you guys talk me into buying my first Dillon Press

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by dbcooper, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

    I have a Lee Loadmaster and a Lee Pro 1000

    I like the Pro 1000 for what it is. I do not try to use the priming feature as I know how fickle the system can be. I just hand prime all of my rifle cases. Its no big deal to me. The Pro 1000 does a great job for me.

    now the Loadmaster has a few thousand rounds through it and frankly last night I was ready to take a 5/16 truckers chain and drag it down the interstate

    Its like a Rube Goldberg machine, each part effects another part and you end up really messing with it more than you do putting out ammo

    I'm ready to look a different press. something I can do 200 rounds an hour and I don't care if I have to place the case in manually and the bullet as well

    I just want to do that, pull the handle and make a round without something screwing up

    I have heard good things about the 550 and I have read about Dillons no BS warranty

    so, go ahead, tell me what you think I should look into
  2. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012

  3. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    Sorry I can't compare to the LM because I have never used one. I have a Lee classic turret and can load close to 200 rounds per hour. I also have a Dillon 550. The 550 is a very easy progressive press to use. Not much can go wrong with it. I just bought it in December last year so I haven't had it very long but have been very happy so far. It is also fairly easy to do caliber changes on.
  4. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    db, The first progressive I bought was a LEE Loadmaster. I thought I was doing something really great. For 30 years prior to that, I used a single stage Lee classic. Once I got the LM set up, and after a good bit of "practice", I went to town loading .40 S&W and feeling great about how many I was getting done compared to the amount of time I was spending. The plastic primer slider kept breaking but I had learned to keep a good supply of them on hand. Also, it was a tremendous let down when I started having squib loads, right and left. I ended up having to pull about 500 bullets to straighten up that goat rope.

    I got rid of that piece of crap on eBay and bought myself a Dillon RL550B and I have never had a major problem with it, and I have not had another squib load, either. I would highly recommend the Dillon, it ain't cheap but it is worth what I paid for it. I have several caliber set up with the tool head, dies, and a powder drop so all I have to do is swap the tool head to be loading a different caliber.

    I did have a small problem when I tried to load .223s on it so I just went back to using my 35 year old single stage on them. It was MY problem and not the machine. I do not use the Dillon for rifle cartridges.
  5. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

    besides the turret or tool head that holds the dies, how easy is the shell plate to swap out for calber changes?

    also, can you mount them directly to the bench or is that strong mount a good idea?
  6. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    To take the shell plate out of the Dillon is a snap, the key thing is not to bump the 1/4 ball bearing that sits on the spring that gives tension to shell plate once it is in place. Finding it on the floor can be a pain. As for the tool heads Dillon makes a stand that holds the head with the dies installed and it also has a place for the shell plate and brass buttons.

    The real problem with any of this stuff any more is the cost. Dillon has a new machine out to load 50 BMG and it is really cool but the thing with one carbide sizing die cost $2,500.00, the die by itself cost $800.00 and Dillion doesn't make a seating die. Meaning the seating die does NOT come with the machine at $2,500.00.

  7. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    I cant say anything good or bad about the Dillon. But why I did choose a Hornady LNL over the big blue was a no brainer for me.. Price, and non proprietary distributor. I can buy Hornady add ons, dies hop ups etc from any sporting good supplier, cant do that with a dillon. The LNL AP is a five station auto indexing press, take a look for yourself and compare to the D 650. They are just a little too proud of their equipment as it reflects in their prices IMHO. Donning my flamesuit.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  8. Gahunter12

    Gahunter12 Active Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    I have had my Rl550b for two months now. I absolutely love it! I was ready to pull the trigger on a classic turret, but at the last min I changed my mind. I have 1600 rnds thru it so far without a major hiccup. The only trouble that I have had was with some of my 40s&w brass would not rotate on the shell plate smoothly. After investigating I discovered some of my range brass had slightly bent heads. I just tossed them to be safe. I was up in the air also on the strong mount, but decided last min to purchase it. Now I'm glad I did. It allows you to move the press back on your bench where it's flush with the front edge, but not hanging over. The SMount also spreads the pressure/weight load out over a larger area for a more stable press. Last it allows you to add the bullet tray and empty case bin if you so wish. I didn't get the bullet tray or empty case bin, but did fab my own that works for me. The roller handle is a toss up. Most guys say it's the only way to go. I didn't go with the roller handle and have been happy with the ball handle, but plan on trying the roller handle soon.
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    I have had my Dillon RL550B for about 25 years. Dillon has rebuilt it twice for free (I use it a lot as it is my only press for regular cartridges). This is an excellent well made press. I reload for 30 some different cartridges on this machine. Each has its own tool holder pre-setup for each cartridge. I share a single powder measure with all of them. The shell plates are easily changed out and one may serve a family of cartridges like 243, 308, 30-06, 270, 35Whelan, and so on. I reload everything from 22 Hornet to 45-70 including 7mm Magnum.

    Then there is the versatility of the RL550B. It can be used easily as a single stage, turret, or progressive press. I often use mine in all those modes but mostly in progressive. The lack of auto indexing of the table is the reason it is versatile.They take any manufacturer's common die sets. The exception is the 50BMG sized cartridges which don't fit anybodies regular presses.

    While Hornady makes a competitor this is at least their second attempt to get progressive reloading correct. Dillon has used the same basic press for the last 30 years that I know about with some upgrades. Current RCBS and Hornady presses emulate the Dillon models while earlier examples, from both companies, that failed used different approaches. Dillon's warrantee program is without equal. I had a bad experience with one of Hornady's poor shotgun presses so buying another Hornady press is out of the question for me as their service at that point in time was terrible.

    When Dillon updates a part they offer it to all owners for free. If a part fails they send it to you for free. They have even been know to replace a poor guy's press that was damaged in a home fire for free. These are good people that we can thank for the complete change that reloading equipment companies have made in their service policies.

    Yes, they are more expensive but they will last forever or be replaced for free. Their technical staff is excellent and ready and willing to help solve any reloading problem.

    If you buy a Dillon I seriously doubt that you'll be selling it to buy another press, based on the glowing reports posted here over the last few years.

  10. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    :yeahthat:agree 100%
  11. X Ring

    X Ring Active Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Buy the Dillon, you won’t regret it.
  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    For those that don't know there are two factions here on this site for progressive presses:

    Dillon users
    Hornady LNL users

    Each is very proud of their choice and defend that choice to the end.

    My choice is Dillon and has been for 25 years. The Hornady press is much newer in design and as such is not as proven. Dillon has a reputation for an excellent product, absolutely excellent service and warrantee. Hornady has yet to arrive at that point in my opinion. The Dillon is a little more money but you are pre-paying for the service which you'll need with any progressive press you buy.

    But both appear to be acceptable manufacturers, one with a long history and the other a bit of a newbie to progressive presses that survive. The extra money for the Dillon equipment may buy you piece of mind that you absolutely are getting the best you can buy. You choose.

  13. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Changing the shell plate takes about a minute. Back off of a small set screw, remove the large bolt, put new shell plate on, screw down the bolt(almost all the way), screw in small set screw, and your done.

    I have mine mounted directly to the bench. IMO the strong base is to allow you a little clearance if you have a short bench.
  14. Gahunter12

    Gahunter12 Active Member

    Jun 29, 2011
    Listen to LD and GMoody! They know there stuff. They will both help you out any way they can. Check out Brian Enous web site before making a purchase. His prices are the same as Dillon, but ships free for anything over $400. He saved me some money on shipping when buying my press. He also has 1st rate service.:D
  15. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Active Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2010
    Medina, Ohio
    Right now you have a Yugo. Moving up to a Dillon will be like driving a Cadillac.

    I have a 550 and had a 650. If top speed isn't an absolute necessity and price is a consideration, get the 550. If you are only loading pistol, the SDB or 450 is for the cost conscious. Their No BS Warrenty is exactly that.

    As an alternative, if you only want 200-rounds an hour, checkout the Ponsness-Warren P200. If you also want to do rifle, look at their Metallic II. They will do about 200-rounds an hour.

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