Dillon RL550B Questions

This is a discussion on Dillon RL550B Questions within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; After a lot of reading forums and searching the internet for information, Yesterday I finally took the plunge and ordered a RL550B. I went ahead ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 22

Thread: Dillon RL550B Questions

  1. #1
    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    FLORIDA
    Posts
    486

    Question Dillon RL550B Questions

    After a lot of reading forums and searching the internet for information, Yesterday I finally took the plunge and ordered a RL550B. I went ahead and splurged for the accessories, the roller handle, strong mount, and low powder check, and tray.

    My questions are: (specific to the RL550B)
    1. What other TOOLS or SUBSTANCES (besides bullets, powder, primers and brass) will be necessary for me to begin my mission that do not come with the Dillon RL550B?

    2. Does each die set come with its own "tool block" or "tool head"?
    (Ive read about where you can set it and forget it, as long as you keep the head together in each respective caliber.)
    If they do not come with each set of dies, what is the proper term for "tool block or tool head" and where do I purchase them? I'd like to not have to fool with each caliber again once I finally get it set up correctly.

    Side note: I have already ordered Lymans #47 Reloading book (recommended by Bud and Chris), and the ABC's of reloading (recommended by Chris in a previous post), and I actually purchased the video from Dillon to get better insight on the whole process.

    Shaun
    N.R.A. Member
    G.O.A. Member
    Unified Sportsmen of Florida Member

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    VIP Member
    Array srfl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    6,870
    Off the top of my head:

    - Dies
    - Scale (balance beam or digital...either works; digital is a bit more convenient)
    - Calipers (dial or balance; to measure OAL of loaded round, cartridge cases)
    - Sturdy table
    - Adequate tools to mount the press

    The dies do not come with a toolhead; you need to purchase those separately; however, the RL550B comes with one toolhead and a caliber conversion kit, but no dies.

    If you want to change calibers, you need to get, at a minimum, additional dies, unless you are loading calibers that only differ in case length (i.e.: .357 Mag/.38 Super; 10mm/.40 S&W, and .32 S&W/.32 H&R Mag) and a caliber conversion kit (same rule applies to the dies, for the most part).

    If you do change calibers, I suggest you invest in additional toolheads, unless you are up to unscrewing your set-up dies and then having to adjust everything all over again; and perhaps a additional auto power measure system and powder dies. Some folks have a toolhead with dies, power system all set and ready to go so they just have to pop off one set-up toolhead and switch with a second for quick caliber changes. Not cheap, but very convenient.

    Dillon has some packages that are cool like their quick change kit which comes with a power measure, powder die, toolhead, and toolhead stand.

    I would also invest in their spare parts kit, primer flip tray, and bullet tray.

    My set up includes their strong mount and low powder sensor.
    USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947

  4. #3
    Administrator
    Array SIXTO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    19,631
    I know next to nothing about reloading, but from I gather its one of the kinds of things that you have to feel your way through.
    Each guy likes certain set ups and tools, as long as the end results are the same. You might go out and buy all the odds and ends now, but if you stick with it, you will have replaced most everything with something different because of the learning curve.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  5. #4
    Member Array 40FIVER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    North Central Texas
    Posts
    249
    I just loaded by first batch of reloads this past weekend with the same setup you described in your post.

    The tool I need right now that I haven't bought?

    BULLET PULLER!

    Charlie
    Charlie - 40FIVER

    Why I carry:
    "The heart is deceitul above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Jeremiah 17:9

  6. #5
    VIP Member
    Array srfl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    6,870
    .......oh yeah, a bullet puller......I got really acquainted with mine when I started reloading.
    USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947

  7. #6
    Member Array Harold Green's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    132
    Others have mentioned most of what you’ll need in addition to the basic RL550B package. However, a little additional explanation, and a few more items may be helpful.

    There are three sets of things you may have to changeover each time you change calibers. These are the tool head that holds the dies, the shell plate that holds the rim of the case you are reloading, and the primer feed that inserts the primers into the case.

    You already know about changing over the tool head.

    The shell plate lives on top of the ram and is used to move the case you are reloading from station to station as you rotate it a click at a time. This needs to be changed each time you change to a caliber that has a different size case head. Typically, you will need a different shell plate (Dillon calls this a cartridge conversion) for each caliber you reload.

    If you change from a caliber that uses a small primer to one that uses a large one (or the other way around), you will need to take the primer feed apart and change the feed tube and slide mechanism to the other size, and readjust it to function properly.

    If you load rifle cartridges (bottleneck cases), they tend to grow in length each time you reload them. So, you’ll need a case trimmer to use in trimming off the excess brass to bring the length back into standard. You will also need a dial caliper to measure the case length, and a deburing tool to clean up the case mouths after they have been trimmed to length.

    When you buy a bullet puller, you’ll find out there are two different types. The first type is a collet-type bullet puller that uses a special die that fits in a single-stage reloading press. You could use this in your RL550B, but it would be very inconvenient. The other type is a kinetic bullet puller. This type looks like a hammer with a hollow plastic head. You insert the cartridge into the head and smack it on a hard surface in order to pull the bullet using kinetic energy. This is the kind you should get.

    Another thing you’ll need is a cartridge case gage. This is a small, hand-held die with a minimum-dimension chamber machined into it for a specific caliber. Once you’ve finished loading a round, put it into the cartridge case gage and see if it fits. The gage will check case diameter, case length, and headspace for you. If a round fits the gage properly, it will fit in the chamber of your gun properly. This lets you do a final quality check on your reloads before boxing them up. You’ll need one of these for each caliber you reload.

    If you use military brass for any of your reloading, you’ll find they have the primers crimped into the primer pockets. This creates a ridge on the mouth of the primer pocket that must be removed before you can seat a fresh primer. You can ether swage this out with a primer-pocket swager or ream it out with a primer-pocket reamer. The reamer works fine and costs less.

    When you load pistol ammo (straight-wall cases) you can use carbide dies and won’t need to use any resizing lube. If you use pistol dies from a manufacturer other than Dillon, make sure they are carbide. If you load rifle cartridges (bottleneck cases) you will need to lube the cases before you load them, or they will get stuck in the die. This is true even if you use carbide dies. If you load rifle calibers, you will need to pick up some spray-on case lube.

    You’ll find that your brass tarnishes and gets a gummy film on it as you shoot it. It’s best if you polish and clean your brass before each reload. A vibratory tumbler and walnut shell media are the best way to do this. You can use corncob media to get a finer polish, but it takes longer
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

    "He who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that is where he is." -- James Thurber

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    2,045
    Looks like everyone else has hit most of the extras you need, so I’ll just touch on a couple of safety issues when loading on a progressive press, especially one with manual advancement such as the 550.

    1. Don’t let yourself get distracted while using a progressive. Loss of concentration could result in a case with a double charge or one with no charge. Always complete the cycle you are currently working on. If you’re reloading and the wife calls out that dinner is ready, don’t stop in the middle of a cycle. Run the press until all brass in the shell plate has been run to completion.

    2. When I started loading for CAS with the volume of ammunition that I was using, I became concerned that the probability of an error was increasing. Because of that, I turned my high volume reloading into a two stage process (until I purchased my first 650). This two stage process was necessitated by the fact that the 550 is only a 4 station tool head. The way I set up was as follows:
    First Station – Deprime, Resize, Prime
    Second Station – Case belling and Powder Charge
    Third Station – RCBS Powder Check Die or Lockout Die (this differs from a
    standard configuration)
    Fourth Station – Bullet Seating
    After running all ammo through this configuration, I would change to a tool head that had only the crimping die and re-run all ammo through the crimp die. You could keep this a single run process if you use a combination seat/crimp die, but I prefer to use a separate crimping die.

    The Lockout Die or the Powder Check Die allow a mechanical or visual confirmation of the powder charge. I’m sure most reloaders will think this an unnecessary step, but powder bridging (resulting in a reduced or no charge) can occur as can a mechanical malfunction that is not readily obvious. Failure to advance the shell plate can lead to double charging a case. For these reasons, I felt this two stage process was worth the extra time involved.

    3. While unlikely to occur while loading jacketed bullets, there is a malfunction that can occur while reloading lead bullets. I know of at least one reported case of this that was caught at the time and there is speculation that this may be the culprit in a few blown up guns. When loading lead bullets, the bullet lube will build up inside the seating die. On the one reported occasion, when transferring the completed ammunition to bullet boxes, the operator found one case with no bullet and the powder had been dumped into the ammo collection tray. At first, he thought he had just missed putting a bullet on one round but he decided to weigh all of the loaded rounds. He found one case that had two bullets in it. What had happened was that the lube had built up inside the seating die. When he placed a bullet on the case and ran it into the seating die, the bullet became stuck in the die and he did not notice it when he cycled the machine. When he placed the bullet on the next case and ran it into the die, both bullets were pressed into the case. Had this round been fired, it most likely would have resulted in a blown up gun as he would have had 500 grains of lead on top of a powder charge intended for 250 grains of lead. Pressures would have shot off the chart. This scenario is unlikely to occur with auto pistol rounds as the case is not long enough to hold two bullets plus the powder charge, but could occur in some of the longer revolver rounds. This potential problem is not limited to the 550 press. This could occur with any progressive press. For that matter, it could occur with a single stage press but you'd pretty much have to be asleep at the wheel to not notice. The moral of this story is should you ever find a case in your completed ammo tray with no bullet, don’t assume you just missed placing a bullet on one case. Inspect all ammunition to eliminate this “double bullet” scenario.

    You’ve made a great decision going with the Dillon machine. The 550 is one of the most versatile reloading presses out there and Dillon is outstanding to work with should you ever have a problem. It will give you years of service without problem. Mine is over 20 years old and the only part that ever broke was one of the return springs on the powder measure. Have fun and shoot more.

    Hoss
    Sig 239 SAS 40 S&W / Sig 239 9mm / Kahr PM-9 / Walther PPS .40 / Sig P-245 / Ruger LCP
    Beretta Tomcat / Walther PPK / BDA 380 / Taurus 85 / Kel-Tec PF-9 / Am. Derringer 357

    NRA Life Member
    My Web Site

  9. #8
    Member Array Harold Green's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    132
    Just a word about the Dillon warranty, it’s very good. If anything breaks, just call them and ask for a replacement. They’ll send you a new part, no questions asked at no charge. They don’t even ask you to return the broken part.
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

    "He who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that is where he is." -- James Thurber

  10. #9
    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    FLORIDA
    Posts
    486
    Thanks for all the input so far everyone, its greatly appreciated.

    Few other questions that popped into my head prior to purchasing the recommended additional tools.

    1. What kind of case trimmer should I get? Whichever one works the "best" (i know thats subjective- please advise) I just looked on Cabela's and found thier case trimmers run approx. 150-200$! (Its Electric) Is this the kind I need to get? They also have something called a "Case trimmer pilot" for much less. Links to the appropriate style? Prices to expect?

    I dont think there will be much of a problem finding the case gauge, digital calipers, digital scale, deburring tool, or primer pocket reamer. They all seem self explanatory and simple.

    If there are variations of any of these that I would benefit from knowing about, or knowing not to fool with- that would be great.

    Id love some links to the proper gear
    Last edited by floridaguy911; April 26th, 2007 at 03:32 PM. Reason: added deburring tool
    N.R.A. Member
    G.O.A. Member
    Unified Sportsmen of Florida Member

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    2,045
    1. What kind of case trimmer should I get?
    If you're going to be reloading mostly pistol rounds, I've found that they rarely need trimming so a manual trimmer will work o.k. and save you some money. If you're going to reload a lot of rifle rounds and will be full length resizing, they will stretch considerably. In that case, an electric trimmer makes more sense.

    They also have something called a "Case trimmer pilot" for much less.
    The pilot is only the portion of the case trimmer that supports the case mouth during the trimming operation. You will need a separate pilot for each caliber you intend to trim.

    Also, if you will be trimming cases or purchasing new, unfired cases, you will want to have a chamfering/deburring tool. Trimming fired cases or on all new, unfired cases, there can be a sharp lip on the inside of the case. This can dig into the bullet and affect the crimp and/or pressures. It is best to remove this sharp lip. I opted for the Lyman power unit, but if you have a lot of free time you can get by with a manual tool.

    Also, you should check out MidwayUSA if you haven't already. I buy a lot of items from them and they have always given me great service.

    Hoss
    Sig 239 SAS 40 S&W / Sig 239 9mm / Kahr PM-9 / Walther PPS .40 / Sig P-245 / Ruger LCP
    Beretta Tomcat / Walther PPK / BDA 380 / Taurus 85 / Kel-Tec PF-9 / Am. Derringer 357

    NRA Life Member
    My Web Site

  12. #11
    Member Array Harold Green's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    132
    OK, here’s my disclaimer. Whenever anyone recommends a piece of reloading equipment to you, the recommendation heavily reflects their personal prejudices. Anything I recommend will reflect mine.

    Unless you’re going to be trimming large volumes of rifle cases, a hand-cranked trimmer will do what you need. If you do get into large volumes later on, buy a powered trimmer.

    One of the simplest and most durable trimmers available for a reasonable price is the Forester trimmer. Cabela’s has the Forester Original Case Trimmer Kit for $64.99. I’d suggest you start with this one.

    Here’s another point about reloading rifle ammo. Standard crimp dies depend on all your cases being exactly the same length to work properly. Even when they’re all the same length, the die adjustment is pretty touchy. Set the die a little too high, and you’ll not get a crimp. Set the die a little too low, and it will force the base of the shoulder out and make this part of the case larger in diameter. If this happens the round will be too large in diameter at the shoulder to chamber and will stick in your gun. So, if your cases vary in length at all, some will not get crimped and others will get crimped so heavily they don’t chamber.

    The cure for this is a Lee Factory Crimp Die. This die uses a collet activated by the inner die body being pushed upward to crimp the case mouth. It’ll give you a more uniform crimp and won’t run the risk of expanding the shoulder diameter. Cabela’s has them for $7.99.
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

    "He who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that is where he is." -- James Thurber

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array .45acp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    570
    OK, I just got the Dillon XL650 a few weeks ago, not much difference.

    All the tools above plus a seperate OAL gauge won't hurt.
    Also with the Dillon get the extra wrench that will fit all the nuts and if you haven't ordered yet get plastic bullet cases, they're cheaper from Dillon than elsewhere and won't cost you any extra shipping.

    You may want to inc a brass tumbler if it isn't already listed and get the extra primer tubes or you'll be sorry you didn't, 100 primers can go fast.
    I got all the bells and whistles on mine and love it.

    Two other important items:

    1) In the instruction manual where it tells you how to adjust the rod for the powder saftey, you might want to call Dillon. On my 650 the actual setting (after calling Dillon) is much different than what the manual states.

    2) A good reloading manual-Note-Get one then go to your library and get others to see which you like best, this will save you alot of money buying alot of manuals.

    BTW-I'm having great results with Laser-Cast Bullets and Unique powder for .45 acp.

    Reloading has turned into a hobby of it's own, almost as much fun as shooting.


    Best of luck and good shooting,
    George-A 3 week old Dillon reloader
    PC has become the term for Political Cowardice.

  14. #13
    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    FLORIDA
    Posts
    486
    Is there a difference between a Max Cartridge Gage, and a Case Length Gage? Im on MidwayUSA.com right now, and they are both the same price, made by the same company, with different part numbers. Whats the difference between the two, and (opinions or facts) Which would be the best (subjective opinion) to get?
    N.R.A. Member
    G.O.A. Member
    Unified Sportsmen of Florida Member

  15. #14
    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    FLORIDA
    Posts
    486
    I think I have found out the difference, the Max Cartridge Gage measures the final product on all dimensions, the case length gage measures the actual casing before it is loaded.. Correct? So I guess the next progressive question is, do I need both? Or, just the Max Cartridge Gage? Ill be starting off with .45 acp, 40 S&W, and 9mm. (Once I get the hang of it I will jump into 7.62 x 39, 30-06, .243, and .308)
    N.R.A. Member
    G.O.A. Member
    Unified Sportsmen of Florida Member

  16. #15
    Member Array floridaguy911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    FLORIDA
    Posts
    486
    Sorry for multiple posts, as I go through Midway my questions keep popping up.

    Won't I need a crimper to finalize the whole process? Advise please.
    N.R.A. Member
    G.O.A. Member
    Unified Sportsmen of Florida Member

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Dillon Gun Belt FS, NY
    By Joe70 in forum Member Buy, Sell & Trade
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: May 4th, 2009, 12:39 PM
  2. Dillon vs Lee
    By Reborn in forum Reloading
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: March 1st, 2009, 11:47 PM
  3. Replies: 7
    Last Post: February 23rd, 2009, 01:03 PM
  4. Couple of questions about my Dillon 550
    By kazzaerexys in forum Reloading
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: February 16th, 2009, 10:31 AM
  5. Need help with Dillon 550B?
    By Danger Mouse in forum Reloading
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: March 30th, 2008, 09:35 PM

Search tags for this page

dillon case trimmer on rl550b
,
dillon rl 550b
,

dillon rl550b

,
dillon rl550b manual
,
dillon rl550b review
,
dillon rl550b reviews
,
dillon rl550b setup
,
rl 550b
,
rl 550b dillon
,
rl550b
,
rl550b review
,
rl550b video instruction manual
Click on a term to search for related topics.