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Sharing a powder measure on Dillon 550

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MoreIsLess, Jan 24, 2012.

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  1. MoreIsLess

    MoreIsLess Member

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    For those of you that have a Dillon 550 how much of a difference do you think it makes to have a separate powder measure for each caliber as opposed to sharing one. Is the difference negligible? I am thinking if it only saves you 5 minutes on a caliber change, it may not be worth spending $76.95 on a separate powder measure. On the other hand, if it makes changing calibers a lot more simple, it might be worth it.

    Your take?
     
  2. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    In a 650, it makes a big difference to me. I have seperate measures for my main cals. The others (less loaded) share a measure.

    Someone here mentioned he has a different charge bar per cal and that works. I haven't tried it, but I plan to.
     
  3. Ditchtiger

    Ditchtiger Member

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    I have tool heads for the dies, changing powder settings is easy enough.
     
  4. MoreIsLess

    MoreIsLess Member

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    How long does it take you to change calibers between the ones that have a separate powder measure
     
  5. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    Depends on the two calibers. With a simple change, like going from 9mm to 40 s&w, about 20 mins. About 10 mins of that time is spent cleaning & lubing. Some changes take a little longer because more parts are changed.

    If I'm working up a load or just loading 20 or so, I just use a single stage press. If loading in volume, the time spent changing out the press is quickly compensated for with ammo production.
     
  6. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    My laziness overcame my frugality and I finally broke down and put a powder measure on each of my 5 toolheads.
     
  7. 4895

    4895 Member

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    I spend about 30 minutes at the start of a session to check my notes, change calibers, set the dies correctly, validate the powder measure setting, getting my components in order, cleaning off my bench, sweeping the floor, loading primer tubes, etc. I don't think I would spend any more $$ than I have on Dillon already. I love the tools and have had great customer service. That being said, I have spent enough $ that I need to start saving as much as I can and still shoot and enjoy my hobbies. You could buy 1000 9mm bullets for $90! I don't think it is a hassle. I always fill my hopper and cycle it at least 10 times before I set the throw. Then I weigh (10) throws to get an average. If I want 3.5 grains for .38 special, I should get 35.0 grains for the 10 throw average. It doesnt take long, and even if I did have an extra one, I wouldn't skip this step. That would be inviting danger to the loading session. Of course, you could check ebay. They sell for under $50 all the time. I would just hate the thought of getting my measures mixed up, loading 15 or 20 or 100 rounds only to find out they have 6.6 grains (9mm max load) in my 357 mag target load (5.0 grains). That would take a lot of unloading ammo, the opposite of loading ammo, or a possible firearm failure.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  8. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    I have two dillon powder measures. One with the large bar and one with the small bar. I didn't like having to change powder bars.
     
  9. TwoEyedJack

    TwoEyedJack Member

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    For pistol calibers, I use the Lee autodisk measure. Cheap, accurate, and works with my Lee dies. It works really well but sometimes I have to put the lock ring below the tool head since the Lee dies are short.
     
  10. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    I swap the same one out, been doing that for 15 years and tens of thousands of rounds.
    You have to disconnect the safety rod anyway, and reseting the charge weight is no problem.
     
  11. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    I am really lazy, so I buy a new setup for each new caliber I load.

    :cool:Work smart, not hard.:cool:
     
  12. rockn30809

    rockn30809 Member

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    I did it for a few years. No biggie, only takes a extra few minutes. When I ran across a good deal on a used measure I would pick it up and now have a measure for all my toolheads.
     
  13. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    The toolheads that get the most use have a dedicated powder measure and I move a couple around for those less frequently used. That said I am always looking to upgrade my stuff, I bought another 550 so I don't have to change primer sizes.
     
  14. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    I have a toolhead stand for each of 4 toolheads, with individual powder measures. Small bar for pistol and large bar for rifle.

    The time to swap between calibers is 2 minutes or so. (What?)

    Well, unless I have to change to .44 Magnum. That requires a different shellplate and locator buttons, so it takes another 5 minutes. But the other 3 calibers all use the same shellplate...

    I found I was spending quite a bit of time adjusting the powder measure for different loads, so I got one of those calibrated powder measure screws for each measure. Now all I have to do is dial in the setting from my notes and I'm really close.
     
  15. cbmax

    cbmax Member

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    You difinitely want separate complete tool heads including a powder measure for each caliber you are going to reload. It makes the task of changing calibers just that much easier. The changeable tool head is one of the main features on the Dillon machines. Don't sell yourself short and spend the extra money. Trust me, you won't reload as much if the process becomes too arduous or time consuming!

    CB
     
  16. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Separate powder measures?

    Nope, not for me. I am currently set up to load seven pistol cartridges, and exchanging almost $700 for a few minutes savings does not compute.
    One of these days when (if) I start loading rifle, maybe having a powder measure with a large charge bar "might" make sense.

    If I had an extra ~$700 to spend on loading equipment, I would spend that money upgrading from a 550 to a 650 instead. And I'd need it all, between the upgrade and the new shell plates, etc...
     
  17. Metal Tiger

    Metal Tiger Member

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    Yes, if money is an issue buy the powder measure for the calibers that you use the most. Each tool head has dies and powder measure so change check and go. I have separate tool heads and dies with powder measure set up for each of 6 calibers. .44 mag 45 ACP 45 LC, .357 mag, 9mm and 40 cal. Next up 45-70.

    The next level of crazyness would be to have an entire machine tool head powder measure ect decidated to each caliber. I know you are out there.:neener:
     
  18. Damon555

    Damon555 Member

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    The time I've spent with the dillon powder measure has been short...but it takes no time at all to set the powder measure up for a different caliber. Money is no object for me and I still don't see the need for multiple ones. I guess I haven't gotten to where I am in life by spending extra money due to very minor inconvences.
     
  19. rikman

    rikman Member

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    On my first 550, which I bought last year , it has the "spring return system" versus the "linkage/failsafe"...so I think I'm stuck on that mach with the old powder measure, until it dies on me???
     
  20. Jdillon

    Jdillon Member

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    I have separate tool heads and powder measures for all of (9) of the calibers loaded on my 550. I take a lot of time setting up the dies for each and once done prefer to leave it. Excellent suggestion on taking an average of several throws of the measure before starting to reload and I do this every time. On several of the tool heads, I have installed Redding Competition seaters which makes adjusting OAL a snap.
     
  21. rikman

    rikman Member

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    Jdillon,

    That's a great idea. I hate messing with seating die for a new bullet.COmpetition dies are so nice. I use them on my turret press for rifle ammo...
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    That's what I do. Back off the two socket head cap screws to remove the measure and return unused powder to it's container, then back off one more so you can swap out the (labled) preset powder bar into the measure. Quick and cheap.
     
  23. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    If you're considering adding powder measures to save you some time/effort, here's a thought or two:

    1. You can use any powder measure you want to on your 550, so don't limit your considerations to just Dillon measures.

    2. When you're picking a powder measure to add, think about the type of powder you'll be loading for that caliber, the volume of powder the particular cartridge takes and the quantity of rounds you're going to be loading in that caliber. Don't limit your thinking to a single brand of powder measure.

    Why? Here's several scenarios of why:

    For pistol calibers where you are likely to be using Lee dies anyway and particular in calibers like, say, .380ACP (small powder charge and likely not tons of cartridges), you can use an inexpensive Lee Pro Auto Disk with your dies and get great results. For a rifle caliber like .308 (large extruded powder charge and a significant amount of cartridges) where you might be using an extruded powder, a Hornady case activated powder drop and one of their excellent Lock N Load powder measures (big powder reservoir) would work great. For .223, where you're using a ball powder, around 25 grains of powder and loading tons of cartridges, a Dillon powder measure with it's large reservoir fits the bill. For 30-06, where you're loading perhaps a small volume of cases (100 or less, let's say) with a large extruded powder charge, perhaps a case activated powder drop with an RCBS Uniflow.

    3. Used powder measures costs much less than new powder measures. Before you go and buy new, look around and see if you can pick up used powder measures. Some forums allow for a Want To Buy. Post in there and see what comes up.

    My current press is an RCBS Pro 2000. I am using Dillon measures to load .45ACP, .223, and .308. I am using Lee measures to load .380ACP and .38/.357. I am using RCBS measures to load 30-06 and .270. Except for the press that came with my press, all the rest were picked up used at about 50 to 70 percent the cost of new with the shipping included. New would have added significant costs.

    Just some things to think about.
     
  24. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I picked up my first LNL after a friend gave me a 20lb keg of extruted powder. Too bad all of the talk about how well the LNL measure handled extruded powder was just talk. There wasn't enough difference between the two to buy one or the other, for that use.
     
  25. Bud0505

    Bud0505 Member

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    I load 4 different calibers on my 550. I have tool heads and dies for each caliper but only one powder measure. Swapping the powder measure is neither difficult or time consuming.
     
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