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I Gave Up on the Dillon Primer System

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by DamnedDirtyApe, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. DamnedDirtyApe

    DamnedDirtyApe Well-Known Member

    My family chipped in and bought me a 550RB for Christmas, and except for that fantastically inept primer delivery system, I couldn't be happier.

    I'll try it again in a month or so, but for now, I'm back to using my good old Lee hand primer, and life is good again.

    The cat's food and litter box is in the same utility room I use to reload in. I spilled so much powder while fighting with jams and non-seated primers I was afraid the cat and all would explode.

    I swept and vacuumed it all up and mopped.

    Anybody else had problems with this?
  2. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

    I had a few problems with mine, but it seemed to work out. What are your 'symptoms'?
  3. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

    Dillon primer system

    I also gave up on it on both my Square Deal's - I'd used my Lee tool for about 8 years until one day I had about 750 rounds to load and I was determined to get them working. One SQD was simple fix, it'd come from the factory without that little plastic cup to catch the primer. I called Dillon and got a patient (I'm not mechanical) fellow on the line who went over exactly how that priming system works, had me take it apart and he sent me a few of those little plastic cups. The other SQD had something more major wrong and I was requested to send it back. They both work fine now. It's a simple gravity feed system and from my discussion with the Dillon fellow there are only a couple things that can go wrong.
    What is it doing?
  4. Cal4D4

    Cal4D4 Well-Known Member

    My heartfelt sympathies. I struggled with the prime system on a LNL AP Hornady press for a few thousand rounds, then went back to hand prime - RCBS, but have used and liked the Lee also. I like my primers seated to the bottom, consistent and 100%. I think just about all the progressives suffer here. They can all be made to work, but the confidence level is questionable.
  5. cheygriz

    cheygriz Well-Known Member

    I've been using a XL650 for over 12 years now, and before that I used the old RL450 for a number of years. I've never had a priming problem with either.

    Of course, I've never used anything other than Remington primers during those years. I don't know if there's a connection here or not.
  6. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I've had my SDB only a couple months, and only loaded between 1000 and 2000 rounds (9mm), but have had zero primer-system problems.

  7. Northwest Cajun

    Northwest Cajun Well-Known Member

    Call Dillon,
    Explain your problem, they WILL help you. They have one of the best customer service programs.

  8. larryw

    larryw Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, call Dillon! Service is first rate.

    I've never had a problem with my system (both large and small). Good primer system was actually the reason I bought the Dillon in the first place.
  9. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Well-Known Member

    In case no one mentioned it - call Dillon; they'll get you up and running.

    I had a few startup problems with my 650; all was resolved with a bit of fine tuning. no big deal for a 1911 afficionado, right?

  10. stellarpod

    stellarpod Well-Known Member

    The only primer problem I experience with my XL650 is having to refill the tubes so often because I absolutely fly when loading on this machine. :D

    In my two + years of loading on this machine I have never had a single primer problem. The tactil feel of seating the primer on the downstroke allows very consistent seating depth. I primarily use Winchester primers, with a few Federals now and then.

  11. DamnedDirtyApe

    DamnedDirtyApe Well-Known Member

    I see I'm not the only one who's had problems. Thanks for the replies, all.

    Symptoms are:

    Won't prime S & B or WCC .45 brass that's been primed & reprimed 10 or more times .... I know about the differences in the primer pockets with these, but the Lee hand primer never had any problems with them at all. They have all been reamed and cleaned out. I have maybe 500 S & B's in my range rotation, maybe 3-400 WCC's. If I use the primer system again, I'll have to cull all these out and do them by hand...a PITA.

    For no reason I can fathom (yet) the press wants to flatten out some of the primers, thus ruining many of them. It doesn't feel like they are *forced* into place, it just seems to happen.

    Both large and small primers hang up in the tubes. I thought about running some Flitz through there, but haven't yet. Ran a couple of dry patches through there, didn't help.

    Misfeeds galore ... hard to categorize, but maybe a lot to do with me not making a full stroke with the handle, and, again, hanging up in the tube. When it screws up, whatever the reason, it's five or ten minutes of disassembling the shell plate et al and cleaning up powder, again and again and again.

    I got tired after four evenings of cleaning up powder and took the whole primer system off and put it away for now. I Lee- hand primed about 200 9mm's then loaded them in ABOUT 25 MINUTES!!! The 550 is fast!

    I suppose it may take some more time for me to get used to the machine - more experience, and maybe a lesson or two from Dillon might help.
  12. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Well-Known Member

    Wow, you're having a terrible time! It's really frustrating when a machine repeatedly malfunctions in the way you describe.

    Is your press rigidly mounted? I started with a wobbly setup, and found that it was a major problem, causing spilled powder and other problems. Your setup cannot be too solid! An investment in railroad ties may help.

    Be sure to continue your dialog with Dillon - maybe send some of the troublesome brass to them. And keep us advised of your progress (or lack of it).
  13. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

    I was having trouble with primer mis-feeds on my 550. I found out that if you are a little more "vigorous" with the handle, especially near the end of the strokes, the problem resolved itself. I loaded 400 rounds of 45 ACP last Sunday with no problems at all.

    Haven't had any of the other problems. Again, Call Dillon.
  14. Mikul

    Mikul Well-Known Member

    Are you using CCI primers? These are good, commonly used primers, but Dillon advises against their use in their presses because they get jammed. It was actually in my manual. I've used nothing but Winchester primers and have had zero problems in over 40,000 rounds.

    Ah, the S&B crushed primer problem. This was a bear for me to figure out and Dillon was no help at all with this problem. I had been reloading S&B for over a year and had at least 3,000 pieces of brass that weren't getting primed or were getting partially crushed primers.

    Anywho, what I did was loosen the shell plate up. I loosened the big bolt in the middle and POOF, I could magically prime everything including NATO brass (which I could never do before). The slack under the plate allows the brass to float and self-align on the primer cup. If you loosen the plate too much, the brass will slouch out of position when it gets to the powder die. You'll know it because the powder funnel will cut your brass in half. Find a happy medium.

    Other suggestions:
    1) Align the primer cup sliding thingy so that i moves back and forth as smoothly as possible. When attaching the primer tower, don't screw it in all the way. Leave it a couple of turns out and wiggle the sliding tray sideways and then move it in and out until you find the place where it moves most freely. Then tighten the bolts. I had primers jumping out of the cup until I did this. Polishing the primer cup sliding thingy on the surfaces where it contacts the primer tower is a good idea.

    2) The black plate upon which the primer cup sliding thingy (what the HECK is the name for that thing?!?!) slides should be pushed as far to the left and to the rear (toward you) as possible. Push it just before tightening the bolts on the primer tower.

    3) The rod that connects to the powder measure from the shell plate should be set up do that it remains perpendicular to the ground throughout the entire stroke. Letting it get on an angle can cause things to hang up.
  15. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

    I had problems with the primer system on my 550B also, many moons ago. I called Dillon, they explained about alignment, plate tension and loose screws which needs to be checked occasionally and nada problem since.

    Dont give up on it, it a good system which only needs a little finnesse to get it running smoothly. Oh yeah, and stay away from CCI primers which are crap in and of themselves.

    Good loading.
  16. DamnedDirtyApe

    DamnedDirtyApe Well-Known Member

    I do use mostly CCI...apparently I need to try something else. Winchesters don't work well in a striker-fired Glock. I think I'll try some Remingtons - they never let me down.

    I missed that part in the manual about not using CCI's. DOH..read the directions, Ape.

    I do have to get the machine on firmer footing. Lots of things wobbling around. Maybe a Strong Mount?

    Thanks for the REALLY good set-up info, all.

    Worst thing now is, I'm out of brass! Lots of snow and bad weather here in SOhio keeps the shooters home.
  17. JohnK

    JohnK Well-Known Member

    Is it wobbling around because it's not firmly attached to the bench, or is the bench itself moving around? If it's the bench that's moving the Strong Mount won't help since it still bolts to the bench top.
  18. bigjim

    bigjim Well-Known Member

    S&B brass has problems

    Both types of brass you mention give me problems with my Dillion 650. MAINLY the S&B. I had almost 10,000 rounds of it!! I the brass to carrol bullets and the chamfered the primer pockets for 6 dollars per 1000 and I have not had one problem since.

    The primer pockets have to sharp a edge on them.
  19. larryw

    larryw Well-Known Member

    I really like S&B 45ACP brass, but primers were a challenge at first.

    I have very good luck using Winchester primers in unchamfered S&B brass. This is in stark contrast to the other brands that usually didn't seat properly in the S&B brass.

    Win primers also feed very nicely in my 550.

    Strong mount is nice: IMO, mainly because it gets the press up to a proper working level. However, I'm only using four sheetrock screws to mount it onto a butcherblock bench top and its rock solid.
  20. schild

    schild Well-Known Member

    Please don't tell me I should be having problems priming S&B .45 brass! I've loading thousands of S&B brass in the last two years with no problem on my 650(Win and Rem primers). I've only had trouble twice in ten years with my priming system, just required cleaning. Dillon is always helpful and happy to answer questions.

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