Quantcast
Dillon Rant - THR
THR  

Go Back   THR > Ammunition, Gear, and Firearm Help > Handloading and Reloading

Welcome to THR
You are currently viewing our site as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have, access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!


If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit the help section.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old September 1, 2014, 05:41 PM   #1
Gearhead Jim
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 12, 2003
Location: Illinois
Posts: 154
Dillon Rant

Complaining about Dillon will probably be about as popular as complaining about the 2nd Amendment, but here goes:

There have been gaps in my reloading "career" because my agency was giving me almost unlimited ammo for a while, but those days are over and I'm just an old retired guy trying to save money on ammo.

When the Dillon 650 came out, I bought one complete with case feeder, with a .38 Special setup. I now call it the "650", because I can never get more than about six hundred and fifty loaded rounds before something breaks.

First problem:
Sizing die was (Dillon carbide) was set up to not contact the shell holder. Good. I loaded a couple of hundred rounds, checked them carefully, and then loaded another thousand. After about 650 rds total, the carbide ring in the sizing die cracked and left a very deep but narrow scratch in each of my once-fired cases. So narrow that it was hard to see. The scratch was so deep/sharp that about 1/3 of the cases split upon firing, I had to hand-sort all the fired brass to discard the bad cases. Dillon sent me a new die. Thanks.

Second problem:
Can't even remember what it was, but when I called Dillon they told me that some parts had been upgraded and sent me the new ones to solve it. Thanks.

Third problem:
After about 650 more rounds loaded, started getting scratched case mouths from the taper crimp die. Cleaning the die would only stop it for about 25 rds. Called Dillon and they told me to polish the die, which I did but it went right back to scratching again after about 25 rds. Called Dillon again, they told me that walnut tumbling media can get imbedded in the die and cause scratches. Since polishing was only a temporary fix, they told me to switch to corncob. So I spent half a day "decontaminating" my dies, tumbler, squirrel cage, brass bins, etc. Bought corncob media and problem has not come back. Would have been nice to know that at the beginning.

Fourth problem:
After loading about another (you guessed it) 650 rds, the machine gradually quit belling the case mouths. I figured something at the powder station had slipped, but I had used mild Loctite on everything when I put it together and the Loctite was still intact. Took it apart, readjusted the belling, and it worked ok for about the next 650 rounds. Then...

Fifth problem:
Primer feed stopped delivering primers (Winchester SPP) while the tube was still half full. Very carefully took it apart and discovered that one primer had turned sideways in the "wheel", so nothing would move. Cleared the jam, cleaned it all up, and reassembled.

Sixth problem:
After another 650 rds (yes, these numbers are approximate), the machine again stopped delivering primers. This time, it turned out the little indexing arm for the primer wheel was jumping out of the holes about every third stroke. I couldn't figure out why, but the spare parts kit I had bought from Dillon had a spare primer indexing arm. Took everything apart and discovered the new indexer is drilled for a much larger mounting screw than what's on my machine, no way to use it with making shims and stuff like that. Called Dillon today and after 5 minutes listening to the recording, the phone stated ringing to someone there. And ringing and ringing. After about 50 rings, I gave up and hung up. Maybe they are closed today but don't want to admit it.

Anyway, this machine has been a total PITA for me. Doing some quick math, I could have loaded an equal number of rounds on my old single stage press, quicker than on the Dillon when you count all the troubleshooting/repair time.

Do other people have this many problems with the 650, or did I just get a lemon? I'm seriously looking at just paying the excessive prices for "cheap" factory ammo and ditching the Dillon.
Gearhead Jim is offline  
Old September 1, 2014, 06:21 PM   #2
Maj Dad
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 1, 2005
Location: Carolina Low Country
Posts: 1,428
I can't imagine Dillon letting this go - they used to have someone monitoring either this forum or another one (don't recall, more brain cell die-offs) and fixing problems on the fly. I would say give them another chance: call during a non-peak time (not tomorrow morning!) and read them your litany from here, and see if they will stand good. They say no B.S., so call them on it. I have never had a problem with them, not even on things I broke or screwed up. I will add that I almost bought a 650, but decided I really didn't shoot enough and went with the 550 and I have never regretted it. I don't doubt you had problems, and I don't suggest you caused them. But in my time, I occasionally have been snake bit, not matter what I did - hope your issues get resolved without antivenin...
__________________
Maj, USAF (ret)
Member, SCV
Life Member VFW, DAV, TSRA and MOAA
Benefactor Member, NRA
Maj Dad is offline  
Old September 1, 2014, 06:28 PM   #3
Walkalong
Moderator
 
 
Join Date: November 20, 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 36,214
It is certainly frustrating to have problems, no doubt about it.

Give Dillon a chance, they'll make it right.
__________________
Do you ever wonder why nobody ever robs the bag man for the mob? No, you don't.

"Oh bother" said Pooh, as he chambered another round. Author unknown.
Walkalong is offline  
Old September 1, 2014, 06:31 PM   #4
g.willikers
Member
 
 
Join Date: August 25, 2007
Posts: 349
No, Mr. Btfsplk, it's just you.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Btfsplk

Nobody is perfect.
My old Square Deal has had a few issues, too.
Dillon always knew the fix and sent the necessaries without charge.
Not without a flaw or two, but I'd buy another Dillon.
g.willikers is offline  
Old September 1, 2014, 06:41 PM   #5
OrangePwrx9
Member
 
 
Join Date: May 30, 2009
Location: North of the Fingerlakes-NY
Posts: 711
I'm sympathetic, Jim. Never owned a Dillon, but had a similar experience with Lee. Between troubleshooting the press, cleaning up messes, and tearing down doubtful ammo, I finally determined I'd be better off with my old single stage.

In my case, I'd reload in spurts. Would crank out what I needed over a few evenings and then not use the machine again for a couple of months. When I went back to loading, it took a couple of evenings before the press ran smoothly again. A lot of what I ran in the meantime was questionable.

As a mfg. engineer I finally realized I'd seen the same problem many times before. Production lines never run smoothly when re-started after a lengthy shutdown. Goofy little glitches are the order of the day and tolerances vary all over the lot. So, in my case, it was simply the nature of the beast.

May have been fine if I'd loaded a hundred or so every evening. As it was, I doubted even a Dillon would've done much better.
OrangePwrx9 is offline  
Old September 1, 2014, 06:43 PM   #6
wlkjr
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 2, 2013
Posts: 185
Today is Labor Day and most businesses are closed for the Holiday.
You may want to consider selling the "650" and going back to your old loading system. Or maybe get a Hornady AP.
I have had a few problems with my primer feed but after taking it apart and cleaning it had no other issues. Dillon had replaced the parts that wore out or broke for free. I have loaded at least 5000 or more since November and this was on my well used 650 that I bought on the outdoor trader.
It does get frustrating but nothing is perfect.
wlkjr is offline  
Old September 1, 2014, 06:53 PM   #7
Walkalong
Moderator
 
 
Join Date: November 20, 2006
Location: Alabama
Posts: 36,214
Jim, please let me know when you get an answer from Dillon, and I can re-open the thread.
__________________
Do you ever wonder why nobody ever robs the bag man for the mob? No, you don't.

"Oh bother" said Pooh, as he chambered another round. Author unknown.
Walkalong is offline  
Old September 2, 2014, 09:13 PM   #8
Gearhead Jim
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 12, 2003
Location: Illinois
Posts: 154
Thanks for re-opening.

Today I phoned Dillon and had to wait about 30 minutes. With a cordless phone on Speaker, that's not a problem. In addition to being the day after a long weekend, it turns out that they also transitioned to a new computer system last Thursday and it was taking the reps longer than usual to get things done.

The rep I spoke with was efficient and knowledgeable. I didn't bother to detail the previous problems, just told him that the machine had been a chronic PITA and now had the primer feed/clip problem. He asked me a couple of questions about the machine and then said "You've got one of the very early versions, you're going to have lots of problems with it." I certainly agreed.

His solution was to order a complete new "platform" (everything on top of the ram, I think) and a complete new primer feed assembly, no charge, which should be here within a week.

That leaves me with mixed feelings.
Happy that he understood the problem and is getting the parts to me in a hurry, at no charge.
Unhappy that I had been attacking the problems piecemeal, without ever being told that an upgrade could have probably saved me a lot of time and frustration. My address has not changed, if they had sent me a letter explaining the upgrades, I would have gladly paid them some money for the improvements.

It will probably be about a month before I have time to install the new parts, adjust everything, and try loading more than 650 rds (j/k) at a time. I'll report back after that.

Thanks for your comments and support.
Gearhead Jim is offline  
Old September 2, 2014, 10:36 PM   #9
GaryL
Member
 
 
Join Date: November 21, 2006
Location: MN
Posts: 1,060
Glad to see they took care of you.
As far as Dillon pro-actively contacting you, it's hard to say. Machinery can be really funny, especially as tolerances come into the equation. A high failure rate might only be 10%, and a few small design changes fixes everything. So 85% could have perfectly functional machines, 5% have occasional issues, and then there are the ones where everything is going to be an issue. I've never seen a new piece of equipment that couldn't use a few tweaks, and the auto industry is a classic example of that.
GaryL is offline  
Old September 2, 2014, 11:33 PM   #10
bds
Contributing Member
 
 
Join Date: January 10, 2010
Posts: 9,551
Jim, thanks for posting this.

I recently got a used XL650 in very good condition with the case feeder setup for 45ACP and after reading your original post, was curious if Dillon's Lifetime "No-B.S." Warranty was B.S. After a thorough check, about the only thing that was broken on the press was the primer early warning system switch lever (Part #13864 $2.70) so I will be testing the "No-BS warranty" soon but no rush as there was an entire new unit in the spare parts box.

But from what I read, each time you contacted Dillon, they seemed to have addressed your problem by sending you new parts or making suggestions for the fix which worked.

And for your latest problem, following was the outcome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim
His solution was to order a complete new "platform" (everything on top of the ram, I think) and a complete new primer feed assembly, no charge, which should be here within a week.

Happy that he understood the problem and is getting the parts to me in a hurry, at no charge.
I don't know how old your 650 is but from what I read, there was a design change since 1993 that requires base change for the upgrade. Looks like Dillon offered you a rebuild of 650 at no charge and timely too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim
Do other people have this many problems with the 650, or did I just get a lemon?

Unhappy that I had been attacking the problems piecemeal, without ever being told that an upgrade could have probably saved me a lot of time and frustration.
Well, if you do a search for reloading press related problems, you will find many threads, including for Dillon.

Below is a partial quote from Mike Dillon and sounds like he has delivered on his "No-B.S." warranty multiple times for you - http://www.dillonprecision.com/about_us.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dillon
No warranty cards, registration or serial numbers are necessary. Whether you are the first owner, or the seventeenth, all our hobby-level reloading machines have a lifetime warranty.

If you break, damage or wear out anything on them, it will be fixed or replaced – whatever is necessary to restore the machine to normal operating condition.

We are only a phone call, FAX or E-mail away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim
I'm seriously looking at just paying the excessive prices for "cheap" factory ammo and ditching the Dillon.
I think there are many here who would gladly take that troublesome machine off your hands ...
__________________
"I only do what the voices in my wife’s head tell her to tell me to do"

Do something meaningful and fun ... today:
Support vendors offering 5% THR discount - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=760272
Support THR by becoming a contributing member - http://www.thehighroad.org/payments.php
Support Pay it Forward thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=698208

Revelation 19:11
bds is offline  
Old September 3, 2014, 10:28 AM   #11
Gearhead Jim
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 12, 2003
Location: Illinois
Posts: 154
bds-

IIRC, last time I had a problem with my primer early warning system (didn't mention that in my previous posts), they said that the warranty did not apply to electrical components, and I had to pay. Not a big deal. Perhaps you'll be luckier.

My rating of Dillon's customer service/warranty is "outstanding".
My gripe is that I have to use them too often.
One of our cars is a relatively high performance machine that we love. But it has been an experience like Dillon- great warranty and great service/repairs from the dealer. The annoyance is that we keep having to go back because things keep breaking. Not exotic engine or transmission parts, but simple switches that quit and stuff like that. So overall, I'm a very dis-satisfied customer with the car. At the moment, I'm feeling similar toward Dillon. But that can change, I'll update this thread after using the new parts for a while.
Gearhead Jim is offline  
Old September 3, 2014, 11:24 AM   #12
bds
Contributing Member
 
 
Join Date: January 10, 2010
Posts: 9,551
I felt the same way when I initially learned to reload on progressives after a crash course on a single stage press. My reloading mentor used Dillon 550/Lee Pro 1000 and pointed out the common issues with both machines so I could avoid them or address them as the issues came up. When I got frustrated, he said, "They are just machines. You just need to learn how they operate instead of forcing things." Like driving a car with manual transmission, forcing the shifter will grind gears. Learning how and when to "nudge" the shifter will allow you to change gears without grinding (I know, some will say some cars shift smoother than others).

To be honest, I think all progressive presses have issues due to many moving parts and complexities of the operations. I have loaded over 400,000 rounds on several Pro 1000 presses and have not experienced any actual parts breakage (other than bead chain which was due to user error - forgot to use the spring at the bottom). I have replaced nylon gears, hopper wipers, pins and primer feed attachments but due to wear and not from parts breakage.

I never had a carbide ring crack on my Lee dies but reading various threads on press issues, I guess they do happen. Other than parts breakage, I think issues you experienced with your 650 don't seem too far exceptional as to what some progressive reloaders experienced and posted on various threads. Good thing is Dillon seemed to have addressed your issues each time to resolution.

I think you should certainly give your 650 "rebuild" a chance. And if you run into any issues, instead of getting frustrated, give Dillon a call or post on THR. Even for the humble Pro 1000, since the support thread was started, we don't seem to see too many members posting issues with their Pro 1000 and whatever issues that are posted, we have been able to address them to resolution - www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=507454

Who knows, if your problems continue, we could always start a support thread for Dillon 650.
__________________
"I only do what the voices in my wife’s head tell her to tell me to do"

Do something meaningful and fun ... today:
Support vendors offering 5% THR discount - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=760272
Support THR by becoming a contributing member - http://www.thehighroad.org/payments.php
Support Pay it Forward thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=698208

Revelation 19:11
bds is offline  
Old September 3, 2014, 02:33 PM   #13
Blue Thunder
Contributing Member
 
 
Join Date: July 26, 2013
Location: In the Gun Room
Posts: 90
I have a pair of SDB's and have had minor issues with both and have gotten fast no cost replacement parts for them. They have the old style powder return spring version and every 4-5 years I have to replace the pair of springs. Also had issues with primer feeds when changing from large pistol to small pistol, but experience fixed that. Both are in storage right now as I am building my retirement villa and have 2000 9MM and 1500 40Cal and 1000 45ACP reloaded to hold me over until the new Reloading Facility is completed early next year. Both presses will get a complete cleaning during reassembly before the first round is reloaded.
__________________
Blue Thunder
Sent from my Rotary Dial Cell Phone thru rusty barbed wire and an old car battery.
There are NO Silver Metals for Street Combat
Old School S.W.A.T. The Gold Standard
Blue Thunder is offline  
Old September 16, 2014, 09:39 PM   #14
Gearhead Jim
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 12, 2003
Location: Illinois
Posts: 154
Well, I've been working to install the new parts and (rant continues here), it's been a big PITA just like everything else with this machine.

The box contained a new platform, other associated parts, a new primer assembly, and a new 650 manual.
Plus an instruction sheet that tells how to align the new platform. Good.
Unfortunately, the instruction sheet does not explain how to install everything, nor does the main instruction manual. The two versions sometimes use slightly different terms for the same part. I'm doing a lot of jumping around, using both instructions and sometimes just having to figure it out for myself.

The alignment could not be accomplished as precisely as the sheet insists is needed, so I spent another half-hour on hold and had the rep tell me that the alignment I could achieve was good enough and not to worry about it.

There are numerous loose parts in the bag, most of them I can figure out but a couple are a complete mystery.

The new platform will not accept my old spent primer catcher or "overflow" new primer catcher. Neither instruction explains how to mount these items or which of the handful of loose screws to use.

In total, I've spent a full day on this project and am only about half way to being able to load ammo again. I do a fair amount of wrenching on my cars, have been to a couple of factory armorer schools and do a lot of work on my guns; I'm not Mr. Wizard but certainly know my way around machinery.

Without a doubt, I never would have bought the 650 if I knew how many hours of frustrating work would be needed to keep it running.

I'll report back when I get it going again.
Gearhead Jim is offline  
Old September 16, 2014, 11:39 PM   #15
arizona98tj
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 16, 2007
Location: Arizona
Posts: 940
Been running a 650 for a number of years. Have yet to break a part....never had to call Dillon to ask how to make it work. I set it up per the manual on the 1st day and it has ran well since then except when I let a friend use it. Never let a friend use your stuff, especially lawn mowers and power tools.

A couple of months ago, I added a case feeder to it. My only regret was not doing that several years earlier.

FWIW, I write software for a living. Been doing it now for almost 30 years. One thing I will never do.....NEVER EVER buy the 1st release of any software. Wait until it's been used by the general population for a while and revised once or twice....then buy it assuming it is still available. That pretty much applies to most things in life, IMO.

Good luck on your 650. Sorry to hear you've had such a problem with it. Did Dillon mention you could send it to them and have them set it up?
__________________
The biggest Jeep TJ project site on the web
www.stu-offroad.com
(now with guns)
arizona98tj is offline  
Old September 16, 2014, 11:45 PM   #16
bds
Contributing Member
 
 
Join Date: January 10, 2010
Posts: 9,551
You know, there are some of us who could use a first, second or third 650 ...

Just in case you get tired of wrenching.
__________________
"I only do what the voices in my wife’s head tell her to tell me to do"

Do something meaningful and fun ... today:
Support vendors offering 5% THR discount - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=760272
Support THR by becoming a contributing member - http://www.thehighroad.org/payments.php
Support Pay it Forward thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=698208

Revelation 19:11
bds is offline  
Old September 17, 2014, 01:17 PM   #17
Gearhead Jim
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 12, 2003
Location: Illinois
Posts: 154
Arizona-
They did not mention that I could send the machine to them for setup. I would have done that in a heartbeat. May still end up doing it, if I can't finish the setup myself.

bds-
My plan is to get it working and start loading ammo. If it works well, I'll keep it. If the problems continue, you'll see it on Craigslist or Gunbroker. Or in my trash can out at the street.
Gearhead Jim is offline  
Old September 17, 2014, 01:51 PM   #18
arizona98tj
Member
 
 
Join Date: December 16, 2007
Location: Arizona
Posts: 940
Jim,
Just got my monthly Dillon catalog in the mail today. In the "We READ our Mail!" section, the 1st entry was from a guy who had "sent back my old, very sick Square Deal B" press. They overhauled it for free and had it back to him within a weeks time. He indicated it worked like it was brand new.

Before you ramp up your frustration level any further, consider letting Dillon get it all working correctly.
__________________
The biggest Jeep TJ project site on the web
www.stu-offroad.com
(now with guns)
arizona98tj is offline  
Old September 17, 2014, 05:45 PM   #19
Gearhead Jim
Member
 
 
Join Date: February 12, 2003
Location: Illinois
Posts: 154
Thanks for the info. They don't send me the Blue Press anymore, but I could probably get it if I asked.

I'm pretty busy with some other projects, so I'll keep my frustration down by only working on the press for an hour or two each day. And I'll keep their offer in mind if it becomes hopeless.
Gearhead Jim is offline  
Old September 17, 2014, 10:18 PM   #20
highlander 5
Member
 
 
Join Date: September 15, 2006
Location: lynn,ma
Posts: 1,816
I've own a couple of 650s and have had few problems with them. The reason I have 2 is I find changing primer assembly a pain in the butt. I have owned a Dillon press from the 450 and on to the current machines and have had excellent customer service thru out the 30+ years of ownership.
highlander 5 is offline  
Old September 18, 2014, 12:30 AM   #21
Hondo 60
Contributing Member
 
 
Join Date: September 6, 2009
Location: Manitowoc, WI
Posts: 4,331
My only complaint is that they stopped receiving tech support email.
As they put it:

"Unfortunately, as of 12/19/2013, the tech support website is down until we can rebuild the server."

OK that's been 9 months ago!

Being a computer nerd, I know there's no way in heck it'd take that long.
(even if they tried to mess it up).

I tried to call Dillon the other day, the recorded message said I was 17th in que.
I have more to do in life than hang on the phone all day.
__________________
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway - John Wayne
<><
When you're holdin a hammer, everything looks like a nail - Bryan Glover


If you enjoy THR, why not contribute?
http://www.thehighroad.org/payments.php
Hondo 60 is offline  
Old September 18, 2014, 11:30 AM   #22
Otto
Member
 
 
Join Date: May 14, 2007
Location: Lone Star State
Posts: 1,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead Jim View Post
When the Dillon 650 came out, I bought one complete with case feeder, with a .38 Special setup......
Anyway, this machine has been a total PITA for me.
Interesting.... Dillon introduced the XL650 in 1991.
Otto is offline  
Old September 18, 2014, 12:23 PM   #23
bds
Contributing Member
 
 
Join Date: January 10, 2010
Posts: 9,551
And there was a 650 design change in 1993 ... so OP's 650 is pre-93, more than 20 years old machine.
__________________
"I only do what the voices in my wife’s head tell her to tell me to do"

Do something meaningful and fun ... today:
Support vendors offering 5% THR discount - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=760272
Support THR by becoming a contributing member - http://www.thehighroad.org/payments.php
Support Pay it Forward thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=698208

Revelation 19:11
bds is offline  
Old September 18, 2014, 12:56 PM   #24
2bfree
Member
 
 
Join Date: September 19, 2012
Location: Washington
Posts: 203
Interesting, last month I called to order a another powder measure and also order another powder tube to replace one that had gotten so dark I could no longer see through it and a hex head screw that has gotten rounded over the years. No phone wait at all. Got my order within a week, NO charge for the tube or screw.
2bfree is offline  
Old September 18, 2014, 02:41 PM   #25
Otto
Member
 
 
Join Date: May 14, 2007
Location: Lone Star State
Posts: 1,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by bds View Post
And there was a 650 design change in 1993 ... so OP's 650 is pre-93, more than 20 years old machine.
Sounds to me like that this was the first time he's ever used the press since buying it 20 years ago.
On the other hand, if he's been using it why is it suddenly a PITA?
Otto is offline  
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Optimisation by vB Optimise.
This site, its contents, Shooting Reviews, and its contents are Copyright (c) 2010-2013 Firearms Forum, Inc.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
Although The High Road has attempted to provide accurate information on the forum, The High Road assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. All information is provided "as is" with all faults without warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Neither The High Road nor any of its directors, members, managers, employees, agents, vendors, or suppliers will be liable for any direct, indirect, general, bodily injury, compensatory, special, punitive, consequential, or incidental damages including, without limitation, lost profits or revenues, costs of replacement goods, loss or damage to data arising out of the use or inability to use this forum or any services associated with this forum, or damages from the use of or reliance on the information present on this forum, even if you have been advised of the possibility of such damages.