Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks

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Post by SteveT on Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:42 am

First topic message reminder :

I'm setting up a Dillon XL650 and finding it much more troublesome than my old Square Deal B. I would welcome any help you guys have learned about using them, tips, tricks, hacks, valuable accessories etc.

I've been using a Dillon Square Deal B for nearly 20 years, probably have loaded in the neighborhood of 100k 45ACP  plus some 38, 9mm and 40. I know that machine's idiosyncrasies and find it very easy to change calibers and make adjustments. 

I got the XL650 used from a shooter who has passed. He used it up until last year. It is complete. I disassembled it as little as possible from his loading bench and set it up on mine,  but I can't ask him questions. It came stock including the case feeder with Dillon dies and powder measure. I had lots of problems with the powder measure (inconsistent charges, leaking powder all over the place). I couldn't find any worn or missing parts or anything out of alignment. I didn't want to take the time to mail it to Dillon, so I bought the Hornady case activated meter. It's working great with < 0.1gr variability using VV N310. I replaced the powder check with a Lee universal expander and the machine appears to be working well. I loaded my first ~100 complete rounds yesterday and will test them before loading more, but they look good.

I find the XL650 more difficult to adjust and the case feeder and primer feeder keep getting in the way. I'm considering adding Uniquetek's primer feed stop and case feed stop. I adapted my Inline Fabrication LED light from the SDB so that is better.

One area of concern... Is there a good way to tell when primers are ready for a shell other than counting 9 strokes of the handle? Is there a good way to tell when primers are all gone other than counting strokes (assuming I notice the primer weight stick is at the bottom) or seeing powder leaking through the flash hole?

Thanks in advance.
SteveT
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Post by DA/SA on Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:12 pm

JayhawkNavy02 wrote: and a solid bench 

That's it right there! Too many flimsy benches out there contributing to all sorts of consistency issues.

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Post by jglenn21 on Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:27 pm

agreed.. you simply can't make the bench too solid
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Post by javaduke on Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:38 pm

I highly recommend this bench from Harbor Freight: https://www.harborfreight.com/60-in-4-drawer-hardwood-workbench-63395.html 
It's very well made, and I got a good deal on mine, IIRC with coupon and free shipping deal it was about $110 or so. I put all my ammo, bullets and other components on the bottom shelf and it is very solid and stable. I used Dillon strong mount for the press.

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Post by Jack H on Fri Sep 06, 2019 7:13 pm

In my Dad's loading room, the A2 press was on a heavy steel pedestal solidly lagged to the floor and the stud wall at the rear.  I still have it out in my boneyard.

These days my 2 Dillon 550 and 2 LnL are on their own strong stands either Dillon or Inline brand.  I c-clamp the stands to the corner of a medium weight table.  And set the unused presses under the table. 

Got a nice SDB to unload on someone if I ever get around to it.
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:10 am

Jayhawk,
No offence, but your post is quite contradictory and makes me question your understanding of mechanics.  There is nothing floating in the XL650 or Super 1050 (I only have these models), just sloppy tolerances.  You are dealing with this tolerances and other shortcomings by installing after market component and implementing recommendations tried and tested by others.  John Whidden designed his tool heads specifically in order to deal with shortcomings of OEM ones, and I want to point out two things: a. it is only sold by UniqueTek with Clamp Kit pre-installed, so tool head is locked solidly on the press, and b. using floating feature of the Whidden's tool head provides very little or no benefit at all when loading hand gun ammo.  It is very specific to loading rifle ammo for longer ranges, - see Q&A section for the product at UniqueTek's website.  Whidden also manufactures tool heads without floating feature, and they are better then OEM.  Still UniqueTek sells then with Clamp Kit.  I can assure you that David Tubb's press(es) also modified (I know this for sure!) to achieve better accuracy. 

Otherwise there is no argument about loading match grade ammo on any of the Dillon's presses, - we all do exactly that.

Most importantly, - I appreciate your service to the country! Be Safe!

AP
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:45 pm

PhotoEscape wrote:Jayhawk,
No offence, but your post is quite contradictory and makes me question your understanding of mechanics. 

Offense vice offence taken. I fail to see what is contradictory in my previous post.  I normally enjoy this forum, because everyone is usually congenial.  I also don't look forward to posts that start with "no offense or with all due respect".  Regardless, play may be more accurate, but I don't believe "float" to be incorrect.  The end state is the same.  Removing it degrades the quality of ammunition, which prevents the Dillon 650 from aligning itself from the beginning of the ram movement.  Rotation of ammunition is irrelevant by the shell plate and indexer at the completion of movement.  Premium presses like the Forster CoAx build in "play" for good reason.  You need a certain amount of movement otherwise you create a worse product as the sizing/seating dies, no matter how perfect need to self-align.  That's as good/basic of explanation as I can produce with my graduate degree in Engineering and 17+ years working in an industrial environment.

PhotoEscape wrote:John Whidden designed his tool heads specifically in order to deal with shortcomings of OEM ones, and I want to point out two things: a. it is only sold by UniqueTek with Clamp Kit pre-installed, so tool head is locked solidly on the press, and b. using floating feature of the Whidden's tool head provides very little or no benefit at all when loading hand gun ammo.  It is very specific to loading rifle ammo for longer ranges, - see Q&A section for the product at UniqueTek's website.  Whidden also manufactures tool heads without floating feature, and they are better then OEM.  Still UniqueTek sells then with Clamp Kit.  I can assure you that David Tubb's press(es) also modified (I know this for sure!) to achieve better accuracy. 

The toolhead is not only sold by UniqueTek and the clamp kit is not always pre-installed.  It is adverse to performance from speaking with the head of the AMU reloading shop who is supporting arguably the best shooting team in America and probably the world for our sport.  The toolhead is not locked into place from Whidden and has more vertical play than the OEM Dillon.  Photos below from the AMU reloading shop, which I've visited several times.  The UniqueTek clamp can/may remove/minimize the ability of the 650 to self align at the completion of movement, which is why the AMU does not use them.  Here are few places that you can purchase the floating or standard toolhead without the UnqiueTek clamp.

https://www.whiddengunworks.com/product/floating-dillon-toolheads-2/
https://www.brownells.com/reloading/reloading-presses/reloading-press-accessories/cnc-machined-dillon-toolheads-prod44523.aspx
https://www.creedmoorsports.com/product/WHITHF550/Whidden-Gunworks


PhotoEscape wrote:Using floating feature of the Whidden's tool head provides very little or no benefit at all when loading hand gun ammo.  It is very specific to loading rifle ammo for longer ranges, - see Q&A section for the product at UniqueTek's website.  Whidden also manufactures tool heads without floating feature, and they are better then OEM.  Still UniqueTek sells then with Clamp Kit.

There is a difference between very little and no benefit.  Fundamentally, I would argue, beyond semantics, that most of precision pistol and many competitive sports is a collection of items with "little to no benefit" / diminishing returns, that become potentially significant in aggregate or provide the athlete/competitor the mental comfort/confidence to perform.  I prefer to be sure my ammunition is the best I can to eliminate anything but my own performance as the variable. That is my opinion only.  I spoke with Jon Whidden and he recommended the floating toolhead for match use and floating or non-floating dies.  I did not specify rifle or pistol and neither did John. 

I also have Whidden floating and standard toolheads both.  With LSWCs I have not observed any significant benefit even with virgin starline brass which I measured to ensure consistent length prior to assembling ammunition for testing.  IMO, the biggest improvement with LSWC production was Steve Bathje's insert for Dillon Dies, which seat on the shoulder vice nose of the bullet, frequent cleaning and proper case expansion.  However, that may change with pistol JHP/RN (jacketed) bullets.  You can, for less cost, achieve similar effect with O-Rings under dies (not tightened all the way) to enable the sizing and seating die to center themselves.  I also did not see a significant difference with using a die that contains a floating seating stem like the Redding competition with LSWC, but did with JHP/RN.  The combination of Redding competition dies and Whidden toolhead outperforms the standard Forster/Dillon toolhead for JHP.  When I get back from deployment I can take measurements using the OEM Dillon Toolhead w/OEM dies, OEM Dillon toolhead w/Dillon Dies & Steve Bathje insert, Whidden Standard toolhead w/Forster Competition Dies and Whidden Floating toolhead w/Forster Competition dies to see what combination is ideal for each application.

Finally, to extract the final sentence from UniqueTek's website, "For loading pistol cartridges, and rifle cartridges for short range and "plinking" we recommend using our CNC Machined Toolheads without the floating die feature."  Fundamentally, I'm not loading plinking ammunition for competition at short range.  I doubt UniqueTek is using a Ransom or H.E.G rest to test match ammunition differences for pistol.  I also do not consider 50 yards to be "short range" but silhouette shooters may.  However, fundamentally, I would not state or argue that you need a Whidden floating toolhead to make match bullseye pistol ammunition. 

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PhotoEscape wrote:There is a compounded effect of tool head's vertical movement combined with the fact that shell plate on XL650 rotates around the axial represented by the bolt in the center and doesn't really have solid support base at the stations area (main reason I recently added two Star Reloaders in 45ACP and 38WC) and variables in brass and projectiles leading to difference in resistance station by station while platform gets raised  (a side note here, - this also leads to variations in OAL of the resulting round).  All together it creates close to +/- 0.1 grain difference in powder charges.  Another area of the powder charge deviation is fail safety return bracket due to its flexing unevenly and consequently not returning powder bar to the same position every time.  SteveT eliminated this  by using Hornady's Powder measure.  That is why he commented that observed variations is sub 0.1 grain.  IMHO this is quite substantial variation, although its effect on accuracy at 50 yards should not be significant, - resulting ammo will hold 9 ring or even better.  However grouping will open up.


  • +/- 0.1 gr for bullseye pistol ammunition even at 50 yards for 38 special, 9mm and 45 APC should be satisfactory. See test targets below.  Much better than 9 ring and validates what we do is diminishing returns or unnecessary, and the effort honestly is probably better spent on dry fire.
  • I am curious how the charges were weighted by SteveT and how many (sample size).  Sub 1/10 measurements are outside most powder scale capabilities.
  • I am not sure the safety return bracket would be root cause as a single source of powder charge variance, but IMO few are. Dillon returns if adjusted properly operate without issue with pistol powders.  See measurements from my original post using the factory return.  However, I would like to pick one up to test regardless. No reason not to.


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Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 Zero-bullets


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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:43 pm

I never said, that I can spell correctly.  For that matter, English isn't my native language, so don't be surprised seeing sentences formatted in uncommon way.  Very often I come across a phase that sends me to dictionaries as well, i.e. the phrase you used prior to editing your post.  Believe it or not I appreciate such phrases, as I learn researching.  Another thing I'd love to learn is how to quote partial quotes by other posters.

We used to say, that two engineers (yes, one of my degrees is in Mechanical Engineering, albeit school definitely wasn't ABET certified) have three opinions when they discuss matters. 

Let me ask you the following:
What is the slide to frame fit on your precision handguns?
What is the barrel/lugs fit to slide?
What is the barrel to bushing fit?
What is the OD of the slide stop?

I presume, "play" is minimized in order to achieve accuracy.  I might be wrong though......., because there is  another engineer who believes that tight fit of above parts is a detriment.  The name of engineer is Dan Coonan, and his reasoning based on research that slide is bending and puckering in the ejection port area when shot is fired. 

What I'm finding contradictory in you post is all enhancement you implemented on your XL650 while stating that it is fine as built.  IMHO it is fine as built for producing plinking ammunition.  However in order to produce match grade ammo modifications are necessary, and not only to improve smoothness of the movement. 

I glad that you keep mind open and going to pick up give a try to replacement safety bracket to check on your of if "There is a difference between very little and no benefit."  More so, I'll be happy to ship you one, so you do not incur expense for just tryingYes, I'm the one who manufactures these, alone with PTUs/funnels that you were so nice to post link to.      

I use Gem Pro electronic scale that provides with +/- 0.02 grain accuracy.  I presume, SteveT uses something similar.  As I stated in original post regarding +/- 0.1 grain difference "effect on accuracy at 50 yards should not be significant, - resulting ammo will hold 9 ring or even better."  I guess this is where we agreed, and your tests prove such.  I've never tested ammo with such variation. I simply don't load ammo with such variations, even when I use flake type powders like Unique, - I weight each charge in such cases.  Yes, I know, that I go overboard.  Somehow I must justify my wife's accusing me of being perfectionist.

Be Safe!

AP
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:31 pm

PhotoEscape wrote:I never said, that I can spell correctly.  For that matter, English isn't my native language, so don't be surprised seeing sentences formatted in uncommon way. 

There is no major issue with formatting or spelling, it is the manner in which you replied, which is and could be easily interpreted as being condescending or unprofessional and doesn’t engender future customers to you.

PhotoEscape wrote:I presume, "play" is minimized in order to achieve accuracy.  I might be wrong though......., because there is  another engineer who believes that tight fit of above parts is a detriment. 

Here is a web page with a video on the Forster Co-Ax that will help explain/show why eliminating play/float in your dies is at the detriment to precision, granted much more an issue with rifle than pistol.  The video does a better job than I can. 

http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2017/05/forster-co-ax-press-unique-operation-showcased-in-video/



PhotoEscape wrote:Let me ask you the following:
What is the slide to frame fit on your precision handguns?
What is the barrel/lugs fit to slide?
What is the barrel to bushing fit?
What is the OD of the slide stop?

I presume, "play" is minimized in order to achieve accuracy.  I might be wrong though......., because there is  another engineer who believes that tight fit of above parts is a detriment.  The name of engineer is Dan Coonan, and his reasoning based on research that slide is bending and puckering in the ejection port area when shot is fired. av

I would avoid comparing construction of a precision pistol with the reloading press itself.  Play in a press for self-alignment of dies is good.  Also, Dan Coonan is not a Bullseye or Guild Master Gunsmith. Correlation is not causation.  Meaning because my 1911 is tight and I get better performance doesn't mean that if my press is tight I get better ammunition.  Video/article above should provide a great explanation and you'll see how much movement the dies are offered.  You'll find many 1911s from various Bullseye Gunsmiths are generally tight and barrels fit incredibly well, that doesn't mean "tight" in every situation/part interface however.  That said, I am not a gunsmith and therefore lack credibility to say what does or does not make a world class 1911 with any great fidelity/authority.  There are several on the forum who can, and would be a better resource.

PhotoEscape wrote:I use Gem Pro electronic scale that provides with +/- 0.02 grain accuracy.  I presume, SteveT uses something similar.  As I stated in original post regarding +/- 0.1 grain difference "effect on accuracy at 50 yards should not be significant, - resulting ammo will hold 9 ring or even better."  I guess this is where we agreed, and your tests prove such.  I've never tested ammo with such variation. I simply don't load ammo with such variations, even when I use flake type powders like Unique, - I weight each charge in such cases.

Therein lay a couple issues.  Sample size and precision are key to avoid incorrect conclusions.  We are not in disagreement on powder precision, what I am clarifying is that not only can +/- .1 grain hold the 9 ring, it can easily hold the X-ring, which on the NRA 50 yard slow fire B-6 target is 1.695 inches with 10 shots from a properly configured/setup mechanical rest.  Anything beyond that is "extra".  I would offer a disqualification of my own previous statement.  I have found a few powders, in certain calibers, in very light loads, may be dramatically affected by variation, but the +/- .1 gr (for pistol) seems "good enough" to hold the X-ring typically.

PhotoEscape wrote:What I'm finding contradictory in you post is all enhancement you implemented on your XL650 while stating that it is fine as built.  IMHO it is fine as built for producing plinking ammunition.  However in order to produce match grade ammo modifications are necessary, and not only to improve smoothness of the movement.

Quotes below.  "Capable of" is different from "fine as built".  As built you can produce better than plinking quality ammunition for pistol and rifle, but there are limitations.   From the factory my pistol ammunition will hold the X-ring. Can the design be improved with aftermarket changes and minor work that make it easier to use, more efficient, and precise, absolutely!  This is the reason the Original Poster (OP) created the thread.  If I was reloading rifle ammunition for precision competition at 600+ yards I would make a different statement; because, some modifications are required to be competitive at the national/international with the Dillon 550/650, however, there are fundamentally few progressives capable of producing successful 600+ yard ammunition without modification in my opinion.  


JayhawkNavy02 wrote:
PhotoEscape wrote:There is a compounded effect of tool head's vertical movement combined with the fact that shell plate on XL650 rotates around the axial represented by the bolt in the center and doesn't really have solid support base at the stations area (main reason I recently added two Star Reloaders in 45ACP and 38WC) and variables in brass and projectiles leading to difference in resistance station by station while platform gets raised  ( a side note here, - this also leads to variations in OAL of the resulting round). 

I will politely disagree.  The floating nature of the 650 IS the advantage.  Is a Forster COAX better yes.  Is the 1050 better.  Yes.  But still, the 550/650 are both capable of record ammo.


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Post by SteveT on Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:49 pm

Guys - Take a deep breath and wait to respond for a day or two. I don't think what you are saying is that far apart and I don't think any offense was intended. Read the posts charitably and assume any snark is just the limitations of written language, unless it is obvious.

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:

  • I am curious how the charges were weighted by SteveT and how many (sample size).  Sub 1/10 measurements are outside most powder measure scale capabilities.

Older Pact digital scale, 0.1gr resolution. I can't guarantee the accuracy, but it agrees with a newer Pact (which is noisier and harder to read) and my old RCBS beam scale within 0.1gr. My test weight is a piece of bare copper wire weighing 3.8gr on each of the scales.

When starting a loading session or after any adjustment of the powder measure I...

  • Run 10 charges through, returning them to the hopper
  • Tap the case on the lip of the powder hopper to remove any stuck grains of powder
  • Run the case through the powder measure station (all other stations empty See NOTE 1 below)
  • Pour the case into the pan on the zeroed scale, read the value
  • Repeat, pouring each case in the pan, mentally I add the charge weight to the current weight displayed before pouring, so I can see if there is significant variation
  • If I see more more than 0.1gr variation in one direction or if I see both positive and negative 0.1gr variation, I stop and investigate (NOTE 2)
  • At the end of 10 charges I tap the case into the pan (to get all the last grains) and take the average charge weight


NOTE 1: I know the having the press fully loaded may have an effect on the charge weight, however long as I am consistent (weight empty load full) I believe the effect is not significant enough to matter.

NOTE 2: Often the average charge weight is not exactly on a 0.1gr boundary. In this case sometimes I see the "full charge weight" added to the scale and sometimes it is off by 0.1gr, but it should always be in the same direction. e.g. if the avg is 3.85gr, I should see half the charges increase by 3.8gr and half the charges increase by 3.9gr, but I should never see 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9gr increase in the 10 charges.

Someday I'm going to get a real lab balance and pull samples during a loading session to see what is the real charge weight and part to part variability.
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:13 pm

SteveT wrote:Guys - Take a deep breath and wait to respond for a day or two. I don't think what you are saying is that far apart and I don't think any offense was intended. Read the posts charitably and assume any snark is just the limitations of written language, unless it is obvious.

JayhawkNavy02 wrote:

  • I am curious how the charges were weighted by SteveT and how many (sample size).  Sub 1/10 measurements are outside most powder measure scale capabilities.

Older Pact digital scale, 0.1gr resolution. I can't guarantee the accuracy, but it agrees with a newer Pact (which is noisier and harder to read) and my old RCBS beam scale within 0.1gr. My test weight is a piece of bare copper wire weighing 3.8gr on each of the scales.

NOTE 2: Often the average charge weight is not exactly on a 0.1gr boundary. In this case sometimes I see the "full charge weight" added to the scale and sometimes it is off by 0.1gr, but it should always be in the same direction. e.g. if the avg is 3.85gr, I should see half the charges increase by 3.8gr and half the charges increase by 3.9gr, but I should never see 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9gr increase in the 10 charges.

Someday I'm going to get a real lab balance and pull samples during a loading session to see what is the real charge weight and part to part variability.

Steve,

I for better or worse, fell into the trap of a labatory scale.  Knowing the exact weight led me down a path with no return and didn't correlate to increased scores.... lol!

I do not tap or in any way contact my press/reservoir as to avoid disturbing the powder.  If I disturb the press, I will discard the throws and start over.  After using a lab scale, it causes disruption in the next 1-2 throws.  I also let my scale "warm up" for about 30 - 45 minutes.  I plan to upgrade to a better scale, but after my son goes to college as I want it to be protected.

Here some articles I found incredibly helpful.

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2016/12/15/handloading-tips-improving-rifle-accuracy-loading-efficiency-and-safety

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi22sHm08LkAhVGSN8KHVV4BzAQFjAAegQIABAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uniquetek.com%2Fstore%2F696296%2Fuploaded%2F15_Tips_for_Electronic_Powder_Scale_Accuracy.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2FwNhfOQtmMWZflnTtczkj

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2016/5/6/handloading-tips-to-reduce-metered-powder-charge-variation/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiyjbKu1MLkAhUGhOAKHYscCCkQFjAJegQIABAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uniquetek.com%2Fstore%2F696296%2Fuploaded%2F24_Tips_for_Powder_Measure_Accuracy.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3T1jIgRETbMPjELzjAujsr


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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:13 pm

Thank you, Steve.
Here is the new model of balance I use - https://myweigh.com/product/gempro-300/
It has even better +/- accuracy then older model - 0.001g or 0.015gr.  Mine has 0.02gr.  And it is not overly expensive - http://store.xtremegunshootingcenter.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=956#.XXWy4E1YZN4

I can attest that warranty is also great.  But that is for another time.

I often measure as I load - prime case, remove case, put it on scale and zero scale out, put case back, drop charge, advance press, remove case and put on scale again - it will show weight of charge.  It is rather quite easy with electronic balance like one above.

AP
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:38 pm

The problem with inexpensive digital scales is that they're almost without exception strain gauge type.  Strain gauge scales are you typically find in bathroom, kitchen and general purpose digital scales.  That doesn't mean they're bad or unusable, but there are constraints/limitations to be aware of.  You can help mitigate drift and fluctuation with a power conditioner/Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).  This will assist with minor power surges, brown outs, spikes, harmonics, radio frequency noise, etc. On the cheap you can attach ferrite chokes for a few dollars around the power cord to eliminate some RF noise and harmonics that affect the load cell, or use fresh batteries and isolate the scale from the home and avoid the ferrite chokes completely.

One common way to get great results is with a force motor or electromagnetic force restoration weighing balance also known as a magnetic force restoration weighing balance.  They still require warm up, regardless of the claims otherwise. Sartorius makes great scales IMO and allow you to trickle a charge very efficiently.

https://balance.balances.com/scales/569

Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 S-l1600

I'm working on a DC motor to drive an RCBS powder trickler with variable speeds via a remote motor controller to create a "poor man's prometheus" for long range rifle after seeing the below.  Not that hard with with some hobby grade electronics and junk I have laying around.  I haven't had the time to get it to the point I can get it to auto trickle yet; because, that requires feedback, and I haven't been home.


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Last edited by JayhawkNavy02 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:50 pm

Hm.... another area where we are in agreement.  I'm etching to get 64-1S model.  But then, I'm a lousy shooter.  What I have should provide for improvement.

For your "prometeus" project - permanent magnet step motor might be worth checking.

AP
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:02 pm

PhotoEscape wrote:Hm.... another area where we are in agreement.  I'm etching to get 64-1S model.  But then, I'm a lousy shooter.  What I have should provide for improvement.

For your "prometeus" project - permanent magnet step motor might be worth checking.Not
AP

Doesn't mean you can't have nice toys Wink

I have a 4-Pole brushless 12 slot motor with ABEC5 bearings and high purity windings with neodymium sintered magnets from a discarded past project that I can control from my computer or cell phone (blue tooth) via an Electronic Speed Control (ESC).  I can control the powder rate/volume to the scale, but only manually using the motor RPMs to alter the drive speed of the belt.  I haven't figured out how to get the scale to "communicate" to my ESC to have it stop driving rotation of the belt without breaking in to it and voiding the warranty.  There's no output communication from the OEM scale to transfer data unfortunately.  Fundamentally, the motor exceeds requirements, but free since it's unused a collecting dust.  Not a huge deal to lack the feedback loop, as it only automates the process for long line rifle ammunition which I use once a year, if that.  The RCBS ChargeMaster 1500, s also a strain gauge type, but has all that functionality, just not as precise.  You could easily verify throws on a better scale and redo those out of tolerance.  With the limited amount of 600 - 1000 yard ammunition I make either work.  All of this is unnecessary for pistol, short or long line.
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Post by PhotoEscape on Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:30 pm

I work backwards with precision rifle ammo.  I weight all cases that are ready to be loaded, and load one at the time.  I overcharge case, and then remove excess of powder manually.  If I need to add back, rule of thumb - 1 particle of Varget is 0.02 grains.  I literally count how many particles need to be added.  Very tedious and time consuming, but I also don't shoot much.

Your motor might still have enough momentum.   Stepper has fixed angle of incremental turn.  6 degrees is probably sufficient.  64-1S has RS232 output.  Still programming interface is needed.  Just random thoughts.

AP
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Post by PhotoEscape on Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:37 am

[quote="SteveT"]Guys - Take a deep breath and wait to respond for a day or two.

As Steve suggested I took a very deep breath, and......

To make long story short, and avoid writing long essay, I talked to Lee Love of UniqueTek. Lee introduced me to John Whidden. Outcome of the conversation with Mr. Whidden - he personally uses his own tool heads (either one with floating feature and without) with UniqueTek's locking kits installed. He doesn't subscribe to the notion that tool head floating is beneficial, but rather contrary - it is ABSOLUTELY not beneficial based on his own reloading experience. The only floating he uses is CONTROLLED floating on his own tool heads equipped with this feature. His reason - inconsistencies in run off and seating depth. That is pretty much what I experienced prior to starting locking tool heads on my presses (and one of the reasons I got two Star presses for 45 and 38WC to play with).

CONTROLLED is a key word, and it was also used by Lee Love when we talked. That is versus of uncontrolled play / floating in unlocked Dillon's OEM tool heads, where cases in five stations are subject to floating in X-Y-Z axial plus rotation. Both Foster COAX single stage and Whidden tool heads with floating dies provide for independent (from other stations in case of using on Dillons) CONTROLLED floating of single die without affecting anything else.

AP



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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:06 pm

PhotoEscape wrote:As Steve suggested I took a very deep breath, and......  

To make long story short, and avoid writing long essay, I talked to Lee Love of UniqueTek.  Lee introduced me to John Whidden.  Outcome of the conversation with Mr. Whidden - he personally uses his own tool heads (either one with floating feature and without) with UniqueTek's locking kits installed.  He doesn't subscribe to the notion that tool head floating is beneficial, but rather contrary - it is ABSOLUTELY not beneficial based on his own reloading experience. The only floating he uses is CONTROLLED floating on his own tool heads equipped with this feature.  His reason - inconsistencies in run off and seating depth.  That is pretty much what I experienced prior to starting locking tool heads on my presses (and one of the reasons I got two Star presses for 45 and 38WC to play with).

CONTROLLED is a key word, and it was also used by Lee Love when we talked.  That is versus of uncontrolled play / floating in unlocked Dillon's OEM tool heads, where cases in five stations are subject to floating in X-Y-Z axial plus rotation.  Both Foster COAX single stage and Whidden tool heads with floating dies provide for independent (from other stations in case of using on Dillons) CONTROLLED floating of single die without affecting anything else.

I don’t disagree with anything in your post, except that locking the Whidden toolhead is beneficial for pistol ammunition.  That view is not from my own experience, but the AMU who provided that information.  I also spoke to the good folks at Whidden and you are correct, they do not view the floating toolhead to have any benefit over the non-floating, which aligns with your previous post that referenced the UniqueTek website.  According to Whidden the floating tool head doesn’t reduce run out for pistol due to the large bearing surface, short bullets, and low velocity/pressure, because, fundamentally, pistol cartrdiges don't have any significant run out to address in the first place.  However that changes with long for caliber rifle bullets.  Therefore the floating toolhead is not worth the additional cost, and either Whidden toolhead (floating/non-floating) will provide better performance than the OEM Dillon. John did not recommend the UniqueTek clamp kit for pistol, which is contrary to your post above for the same reason(s).  It simply does not offer any benefit for pistol.  That contradicts your argument that locking the toolhead is required to improve powder metering precision or address perceived issues with the toolhead movement and rotating shell plate to improve other cartridge reloading metrics for pistol.

I think a great experiment would be to make precision rifle ammunition and pistol (Zero 185gr JHP) with a floating and non-floating toolhead, measure variance and test both at range. Again, not sure it’s worth the $$$ for pistol given the results on the previous page.  Then take whichever toolhead(s) offer the best performance and repeat, but lock one of them to see if securing the toolhead has any benefit or not.  For rifle it may/will be more apparent at longer ranges in bolt guns (600 Yds+) and therefore worth the extra cost and effort.

What I’m not sure about is how you would float the sizing and seating did in a press like the Star, since it does not have a removable toolhead like Dillon.  The follow on to experiment to above would be to take ammunition from the best combination and use the same components on the Star and see what the results are.  However, I'm not sure there is a way to use the same dies due to the star’s unique size.  Different dies, and powder accuracy might skew results and introduce too much variability.

For precision rifle, I don’t think the Star will work in a practical sense.  The Hornady Lock-N-Load does not use a removable toolhead, but I suspect there is too much uncontrollable play in the bushing system?  My neighbor has the press, we both have the exact same Forster match dies and I produce more consistent ammunition with the floating Whidden toolhead, for rifle and pistol, but that is a sample size of 1 for both of us.

Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 Ap-press-packaging-image


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Post by Wobbley on Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:06 pm

Not only a small sample size but about a huge number of variables entering into the fray, most of which the operators have no control over. This guy did a comprehensive test of the major single stage presses for precision in build and precision ammunition (rifle).

https://ultimatereloader.com/2019/04/08/fourteen-reloading-presses-compared-single-stage-shootout/15/

To cut to the chase, no press was inherently better. Even the Forster wasn’t better and neither was a big CNC made big press out of Germany.

So until you can identify what effects the press really has and the way to eliminated bad effects, all this might be a fruitless exercise.
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Post by PhotoEscape on Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:03 pm

Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 38kit_10

Remember this?  My working assumption is the one suggested by you, Ashley, that two holes outside of 10 is due to imperfection in projectiles.  I'd love to know this for sure.  What I do know for sure though is that this was loaded on one of my 650s that has everything optimized, centered, polished and locked to the best of my abilities.  Nothing is floating or playing in it.

I appreciate all the work this guy did testing 14 presses.  However I really don't care to know which press has better tolerances out of the box.  I am not a scientist, I am an engineer.  When I work with something that doesn't meet my understanding how it should work, I do my best to make it work the way I want it to work. 

I was very specific in my statement about Star presses.  I have no intention to use it for anything rifle related.  38WC and 45ACP ONLY!  It is solidly built press from mechanical stand point, and I load ammo on it which is in par with represented on target.  It just takes three times longer than on Dillon, even though I adapted Dillon's Case feeder to my Star designated for 45ACP. 

I have no experience with LNL, other than trying to adapt my tools to this platform.  And with that I suggest narrowing discussion back to the subject posted by OP.  I also suggest concentrating on ammunition this forum members use, and void deviating to rifle ammo.  It is completely different ball game, although I can state that I load match grade rifle ammo on my 650s.

Oh... BTW, other than best illustration how bad projectiles affect accuracy, where ammo with SD = 6.5 / ES=24.3 cannot hold 10 ring, above target was the worth out of four tested loads.  And testing was done by the best and most discriminating tester!

AP
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Post by sharkdoctor on Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:36 pm

What should be done first is determine if the shots at 4 and 7 O'clock are really out of the group (your sample of the population).  If you have other targets that were fired, with no change in point of aim, or other variables, you might determine the geometric center of all the shots, then the mean radius of all shots (dispersion from geometric center) and SD. You could simply use group sizes, but that would only yield n=4. Maybe those shots were out or maybe they are just normal system variability.  That is what makes determining "best practice" so difficult.

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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:06 pm

Wobbley wrote:Not only a small sample size but about a huge number of variables entering into the fray, most of which the operators have no control over.

That depends.  If you are referring to only modifying the toolhead, clamped or un-clamped in the same press, you are controlling the variables.  If you are referring to comparing a Dillon 650 w/floating toolhead to the Star or Hornady then there are differences, but that doesn't negate the comparison.  I would also argue that you can control many variables, components, powder charge levels, etc.  Seeing how the presses behave mechanically is the inherent goal.  Is it a perfect test, no, but I don't think  there are very many who have the assets, time or resources to do this perfectly.  Granted there is an inherent risk of arriving at a false conclusion.

Wobbley wrote: This guy did a comprehensive test of the major single stage presses for precision in build and precision ammunition (rifle).   https://ultimatereloader.com/2019/04/08/fourteen-reloading-presses-compared-single-stage-shootout/15/

To cut to the chase, no press was inherently better.  Even the Forster wasn’t better and neither was a big CNC made big press out of Germany.  So until you can identify what effects the press really has and the way to eliminated bad effects, all this might be a fruitless exercise.  

In my humble opinion the data is not well represented, but with effort you can pull some conclusions out.  I am not surprised that single stage performance is so close, as you lose dynamics found in a progressive presses.  Where I would disagree is that no press is is inherently better.  I suspected a press which doesn't have any measurements as "worst" and multiple "best" would probably be better than one that has no "best" and several "worst" assuming no wild deviation in the metrics.    The Turban, RCBS Summit and Rock Chucker Supreme seem to be in that category and the Lee Challenger Breech Lock and Hornady Lock-N-Load Iron appear to be the converse, but without reviewing the data that's just a hunch.  I'd have to put this in excel to verify, which I did last night.  I ignored peak sizing force and average ram slop as those are press vice ammunition performance metrics.  In my view how precise the press was is irrelevant as long as it makes precise ammunition.  So the goal was to see what press was "best" relative to its comparison/test group to achieve the most consistent measurements across Neck TIR, Ogive TIR, TIP TIR, Base to Shoulder, Base to Ogive and Length AVG.

If you order each category, then rank them relative to performance (greatest precision = lowest number for standing) for each press within that category (1 being best to 14 being worst) you can see how each press fell out.  The top two were the RCBS Rock Chucker and the Turban CNC, which tied for performance overall in regards to relative standings.  It looks like the Rock Chucker Supreme is a steal, but there is a cautionary note.  Only 1 press was used for the test and only 5 rounds per press.  I think a follow on test with the top 5 presses and 10 rounds per press from another lot would be interesting and increase the reliability of the data.  Apologies in advance for the charts below, which I threw together after work so.  It looks like where the Turban CNC excels with a slight edge over the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme is consistency/precision.  Comparing the "best" press to worst, the Turban had an average deviation of only .00083" across all measurements versus the Lee Breech Lock with .001793.  In gross simplification, the Turban CNC is more than twice as consistent as the Lee Breech Lock, but the Rock Chucker is not far behind for a fraction of the price.  After looking at deviation, the RCBS summit while not excelling in any specific category, did better overall from a consistency standpoint, which IMO is a desirable characteristic for reloading.  Does twice the consistency make ammunition twice as good? I don't know and doubt it, but it looks like I should buy a Rock Chucker and save some $$$....thanks Wobbley Wink  I do have a Lee Breech Lock and that press is not stellar.  When I get back, and have time to load ammunition (pistol) side by side with the same dies and measure I'll start a new post and release the results.  Somewhat lucky in that I have the worst press to compare....in a way...not really Sad

Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 PRESS-SCORING

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Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 PRESS-Mechanics

PhotoEscape wrote:I appreciate all the work this guy did testing 14 presses.  However I really don't care to know which press has better tolerances out of the box.  I am not a scientist, I am an engineer.  When I work with something that doesn't meet my understanding how it should work, I do my best to make it work the way I want it to work.

I think many of us would be interested which press performs best.  I'm not sure that you need to be a scientist to review data to make an informed decision.  Given that you enjoy your Starline thanks to its superb performance as built and mentioned in your previous posts, I think you may as well.  Fundamentally a press that performs as required without having to modify it would be a boon to most who are looking to make ammunition and view their time better spent on dry fire, practice and competition not modifying equipment.  

PhotoEscape wrote:I was very specific in my statement about Star presses.  I have no intention to use it for anything rifle related.  38WC and 45ACP ONLY!  It is solidly built press from mechanical stand point, and I load ammo on it which is in par with represented on target.  It just takes three times longer than on Dillon, even though I adapted Dillon's Case feeder to my Star designated for 45ACP.

I have no experience with LNL, other than trying to adapt my tools to this platform.  And with that I suggest narrowing discussion back to the subject posted by OP.  I also suggest concentrating on ammunition this forum members use, and void deviating to rifle ammo.  It is completely different ball game, although I can state that I load match grade rifle ammo on my 650s.

I don't think the OP asked about Star presses either, specific or not.  The focus was on how to improve his Dillon.  The Hornady introduction above was to point out that there are progressive presses other than the Star that have fixed dies, unfortunately I'm not sure if the bushing design adds or removes error.  I suspect it introduces deviation vice removes it.  I do not have experience to prove or disprove this.  The discussion of rifle ammunition was an opportunity to test, compare and validate press construction strategies.  Rifle ammunition and the additional measurements you can take provide greater data sets on how each press performs.  No issue with constraining that to pistol ammunition as it would be easier/faster to test and as you mention, what the OP is concerned with.  While you may not have intention of using your Dillon press for rifle ammunition, many of us do, which led to improvements that make better pistol ammunition (see my initial post)....including the Whidden toolhead(s) Wink  Regardless, I spoke with Whidden, the Hornady progressive system has more error than the Dillon and can not be corrected therefore it is not a viable replacement. Stay Blue and good to know.

PhotoEscape wrote:Oh... BTW, other than best illustration how bad projectiles affect accuracy, where ammo with SD = 6.5 / ES=24.3 cannot hold 10 ring, above target was the worth out of four tested loads.  And testing was done by the best and most discriminating tester!

What makes the best and most discriminating tester?  Quite a few successful approaches to testing precision pistols and the effort taken to control variables can be pretty amazing in the setups below.  I'd be interested in how the testing was done for the target above given the results.  The H.E.G. rest vice Ransom was very consistent having seen and used both used for 1911s.  Keeping the concrete foundation indoors and walls to block the wind aids in getting some very good results.  Certain facilities will also keep wind speed, seismic, temperature and pressure records to ensure tests are conducted in similar conditions with readings taken real time to prevent test groups that would fall outside limits.  That level of effort for environmental data is reserved for rifle.

Fundamentally, no argument that you can get great results from the Ransom Rest.  Jerry Keefer and others have used one and had many stunning groups on display, but the foundation and base Jerry built for the Ransom Rest were amazing and outside my skill set.

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Post by Jack H on Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:12 pm

Are the tall lines good, or bad?
Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 DEVIATION


scratch   Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 2309170423 Simple me.
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Post by JayhawkNavy02 on Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:51 pm

Jack H wrote:Are the tall lines good, or bad?


scratch Tell Me Your Dillon XL650 Tips and Tricks - Page 2 2309170423 Simple me.

Steve, apologies for the poor description above and worse graphs. The numbers are relative position within , 1 = best press (smallest measurement) to 14 based on each metric for ammunition. I repeat above for deviation with the exception of the summary graphic “Average Overall Position” . For overall deviation I then took the average across all metrics to find the press which would produce the most consistent ammunition relative to its peers. I did have a couple ties so assigned the same number to each. Shorter bars are better, and position to the left is better except if there is a tie, which happened above. I avoided ranking based on measurements only as the numbers were not intuitive and made for terrible graphs and the results were the same. This gives a decent visual, based on the data to determine some absolute winners and losers in the category. However, as I mentioned above, does a press with 1/2 the deviation produce twice the performance, I don't know. I'm fundamentally impressed that the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme was within a fine margin of the Turban CNC Prazipress performance at about 15 -19 percent of the cost.

Turban CNC Prazipress: $825 - $1045
https://ultimatereloader.com/2019/02/10/german-precision-turban-cnc-prazipress-120mm-reloading-press-overview/

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme: $156
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