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Dillon XL750 First impressions / First modifications

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Post by PhotoEscape 3/3/2020, 1:35 pm

I ordered one locally about 10 days ago. Installed and started testing last Friday.

Needless to say, my primary interest was in new indexing system, new priming and fail safety mechanisms.

Initial observation is that engineering level is of typical Dillon. It is very raw, without much attention to technical details, too much reliance on free hanging self adjusting parts, and cutting corners for the benefit of production cost. The best example are primer feeding tubes that are installed into primer magazine. Plastic ends on tubes do not provide for consistent feeding. Out of 15 primers I loaded in my first trial, only 13 were loaded. I had to fish for two remaining with low primer rod. I then reamed plastic end with standard 0.175"+ reamer, and loaded another 10 - this time 9 made through. Called to Dillon technical support yesterday yelled suggestion by support tech that my primers might of been out of roundness, and then suggestion to cut off plastic end and install spare one included in package.

I also observed more disturbing thing, - couple of primers got flipped over. I'm interested to learn if any of the early adopters of the 750 had this happening! I also am not happy that during return primer bar crosses open area exactly where particles of powder can drop right into the primer holding cup.

Unfortunately older style tubes with brass ends would not work. So that is the first part I measured, drew and am getting turned out of brass.

Needless to say, I was disappointed that I cannot transfer tool head, that was setup on 650, to 750 without needing to make changes. However the good news here is that releasing two screws holding Powder Measure and rotating it enough to install tool head, was sufficient, and no additional changes to any of the dies was needed. That brings me to that fail safety rod and bracket. Latter seam to be a little bit off dimension wise (2mm, IMO) for the rod to drop down vertically as outlined in manual. And of course, bracket is sized the way, that if anyone wants to use Mr. Bulletfeeder's dropper installed on station 4 (while using station 3 for powder check), it is impossible! Powder measure with current bracket is seating about 10 degrees too far to the right, - this is the issue that Rick Koskela, The Mr. Bulletfeeder asked me to look into. The simplest solution to this problem is using fail safety rod assembly from Super 1050, p/n. 16811. I FaceTimed how it works to Rick, and he will take it to Dillon's folks. However I'm still going to re-design entire bracket for better overall functionality.

I implemented first modification on Sunday. I installed springs on both primer bars between body of the bar and plastic roller, so roller doesn't get stuck at the back corner of the housing. If anyone interested - in my local True Value it is Spring #9 ($0.59), and then cut to the proper size. Or in simpler terms, spring with ID 0.1875" and smallest wire diameter you can find.

I proposed this tread as a means of exchanging experience and ideas regarding this new press. I understand that there might be other forums, that are more specific to Dillon's equipment. I simply don't have time to follow up all of them. Feel free to propagate information.

AP
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Post by Plunker 3/3/2020, 2:43 pm

I appreciate your review and first thoughts on solutions.  My first impression after reading your note is also disappointment as I was going to order a 750 this Friday afternoon when got home from travel.  I even spoke to Dillon this morning with questions.  I don't think I'll be place this order now. Don't get me wrong their customer service is as good as it gets in MHO. But ...for $1.300 I would at least like to start out happy and eliminate the issues I already have even though I learned to accept and deal with the couple I have with my 550.

 I will give my experience relative to your second paragraph " more disturbing thing"  .  Even though my experience is from a 1983 Dillon 550 ( thousands of .45 loaded ) and still being used.  I have the same frustrations with primers flipping sporadically and power debris behind and under powder bar. I brush off every 100 rounds when loading primers. I have deburred all alum.tubes early on and since changed the plastic pick -up ends from the original off white to now red at Dillon's direction to no avail.  Back to the original off white ones.
 Keeping the 550 for now.

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Post by jglenn21 3/3/2020, 2:57 pm

Glad to see this thread as I have a new 750 myself.. factory setup for a 45 has been near perfect for me.. no primer issues at all. I did have to slightly adjust the case feeder to get it to work perfectly but no big deal.. I'm thinking of getting the mini bullet feeder and installing it in station 3.  station 4 is my bullet seater and 5 is my crimp die. I don't use a powder check..

BTW I use Winchester primers exclusively


I also normally install one of the old style powder bar return springs just to help with smoothness..
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Post by jglenn21 3/3/2020, 3:00 pm

no problem  with dirty primers on the 750 as it's in a unique station.

I polish the inside of all the aluminum tubes with small Flexi ball hones.. and check them for straightness
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Post by Pat Clarkson 3/3/2020, 3:38 pm

If your looking for a new press look at the Hornady progressive

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Post by Plunker 3/3/2020, 4:24 pm

Jimmy,

 Where did you find a flex ball hone with a long enough shank ?  Mcmaster Carr ? Zero ? 

 I deburred the ends but who knows where the finish is in between.

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Post by jglenn21 3/3/2020, 5:09 pm

Actually I cheated and got them straight from brush research.. I've had an account with them for years.. you can always run a shorter brush in from both sides.. i don't recall offhand what size they are. Probably metric
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Post by jglenn21 3/3/2020, 5:11 pm

An air pistol cleaning rod should work to push a patch through
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Post by Plunker 3/3/2020, 5:29 pm

Thanks Jimmy,  Patch it is.

By the way I also only use Winchester primers.  The debris I previously referred to around the back of the powder bar is mostly likely from the first stage primer removal.

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Post by jglenn21 3/3/2020, 7:05 pm

Yep, the 750 is clean as a whistle so far around the primer area. I own 3 550s so i know all about cleaning that area.

I experienced flipped primers on the 550 but i think it was doing it as they were being.pushed forward. Like most folks i did everything i could to smooth out the press. That seemed to fix it on my 550s. My 750 is very smooth
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Post by Plunker 3/3/2020, 7:21 pm

Jimmy,

 Would you mind listing some of the things you've done to smooth out your 550's.  Even when I pull the trigger on the 750 I would still like get the 550 near perfect.  I really only get a primmer flipped about every 1,500 rounds.  It hasn't happen since I replace the bar , slide plate and primer feed assembly .  Complete make over and cleaning over the winter.  But I know people have replace indexing plate and bearing and spring. I never done anything with that other than regular disassembly cleaning and regular brushing off during use.

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Post by jglenn21 3/3/2020, 9:52 pm

like I mentioned  I use the old powder drop spring to insure the bar returns smoothly.(many folks have modified the current powder return arm to smooth the return cycle out and use the same spring).  I use the lighter indexing ball and spring you can find on eBay also use a copper washer over the shell plate. Don't care for the roller thrust bearings you see for the same purpose.  the lighter ball and spring reduces the little hump you get when you manually index the plate.. Because the cases really are not held that securely they will bounce and spill powder when you index it.

worked on the powder drop quite a bit smoothing out the bars and polishing the drop inside.. many articles on improving the drop.. Check out UniqueTek. they have several article on improving dillons and sell quite a few upgrades although most of them are cheaper on eBay...

I also use an extended support  under the primer feed arm. it supports the arm the full length of it's cycle. a bit of dry Moly on this support helps too.

Brian Enos' forums on the dillons has a fair amount of good info on them from users.


only part change I made to my 750 has been the roller cam follower verses the stock Dillon part.. I did work on the powder drop to polish it up..


AP, have you tried a 45 case on the primer rod end.. I have found that some dillons like them and some don't but it may be worth a shot.

I'm sure others will drop in with stuff they have done to their dillons..as AP noted they are very loose compared to say an old Star
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Post by jglenn21 3/3/2020, 10:02 pm

BTW I think I used a 5mm flex hone for the large primer tubes and perhaps the same for the small or a 4.5 mm
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Post by Plunker 3/4/2020, 4:12 am

Jimmy,

 Thank you for all your input and time.  I've done most of the things you have mention. But will look into the lighter ball and spring and locate a 5-mm fine hone and inspect and lightly hone all Lg. primer tubes.
Kevin

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Post by jglenn21 3/4/2020, 7:57 am

Be sure to roll the tubes on a surface plate or a piece of glass to check for straightness
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Post by jglenn21 3/4/2020, 8:01 am

Try a 5.5 mm for large primer tubes. Something in 400 - 600 grit
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Post by jglenn21 3/22/2020, 9:14 pm

AP,  did you figure out the primer flipping issue. talked with a fellow 750 user that had this issue on his..  primer cup wasn’t perfectly aligned under the primer magazine for him. once he got it aligned,  his has been GTG
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Post by PhotoEscape 3/22/2020, 9:38 pm

jglenn21 wrote:AP,  did you figure out the primer flipping issue. talked with a fellow 750 user that had this issue on his..  primer cup wasn’t perfectly aligned under the primer magazine for him. once he got it aligned,  his has been GTG
Jimmy,

In addition to the primer flipping I experienced primers not dropping at all after "primer low" buzzer goes off and rod is removed.  That is because weight of 10-12 primer left after that is not sufficient to overcome holding force of plastic end.  That is why Dillon's manual outlines and suggests "one primer" drop test.  So I'm in the process of manufacturing replacement ends made out of brass.  Pretty much same approach as on XL650 tubes.  Prototypes showed much greater results than plastic ones.  I also think, that with XL750 priming system, longer and heavier rod would provide for better primer drop.

AP
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Post by DA/SA 3/23/2020, 6:12 am

PhotoEscape wrote:In addition to the primer flipping I experienced primers not dropping at all after "primer low" buzzer goes off and rod is removed.  
AP
Are you expecting the primers to drop properly with the feed rod removed?

If you must use the warning buzzer, once it sounds, flip the buzzer arm out of the way and drop the feed rod back in to silence it and allow the primers to continue feeding.
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Post by jglenn21 3/23/2020, 7:12 am

Sort of what I've always done too.. I also use a 45 case on the end of the rod to add a touch of weight to the rod.. some of my Dillons like the extra weight and some do not.

Sounds good to me if we get improved parts for the loader..be glad to be a guini pig on any of the parts.
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Post by Arthur 3/23/2020, 7:40 am

If the Dillon is so poorly made, what is the better option? 

Thanks 
Arthur

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Post by PhotoEscape 3/23/2020, 8:57 am

Yes, that is what, as I understand, one primer drop test is indicative off.  Nowhere in the manual it says that this primer must be pushed by the rod.

Looking at the design of primer feed, I see no reasons for it not to work unless (once again, per manual in troubleshooting section) plastic end needs to be replaced.  For that matter there might be other issues because of the design, i.e. primers flowing down if flat spring, that drives white primer stopping pin, locked in open position for any reason.  If that is a case, rod would be an aggravating the problem.  I'll be doing more testing.  Of course, the above are my observations and thoughts.  I don't pretend to be right at this point as more testing is needed.

Jimmy,
Thank you for offering to be a tester.  I might take you upon the offer.

AP
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Post by jglenn21 3/23/2020, 10:18 am

Dillon arent poorly made.. way too many of them out there.enjoyed by people.. pretty.much any product can be improved by inventive people..even the old Stars were.improved by aftermarket products and they were.built like a tank.

I own a 30 year old 550 that still works like a champ
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Post by PhotoEscape 3/23/2020, 11:50 am

Arthur wrote:If the Dillon is so poorly made, what is the better option? 

Thanks 
Arthur
IMO, Arthur, this is not a fair assessment and your question is open ended as it lacks any qualifiers.  The only answer I can offer is to look into Mark 7 Evolution / Revolution presses. If $3,000 starting price for Evolution doesn't concern you, it is a very good platform and step up from anything from Dillon's lineup. 

As a engineer, I judge design and execution of any device at a little bit different level then average consumer.  And I see and know where and how various components can be improved.  If for a moment I abstract from being a "squeaker", Dillon 650 / 750 / 1050-1100 is a great balance between being versatile platforms for the price one pays for it.  I'm sorry if my posts create impression that Dillon is "no good".  For discriminating reloader it can be enhanced - yes, absolutely.  Otherwise, with proper technique and a lot of patience one can load match grade ammo on out of the box unit.

AP
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Post by Arthur 3/23/2020, 6:28 pm

"Initial observation is that engineering level is of typical Dillon. It is very raw, without much attention to technical details, too much reliance on free hanging self adjusting parts, and cutting corners for the benefit of production cost."


This was the statement that caused me to raise the question. That and all of the modification being made to the tool. 
Sounds like it's a cost / performance balance. The market would like a better tool but won't support the cost, $3000 Evo vs $800 Dillon 650. 
Fair enough, I just wanted to be sure that I wasn't missing anything. 
For employment, I'm in the Quality field. So yes, I look at things with a slightly different perspective than some other people also.


Thanks 
Arthur 

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