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New Dillon 550 rig finally up!

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Beanie-Bean, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Beanie-Bean

    Beanie-Bean

    4,582
    71
    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    Day 1

    OK, so the calipers were the very first part of this setup to arrive, but that was last week. Here we go…

    RL 550B arrives from Graf & Sons

    [​IMG]

    Gotta wait for the bench parts to arrive from Amazon.
     
  2. Beanie-Bean

    Beanie-Bean

    4,582
    71
    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    Bench parts arrive from Amazon, so I head over to Lowe's to get some 2X4s and some MDF for the worktop and shelves. I had the Mensa Int'l worker cut the lumber (because it was going to be free…) so that I could have this thing up and running today!

    Started putting the bench together in the closed-off garage in this 100+ degree heat, and was sopping wet when I got to the last piece: the worktop. Four more screws. Or so I thought. Here is how far I got when I noticed that the wood was 1" off on one side. I just gave up and took at shower at that point, because it was already midnight, and I know that I made a lot of noise with the hammer drill to put it together up to this point.

    [​IMG]

    Everything looks to be fitting OK…
    [​IMG]

    Except for this 1" overlap!
    [​IMG]

    What a huge let down.
     


  3. Beanie-Bean

    Beanie-Bean

    4,582
    71
    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    After struggling with the decision to go back to the super-genius dude in the lumber dept and have them cut another piece of wood, I decided to just do it myself. Since I didn't have anything to cut a piece of wood this big, I would have to by a saw of sorts. Well, I ended up taking home a Skil 7-1/4" circular saw w/laser guide. Pretty foolproof. I know, because I didn't go back for more from the fool who cut my lumber yesterday.

    Finally, the bench was finished!
    [​IMG]

    Day 3, continued

    After a quick run to McBride's and Cabelas for ingredients, and receipt of some gear from Brian Enos/Dillon/Midway, I set off to put together the bench.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Beanie-Bean

    Beanie-Bean

    4,582
    71
    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    This is the part that kicked my butt a lot: the toolhead and powder measure setup. I almost gave up, because I didn't know that the powder die was already attached to the powder measure rig, and thought that I was going to have to put the setup on hold until that die arrived. So, I RTFM, and removed the powder die so that I could continue the setup.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the final setup much later, after wrestling with the die setup. You know, I will be ordering some extra tool heads and powder dies for the other calibers. I don't want to mess with those settings again if I don't have to. I don't have a bench wrench, so I just used a mid-sized adjustable wrench instead.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I setup the rig for .45 ACP, with Hornady 185 gr. XTP rounds. I messed up a bunch of brass by creating too much of a bell, and that caused overall length issues after seating/crimping the projectile.

    I hope to be able to finally create some shootable rounds tomorrow. This session was finished up shortly before 1:30AM, and I've got to call it quits for now. Just glad that I finally got the Blue Bench setup.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  5. Beanie-Bean

    Beanie-Bean

    4,582
    71
    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    I'd like to thank the good people of the "Reloading" section for their wonderful advice and support during this effort. I wouldn't be getting ready to roll my own without the information that you've shared.

    Just wanted to let you guys know that it's all your fault that I'm broke now, and can't afford any more Glocks at the moment :)

    -Mike
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  6. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
    1
    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    If the bench wobbles around, shoot some sheetrock screws through the 2x4's into the wall studs.

    It looks good.

    A lesser man would have waited for his tax refund.
     
  7. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    2,950
    1
    Aug 4, 2008
    FL
    Congrats, BB. Remember that you learn from your mistakes, and that setting the next caliber's dies will be much easier.

    One thing I've learned over the years - if you're working on something that involves a lot of thought, don't attempt it when you're tired. It will take much longer, and the result will probably be rethunk (like that word?) when you're rested.

    Most importantly, don't reload when your mind cannot give full attention to what you are doing.
     
  8. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    1,164
    0
    Feb 3, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    Congrats! If you have questions, just ask! Plenty of people here have helped me get setup and running.
     
  9. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    2,950
    1
    Aug 4, 2008
    FL
    Another idea.... Looks like you've 18 or more inches between your benchtop and the breaker box. Thats plenty of room for some 6 or 8 inch deep shelves to provide some additional storage.
     
  10. n2extrm

    n2extrm

    1,925
    3
    Feb 24, 2009
    Looks great! Congrats again on your new press and on the bench. I personaly would rather see it a few feet or more away from the breakers. Spilled powder and breakers could be a bad mix. Just a thought.
     
  11. RustyFN

    RustyFN

    2,530
    0
    Sep 29, 2006
    West Virginia
    Glad we could help. :supergrin: Congrats on the press.
     
  12. Beanie-Bean

    Beanie-Bean

    4,582
    71
    Apr 23, 2011
    Central Texas
    I appreciate all the words for encouragement and help--I setup the bench to get the 550 going, instead of letting it just sit in a box in my office.

    I'm probably going to move it to the other side of the garage, away from the breaker box, and over next the fridge where it'll be somewhat shielded from any stray basketballs. I have a goal setup just outside the garage, and the kids like to play with the garage door open sometimes, and I'd hate for the rig to get damaged in any way due to a stray ball. The main press could take it, but I'm thinking that the powder measure would be toast!

    Again, I wouldn't have taken the leap of faith over to The Dark Side, if not for the great people here. Shoot, one of our own even invited me to have a look at his own 550 rig. I lurk a lot here and read as much as I can/search for as much as I can before asking--sometimes, other sections of GT can cause you to grow a thick skin or perhaps even drive you away because of some of the comments I've seen left on the board for someone who was simply asking.

    I know that I'll be just fine here, and that someone here will know how to help me get back up if I stumble along the way.

    Sincere thanks to the many of you whose posts I read daily--almost hourly, to make sure I'm not missing anything I should be paying attention to that may potentially be a life saver.

    **

    The shelving is next--that was part of the workbench kit, but I took a breather today from the project in order to enjoy the kids at their respective basketball tournament games today.

    I also noticed that I'm missing some other powders and bullets, and a few more caliber conversion kits, toolheads, and dies...:)

    The dummy rounds passed COL and cycled just fine from the 10-round G30SF magazine.

    Following Hornady's load info, it was 1.225" OAL, with a .473 crimp at the edge of the casing. I removed the barrel, and all three rounds fit without issue, and fed/ejected fine manually. I'm still bothered by the huge bell I'm creating at Station #2, but it seems to turn out OK after the bullet seating and crimp areas.

    I'll get the powder measure working tomorrow, along with the priming system, and I hope to get to the range sooner than later to give the homebrew a whirl!
     
  13. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

    25,932
    1,157
    Jan 26, 2001
    Indiana
    That Finely workbench, is very very solid(at least in my experience) I'm guessing as long as everything is level, he's not gonna have a problem.

    Once it has weight on it from the shelving, and has weight from various boxes of components, etc.. It's not gonna move.

    IGF
     
  14. blastfact

    blastfact

    1,676
    25
    Aug 15, 2011
    Oklahoma
    Good looking bench and press setup!

    Enjoy,,, Happy Loading to you. :)
     
  15. 1911ShooterDude

    1911ShooterDude

    144
    0
    Sep 2, 2007
    Nice! IMO, progressive reloaders are made for 45ACPs. You shoot 45s alot, the cost savings is high, and the brass is large enough that handling them is not a chore (unlike 9mm).

    Just 2 thoughts
    1. You might want to relocate the press towards the middle of the bench. You'll be feeding the press with brass with your right hand and will need more space to hold your empty brass.
    2. Invest a small into a single stage reloader. Rock Chuckers are cheap on Ebay, and are the way to go for reloading rifle cartridges.

    Remember, don't drink and reload at the same time. :whistling:
     
  16. biggun1911

    biggun1911

    125
    1
    Mar 15, 2006
    I asked Dillon how much bell is needed and I was told .015 greater than the finished load. In your case it would be .488. I hope this helps to check the amount of case bell during your loading process.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  17. Knellysford

    Knellysford CLM # 21 CLM

    54
    0
    Nov 15, 2001
    Near Gettysburg, PA
    Looks like you have the press mounted back from the edge of the bench. Are you able to lower the arm fully? Might have to carve out a bit off the top edge of the bench. Don't ask me how I know.:whistling:
     
  18. unclebob

    unclebob

    7,447
    389
    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    Or just move the press forward and to the left.
     
  19. Look great. Have fun!

    Had you reloaded before this setup?