45 Match Ammo with a Dillon

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Post by jscot111 on 2/7/2020, 3:51 pm

What are the best practices for loading with a Dillon RL550b. I,m using Dillon dies, stock powder measure  with BE powder. I had a Master shooter shoot some of my reloads and he said they were bad and he could feel the recoil change from shot to shot. .469 crimp and .920 to shoulder of bullet, old Star 200gr lead.

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Post by Wobbley on 2/7/2020, 4:04 pm

If you don’t have a single stage press, load 50 rounds using your press as a single stage removing and replacing each case from each station then move to the next.  When you drop the powder immediately weigh each charge and record the value.  When you seat the bullet measure the bullet seating OAL before crimping.  When you crimp measure each crimp. 

I bet there is a large variance in your powder drop.  You can try to rework it until it gives good results.  But a lot of rifle shooters swap out to a drum type powder like an RCBS Uniflow or the Hornady with a specific case activated system.  The Dillon measure is a copy of the Star powder measure from the old Star progressive machines.  The Dillon uses castings in the “as cast” configuration and the slides wobble around a bit.  Powder leaks and can hang up the slide.  The drum types are much easier to fit to eliminate these issues.  Both the Hornady and the RCBS have “Powder thru expander” capability as well.
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Post by CR10X on 2/7/2020, 7:24 pm

Mount the Dillon on a solid base; make sure the powder measure bar and spacer bar actually fit and are not too loose or tight;  don't over or under tighten the powder return rod if yours has one, use the small charge bar; make sure the measure has the baffle in it and make sure the "wave" washer is tight enough on the powder adjustment bolt and the case plate bolt is just tight enough to allow rotation but no wobble.  Don't over expand the cases and be consistent on the operation.  I've produced .45 with single digit SD on a 650 with a Dillon measure.

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Post by jglenn21 on 2/7/2020, 10:07 pm

Ton of stuff out on the web about improving the dillon powder measures..

Also anything you can do to smooth the press function out will help alot..
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Post by David R on 2/8/2020, 7:25 am

Perhaps increasing your crimp to improve combustion.   I go to .463.  Try more and more crimp and see if  you get better results.   A chrony would help you  achieve better ballistics.     Cull the first 3 rounds out of your press for practice. It does not work exactly the same until all stations are full.    I used 1,000 grit sand paper on the bottom of the powder measure to get unique to flow better. 

Lube the press where it moves and the ram with some light oil every thousand rounds or so.

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Post by dronning on 2/8/2020, 8:29 am

+1 on the crimp
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Post by javaduke on 2/8/2020, 10:52 am

I found the Lee Factory Crimp die producing the most consistent results out of all crimp dies I tried (Dillon, Hornady, Redding), so I would highly recommend setting up the Lee die on the last stage and use the Dillon die to only seat the bullet. I suggest you develop batches of 10 rounds starting with .469 crimp and go progressively down to .463 - .462 and see which one groups the best.

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Post by orpheoet on 2/8/2020, 12:32 pm

I use a Dillon 550 with Dillon dies and powder measure with good results. My 50 yard hand loads are X ring accurate off of a sandbag so it can be done. I do use a stepped powder funnel and a seating insert that seats on the edge of the bullet. 4.3 gr WST for 185gr SWHP from Zero and 160 gr SWC from Brazos.
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Post by BE Mike on 2/9/2020, 9:00 am

jscot111 wrote:What are the best practices for loading with a Dillon RL550b. I,m using Dillon dies, stock powder measure  with BE powder. I had a Master shooter shoot some of my reloads and he said they were bad and he could feel the recoil change from shot to shot. .469 crimp and .920 to shoulder of bullet, old Star 200gr lead.
Before experimenting, if your load is reliable, see how accurate your current load is at 50 yards. If you have a well built pistol and testing reveals 10 shot 3" groups, you are good to go as a Marksman. If you can find a buddy with a Ransom Rest, you'll be in high cotton.
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Post by bruce martindale on 2/9/2020, 8:58 pm

If you are using dead soft swaged Star bullets, then the Dillon die could be making the shell i.d. too small and then the bullet gets swaged down during seating. Try a hard cast slug or try unresized brass ( use a larger die to deprime only). Then re-evaluate the problem.

There are larger id sizing dies.

Good luck

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Post by Colt711 on 2/10/2020, 5:03 pm

+1 on using a seater plug that presses on the "wad" portion of SWC bullets. I have a star and could not use a LEE Factory Crimp die but a couple of fellow shooters had excellent results with them. SD's of 6-8.

They advised to buy a LFC crimp and if results were not good return it as they will replace them until results are satisfactory. This info is not recent so may no longer be so???

The above might help but others here are giving you good advice.

Ron Habegger


Last edited by Colt711 on 2/10/2020, 5:10 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : 2/10/20 Clean up grammar for readability)

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Post by bruce martindale on 2/11/2020, 9:15 am

The other way to avoid swaging during seating is to measure the expander plug in the powder measure. It should be .451 or bigger

Thanks

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Post by BE Mike on 2/11/2020, 12:59 pm

I took off my die head from my Dillon 550 the night before last. I laid it down with the powder measure attached and about half full of Alliant Bullseye. I then put everything back in place. I checked the powder measure with 10 drops of Bullseye. The measure had been set at 4.0 grains. The ten charges weighed 40.1 grains! My Dillon powder measure seems very consistent. You might want to see if yours is consistent. Individually weigh a bunch of charges and see if there is much variation. Acceptable to me are charges that I set, plus or minus 1/10 variation in weight.
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Post by jscot111 on 2/13/2020, 10:24 am

Thanks everyone for the input. I will try the suggestions and see if it makes a difference.
Scott

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Post by straybrit on 2/13/2020, 7:44 pm

Note also that the powder weight variation between loads will differ with different powders. My 550 had no problems producing consistent +/- 0.1g loads with BE. With WST the same rig was producing +/- 0.3. Much polishing, cleaning, aligning later it's +/- 0.15. Just. I'm currently investigating the Hornady powder drum conversion.

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Post by Colt711 on 2/14/2020, 12:36 pm

straybrit wrote:Note also that the powder weight variation between loads will differ with different powders. My 550 had no problems producing consistent +/- 0.1g loads with BE. With WST the same rig was producing +/- 0.3. Much polishing, cleaning, aligning later it's +/- 0.15. Just. I'm currently investigating the Hornady powder drum conversion.

WST is such a fine grain pdr. that your work on tolerances was necessary. I obtained 2 4's of it during the last shortage. The star was dribbling the grains out around the slide and bar until filing and stoning. Never checked round to round weight results but they could not have been good.

I like WST for the .38 special but not for the .45. BE seems to yield a quicker cycle to me. That is likely because of several (50 plus) yrs and rds of use!?

Ron Habegger

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Post by sharkdoctor on 2/17/2020, 9:09 am

Some additional data:

My Dillon 550 powder measure is set for ca. 4.0 gr.  Mods include polishing the stock powder drop tube internally and removing the plastic thingy holding the charge bar spacer, tapping and replacing with a machine screw.

Results: mean wt. 4.00 +/- 0.022 sd (n=7); range 3.96 - 4.04

Thus 7 charges varied a max of +/- 0.04 grains, or 1%.  This seems good enough for me and I doubt it results in much velocity variation and impact variation at 50yds.  YMMV.

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