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Old 03-21-2013, 07:10   #1
FiremanMike
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Thinking of a square deal b..

It's been awhile.. I've been ashamed to show my head in here because my press has been down for so long during my basement remodel. But my LCT is back up and running, attached to my new bench that is nearly strong enough to build a house on. I loaded up my first 100 rounds of 9mm last night in about a year and found it like riding a bike.

I did find it a bit slow, and awoke this morning thinking of snagging an SDB. I'm down to three calibers at home, 9mm, .380, and .223. I'd obviously have to keep the LCT for 223 and I really don't load 380 (or even practice with that thing.. for shame), so this press would be exclusively for 9mm.

So a couple of questions..

1. Seeing as I have the incidentals already (scales, calipers, etc) how much can I expect to spend (new and used estimates) to get me ready to load 9mm?

2. How much more enjoyable is a progressive vs a turret?

3. I must admit, I love my auto disk measuring system. Set it once and forget it (the OCD in me makes me check every 50 rounds anyways). Is the dillon powder bar system equally as reliable? I do get that it's infinitely more adjustable, but I'm not making match ammo.

4. I've always been afraid of moving to progressive, as the slowness of the LCT allows me to visually inspect each case before bullet seating to ensure there's 1 charge in it. Are my fears of double charging or squibbing on a progressive founded?

Any other advice or input is appreciated!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:18   #2
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I enjoy using my SDB. It's comfortable to load on once you get a rhythm.
I'm only adding the 650 to support faster loading and rifle caliber capability.

The powder bar system is pretty reliable with non-odd-sized powders for me. Unique fluctuates a bit, but not usually more than +/- .1gr for me.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:24   #3
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I load with titegroup (gasp!), how does Dillion's system work with that?
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:47   #4
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I load with titegroup (gasp!), how does Dillion's system work with that?
Not one I've ever tried. Unique, Power Pistol, and Bullseye are about it.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:03   #5
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I loaded 9mm with TG on a SDB for about a year and 15K rounds. No issues running the press. It ran and ran, and could easily average 300 an hour and even did 500 a couple times.
My only CON to a SBD is it is NOT worth buying NEW. I sold my 2 SDB presses for $250 each set up for one caliber and they were mint. I actually regret not keeping one of them,
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:00   #6
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Since the press comes with dies, the cost of the press is the cost of admission.

However, a strong mount in conjunction with a bullet tray will almost double your production!

Since the SDB is an automatic progressive, it is the "safest" alternative to consistent and correct charging. I'm not saying it's fool proof, just that there is less chance for error than with other designs.

An SDB was my "production" press for many years. Worked great!
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:06   #7
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Buy a 550 instead. Then you can use any standard die you want.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:34   #8
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Buy a 550 instead. Then you can use any standard die you want.
Scoff at me all you want, but I think it's ridiculous that the 550 doesn't auto index.. Plus it's several hundred more than an SDB
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:37   #9
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Scoff at me all you want, but I think it's ridiculous that the 550 doesn't auto index.. Plus it's several hundred more than an SDB
Auto index is a PITA at times as well. Powder Slinging. Complication of resetting the press when you have a issue. Autoindexing is over rated unless you need a lot of production. More then 600 rds a hour.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:24   #10
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Scoff at me all you want, but I think it's ridiculous that the 550 doesn't auto index.. Plus it's several hundred more than an SDB
Not scoffing but just some facts. Auto index vs manual NO SPEED advantage, none. It's a conveniencem that's it. Either watch the shell plate advance & place a bullet or manually advance as you place the bullet, no speed advantage.
The extra $100+ for the 550B is offset if you already have dies you can use vs buying new dies. Two SDB die sets, about $110. JMO, the 550 is more versitile & a bit better leverage & larger work area, better press.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:39   #11
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One thing to consider as it's what I had to consider: if you have any kind of arthritis/hand issues, the SDB is very small and 'tight working' conditions (as fredj338 mentioned), so take that into consideration. With my RA, I couldn't get my fingers in the right place to seat bullets, etc...

My answers to your questions:
2. MUCH more enjoyable!

3. The Dillon is GREAT! I too liked the Lee Auto Disk, but the Dillon is amazing compared to it.

4. Squibs and double-charges are USER ERROR. You have to seat the bullet, so look to ensure the powder is correct.

Right now, I'd be more concerned about components than presses... YMMV. Good luck! No need for shame.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:51   #12
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Auto index is a PITA at times as well. Powder Slinging. Complication of resetting the press when you have a issue. Autoindexing is over rated unless you need a lot of production. More then 600 rds a hour.

totally agree....
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Old 03-21-2013, 13:28   #13
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I have both the 550 and the 650. The autoindex isn't what slows down the 550, it's lack of a casefeeder. (Yes, I know they make one, but I hear it's too unreliable, whereas my 650 doesn't have problems).

Yes, the 650 autoindexing wants to sling powder, and I use TG which doesn't begin to fill the case. I fixed this by seating in station 3, and I put bullet atop case as the case is approaching that station (hasn't stopped auto-indexing yet). Putting bullet on top prevents powder from getting slung.

Don't turn your back on the 550 because of lack of autoindexing, that is NOT what slows you down, believe me. I've loaded 40,000 on the 550 and close to 15,000 on the 650. I just hated having to release the handle on the 550 to insert new case into shellplate. That is the true slowdown.
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Old 03-21-2013, 13:41   #14
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<shrug> Personally I really enjoy the auto indexing of my LCT, it's one less menial thing to think about so that I can focus on more important things

Personally, I'm attracted to the compact nature of the SDB. I also like that it's significantly cheaper than the 550. I will admit that the proprietary dies are a bummer, but then again I'm pretty well committed to 9mm (just got rid of my last .45acp today), so as long as I get an SDB that's ready to go for 9mm I should be ok, right?
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Old 03-21-2013, 13:47   #15
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Dillon SDB

I have a SDB and a 550. The issue I had with the SDB is leverage. For the press to cycle with any ease you have to lubricate the casings. You also have to give it a little shove to seat the primer, which is not normally a problem unless you have shoulder problems. I have loaded thousands of 45 and 9mm on the SDB. The dies on the SDB are easier to adjust. You just turn the die with a wrench. There is no lock ring involved.

I purchased the 550 because it has much better leverage for cycling the press and primer seating is much easier. I still lube the casings although I would not have to. It makes the press run smoother. The 550 has more room on the shell plate. It makes it easier to handle the cases if needed. The lack of auto indexing is not a problem, as mentioned before it is a plus when clearing a problem.
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Old 03-21-2013, 13:49   #16
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I have a SDB and a 550. The issue I had with the SDB is leverage. For the press to cycle with any ease you have to lubricate the casings. You also have to give it a little shove to seat the primer, which is not normally a problem unless you have shoulder problems. I have loaded thousands of 45 and 9mm on the SDB. The dies on the SDB are easier to adjust. You just turn the die with a wrench. There is no lock ring involved.

I purchased the 550 because it has much better leverage for cycling the press and primer seating is much easier. I still lube the casings although I would not have to. It makes the press run smoother. The 550 has more room on the shell plate. It makes it easier to handle the cases if needed. The lack of auto indexing is not a problem, as mentioned before it is a plus when clearing a problem.
That's interesting about requiring lube for case sizing. I have experienced this with rifle (obviously) but never with 9mm.


Has anyone else had this issue?
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Old 03-21-2013, 14:04   #17
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<shrug> Personally I really enjoy the auto indexing of my LCT, it's one less menial thing to think about so that I can focus on more important things

Personally, I'm attracted to the compact nature of the SDB. I also like that it's significantly cheaper than the 550. I will admit that the proprietary dies are a bummer, but then again I'm pretty well committed to 9mm (just got rid of my last .45acp today), so as long as I get an SDB that's ready to go for 9mm I should be ok, right?
It is not just about changing the dies for different calibers. There are different types of dies and some dies have attributes that others do not. It is nice to be able have the option to use a different die even you are only ever going to use the press for one caliber.

With the 550 you getting one finished round out on each pull of the handle. The LCT you are getting one round out every 4 pulls of the handle. Even though you are indexing manually with the 550 you will still put out quite a bit more rounds per hour.

And yes it is easier to size lubes cases even if you are using carbide dies. Carbide dies are not immune to friction.
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Old 03-21-2013, 14:07   #18
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I lube my handgun brass all the time. You don't need to but it sure slicks things up making things a lot smoother

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Old 03-21-2013, 14:15   #19
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So I've been watching some videos on the various dillon presses, and honestly I'm no further along. Sure the 550 offers things that the SDB doesn't, and again the 650 offers things the 550 doesn't, and then there's the ammunition manufacturing industrial complex that you can buy which honestly doesn't even look enjoyable.

The question really comes down to how much do I need to spend to meet my own needs. They all seem to offer more than what I have now.

For the sake of argument, can you experienced guys give me a price estimate to go from what I have no (LCT, incidentals, 9mm 4pc die set, etc) to the point of loading 9mm with either the SDB, the 550, or if you're feeling froggy, the 650. I really don't think I need the strong mount, but I'll allow you to convince me otherwise.

On a side note, the dillon-created youtube videos showing their case flare was intriguing to me. My LCT doesn't flare anywhere near that aggressively, is that really necessary?
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Old 03-21-2013, 15:47   #20
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It kind of sounds like you've sold yourself on the SDB. Just get that and if you find you need to load other calibers, then you could sell it for close to what you paid and get something else, or keep it as a dedicated 9mm press and acquire the next one.

I don't recall you mentioning quantity, however, which is really the difference between what you have now and any of the options that's being discussed!

The SDB is self-contained since it comes with integrated dies, so that's the price. Whatever you order, be prepared for a bit of a wait!
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