You guys have convinced me to buy the Dillon. However, have read so much about the Lee factory crimp dies, do you think it would be a good idea to use the Lee dies on the Dillon? Does this invite problems when dealing with Dillon if not 100% Dillon?
I know some guys have had to use the locking ring from the bottom instead of the top of some dies to lock them in place on the toolhead, but I have not had to do that with the Lee dies on my 550B. They work good and should not give you any problems. I have Dillon, RCBS, Redding , and LEE and none have given me any trouble.
I have three calibers set up on my 650 using the following dies:
Dillon Resizing Die
Dillon Powder Die
RCBS Seating Die
Lee Factory Crimp Die
The Lee FC Die is secured by the lock ring under the tool head. The RCBS seating die is secured by a lock ring on top and one under the tool head. I often load different bullets and this allows me to change the seating depth without a lot of effort. I like Dillon products but their seating die is a pain in the neck when you want to change seating depth. With the RCBS die locked on both top and bottom I can loosen and tighten the depth screw with moving the die body.
I use a Lee U die for both 40 and 38 Super. I cannot use the lock ring on the top or the bottom, so I just drilled and tapped the toolhead for a small set screw, something like 8-32 or so, works fine. The U die may have a shorter thread span than other Lee dies, I don't know. With the 650, you are able to put the lock ring on the bottom.
The nice thing about the Dillon dies is that when loading lead, you are able to remove the internals of the die for cleaning without disturbing your seater or crimper setting. As before, I use the Lee U dies in the first station, but Dillon for the remainder. For 45, it's all Dillon.
No problems if you can adjust the dies properly in the toolhead (...and you should manage to do it somehow). I much prefer the Dillon complete sets because you can take apart the seating and crimping inserts so easily for cleaning, and because the spring supported decaper is very positive. Since seating and crimping are two separte steps I never needed the Lee "factory crimp" dies. I also have good results in a couple of calibers with RCBS die sets mounted in my Dillon.
I picked up a Lee resizing and crimping die in 9mm for my 550B. No go with the lockring from the top. I didn't think to try it from underneath. However, I have had very few 9mm rounds that fail the case gauge with the dillon dies so the issue is moot for me anyway.
There's no room on the 550 to put the lockring beneath the tool head, but there is on the 650.
I use Lee 9mm and 223 dies on the 550, simply because I already had them when I obtained the 550. Either the tool head is extra thick, or the die bodies are short, because there isn't much thread left. If you flip the Lee lockring (rubber o-ring up) upside down on top the tool head, it'll just catch enough thread to lock the die in place.
The worst offender in using other brands of dies in a 550 is RCBS in 45 acp. The shell plate has to be lined up perfectly for the case to enter the sizing die.
A slow hit beats a fast miss