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Dillon 550B or 650?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by nojoke, Mar 27, 2011.

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  1. nojoke

    nojoke Member

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    Sorry, my bad....DILLON 550B vs 650 (not RCBS as originally posted) :eek:

    I've read the intro post here.
    I've been to the Dillon site.
    I'm still up in the air....

    What would sway one's decision between the 550B and 650????

    I have no experience in this stuff.
    I'm tight on space (closet).
    I only have handguns (9mm, 38 sp and maybe .357 in the future).

    I do not shoot as often as I'd like. :uhoh:

    "shoot from the hip" opinions?????

    ...I am VERY INTERESTED in getting into handloading for a variety of reasons.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  2. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Member

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    Don't you mean Dillon and not RCBS?
     
  3. nojoke

    nojoke Member

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    Yes, my bad....Dillon. :uhoh:
     
  4. dhfenno

    dhfenno Member

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    I have a couple 550Bs and wouldn't trade them for the world. They are a little cheaper than a 650 and easier to switch primer feeds on than the 650.
    With 5 primer tubes loaded and everything set and ready to go I can load 600 rounds of 9mm in about a hour. I don't shoot enough to justify more than that.
    They are also a little smaller so take up less space on my bench.
    For the price difference in the 550b and the 650 I'd get the 550b, strongmount, roller handle, bullet tray, and case bin. Grab some extra primer tubes and you can make a bunch of rounds quickly.
     
  5. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Member

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    Sound advice
     
  6. TheCol.U.S.M.C.

    TheCol.U.S.M.C. Member

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    go with the 550b I love mine. It was my first press
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    When I was researching the progressives, I ruled out the 550B because it did not have auto-indexing. I considered the manual indexing as an increase safety problem.

    Also, the fifth die station is handy on the 650 particularly with handgun cartridges where you have more dies in play than with rifle.
     
  8. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    the 550 does not auto index. That's always been a deal breaker for me.

    if all you've got is pistol, what about a square deal?

    If you don't shoot much, how about a lee turret press. 100 rounds an hour easy, simpler learning curve than a progressive, small footprint, much cheaper press and cheaper to change calibers too. and about half the size of a 550B in a strongmount.
     
  9. rquack

    rquack Member

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    If you're tight on space and will only be using the loader for handgun cartridges, why not consider the Square Deal B as an option? I bought one several years ago. It has provided no opportunity for compromise under any circumstance. Rifle: this loader will not do it; but I prefer to load my rifle cartridges by individually weighing each powder charge for maximum accuracy. Quality: this is NOT an entry level product. It is a physically small unit with amazing accuracy and speed. The ammo production rates cited on the Dillon web site are easily attainable; this a fully progressive unit capable of remanufacturing great volumes of ammo with amazing accuracy. Dies: Dillon proprietary product. The powder measure is very accurate and holds adjustment well; I've never noted an inaccurate load and I spot check for accuracy fairly often. Dillon's warranty of no BS for any reason applies. I use mine for 9mm and .38/.357. I've never regretted making this purchase. The unit is small enough to easily removed from my bench and store. It's just lower priced, not lower quality; just a physically smaller unit.
     
  10. nojoke

    nojoke Member

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    Thanks for all the input.

    I'm no closer to a decision tho....

    A couple of votes for the 550b
    A couple of votes for the 650
    ...and a couple of votes for the square deal.

    I'm worse off with my decision now then ever :evil:

    ...but I do appreciate all the input.
     
  11. nojoke

    nojoke Member

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    What's the comparison between RCBS and Dillon?
     
  12. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    Square Deal is a solid press. Only Dillon dies. Slow. For my mental capacity,it is a one round all the way through every time.
    550 must be manually indexed.
    650 is a great press if equipped with the case feeder. Preponderously popular with the cowboy crowd and , I am sure, all the others. IDPA did a poll of the shooters for their magazine and Dillon was way ahead. IMHO, the 650 is the do it all machine for the buck. I have one for 45acp,one for 45 Colt, and one for 38s. Had them for over ten years with thousands of rounds through them.
     
  13. cpo223

    cpo223 Member

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    How long do calibers changes take on the 550B and on the 650? Maybe that would help nojoke make a decision. I have wondered that myself, I may buy a Dillon one day.
     
  14. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    I use a 550 for 5.56 as I like the control manual indexing gives me. Doubt I could get by without my 650 for .45ACP. The SDB is a decent handgun press, but no casefeed option as with the 550 (handgun only) and 650.
     
  15. dhfenno

    dhfenno Member

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    When I was first looking at Dillon 15 or so years ago I looked at the SDB but was turned off by the proprietary dies and the inability to load rifle rounds.
    Many people don't like the 550 because it is not auto indexing. That has never bothered me. Once you add the bullet tray your left arm barely moves. I rest my left arm on the tray and as soon as I lower the ram my thumb is already there to push the star forward. As soon as it goes forward to index the next round I set the next bullet to be seated as my right hand places an empty cast at stage 1.
    Changing calibers is just a matter of swapping tool heads and changing the base plate. Takes 5mins. if even. Add another 10mins. to that if you're switching primer size as then you change the inner primer magazine tube and the primer feed bar. Still a fast change.
     
  16. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    You need a trip over the Brian Enos Forum where they got all this worked out. Brian also has the best prices on Dillon. In a nutshell....

    • The 550 is best if you want to load 300 of this and 250 of that. It specializes in flexibility. That includes quick caliber changes. Caliber changes take about 4 minutes. Add 6 more minutes for primer size change.

    • The 650 is best if you need 1000 of a single caliber. It's set up for larger lot sizes. Caliber and/or primer changes take a little longer.

    There is a gray area between those where they overlap. So like was said, you need to look at the future, and give this a LOT of thought. You see, the down-side to ANY progressive press is that in 2-3 years you'll have several hundred dollars tied up in the specialized tool heads that only fit that one machine. So if you have 15 calibers, then you not only have to buy the new machine, but 15 new tool heads too. If you were moving from (say) a Lee Classic Turret to a Dillon 550, then 15 Dillon tool heads with powder dies would cost as much as the new Dillon 550. :eek:

    ;)
     
  17. dbro822

    dbro822 Member

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    I like the manual index on the 550, lets me feel like I still have control for quality checks.
     
  18. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Stop right there. Buy the 550. The 650's auto indexing may cause you to get crossed up and confused since there is no way to "back up" if you make a mistake.

    Also as mentioned get over to the Brian Enos forum to read a ton of info on this question. When you buy, consider getting all the accessories in the Enos "way it should be" package. Well worth it, especially the strong mount and roller handle.

    For progressive machines the comparison is there isn't one. the RCBS Piggyback is a homemade looking, acting, and feeling machine that is cantankerous and picky about setup with lots of maintenance issues. The 550 you just pull the handle.
     
  19. nojoke

    nojoke Member

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    #1 - Why can't I quote a reply????

    Here's the quote I want to talk about: "Stop right there. Buy the 550. The 650's auto indexing may cause you to get crossed up and confused..."


    That's a sticking point tho....
    I've read replies where people can't go to the 650 and wish they could.....why? Because they've invested too much into the 550.

    I would like to think I could take my time and figure out the 650 if that was the machine I decided to get.

    Is the 650 really that difficult?
     
  20. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    No, but if you have never reloaded before do you really want to go from 0 to 200 mph at the first pull of the handle?

    The problem is the 650 rotates every time you pull the handle, no matter what. That makes it slower but it makes it safer for a beginner. If you don't have everything ready for all the activities that take place when you pull the handle you can

    a) break the machine
    b) ruin a round
    c) blow yourself and your gun up

    Now to be fair, on the flip side with the 550 you have the chance to throw a double charge if not careful since the sheelplate doesn't rotate automatically. But, it's easier to watch for that if you are going real slow when learning the process.

    Do you really need a press that reloads at the rate of a 650? Are you shooting competitively? Are you really going to sit down and load 1000+ of the same round at a time? As mentioned, changing calibers on the 650 is much more difficult and time consuming. If the answer to those questions is yes then maybe the 650 really is the place to start but....

    You also mention you shoot several calibers. Caliber changes on a 650 are a pain.

    And I'm not sure why people feel trapped, the resale value of Dillon equipment is fairly high.

    I'd buy a 550 in a single caliber and reload for a while if it was me, and that's what I did. If it's keeping up with your shooting then get some other caliber kits. If not, sell it used and changeover to something bigger. You will notice if you talk to people for a while that the really serious shooters don't do caliber changes on their 650's, they just buy more than one and leave them set up.

    Where I am now is with a 550B for the calibers I don't shoot as much and a 650 setup for my "main" caliber, 10mm. Caliber changes on a 650 are too much trouble in my opinion.
     
  21. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Depends on the person. Some people are just not mechanically inclined. For me, it wasn't difficult. There are a bunch of little adjustments, but they mostly control things that are independent of each other.

    The thing is, you can start out using it as a single stage press. Just put the sizing die in stage one. Run a bunch through just resizing.

    Then try priming only.

    Then do powder and bullet seat by loading a single case in by hand at time and running it through completely before. You can run primed cases through the case-feeder (take the sizing die/decapper out first!).

    This is how you set it up anyways.

    Read the manual a few times. Watch videos on Youtube. Read stuff on the net.

    It ain't complicated.
     
  22. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Also, caliber changes aren't that bad on the XL650, especially if you're not switching between large and small primers. 9mm and 38/357 both use small primers.
     
  23. minnesota

    minnesota Member

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    I was in your shoes at one time, and I ended up going with the hornady AP, because of the smoother cycling and ease of change over, never looked back.
    :evil::what:
     
  24. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    Here is a comparison between Dillon (650) Hornady (LNL AP) and Lee progressive presses you may find helpful.

    http://www.comrace.ca/cmfiles/dillonLeeHornadyComparison.pdf

    I personally prefer a progressive press that either a) has a station for a powder alarm/lockout die, or b) has auto-indexing. The 550 has neither. The AP, 650 and Pro-2000 have both.

    Andy
     
  25. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    I think your wallet has to be the deciding factor.

    The main difference is the 650 auto indexes, whereas you have to manually index the 550.
    (there are other differences to, but that's the main one to me)

    I have a 550 & if I had a $1000 or $1500 sitting around doin nothin, I'd buy a 650 with all the trimmings.
    But I can't afford that, and the 550 does everything I need.
     
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