More thoughts on the Dillon 550

I’ve been running this press for a few weeks now, and I’m ready to share a few more thoughts on it….

My Lee dies work well. The guy who sold it to me said they would work, but followed it up with “But you’ll want to switch to the Dillon dies”. I’m honestly not sure why. The barrels might be a bit shorter than the Dillon or RCBS dies, so you will need to screw them into the tool head fairly deeply. As a result, you will want to switch to thinner lock rings. I bought a package of 5 RCBS lock rings for about $12. Much cheaper than a set of Dillon dies.

Once I received the new small primer magazine, the priming mechanism worked flawlessly. With my Lee Pro 1000, it was not uncommon to waste a few primers per 100-200 rounds because they would get turned before being seating resulting in crushed or upside down primers. I’ve loaded about 1200 rounds of 9mm and 38 special, and I’ve lost 1 primer. No jams to report. I did have my first stuck case, but I don’t think that’s the fault of the press. More on that in a later post…..

Other priming tips:

I suggest a primer turning tray. It will make it a little easier to get the primers turned correctly so you can load the primer tube.

Make sure, make sure, make sure that you always have this cotter pin in place BEFORE you start filling the primer tube.

Otherwise when you flip it over to fill the primer magazine, you’re gonna send those primers flying. Trust me on this one.


Once you get comfortable with the press, have everything set up, and are confident that your powder drop is being consistent, you can easily load about 300-350 rounds an hour, especially when you figure out the rhythm.

Mine went something like his: left hand: index shell plate, right hand: insert case, left hand: seat bullet, right hand: pull lever, repeat.

Overall, very pleased. I can understand why people are so adamant about buying the blue presses.

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3 Responses to More thoughts on the Dillon 550

  1. pignock says:

    I just found your website by rifling through PDB’s blog roll and have been slowly working backwards through your posts.

    Nice site. You write well – just not often enough;)

    Have you tried Dillon’s 1″ die-lock rings? They give you a lot more room on the toolhead to maneuver a wrench.

    I don’t really think you’re missing anything by running Lee dies. I have both and find the only advantage Dillon dies offer is a larger opening on the sizer die. It makes for a smoother press stroke because the case has a little more room to get line up before sizing. Since you already match my average production rate with Lee dies, I doubt you’d want to pay $20/caliber just for that.


  2. Pingback: Mindset « LeadChucker's blog

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