Dillon has two types of roller handles. One is alumunium and the other is plastic (I am not talking about the ball handle that the 550 or 650 comes with). Of the two roller handle types, which one do you like better? Why?
I love the aluminum roller handle. When I was using a press with a round wooden ball on the handle I wore a little thin glove with the fingers cut out so that my hand would move smoothly on the ball as I operated the lever.
I've got the plastic roller handle on my 650. Works fine and feels good even after hours of "down and up."
Unfortunately for you, I can't say how the aluminum handle stacks up against the plastic. I haven't tried it nor, more importantly, have I used it for several hours which is what I think needs to be done to compare the two. How each of the handles feel "once" is interesting but how they feel after hours of use, and how that "feel" affects my ability to pay attention to the work and continue to produce safe, quality reloads is important.
Are they the same price? If not, I'd go with the less expensive roller handle and save the rest of the money for more reloading supplies. I'm investing in my ability to hit the target, not to have a nice-looking machine in the shop.
But that's just me...
If you have a 550, as opposed to a 650 or 1050, you're going to have to let go of the handle at the end of your stroke to pick up a new case - which is something that many 550 ball-handle users identify as to why they've never bothered to upgrade to a roller-handle. Although of the dozen 550 users that I know of, all but two have upgraded to either the plastic roller-handle or the aluminum. Quite honestly, I've never asked them if they had a preference for plastic or aluminum.
I can say this, that after using an aluminum roller-handle compared to the plastic roller-handle I have on my 650, I prefer the aluminum much more. Granted, it was on a 1050 where you don't have to have that "feel" for the upstroke for primer seating, but still, after a couple hours, it just felt easier to grip throughout the session. Plus, there's just something about the plastic flat portion on the roller that sometimes bothers me after a lengthy loading session. (It's always a good idea to take breaks in your sessions anyway... )
The difference in price between the aluminum roller-handle and the plastic one is only 5 bucks. Personally, I think it's a good investment.
I've had both, only have the aluminium ones now. The plastic round handle is actually not round. It has three ridges on it that I found to be uncomfortable. As for the ball that ships with the press, I reloaded 300 rounds, and promptly ordered the roller handle.
I have the alum roller handle on a 550 & 650, and the plastic roller handle on a 550. Both type roller handles are more comfortable than the standard ball handle, IMHO. And, I used the ball handle with a sock over it for 10+ years, because I thought the Dillon roller handles were "gimmicks" and too expensive.
Since getting my first roller handle when purchasing a used 550 that came with the roller handle, I've become a convert. My first roller handle was the plastic style. About a year later, I had an opportunity to purchase an alum roller handle for about half price, and decided to give it a try.
For me, the alum roller handle is more comfortable than the plastic roller handle, because the alum roller handle has a completely round OD, while the plastic roller handle, while mostly round, seems to have a "flat" on it. This flat makes it a little less comfortable for prolonged use.
On my 550's it's more of a toss-up as to which works better, because you have to let go of the handle each time, to set a new case in the shellplate. With the 650, you never let go of the handle, and the completely round alum handle is very comfortable to grip for longer periods.