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Dillon 550B w/ caliber conversion or Dillon 650???

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by mike g35, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. mike g35

    mike g35

    2,240
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    Jun 23, 2011
    Charleston W.V.
    I am going to be purchasing either a Dillon 650 or a 550B w/ caliber conversion next month. I read the descriptions of each machine on Dillons website but since this will be my first reloading set-up ever I wanted to ask some questions on here.
    1. Which of the two presses I mentioned would you buy and why?
    2.What other equipment should I order right away with the press (besides dies)?
    3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the 550B and 650?

    I have been paying massive amounts of money shooting 1000 to 1200 rounds a month and now that my father is also shooting the same amount as I do factory ammo is no longer even an option. I have to get the press very soon so all your help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    Both are great presses. Some people prefer on over the other for personal reasons. In the end the entire decision boils down to

    COST
    vs
    Time to Reload
    vs
    Amount of Ammo you need.

    So a guy with a small budget is going to choose the 550 simply due to cost.

    So a guy with a larger budget but not a lot of time is going to pick the 650 with Casefeeder. Simply to crank out a lot of ammo quickly.

    A guy with plenty of time could make all his ammo on a 550 no problem.

    Realistically, the 650 is going to be about 200+ rds a hour faster. It's actually a lot faster in short 100 rd burst but pulling a handle for a complete hour is tiring. Most people load in shorter time periods. I can easily load 100 rds in 10 mins on a 550. Not even trying hard. I can do 100 rds in 6 mins on my 650 with the casefeeder also not trying hard at all.

    Just don't plan the 550 with a Casefeeder or the 650 with out the casefeeder.
     

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011

  3. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

    6,173
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    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
    Steve pretty much nailed it... If you have the time a 550 will most likely be the best choice for you. Caliber changes on a 650 can get tricky if not already versed in the aspects of reloading. Where on a 550 it's a simply tool head and locator pin swap for 9 to 40.
     
  4. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

    6,927
    20
    Jan 3, 2009
    Smyrna, GA
    I bought a 550B, but wish I had gone ahead and gotten the 650. Money was a bit of an issue for me, and I wasn't sure how well I'd like reloading. The 650 is in my very near future.

    If you were to buy a 650 and decided you didn't like it? You could probably get 90% of your money back, easy. Not too many consumer products can you say that about.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  5. mike g35

    mike g35

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    Jun 23, 2011
    Charleston W.V.
    That was my worry. I need to keep things as simple as possible because I have zero experience. I think the 550B will work fine for me. Are there any other accessories that I will not be able to do with out that don't come with the 550? I really want to hit the ground running if you know what I mean.
     
  6. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Dec 22, 2004
    so.cal.
    If you are going to load a bunch of diff calibers, the 550 has a cost & simplicity advantage IMO. For one or two calibers that you shoot a ton, the 650 w/ case feeder is tough to beat. The cost diff IMO, not a real issue for 1 or 2 calibers. You'll easily get that back the first year of reloading @ 1200rd/m.
    The basic 550 comes w/ everything you need but calipers & a scale to set the powder measure. The strong mount, roller handle & bullet tray are nice, but may or may not be useful to you. Your bench setup will dictate how you mount the press. The SM raises it some 8" of so. I reload standing, so no problem, but you can always add stuff. A couple good manuals & you are on your way.
     
  7. mike g35

    mike g35

    2,240
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    Jun 23, 2011
    Charleston W.V.
    I will be building my bench to fit whatever I get so thats not an issue. I looked at Dillons site again and did the interactive buying thing. Looks like it will cost me about $925 or so to get what I need (and want) to start. Some of the things I added were case tumbler, digital micrometer, strong mount, primer flipping tray, and the cartridge tray that mounts to the strong mount. I plan to make this set up the best it can be and I am more than willing to drop around $1500 so the price of everything kind of suprised me. I would have never guessed you could get started for less than a grand. I will probably have more questions but between you guys helping and the manual I bought I think I have a good idea of what to get to start out with. Thanks guys, I appreciate your help.
     
  8. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

    25,932
    1,157
    Jan 26, 2001
    Indiana
    You should be able to come in under a grand.... post an exact list of what you're buying, and what calibers you're loading.

    Scale -- If you're getting Dillons' Digital scale, save the money and get a beam. A beam scale is not that difficult, and Dillons' is top notch.

    Calipers/Micrometer -- Dillons are pricey, Hit Harbor Freight.. They frequently have 8in Digital Calipers on sale for less than $20. 6in are sometimes less than $12. I personally really like Dial Calipers (which HF usually has for about $10-$12...) but either will work fine, so long as batteries are kept in the Digitals.

    Tumbler/Media Separator -- Dillons are expensive -- Might want to check MidwayUSA for some better deals on a tumbler/media separator. --- If money is an issue, These are what you skip. If you've got a utility sink (or even a bucket) you can soak them in hot soapy water, then rinse, then let them dry really good in front of a fan. Will you be able to attract women of "ill repute" with your shiny brass? No, but it will work just fine.

    Primer Flip Tray -- Dillons are way over built, and expensive because of it. If you have a Gander Mountain near you, I bought my "oversized" Lyman there for about $4. If you get a round one, you want to make sure it's large enough you can fit a primer tray on it. RCBS sells a square one that runs about $8, that is good as well.

    That's a start... post your list, and I imagine most of us can get you under 1k.

    IGF
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  9. xXGearheadXx

    xXGearheadXx

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    Aug 3, 2011
    Knoxville TN
    I can't speak for the 550, but i can for the XL650. I went with a 650 for the extra station...leaves me the option of adding a bullet feeder or powder checker down the road. A combo seat crimp die would free up a station on the 550, but i don't like the idea of a 2 in one seat/crimp die.

    stuff you need, make sure you have the basics:
    Scale -
    Calipers
    Tumbler/Separator - Frankfurt arsenal makes a nice and cheap combo
    Primer tray (recomend RCBS...square=win)
    Manuals...? well i don't own any. Online data's been fine so far.

    What I'd buy in addition to a 650?
    1. Case feeder. You can run it without a case feeder but only 20-22 bullets (assuming 9mm length) at a time. Not an immediate need but definately a worthwhile upgrade.
    2. Extra primer pickups. I think $22 per 4 tubes. Can't go wrong with it.
    3. 1" wrenches...2 of em.
    4. Bullet feeder down the road.:cool:
    5. A can of compressed air...use it to blow off spilled powder. trust me on this.
    6. Hornady one shot for cleaning dies.
    7. Depending on the height you'd like, a Dillon Stong mount isn't a bad idea. Love mine.
    8. Extra decapping pins.
     
  10. Beanie-Bean

    Beanie-Bean

    4,582
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    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    Congrats on your new rig! I'll share with you some of the things I should have picked up when I ordered my press.

    1. 550 toolholder w/wrenches. I used a regular crescent wrench, and the supplied hex keys to set up the press initially.

    2. Kinetic bullet puller. I made a bunch of dummy rounds with some nice Hornady XTP bullets, and I had to wait for my hammer thing to come in so I could remove and use them.

    3. Powder, primers, bullets. I should have priced these out prior to buying locally, because I paid a lot more than I should have had I done my research up front.

    4. Reloading manuals. I ended up with Hornady, Lyman, Speer, VihtaVouri, and the "Complete" manuals.

    5. Order extra toolheads and powder dies for the different calibers you'll be loading. Refer to the caliber conversion tables to see if you already have parts from one kit to load another caliber. For example, 9mm and .40 share the same shellplate, which is a good chunk of the conversion kit's cost.

    6. Check out C4W's sticky, along with the other information at the top of the posts. Good info there.

    I did go with the Strong Mount for mine, along with the Dillon Eliminator beam scale. Digital calipers are nice, and I ordered mine from Amazon. Neiko is the brand I picked up. I have the Frankford Arsenal tumbling kit, too, and that shipped with everything to make your cases shiny and lemony-fresh.
     
  11. Tpro

    Tpro On the mark

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    May 12, 2011
    Right side of Washington
    If all this is true (and I have no reason to think it's not) then pay attention to what IGF said (to cut back on some of that over priced Dillon stuff) and step up and get the 650 with a case feeder. For the number of rounds you are going to make I think it's silly to manually index a press, not have a case feeder and not seat and crimp in seperate stations. You seem articulate enough in your posts that you should pick up reloading very fast. It not THAT hard. I just told a customer to buy a Lee Classic turret because he didn't have enough cash for something else. He'll be here in an hour or so for some lessons, and I'm 98% sure after I teach him on a progressive (a LnL AP) he will go home and hate the LCT. So the principal is the same with what you are doing. Way too many guys on here would trade up to a 650 after the 550. Be very careful before you buy something you will want to replace in a year (or LESS), especially since you were ready to drop a grand and a half. Don't skimp here on press.
     
  12. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    Get the 650 with casefeeder. You will be kicking your self if you don't. Add a roller handle. I built all my bench's high. So no strong mount needed. 47" because I like to stand. Besides that read my sticky. Lots of Dillon stuff is good. Some is way over priced. Their primer flipper is HUGELY expensive compared to the RCBS that works better in my experience. Same with their calipers compared to Harbour Frieght..
     
  13. mike g35

    mike g35

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    Jun 23, 2011
    Charleston W.V.
    My only issue with the 650 is Ihave been told its hard to change out calibers on it, at least harder than the 550. After doing some research it does look like alot of the stuff I was going to get is made by other companies and they cost less so thanks for that tip. My question is are the Dillon Precision products (scales, case tumbler, etc.) high quality? If so I will most likely still get them just to make buying everything easier on me. Are there any Dillon Precision products that you gentleman think should be avoided? And thanks to everyone by the way, this thread has been very educational for me.
     
  14. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    2,950
    1
    Aug 4, 2008
    FL
    I use a 550b. I've never seen a 650 up close. That being said, shooting 2500 rounds a month equals a little over 600/week which is easily accomplished in one and a half hours on a 550b. I would also expect that the 550b is a much simpler machine for a beginner to learn on and to master.

    As mentioned earlier, a lot of your startup items can be more economically purchased from other sources (primer flip tray, tumbler, media, caliper, bullet puller, even other manufacturer dies, etc.). I would suggest that you purchase a four pack of extra primer tubes, depending upon what caliber you are reloading, when you order your press. If you will be reloading both large and small primers, order a four pack of both.

    You haven't mentioned mention what calibers you are wanting to reload?

    Buy your initial primers locally as well as your powder (one pound cans until you determine which powder you like best). Once you've found a favorite powder, order both powder and primers in bulk online so that you spread the HM charges across a wider material base. There is no HM on bullets, so order the design you like best from whomever has them in stock. A lot of us shoot lead bullets due to their economy, and they work just as well as jacketed in any of the competition sports. I believe there is a sticky on components at the top of the thread.
     
  15. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

    6,173
    33
    Mar 6, 2003
    Lynnwood, WA
    Props to you sir your paying attention. A XL650 conversion change even with a quick change is a little time consuming. Your anticipating to load approx 2200 rounds in 2 calibers a month. Once you get the hang of the 550, 500 an hour shouldn't be a problem.
    I wouldn't recommend a 650 unless you were up to at least 2K a month in a single caliber. A complete quick change caliber conversion for a 650 is about $250.
    My advice would be to start with a 550 and when you hit 2K in either one caliber get a 650 to load that one and have the 550 as your "do it all" press.
     
  16. mike g35

    mike g35

    2,240
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    Jun 23, 2011
    Charleston W.V.
    Yes sir I am definitely paying attention.I wouldn't take up everyones time with this if not. I appreciate the advice I get. Here's the list I was asked to provide:
    Dillon 550B w/ caliber conversion kit (40S&W dies)
    Instructional DVD and Speer reloading manual
    Spare parts kit
    Strong Mount
    Bullet Tray
    toolholder w/ wrenches
    bench wrench
    cartridge case bin
    set of 9mm dies
    Dillon Eliminator Scale
    primer pick-up tube (didn't know large or small but I guessed small)
    primer flip tray
    digital caliper
    CV750 cae cleaner
    case cleaning media
    case lube
    The price of all of that was $987.29 so its still well within my limit of $1500. Is there anything listed I do not need? Anything not listed that I will need?
     
  17. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

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    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    It's not "hard" to change. Not at all. It just takes a little longer. 550 is easier. But once you get used to it neither is hard.

    How much do you shoot in each caliber?
     
  18. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Dec 22, 2004
    so.cal.
    This is really the question that you need to answer. A 650 IMO is a production machine, set it up & don't change it often. If you pop back & forth, 1000rds at a time, the 550B will actually be an easier machine to setup & use. YesI have both & like both, but that is JME. I leave the 650 setup for 45acp & load everything else on the 550 & a ss press.
     
  19. mike g35

    mike g35

    2,240
    0
    Jun 23, 2011
    Charleston W.V.
    I shoot both calibers often. Probably 1200 rounds in each at the least every month. So from what I have read the 550B seems more like the best machine for me. It seems to be easier for a begginer to work that machine. If changing calibers is quicker on the 550 thats what I would like to do. I have loaded 60 rounds for my .308 on a SS press, thats the extent of my experience.
     
  20. Colorado4Wheel

    Colorado4Wheel

    14,949
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    Nov 2, 2006
    CO
    So 1200 rds of 9mm and .40 a month? Turn that into 2K a month of each once you start reloading. Those are both Small Pistol primers. So you don't convert the primer setup on either machine. On the 550 the shellplate is the same for both. So all you do on the 550 is switch the toolhead. EASY. On the 650 you switch over the shellplate (still easy) and then swap the toolhead (also easy). On the 650 you would have a casefeeder. So you empty the casefeeder, and adjust the slider (not really hard at all) and swap one little part on the casefeeder (not hard). Biggest part that is harder on the 650 to convert is the primer setup. The rest is pretty simple. I would still get the 650 if that is what want to load.