shaken out and finally went off, no more carrying primers in buckets!

    Yes, the 550 CAN have the primers blow in the tube (thank God not to me!) but that is why Dillon put the heavy tube in another steel tube, just in case, so everything goes up. Also the Lee presses CAN have primers blow up in the primer feeder (the primer feeders in Lee presses are junk in my experience but that is another post) and if you use the recommended primers (Federal and others, NOT Winchester) when (not if) they blow they usually are contained, but it is aimed right at your face. Winchester MIGHT blow the feeders up, so Lee sells a shield rather than up grade the feeders and then attacks Dillon in the MODERN RELOADING to make himself look bigger, exactly as happens to me when I am attacked. Of course if you can't find at least 32 lies about the Lee warranty in the book and a few dozen others (yes, it IS a great read about reloading IF you understand most of the stuff about Lee being the best and the so called warranty is an out right lie) and some other mistakes, you aren't trying. If you have ever talked to Dick Lee you know what I am talking about. Rather than upgrade the Lee equipment to make it better, Dick attacks every other reloading manufacturer for upgrade THEIR equipment to make THEIR stuff better!
  18. Shmackey

    Shmackey New Member

    Reloading on a 550 is as safe as ... reloading.
  19. Sport45

    Sport45 Active Member

    1. Is there a brand of primer the 550B primer system does not like?

    Not that I've noticed, but some primer boxes have warnings about using them in progressive machines.

    2. How safe is the 550B primer system?

    As safe as any other as far as I can see.
  20. fiftybmg

    fiftybmg member

    The difference between the Lee and Dillon priming systems is just that in one [ the Dillon ] the primer on the anvil is some distance from the rest of the primers. If it does detonate, the rest can't go up with it.

    On the Lee system, the blast from the primer on the anvil is close enough to ignite the first primer in the priming assembly, which is next to the primer next to it, etc.

    To add risk to that setup, the Lee priming system was famous for having primers go in sideways or upside-down.

    That is why Lee recommends you avoid certain primers, not because there's anything wrong with the primers, but they are at risk of detonation on a Lee press, under normal use.

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