New bench on the way!

New bench on the way!

This is a discussion on New bench on the way! within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; OK, its going to be my News Years resolution and Christmas gift to myself to finally get my bench in working order... right now its ...

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  1. #1
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    New bench on the way!

    OK, its going to be my News Years resolution and Christmas gift to myself to finally get my bench in working order... right now its a mess from moving it from the garage to the basement, and its been that way for some time. Its 8ft long, 2.5ft deep, and I'm going to add another 4x4ft section to it to make an L shape. And you guessed it, that new section is going to be for reloading. The larger portion is for my gunsmithing and other household type stuff.

    Heres where I need your guys help... I need a shopping list of reloading items I need to get going. I'm not a fan of buying cheap and buying twice, so I want good equipment. I have access to all the brass I want, but I am going to stick with reloading 9mm, 45acp and 223 for now. I might add 30.06 and .308 down the road. I have pretty much no experiance in reloading, so be kind to me.

    The machine I'm looking at is the 550B, I cant really think of a reason why I would need bigger and better than that. Now I just need to know all the peices parts and other tools I might need. I've got a few different manuals on the way too.
    "Just blame Sixto"


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array blueyedevil's Avatar
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    Well, other than the obvious dies and locator buttons for the 550. You definatly want a scale, a regular old magnetic beam will do you fine. A good set of calipers is a must. I'd highly recommend a comparator of some sort either sinclair or the Stoney Point (now Hornady). Some kind of case trimmer, if you have the money a powered model is certainly worth it. And of course a tumbler and media, I think Harbor Freight has one for $30. The .223 you can do with a dillon carbide die just like your pistols. But once you get into the .308 & 30-06 you'll need to get a case lube pad and lube. And if they're for bolt actions I'd recommend the Lee collet neck sizing set with a redding body die for max accuracy. If your going for accurate rifle cartridges there is quite a bit of stuff you'd do well to get but that can wait until you get set up.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    $$$$$ spent, but you can't take it with you.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supertac45 View Post
    $$$$$ spent, but you can't take it with you.
    understood, I of course have a budget and dont want to buy stuff I dont need or buy junk and only have to replace it... My budget on the reloading equipment should be around 1k, maybe a little more if I see the need for it.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Great choice with the 550. Here's a money saver: Some caliber conversions use the same shellplate and locator buttons and funnels as others. Here is the breakdown:
    caliber-shellplate-locator button-powder funnel
    9mm 5-3-F
    45 Auto 1-1-E
    223 3-3-A
    308 1-1-B
    30-06 1-1-B

    So you see the 45 Auto, 308, and 30-06 use the same shellplate and locator buttons, and powder funnels. The 9mm and 223 use the same locator buttons.

    Here's the cheapest way to get all the caliber conversions:

    Buy the 45 Auto and 223 complete conversion kits (this will give you the plates and locator buttons for three calibers). Then get the #5 shellplate and the F funnel for the 9mm. Then get the B funnel for the 30cal rifles and you have everything you need. The complete conversions are $40 (x2), the funnels are $10.50ea (x2), and the one plate you need is $27. Total for the conversions is $128 versus the caliber conversions x5 which would be $200 and you'd have doubles. You can buy individual parts from Dillon's website.

    You should also get a powder die and toolhead for each caliber. You can keep the dies set and just swap out the toolhead and move the powder measure (PM) from toolhead to toolhead. This saves all your adjustments so you aren't adjusting your dies all the time.

    Dillon likes to add accessories onto their machines like roller handle, case feeder, tool kits, etc. The roller handle might be nice. Case feeder is pistol only and IMO, if you want a Dillon press with the case feeder, get a 650 or 1050. Tool kits are convienent but I picked up a midget (stubby) screwdriver that holds tips in the handle. I put all the tips from a screwdriver set in the handle that the 550 takes so if I need to adjust something, the bit is in the screwdriver handle. It cost me $4.99 and Dillon wants $25 for a bunch of hex wrenches and a one inch wrench for the die rings. I got a midget adjustable wrench with the screwdriver for another $4.99. I spent less than half of what Dillon wants for the same stuff.

    The low primer alarm is nice to have, but not mandatory. The low powder sensor is a joke. The hopper is CLEAR and right in front of your face. It holds a buttload of powder and you can easily keep watch on the level. Save the $40 and use your eyes.

    Dillon dies are overpriced IMO. I get the same quality ammo by using Lee dies. I also use RCBS dies in 375 H&H Magnum and 50AE, CH4D dies in 256 Win Mag. Can't tell the difference. The Dillon carbide RIFLE dies STILL REQUIRE LUBRICATION so their premium cost over the regular dies is not worth it if they still need lube. But Dillon sells a lot of them so good for them.

    Toolhead stands are nice but I don't need them. The strong mount will raise the press up about 8" off the bench. You can also get a bullet tray that mounts to the strong mount. Does the same thing as leaving a box next to the press on the bench. IMO, the strong mount and bullet tray are not needed.

    I think that is it. Some people get another primer assembly and swap out the whole thing for primer sizes. They cost around $80. Save your money. It takes less than a minute to take out two hex screws underneath, lift up and swap out the primer slide, then resecure the two hex screws. Unscrew the cap on the primer shield (big black rod) and swap out the primer magazine inside for the correct size, screw the cap back on the primer shield. Seriously takes less than 45 seconds to swap out primers sizes.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    How soon are you planning to buy? I should be getting my 06FFL by the end of the month and can get a discount on Dillon stuff. I'll contact my source and see if they will take a Tax ID number for now. Send me the money and I'll forward it to my source and try to get them to ship direct to you. If not I'll get it and reship it.

    As of January Dillon's prices are going up. I have their catalog and the 550 is going to be going for $395.95. Through my source I can get them for $287.99. I'll give my source a call tomorrow and see if they will take my Tax ID number for now and get back to you if you want to take me up on this offer. If you're in MI I have to collect 6% sales tax.

    If you want to talk about this over the phone PM me and I'll give you my number.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the help and offer Tubby. I am looking to buy it after the holidays have settled down, so early Jan. is my goal.
    I have my own local contacts, and can get most anything I want at cost too, but I've never tried to buy reloading stuff. I dont know why it would be any different. After looking and reading the reloading threads here, I'm thinking my 1k budget is overkill.
    I'll let you know and I'm always willing to help a start up company too.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Thanks. Been buying and selling reloading equipment here and there since I registered my DBA in October. Trying to offset the startup costs. Made a few sales. Picking up. My name is getting out there. Just can't wait to start selling my bullets. Then the orders will pour in. Hopefully.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I'm all set with a dealer account but have to wait on getting a merchant account so I can take credit cards. Right now the only way is to mail me payment and I make the order with my supplier. They can drop ship for me so it will get there sooner.

  10. #10
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    I'm thinking my 1k budget is overkill.
    Might be but ....... certainly over time there are a good number of ''bits and pieces'' which either help or are even essential. Many are quite modest prices but it all adds up. Don't forget your consumables too - powder/powders, primers - and probably early on bullets until perhaps you decide to cast - more gear for that of course.

    I forget whether anyone mentioned scales .. but anyways a good Lyman or RCBS beam scale is a good investment and you must have a means of accurate weighing. I added an electonic scale deal from Dillon coupla years ago - about $100 but well worth it for me.

    Other oddments can include case trimmers, chamfer tool, primer pocket reamer etc.

    Chances are you'll have plenty of change from the $1k but - it is also easy to blow most of that to get set up nicely.
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    $1K is a good estimate for a decent amount of cartridges. You can shop around for good prices and whatever is left over use that for components. It's pretty easy to spend $1K on components alone. Couple of kegs (8# jugs) of power, couple sleeves (5K/box), few thousand bullets per cartridge and brass.

  12. #12
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    You've got to have the reloader.

    Powder Scale

    a way to lube your rifle cartridges...the easiest way is with spray, or uyou can get a lube pad.

    Get carbide dies....dont need to lube pistol if you have carbide dies, for rifle you still need to lube.

    Get some extra die blocks...this is where the Dillon exels. Set up your dies, once you figure out what you want you've got it. Use Dillon dies. Other can be used and are cheaper, but dont have the proper radius at the bottom of the die that the Dillon needs for rapid reloading.

    The Low Primer alarm should come with the press...no need to buy it.

    Personally, I dont think you need the press stand. I've been using the Dillon for 20 something years without one. The roller handle is nice,but not nessecary.

    If you are going to reload military surplus .223, invest the 80 or so bucks in the swaging tool,its the best one out there and will do both large and small rifle primers.

    1000 bucks is not overkill...you can blow through that like a hot knife though butter. Get the dies that you need now, they will never be any cheaper than they are NOW.

    A primer "flip" tray is nice when you load up your primer tubes.

    Eventually, you'll need a case trimmer, (Ive got the RCBS) and a tumbler to clean your brass.

    You will need a reloading book, any one will do, you can also go to several different internet sources to get reloading info.

    A powder trickler would be nice and they arent that expensive.

    A case chamfer tool would be nice.


    The coversion kits are a must for different calibers. As already noted, there is some overlap...for instance, the .308 will also do the .45.

    I have 12 conversion kits and they will do most of what is out there they are around 40$ apiece.

    I've used every reloader out there and the 550 is the most versatile with the least cost and the rate of reloading is only best by the 650 or the 1050, but everything is much more expensive...escpecially the converstion kits.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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  13. #13
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    Hey Tubby...do you have the conversion chart?

    You need to put it on a sticky or something.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
    http://bobbailey1959.wordpress.com/

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Tubby to the rescue!!




  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    If anyone is interested I can get a Dillon RL550B press with caliber conversion (shellplate, funnel, and locator buttons-all you need are dies) for $365 shipped. Exotic calibers add $10.

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