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Discussion Starter #1
ok, i see so many happy people with blue presses and i do load allot of ammo.

what i load allot of is 45 acp, 357/38 and 44 mag, and soon .223 in large quantities. i do all of this now on my lyman tmag2 i like the simplicity of the turrent, and i added a pro auto disk to the setup and it speeds up plinking/practice ammo loading allot.

so my quesions are, how much of a hassel is it to switch from small primer to large primer seating setups, i already own allot of dies, lee, lyman and rcbs, can i use all of those in a 550? i already know the sqauredeal has propriatary dies.

i like to keep around 2k of each round on hand, and if this thing works out easy i just may load up the 5k pieces of 9mm brass i have laying around.

what are the additional things you must have to make the blue run smooth? not the handy helpful stuff but the must have parts.
 

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I am in the market for a press. I reload at my buddies place, he uses a Dillon 550 and it works great. I will be buying one shortly, I just have to pay my Redhawk off layawy then save for the press, maybe by christmas lol!
 

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I bought a RL550 back in 1993, before they changed the frame (now a RL550B). I couldn't begin to count the number of rounds that have been loaded on my machine. When I had my gunsmith shop, I would let customers use my press as long as they bought supplies from me. I have quite an assortment of pistol and rifle dies, all mounted in Dillon tool heads. It's a great machine, easy to master, and very productive. I amble along at 250 rounds per hour for pistol loads but you can crank out double that if you want.

To change from one caliber to another with the same primer size, all you have to do is remove and replace the shell holder plate, remove and replace the tool head (die pack), mount the powder measure and you're ready to go. This takes just a few minutes. Some folks buy a powder measure for each set of dies. I have one set up with the small baffle for pistol and another set up with a large baffle for rifle. You could easily get by with one.

When changing primer sizes, you have to remove the primer feed (2 screws and unhook a spring), replace the primer punch slide, then put the screws back in and connect the spring. Additionally, you have to unscrew a collar on the top of the primer body, remove / replace the primer tube and screw the collar back on. This complete process takes no more than 5 minutes.

I can do a worst-case conversion in less than 10 minuses. This would be from a small primer pistol cartridge to a large primer rifle cartridge. All parts required for small & large primers are included with the press as are the large and small powder baffles.

In addition to dies, you will need to buy a "caliber conversion kit" for each set of dies and a tool head (one comes with the press). The caliber conversion kit includes a shell plate, 3 brass guide pins, and a powder funnel (also performs the case mouth belling function). You can buy the parts separate to save money. Example: a 45 ACP uses the same shell plate as many rifle cartridges (308, 30-06, etc). In this case, you can buy just the powder funnel. Also, all 30 cal rifles powder dies are the same, as are .224 and 7mm etc.

Most any brand of 7/8X14 dies will work with the 550. I prefer Dillon pistol dies because they are so easy to take apart for cleaning and don't loose their adjustment. The only dies I had problems with were Lee. Some Lee calibers have short bodies that don't leave enough threads for a lock nut. Besides, using Lee dies on a Dillon is like putting a $25 scope on a $700 rifle.

Go blue!
 

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Iowegan, I had noticed the pics you have of your Dillon press. I really liked your idea for the charge light, would you possibly care to elaborate on it? Materials used for the project? As I am thinking im am gonna make one for buddies press and for my future press.
 

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Aszor1, You mean this little gizzie?


For electrical components, I used a 2 cell-AA battery box from Radio Shack, a LED socket for the bulb, a 2.5 volt Mini-Mag light bulb, a roller end micro switch, and 22 gauge wire with thick insulation.

The part that looks like a duck head is two pieces of sheet brass soft soldered to 1/4" brass tubing. The micro-switch is sandwiched between the sheet brass and is mounted with 2 #6X32 screws. The "lampshade" is 1/4" brass tubing. The elbow is 7/32" brass tubing. The mounting/pivot screw is a #8X32 I fabricated the base spring from a coil spring.

All wiring from the base up is either in brass tubing (conduit) or contained in RTV.

No doubt, there are many ways one could fabricate a light kit. My goal was to have the light arm be out of the way when the ram goes up and automatically swing over the case under the powder station when the handle is pushed forward to prime. I also wanted a "manual" feature where I could just push the arm forward with my thumb to inspect a case.

I have an older 550 press that had a hole drilled in the casting. I reamed and tapped the existing hole to mount the light kit. The newer "B" model presses have a different casting so you would need to make an adapter plate. The fulcrum point needs to be in the right spot so the arm moves properly yet doesn't bottom out when you push the handle forward without a case in the priming station.

Here's the hole in my press:


Here’s the finished product:
 

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Gee thanks for all the info, If you dont mind im gonna try and use some of your ideas? Its not gonna be exactly like it but it definatly gave me some good ideas! Thanks for sharing
 

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Here's a photo with the handle down (ram up). Note: the position of the upper arm swings back to clear the ram, pushed back by the base spring. The rod for the powder measure was removed to make the light kit more visible. It does not interfere with the light kit.


This photo is with the handle pushed forward to prime a case. Note: the lampshade swings directly over the case as the duck head is pushed down by the powder measure guide. The light is switched on and is ready for inspection. The light will stay on as long as you hold the operating handel forward.
 

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Wow, what detail! You got an impressive product, I thank you for the info. Have you thought about selling them? I know you got the range rods, but I have to say this is one hell of an idea which im sure alot of people would buy, as I know alot of people that use this press. Some food for thought anyways. Again I thank you very kindly for shedding some light on this matter lol!
 

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I've made a few other modifications to my 550. Here's a photo of the ram plate. I cut a channel in it to allow "crud" to be syphoned off before it gets to the primer punch. Don't know if you have experienced it but I would often get little dents in my primers from residue finding its way between the shell holder and ram top. As you rotate the shell holder, it would drag the crud around and drop it in the primer punch. Sometimes the shell plate would bind up too. This crud channel totaly fixed the problems.



I saw the low powder alarm in the Dillon catalog and didn't want to pay the $$$ for it so I made my own. It uses 1/4" tubing, a plastic circle cut out of an electrical junction box, 5 screws, and a small section of a rabbit ear antenna. When installed, the plastic circle stays on top of the powder. When the powder gets to a given level (adjustable with the section of rabbit ear) it pushes on the low primer buzzer and scares the hell out of you. Yes, the powder measure is right in front of your face so why not just look at it? Well, sometimes I am concentrating so much on what I'm doing that I forget to check the powder level.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
thankyou very much for the replys and very handy modifications/inventions.

i wont be switching anytime soon as my job has gone south on me but i will save this post.
 
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