Problems with my Dillon 550 Progressive

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Insulation Tim, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    I purchased a Dillon 550 several months ago and finally got around to unboxing it and getting it set up this weekend. I think that I have it set up correctly with one exception. I can't get the auto primer to work properly.
    There is not much info in the manual that came with the press, and even though there are some good tutorials on YouTube, none seem to address the primer.

    On the down stroke, it works fine to deprime the spent cartridge and the little cup that is supposed to pick up a new primer seems to go where it is supposed to. It just doesn't pick up a primer and generally more than one primer will be found laying on the rail.

    What have I done wrong?

    Thanks guys.
  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Fixing things long distance is tough but here goes.

    There are two different primer delivery tubes, one for large primers and one for small primers. There are also two different primer pickup tools for loading the primers into the Dillion press (large and small primers). First, do you have the correct tube (delivery tube verses primer pickup tube). The correct delivery one has a ridge that runs along the back of the plastic tip and lips that holds then releases the primer. Next, are you using the right sized tube: small or large to match the primer size. A comparison of the two shows immediately which is which. Finally have you got the delivery tube in the press with the ridge to the front of the press, in the internal groove of the press's primer system, and seated all the way down into its cavity?

    Once you have everything right you can cycle the press handle and see that the primer tube plastic end is position so that the primer cup is exactly under it and almost but not quite touching it. I install the priming system, pull the handle all the way down, place a bright light onto the primer cup and look down from the top of the primer tube to make sure the plastic end of the primer delivery tube is exactly lined up with the center of the primer cup. I tweak the system until it is.

    This is the only thing that I can think of off hand that would cause your problem. If it were me I would slowly re-read the instruction manual for this area of the Dillon to be sure I did not do something obviously wrong. If that failed I'd give Dillon a call and ask for technical help. Their people have been very knowledgeable about their products and reloading in general. I have quizzed them several times over the years and gotten informed helpful answers.


  3. LD is right call Dillon. They are very good about helping their
    customers. That primer feed is the weak link on the Dillon
    presses. It is hard to get it to work just right (for me at least).
    I ended up buying two Dillons. One for large primers and one for
    small primers.
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    I have little to no problem with my 550B primer delivery system IF I keep it clean, check for alignment of the cup with the end of the delivery tube, and take the time to set it up correctly. Once in awhile a spent primer will fall on the primer arm and mess up the delivery of a new primer but that is not the fault of the primer delivery system.

    Progressive presses are busy machines. Even the best screw up occasionally. The Dillon is the best going and screws up substantially less than either the Lee progressive or the Hornady shotgun presses I once had. With the Dillon a screw up is easy to fix because each station can be serviced independently and the table is manual and can be rotated forward or back. There is nothing more frustrating than clearing a problem when the table auto advances or the station can not be accessed readily.

    I would not call the Dillon RL550B primer system its weak point! I don't know if the press has a weak point (???).

  5. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Active Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2010
    Medina, Ohio
    I can remember having problems getting the primer feed to work correctly, but it works fine, now. As I recall, I had the same problem as you do now.

    1. Make sure the silver primer tube that sets inside the black metal tube is all the way down and rotated slightly (to the right?) so as to lock-in.

    2. When you do the downstroke, make sure to go all the way down. (No giggling)

    3. Call Dillon Technical.

    4. They have a DVD for sale that deals with the setup. I bought it last week for giggles, but haven't watched it yet.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  6. Waldog

    Waldog Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Wait a minute !! I thought Dillon was made by a Divine Being and was delivered by walking on water! And, nothing ever failed to work!!:rolleyes:

    Sorry couldn't resist. (Red press owner)

    LD is correct. Contact Dillon, they will help in any way they can. Once you get the primer system working properly, keep it clean and it should be relatively trouble free. Good Luck!
  7. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Active Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2010
    Medina, Ohio
    Short Dillon story:

    I was on Dillon's mailing list and took offense to an article that was in an issue of the Blue Press. I wrote the editor a long letter criticizing the article and a period of time passed.

    I then bought a 650 and was watching the VHS video (shows you how long ago this happened) that came with it so I could figure out how to set it up.

    As I was watching the video w/ the machine set out before me in parts, the phone rang. The caller identified himself as Mike Dillon (whom I was watching on the video). My response was, "Yeah, right. Who are you really?"

    He finally convinced me he was THE Mike Dillon of Dillon Precision, and we had a 45-minute conversation about the article and lack of federal government accountability of their personnel to local areas. We finally realized that we were saying the same thing in different ways. It was interesting.

    Dillon stands behind their products better than any other company. I had a part on one of my machines wear out thru normal use and they replaced it at no cost. It was so long ago, I don't remember which press or what the part was.
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    WHAT! no way a dillon can have problems. Theyre too good for that...;):p

    Also a red press owner:D
  9. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    An Update On My Original Thread.

    I have concluded that most of the initial problems that I was experiencing, were due to "Operator Error". It took a lot of You Tube, endless wait times at Dillon's Help Desk (though they were incredibly patient with me) and observation to remedy things.

    The Operations Manual, like most could be done better.

    I now feel that my 550B is working like a charm and I now have a pretty clear idea of what is happening at each of the 4 stations. That way when something needs tweaking, I might just know how to tweak it.

    All in all I am pleased with this progressive and would recommend to others.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  10. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    Me too. You get what you pay for. ;)
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