Considering Reloading?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by bjenkins, Aug 21, 2014.


  1. Okay just been shooting little over a year and spending well over 100.00 dollars a week in shells. I have been told in the long haul I would be much better off getting into reloading. Now with my hours worked do not want to spend days reloading so I would like simple, quick and safe. LOL. A few guys that I have talked to are pushing me towards the Dillon XL 650 with feeder is this a good choice?:cool:
     

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  3. Yes Dillon is your best choice.

    Great machines and great customer service if you ever need it, I once broke a part that was my fault, I told them what I did, the part was here 2 days later, free of charge.
     

  4. johnson8861

    johnson8861 Daddo Chomper

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    I heard on the forum somewhere they sent a replacement as well as a spare in case it failed again.
     
  5. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak KO Windows

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    Dillon makes fine equipment. Depending on how many rounds you want to shoot per month.. a 650 might be overkill.

    Unfortunately, the reality is, no matter what equipment you get.. it's probably gonna sit unused for at least a few months until you can find powder.
     
  6. Probably would like to shoot 12 to 1500 rounds a month at least. Time reloading was also a concern would the 650 still be overkill?
     
  7. johnson8861

    johnson8861 Daddo Chomper

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    1200-1500 Rounds in a Dillon 650 with casefeeder shouldn't take long than 2 1/2 hours. Just go for broke and get a 1050 and be done in a little over an hour.
     
    #6 johnson8861, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  8. A 650 is where most serious shooters end up. Lots of us take the long way around to get there.
    The most important time you'll spend getting into reloading is reading/studying all you can prior to putting you hands on the equipment. All from a reliable source! Although there is a lot of good information and videos available on line, there's also a lot of bad, even dangerous stuff out there as well. Dillon offers a setup video for their presses, I'm sure it would be more than helpful.
    Be prepared to spend in the $12-1500 range for a 650 setup. It's worth every penny if you're shooting 1500 rds a month.
    s45
     
  9. Thanks, that's what I was told just wanted to check with you guys that have been down the road. Just didn't want to buy and wish I had invested a little more money.
     
  10. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    I disagree - the faster the progressive press, the easier it is to make mistakes. Mistakes can destroy guns and/or hurt you. People like to say, "sure, get the Dillon, just don't make mistakes." If it was that easy, nobody would ever have a gun blow apart in their hands.

    As a beginner, loading a couple of hundred rounds a week, try a Lee turret press. It is much slower than a progressive - less than 1/4 the speed - but it lets you see every operation clearly and there is less chance you will screw it up. later, when you have a lot of experience, you can put a Dillon beside the Lee and you will still use both.

    I have a Lee turret, Lee single stage and a Dillon RL 550B side by side on my bench and use all 3. If you load more than 1 caliber, you will see why.
     
    #9 Bren, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  11. You didn't say what caliber or how many calibers (or I missed it). The 1050 is a terrific machine (yes, I have one) but caliber changes can be a PITA. In my view, it is best set up for a single caliber and left that way. There are differing opinions because at least one fellow around here has MANY 1050 toolheads.

    Furthermore, the 1050 is somewhat faster than the 650 but not enough to justify the increased cost. Unless you want to load brass with a crimped primer pocket like .223 or even some 9mm. Then it is the most productive machine around because it has a swaging station for the primer pocket.

    The 650 is a great place to wind up. Yes, I have one of those as well. Caliber changes are a lot less involved and inexpensive toolheads will hold a complete setup of dies and powder measure.

    Until the powder situation clears up, newcomers to reloading are challenged to find supplies. Depending on caliber, primers and bullets are becoming available. Powder? Not so much... The idea would be to read through some reloading manuals (or the powder manufacturers web sites) and build up a shopping list of suitable powders. Then start touring the LGSs looking for anything that might work.

    After you make up your list, you can post it here and the other fellows can tell you which ones produce adequate results. Finding powder is going to be a challenge because we are competing with you for what little is available.

    Gunbots.net is a web site that forages through other web sites looking for, among other things, powder. Sometimes you will find what you are looking for. Then the problem is the $27.50 HazMat fee for shipping. If you don't want to double the price of powder, you need to order a bunch. 16# wouldn't be excessive. The only problem is, you may not know if you like that powder unless you have used it before in smaller quantities.

    The good news is that you can get about 1400 rounds out of a 1# can of powder (depending on caliber) so it's not like pistol reloading takes a lot of powder.

    Richard
     
  12. Bren makes a good point about a lot of things happening all at once on a press like the 650. He is absolutely correct. That is the whole idea behind progressive presses. There are a certain number of steps that need to be performed and there is a station performing that step every time the handle is pulled.



    OTOH, I still think it is a costly way around to start out with some minimal press (perhaps a single stage press) and progress to something better over time. My experience with .45 ACP goes like this:
    1. RCBS Single Stage
    2. Ponsness-Warren Turret Press
    3. Dillon 450
    4. Dillon 550
    5. RCBS Green Machine
    6. Dillon 1050
    7. Dillon 650
    The transition between 1050 and 650 came about when I converted the 1050 to .223 and didn't want to convert it back every time I loaded .45 ACP. Besides, I still needed a way to load 9mm and .40 S&W. Thus the 650. BTW, I still have the presses...

    There is every possibility of using the 650 as a 'turret' press and loading a single round at a time. Just leave the case feeder turned off and drop a single piece of brass down the tube every time you complete a round.

    There's a downside to this that is unique to the 650. A primer is served up on every handle pull and if it isn't used, it will drop and run down a ski ramp and needs to be recovered at some point. A short piece of plastic tubing over the end of the ramp will help contain the unused primers. Simply police them up and load them back in a primer tube.

    ETA: You can also disable the automatic primer disk rotation and manually serve up a primer. I think this is bound to result in loaded rounds without a primer but it is at least possible.

    By far, the most important consideration in reloading is getting the powder charge correct. The 650 comes with a powder alarm that will sound off if the charge is too heavy or too light. It won't happen, of course, because once the powder is dispensed, there is no possibility of backing up the case to dispense a double charge - unless the operator does it deliberately. This auto indexing and the powder alarm go a long way toward improving the safety of reloading. The 650 has an additional 5th station just to accommodate the powder alarm.

    The other, and more important, check is the operator visually confirming that the powder charge looks right. To aid in this, there are some lighting kits around that light up the entire inside of the tool area. An example:
    http://inlinefabrication.com/products/skylighttm-led-lighting-kit-for-the-dillon-650

    We have a forum member, SARDG, who started with a 650 for loading 9mm and she didn't waste any time or money on a progression of presses. On more that one occasion, she has mentioned that she has no regrets over that decision. Go for the end game first and skip all the expensive iterations!

    ETA: Download the user manual and skim through it. Without a press in front of you, the details won't be as evident but at least you will get an understanding of what is involved.

    Richard
     
    #11 F106 Fan, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  13. Call Brian Enos, Brian is a Dillon dealer. Tell him your situation, rounds shot in a month, time wise, budget, etc. He will sell you exactly what you need and nothing more.

    The above is the shortest distance between two points, everything else, while perhaps just as rewarding, will take more time and cost more money. Spoken from someone who took the scenic route.
     
  14. rangerhgm

    rangerhgm NRA Member

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    Being a beginner myself, I ended up with the Lee Classic Turret.

    I don't shoot competitions and only shoot once a week mostly. Once in a while twice a week. Maybe a couple hundred rounds a session.

    So, based on my shooting habits, and being new to reloading the LCT seemed to fit my needs. I don't see my shooting changing in the future so the LCT will most likely be my only press.

    • Relatively inexpensive
    • I'm only reloading 9mm
    • Simple to set up and simple to use
    • Allows me to pay attention to each stage of the process
    • I only load a few rounds during each loading session (maybe 25 - 50)
     
  15. I vote for the Dillon 550. It will produce enough rounds for your needs if you spend a couple hours a week, which is an enjoyable experience in itself.
     
  16. Owning both a 550 & 650, yes, I think a 650 w/ case feeder is over kill, BUT, it is fast if not tearing down & setting up for multiple calibers. A 550 easily gets you 450rds per hour, simple, easy, little drama. The 650 w/ case feeder, running well, 700rds/hr + is easily done. So if time is crucial, then a 650 could be your choice.
    Still, for only 350rds a week, that is less than 1hr on a 550b. PLus it is far easier to learn on, use it as an inverted turret press, prime when you need it, advance when you want it to, a really great machine. The whole auto indexing thing is way over rated.:dunno:
     
    #15 fredj338, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  17. I could not disagree more. The more you HANDLE the individual case using more interaction from the user the more LIKELY you are to make mistakes. Machines don't really make a mistake or have a accident. The machine is very reliable. PEOPLE make mistakes. The more user interaction the more likely you are to make a mistake.

    The problem with a progressive is that the USER screws up the setup and causes the issue. Get the setup right and the progressive is very safe. Machines don't make mistakes they malfunction. A dillon powder measure is very reliable. BUT, you have to get the setup right and have a reliable machine. The 650 is the safest machine Dillon makes IMHO. Far less complicated and trouble prone then the 1050 and far safer then the 550. I guess the SDB would have a leg up on the 650 for simplicity and safety. But for a casefed machine the 650 is the machine to get IMHO.

    Key is on a progressive you get the machine setup right and all the user has to do is confirm the powder charge. Thats it. VERY safe.
     
    #16 Colorado4Wheel, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  18. Dillon has a page describing the capabilities of the various presses and the price for the press alone:
    http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/customize-reloader.html

    The price shown for the 650 does NOT include the case feeder and, in my view, the press would be worthless without it. Yes, some folks have operated the press by dropping cases down the feed tube but, seriously, why buy a 650 if you don't want to load in a hurry?

    Oh, and try YouTube for the various offerings...

    Richard
     
    #17 F106 Fan, Aug 21, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  19. Here is a most excellent discussion of the various Dillon offerings on BrianEnos.com:
    http://brianenos.com/pages/dillon.html

    There is a link in the 550B section to a discussion about what to do if you are being pressured by friends to buy the 650. I didn't pursue it further...

    Buying the "As It Should Be" press from BrianEnos.com gets all of the important options. In the case of the 650, you still need to add the "Powder Check System" and, in my view, the "Low Powder Sensor". This sensor really is optional and it's a personal decision to add it or not. The powder check is, in my view, REQUIRED! It is the entire reason for a 5 station press.

    $1047 without the sensor, $1088.70 with the sensor. The nice thing about buying thru Brian Enos is that freight is FREE and that's worth about $35 or so. He also checks each order for errors and omissions.

    Here is a discussion re: "Is The 650 Too Complicated For A First Press":
    http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=148410

    Spend some time at the brianenos.com. There is a TON of good information.

    You still need to order a decent scale (Dillon D'Terminator or Dillon Eliminator), a ballistic hammer (to disassemble ammo), a case gauge (in my opinion) and I would order the press tool kit and spare parts kit at some point. Just for giggles, assume we're talking $1500 to get started.

    You will make ammo for half of factory cost so you need to load $3000 worth of ammo to get there. At one point, we were buying .40 S&W for about $350/1000 so we would need to load 10k rounds to break even OVER THE LIFE OF THE PRESS. Oh, sure, one could include other factors like opportunity cost, interest that could have been earned on savings (essentially ZERO these days) and so on but I like to keep it simple. Do you think you will load 10k rounds over time? Then there is the value of the press should you wish to sell it after some use. Figure you can always recover 80% of the new cost. Check out eBay and see if anything is available and how much it costs used.

    Richard
     
  20. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

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    :agree:
     
  21. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak KO Windows

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    :agree:

    I love the 650, but while I've never owned one.. I suspect the 550 is probably the easier machine to learn the ropes on. I've still got this hankering to replace my LCT w/ a 550... just haven't been able to justify it for what amounts to about 2k rounds per year over 3 calibers. :)
     

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