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Well, back in the early 90's a buddy and I did a ton of reloading. Several hundred rounds maybe 3 nights a week. We had a Lee press with a turret and 3 then 4 stations I think. There was an upgrade in there somewhere. That press basically sucked, I remeber some little plastic piece always needed replacement.

Anyhow, life happened and I earned more and just started buying factory. Then life happened and I ended up shooting less.

Now that my business is doing well and I have more time I have been shooting a lot more. I want to reload again. Still have the powder scale and tumbler and size and a bunch of stuff. I still have my chrono. I am not too cost conscious here, the money is not really an issue, although saving a few cents a round is part ofthe incentive. I really used to enjoy working up and testing different loads and keeping track of all that. It was fun. I dont have the press though. Always wanted a dillon.

My question is this...

Over the last 10 years or so factory ammo has been hard to come by at times. Has the same been true of quality components? Powder, primers, jacketed bullets and such? Pistol calibers such as 9, 357, 44, 45. Were they still available?
 

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Components, particularly primers, then powder, suffer the same shortages as factory ammo during pandemics and election years. You have to stay ahead of the curve and not wait until you need stuff... pretty much like factory ammo. You are dead in the water without primers so pricing and availability seems to affect those more than any other component..
 

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Right now powder and especially primers are semi hard to find. Like SARDG said you need to stock up when stuff is available. I bought powder and primers over the last few years when I found them at reasonable price and have a pretty good stockpile. Reloading equipment is another item that is in short supply right now and prices reflect that.
 
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The past few days I've seen powder and primers back in stock at Natchez, I believe. But it is slimmer pickins for sure.

This is the 3rd period of shortages since 2009. I keep enough onhand that it is a curiosity for me.

Probably ahould look at a Dillon 550 for a press. Will seriously upgrade the throughput compared to the Lee presses you were using.
 

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I was going to recommend a Dillon 750 as that will accommodate future upgrades better. I have the 550B, and it is a great press after a few aftermarket improvements. But I wish that it had the auto advance feature and could use a case feeder without going to a combo seating/crimp die. The 550B was a great press for me to learn on. My 2 cents.


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Components, particularly primers, then powder, suffer the same shortages as factory ammo during pandemics and election years. You have to stay ahead of the curve and not wait until you need stuff... pretty much like factory ammo. You are dead in the water without primers so pricing and availability seems to affect those more than any other component..
:agree: The diff is cost.. I can stock components for 1/2 the price of ammo. I like to keep 10k primers in reserve, always. So at todays cost, $300 vs what $3000 for the same reserve ammo supply?
Primer shortages are serious issues for a reloader. Powder though, not so much. We have so many powder options, I can always find something that will work. Today would be a really bad time to start reloading without primers but large pistol are still to be found, sp not so much. Plan on at least jan 21 for things to start showing up again in any decent quantity & price.
 

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Well, back in the early 90's a buddy and I did a ton of reloading. Several hundred rounds maybe 3 nights a week. We had a Lee press with a turret and 3 then 4 stations I think. There was an upgrade in there somewhere. That press basically sucked, I remeber some little plastic piece always needed replacement.

Anyhow, life happened and I earned more and just started buying factory. Then life happened and I ended up shooting less.

Now that my business is doing well and I have more time I have been shooting a lot more. I want to reload again. Still have the powder scale and tumbler and size and a bunch of stuff. I still have my chrono. I am not too cost conscious here, the money is not really an issue, although saving a few cents a round is part ofthe incentive. I really used to enjoy working up and testing different loads and keeping track of all that. It was fun. I dont have the press though. Always wanted a dillon.

My question is this...

Over the last 10 years or so factory ammo has been hard to come by at times. Has the same been true of quality components? Powder, primers, jacketed bullets and such? Pistol calibers such as 9, 357, 44, 45. Were they still available?
If money is not a huge issue, which if you shoot a lot it shouldn't be, then forget anything made by Lee imo. Buy a clean used 650, if you can find one, or give the new 750 a try. A Hornady LNL would be my 2nd chouce, especially if I dont want a case feeder.
 

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I was going to recommend a Dillon 750 as that will accommodate future upgrades better. I have the 550B, and it is a great press after a few aftermarket improvements. But I wish that it had the auto advance feature and could use a case feeder without going to a combo seating/crimp die. The 550B was a great press for me to learn on. My 2 cents.


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The 550C is still a great press, but more for the person that switches calibers a lot & likes to load tinker. I still use mine quite a bit even though I have a 650.
 

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Powder and primers are very difficult to find right now. Projectiles are even very difficult to find in certain calibers.

I’m in need of small rifle and small pistol primers right now, but quantity limits and hazmat shipping charges are making it not cost effective right now.
 

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Powder and primers are very difficult to find right now. Projectiles are even very difficult to find in certain calibers.

I’m in need of small rifle and small pistol primers right now, but quantity limits and hazmat shipping charges are making it not cost effective right now.
I have a good local guy about 30min away. He usually has a good stock of primers & powder.s. Powder he has right now but primers are gone. He'll be one of the first locally to get then though. His prices arent great, $33/1000 for any brabd sp but he usually has them. I tend to order big once a year from grafs or pv, even with hm/sh, cheaper than paying st here.
 

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I was going to recommend a Dillon 750 as that will accommodate future upgrades better. I have the 550B, and it is a great press after a few aftermarket improvements. But I wish that it had the auto advance feature and could use a case feeder without going to a combo seating/crimp die. The 550B was a great press for me to learn on. My 2 cents.


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If money is not a huge issue, which if you shoot a lot it shouldn't be, then forget anything made by Lee imo. Buy a clean used 650, if you can find one, or give the new 750 a try. A Hornady LNL would be my 2nd chouce, especially if I dont want a case feeder.
The 550C is still a great press, but more for the person that switches calibers a lot & likes to load tinker. I still use mine quite a bit even though I have a 650.
I'd say pass on the 550 and get a 750. Never really understood buying one press to learn on, then buying a bigger or better or more functional press later. If you have to learn about Dillons, get a 750 (or sure, a used 650 for probably not much cheaper than a new 750). My first press ever in my life was a 650, my second... a 750. Very glad that I spent the few extra bucks to begin on a 650 vs. the 550.

TBH, I have never even seen a 550 in real life, but knowing that it is 4 stations and manual-indexing is all I need to know.
 

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I have a good local guy about 30min away. He usually has a good stock of primers & powder.s. Powder he has right now but primers are gone. He'll be one of the first locally to get then though. His prices arent great, $33/1000 for any brabd sp but he usually has them. I tend to order big once a year from grafs or pv, even with hm/sh, cheaper than paying st here.
Well... I suppose components may always be available for those willing to pay the price. But $33/1K just takes the fun out of reloading - and takes my breath away. Hopefully, we haven't gotten to that point near-permanently. I paid about half that to the door for Fed SPP about 3 months ago. Ancient history now. :(
 

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I'd say pass on the 550 and get a 750. Never really understood buying one press to learn on, then buying a bigger or better or more functional press later. If you have to learn about Dillons, get a 750 (or sure, a used 650 for probably not much cheaper than a new 750). My first press ever in my life was a 650, my second... a 750. Very glad that I spent the few extra bucks to begin on a 650 vs. the 550.

TBH, I have never even seen a 550 in real life, but knowing that it is 4 stations and manual-indexing is all I need to know.
I started out on a 550 because that was the advise that a buddy gave me. When I first got it I had read about reloading in a couple of load manuals like he said (the Speer reloading manual that came with my reloader package, and another) then setup the reloader following the instructions. I got all excited about it and loaded 200 rounds of 45 ACP, and went to the range.

Yep, had issues with my ammo and got quite frustrated. I couldn’t figure out why and shoved the reloader into the back of a cabinet for quite a while. Finally figured out that the problem would not fix itself, and at that point I felt like I had invested a lot of money for nothing. Plus the fact that 45 ammo is not getting any cheaper pushed me too. So I sat down with the instruction manual and went thru everything step by step, and got it all figured out. I so enjoyed (sarcasm) tearing down about 170 rounds with the inertia-style bullet puller. Another lesson learned. *

I have since reloaded several thousands of rounds since then without any more issues at the range.

Dillon’s are great presses. They have a few kinks, like just about everything made these days, but they are easy to resolve if your machine is so afflicted. Get to know Lee at UniqueTek.com. He carries many upgrades and improvements for Dillons and other makes as well. And he offers a bunch of Tips Files for free download that will make your machine better and you a better reloader as well; insider knowledge that you can only learn by talking to someone with more experience.

*I strongly suggest that you pickup a cheap single stage press and a collet style bullet puller, instead of the inertia puller. Trust me on this one. You are going to screw up some rounds at some point and will have to either tear them down to salvage the parts, or you will be throwing away live but unusable ammo. I have a Lee Breechlock press and use it to decap my cases as well.


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I started out on a 550 because that was the advise that a buddy gave me.

*I strongly suggest that you pickup a cheap single stage press and a collet style bullet puller, instead of the inertia puller. Trust me on this one. You are going to screw up some rounds at some point and will have to either tear them down to salvage the parts, or you will be throwing away live but unusable ammo.
Reading this Reloading forum for many years, I've seen that 95% of the recommendations for a (Dillon) press purchase, are for the 550. :( If one can read and follow directions... why? When my latest new reloader friend asked me about a 550, I said something like "absolutely not". Plus I told her that I have never seen a 550, so if she buys one, don't ask me for help! Yeah... that worked, as my help was marginally more beneficial than saving a couple of bucks.

I had said earlier that my second press was a 750, but actually it was a Lee SS with a collet bullet puller die. I get no particular joy from inertia - Kepler and Newton's thing.
 

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Well... I suppose components may always be available for those willing to pay the price. But $33/1K just takes the fun out of reloading - and takes my breath away. Hopefully, we haven't gotten to that point near-permanently. I paid about half that to the door for Fed SPP about 3 months ago. Ancient history now. :(
Next time you find Fed primers for $20/1000, let me know. I would buy 50k.:cheers:
On li e befire the panic, best I could find was $26 + hm/sh. With 20k order, about $27.50 to my door. Though I opened a case from 11/2010 last month. Those might have been $20/1000.?
 

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Cabela's used to have S&B primers in all 4 sizes and if you were lucky you caught the sale price which was usually $19.99/K, they have done away with them completely last time I checked but not before me sending family on vacation near a Cabela's store to pick up 4 or 5K. On top of that, last year I think I was getting up to 4 emails a week for free hazmat with purchase minimum so I was able to stock up on powder as well, thanks to that I'm fairly well prepared for this if it doesn't last too much longer, problem is the market is eons away from just where it was.....
 

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Reading this Reloading forum for many years, I've seen that 95% of the recommendations for a (Dillon) press purchase, are for the 550. :( If one can read and follow directions... why? When my latest new reloader friend asked me about a 550, I said something like "absolutely not". Plus I told her that I have never seen a 550, so if she buys one, don't ask me for help! Yeah... that worked, as my help was marginally more beneficial than saving a couple of bucks.

I had said earlier that my second press was a 750, but actually it was a Lee SS with a collet bullet puller die. I get no particular joy from inertia - Kepler and Newton's thing.
Up until recently the next step up from a 550 was the 650, and there was a lot of dislike for the primer system on the 650, enough that purchase of that model was discouraged. When Dillon created the 750 one of the things that they did was go back to the same style of primer system as the 550 had. There were other improvements incorporated into the 750 as well.

It used to be common advise to either buy a 550 or go all in and get the 1050 if you were going to be reloading massive amounts of ammo.

That was why I gave that advise about bullet pullers as well. Definitely was not fun, and I swung a hammer for a living back then. What a joke!

Why did you not recommend she buy a 550? I am curious.


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Next time you find Fed primers for $20/1000, let me know. I would buy 50k.:cheers:
On li e befire the panic, best I could find was $26 + hm/sh. With 20k order, about $27.50 to my door. Though I opened a case from 11/2010 last month. Those might have been $20/1000.?
Well Fred, now I've got to look that up to be certain I am not hallucinating. :confused:

I know I bought 20K, and 8# of 320, but when I get off my butt, I'll verify the cost.
 

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I've seen that 95% of the recommendations for a (Dillon) press purchase, are for the 550. :( If one can read and follow directions... why?
People do their homework and purchase accordingly.

I'm not doing the large volume done by many others but am moving among a half dozen calibers so a 550 and a Redding T-7 covers all my needs.
 

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Up until recently the next step up from a 550 was the 650, and there was a lot of dislike for the primer system on the 650,

Why did you not recommend she buy a 550? I am curious.
There was some trepidation regarding the 650 primer system, and the 550 primer system as well, but for different reasons.

I recommended the 650/750 as a forward-looking system with an extra station, but especially as an auto-indexing system, less prone to user inattention errors. AND, with that 750 extra station, it allows a powder alarm and separate seat and crimp. In a 650, 5 stations allows for a powder alarm, bullet feeder, and combined seat/crimp. Five stations is just more versatile, but the auto-indexing takes the win. And who has ever said that they wish their press had one less station.
 
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