Primer issues with Dillon 550B

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by RAJBCPA, Nov 9, 2012.


    RAJBCPA Active Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    I just bought this press and I am setting it up for the first run of 9s with the SPPs.

    I'm having some issues with the primer delivery system. Specifically, the shuttle arm sticks in the open position occasionally, and it also occasionaly fails to pick up a primer. In addition, sometimes the primers are inserted into the cases upsidedown or sideways. I've been picking out live primers under the shellplate and along the area where the primer shuttle rides.

    In other situations, the primer is not being fully seated and the shellplate is hard to turn or gets completely stuck. This often leads to a double charge of powder in Station 2.

    I'm pretty sure I'm using the small primer holding tube on the press, the small primer pickup tube, and the small brass fitting that delievers the primer to the case.

    Any ideas why this is happening?


    RAJBCPA Active Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    One thought.

    I do not have a rod or low primer alert system inserted in the primer holding tube. Are these parts necessary to force the new primers down to the pickup shuttle?


  3. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I had a similar problem last year with mine....and can't remember
    what I determined caused it...DUH !!!!!
    I did take it apart and clean it really well [shuttle arm sticking]
    I don't know what could be misaligned and mine had me pulling
    out my hair....but after I put it all back, it has been fine.
    As far as the primers flipping, that is most likely caused by
    returning the handle upright too fast.
    If cleaning and re-assembly doesn't fix you Dillon.
    Their customer service will dance you right thru it.

    Keep a toothbrush, or equivalent, handy.
    Clean the primer anvil and the shellplate area often.
    If you use fired brass, you get old powder funking it up.
    It can even dent your primers when you seat them.

    Shellplate not the bolt too tight?
    It must be backed out 1/4 turn, although I do mine
    by the feel of it....and when set, tighten the set screw,
    snug only, to hold the bolt. If not, the bolt will move
    as you turn the shellplate.
    [provided nothing is caught under it, like a primer]
  4. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Yes, the following rod must be in on top of your primers.
  5. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    If the shell plate is not adjusted properly, and is
    too loose, it will allow the brass and shell plate to 'lift'
    when you seat the primer, therefore not seating the
    primer to the proper depth.

    RAJBCPA Active Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Thx, OZO:

    How tight should the shellplate bolt be fastened? If I use more than a week hand tight amount of torgue, the shellplate cannot be advanced.
  7. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Is your spring and ball bearing in the hole under the shell plate?
  8. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    If your ball bearing is in properly [for detent]
    then, with the set screw out [the allen screw
    with the brass end that screws in the ram]
    hold the shell plate in place, screw in the
    retaining bolt until firm. While turning the shell plate
    tighten or loosen[center bolt] it until you have it
    just free from binding the shell plate from turning.
    You want it as tight as possible WITHOUT any
    binding. It is just something you have to 'feel' for.
    I think the instructions say snug it, then back it out
    1/4 turn......mine seems a tad too loose that way.
    Keep feeling it....and you will get it.
    It is a bit funky, cause when you check it by turning
    the shell plate, the bolt will turn with it. I do mine by hand
    using only my fingers[center bolt] and don't use the allen wrench.
    When I first set the shell plate down on the ball bearing,
    I hold it down with two fingers, one on each side of the
    bolt hole, then screw the bolt in until snug, keeping the plate
    pressed down at the same time. That is usually too tight, so I
    back it out a little...etc...til it feels right. You have to put the set
    screw in the ram before you go turning the shell plate very much,
    as you setting will change. PITA sometimes having to do that a
    couple of times to get it right. And DO NOT over-tighten the
    set screw, you will mash the brass end.
  9. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    P.S. I also use SBGO on the ball bearing [detent]
    under the shell plate.
  10. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Another thing on the priming arm - I put just a tiny bit of SBGO (oil) on the bottom and both sides of the "arm" so taht it is lubricated and moves freely. Be sure that the primer tube is properly seated in the larger tube. I had problems with mine putting them in sideways and dropping primers out so I loosened the whole primers tube and looked at the inner tube, it was not seated properly. I had inserted it by feel and I thought I felt it slip into the groove but it hadn't.

    Look it the little plastic "feed lips" on the inner primer tube and you will see a little slot that must fit into the little "nipple" at the bottom of the outer tube. Does that make sense, it does to me, but am I explaining it right??
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  11. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Gotta love that SBGO......
    just so many places where it works so well.....!!!
    Caution, though, not to over-lube with it,
    especially on the shuttle arm, as it will collect
    crud from de-priming fired brass.
    It don't take much SBGO to get the job done anyway.....
  12. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Yeah, does sound like maybe the tube isn't seated properly.
    Easy fix.....
    Any and all trouble areas.....and it won't hurt ya none....
    undo what ya done did, and done did it again....
    it'll just help you get more familiar....albeit frustrating
    to some degree......
    'cause when the 'Blue' is so sweet !
  13. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    If something is wrong with a Dillion 550B it must either be a oriental made bootleg knockoff spraypainted Dillon blue or just a TFF member making a joke, there is simply no way on earth a Dillon would ever experience a design flaw or function issue. After all they are created perfectly and will forever outlast Hornady, Lee, RCBS and all others.
    DRAINSMITH likes this.

    RAJBCPA Active Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Out of the box, I did remove the small primer holding tube that was installed and shipped from the factory but I thought I reinserted it back into the base appropriately.

    I will check this again. If the silver threaded top to the black primer holding tube is able to be screwed down to the max, does that mean the holding tube that is inside has been inserted properly into the base that is used to feed the primer shuttle?


    RAJBCPA Active Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    ...from what I can tell, the large detend ball and related spring is installed properly. I put some vasoline on the ball and it seemed to accumulate some spilled powder during operation, so I assume it is seating into the shellholder OK.

    What is kinda weird is that when I index the press, the shellholder bolt seems to tighten and then cause an index binding issue. It seems like I need to continually back out the bolt tension as the press operates.
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