Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

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Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by beeser on Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:53 pm

I'm almost ready to spring for a first time loader and pretty much decided to go with a Dillon RL550B or XL650.  My reasons sound or otherwise for choosing either of these two machines are as follows.

Quality by most accounts is at least no worse than any other machines.
The manufacturer is somewhat local, in the same state.
It's blue, the color of my eyes when sober.
These are the machines that most seem to talk about/recommend or at least that's where my reading has led me.
The warranty is to my liking if you can believe what's stated by the manufacturer.
The price doesn't seem to be out of line.
They seem to work by most accounts.
Would probably have a good resale value should I choose to stop shooting.

The doubts that I have are as follows.
The machine is more complicated than my current abilities.  Will it contribute to mistakes?
I'm probably spending more than needed to get started.  That's obvious but most have I've heard from that started with single stage presses eventually move up to a progressive.  Still, the point is relevant.
Can I operate the XL650 especially like a single stage press in the beginning and then advance with the more automated features later.

I know those of you with other brands probably like what you're using and that's great but if you recommend something else would you please let me know why?  In other words, if your setup does something that the two above can't do or does it better that would be great hearing.

Thanks!

beeser

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by mspingeld on Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:09 pm

I posted a link to a comparison on your previous posting. I bought the Hornady but I haven't started loading. Slowly setting it up. Following the instructions and videos posted online, setup is not as hard as it looks and there are plenty of people here who will help you if you run into trouble. Both Dillon and Hornady have excellent reputations for quality and customer service and both machines are highly regarded. Read the comparison and decide. I personally would not recommend a single stage press.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by rvlvrlvr on Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:12 pm

beeser wrote:Can I operate the XL650 especially like a single stage press in the beginning and then advance with the more automated features later.

I imagine that most or many progressive presses can be operated one stage- or one round at a time (i.e. do one step on all rounds in a batch at a time, or do one round at a time, rather than all stages on different rounds simultaneously), and probably the indexing mechanism can be disabled to make it essentially a single-stage press. Once you feel you have a good idea of what's going on for each stage, then you could re-enable the indexing mechanism to make it progressive again. That might be a good way to go.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by beeser on Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:17 pm

mspingeld wrote:I posted a link to a comparison on your previous posting. I bought the Hornady but I haven't started loading. Slowly setting it up. Following the instructions and videos posted online, setup is not as hard as it looks and there are plenty of people here who will help you if you run into trouble. Both Dillon and Hornady have excellent reputations for quality and customer service and both machines are highly regarded. Read the comparison and decide. I personally would not recommend a single stage press.
Thanks mspingeld!  I read that comparison a few nights ago but I probably would be well served by reading it again, which I'm doing now.  It's a well thought out piece.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by GrumpyOldMan on Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:40 pm

The Dillon 550 does not have auto-indexing.

Auto-index is faster when you're humming but can lead to mistakes, especially if you wind up short-stroking it when clearing a stoppage or *apparent* stoppage and don't take appropriate measures.

Presses without auto-indexing are subject to a slightly different set of operator errors.

Put only one die in them and any can be run like a single-stage. Recommended for startup.

Newby errors of all sorts are possible, so read the manual. Brian Enos' website forums include an excellent section specifically for Dillon machine operation.

For speed of production, there's nothing like a case feeder WITH a case collator. Loading case tubes by hand is only barely and sometimes no faster than picking them up and feeding stage one from a bin of ready-to-go cases.

Regardless, either tumble-clean or at least roll all fired cases on a damp cotton towel before starting. Grit in your sizing die is a bummer and can lead to early splits on case mouths. I discovered that with a single-stage loading .357 Magnum a long time ago.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by CR10X on Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:18 pm

try this out.

http://www.larapalmer.com/ChoosingReloader.htm

Cecil

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by Rob Kovach on Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:27 pm

I like my 550b--it was my first press and I like that I am in control of all of the steps as it doesn't auto index.  You can buy the press with all of the components you need for .45 and run 1 round through at a time until you get good at it.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by subsonic on Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:39 pm

Get the 550 if it's your first loader.

As mentioned above, it doesn't auto-index which will likely prevent some frustration and loading errors. Manual indexing will still make at least 400 rounds per hour if you lay out your bench correctly and get a rhythm going. I've heard of folks hitting north of 600rds per hour with a 550 - but you may want to go slower than that when loading for precision.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by BE Mike on Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:11 am

IMHO, there is no downside to buying a single stage press and learn the basics on it. If you load other ammo than match .45 ACP, you will probably load small amounts of different ammo on your single stage even after you've owned your progressive for a long time. I have both the 550B and 650. There is no doubt that the 650 is much faster when used with the case feeder. I keep my 650 set up for .45 ACP and my 550 gets used for ammo that I don't shoot nearly as much, i.e. .38 SPL, 9mm, etc. Dillon has a video available, buy one.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by DavidR on Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:28 pm

buy the 650, its a better machine.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by beeser on Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:15 pm

I ordered the Dillon XL 650 this afternoon after picking up some Winchester AutoComp.  The Dillon should arrive next week after we return from a little trip.  So far I think I have everything or at least ordered.  Here's a short list if it all.  Let me know if there's anything missing.

Dillon XL 650
Dies for .45 ACP (starting with this for now)
Gauging Tool
Digital caliper
Scale - Old but LNIB Lyman M5 scale
Lyman Reloading Handbook 49th edition

I'll purchase the casings and bullets when I pick up the Dillon.  I also decided to wait on the automatic case loader, powder check and other accessories until getting everything set up.  I'll also wait on the case preparation equip. until I have a better supply of spent casings.  I'll use some new ones for now.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by mspingeld on Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:56 pm

Redding titanium competition dies are highly recommended. Make sure you get the Dillon STAINLESS gauging tool.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by beeser on Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:09 am

mspingeld wrote:Redding titanium competition dies are highly recommended. Make sure you get the Dillon STAINLESS gauging tool.
What is the difference between the regular titanium carbide dies and competition dies?  I ordered a Dillon gauging tool with the press.  Will I have to specify stainless or are they all the same.  This is getting complicated already.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by mspingeld on Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:34 am

I believe the Dillon gauge you ordered will be the right one. I don't think they offer more than one. Many of the other brands aren't stainless. Not sure but the Redding's have a reputation for precision and no need to lube the shells.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

Post by DavidR on Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:28 am

The gauge will be fine, they only make one for 45 acp, many different choices for loading pieces but stick with Dillon for now they will do great plus they are easy to clean. No need to get flustered its not that complicated. the loading manual is good for basic info but don't use any of its loading info for bullseye, everything it has will be too hot for target shooting, at best find the lowest load and start below it.

If your loading lead then the formula that will always produce good ammo (not necessarily accurate, that will depend on the powder, bullet and amount choice) is to bell case just slightly larger than bullet, when you set a bullet in the case it should be a snug fit, then seat the bullet till about 32 thousand's of lead shows above the case rim, then taper crimp to .469. With the right powder and bullet out of a accurate gun will produce great groups. the autocomp powder is not something commonly used in bullseye but you may be able to find some load that will get you by till you can find a better powder. the most popular choices are, bullseye, V-310, tightgroup,wst, the older shooters used w231, hp38,green dot,red dot, a#5 unique and others. all these have been successful in bullseye matches using 160, 185 and 200 gr LSWC bullets as well as 185 fmj-hp and 230 fmj. Many combinations will work, check the sticky section at the top of the ammunition page here on this forum for published loads from some of the best shooters in the sport.

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Re: Last minute thoughts - Dillon RL550B versus XL650 or ?

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