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Got my 550b!

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by XDRoX, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. XDRoX


    Jan 24, 2009
    San Diego
    I ordered it weds and it's already here. I just spent the last 4 hours setting it up. I only had to call Fred once:whistling:

    I couldn't figure out the powder measure and so I started tinkering with it after I put powder in it. All of a sudden it started pouring out. I lost like 1/2 the cylinder:crying:

    Besides that everything went together great. I messed with the dies for over on hour. I just couldn't get them exactly how I wanted them. I bought Dillon dies with the press.

    The sizing die is perfect, but that one is easy. The expanding die took some time. I could have fit a 45 into the first case I ran through it:rofl:.

    The seating die is seating the rounds to 1.143, which is fine for now. I wanted 1.140, but gave up.

    And the crimping die is de-belling to a beautiful .377", without marking or denting the plated bullets at all. It also doesn't curl the ends of the case in like the Lee die I was using.

    The Dillon crimping die is far superior than the Lee one that I was using before IMO.

    I loaded 20 rounds after I was done setting it up. It took about 5 minutes. I felt like I was cheating it went so fast.

    One question. How do I get the powder out of the measure? Do I have to take it off the press? Or do you guys just leave the powder in it?

    Here it is:
  2. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    COngrats, looks great! You have to unscrew the measure & take it off to dump it. If I am loading within the week, I leave the powder in mine. It will eventually discolor the tube though, but Dillon will likely send another w/ an e-mail. Put a removeable sticker on the cap of the measure & write the powder on it, even if you only use one powder. It's a good habit for when you start loading 4-5 diff calibers.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010

  3. Do the 550's come with roller handles now? That was the best investment I made for mine a couple years ago.

    As for the powder drop. The only way to dump the powder is to remove the powder drop, or pull the die holder and dump the powder. I still need to buy a couple more powder drops... but I am too cheap.

    Have fun with your 550. You have just begun a very expensive habit. You can never have enough stuff for your 550... until you find your true love in the 650, or you get crazy and go for the 1050.
  4. Murphy's Law

    Murphy's Law

    Nov 1, 2007
    Tampa, FL have purchased a great (and what I consider) the best press out there. I've had mine for 3 years and have been 100% satisfied. I know this may sound silly but you get to know the press and how it feels when you pull the handle (priming, dropping powder, seating, etc). Every now and then mine fails to insert a primer (think it something that happens to just about everyone) but you almost know by the feel that it happened. Also once you become even more familiar with the press, your ammo making will increase drastically not that speed should be a factor. Good Luck and start cranking those little jewels out.
  5. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    The quickest means of dumping the powder... unhook the failsafe rod from it's holder next to the shellplate, pull the two toolhead pins, remove the toolhead and dump the powder.

    Keep in mind - the spreader bar at the base of the powder cylinder will catch some powder. You willl have to rotate the whole unit a bit to get all the powder out of the cylinder. Then, holding the two cam levers on the side of the throw, operate the powder throw mechanism a couple of times to insure the last bit of powder is out of the throw bar.

    One tip I'll give you - I have made a designated powder throw case for every caliber I load on the 550b. I deprimed a case, then primed that case with its dead primer upside down (easy enough to do on the machine). Then took some red fingernail polish and painted a red line completely around the case. I use these cases when adjusting the powder throw for any particular batch. I always dump at least 4-5 charges back into the hopper before weighing one, just to make sure the powder has settled as it would while in full operation (with all the shakes, bumps, etc.). And, when I finally think the charge is adjusted correctly, I'll throw 10 charges and weigh them, then divide by 10, to make sure the average throw is right where I want it. To speed things up, some cases will accept a double charge for this operation.

    Congrats on the 550b - its a fine machine and one that you'll enjoy for a lifetime.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  6. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    The seating die gets adjusted in stages. It will have a different adjustment when you run one case through at a time vs a full shellplate. So Once you get it close just get a full shellplate and adjust it down to your new seating. A micrometer seater is really nice for this. Dumping the powder is done by just pulling the two pins, removing the failsafe and dumping into the bottle. Then flip it over and put the funnel over the bottle and cycle the dump a couple times till it's truely empty.

    Why do you say the Dillon Crimp die is better? I like the ease of cleaning for sure. Do you notice a difference in function? I leave Solo 1000 in my hopper all the time. It does not discolor. I think its powders with Nitro that cause the discoloring. Also, be sure your sizing die is taking all the slack out of the toolhead. Just raise the handle, tighten die till the toolhead lifts a little, put a case in the shellplate, raise the case into the die and tighten the lockring.
  7. unclebob


    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Spreader bar? I think you mean powder baffle.

    Also get a 4 or 5 inch funnel. Makes it a lot easier in pouring the powder back into the powder can or even pouring into the powder measurer.
    I have either extra powder tool heads with powder measure already set up of what I want too throw. Or marked powder bars already set too throw what charge I want. So it is just the matter of just changing the hole tool head, or powder bar. Double check the charge and start loading.
    I had powder bars and powder measures on my Christmas and Birthday list for a couple of years.
    What PCJim works also with the weighing of the 10 charges.
  8. XDRoX


    Jan 24, 2009
    San Diego
    Thanks Fred and good safety tip:wavey:

    No, I ordered one extra.

    I know what you mean, I'll watch for it and stay alert, thanks.

    Thanks PCJim:wavey:

    Very interesting, this could have been what was driving me crazy. I was taking measurements both ways. Thanks.

    The problem with the Lee dies was I could not get the the top of my case to .377" without the die rolling in the end of the case into my bullet, denting it. I eased of slightly in order to avoid the dent to my bullet, but then the dies would not crimp to .377" So I settled on just crimping to 3.78-.379 without the bullet denting. I noticed that the Dillon die did not do this. Not a big deal, but a little difference. Hope that makes sense.

    This is actually what I still need. Going to walmart today to get one.
  9. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006

    You know me. I'm all about having and figuring out strange problems for some reason. I havn't a clue what is happening with your Lee die. Your Dillon works so no worries. I am interested in what caliber you were loading for. I never load revolver any longer so I don't need to crimp to a certian number. In pistol I just remove the flare. So that process is pretty forgiving and I never measure it.
  10. RustyFN


    Sep 29, 2006
    West Virginia
    Congrats XD. I loaded on a friends 550, very nice press.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  11. oldsoldier


    Jun 22, 2008
    I replaced the Dillon seating die with a Lee or RCBS seating die in the tool heads of any caliber that I load different bullets weights and styles. Makes it much easier to adjust seating depth. The Lee dies are cheap and work fine. Many of my tool heads have Lee resize and seating dies and Dillon powder and crimp dies. I always use the Dillon crimp dies. Some tool heads like for the .45 ACP 230g LRN are setup with all Dillon dies because I do not need to change them and they are easy to clean. Mixing dies in the tool head to best support how and what you are going to load can save you money too. There is no need to buy dies in sets. The 550B is a great press and you'll figure out how you want to do things as you gain experience with it. Have fun!
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  12. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Keep in mind that yuor press throws a diff charge w/ a sized case vs an unsized case. It's not much, 0.1gr, maybe 0.2gr w/ a fine ball powder, but the charge wt. will vary. Like you, I laways throw 4-5 dummy charges before final wt check, doesn't matter what case I use. Then use a sized case as a final wt check before starting a run.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  13. MinervaDoe


    Jan 26, 2009
    San Jose, CA
    I have all of these belling dies laying around and now that I have a 550, they just gather dust. Not for sale though. I still have my Rockchucker Jr.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010

    DEADLYACCURATE Senior Member

    Oct 24, 2009
  15. n2extrm


    Feb 24, 2009
    Congrats on a great press and getting it up and running. Enjoy the madness! I love my 550!
  16. njl


    Sep 28, 2000
    PCJim gives some good advice. You can undo the two set screws to remove the powder hopper from the powder die...but it's much easier to just pull the whole toolhead.

    You definitely want to dump the powder when you're done loading...otherwise it'll stain the plastic of the powder hopper, absorb humidity from the air, etc. When dumping the powder back into the jug (make real sure it's the right jug), I use a giant plastic funnel I think I bought for car maintenance but never used. It works best with 4 or 8lb jugs, but with some care, can be used on 1lb ones. It makes it impossible to miss. After you think the hopper is empty, turn it right side up over the funnel and manually run the powder bar back and forth a few times.

    If you didn't before you got started, you should degrease your powder funnels. I didn't and later found the one I'd been using for a year had a thick coating of powder stuck to its inside. Alcohol and a small patch or paper towel should do.

    Like PCJim, I have designated powder throw cases (5 for each caliber...makes it faster to throw 5 charges on the scale (then divide by 5 to get the avg powder throw). I didn't think to turn over their primers...I may give that a try. With the dead primers in them, I just have to tap them a bit to make sure there's no powder caught in the primer/flash hole.

    If you keep all your powder locked up, leave the jug you're using on the bench next to the it's harder to dump the powder from the hopper into the wrong jug.
  17. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    I have a case with a upside spent primer for every caliber. Its mush easier to get a consistent measurement using it. Then when I have my powder measure set I put it in station #2, new case in #1, Pull the handle, push to prime, pull the case in #2 for a final powder measure check, rotate the shellplate, start loading.
  18. das9mm26


    Oct 27, 2009
    New 550 here, too!!
    Took about 2 hours to get everything set up (I like to take things S - L - O - W........!) and calibrated (NOW I know why I should have learned more about micrometers and dial calipers in Shop and Physics.....!).....Just finishing my first batch of .45ACP 230gr FMJ/RN...will hopefully get to the range later this week for a "test run"......
    Now I know why so many have "drunk of the Blue Kool-Aid......"!!:supergrin:
  19. kshutt


    Aug 24, 2001
    What a beautiful color of BLUE! Looks like my baby at home.......... brought a tear to my eye! :supergrin:
  20. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO


    May I suggest less time in the loading room and more time in parenting class. Next thing you'll be telling us is you put him on a plane to Russia.