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Discussion Starter #1
I've just started reloading again after a 20 year break. I'm using a borrowed Dillon Square Deal B to reload .45ACP and finding it to be OK. Not perfect by any stretch, but OK.

I'm going to need to purchase my own press someday, and I'm wondering if I should consider upgrading to the 550. I understand the ability to load rifle cartridges, and that may be a consideration. What I'm really after is if the 550 is enough better for loading pistol cartridges to justify the extra cost. If it matters, I might someday also load .38/.357 and 9mm.

Thanks!
 

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Tough question.
As you can see by the pics,I love the little Square Deals.
They are set up for 9mm,38sp.,40S&W and 45acp.
I bought them all used,and the prices were fair.
I never know what I'll shoot from week to week,so they make it easy
to just pick machine and start loading.
I have just set up a 650 for loading lots of .223 and .222.
Personally,I like the auto indexing,but that is just a personal preference.
If you are going to load rifle as well as pistol and could find a good used
550,your cash outlay wouldn,t be too bad,and you would just need a few
quick change kits,which can also be picked up used for a good price.
Then again,you may prefer to do your rifle reloading on a Rockchucker.
The 550 is a more robust machine than the Square Deals,but I have had
no major problems with the Square Deals.
I really love loading on those little babies.



 

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Discussion Starter #3
If there's ever a contest for the coolest reloading room, I think you're pretty much a shoe-in. Nice set-up!
 

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So that's what heaven looks like. ;)

To the OP, as you know, the SDB cannot load rifle. But it's a handy little machine for pistol, no doubt. I can't warm up to the 550. A friend has one, and I've seen it in action. You can really crank them out with a 550, but the lack of auto-index is a deal breaker for me. My friend is paranoid about double-charges, and rightfully so, IMHO. Save your pennies a bit longer and get the 650, if you want to go blue.

If you you MUST have a new press soon, get a Lee Classic Turret. Not as fast a Dillon or as pricey, but calibers change out in seconds. I can do between 150-175 pistol rounds per hour on mine.
 

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When the brown stuff hits the fan I am coming to your house. Imagine, the hubbys shooting as the women keep reloading, yes heaven indeed!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So that's what heaven looks like. ;)

You can really crank them out with a 550, but the lack of auto-index is a deal breaker for me.
I've been on the dillon site looking, and somehow I never noticed that the 550 wasn't auto-indexing! Thanks for pointing that out because it just might be a deal breaker for me, too.

Now I'm confused. Dillon claims a higher hourly loading rate for the 550 than for the square deal. How can a manually indexed machine be faster than an auto-indexer??
 

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I've been on the dillon site looking, and somehow I never noticed that the 550 wasn't auto-indexing! Thanks for pointing that out because it just might be a deal breaker for me, too.

Now I'm confused. Dillon claims a higher hourly loading rate for the 550 than for the square deal. How can a manually indexed machine be faster than an auto-indexer??
Tim,

I started with a 550B and when a good deal came along on a SDB it bought it too. Although the SDB worked just fine, I didn't like it as well as my 550B. I'm different from most reloaders who will post here about their Dillon presses, as I like the manual-index better than the auto-index. The auto-index may be slightly safer regarding possible double charges, but when there's a glitch in the process, with auto-index you: 1)dump an uncrimped case into the finished round box (try to find it), 2)you have to pull the pins and cases from all the other stations in order to back everything up, to do it over again.

IME, Dillons advertising claims for their reloading rates need to be taken with a grain of salt. When I was running both a 550 & SDB, I was curious and timed myself as to how long it took to load 100 rounds; 45acp on the 550 and 9mm on the SDB. The SDB worked out to 400 rds/hr, and the 550 to 420 rds/hr.

A couple of other drawbacks to the SDB are: 1)the "space" to install the case and pull the pins & cases when necessary is pretty cramped; 2) the dies are proprietary, so you can't use any dies but Dillon's.

I'm running a 650 now, along with a couple of 550's. I really like the 650, but I think it's mostly because of the casefeeder. If wishing could make it so, I'd make the 650 manual-indexing. Once you develop the technique, it seems to me that manual indexing is just as easy and fast as auto indexing.
 

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Unless you have a case feeder, I'd go with manual indexing also. Less trouble, parts, smoother running and "virtually" no loss of time IMHO.

I have the SDB and wish it were manual indexing. You would move the shell plate with your left hand as you went for the "bullet"...for example only.

As far as safety, don't know if there's a difference. I don't "see it", but!
 

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SDB all the way. I wouldn't bother with a press that is not auto-indexing. I would go with an LnL if I was willing to spend a little more or a 650 if I was willing to spend even more.
 

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550

I have had my 550 now for a few years and have loaded about 25,000 .45 and .223 on it. Never have I had or even worried about a doube charge. Once you get the technique down, place a good light over the machine to see what's going on, and you are good to go. The auto indexing feature on the 650 or SDB can be good or it can be cantankerous as the others have mentioned. Once in a while you will have a bad piece of brass (i.e., Amerc) or something that will cause a jam and you will have to back it out. Auto indexing makes this task more difficult. The case feeder, however, on the 650 or now the new one for the 550 will be a nice addition. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Those comments are good to hear. In my extensive reloading experience with the SDB (a whopping 500 rounds to date), I've found the auto indexing feature to cause considerable trouble. I assumed it was just me or my inexperience, but maybe it's common.

I'm especially glad to hear from those who've used both and don't find the lack of auto index to slow you down.

Finally, if I didn't know this group to be pretty conservative and honest, I'd have to call BS on the claimed loading rates. I was rockin' last night (by my standards) and managed to load 150/hour. How you guys manage such big numbers is beyond me. Maybe it was all that time spent pulling pins and monkeying with a bad round that slowed me down!
 

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FWIW
I had the same thoughts. I figured the 550 was worth the upgrade. I should have bought one long ago, just so I wouldn't feel cheated Santa upgraded to a 650.

Let's have this conversation again in two years and I'll let you know if it was a frivolous mistake.

The one piece I know was the right choice is the case feeder. YEAH BABY:rock:
Get the case feeder!!!
 

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I have two 550's and love them. Currently I load 9mm, 38, 357, 40, 45ACP, 45LC, and 223 on them. I just got the parts to load 308 and 30-06.

I had a SDB for a short time that I bought used. The auto indexing did not do much for me and I did not like the special dies that were required to use on it. I sold it and bought a good used 550.
 

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Forget about how many you can load per hour with which machine.
It's more important that you know that each round has been loaded properly.
Throw on some tunes and move at a decent,but safe pace.
Actually very relaxing.
 

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I don't this machine is any faster but it does seem more efficient.
 

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I currently own a Dillon Square Deal B, a Dillon 650, and a Dillon 1050. Before that, I used a Hornady Projector. I've also used a friend's Dillon 550. Personally, I prefer the auto indexing. It's one less step you have to do manually.

My first Dillon was the 650. I used it exclusively for about 2 years and then found myself moving from a house with a garage and dedicated reloading area into an apartment "temporarily". After moving into the apartment, where I had a severe shortage of space, I ran out of ammunition and purchased the Square Deal B set up on a Black and Decker Workmate for a space saving reloading solution. I managed to fulfill all my .45acp ammo requirements for several years using that set up. (My temporary apartment move ended up lasting 4 years!)

When I moved out of the apartment back into a house where I had dedicated space for reloading, I pulled the 650 out of mothballs and set it up. In direct contrast to the Square Deal B, I was amazed at how simple using the 650 with Case Feeder was. I ordered a large quantity of components and managed to load every piece of brass I'd accumulated in storage in my free time over the next couple of weeks. Literally, I loaded over 20,000 rounds of 45acp in the first two weeks I had it set up.

The auto indexing of the 650/ Square Deal B is a personal choice over the manual indexing of the 550, but adding the case feeder to the 550 or the 650 saves one step in the reloading process (manually feeding the case) and over the course of a couple thousand rounds, that's a huge time saver.

The biggest question to answer is exactly how much ammunition do you want to produce, and how much free time do you have to do it? If you enjoy reloading as a hobby, and aren't shooting obscene quantities of ammunition, you can easily keep up with a smaller volume press.

Personally, I only reload in order to shoot more, so I do not enjoy spending time at the bench for the sake of reloading, so I am willing to trade $$ for less time at the bench.

I will say without a doubt that a larger press like the 550 and 650 takes less physical effort to use than a smaller press like the Square Deal B. It's much less tiring to load large volumes of ammunition on the larger presses, and therefor production rates of quality ammo are significantly higher. To clarify, the larger presses have more mechanical leverage and so the amount of physical effort it takes to resize, seat and prime take less force physically.
 

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The only fault I ever found with a SDB as a pistol loader was its lack of leverage at the top of the stroke. It takes a good deal of push to seat a primer in .45 ACP. Not bad for 9mm.

The 550 has more oomph but still not a whole lot and I don't load long runs of .45 on mine. It does the small lots of hollowpoints and such when not producing 9mm or .44-40.
The main reason I bought a 1050 instead of a 650 for .45s was to sock those primers in hard.
 

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I totally agree with Mr. Watson. I've been using my SDB for a year and find myself grabbing the rear of the strong mount to get the extra leverage on the up-stroke -- but I really like that machine!! :rock:

PS -- Post # 100! YAY!!

Regards,
 

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I've been on the dillon site looking, and somehow I never noticed that the 550 wasn't auto-indexing! Thanks for pointing that out because it just might be a deal breaker for me, too.

Now I'm confused. Dillon claims a higher hourly loading rate for the 550 than for the square deal. How can a manually indexed machine be faster than an auto-indexer??
I have one of each; the RL550B is definitely faster than the SDB. The powder dispenser is the same, so they dump powder with equal consistency. Auto indexing is a non-issue. Most folks develop a rhythm that makes the RL550B run quite quickly and smoothly. And because it's bigger, it's easier/faster to place bullets on the charged cases.

I leave the SDB set up for .45 hardball. Everything else I load on the RL550B.
 
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