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Old 03-15-2013, 06:18   #1
riggs20009
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New Reloading Setup and Savings

I've been doing a lot of research on getting into reloading and have settled on the Dillon 650. However, it seems that a lot of the non-core accessories can be bought for less than Dillon offers or the popular alternative, Brian Enos, for a savings of about $250.

I want the quality, warranty and scalability of 650 and am willing to pay for it, but I don't want to spend extra on all the other gear where there is not critical difference. So I did some looking around for alternatives and came up with the following list:
[url]https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Alj2lzpmxFpedDdlcjVKUnV0aS1HTUdxTnh2MWV1c1E&usp=sharing[/url]

There are a bunch of things in the list that it seems you can get at a lower price from Amazon, Harbor Freight, etc. In the link above, I've provided direct links to the specific items.

I'm sharing it here so others might benefit (if I'm right). Or, if I'm wrong about any of these call me out on it! Particularly, the case tumbler I list from Harbor Freight - is this a better option? Or am I missing something?

- Riggs


Here's a copy of the list without the links to the items in Amazon, etc.:

Item Price Vendor
XL 650 Reloading Press $566.95 Dillon
Caliber Conversion Kit #1 (.223) $0 Dillon
Powder measure $0 Dillon
Instructional DVD $19.95 Dillon
Spare Parts Kit $25.95 Dillon
Powder Check System $68.95 Dillon
Die Set #1 (.223) $63.95 Dillon
Case Gage #1 (.223) $25.95 Dillon
Scale (Electronic) $32.44 Frankford Arsenal (Amazon)
Primer Flip Tray $6.8 Hornady (Amazon)
Calipers (Digital) $20.85 Frankford Arsenal (Amazon)
Loading Manual $22.99 Lyman 49th (Amazon)
Case Tumbler $49.99 Chicago Electric (Harbor Freight)
Case Seperator $43.53 RCBS (Amazon)
Cleaning Media $23.95 Dillon
Bullet puller $15.47 Frankford Arsenal (Amazon)
Case Lube $8.95 Dillon

Last edited by riggs20009; 03-15-2013 at 07:22..
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:33   #2
Colorado4Wheel
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Did you read my sticky? Dillon stuff is top quality. Nothing at harbour freight is top quality. It may be good enough but its not Dillon. Cheap electric scales are to be avoided. RCBS makes a great primer flip tray. Lyman and others make quality gear as well.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:50   #3
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As far as the big metal Dillion primer flip tray goes, I'm not entirely happy with mine, it seems to work better on small primers than large primers. As it is the only flip tray I have I cannot say if anyone makes a better tray. I do like the size and heft of the Dillion. All that said, I seldom use it to actually flip primers, the primer manufactures seem to get most of the primers in the tray in the right orientation.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:52   #4
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May I suggest referring to some of the dozens of threads already existing here??
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:11   #5
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Thanks for the comments. This forum, the stickys and the other threads are great resources. It's a great community.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawker Man View Post
As far as the big metal Dillion primer flip tray goes, I'm not entirely happy with mine, it seems to work better on small primers than large primers. As it is the only flip tray I have I cannot say if anyone makes a better tray. I do like the size and heft of the Dillion. All that said, I seldom use it to actually flip primers, the primer manufactures seem to get most of the primers in the tray in the right orientation.
Other then size and material the RCBS is better. It definitely flips primers better.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:14   #7
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In these times... I would suggest just starting off with buying components, bullets primers and powders first and justifying the need to even get into reloading. The lead time on a 650/1050 I heard is up to 2 months.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:35   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
Did you read my sticky? Dillon stuff is top quality. Nothing at harbour freight is top quality. It may be good enough but its not Dillon. Cheap electric scales are to be avoided. RCBS makes a great primer flip tray. Lyman and others make quality gear as well.
Absolutely! I gave away my RCBS flip tray when I ordered the Dillon one, liked the idea it was metal, solid. Bad move. The Dillon is a little heavy and is not as easy to shake IMHO.

A scale is NOT the place to save a buck.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:19   #9
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For what it's worth, the bulk of the $250 savings comes down to the scale and the tumbler. It's split roughly evenly between the two at about $100 less expensive each.

I'm not tied to the particular selections. As I see it, scales and tumblers are widely manufactured electronic tools. I'm happy (even eager) to spend more for quality or better features when I see them...

Scale: It's got to be accurate and easy to use. I listed the Frankford Arsenal one but Hornady makes one in the same price range. Both are positively reviewed.

Frankford Arsenal Scale:


Hornady Scale:



Tumbler:

Tumblers, both vibratory and rotary, are used for many industrial applications. I listed the rotary one from Chigago Electric, but they make a vibratory one as well. Another I've seen recommended is Thumbler.

Chicago Electric Rotary:



Chicago Electric Vibratory: [url]http://www.harborfreight.com/5-lb-metal-vibrator-tumbler-67617.html[/url]

Thumbler Rotary:


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Old 03-15-2013, 09:29   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riggs20009 View Post
I'm sharing it here so others might benefit (if I'm right). Or, if I'm wrong about any of these call me out on it! Particularly, the case tumbler I list from Harbor Freight - is this a better option? Or am I missing something?

- Riggs


Here's a copy of the list without the links to the items in Amazon, etc.:

Scale (Electronic) $32.44 Frankford Arsenal (Amazon)
Calipers (Digital) $20.85 Frankford Arsenal (Amazon)
Case Tumbler $49.99 Chicago Electric (Harbor Freight)
I agree with you to a point. Some stuff just isn't worth the money. Cheap dig scales are all crap, pure & simple. There may be one or two guys out there that have one that work, but there are no good/cheap dig scales. Both the FA & Hornady are crap, I have owned them. Same for dig calipers IMO. The cheap ones fail sooner than later. A decent dial caliper will last 100yrs. Same for the HF tumbler. SOme are ok, some will burn the cheap motor up in a year of heavy use. So yeah, save some money here & there, but buying a Porche & then putting crappy gas in it seems kind of stupid.
Save some money, get Lee 223 dies, they work fine. Tumbling media is cheapest purchased in 25# bags from HF, not Dillon. You'll likely do better shopping someplace other than Amazon too.
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Last edited by fredj338; 03-15-2013 at 09:34..
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:32   #11
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I am not an expert on rotary tumblers, I believe most who use rotary use them for wet cleaning. The only issue with wet cleaning is the dry time can make it an inconvenience. I think vibratory tumblers tend to work better with corn and walnut media/dry tumbling. Thats why they are so popular.

At least that is my understanding of them, I am sure someone else will chime in and may be able give us both more input on them.

Honestly if I was trying to keep to a budget I would consider the Dillon beam scale. Its a few buck more then what you listed and a few bucks less then a good quality digital scale. The plus side is if cared for it will last and work indefinitely, they are very reliable and consistent. The down side if you have old eye they can be a little harder to read.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:49   #12
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Most people who buy a cheap digital scale are too cheap to by actual buy real check weights. So they assume it's accurate and just live in La La land of "this thing is great". But a scale that is wrong 1-100 times is a issue. Not worth the risk.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:45   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
Most people who buy a cheap digital scale are too cheap to by actual buy real check weights. So they assume it's accurate and just live in La La land of "this thing is great". But a scale that is wrong 1-100 times is a issue. Not worth the risk.
True, check wts cost as much as those cheap scales! Thought I would check my 4yr old Dillon last weekend w/ a 2gr check wt, haven't done it in a year, spot on, as usual.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:54   #14
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The powder charge is the single most critical component of reloading. Going cheap, especially on a battery powered digital scale, is not what you want to do. Either spend $100+ for a digital scale, or get a good beam scale (5-0-5 or similar).

That scale pictured is NOT something to rely upon when reloading.
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Old 03-15-2013, 13:00   #15
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Check weights, ummmmm.

Finally decided to own my own. Bought the RCBS set and checked the Chargemaster and the 5-0-5. Both read exactly the same using the RCBS weights - very good to know.

Very interestingly, each of the 2gr weights weigh slightly more than the stated amount. This was confirmed on both scales. Without those 2gr weights in the pan, both scales are dead on up to the maximum you can get with the set, close to 60gr.

I hate to say it, but it appears from my set that check weights aren't always 100% reliable.
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Old 03-15-2013, 13:44   #16
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Check weights also come in good and best. The reloading style good but not certified. Best are certified.
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Last edited by Colorado4Wheel; 03-15-2013 at 17:21..
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Old 03-15-2013, 16:54   #17
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Brian Enos has a reasonable digi scale on his site about $60 if I recall otherwise just get a good beam scale. Even the cheap Lee beam scale is better than a cheap digi. You do not NEED a digital scale they are nice and save some time but for pistol you will only use it to set your powder measure and for spot checks from time to time so a few extra seconds is not a big deal.
The tumbler on the other hand is not a necessity and if it fails nothing is going to blow up I got a Frankford arsenal vibratory off amazon for $25 if I recall correctly and it is still going strong. I saw a combo with this tumbler and a media separator for 35-40$ not long after I bought mine.
I have a rcbs media separator and it works fine but is a cheap piece of plastic and I fear not long for this world the extra 5.00 for the small dillon may be worth it .
For media I got a 20# bag of walnut lizard bedding for 10$ and treat it with a little of the frankford brass polish.
I have dillon dies and lee dies and even at the same price point I would choose the lee dies but your mileage may vary. Good Luck

Last edited by papercidal; 03-15-2013 at 17:00..
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Old 03-15-2013, 17:06   #18
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And the $4.00 RCBS primer flip tray is the absolute best
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Old 03-15-2013, 17:19   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado4Wheel View Post
Other then size and material the RCBS is better. It definitely flips primers better.
I've got an Lyman that I like. I've never used the Dillon. I've only had a problem w/ my Lyman w/ Federal trays (the tray is a bit bigger than the Lyman)

That said, if I was gonna buy another one, I'd probably get the RCBS. Something about square boxes on round trays doesn't make much sense to me, and RCBS seems to have figured it out..

I also agree w/ what you said about HF... while some stuff they have is serviceable for reloaders.. none of it is "high quality".. and can't even begin to compare to stuff you'd get from Dillon.
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Last edited by IndyGunFreak; 03-15-2013 at 17:20..
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Old 03-15-2013, 18:13   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riggs20009 View Post
For what it's worth, the bulk of the $250 savings comes down to the scale and the tumbler. It's split roughly evenly between the two at about $100 less expensive each.

I'm not tied to the particular selections. As I see it, scales and tumblers are widely manufactured electronic tools. I'm happy (even eager) to spend more for quality or better features when I see them...

Scale: It's got to be accurate and easy to use. I listed the Frankford Arsenal one but Hornady makes one in the same price range. Both are positively reviewed.

Frankford Arsenal Scale: Amazon.com: Frankford Arsenal Reloading Scale: Sports & Outdoors
Hornady Scale: Amazon.com: Hornady Electronic Scale (1500 Grains): Sports & Outdoors

Tumbler:

Tumblers, both vibratory and rotary, are used for many industrial applications. I listed the rotary one from Chigago Electric, but they make a vibratory one as well. Another I've seen recommended is Thumbler.

Chicago Electric Rotary: Amazon.com: 6 Lb Rotary Dual Drum Rock Tumbler Lapidary Polisher: Arts, Crafts & Sewing

Chicago Electric Vibratory: http://www.harborfreight.com/5-lb-me...ler-67617.html

Thumbler Rotary: Amazon.com: Thumbler's Tumbler MP-1 Rock Tumbler: Toys & Games
Buy the two things in the links below. Forget about the tumbler for now and buy something later. You can clean brass good enough with water, dish soap and some vinegar. Once rinsed set them on a towel to dry.

http://www.dillonprecision.com/conte...or__039__Scale

http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/con...owder_charges_

Last edited by dkf; 03-15-2013 at 18:13..
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