Couple of questions about my Dillon 550

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Thread: Couple of questions about my Dillon 550

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Couple of questions about my Dillon 550

    So far I am pretty happy with my setup, but I have a few minor issues and I'm hoping for some help from you fine folks.

    The first is that I have started to have an issue with the primer bar not reliably picking up new primers. I had loaded 300 rounds with no problem, but when I sat down for my next batch, I started noticing this. (All my reloading has been done on used brass so far, so there is obviously primer residue under the shell plate.)

    Basically, when I run the handle, the primer bar is sticking just short of fully retracted. If I flick the feed stop spring (the little metal sheet on the back of the primer housing) the bar can finish traveling and pick up a primer.

    I assumed the problem was dirt and residue, so I took it apart and scrubbed the area clean with a little bit of my GunZilla, but I am still seeing the same issue. Maybe I have over-tightened the primer housing screws...?

    The second issue is that I see my OAL going up slightly as I run through a hundred rounds. Last night's batch started at about 1.255" when I was adjusting, and the first couple rounds measured very close to that, but my last couple rounds were more like 1.265", and sampling through the rounds (I case-gauge and move to a box about every twenty rounds, so I can go back through and test them more or less in order) showed a definite upward drift, not just random variation. So, am I just not tightening down the bullet seating die hard enough, or is something else going on?

    Thanks for any insight you all can offer!
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

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  3. #2
    Member Array Husker Sig's Avatar
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    Call Dillon. They are extremely helpful.

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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    1) You need to adjust the relationship of your primer bar to the shellplate, etc. the trick I use to accomplish this is to take the primer bar and put it in position inserted into the shellplate area when the press is at rest. Then, I position the primer tube housing in its place and slowly tighten up the screws securing it. Note that I leave the primer bar loosely fitting during this process so that it will "find its fit". I then exercise the machine several times to insure proper function and no binding.

    2) NEVER, EVER use any kind of lubricant around that primer assembly! No matter how well you clean, there is always the possibility that you leave something behind to get in a primer and cause a squib load. I use moly powder lightly applied to all of the contact surfaces.......

    3) The problem you describe with your overall length changing is being caused by fouling in the seating die. This can be caused by an accumulation of bullet lube being shaved off of the bullet by the case as the bullet is being pushed down into the case during the seating cycle. This is a common occurrence if you are loading cast bullets. I usually take care of this by opening the seating die and running a wire brush through the top of the die every 200 rounds or so, this will take care of it in short order.


    Try that and see what happens. Calling Dillon is always helpful as well, their customer service is top-notch.....
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Like EDR said let the shell plate sit on the primer feed and then run the bolts up til they stop and once both are screwed in I just snug them up a little,if you tighten them up without the primer feed in position on the shell plate it may not line up properly
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    Member Array ghawk249's Avatar
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    Never clean the primer bar with any lube always clean it with alcohol.

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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edr9x23super View Post
    3) The problem you describe with your overall length changing is being caused by fouling in the seating die. This can be caused by an accumulation of bullet lube being shaved off of the bullet by the case as the bullet is being pushed down into the case during the seating cycle. This is a common occurrence if you are loading cast bullets. I usually take care of this by opening the seating die and running a wire brush through the top of the die every 200 rounds or so, this will take care of it in short order.
    Question? Wouldn't lube buildup on the seating die cause the OAL to become shorter rather than longer during the buildup process?

    Of course the difference he is experiencing from 1.255 to 1.265 should be of no concern, IMO. But if it keeps getting longer and longer then it might pose a problem.

    I am going to assume that everything is tightened down properly. After it gets to the 1.265, does it stay there for several hundred rounds or have you not ran through that many yet? If it does stay at the 1.265 then the only thing I can think of is that there is a spot in where the set screw on the ring fits that it wants to settle into.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    I shall certainly head the cleaning advice. At least now the only place I used the (teensy, tiny) little bit of GunZilla was on the bottom of the primer bar, and to wipe the primer track bearing (the metal plate between the press chassis and the primer bar). So it isn't touching any primers, but I will go back over it with alcohol.

    I don't have any problems with where the primers meet the shell plate, just with the primer bar 'sticking' on its way back to get a new primer.

    Farronwolf, I haven't loaded several hundred in a row yet. I am still fiddling with settings, which is why that hundredth of an inch variation is a bit annoying. It seems that, with .45 ACP and Titegroup, the OAL variations contribute more to the final velocity than the powder variations...
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Okay, interesting thing about the OAL creep. I think the bullets are actually rising slightly in the crimping stage. Last night I ran off twenty five rounds (one by one, measuring each powder charge, so I can do some meaningful chrono testing today).

    I measured almost every one after the seating stage and got consistent results of 1.2555+/-0.0005. Then I measured after the crimping stage (Lee factory crimp die) and got a range of 1.2555–1.2585, with most (probably twenty of them) falling in 1.2565+/-0.0005. So the bullets are coming up at least a couple thousandths on the last stage; if I did more rounds, I might see that gradual rise over the entire session that I noted earlier...
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Is your shellplate properly tightened? Is your crimp die securely tightened?
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    The crimp die is definitely tightened. The shellplate seems tight, too—I can index it easily, but there's not much slop in it; basically, I tightened it down to the point that turning it was hard, then backed off until it I could turn the indexing star and still feel it click into place.

    Anyway, I am about to run 300 rounds for the Smith & Wesson IDPA tournament, so I will see if there really is an OAL drift or not!
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

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