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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone near Mansfield, OH with a Dillon RL 550B that can guide me on first attempt to set powder charge for .45 ACP (or test my first reloads :biglaugh:!) on my new RL 550B?

I have read the instructions, but would appreciate the expert guidance from an experienced reloader before I pull the trigger.

Please let me know. Thank you in advance for snickering in silence.
 

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Hi Kev,

Sorry, I'm not near you so can't help in person. If you don't get any takers, you could try explaining your problems/concerns here. Many of us have loaded on a 550 for years and are pretty experienced at figuring out the quirks of the powder measure.
 

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Something I didn't see on Dillon's setup video or the manual is how tight to make the blue plastic thumbscrew that tensions the spring in the failsafe rod. If you don't make it compress about half of the spring, you will get erratic drop weights.

Ed
 

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I've been reloading on my one 550 for 10 years. Just bought another one this year for everything small primer. What exactly is your question?
 

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Something I didn't see on Dillon's setup video or the manual is how tight to make the blue plastic thumbscrew that tensions the spring in the failsafe rod. If you don't make it compress about half of the spring, you will get erratic drop weights.

Ed
I found that tightening it to get full return on the measuring bar, gives repeatable and constant measures. This means it will be somewhat compressed, rather than the just contacting that the instructions say.
 

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I discovered that when I made my first caliber switch. The tool head that came in the loader was for .38 Super and the powder drops were really spot-on but when I installed my .45ACP tool lead, my drops were all over the place. A call to Dillon only lasted 30 seconds for that's all the longer it took the support person to identify the cause.

Ed
 

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The instructions in my 550B were somewhat vague about spring tension but did say to adjust it so that the spring is compressed a bit. From what I can tell, the main function of that rod is to make sure that the bar returns all the way to the full forward position so powder can drop into the bar uniformly. As long as the spring tension makes the bar go all the way against the stop, you should be fine. Enough is enough. More than enough is not better.

I generally do have to readjust when I change to another chambering.

If this is not the case, please tell me so I can start doing it a better way.
 

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I found that tightening it to get full return on the measuring bar, gives repeatable and constant measures. This means it will be somewhat compressed, rather than the just contacting that the instructions say.
Yup. In the instructions it just says contact but that doesn't give tension enough for a full cycle of the failsafe rod.

You need to have the small powder bar installed, turn the adjustment screw CCW until it stops, check to see what it throws (should be lower than you want) then turn CW a turn at a time til you're close then do fine adjustments.

Check more throws, as it takes a couple drops to stabilize (I don't even consider the first drop after a change, it gets put back into the powder drop). Make sure it throws consistent weights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dan,

Many thanks for the video info. This helps immensely. My concern was setting up the powder charge correctly.

Thanks to all who have responded.
 

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I assume you mean getting the desired charge weight…

If you are using an electronic (digital) scale the easy way is to just take a fired case and stick it on the scale and then tare it out to zero. Then you can put it under the powder measure and throw a charge. I usually throw a couple and discard them before counting on the weight.

Even if you are using a balance scale the empty can catch the charge and then dump it into the scale pan.
 

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When you adjust the powder drop always turn the screw clockwise for final adjustments, keeps the slack out of screw, also after you get it set with scale, I like to throw 10 charges on the scale, weigh and average them out.

Fred
 

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Kev,

I don't know where you are from Florence KY but I sometimes spend a few days there. It may play out that I'll spend some time there in January and I'll be more than willing to help-I don't live there but work puts me there on occasion and sometimes with a day off.

Otherwise, for setting up the charge weight with the bolt head it follows an old saying for setting the idle mixture on old aircraft carbs-right to rich left to lean. In other words, looking at the head of the bolt in the charge bar turning to the right increases the powder charge and turning to the left decreases the powder charge.

Depending on the powder's density sometimes turning the head 30 degrees may be more than a tenth of a grain so fine tuning it can be wearisome at first.

Here's what I do to set the charge up. I'll set my scale and test it with check weights to the desired charge. Fill the hopper more than 3/4 full and tap on it with a knuckle for a bit to settle the powder. Using a case that has a spent primer in it I'll throw three charges and weigh the fourth one, adjust the bolt on the powder bar (right to increase and maybe only 30 degrees of rotation-every point on the bolt head is 60 degrees).

Hopes that helps...
 

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Also run a bunch of charges through the measure before loading rounds. The powder has graphite in it and will coat the inside mechanisms so that the loads will be consistent. If loading with a brand new never used powder measure, the loads may seem inconsistent for the first couple hundred rounds.

When changing the powder charge, be sure to throw 6 - 8 dumps and check again. It takes a few powder dumps to settle down with most powders.

Hope this helps

Bill
 

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Anyone near Mansfield, OH with a Dillon RL 550B that can guide me on first attempt to set powder charge for .45 ACP (or test my first reloads :biglaugh:!) on my new RL 550B?

I have read the instructions, but would appreciate the expert guidance from an experienced reloader before I pull the trigger.

Please let me know. Thank you in advance for snickering in silence.
If you know how to screw, you can set up the powder measure yourself. This sure as heck ain't rocket science! ;) You'll enjoy your new Dillon. Just turn the adjustment screw and weigh charges until you get the charge that you want. It really is that simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Captain! (and everyone else!)

I frequently travel to Florence, KY on business! You are welcome to visit here anytime, just let me know.

With the information and videos received in this forum, I am planning to set the charge weight today. I'll let you know how it worked out after I get my mother-in-law to shoot the first reloads!

Thanks again!
 

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Use a primed (fired or unfired) case to check the powder drop. Remove the pin from the base plate so you can slide it in and out without turning the station.

In first year chemistry, they teach you to tare the container and weigh it full. That's a waste of time and energy (yours). Zero the scale after each weight and dump the case into the pan, being careful not to spill powder by dumping too fast. Make sure the case is clean (dry and lubricant-free) so powder doesn't stick inside. Tap the case with your fingernail, to dislodge any reluctant granules. Empty the pan into the hopper when it gets too full, or you're done checking the weight.

With any slide or cylinder powder measure, dump two loads after each change, so that the powder fills the chamber and reaches an equilibrium density. Then check two or three drops for weight and consistency.

Powder will settle in the Dillon when it stands idle for more than a few minutes. Recheck the weight before resuming. The Dillon hopper has a baffle at the bottom, which keeps the drop nearly constant, regardless of the amount in the hopper.
 
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