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Purchasing Reloading Equip ~ Review Requested

3722 Views 30 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  pantera84
Hello gentlemen ~

I'm looking for some honest, no BS feedback on an order I'll be sending in soon. Want to make sure I'm not missing something. I need someone experienced with reloading, and particularly with the Dillon series of presses to shoot me some feedback on my order summary.

Check out the order here (item numbers are included):

Order Summary
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I also have the 550B. Thorough list.

Depending on your brass supply, a case trimmer may be in order. I also hear good things on imperial sizing wax.
 

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This is just my opinion. But if I could start over.
Dump the strong mount , roller handle , vibratory tumbler , and digital calipers.
Get a Thumblers SS media tumbler.
A Starrett , Mititoyo , Brown and sharp , ect.... - With tools , you get what you pay for.
If you are going to load for a bolt gun get the Hornady L&L overall length tool .
Get more manuals and read them.
 

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This is just my opinion. But if I could start over.
Dump the strong mount , roller handle , vibratory tumbler , and digital calipers.
Get a Thumblers SS media tumbler.
A Starrett , Mititoyo , Brown and sharp , ect.... - With tools , you get what you pay for.
If you are going to load for a bolt gun get the Hornady L&L overall length tool .
Get more manuals and read them.
Very true on the tools. Starrett has some type of value line IMO stay away all my tools pre NAFTA and we know about that dont we.
 

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Looks like you are going through BrianEnos.com.

Good guy. You can call and he will actually talk with you!

Good safe list.

I have two 550Bs. One is set up for large primers and one for small. Two are not necessary, I bought them both reasonable on ebay (years ago).

You know for rifle, ball powder is recommended on the progressives for metering.

Dave

Edited to add: Don't forget Dillon's lifetime no BS warranty policy. If you are familiar with the Enos forum, there are a large number of folks who load thousands plus rounds of USPSA ammo a year. The choice, by far, is Dillon.
 

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I run a 550 as well. I agree with dumping the strong mount, the handle, and I would probably do a youtube search for the DVD before I paid $20 for it.

The spare parts kit is nice, but probably not needed as Dillon will send you a free one if something breaks. However I do keep a spare kit as well.

Get extra tool heads, one for every caliber you plan on loading for. And if you have the funds get an extra powder funnel or two so you won't have to change them either.

If you polish the inside of the funnel base it will meter MUCH better. Check You Tube for how-to videos on that one.

Tools, you do get what you pay for, if you can afford it, always get the best.

Buy many more manuals. I recommend a minimum of 3 at your bench. The Lyman is the one I use most often though. Check Sierra, Hornady, etc. There are many good ones.

A good chair or stool with padding will help your backside.

For the tumblers, just starting out I would just go strait to the steel media, I still use the walnut, but if I were just starting out I would get the steel tumbler and media.

I prefer the Dillon dies because when you get a stuck case they are the easiest to remove from and you don't risk the chance of destroying the die like other brands. When I upgrade my dies (usually from ruining one getting a stuck case out), I try to get the carbide but I have not had any problems with the regular steel wearing out on me yet.
 

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If you want a progressive go Dillon. If you want a single stage go Redding.
If you shoot a lot go Dillon LOL.
 
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You can get data on line from powder manufacturers too (Hodgdon, Ramshot, etc). I would suggest a Lee manual and would second the Lyman and Sierra manuals.

On your list, I don't see a primer swage tool to remove the crimp on once fired military brass. Will you be using commercial or once fired & prepared brass or range pickup?
 

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If you want a progressive go Dillon. If you want a single stage go Redding.
Not that Redding doesn't make a perfectly good press, but I think that a Forster Co-Ax is probably the best choice in a single stage press.


Of course, I've never met ANYONE who was sorry they bought Dillon. GI5
 

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OP - what cartridges are you loading in what volume for which calibers and what application?

From your previous posts, it looks like you have an M1A of some type so I'm going to assume bottle-necked rifle cartridges.

You need a powder measure of some type. I'm sorry if it's on that list and I missed it. The RCBS ChargeMaster is digital scale and powder measure combined. Nice tool IMHO. Hornady, Lyman & Redding all make good powder measures too. Which one is best depends in part on whether you want to load pistol calibers too.

+1 on Imperial Case Wax. I also use Redding's Imperial neck lube. With their application media, it works much better than graphite on a brush. Less mess and more lube where you actually want it.

+1 on a case trimmer. For .308 out of an M1A, you will need to trim cases almost every time unless you use an RCBS X-Die sizer. Some form of built in motor or power attachment is necessary in the long run. Lyman's "Universal" trimmer with a carbide cutter and the added adapter for a power screwdriver is a budget alternative to the full-on RCBS trimmer.

If you are buying new, unfired brass, I recommend a flash-hole deburring tool from Sinclair or Lyman. Especially for rifle cases.

If you are reloading rifle cartridges, you need a chamfer/de-burring tool. Nice to have for pistols.

Not trying to be a poophead. These are just my opinions. I don't think that progressive presses (regardless of blue, red, green or red) are the best choice for many situations, especially for someone new to reloading or for rifle cartridges. I have a Hornady single-stage, a Lyman turret and a Hornady progressive (purchased in that order over several years). There are great applications for each one. A progressive press is great for producing large quantities of pistol ammo (i.e. batches of at least 200-300).

Typically for a rifle cartridge, you only have two dies - the de-capping & re-sizer plus the seater die. You need to do case prep including trimming in between those two steps so I don't "get" what benefit a progressive press provides when reloading rifle cartridges. I also don't understand why you need a taper crimp for a rifle bullet without a cannelure.

If you want mechanical help with proper case prep, the RCBS TrimMate speeds things up and saves older wrists/hands/etc. Please note that the flash hole deburring thing that comes with it is junk - no stop and it wobbles. However, the stem from Lyman's hand tool fits perfectly. You only debur the flash hole once for new brass, but the machine is great for that task.

Bottom line:
If all you're reloading for is rifle cartridges I'm guessing that you could buy the following for substantially less than the Dillon package and have a better setup for rifle cartridges:
Forster Co-Ax single stage press
Strong Mount for press
RCBS X-Die Sizer (could get their 2-die set -or- add Forster Bench Rest Seater die)
Hornady powder measure & bracket
Redding 5-0-5 beam scale with a trickler
-or- RCBS ChargeMaster package for measure & scale combined
A SET OF CHECKWEIGHTS (forgot those before but use them every time)
Hornady or RCBS hand priming tool
Vibratory tumbler & separator (Cabelas is cheap and they work)
Hornady reloading manual (separate section on .308 Service Rifles - IOW our rifles)
RCBS digital caliper (Starret would be better)
Wilson case gauge(s)
Quinetics inertia bullet puller
RCBS TrimMate
Power trimmer of your choice
 

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I have a Dillon 550 and XL 650 that I have been using for years. I have used them to load .45ACP, 9mm, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .44Mag, .44 special, .30-.30 Win, .308 Win, 8mm Mauser, and .300 Win mag.

They both have worked fine.

I tend to use my Dillons more like a single stage though when I am loading for rifle. Just so I can do the proper case work that needs to be done.

I also do not use the Dillon powder measure any more when I use extruded powder. I bought those powder measure adapters that Dillon sells so I can use a Redding BR-30 Powder Measure instead.

The only thing I would cut from your list is the toolholder/wrenches. If you have a spare set of standard allen wrenches laying around you can save some money there and just get the wrench.

Can't really think of anything else that some one has not mentioned yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OP - what cartridges are you loading in what volume for which calibers and what application?

Hello TheTinMan: I expect to be able to load 9mm, .223, and .308. I will be focusing primarily on .308 but would also like to be able to crank out 9mm/.223 at a rather quick pace. I'm planning on those being rather standard loads where my .308 loads will be custom. From what I've read the 550 is the best "all-around" press without having too many bells and whistles.
 
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