Just wondering, if upgrading to a Dillon

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by ithaca_deerslayer, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. xdmikey

    xdmikey

    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Oh heck no! From a current LNL owner. Unless you're past your prime and looking at end of life times suck it up, hold off on a gun purchase and buy a 650.
     
    DubfromGA likes this.
  2. ChrisJn

    ChrisJn "Old Bill"

    Messages:
    2,393
    Likes Received:
    672
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Baldwin Co, Alabama
    Yes, I guess that's me!
     
    DubfromGA likes this.

  3. xdmikey

    xdmikey

    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Dammitt! I knew this was going to go south the minute I saw rmantoo in here!

    I'm afraid I may be heading to blueville and it's your fault rmantoo!

    I spent a lot of my day prepping brass and coming back in to read a few more posts from this thread.
    I just picked up six pounds of 2230 powder but I didn't load any rounds; I just kept plodding along sizing 223 with my Lee cast SS. Why, you ask? Maybe because I don't want to have a reason to go off on my LNL one more time!

    I don't know if I need any more signs, now that I've seen "prices seem to be coming down", from rmantoo.

    My next search will be ebay for Dillon!
    Thanks GT
     
    ithaca_deerslayer and DubfromGA like this.
  4. xTerpx

    xTerpx

    Messages:
    954
    Likes Received:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    I'm relatively new to reloading (watched, but never reloaded myself), but I'm adding some 6.5 CM to the mix (and shooting A LOT more .223 lately, tons of 9mm), so I'm starting to think I could shoot a whole lot more if I spent a few hours a month banging out rounds. :)

    I keep looking at the 650XL w/ most of the bells and whistles...bullet and case feeders, powder check, kits for a few calibers, etc...but those 3 calibers don't share anything, so would need conversion kits/plates for bullet/casefeeders, dies, etc in triplicate (pricey hobby).

    ...but have been told I should learn on a single-stage press. However, I'm putting in a lot of time to learn and I must confess—the thought of pulling the handle and have a completed round drop into the tray is like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine and makes me tingle inside. lol

    so...1.) Any reservations recommending a (smart) newbie who's willing to spend months and months learning before getting setup jump right into a 650 progressive?

    and 2.) Is there a great resource/reloading Bible that covers most every issue I will encounter on the reloading journey? (Lyman Reloading Handbook, etc?). I've been picking the brains of people who reload each weekend, but I'd like to start at square one and build up my knowledge from there.
     
  5. Lagamor

    Lagamor

    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    198
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2018
    Lyman manual is a great place to stqrt. You can skip the single stage, I did and didn’t regret it. Be through with the homework and you’ll be fine.
    Ended up with a single stage later for specific tasks, but not reloading.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    DubfromGA and xTerpx like this.
  6. rmantoo

    rmantoo

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    62
    Joined:
    May 4, 2017
    Location:
    San Angelo, Tx
    (Emperor Palpatine Voice:))
    My job is done here. Welcome to the Blue Side. MUHAAAAAhhAAAAA


    Use craigslist tempest on a daily basis, also... might speed up your search, and join/post on benos.com, as well. Lots of deals in various places.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
    xTerpx likes this.
  7. jmorris

    jmorris

    Messages:
    2,778
    Likes Received:
    1,292
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    “Smart” means different things to different people. Someone that is logically smart would surmise that putting only one case into a progressive at a time, effectively turns it into a single stage, making it perfect to learn on without spending money on something you think you don’t want.

    It’s the way all of us set them up to begin with and it shouldn’t take you months to get the hang of it, maybe a few hours. Download and read the manual a couple times after you order it, you will be ahead of 90% of new owners before it even hits your doorstep.
     
  8. Taterhead

    Taterhead Nightshade

    Messages:
    5,266
    Likes Received:
    1,805
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Boise
    Nothing wrong with learning on a progressive. Banging out a lot of ammo on a SS gets old quickly. That being said, a person in this game for any length of time will likely have more than one press. What is the right path for you to get there?

    You might love the progressive for volume work (as I do), but I REALLY appreciate the Rock Chucker for the consistent shoulder bump on rifle brass, swaging primer pocket crimps (a constant battle for 223 range pickups), sizing cast handgun bullets and for the collet bullet pulling. Trying to pull 55 gr bullets with a kinetic puller gets old quickly.

    So a kit like the Rock Chucker Master Reloading kit will be nice for the 6.5CM, etc. It will give an intimate idea about what's happening with 9mm, but you'll grow weary of single stage loading high volume stuff. I have owned 6 presses, down to 2. I started SS, and would do it that way again if starting over.
    I think the Speer manual has terrific loading instructions.
     
    fredj338, DubfromGA and xTerpx like this.
  9. xTerpx

    xTerpx

    Messages:
    954
    Likes Received:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    Great info, sir. Many thanks! I think you're spot on. I think I'll look into the SS for my 6.5CM.

    I looked at the 1050 for the mass production of .223 (having the extra swaging station would rock), but the short warranty (and added costs) pushed me toward the 650XL. In a perfect world, I guess I would have the 650XL to pump out massive 9mm, the 1050 for the .223, and a single-stage to do my long-range precision loads ($1.50+/round is already getting quite old and I am just starting down the LR discipline path).

    ...but having finally priced all the bells and whistles, I think I'll start with the 650 w/ casefeeder, slum it hand-placing bullets (while $450 won't force me to mortgage the house, I just don't see that much value in it yet...probably will by the time I place my 21,495th bullet by hand, though. :) The value is close on the auto primer gadget...might chase them around by hand stabbing with the tube for a couple of months to appreciate how much value is in that add-on.

    Man, for a newbie showing up to the game with nothing, the costs add up quick! Good scale, calipers, tumbler, sifters/media separator, dies, case gauges/chamber checkers, super swage, case prep 'stuff', conversion kits/'quick change' setups, mounts, bench, new sink (lol), etc, etc. (not to mention bulk raw materials).

    Thanks again, guys. I value eveyone's input...100s and 100s of years of reloading experience around here to draw from (I also pull from Mr. Enos' site and a couple reloading sites).

    I'm trying to consume as much knowledge as possible before my first pull of the handle (Santa knows I need one for Christmas).
     
    ithaca_deerslayer likes this.
  10. xTerpx

    xTerpx

    Messages:
    954
    Likes Received:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    My biggest concern is not knowing what I don't know. :)

    I have a couple hundred hours of video instruction, at least—ranging from setting the Dillon up to adjusting the dies to tips on how to eliminate the powder spill as the case changes stations after the power drop. I've read the manual and keep referring back to it as I watch videos to see how the manual presents the information.

    Hell, I have been looking at the parts in detail to understand how they all work together (like the inside of the powder bar to understand how it could possibly be accurate to 0.10 in drops, more or less). I downloaded all the parts assemblies/schematic-like diagrams to see how it all comes together and makes the magic happen.

    I feel good about the basic work flow, etc.

    I just don't know the details...the important stuff! I overthink a lot of things, but I think it's good with the inherent dangers of reloading. ;)

    I'm figuring some of this out now, but things that make me go hmmmm...so if brass is good for, say, 5-7 reloads or so, how do I know that the guy who left a couple hundred rounds on the range I picked up didn't do so because it has been reloaded 8 or more times. lol

    ...some say the 'bell' just needs to be flared enough to properly seat the bullet, but surely there's a proper size, so I can adjust the die to 'spec' and do it right? I have no idea, but would assume if you oversize it a bit, it reduces the overall integrity more and more each time it's resized larger than it needs to be and increased distance to crimp.

    ...need to learn my OAL stuff, full understanding of case prepping, trimming, etc, etc, etc.


    SO my question is...all the basics like this would be covered in the recommended reloading books, no? I assume they are not just filled with the 'recipes', but walk you through the 'this is a piece of spent brass' and this is what we do with it from start to finish? lol :)
     
    DubfromGA likes this.
  11. Taterhead

    Taterhead Nightshade

    Messages:
    5,266
    Likes Received:
    1,805
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Boise
    For 223, I tried about 4 different die setups before settling on my current config. If you don't have a bullet feeder, this seating die is amazing. Handling and placing little 22 cal bullets takes concentration. This little gem lets you drop a bullet into the die when the ram is moving down. Holds it there inline with the case. With a case feeder, that would go really quickly. I don't have a case feeder, but this increased my production by 1/3 at least.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1011638043/rcbs-gold-medal-match-series-seater-die
     
    xTerpx likes this.
  12. Taterhead

    Taterhead Nightshade

    Messages:
    5,266
    Likes Received:
    1,805
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Boise
    Great! Many people never disassemble dies and other doodads to contemplate what things do.
    My practice is easy. Handgun brass gets loaded til it splits.

    223 brass gets loaded until the neck splits or the primer pockets get too loose. When a piece of brass is getting a little easy to seat a primer, I mark the case so that it is fired one last time.

    Bolt gun brass I buy new. I treat brass as a cohort. Using the 50 count MTM cases, I keep track of times loaded. Fired brass goes back into the case. After all are shot they are cleaned and reloaded together. All 50 will live together for their lives.
    Just need enough that the bullet can be set on the case and not topple and, if using lead, it doesn't scrape the bullet. All my handgun expanders are the M style (all RCBS). I like the shape of the case mouth flair better. For a Dillon press, the powder funnel is the expander. There are several aftermarket solutions if you want an M profile powder funnel.
    The manuals will absolutely do this. Some are better written than others. As mentioned above, the Speer manual is excellent. Different sections for rifle and handgun.
     
    Malicent and xTerpx like this.
  13. fredj338

    fredj338

    Messages:
    30,449
    Likes Received:
    8,952
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    so.cal.
    I used to suggest a ss press as a starter but if you are reloading pistol ammo, like 500rds a month, a progressive is really the way to go. Go fast go slow, you have options & you do less work.
     
    Taterhead, Lagamor and xTerpx like this.
  14. xTerpx

    xTerpx

    Messages:
    954
    Likes Received:
    2,005
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    Nice! The use-them-until-you-lose-them approach is simpler than what I had envisioned (50cal cans marked '6th reload, 7th reload', one for brass I need to inspect due to chips/discoloration from brass being bent back and forth too many times, rings around the brass, etc. lol

    I assumed something a little more scientific with tensile testing and fancy formulas based on power-factor and 'stuff.' Man, shoot it until you lose it, if safe, is definitely the way to go. :)

    On the .223, this squares with what a bunch have said about the 650...will eventually develop a nice feel for primer seating on the upstroke...all about the feel if too loose or some too tight nato/mil that needs to be opened back up.

    The bolt gun approach is genius, too...will plan to do the same. I RSO on a Marine base, so potential for lots of spent brass...but all the guys on the 1,000y range take their brass with them, of course...so buying new, sticking them together as a team until death do they part makes perfect sense. It's rare we would pick up a straggler at the range.

    Thanks again for sharing the knowledge, sir. Much, much appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    DubfromGA and Taterhead like this.
  15. Taterhead

    Taterhead Nightshade

    Messages:
    5,266
    Likes Received:
    1,805
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Boise
    Yeah, at that level it approaches tedious but not unmanageable.

    For xTerpx's benefit here is a rough idea of the time it takes to batch process 100 rounds. Assumes dies preset, a hand priming tool, preset powder measure, and a good rhythm (pretty much the gear that would come with a SS kit like the RC Master).

    Resize/de-cap 8 minutes
    Expand/flair 7 minutes
    Prime 9 minutes
    Charge 8 minutes
    Seat/crimp 10 minutes
    (Crimp separately if using other than jacketed) 7 minutes
    Die swaps 1 minute.

    So a little less than an hour per 100. When I was at peak efficiency I could do about 200 in 90 minutes seating/crimping in one step (not optimal, but fine for jacketed bullets).

    That didn't include setup and teardown or gauging, boxing, or inspecting. But that is independent of type of press.
     
    xTerpx likes this.
  16. fredj338

    fredj338

    Messages:
    30,449
    Likes Received:
    8,952
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    so.cal.
    That is hauling assss though, very organized. 75 per hour is an easier pace but still tedious as hell. I shoot 200rds every weekend. I don't really want to spend anymore time than needed reloading. My 650 allows me more time to do things that I actually like, like casting bullets.:cheers:
     
  17. norton

    norton

    Messages:
    11,392
    Likes Received:
    8,787
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Location:
    East of Eden
    ID
    I load on a 550 with a casefeeder. I like everything about the press except. It does not auto index. I also have a Lee Loadmaster, and although its fiddly, I do appreciate the auto index feature.
    If I was going to buy again I would look for the auto feature. 650 probably.
     
    ithaca_deerslayer likes this.
  18. Taterhead

    Taterhead Nightshade

    Messages:
    5,266
    Likes Received:
    1,805
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Boise
    You're exactly right. It doesn't take long to feel like work! That's a lot of cycles on the handle.
     
  19. judgecrater

    judgecrater

    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    119
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Location:
    north GA
    I have two Square Deals and a 550B. If I was just starting, I would go with the 650.
     
    xTerpx likes this.
  20. fredj338

    fredj338

    Messages:
    30,449
    Likes Received:
    8,952
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    so.cal.
    It seems expensive but consider how much ammo you shoot & you end up maybe with a pile of empty brass. Cheap 9mm is what, 17-18c per. I can load that at today's prices for 11-12c. Shoot 10k rds, you save $500-$600 in a year, just on cheap 9mm. Pays for your 650 in 2y.
     
    xTerpx and Taterhead like this.