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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to upgrade from my Dillon Square Deal. My main consideration is the speed of caliber changeover (including large <-> small primers). Any insights would be appreciated.
 

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Best bet. Keep the Square Deal and set it up for either large or small primers. Buy Another Square Deal or 550 and set it up for the other primers. Then there's no worry about speed of primer change over, just switch toolheads and go.
 

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You probably will not find too many people who have used a variety of progressive machines enough to give a valid comparison. I have used the Lee 1000, which is fragile and potentially dangerous, and the Dillon 450 and 550, which are marvelous machines.

I find the 550 to be amply quick to change over, but any machine is going to take some time. My solution has been to obtain an ample supply of brass and components and manage the process better. I keep the press set up for .45 ACP usually, until other calibers start to run low. Then I change over to small primer tooling and load all my .223, 9mm, .38, .357 and .40 brass. Then I change back to large primer and load all my .44 and .308 brass, then go back to .45, where it usually remains for a year or so. This minimizes changes and saves a lot of time.

I keep a single stage press on the bench for odds and ends of this and that, mainly rifle experimentation.

With your Square Deal set up for one caliber, you can add a 550 for all the rest and maintain a pretty efficient set-up.
 

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I use a Dillon 650. I could change from 9mm to 45 in less than 10 minutes if I tried. Most of my changes take about 30 minutes for two reasons. First is because I try never to "hurry" anything regarding reloading. The other reason is I use the change over as a time to clean equipment.
I have no hesitations in recommending this machine for anyone wanting a progressive reloader. Any time spent changing setups is more than offset by the ease of producing ammo. If you get this machine with the case feeder the only regrets you will have is not doing it sooner.
 

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Why are you so focused on the speed of changing from one caliber to another? In a typical week, do you think you're going to be spending a significant amount of time changing calibers?

I personally think the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP is very quick, and I'm sure Dillon owners will be quick to proclaim the speed of changing calibers on their presses, too. I doubt that there's a significant difference between the two. Even if you changed calibers 100 times a week, I'd be very surprised if there was more than 5 minutes difference either way.

It seems a better question would be: "Which press will crank out the most rounds per week, using your typical mix of calibers?"

I believe you'll spend a lot more time diddling with the powder measure than you will swapping out dies & shell plates. If you don't mind spending the money, you can buy separate powder measuring bars (some powder measures use micrometers instead of measuring bars) for each different load you intend to use. This can get rather expensive if you load a lot of different calibers, so be sure to factor that in when you make your decision.

Of course, if cost is no object, PK had the best suggestion: get a separate press for each caliber you load. Then you won't have to spend any time at all when you change from one caliber to another.

Regards,

- Steve Hull
 

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I second the vote for the XL 650. When I started reloading, I did so with a small single stage press. Cases were prepped by hand, and powder was hand weighed--each and every charge. Loading one box of .44 Magnum (my first caliber) was a significant undertaking.

Fast forward 15 years, to where I am now. A room stuffed full of reloading equipment, along with the crown piece, the Dillon 650. This machine is the cat's pajamas IMHO, with the possible exception of the new Super 1050 (Homer Simpson type drool here)--oooooaaaaaahhaaaaaaaaaaaa...........

The ways to speed up production with the 650 are as follows:

1. Buy seperate charge bars, and install each of them in your powder measure, adjusting each for your specific charge. Mark them well.

2. Seperate primer feed units, for large and small primers.

Beyond that, I believe it's a simple matter of practice. I clean the press every month or so, but can change calibers pretty fast, in about 10 minutes or so. Less than that if I'm using the same shell plate, and primer feed, such as my three favorites: .45 ACP, .30-06, and .308.

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"Be not afraid of any man, no matter what his size;

When trouble rises, call on me and I will equalize."
 

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about 5 minutes to change over my RCBS PRO 2000 ,since the dies are on slip-in plates and the shellplate is a one bolt unit.powder measure has micrometer type settings so thats dead easy.primer plug changes in about a minute,and being an APS type is almost idiot proof. over 11k rounds so far with no problems.

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10 minutes on my 1050. One diaper pin, one BF bolt, four allen screws and the locator buttons. 30 minutes if I forget to change the shell plate because I was in a hurry and stupid. I only manage to do that every few times.

I leave the powder measure attached to the different toolheads.

Tom
AF Shooting Team
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm not exclusively focused on changover. It is the variable I need the input on.


Thanks everyone for the input 2 SDBs has crossed my mind more than once.

Originally posted by SHull:
Why are you so focused on the speed of changing from one caliber to another? In a typical week, do you think you're going to be spending a significant amount of time changing calibers?

 

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Powderman,
Can you elaborate on the separate charge bars? Could I do this with the SDB? I am thinking that this would eliminate the need to fine tune the powder throw each time I change loads..
 

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Please bear in mind that I have no experience with the charge bars on the SDB--but if they are about the same as the 650, this should work.

1. Place your chosen charge bar into the measure.

2. Use your chosen powder.

3. Adjust it to throw the charge you want.

4. After loading, empty the powder measure, seal the can tightly.

5. Take the charge bar, place it into a seperate container (empty .223 boxes work great), and mark on the outside the size of the bar, the powder used, and the weight it will throw. Use a seperate charge bar for each powder or charge weight. This way, you could change over to a different powder and weight in about 2-3 minutes, and have repeatable readings each time. Works best when you have the spare tool heads and dies already set.

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"Be not afraid of any man, no matter what his size;

When trouble rises, call on me and I will equalize."
 

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The Dillon 650 can be changed in 5-min. or less if you have a dedicated powder measure and get an extra primer feeder mechanism.... the extra primer tool is about a $65.00 investment.

I can go from .40-S&W or .38-SPL to .44-mag / .45-ACP in 5-min. +/- a minute... It takes a little longer if you need to re-set a powder measure to throw a new / different powder charge. (I am compulisve about verification of the powder charge at any change-over, which saved my @$$ just recently...)

If you throw in a rifle caliber into the change-over scenario, the time usually doubles -- gotta adjust some other cams and stuff...

Primer size change-over hassle is important to me 'cause it seems I always run out of everything around the same time, usually the week of an upcoming match... and changing the primer-size on my 650 is a real pain.

The 650 ain't cheap, but for safe, consistent loads, it is THE smoothest, fastest progressive available (no, I haven't tried the 1050... :) --CC
 

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Originally posted by apollyon:
about 5 minutes to change over my RCBS PRO 2000 ,since the dies are on slip-in plates and the shellplate is a one bolt unit.powder measure has micrometer type settings so thats dead easy.primer plug changes in about a minute,and being an APS type is almost idiot proof. over 11k rounds so far with no problems.MAKE THAT 7 minutes I have bad eyes...

 

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I vote for the Dillon 650.
 

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I gotta go with the Dillon 550 with this choice. Since you already own a SD the 550 will look and feel the same for you.
 

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Get a 550!!! I keep one next to my SDB for 44 45 and 480. Great machine
 

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I also say get the 550. I have one and the caliber change, if you have the tool heads set up, is a snap. The powder bar and the primer takes a little time (depending on the caliber would decide if one or both get changed) but not burdensome.
 
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