Dillion 550???

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by kalielkslayer, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. kalielkslayer
    • Contributing Member

    kalielkslayer Contributing Member

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    So I bought one of these recently. I also bought the conversion kits for 5 calibers I’m going to reload with it.

    and I bought 4 tool heads, plus the one that came with it.

    But I didn’t purchase multiple powder dispensers. So I’m going to have to change the powder tube each time.

    Do those of you that use this model purchase multiple powder dispensers too?

    I love the idea of unscrewing one screw and pulling 2 pins to change from caliber to caliber. I’m already at the point where I’m loading 9mm that I won’t use for some time, when I should be loading another caliber, but avoiding the changeover while I decide if I’m gonna spring for additional powder dispensers. Thus the question.
     
  2. Typetwelve

    Typetwelve Member

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    Yes...I have different powder dispensers for most of my 550 sets. Having to mess with the powder dispenser every time would be a pain.

    With that said, I do not even use one for *one of my 44 magnum tool head sets. One of my 44 mag sets is set to throw a nice med charge of Unique. The other one had a Lee pass through flare die as I change powder types all the time with various projectiles.

    My 9mm and 38 spcl head have their own complete powder dispenser...too much of a pain to adjust it all of the time.

    The Dillon 550 is an amazing machine, but you gotta pay to play if you want that quick swap to be really quick.
     
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  3. nofendertom

    nofendertom Member

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    I use multiple powder dispensers---one for each powder.
    If you use one powder dispenser for different powders make sure you get ALL the old powder out before you put new powder in.
     
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  4. dredd

    dredd Member

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    Multiple dispensers for me as well.
     
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  5. kalielkslayer
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    kalielkslayer Contributing Member

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate it.

    ordered 1, $120 to the door.

    I’ll probably order them as I go.

    After loading rifle on a single stage for years, I started doing pistol this year and the single stage just wasn’t cutting it. Amazed how accurate the powder flow dispenser is. I started weighing every 10-12 cases. Now I only do it when I start, then every 50 or so. In 2,000 rounds, it moved once.

    I started using tumbled brass without the primer removed, mixed head stamps. I had some issues with the primers not being removed the first stroke and had the depriming pin out pretty far. Having to remove the case from the powder stage before running the ram a second time, I was afraid I would double charge. In fact, I did once but fortunately I was using HS6 so the charge overfilled the case, whew.

    So I changed my process. Now I’m running previously tumbled cases just through the depriming/sizing die, then tumbling again. Now the primer pockets are clean and they accept new primers so smoothly.

    I have one other question. I have 2 sets of 38/.357 dies. Should I set each up on separate tool heads?

    In my little experience, only loading plated flat points and round nose, I didn’t even change my seating die. The flat tips were 1.106 and the round nose are 1.120. Both cycle/function in the 3 guns I tested them in.

    I appreciate the input as I’m trying to learn from you guys that have been using this awesome tool.
     
  6. Soonerpesek

    Soonerpesek Member

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    I really like the Dillon.
    I have 3 powder measures,
    1 set up with xsmall bar
    1 set up with small bar
    1 set up with large bar.
    I also ordered the large adjusting knobs from Inline Fab to fit on the adjusting nuts of the Dillon powder bars.
    Works well for me.

    I also have separate dies for 38/357, 44 mag/spec, 10mm/40sw
     
  7. nofendertom

    nofendertom Member

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    If you have 2 sets of 38/357 dies and a spare tool head---why not ? It will make it easier to change from 38 to 357. Otherwise you would have to change for mouth flare
    and bullet seating and crimp. I would change my seating die so as to not mess up the bullet tip and load to proper cartridge length.
     
  8. LightninST

    LightninST Member

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    If you use Dillon dies the seating die has a insert one side flat tip one for round nose Bullets .
    When I switch bullet type for pistol loads (flat point to round nose )
    I just flip the insert over . When loading for revolvers or my lever guns the small diff OAL is still OK.
     
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  9. iShoot17

    iShoot17 Member

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    Another option, to help save money, is simply buy spare powder charge bars.

    For each tool head, have a dedicated powder bar - then, when you switch from one caliber to the next, simply remove the powder measure, replace the powder bar with the appropriate one, fix it to the tool head. Boom! You’re off and running.

    It’ll save you some time and space, but with the same end result.
     
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  10. LightninST

    LightninST Member

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    I also have multiple powder dispensers---one for each tool head 38spl , 357mag 32 h&r , 9mm , 45 colt , 45acp
    That way only the primer bar needs to be changed over to small or large for the cartridge :thumbup:
     
  11. roval

    roval Member

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    i have toolheads with powder dispensers for 38/357, 45, 44mag, 9 mm. i have one toolhead for .223 and 308 and they share one powder measure( i rarely load those so no big deal messing with the measure)
     
  12. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    One powder dispenser for each toolhead. Yes, the $$$ add up :)
     
  13. kalielkslayer
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    kalielkslayer Contributing Member

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    unfortunately all my dies are RCBS. But I’ll remember that for future purchases.
     
  14. kalielkslayer
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    kalielkslayer Contributing Member

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    would the Xsmall be better for .380? If I recall, the Dillion website says for 32 caliber.

    After getting this input, I’ll bite the bullet and purchase a powder measure for each tool head.
     
  15. LightninST

    LightninST Member

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    The person that mentored / taught me reloading used and sold Dillon . Glad I’m only buying tool heads for the 550 it has worked out very well for me, walk them through one stage at a time or use as a progressive :thumbup:
    The quick drop seating and crimping dies are great , makes cleaning out lube / wax very easy when loading cast bullets .
    D9E1D269-96A4-433B-BFA0-029EFE11AF5E.jpeg 1D631E82-B0E6-4F21-B973-A13E593F5699.jpeg
     
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  16. toxophilus

    toxophilus Member

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    I only use one powder dispenser, however I had 8lbs of Winchester WST sitting around that I made a dent in to reload a crapload of .45ACP, 9MM and I worked up a load for .357Magnum.

    Having to change out the tool heads for the other calibers and only using that one type of powder made these sessions easy-peasy (used a little under 4lbs of WST altogether).

    I see I have another crapload of .40 S&W cases that need attention... I love my 550 ;)
     
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  17. Wildbillz

    Wildbillz Member

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    I have a couple of powder dispensers. But I pretty much just use one. I normally pull the machine apart and do a clean and lube when I switch calibers and then adjust the powder drop to what I want for the new caliber.
     
  18. Soonerpesek

    Soonerpesek Member

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    Dillon Precision manufactures four types of powder bars. 1. Extra Small – use for dropping less than 3 grains of powder 2. Small – use for dropping 3 to 20 grains of powder 3. Large – use for dropping 20 to approximately 45 to 50 grains of powder 4. Magnum – use for dropping 50 or more grains of powder The extra small powder bar is used when loading .32 Auto, .32 S&W and .32 S&W Long. Both the extra small powder bar and the magnum powder bar are non-standard items and are ordered separately. The large and small powder bar are standard equipment and are included with every reloader.


    That is from the Dillon manual.
    I use the xsmall for .380, however I do believe that it will throw up to 15 gr.
    I believe it is advertized to throw as little as .5 gr.

    UniqueTek has quick connect/disconnects for the Dillon powder measures.
     
  19. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    The powder die controls the flaring depth. So I move them from toolhead to toolhead. Not hard to clean refill, and adjust the throw.

    BTW I own 2 550 presses and have 5 toolheads and two measures. I started loading on my first 550 in 1999.
     
  20. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have a Dillon BL550 that I use either a Redding 10-X or a RCBS Unflow powder measure on. They are mounted in a Hornady case activated powder die and get reset with each cartridge change. I only load two or three different cartriges on the BL550.

    I load shot shells on a Dillon SL900. I have three tool setups each with its own powder and shot measures.

    I load 9x19, 45 ACP and 380 ACP on a Dillon SDB press. Actually, ended up with three complete presses. It is easier than changing out the tooling and the whole press was not too much more expensive than the cartridge change kits.

    The Dillon powder measures are very good but they could be a bit more user friendly when it comes to adjusting. That is why I have several.
     
  21. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    I'm not OCD I'm not, I'm not!

    Over the last 35 or so years I've accumulated 5 Dillons (SDB's, 450Jr's and a 550! for each of the pistol calibers I load for. I like things to be consistent! There are also two Hornady's for rifle calibers. :)'s
     
  22. BCR#1

    BCR#1 member

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    A complete caliber change for a 550 is $260.00 from Dillon. That's plug/play complete.

    Bill
     
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  23. BCR#1

    BCR#1 member

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    Correction, they are $276 now. a $16.00 increase in less than 18 months.

    Bill
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2021
  24. Bat Rastard

    Bat Rastard Member

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    I have had my 550 about 30 years. I probably load for 10 or more different cartridges.
    I have got by with one powder measure.
    It's all about what your priorities are.
    And ratios: Time vs. Money, Space vs. Convenience.
    It's all good as long as you are happy.
     
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  25. kalielkslayer
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    kalielkslayer Contributing Member

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    I didn’t see that option on their site, but I probably didn’t look hard enough. I just searched conversation kits, tool heads and powder measures.
     
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