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Dillon 1050, gift to the loading world or just a pretty face?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by GioaJack, Oct 17, 2010.


  1. GioaJack

    GioaJack
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    Conifer Jack

    Joined:
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    Finally managed to get the 1050 set up without another visit by the paramedics or volunteer fire department. After last week's episode it was suggested that I program 911 into the speed dial of my phone but I forgot their number.

    Anyway, got everything set up, the powder measure dialed in for 4 grains of Clays, the seating die adjusted for 200 grain SWC's and the and the powder check die operable. My observations to that point... the manuals for the press itself, the case feeder assembly and assembly of the powder check die have one thing in common with most other loading equipment, they leave a lot to be desired.

    Although thorough the press manual is written in a disjointed manner and can be very confusing at times. Even though I read the manual completely, (on-line) before the press arrived it was still a bit perplexing with the machine sitting in front of me. It is detailed, to a certain degree, and comprehensive but at times seems to contradict itself. If you were not familiar with Dillon presses it would be rather daunting... if this happened to be your first press you'd be looking for a gas pipe to suck on. IT IS NOT A PRESS FOR A FIRST TIME LOADER .

    Friday was the big day for a trial run. I'm still not up to my chipper old self and lacking in energy so I figured I'd just run a hundred rounds through it and take my time correcting problems as they arose.

    Filled a primer tube, no problem, then tried to fill the magazine tube. About half of them entered the tube then everything quit. Huh... not supposed to do that. Tapping on the side did nothing. Trying to tap them down with the primer follower rod produced the same result. Ended up removing the primer pick up tube with the remaining primers still in it, removing the low primer warning system, removing the knurled knob and turning the primer magazine. Have no idea what I did but it worked, the primers fell to the bottom of the tune. I replaced everything and dropped in the rest of the primers. I was ready to load... almost.

    Took a hundred or so of my freshly tumbled military .45 brass and dumped them in the case feeder. Unlike the LNL case feeders the Dillon has a two speed motor, fast and slow. I pressed the slow side, I was in no rush. The motor whirred, the shell plate turned and cases started sliding down the clear plastic tube. When the tube filled the microswitch automatically killed the motor... just like the LNL's.

    It was time to commence loading with the wonder machine from Dillon. Took a deep pull on my oxygen hose and gave it a go. First pull of the handle slid a case into the shell plate and moved it counterclockwise under the sizing die... worked slick. Second pull, sized the case, slid another case into the shell plate. No problems at all, everything was very smooth. Next pull moved the case into the automatic primer pocket swaging station. No real way to tell if it worked until you get to the next station... priming. Pulled the handle then raised it and pushed forward to prime the case. I'm too used to other machines... the 1050 primes on the downstroke, it will take a while to get use to that I'm sure.

    Really wasn't sure if the case had been primed, hadn't felt a thing. Pulled the case... there was a shiny brass colored Wolf primer safely tucked away in the primer pocket. Apparently the swager station works pretty good. Saves the trouble of swaging them by hand.

    Finished loading five rounds and decided on a function test. (There was no reason they wouldn't work had the dies adjusted to produce exactly the same round as on my LNL's and 550. Loaded a mag, grabbed the Kimber and went out back. Perfect, no problems. Time to start to slowly increase the production rate.

    Got back to the machine, noticed the case feeder tube was half empty, forgotten I had switched off the motor switch. Reached up to turn it on... I hadn't switched it off. Uh-oh. Played with it for a while, unplugged it, played with it some more, banged on it, banged some more. Emptied the bowl, took out the shell plate looking for a jammed case underneath it. Nothing. Put it back together, switched on the motor, banged on it again then added the finishing touch... I swore at it. Just like my ex-wives, it ignored me.

    There is one very nice thing about the Dillon manual, they provide you with their 800 number. I availed myself of it. Explained my problem to the very nice gentleman who answered. He assumed that the problem is one of two things... bad motor or bad microswitch. He suggested we start with the microswitch and will be putting one in the mail. Okay, these things happen, nothing to be upset about, I could simply load the tube by hand every couple of minutes... not the end of the world.

    As I was starting to fill the tube I decided to mess with the microswitch and figured out a way to bypass it. I'll install the new one when it gets here.

    Started loading again without problems until my son-in-law walked in. He stood there looking at me like someone who lost their puppy. I got off my stool and showed him how the machine worked then held my breath. (That's not good for me... I believe I mentioned that I'm on oxygen.)

    He went through the rest of the hundred rounds in about 2 minutes with out a problem. One note, the operating handle is adjustable for length to increase or decrease the leverage but the hex nut that secures the handle really needs to be torqued down or the handle will turn while you're sizing.

    All in all the first hundred rounds went pretty smoothly with less problems than I expected.

    Yesterday, Saturday, after the NASCAR race I decided to go in an try my hand with the 'terrible toy' again. Loaded up 400 rounds with no problems. Some of the brass if fairly difficult to size since I shot a good deal of it out of our department Thompsons and they are quite a bit oversized. Other than that things went pretty slick and with the exception of filling the primer tubes I was able to knockout each hundred rounds in 5 minutes or a bit under. (I use the time to load the tubes to give my back a rest.) When I get more comfortable with the machine I'm sure that I'll be able to do a hundred rounds around the 4 minute mark. Lots of folks can go faster but my arthritic hands cause me to fumble a bit while setting the bullet on the charged case.

    My overall impression so far of the 1050? It's kinda like a really good looking, high maintenance girlfriend... a bundle of fun when everything is going well but you know that sooner or later both of them are going to give you problems.

    The 1050 is a very complicated machine, probably more so than any other machine you've had the opportunity to use. If one were to follow exactly the lubrication recommendations in the manual it would require virtually the complete disassembly of the entire machine... not a pleasant thought by any means. (I am told by our very own Hozer, who owns a hundred and three 1050's, that one can keep the machine lubed quite adequately with considerably less effort. We'll see... he's probably lying to me.)

    To give you an idea of how mechanically complicated the machine is the spare parts kit contains more parts than makes up a complete LNL. It's actually kind os scary but bear in mind that I have very,very limited experience with the machine. I'm sure that with more time with the press and more experience correcting problems a higher comfort level can be quickly attained. At least I hope so.

    Should LNL/650 owners upgrade to a 1050? That's totally dependent on the individual loader. If you load commercially like Freakshow or shoot 3000 rounds a week well then, yes, it probably would be a worthwhile upgrade.

    If you're just shooting 3 or 4 thousand a month then it's probably not worth it, especially if you're shooting multiple calibers. Caliber conversions are very expensive on the 1050 and fairly complicated. You're certainly not going to do it in 5 minutes like you can on a LNL or just a few minutes longer on a 650.

    Is the faster production rate worth it... again, it depends. At my normally slow pace I load a hundred rounds in 10-12 minutes. If I have a serious jam or stoppage I can have the machine up and running again in a matter of a very few minutes. I imagine a serious stoppage with the 1050 would take considerably longer to correct. If that is indeed correct then the difference in production rate closes considerably.

    Well, there ya have it, my limited observation on the new 'terrible toy'. Is it fun... yes. Does it look neat sitting on the bench... yes. Is it worth the cost? That's for you to decide. If one were inclined 3 LNL's with case feeders could be purchased for the same money. Why did I get one... I like toys. :supergrin:


    Jack
     

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  2. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm
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    10mm Advocate

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    Very glad to hear you're off to a good start.

    The swaging station is very nice, especially that I load that pansy cartridge (9mm) on it. I backed out the rod for .40 when I loaded it, but currently have it tuned in for 9mm. Works equally well on military brass as well as that pesky Federal/Winchester NT brass.

    Priming on the 1050 is very dead as far as feel goes, but it's mechanical and primes on the downstroke. Personally I'm liking both those attributes. The mechanical part I like as it's a setting on the toolhead (the allen bolt between the sizing die and the swage support die) so it's locked in and adjustable if you do cartridge conversions on it.

    The case feeder I had first had a bad switch and Dillon promptly replaced it. The replacement has gone tens of thousands of rounds without issue. For what it's worth to you, I always have mine set to the low speed during loading. I always leave the press with empty tube and shellplate to end the session. For startup, I verify everything, then push the high setting to get things going while I put on the safety glasses and get into position to load. Then switch it to low and load away.

    The only issues I have with mine occasionally is the priming system. Sometimes a primer gets jammed in there and I have to take off that white tab, remove the case, push the primer slide around and get in there with a tweezers to remove the now crushed primer. Not a big deal and happens maybe once every 3,000 rounds (using CCI primers). Another issue is the primer slide lever will not ride properly on the tab coming off the toolhead. I just lower the toolhead a bit and guide it with my finger. Also the knurled cap for the primer magazine should barely be tightened-when you feel resistance from the primer magazine tube inside the black shield tube, stop. I also just set the primer alarm on the cap I don't tighten it at all. The powder measure keeps it in place.

    I also recommend removing the retainer tab thing on the back of the press. It's to stop you from short-stroking the press. You have to go all the way down before it will allow you to return to the top. I broke 3 of them and finally got rid of it. Never had a problem since. Pay attention to your sequence like any other press and you'll be fine. I'm leaving station 6 open for a future bullet feeder and currently use it as a visual check station for powder.
     

    #2 freakshow10mm, Oct 17, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  3. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker
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    Jacks #1 Fan

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    Nice to hear it went well Jack. I have to admit... that swaging station on the 1050, gives me a little bit of buyers remorse for not going with it myself. Seems like the only issue I have with the 650 is when I hit a piece of swaged 9mm brass, NT or otherwise. I just spent a couple of intimate hours with the 650 myself this afternoon, got all my optional the enhancements done... I'll post some pics and impressions soon after.
     
  4. EL_NinO619

    EL_NinO619
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    EX-Swage Monkey

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    A+ on the report. Are you a writer jack? Glad to see your back at it, tread lightly seems like a pretty intense machine.:faint:You should post a how to video, or publish a book. Not that you need any more money.:tongueout: Mr. 1050 w case feeder:supergrin:. But you are very good and explaining instructions, a lot better then the manufactures.
     
  5. Table Rock Arms

    Table Rock Arms
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    The 1050 is a very capable machine. That said, if you are not shooting several thousand rounds per month then it might be a bit much. I will second what Freakshow said about removing the retainer tab the prevents the press from going backwards. Mine is automated and I run it with 9mm pretty fast. somewhere around 2400 per hour. I have a rule that if I have to stop the press for any reason other than to refill components, I pull the shells at the powder drop and the following station where my bullet feeder is just to be safe. And as for the bullet feeder, it really makes the machine run. When I buy my next 1050, I just factor the bullet feeder in for my total price cause I wouldn't get one without.

    Ryan
     
  6. shotgunred

    shotgunred
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    reloading nut

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    Table Rock have you tried to use your bullet feeder with lead bullets? Jack isn't aware that they invented plated bullets yet. Or at least he hasn't converted part of his basement into an electroplating factory.
     
  7. Bob2223

    Bob2223
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    Jack's buddy!

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    Well, I'll be, it really works!

    Good write up Jack

    Enjoy your toys!

    Bob
     
  8. Table Rock Arms

    Table Rock Arms
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    Never used it with lead.
     
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson
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    I blew one year's entertainment budget on a 1050 instead of a new gun. I had dithered around and ended up getting a Super 1050 after the original 1050 was phased out.

    Pro:
    High production rate. I don't set up and load by the hour and case, I like to quickly crank out what is needed for the next match or practice in a few minutes.

    Primer crimp swage. Very valuable, I have bags and bags of TZZ .45 ACP brass, about 1/3 with crimped primers even though headstamped "Match."

    Downstroke primer seating. The SDBs I had been using prime on the upstroke at minimum leverage for the linkage. That is not bad on 9mm but it takes a lot of grunt on .45s. The 550 is better, but not by a lot. You don't even feel it going in on the 1050.

    Con:
    The early S1050 had a very abrupt advance lever and would sling out powder. A company rep posting on Benos told me to request the newer version. The first guy I got on the phone wanted to charge me $71 for one but I asked to talk to the rep from the board and he sent me one for no charge.

    The primer feed is very finicky to adjust, I spent a lot of time fooling with it and on the phone with Dillon. At least when I got it set, it stayed that way and causes no more trouble than SDB or 550. Maybe not as much, the plastic tube tip does not wear as fast.
     
  10. jmorris

    jmorris
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    I have a GSI that I use with lead.


    I was not too happy when I noticed the plastic primer tube tip. It is always the problem on my SD's when it comest to priming. I would have expected a brass tip like those found on my 650's.
     
  11. GioaJack

    GioaJack
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    Conifer Jack

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    Morris, why the hell would you buy a 1050, based on all the other nifty stuff you've done you could have built one in what... 2, 3 hours?

    Have I ever mentioned that I hate people with talent... they make me feel even worse about myself. :crying:


    Jack
     
  12. MrOldLude

    MrOldLude
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    What I've taken from this topic: People often slam Lee's progressives out of the box too, because of the associated learning curve. But it's clear Dillon's aren't perfect either. The bar to ownership is simply set higher.
     
  13. jmorris

    jmorris
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    Jack, now you are really going to hate me. The only presses I have ever bought were my single stages and 20+ year old SD’s, my wife bought me the rest of them. Who knows, maybe if you were a better snuggler…
     
  14. GioaJack

    GioaJack
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    Conifer Jack

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    Snuggle, what the hell is snuggle? I live by the rule of Italian foreplay... 'Honey, I'm home!'

    I wasn't aware there was any other way. Boy, what you can learn on a loading forum... I should have joined 25 years ago. :dunno:


    Jack
     
  15. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm
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    Difference between Lee and Dillon is although both may require tinkering to get the initial setup complete so it runs well, the Lee will require much more tinkering and more often to keep it running well. The Dillon is for the most part set it and run it. The Lee will require more hands on more often than the Dillon.

    For the record I started my handloading career on a Lee hand press loading in secrecy in my in-laws' basement while my wife and I were living with them and I was finishing college. Lee equipment is good for what it's used for but for my loading situation, it's not worthy to compare it to Dillon. I have yet to meet someone who uses a Lee progressive to load 10,000 rounds a month on it let alone a week. I still have my Lee hand press and still have my Lee Classic Turret press (being loaned out to a friend currently). They have a place, but not for any serious handloading. I started loading 10mm commercially on the LCT press, then got the 550 when I had the cash and jumped on an excellent deal.
     
    #15 freakshow10mm, Oct 18, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  16. jmorris

    jmorris
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    At least that’s not 25 wives ago.
     
  17. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker
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    Jacks #1 Fan

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    MrOldLude your statement is right Dillons aren't perfect out of the box in most cases either and they do cost more too. However the difference as Freak points out is the longevity and production rate that any Dillon or Horandy press for that matter can endure compared to a LeeP1000.
    One of my buddies loads all his 9mm on a LeeP1000, I have tried it and it puts out good ammo, but is constantly breaking down. Not operator error but a part failures. Yes, Lee replaces it free but then it just requires too much finicking around to get the new part installed and once again get the press set up to work efficiently enough to get the production rate up again. I lent him my SDB while gone on Vacation over a long weekend once.
    He bolted it down, I showed him how it worked and watched him load a couple hundred rounds... then left on vacation. While I was gone for 5 days he loaded in excess of 2K, not a single issue with the press, at an average of 250-300 rounds an hour he said. I came home got my press back and bolted onto my bench and continued on with life. No issues with that press for another 4-5K when the primer magazine tip finally wore out.
    Can you say that that could have happened with your LeeP1000? I would say not. Yes, they cost more but once running they run....
     
    #17 Boxerglocker, Oct 18, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  18. ron59

    ron59
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    Bustin Caps

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    I've run 23,000 at least through my 550B since July of 2009. I've only had two problems with it:
    1) I tried to install the UniqueTek Micrometer Powder measure myself instead of buying theirs pre-installed. It worked fine for about 10 months, but then came disassembled during a run for a GSSF match. Not Dillon's fault (not even a Dillon product) but mine.
    2) A screw backed out of the powder measure linkage. Left me down for a bit, ran to Lowes and got another... boom, back up again. Nothing has broken, or stopped working.

    I was fairly certain I'd be shooting at 2000 a month or so, which was why I went with a press that could fairly *easily* put out that much. No regrets at all (well... maybe that I didn't just start out with a 650!)
     
  19. ron59

    ron59
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    Bustin Caps

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    Sorry... double post.....
     
    #19 ron59, Oct 18, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  20. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel
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    Weww, Jacks still alive. I had to call him just to be sure as I have been away from the internet for the day.

    Glad you got it running nicely. I think time will make you more comfortable with the unit. Eventually you will have issues with any press. When you do you will dig in and learn more about it. Thats the nature of the beast so to speak. Took me years to load at 600rds a hour on my 550. Things take time. I am sure it will serve you well over time.
     
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