Question for Big Blue owners.

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by ChuckR, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

    Sep 3, 2011
    South East Michigan
    Hi Guys,
    I own a dillon RL 550B, I have used it to reload 9mm, 30-06, and .223 ammo. All works fine except the bullet seating station, No matter what I load, I will setup the die for a certian AOL and tighten the lock ring. I will then procede to seat 10 rounds, and then I will measure them. They will range from being right on to -.002 to +.oo8 range of the AOL I had set. No matter what I do I can not seem to get a consistant AOL. I have talk to dillon and they had me try a few things, but also said that the seatings were within tolerence. It seems to me I should be able to get within + or _ .002 without having to readjust the seating die each time? Any help or info would be greatly appreciated.


    Forgot to say I am using Hornady bullets, I was told they were very uniformed, in that they should not cause a variance in seating.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  2. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2010
    Medina, Ohio
    Have you tried measuring the length of ten or so bullets, then seat them and also record their OAL and compare those measurements to the bullet lengths to see if there is any correlation?

    It could be there is some play in the shellholder plate, or you are not running the shellplate all the way up?

    I'll measure a few and post the results here.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011

  3. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    What brand seating die are you using?
  4. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lompoc California
    How are you measuring the loaded round? If you are measuring to the tip of a rifle cartridge you could expect to see some deviation. The proper way is to use a gauge that rests on the ogive of the bullet.

    Even the polymer tipped stuff varies about the amount you are seeing.
  5. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2010
    Medina, Ohio
    I measured 36-rounds of .45LC I loaded on my 550. The rounds measured from 1.588-1.602, with most rounds just short of 1.6". Am guessing the variation is due to the slight difference in the length of the bullets.
  6. JohnTheCalifornian

    JohnTheCalifornian Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    It may be something as simple as the die screwing down further into the shell plate as you attempt to tighten the lock ring on the die.
  7. 03fxsti

    03fxsti New Member

    Jan 3, 2011
    When you final tighten your seater, are you doing it with all stations full? Thats what Dillon told me to do. I was having the same trouble, then I put a case in all stations before tightening down and it fixed it.
  8. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Whether you use a Dillon or Lee or RCBS press or dies, the OAL is going to vary a tiny bit. It is not the machine or the dies, it is the bullet. They are not all perfect and the OAL will deviate.
  9. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  10. The_Vigilante

    The_Vigilante New Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    El Paso, Texas
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    You must use a bullet comparator to measure the cartridge length between cartridges, NOT the Cartridge Over All Length. It measures the comparison length by resting on the ogive of the bullet, just as the bullet does when chambered. It is not uncommon for the OAL of the cartridges to vary when the seating die pushes the bullet into the case on the ogive, as all rifle seating dies do.

    Also as stated above you must set up the bullet seating with all of the RL550B station filled.

  12. ChuckR

    ChuckR Member

    Sep 3, 2011
    South East Michigan
    Hi guys,
    First of all thanks for all the input, I now have a better understanding of what I am trying to achieve.
    1- I was measuring form the head to the tip of the bullet, instead of to the ogive.

    2- After measuring 10 to 20 bullets from each caliber I have, I see that they are not uniform. I ASSUMED buying a brand name bullet, that they would be pretty much uniformed but you know what happens when you ASSUME:D.

    3- I will look into getting a bullet comparator.

    4- As of right now I do one station at a time with all cases, I feel more in control with this, as I get more experienced and comfortable with my system, I hope to start using the progresive function.

    OZO- I am using dillon dies, as of right now I can not really tell if one brand dies would be better then another brand dies, so I have stayed with the dillon as that is what press I have:eek:

    Thanks for all your help and as usual you guys are great.

  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    As a Dillon RL550B owner for about 25 years, and as I reload 30+ different calibers I can assure you the Dillon dies are good but not necessary. You can use any brand you like but my favorites are RCBS, Redding, Forester but I do have and use Hornady too. I have not used any Lyman dies but have not heard anyone complain about Lyman dies. I am weeding out my LEE dies (bought when I thought price was more important than quality). I have not had good luck at all with LEE stuff but many here will quickly counter that they have been using LEE for decades and love them. I just happen to NOT love them.

    What happens when you get into progressive loading is you develop a routine with your hands to support the press. I can do it in my sleep. My routine is pull the handle to size the case, push the handle to seat the primer, advance the table, holding on to the table I insert the new case, and then add the bullet. I guide the bullet into the seating die when I pull the handle the next time. All the time I make sure the press feels right as I operate it and the right noises come out of it. If anything seems amiss I check to make sure all is OK. Go Slow at first and don't jerk the table to the next station but move it smoothly or the powder may jump out of the case and make a mess.

    Good Luck,
  14. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Lyman dies are made by RCBS, not sure the exact time that they started doing so, but it's been a good number of years now. Lyman dies are great quality.
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