Progressive press...done it!
A couple of weeks back I asked forum members about progressive presses. I had done some preliminary reading and researching about the different brand names and models, and I got some real helpful info from the forum folks. At that point I had pretty much decided to get a Dillon 650, but I needed to save a bit more for it.
I then did a little more checking, and found out that the freight from Dillon for the 650 was going to be steep. I also found a new Dillon 550 at the Anchorage Sportsmen's. The price difference between the 550 in hand and the 650 with freight, would allow me to buy a couple of extra tool heads, two caliber conversion kits, one set of carbide .45ACP dies, two powder dies...and still some change.
It didn't take long for me to deciide...I bought the 550 with the extras, and I spent Friday evening setting it up. The directions were clear, and I got it together without too much swearing. It's a way different unit than my trusty single stage RCBS.
My first run with it this morning was loading some 10mm Auto, using new brass and a conservative recipe of AA#7 that I've loaded many times in the past. My well used RCBS carbide dies threaded into the Dillon tool head just fine, as did my Lee factory crimping die. The AA#7 metered consistently through the powder bar. The primers loaded, dropped and seated just fine, although I did forget to seat one or two in the beginning which I caught before dropping a charge...that extra arm movement to push forward after cycling the press took some getting used to. I worked the unit pretty slowly, concentrating on technique rather than speed. However, even though I wasn't going fast, I loaded 400 rounds in less than two hours, which is only about half as fast as Dillon says I'll do after I get more experienced with it.
Anyway, I got some helpful encouragement from you guys, so I wanted to follow-up with folks. So far so good. I'm glad I made this move. I'll do some 45ACP next, then it's time to start working at being a better handgun shooter...that is going to take alot longer.
I don't think you will ever be disapointed with the DIllon 550. I've had one for 9 or 10 years and all it does is just what it is supposed to. I have never bothered to get more primer tubes so about 400 rds an hour is all I get. But then I'm not in any real hurry anyway. The only problem I've ever had is my dog chewed up one of the plastic pieces on the end of a primer tube. Now if I could just afford to feed that thing as fast as it's capable of digesting primers, powder, and bullets. Good luck and good choice.
Good choice, Doc. The machine will last you a long, long time. I'm still running one my dad gave me. He bought it used in '86. It still works like a champ and makes fine ammo.
Doc, like I said I got mine back in the late 80's and have only had a couple minor problems with it, which dillon walked me thru it over te phone. Besides the two "OPERATOR ERROR'S Mine has put out more than 2m rounds over the years and is gonna put out a couple thousand this week. Its kinda like the old Timex commerical "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking"
I have two 550's. I got tired of switching between small and large primers. I have had them about ten years. The only part I ever wore out was a couple of the little nylon bushings in the powder measures. Dillon sent me extras right away.
You will not be dissapointed..
Way to go Doc.....
I have had the 550B for about 17 years and my Grandkids will be using it in a couple of years. I have never achieved or tried to achieve the speed claimed for the Dillon products. Along time ago I learned to load ammo when I had plenty of time and could enjoy it. Have fun with your new ammo loader!
Thanks again guys...
The Dillon is clearly a good addition to my loading bench and it's here to stay...in fact I just put the "strong mount" on my Christmas wish list (I want the unit to sit a bit higher on my bench). The Dillon will get the nod for all future practice handgun and .223 ammunition...basically all the high volume loading and reloading...you know the stuff that would take an entire day to do with a single stage, but the Dillon will do in an hour or two.
That said, I will continue to still mostly use my single stage. I do like fussing over all my rifle loads and the hotter .44 & .454 loads. I like the process of each step, going slow, weighing each charge, etc. Loading/reloading has been a very relaxing hobby for me for more than a decade. However, it's never been relaxing when I needed to turn out hundreds of rounds of autoloading handgun, and I never did like loading .223...it's just too small.
My 550 is going to pay for itself very quickly...