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Dillon for loading precision rifle loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jgh4445, Jan 6, 2011.

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  1. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    I've been loading on a rock chucker for 40 years. I load for 9 rifle calibers and 7 handgun calibers. I don't benchrest shoot but when I say precision, I want all of my rifles to shoot sub moa @ 100 yds. Now, can you get this kind of precision from a progressive? I have an RL550 with everything except a case or bullet feeder or Dillon dies. I've loaded a bunch of handgun ammunition on it and its a nice machine. I'm wondering if anyone out there actually loads hunting caliber rifles on thier 550? Wondering if I'd be better off to sell the 550, keep loading for rifles on the Rockchucker and buy a Square deal with caliber conversions for all my handgun loading. What do you think?
     
  2. esheato

    esheato Member

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    FWIW, I load all my precision rifle on a Redding turret press.

    I have a friend who loads everything, EVERYTHING, on his 650. I used to make fun of him until I saw the targets.

    He does a lot of varmint hunting, and shoots a metric ton of 204 Ruger.

    I never would have believed it if I didn't see it myself. He uses Redding competition dies on the Dillon toolhead.
     
  3. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Member

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    I don't see why the rifle loads wouldn't be just as consistent on a progressive or a turret press as they are on a single stage. I used to load everything on a Lee single stage. That included 5 rifle cartridges and 6 revolver cartridges. They all worked fine, but I had the desire to go a little bit faster for my .45 Colt and .44 mag cartridges. I recently bought a Lee Classic Turret press. Sure enough, it is wonderful for the revolver cartridges. I just got around to loading some .270 WSM and 7 MM mag rounds on it. It seemed to make them just as consistent as the single stage press did. I haven't shot them yet (too cold), but they measure dimensionally just as good as the single stage loads did.

    It doesn't really speed anything up using the turret press for loaoding rifle cases though. But I didn't want the clutter of 2 presses on my bench. So, until I see otherwise, I'll just leave the turret press mounted and use it for rifles.

    I know a lot of people say that turrets or progressives have too much slop in the mechanism to make consistent rifle loads. There is a little bit of play there, but it is very consistent. I mean progressives and turrets have to turn out consistent pistol cartridges also to make autos work. They will do the same for rifle cases too.

    Others also state that only a massive 25 lb single stage is "strong" enough to size rifle cases. They must work on some tougher brass than I do. There really isn't that much force required to resize or seat a bullet in a 7 mm mag case, so I don't see what the problem is.

    As mentioned though, the turret didn't speed up my rifle loading much, other than I can now prime on the press in the same step as depriming and resizing. But then I have to tatke all the cases and trim anyway. And when I charge them with powder I have to trickle and measure each round one at a time. I suppose if you didn't need to trim and could live with whatever powder weight the dispenser threw, then it would go faster. But that wouldn't really be precision right?
     
  4. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    Well, I don't think I'll quit using my hand primer regardless, but I do worry about the powder measure cconsistancy. I guess I'll try it and maybe measure every 5th load for a while to see just how reliable my 550 is with rifle powders. The pistol loads I throw are a bit more forgiving I think.
     
  5. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Mr 4445 -
    I wrote this earlier today, but it addresses some of your questions, which you are right to ask...

    So it seems as if you have the best setup already, the Rock Chucker for rifle rounds and the 550 for pistol rounds. The only way I see to possible improve this is to buy something like a Redding T7 turret, which in the end is only going to trim several minutes off your rifle reloading time. No biggie there, but slightly more convenient and FAR, FAR cleaner to operate. LOOK HERE

    On the Square Deal... I don't think you'd like it. To gain the auto-progressing shell plate you'd have to re-purchase all your pistol dies. And SDB dies are only available from 1 vendor. At least with the 550B you can size with a Redding die, seat with a Hornady die, and taper crimp with a Lee die if that's what "floats your boat".

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    Thanks Mr. Wobbly. I think you're right about the best of both worlds already. I like working up loads in the RockChucker for my rifles. I can be slow, deliberate and painstakinly accurate.
    I'm about to get an AR varmint rifle and the 550 will probably work great for large quantities in that rifle.
    I totally agree that there are trade offs for everything. The trade off for quantity might just very well be quality. I wouldn't be happy with that.
     
  7. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Yea, the Reddings are always greener on the other side of the fence !!

    :rolleyes:
     
  8. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I have a 550B, but I have not used it.

    I have read Bart Bobbitt posts on the internet about competing at the national level with progressive loaded rifle ammo.

    from 2004

    Of course Bart Bobbitt can do that, and Eric Clapton can make a stretched rubber band sound good.
     
  9. Rollis R. Karvellis

    Rollis R. Karvellis Member

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    The biggest problem with using a progresive, is your case triming. I, trim my case's after cleaning, but before sizing. Any case's of an unkown history, will be preped, and sized in a diffrent proceder. The biggest problem with using a progresive is the loader, who want to make a 1000 rounds, in a half hour, using a powder that won't meter well through the powder drop.
     
  10. rjrivero

    rjrivero Member

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    Precision reloads in a Dillon? Yep. Can be done, and IS done by John Whidden. He's the Back to Back Long Distance High Power Winner at the Camp Perry NRA Nationals. He also shoots on the US PALMA Team. His rifle and handloads will get him .4 MOA at 1000 yards. LINK HERE.

    It doesn't get more precision than that, IMVHO.
     
  11. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    I'm pretty much sold on keeping what I have and loading some rifle rounds on my Dillon to see how I like it. I'm not one to try and load 500 rounds an hour, hell, I won't shoot 500 hunting rounds in a long long time. I just want the ones I do shoot to be consistant. I do priming with an RCBS Universal hand primer and I have the RCBS Case care machine. It has been modified to trim all rifle calibers as well. When I reload and I'm at the point where I start to put brass in a press, all my cases are prepared and all I have to do is charge and seat.Maybe I'm doing too much hand work and I should let the dillon do more.
     
  12. SoulLessGinger

    SoulLessGinger Member

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    I agree with you on the powder drop. But why not just trim after sizing? Pretty sure thats the preferred method anyhow.
     
  13. dzelenka

    dzelenka Member

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    I load much of my highpower across the course and mid range ammo on a Dillon. My procedure is to deprime and size in one operation. Then I remove the lube, trim, and hand prime the cases. I think feed the primed cases back into the Dillon for powder and seating the bullet. I have changed my powder measure from a Dillon to an RCBS case actuated Uniflow. It works well with everything but really coarse stick powder. Varget is about the limit. I am sure that ball powder would throw near perfect charges.

    As far as the quality of the handloads, My Service Rifle will group 10 shots into .5 - .6 inches at 100 yards. Also, I have shot as well as a 200-12X at 600 yards with my Tubb 2000 in 6mmXC with progressively loaded ammunition using H4350 for powder.

    With progressively loaded ammunition, I have achieved a good bit shooting a service rifle, like Distinguished Rifleman, President's 100 and High Master. Do not believe anyone who says that a progressive is only good for blasting ammo.

    Dan
     
  14. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    Awesome Dan, Congrats on some fine shooting. Can't argue with those results...the Dillon stays as is. Thanks.
     
  15. alfack

    alfack Member

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    Also, they make a toolhead clamping kit that stiffens things up a bit, if you are worried about a few thousandths COL variance.
     
  16. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    I load my 6MM Remington and .223 varmint and target loads on a Dillon now, and they're just as accurate as the ones I loaded on my Redding single stage.

    The idea of powder consistency is a non-issue. Benchrest competitors drop powder straight from the measure.

    Top quality Redding dies, quality components, and attention to detail, and I can easily turn out 300-350 rounds per hour that will shoot five shot groups into 3/8 inch all day long.

    Just because something is state of the art, and an order of magnitude faster does not make it any less precise. :):)
     
  17. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Not everyone can shoot an accurate rifle to it's full potential. I guess the same can be said of progressive presses.

    I load sub-two inch, 50 yard .45ACP ammo on a 650 and can easily load .5 MOA or better .223 on my 550. Yeah, If I were a benchrest shooter, I would be using a Harrell press and Neil Jones dies.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  18. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    COL & Full Length Resizing

    A defective shell plate can cause the COL and shoulder bump to be different at each station when FL sizing bottle neck type cartridges. :uhoh:
     
  19. Rollis R. Karvellis

    Rollis R. Karvellis Member

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    Trimming after sizing on a progressive, sort of defeats the speed, and usefulness, of a progressive. I, have a block with a sizing die, for doing large numbers of cases, when I'm just preping.
     
  20. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    That statement requires proof. (in bold) Just how does a progressive limit precision/quality?

    As has been pointed out, you can't trim while on most progressives,(excludes the dillon 1050). IF you have a bench rest quality rifle, then you will be using hand dies in an arbor press. Run-of-the-mill factory rifles can't tell the difference in case length, unless it's so long that it hits the end of the chamber.

    Another factor is the handling/measuring of powder. My answer is similar to dzelenka, I use a Hornady measure with the case activated die. Loading surplus ball powder, it's dead on with little variation. I also have used Varget when loading match 69 nosler's, all this for .223 on my 650.

    dillon%20on%20bench.jpg

    image9.jpg

    I check each case for length before dumping them in the case feeder. If they're between trim-to-length and over length, they get loaded. Those over max length will get trimmed before another loading session. Sizing won't grow the length enough to worry about. I only bump the shoulders .003 anyway.
     
  21. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    These were loaded on my 550. Each charge is hand weighed. Note that it's 268 (lasered) yards. Two three shot groups with scope adjustment. Nice thing about the 550 is that it can be used to single load, so it's basically a turret press. No reason I can see that it would be any different than any other turret.

    Gunpix-1.jpg
     
  22. dzelenka

    dzelenka Member

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    We refer to our method of loading as semi progressive. For my match .223 loads, I put in a Lee decapper and a Forster Benchrest sizer with the decapping pin removed. (I found that I would bend pins when a military case would get mixed in.) I remove the sizing lube, trim (I have a Giraud trimmer) and hand prime. I keep these primed cases ready to be loaded. When I need some ammo, I put the primed cases in the press and charge with powder and seat bullets using either a Redding or Forster seating benchrest seater. It isn't the fastest way to do it, but it is a lot faster than using a single stage. It also produces high quality ammunition.
     
  23. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    Redneck2,

    Hand weighing powder charges defeats the purpose of a progressive. :confused::confused:
     
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