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Reloading 5.56 w/ Dillon 550

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by SWDoc, Jun 20, 2008.

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  1. SWDoc

    SWDoc Member

    Feb 2, 2008
    I'm practicing more these days, and the ammo cost is killing me. I have a Dillon 550 I use for .45 and .40, have not used a progressive reloader for rifle, but now I'm considering it for the AR and a .308 I've got.

    ANy thoughts on the pros and cons? Any advice on sites for reload information for training ammo in these calibers?

    I'm sitting on a ton of brass here.


  2. JesseL

    JesseL Member

    Aug 26, 2004
    Prescott, AZ
    How does the .223 (or any rifle round) conversion kit for the 550 handle case trimming?
  3. brighamr

    brighamr Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    somewhere between utah and canada
    Yes, you will need to get a trimmer. You have a couple options though:
    get a trimmer die, and trim all cases in one go, then re-run them after for loading, etc.


    get a motorized trimmer and run your cases when/if needed (seperate from your 550).

    Personally, I load .223 on a 1050. I use once fired brass and don't trim. After about 2-3 loads per round, I'll get new brass. NO, this is not the BEST or cheapest way to do things, but it works for me and the time saved (not having to trim) gives me more time for shooting.
  4. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    I love loading .223 on my Dillon 550B. Assuming your cases are trimmed/primer pockets swaged, the procedure is straight forward and easy. About the only problem I have is handling the tiny bullets with my meat hooks. :)

    I would strongly recommend using a good ball propellant of your choice if using the std measure... It will meter smoothly, very accurately, and because of ball propellants great density, you can move the shell plate w/o making a mess. Some like a lee FCD, some don't. I have one on my tool head and allow it to apply a moderate crimp.

    H335, AA2230, AA2460, WW748, Ramshot TAC, and similar propellants will serve you well for what you seek.
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Hopewell Big Woods
    Stay away from the maximum loads. Skip the crimping. I have never found a need to crimp a 223 round used in m16,mini14, or ar 180. The trimming has been covered, But don't get lazy on checking case length as mixed lots/brands or pickup brass will grow at different rates. Some will need trimming , some will not.
  6. facemann

    facemann Member

    Sep 11, 2007
    What made my power throw accurate on a 550 is switching to One Shot lube. It dries and doesn't stick and gum up the powder funnel!
  7. Dravur

    Dravur Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Longmont, CO
    Here is what I do.

    I size each round in station one, I don not prime the cases.

    I then sit in front of the TV, with a lee trimmer, a power drill and a deburring/chamfering tube. I trim all the cases, and inspect them.

    I then tumble them again to clean off the lube. I use a flash hole cleaner to clean the debris out and also check the cases again.

    Then, those cases go back in for powdering with 2230, then a 55gr BB gets put on in the next step. I do have a crimping die set up on the 4th station, but it mostly snugs it down if I am using a cannelured bullet. If no cannelure, no crimp.

    Every 20 cases or so, I pull one off at the powder station and weigh it. I am using 24.6 grains of 2230
  8. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    I've loaded thousands of rifle rounds on my 550. I have a crank RCBS trimmer that I've taken the handle off and installed a hex head cap screw. I drive that with my drill and trim the cases.

    Next step is to tumble and clean, then I load them one at a time running one round thru all the steps. I lube the cases on a lube pad one at a time right before I load them. All charges are individually weighed, though the measure is almost always +/- .1 grain or less
  9. distra

    distra Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    I trim the cases with a manual crank trimmer that I chuck up into my cordless drill. Deburr the case mouth and check the primer pocket, non-mil spec don't need to be swagged. I use the Franklin spray case lube to lube the brass. After that it's load them up, Honardy Vmax 55gr bullets with 25gr of H335 are some scary accurate loads through my ar15. Case prep outside the 550b is pretty much the same as with any press.
  10. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    Lexington, IL
    I've done it on my old 550 and had no problems. (good advice on the powder above . .I had my best luck with H335) For the trimming I was using an old lyman hand crank universal trimmer and when I get really tired of that I adapted it to an old cordless drill I had laying around. (That's my cheapskate method).

    I too found that picking up .223 bullets and carefully placing hem with my fat fingers was the hardest part. Adding a bullet tray helped quite a bit to reduce movement . ..but not with my dexterity! :)

    If money was no object I'd have a 550 with the case trimmer mounted on the toolhead. That to me would make it as easy as loading pistol ammo.

    I don't shoot enough .223 to justify it though.

  11. byf43

    byf43 Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Southern Maryland
    I size all of my .223 brass on my RCBS RockChucker, then remove the lube by running through a tumbler with 'old' media.
    Then, trimming duties are handled on a dedicated drill press with a Lyman drill press trimmer.

    After deburring and primer pocket cleaning, it's on to the Dillon RL-550B.

    No sizer is on the Dillon. (This was previously handled on the RockChucker.)
    Priming, powder charging, seating and taper crimp go fast and smoothly.
    (I taper crimp because my loads are used in a semi-auto. I've had 1 bullet get pushed into the case. It ain't happening again.)

    Bullets are Sierra 69 gr. BTHP.
    Powder is H-335. 23.0 grains. Meters like a dream!
    More accurate than you will ever believe! (3 shots covered by a dime [5/8"] at 100 yds.
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