Reloading: What parts are necessary to give it a starting shot??

This is a discussion on Reloading: What parts are necessary to give it a starting shot?? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Ive been thinking about reloading for about a month. I have read several threads here regarding the matter, most regarding a machine called a Dillon ...

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Thread: Reloading: What parts are necessary to give it a starting shot??

  1. #1
    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
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    Question Reloading: What parts are necessary to give it a starting shot??

    Ive been thinking about reloading for about a month. I have read several threads here regarding the matter, most regarding a machine called a Dillon 550B. What is a 550B called( what type of machine is it? a press?)

    What would I need to get started? What is the difference between progressive and others? Im assuming a progressive completes each stage of the reloading for each respective caliber, fill me in?

    Let me know any information you have, to help me out on understanding everything I should. What do I need to get??. From recommended equipment, to supplies, to books etc..
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    The 550b is a progressive. Best way to learn about it is the dillon website.
    http://dillonprecision.com/default.cfm?
    Basically a progressive loads the rounds at diffrent stages and is faster than a single stage press. Other equipment will be scale, components (bullets, powder, primers, brass), a micrometer, case lube(unless you use carbide dies) and a bullet puller.
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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Rocky hit the best way to learn about the dillion i will say loo into a 650 or other press with more space on tool head than a 550 i find i like being able to use more than 4 die stations

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I am in the beginning stages of starting to handload. I just need a scale, priming tool, and components and I'm all set. Here is my opinion. It will vary from some.

    Press
    Dies
    Up to date load manuals; at least one from bullet maker and powder co. you are going to use
    scale
    case trimmer
    calipers
    powder measure
    powder funnel
    primer pocket cleaner
    neck brush
    case lube and pad
    priming tool, either handheld or press mounted
    case deburring tool
    pliers; if you find a cracked or bad case when inspecting, crimp the mouth shut so you don't load it by mistake, then toss it in the trash

    Case tumblers only make your brass shiny. You can clean your cases by simply wiping them off with a rag.

    Then, primers, powder, brass, bullets. Use the SPECIFIC components in the load data. Do NOT substitute any component for another, except brass is pretty much brass. Some have tighter QC, but you can load a specific load in either Remington, Winchester, or Starline brass and not have ballistics change enough to matter. Basically, if the data calls for IMR4350 DO NOT SUBSTITUTE H4350 or Alliant 4350 as they are not the same. If the data calls for CCI 200 primers, DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WLR primers just because you are out of the CCI 200 ones. This is dangerous. Your fps might be alright, but your pressure is what matters.

    Basic steps are:
    Case prep: clean, inspect, decap, trim if needed, deburr, clean primer pocket
    Prime
    Size/expand neck to accept bullet
    Charge with powder
    Seat bullet
    Crimp bullet if needed
    Final inspection

    For your first press, I discourage a progressive press. Yes they are faster. However, you are learning and need to watch each and every step and procedure that you do. Weigh every powder charge, yes even for pistol. Once you get the hang of it, then upgrade to a progressive or turret press.

    Turret presses are the in-betweens of single and progressives. On a turret, such as the Lee Classic, there is a stationary postion where you place the case. The turret head holds three to four dies which rotate around the single case being loaded. The Lee turret presses have auto index so basically four pulls of the press handle equals one loaded round. You only concentrate on one case at a time versus 5-6 on a progressive.

    Progressives have five to six shell stations, each advancing with a single manipulation of the handle. You start an empty fired case in station one and start pulling the handle. You raise the ram up and lower it and place a new shell in the first station as the previous one advances to the second station and so on. For every 5th or 6th pull on the handle is a new round.

    Dillons are crazy expensive, but have a no-BS lifetime warranty. If it breaks, they fix it no problem. I personally can't justify spending in excess of $330 on a press when I can get a good quality turret press for $80 that will last a lifetime.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    What would I need to get started? What is the difference between progressive and others? Im assuming a progressive completes each stage of the reloading for each respective caliber, fill me in?
    The main difference between a Progressive Press and a Single Stage Press is the amount of time required to load and individual bullet.

    A single stage must perform each step on however many cases you have. Lets say you have 50 cases. You will mount the decapping/sizing die and run all 50 cases through it. Then you take that die off and you place a belling die in it. This "bells" the case mouth so that you can place a bullet in it easily. You do this for all 50 cases. Then, you must fill each case with powder. After doing that, you must set the bullet to the correct depth with the bullet seating die. Some dies do this and crimp the bullet at the same time, others like Dillon is a separate step.

    You have roughly about an hour of time to load 50 bullets. Compare this to the progressive press, which happens like this..

    The Dillon has a tool block in which 4 dies are set. You pick up a case and and place it in the first die which resizes and decaps. Pull the lever and move the case holder with your thumb.The second die bells and places the powder in the case.Pull the lever, move the caseholder.The third die seats the bullet to the correct depth then you pull the lever and move the caseholder. The fourth and final step is the crimp. Doing this for all 50 cases will take aproximatley 10 minutes vs. 60 minutes for the single stage press.After the 4th time that you pull the lever, a loaded bullet falls out into the tray because the cycle is repeated each time.

    The progressive press is more expensive, but how much is your time worth ? The less time you spend reloading, the more time you have to shoot. Many times I have walked out into my shop, loaded a few hundred rounds and went out to shoot.

    The average capacity for the 550 is 550 rounds per hour. The average capacity for the 650 is 650 rounds per hour and in both cases, if you have primer tubes already to go, and have your stuff situated where you can get to them easily, these averages can be easily exceeded. The main difference in the 550 and 650 is that on the 550 you must move the shellplate by hand, whereas the 650 does it automatically...and the 650 also feeds the case into the shellholder.Naturally, the 650 being more complicated is more expensive, but I personally would'nt reccomend it for a beggining reloader.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by HotGuns; September 18th, 2006 at 12:19 AM.
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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Oh, yeah. I'm starting on a Lee hand press that I got for $20 with Lee powder dippers and a universal decapping die (all calibers). All in all my total cost for equipment for my above list plus two die sets (10mm and 45/70) is less than $225. My handloads will be more accurate than factory loads and will only cost me between .$17-27 per round versus $.49-1.00 per round.
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    Member Array Texas Yankee's Avatar
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    I started with the Lee Anniversary kit, which gives you a single stage press, priming tool, dies for one caliber, powder measure, funnel, and scale for about $70. I figured that at that price, it I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't be out much money. Originally I started with 44 Sp and given the factory prices of 44 Sp ammo, I have already recovered my investment. Plus I found I enjoyed it, so I have bought dies for 9 mm and 45 ACP as well. This is one of those things though that if you enjoy it, you pretty soon find all sorts of additional gadgets that you just have to have. I still think I am ahead though. Midway generally has deals on the Lee Anniversary kit.

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    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
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    Very interesting link and posts so far.

    The more I read about it , the more interested I get. What is the difference between the Square Deal and the 550? I personally like the 650.. haha
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    I could also suggest you check out Midway-USA's website, or Natchez Shooting Supply's website. They usually run specials on starter kits that contain everything you need to get started handloading, except for the dies , powder ,brass and bullets. I have been loading my own for close to 20 years now. I would suggest you start out on a single stage press until you master the basics. It is not as easy as it looks and one small mistake can cost you dearly. I still load all my ammo on my single stage presses, one at a time.
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    Or , you can do like I did. Use teh turret press 1 casing at a time till you are totally sure of what you are doing. I didn't see the need for a single stage, just to turn around and upgrade later on.
    I still load single cartridges for my '06 1 at a time 1. so I can measure the powder by hand. 2. for more precise loading.
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    Member Array Cliffh's Avatar
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    I ran across this article earlier today. It was written in June of '04, but doesn't seem to be to out-dated.

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