Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

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Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by spyer40 on 2/11/2018, 4:14 pm

First topic message reminder :

I've got (3) Square Deal B's in .40/9MM/.45 and thinking about trading them all for an XL650 with a case feed system/caliber conversions.  The SDB's have done well but looking for a speed increase so I spend less time at the bench and more time at the range.  Watching the videos it does appear that the 650 is just smoother/faster.  I will mostly just be changing back and forth between 9MM and .45 calbers.  Been doing a lot of searching/Googling/reading/watching YouTube and have a few questions.

How much trouble is it to change out the casefeeder plate/does it require a lot of fiddling?
Do you find the powder check system useful/worthwhile?  Currently just eyeballing the cases after powder fill and occasionally check weighing
Is it worth buying a second priming system to speed up change out?  Doesn't look that bad to change but...
Seeing aftermarket CNC machined toolheads on eBay, do you use OEM or aftermarket?
Watching all the videos it looks like there are several "upgrades" that make things smoother/stop powder spills. How many have done these?  Looks like snowshooze seller is generally recommended for the parts
   Rotocam acutator for one with a roller bearing
   Roller cam follower with one that has a roller bearing
   Add a thrust washer bearing on the shellplate bolt (seeing bronze oiless and needle bearing models)
   Live primer catch bottle
Have you added LED lights to your press and if so what brand?  Looking at Inline Innovations but UFO also seems to have a following.

Thanks in advance for input!

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by jglenn21 on 5/18/2018, 11:33 am

the Standard belling die simply expands the front of the case which generally allows  you to balance a bullet on it for the seating die.. The M die bells but also expands the nose of the case for a given length to allow the bullet to be placed into the case more parallel and deeper thus seating the bullet in a more parallel manner.

the powder die on the Dillon also serves as the belling die( genius )... so the aftermarket powder dies mentioned  simulate the M die in a Dillon while still dropping powder.
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by gregbenner on 5/18/2018, 12:15 pm

Thx jglen. That makes sense. I suspect that in my situation the plus 3 sizing die is ameliorating the need for the M style powder funnel. However, i think I see the usefulness of one as well. 

AP, If it works, I would be interested in one as well.

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by PhotoEscape on 5/18/2018, 12:36 pm

Let try explaining in some logical manner, so process of reloading looks less intimidating.  In order to do such, I must start from factory round, and go step by step (please forgive me for stating obvious things, that you know for sure).  So let's take a factory round, one that is loaded in brass case that we intent to re-use.  Obviously, such round loaded at the factory according to specs for particular caliber.
1. round loaded in chamber and fired, - at this point case gets expanded to the dimensions of the particular gun chamber, seals it as gases resulting from powder burn push projectile out of the barrel, case then extracted from the chamber, ejected out, and then collected by us, reloaders, for the future use.
2. leaving aside all prep steps, like cleaning, sorting, inspecting previously fired cased, we move into reloading, and first step is re-sizing / depriming, - objective of this step is to bring case dimensions to specs for particular round as it would be a new case.  That is function of re-sizing die normally installed at the first station of progressive press like 550 you have.  Most re-sizing dies have stem for de-priming as well.  Short synopsis of this first step is make case capable to fit in chamber.
3. once again leaving aside obvious steps on second station like installing new primer, and then loading case with powder, we also want to prepare case for installing new projectile.  In order to do such, we need to open "mouth" of the case (I'm leaving aside exceptions, such as loading boat tail projectiles).  Opening mouth of the case is done with help of the conical part of the funnel, and commonly referred as belling or flair.  Here we need to understand and keep in mind couple of things: firstly and most importantly, after belling/flair case is no longer adhere to dimensional specs, and must be crimped on last station of the press to be returned to specification; secondly, - we must remember that we are belling/flair only very top portion of the case, while rest of the case still has dimensions obtained by re-sizing.  With that, let's move onto the next station, - bullet seating (I must mention, that often third station, on presses that have more than 4 stations, is being used for powder check, or bullet drop using bullet feeders - importance of this realized when M-style dies/funnels used on prior stations).
4.  Installing projectile on previously belled case appears to be a quite simple.  But this is just an appearance, as this is probably the most vital step for the accuracy of the ammo.  Belling/flair creates reverse cone at the tiny portion of the top of the case.  I don't know anyone who can install and hold projectile perfectly centered and co-axial with the case round after round.  I know for sure that I'm not good at it, and, when I install projectiles manually and hold them until they enter seating die, I think more about my fingers not getting caught and smashed, then of the concentricity of the round.  Leaving aside all issues with projectiles not entering case straight, tipping over, bulging cases, etc., - which all in turn affect accuracy, we need to remember that case below belled portion is sized to lesser diameter than projectile.  Subsequently, and depending on type of projectile used, during seating process projectile is being "squeezed" into the case (especially lead ones) more or less.  Once again, in absence of the concentricity between projectile and case, such squeeze drastically affects accuracy.  So here I can bridge to M-style dies / funnels, - instead of simply belling / flair the case with reverse cone, portion of such dies / funnel enters case deeper and creates cylindrical portion dimensionally slightly larger than diameter of projectile for particular caliber.  This in turn enables to install projectile deeper in the case, but most importantly created axial concentricity between case and projectile.  This in turn leads to uniformity of the ammo, and resulting in much greater accuracy of it.

I'll stop my essay at this point.  I apologize for stating obvious things, and taking your time to read them.

AP
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 5/18/2018, 1:41 pm

spyer40 wrote:How much trouble is it to change out the casefeeder plate/does it require a lot of fiddling?

Nope, it has a small tension bolt to adjust the clutch, but very simple and quick.  Keep it clean!


spyer40 wrote:Do you find the powder check system useful/worthwhile?  Currently just eyeballing the cases after powder fill

Yes.  No kabooms, but if you're methodical, I'm sure you wouldn't have an issue either.

https://www.dillonprecision.com/dillon-powder-check_8_3_23805.html

spyer40 wrote:Is it worth buying a second priming system to speed up change out?  Doesn't look that bad to change but...

Yes.  Buy one for small and large primers if you plan on going back and forth often

https://www.dillonprecision.com/xl-650-primer-system-parts_8_45_25389.html

spyer40 wrote:Seeing aftermarket CNC machined toolheads on eBay, do you use OEM or aftermarket?

I use Whidden tool heads.  Floating tool heads for non-floating Dillon dies and the non-floating Whidden for floating Redding dies.

https://www.brownells.com/reloading/reloading-presses/reloading-press-accessories/cnc-machined-dillon-toolheads-prod44523.aspx


spyer40 wrote:Watching all the videos it looks like there are several "upgrades" that make things smoother/stop powder spills. How many have done these?  Looks like snowshooze seller is generally recommended for the parts

Snowshooze makes great stuff.  The Grand Slam kit is pretty terrific, except the roller and it’s not “bad”

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dillon-Grand-Slam-XL-650-Performance-Improvements-KIt/222746467972?hash=item33dcb95e84:g:Qx8AAOSwyH9aKKi-



My only "complaint" and a small one, is that I like the Index Bearing Cam Block better from Entirely Crimson better.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Index-Bearing-Cam-Block-for-Dillon-Precision-XL-650-XL650-650-SL900-Made-in-USA/142507555906?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649




The only thing I've seen (other than tool heads - snowshooze kit) make a difference is adding a prairie dog powder baffle.

https://www.amazon.com/Prairie-Dog-6-101-Perfect-Powder/dp/B00HYYNWFA



Some things I bin in the "Nice to Have"


Primer Chute (Ski Jump Fix)




Spent Primer Catch Upgrade

https://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Original-Dillon-XL-650-Spent-Primer-Catcher-Upgrade/272396247175?hash=item3f6c14e087:g:ukIAAMXQjq5Q9we1



Dillon Inline Fabrication Ultramount Riser

https://inlinefabrication.com/collections/dillon/products/ultramount-press-riser-system-for-the-dillon-650



Inline Fabrication Ergo Roller Handle

https://inlinefabrication.com/collections/dillon/products/dillion-650-powdercoated



Case Feeder Stop

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Case-Feeder-Stop-for-Dillon-650/252978858267?epid=8002495215&hash=item3ae6b7091b:g:E9YAAOSwmiZZvjoA



Inline Fabrication Skylight LED Lighting Kit

https://inlinefabrication.com/products/skylighttm-led-lighting-kit-for-the-dillon-650



Last edited by JayhawkNavy02 on 5/19/2018, 5:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by fc60 on 5/18/2018, 3:04 pm

Greetings,

I have been following this post with great amazement.

First, you buy a Dillon loader ($$$$) and begin buying accessories ($$$$) to make it work correctly.

Fortunately, I started with a Star machine 40 odd years ago with no modifications to make it work correctly. Truthfully, mine came with a case feeder made by Hulme and approved by Star. Also, I do have a powder hopper with a shutoff device, not Star approved.

Cheers,

Dave
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by Aufidius on 5/18/2018, 4:26 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

I have been following this post with great amazement.

First, you buy a Dillon loader ($$$$) and begin buying accessories ($$$$) to make it work correctly.

Fortunately, I started with a Star machine 40 odd years ago with no modifications to make it work correctly. Truthfully, mine came with a case feeder made by Hulme and approved by Star. Also, I do have a powder hopper with a shutoff device, not Star approved.

Cheers,

Dave

Yo!

How much would a Star loader, with shell feeder, cost today with inflation considered in the price?

I see them on the bay, and they go around the cost of a new Dillon Square Deal B, sometimes less, sometimes more. I don't get the magic- can you help a brother out?

Thanks!

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 5/18/2018, 4:37 pm

Aufidius wrote:
fc60 wrote:First, you buy a Dillon loader ($$$$) and begin buying accessories ($$$$) to make it work correctly.

Fortunately, I started with a Star machine 40 odd years ago with no modifications to make it work correctly. Truthfully, mine came with a case feeder made by Hulme and approved by Star. Also, I do have a powder hopper with a shutoff device, not Star approved.

Dave

How much would a Star loader, with shell feeder, cost today with inflation considered in the price?

I see them on the bay, and they go around the cost of a new Dillon Square Deal B, sometimes less, sometimes more. I don't get the magic- can you help a brother out?

Star are awesome machines, and I admit I was very frustrated to fix some basics on my 650, but all together I was out about $150 to have it making exceptional ammunition.   That said, it’s built cheaply with a lot of pot metal molded parts and without Dillon I don’t think he presses would last long, unlike Star.  That said, IMO, without auto-indexing, and a case feeder, the Star is probably more comparable to a Dillon 550 than 650.  I would definitely buy one as a dedicated 38 Special machine.  The ones I've seen in good shape, and had the pleasure to use are incredibly well made and a living image of craftsmanship.  But far from either comparable in price or “perfect” if you want auto-indexing.

Star Reloader: $450
B&G Speed N Easy Mount: $399
Moon Unit Auto-Indexer?  $225
Side Kick Round Ejector: $65
MA Systems Easy Loader Bullet Feeder?  $400 - $1000
Freeloader case feeder? $130
Comparable setup:  $1669 + shipping $200+ = 1889+ with all the bells and whistles at today's eBay prices.  That's 1050 vice 550/650 territory.

I couldn't find all that available, just rooting around, and I'm sure if you hunted there are better deals, if you can find them. However, even if you wanted accessories, you'd be looking for hen's teeth.  Parts for those items may not even exist anymore if you do have a breakage.  If Star had the volume of business/customers that Dillon does, I'm confident there'd be more folks making "upgrades" and solutions in search of problems for that press as well.

How much would it cost to modify a Star to fall inline with the 1050?

Rifle Dies or bottle neck cases?  Nope.
Ability to use standard dies.  Nope.
Primer Pocket Swager.  Nope.
Adjustable primer seating depth.  Nope.
Motor Drive.  Nope
Low powder alarm.  Nope.
Low Primer Alarm.  Nope
Low powder level alarm.  Nope.
8 stations?  Nope.



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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by Wobbley on 5/18/2018, 5:26 pm

Perhaps a little history...

The original Dillon progressive, the model 1000.was based on the Star up sized to load rifle ammo ( because Mike Dillon needed to feed his machine guns). The lineage is very apparent. The 1000 was setup for standard dies because Dillon didn’t make dies at the time.

Then came the 300 which morphed into the 450 which became the 550. These were followed by the SQD B.

When it was determined the vast majority of 1000 sales were for pistol loading, the 1050 was developed from that and then the Super 1050 was created to accommodate 223 and 308 loading.

The 650 came as an intermediary to correct the deficiencies in the 550 and to compete better with the RCBS units and the Hornady. In many respects, The 550 in particular can lead to squibs or double charges. The 650 was designed to alleviate that with a powder sensor.

Dillon equipment is very good, but it isn’t always the best either. Any machine, Star, Dillon, Hornady, RCBS can be great or a world of trouble. They all have a learning curve and idiosyncracies.
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by gregbenner on 5/18/2018, 5:49 pm

I have a Star reloader, dedicated for 32l only. I use my 550 for everything else, including, recently, 32 ACP.  A spare tool head and dies for the Star was over $700, and I got Dillon dies with the Pistol. So far, it’s working very well. 

They both have their places.

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by Aufidius on 5/18/2018, 5:54 pm

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:
They're awesome machines.  But more comparable to a Dillon 550 than 650.  I'll buy one as a dedicated 45 ACP machine, but not to replace a Dillon.
The ones I've seen in good shape and had to pleasure to use are incredibly well made. 

Star Reloader: $450
B&G Speed N Easy Mount: $399
Moon Unit Auto-Indexer?  $225
Side Kick Round Ejector: $65
MA Systems Easy Loader Bullet Feeder?  $400 - $1000
Freeloader case feeder? $130
Comparable setup:  $1669 + shipping $200+ = 1889+ with all the bells and whistles at today's eBay prices.  That's 1050 vice 550 territory.

I couldn't find all that available, just rooting around, and I'm sure if you hunted there are better deals.  However, even if you wanted accessories, you'd be looking for hen's teeth.  Parts for those items may not exist anymore if you have a breakage.  It doesn't take long to figure out that folks were finding areas to improve the star before they went out of business.  If Star had the volume of business/customers that Dillon does, I'm confident there'd be more folks making "upgrades" and solutions in search of problems for that press as well.

How much would it cost to modify a Star to fall inline with the 1050?

Rifle Dies or bottle neck cases?  Nope.
Non-Standard Pistol Dies? Nope.
Ability to use standard dies.  Nope.
LED light kits.  Nope.
Customer Support? Nope.
Ergonomic handle.  Nope.
Stand to raise height.  Nope.
Primer Pocket Swaging.  Nope.
Motor Drive.  Nope
Low powder alarm.  Nope.
Low Primer Alarm.  Nope
Low powder level alarm.  Nope.
8 stations?  Nope
Bins?  Nope?

 
I know they are more comparable to a 550 (someday!), but I'm still not seeing the price of them "back in the day." Let's say it was $300 in 1980 for a base model, no shell feeder, nothing fancy, just tax, tag, and license. That would be $962 today. Shocked at the movement of the dollar in the meantime? Isn't everybody?! Twisted Evil

Is this math off, or are we really talking about nostalgia, and how much better things were back then (they weren't)? 

When someone can demonstrate any particular loader of any particular vintage and cost does a better job than another, I'll listen. Until then, I'm rocking my Ammo Plant, fools! lol!

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 5/18/2018, 6:29 pm

Aufidius wrote:When someone can demonstrate any particular loader of any particular vintage and cost does a better job than another, I'll listen. Until then, I'm rocking my Ammo Plant, fools! lol!

Dillon 1050.

USAMU is a big hint.  The Dillon 1050 spits out the best ammunition that can be had on a progressive.  For single stage, it's the Forster Co-Ax.   The 1050 is nearly as good as a single stage, but at a massive rate, plus motor and computer controller and bullet/case feeder to boot.

David Tubbs loads on a 550.  He’s pretty good Wink
http://www.65guys.com/precision-from-a-progressive-reloader/

They're not cheap, but good stuff rarely is.
With good discipline any of these machines will load 2700 capable ammo.



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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by Aufidius on 5/18/2018, 7:27 pm

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:
They're not cheap, but good stuff rarely is.

 
Buy once, cry once!

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by fc60 on 5/18/2018, 7:45 pm

Greetings,

Hmmm,  seems I have touched a nerve...

Oh well, back to the Kave where my 40+ year old Star is waiting to finish up more 32 ACP test ammo.

Cheers,

Dave
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by Aufidius on 5/18/2018, 8:17 pm

fc60 wrote:Greetings,

Hmmm,  seems I have touched a nerve...

Oh well, back to the Kave where my 40+ year old Star is waiting to finish up more 32 ACP test ammo.

Cheers,

Dave

Wrong! Happy if you are happy, hope you make ammo that suits you. Just wondered what the price of the set up you have was when you bought it, list price, please.

Hard time thinking only one machine has magic (unless it is boolit making- which is a dark art), just wondering on how price changes over time.

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by Aufidius on 5/18/2018, 8:42 pm



So $2600 today.

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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by Wobbley on 5/18/2018, 9:24 pm

That was a price I paid for a Camdex in 45acp. Set up for 230 Hardball. Ran good too.
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by PhotoEscape on 5/18/2018, 9:57 pm

I meant to express opinion on Mike BE's and other comments related to shell plate jerking and causing powder spillage on XL650.  IMHO, this issue has nothing to do with anything powder drop related.  Shell plate jerk takes place when shell plate rotates, and at that point power drop already took place, and powder bar returns to zero to open cavity for the next powder fill.  Issue relates to indexing of the shell plate.  Without getting deep into it, and writing another essay, - there are three components that address indexing: indexing ring, index ball and index block.  To make long story short, index block has to be adjusted on such way, that by the time it fully advanced index ring, index ball clicks into shell plate all way in.  Index block is located underneath of station four, has two screws holding it, and can be adjusted along horizontal axial.  Also, shell plate should be reasonably tight to the platform, - I use non-scientific measurement: I tight shell plate so it is barely can be rotated by hand.

Oh..., BTW, old style powder measures with two springs working on return of powder bar were prone to double charges.  That is why design was changed to current one.

AP
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by JayhawkNavy02 on 5/19/2018, 10:34 am

Wobbley wrote:Perhaps a little history...

The 650 came as an intermediary to correct the deficiencies in the 550 and to compete better with the RCBS units and the Hornady.   

What year did Hornady and RCBS release their first auto indexing press?
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

Post by jmdavis on 5/19/2018, 12:24 pm

I bought my piggyback RCBS in 1992 or 1993, they definitely predate that though.i got use primarily for 45 Pistol ammo for some years. I never liked priming with it and while I respect Rube Goldberg, his influence was very evident in the Piggyback kit. When I stopped messing around with IDPA in 1998 or so it sat unused and I loaded with another Rock Chucker. I still load rifle ammo on the Rock Chucker but several years ago I bought a Squaredeal B for Bullseye ammo. I have a converted 450 and a 550 waiting for a renovation to increase bench space. But the SDB is the “little press that could” as far as I am concerned. 


That little press has handled 25,000+ rounds in the past 3 or 4 years. My cyclic rate with prepared primer tubes and a hopper full of Bullseye is 500 rounds an hour. The only issues I have had are with the plastic ends on the primer feed that sometimes have the tags break off. I have replaced that piece twice and now consider it part of my 1x per year maintenance. I have loaded lead, swcjhp, and jswc on that press and it just plain works. 

Recently, I obtained a Star from a shooting friend. It too just plain works and one only has to use it to immediately feel the difference between it and a 550, SDB, or RCBS. Right now it is setup for long line ammo but I would like a different expander that better fits the bullets I use. It has no case feeder, no auto indexer, but it does have the safety system and a 100 primer feed tube, along with a taper crimp die.
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Re: Dillon XL650 upgrade questions

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