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Dillon 550 progressive- lifespan?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Palladan44, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

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    Ive owned my Dillon 550B for about 10 years now.
    Ive loded probably 20-30k pistol rounds on it.
    Other than keeping her relatively clean and lubing where needed once in a great while, how long can i expect the machine to survive?
    Any parts wear out faster than another?
    My gut tells me that this machine will outlast me and then some.
    Any recommended spare parts to keep handy?
    This machine has been the gift that keeps on giving.
     
  2. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Your life time and maybe as long as Dillion is in business. If you do wear it out, I did mine, send it back they will completely overhaul it and ship it back to you. I did that in 2018. Cost me shipping out to Prescott AZ.
     
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  3. bihj

    bihj Member

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    I've had my 550B since 1985. No sign of it quitting.
     
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  4. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    They are built to outlast you, and are easily rebuilt if necessary. No worries, it should be going good for the grandkids.
     
  5. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    20-30k round means you’re almost done breaking her in

    run it forever
     
  6. buddyd157

    buddyd157 Member

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    i am planning on buying either the square deal B, or the 550 myself. (i only want to do handgun ammo's)

    good stuff to know.
     
  7. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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  8. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    If any Dillon is going to exhibit wear, the first place it shows up is usually the yoke at the bottom of the Main Shaft. It's a position that rotates further and also carries the largest load. While Dillon suggests oiling the press, I prefer grease which stays in place longer. Either way it's a place not to forget if you want your press to have a long life.

    HgvL2uU.jpg
     
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  9. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Lifetime, unless they go out of business you will be dead but it will still be supported.

    My oldest Dillon’s are over 30 years old. They rebuilt them for free a couple times, all I had to pay for was shipping it to them. I have read they now charge for the work but I have been comfortable doing it myself for awhile and they still send me the parts I need at no cost.
     
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  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    Before you decide, see if you can get a chance to handle both. The 550 isn't huge, but the Square Deal is smaller than many people think when they see a picture of it.

    The 550 is a more flexible machine as it has the ability to use non-proprietary dies and has a shell plate that is different than other Dillons
     
  11. gnappi

    gnappi Member

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    I have a 450 (original not 550 modded) and two 550's bought in the 80s some time. At one point I was loading up to 1k a week for well over a year on one and it's still tight. If any needed a re-build Dillon would fix it. Longevity is the least of a buyers concerns with Dillon stuff.
     
  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    To add, I have three Dillon SDB presses. I change cartridges by changing out the press on my reloading bench. I feel the SDB is not real friendly for cartridge changes but for cartridges that I never the change recipe, they are great. I load 45 ACP 230 RN on one, 9x19 115 RN on another, and 380 ACP 90-100 RN on the third.

    I also have a BL550, the economy version of the RL550. They are nice presses and getting used to manually indexing the press is easy.

    I started reloading with an RCBS single stage press, not the Rock Chucker, but I forget the name. After 20 years of reloading on it, I felt it was getting loose. I replaced it for reloading with a Redding Big Boss press, then added a Hornady L-N-L progressive, the SDB's, the BL550 and an RCBS Pro2000. The different presses have different reloading priorities so I doubt I will ever wear any of them out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
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  13. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    If you buy the spare parts kit, and water it with that blue Miracle Grow will you end up with a press? Asking for a friend.
     
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  14. BCR#1

    BCR#1 Member

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    I'm too lazy to mess with changing out primer parts so I just bought another machine to do large pistol on.........................

    Bill
    IMG_1259.JPG
     
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  15. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    I bought a 38/357 SD back in late 70s
    I bought a 45 acp SDB in 90s
    I picked up a 550 in 2015 +/-.
    Like BCR#1, changing from small to large primers on a he 550 is a pain, but doable. :( I been thinking of ordering another primer assy so I can just remove 2 bolts and swap the whole assy.
    Also thinking of swapping the 357 SD to 9mm. Then I’ll be set!:)
    Quite happy with all, especially the Dillon lifetime warranty which I have used a few times on the SD (pre SDB).
     
  16. buddyd157

    buddyd157 Member

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    this is interesting. the place where i buy my reloaded and factory fresh ammo, the owner there knows i want to start reloading. so, he told me about the Dillon Square Deal B. but so did at least 2 of the RSO's at my range.

    now, the store owner, who has been reloading since 1973, told me that the Dillon Square Deal B, can also use dies from another company, in fact, he recommended RCBS dies.

    but, i will not jump into this, without further lurking all the websites i belong to, for much more in the way of advice, and opinions.
     
  17. GoldieMI
    • Contributing Member

    GoldieMI Contributing Member

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    SDB uses proprietary Dillon Dies
    550 and up can use regular dies from other suppliers.
     
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  18. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    GoldMI is dead on!
    SD/SDB is limited to straight wall cartridges!
    550 can use other make 7/8” dies PLUS 550 can load bottle neck cartridges!
    Jmtcw
     
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  19. TxWolf

    TxWolf Member

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    Pretty sure SDB dies are proprietary. Don’t think the 7/8-14 dies will fit on an SDB tool head.
     
  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Despite the fact that the SD’s can’t accept dies all other presses use and are smaller than others I really like mine. They are my oldest Dillons and ones I cut my progressive teeth on. Have loaded hundreds of thousands of rounds on them.

    A4EC5934-5E50-4224-AAB0-2B84C7B4DE8D.jpeg

    The 550 came out after my Brother and I had our first SD and while it had more capability, it cost more and didn’t come with dies, so it was more than twice as expensive as the SD once you had everything you needed to use it to load. So you could have two SD’s ready to load two calibers (never needing to mess with primer system changes) for less than a single 550 for one caliber.

    B2CA19B1-5029-4059-B7B6-9B54A77A795F.jpeg

    That’s different these days and while I wouldn’t sell either of my SD’s I can’t say I would buy a new one over the 550.

    2D9D0E9F-8BAD-4D3A-802E-BC970A2DE1B1.jpeg
     
  21. buddyd157

    buddyd157 Member

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    ok, but, i have no desire to reload anything but 9MM, .45 ACP, and maybe (if i get a revolver) .38 special and 357 magnum...

    absolutely NO rifle ammo...
     
  22. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I bought the .45 square deal when they ran their first debut ad for that $135. After having a few failures and breakage on one of my customer service warranty calls, the Dillon rep noticed that mine was one of the first SDs sold (pre B) and asked me how many rounds I had loaded on it. They wanted it back for their engineers to eval and paid shipping both ways, had it back to me in a week completely rebuilt and upgraded to a B model.
    I bought my 550 when they first came out and still going strong.
     
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  23. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Changing calibers is easier in the 550. The SD was not initially intended to be a multi caliber machine.
     
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  24. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Both of mine are the pre B models but they upgraded them for free. The first SD’s didn’t have a low primer alarm and the powder measure linkage had no failsafe rod (black linkage in pliers). It used springs to return the powder bar. I suppose some powders made the measure stick, so with the B came the failsafe bell crank and linkage.

    ADC80D14-BB5A-4445-9897-3EA36C91C751.jpeg

    Then some years later they came out with the “clunker” linkage that prevented the measure from sticking and short stroke doubles.

    1D250AEE-224C-4A7E-BDFD-7BEAB9E11F73.jpeg

    Somewhere in time that also added a gusset and pillar to the back portion of the frame as the early ones are flat in the area where the pin is pointed.

    491785C4-FF8C-4DBA-977F-9724EED416CB.jpeg

    And they have been different for years now, must have been a lot of flexible bench tops causing them to break.

    0B00B68C-8F79-4B51-9788-4F0BB061C205.jpeg

    They also changed the spent primer catch in there. The old swinging buckets were quite fragile. I made mine out of steel before they came up with the new design.

    They have changed other stuff over the years, last time I called them for replacement delrin linkarm bushings they sent me new link arms with bronze bushings.

    Not sure about them never intended as a multi caliber press, they always came with both small and large primer parts and only came in one caliber. Tool head and delrin die lock plates and extra powder die and clamp added to a caliber conversion were all that was needed to swap (like the base machine, the caliber conversions came with dies). To change the tool head it uses 4 socket head cap screws vs two pins of the 550. That said the 550 didn’t exist when the SD came out and it was faster to back out the 3/4” screws on the SD (leaving everything set) than backing out all 4 dies from a Dillon 450.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
  25. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    Heard that before. I'll take the over.
     
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