Man, What a Deal I Got!! [Archive] - Glock Talk

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dhgeyer
11-30-2012, 18:34
I bought a Lee progressive reloader back in '96. I used it for 9mm for quite a while without any issue. Then I kind of decided I wanted to go back to single stage. Never had any trouble with the progressive, but it made me nervous.

This past Summer a guy at my club was getting rid of a Dillon RL550 and some other stuff. On a whim I bought it for $400.00. It sat in 4 boxes for several months until yesterday.

Starting with knowing nothing about Dillon, I spent yesterday and today sorting through all this stuff, figuring out what it all was, how it worked, and getting it up and running. I took the press all apart including all the pivot pins and the ram. Cleaned it all up, relubed according to Dillon specs, and got it all back together and loaded 3 boxes of 9mm.

So what I got for $400.00, all in good working order:

The RL550 press

The vibrating primer filler, set up with everything needed for small or large primers.

The power case trimmer that fits on a special sizing die, with dies for .308 and .223/5.56

3 toolheads complete with powder measure die bodies

4 powder bars: 2 small, 2 large

Several unopened packages of primer tubes, large and small

The tool for aligning the shellplate platform

The tall stand for the press

The tray on the left for bullets

Several output trays of various sizes

Enough spare parts and spare parts kits to keep the press running for hundreds of years

Wrenches and tools for all this stuff

Manuals

4 conversion kits - all calibers I load

One set of dies - 45 Colt

A bunch of other stuff that I haven't figured out yet.

I reloaded the 3 boxes of 9mm using the RCBS dies I already had, but just bought the Dillon set this afternoon.

So, I'm back to progressive, and just realizing how well I did on that deal. And a lot of this stuff is in unopened plastic bags - never used.

Woooohoooo!

norton
11-30-2012, 18:36
All you need now is the case feeder.

unclebob
11-30-2012, 18:50
Looks like you got a great deal.
Does the powder measures have the springs to return the powder bar or is it the new Fail Safe system? If they have the springs I would suggest getting the upgrade to the Fail Safe.

dhgeyer
11-30-2012, 18:57
Looks like you got a great deal.
Does the powder measures have the springs to return the powder bar or is it the new Fail Safe system? If they have the springs I would suggest getting the upgrade to the Fail Safe.

Fail safe. The parts kits have the old springs in them, and it took me a while to figure out what they're for. I found an old parts diagram online. I'm sure I'll find a use for them.

dhgeyer
11-30-2012, 18:59
All you need now is the case feeder.

Oh, I am sure there's lots of stuff I "need". For now I think I'll just get thoroughly used to, and comfortable with, running it as is. Good suggestion, though!

shotgunred
11-30-2012, 19:03
Good deal. Enjoy the rebirth of your reloading hobby.

IndyGunFreak
11-30-2012, 19:20
Oh, I am sure there's lots of stuff I "need". For now I think I'll just get thoroughly used to, and comfortable with, running it as is. Good suggestion, though!

In my opinion, the last thing you need, is a case feeder on the 550b. There's plenty of posts/threads out there of people having a helluva time getting the case feeder running properly with a 550.

Sounds like a great deal... Congrats!

IGF

birda40
11-30-2012, 23:29
Gold mine

dhgeyer
12-01-2012, 01:35
In my opinion, the last thing you need, is a case feeder on the 550b. There's plenty of posts/threads out there of people having a helluva time getting the case feeder running properly with a 550.

Sounds like a great deal... Congrats!

IGF

I just searched Google Images for pictures of the Dillon Case Feeder. I don't think it would fit under the ceiling where I have my press set up. It also seems like an awful lot of machinery to solve a very small problem. Of course my frame of reference right now is reloading with a single stage press, and the Dillon is much faster and easier than that. I don't know if I need to build an ammunition factory in my basement. I don't shoot thousands of rounds a week. The setup I have seems fine for me for now.

norton
12-01-2012, 07:00
I just searched Google Images for pictures of the Dillon Case Feeder. I don't think it would fit under the ceiling where I have my press set up. It also seems like an awful lot of machinery to solve a very small problem. Of course my frame of reference right now is reloading with a single stage press, and the Dillon is much faster and easier than that. I don't know if I need to build an ammunition factory in my basement. I don't shoot thousands of rounds a week. The setup I have seems fine for me for now.

I love my Dillon 550 casefeeder.
FYI, I just measured mine. From the base of the strong mount to the top of the feeder is approx. 45 inches.

dhgeyer
12-01-2012, 08:40
I love my Dillon 550 casefeeder.
FYI, I just measured mine. From the base of the strong mount to the top of the feeder is approx. 45 inches.

Yup, not enough space for it. I have the press mounted on a fairly tall workbench, and it's under a fluorescent light fixture which hangs from the joists. Lots of light right where I need it.

My shop is primarily set up for woodworking, which I did as a home business for ten years or so. I have tools and jigs hanging from the joists all over the place in addition to light fixtures.

Of course if I really wanted the case feeder I could rearrange things and make space for it. But for the amount of reloading I do I think it would be more trouble than it's worth.

After I've run this thing for a while and really get used to it I might start wanting improvements. Right now I'm more interested in really getting comfortable with what I have, which is many times faster than what I had up till now.

Thanks for the idea, though. I'm glad you like yours.

Beanie-Bean
12-01-2012, 09:06
Congrats on the excellent deal! Now you can really load up some 9x19 to put that Apex extractor to the test :) enjoy the new rig!

SJ 40
12-01-2012, 10:52
You did very well and it will serve you well also. I'll be willing to bet you find it a night and day improvement over the Lee. SJ 40

dhgeyer
12-01-2012, 12:49
Congrats on the excellent deal! Now you can really load up some 9x19 to put that Apex extractor to the test :) enjoy the new rig!

Thanks! I have the Apex in the G17, which is mostly what I'm shooting right now. It's getting tested pretty well, but I have a long way to go before it gets to a couple of thousand rounds. That's when we can be pretty sure it's not going to start acting up. But with reloading so easy now, I probably will shoot more.


You did very well and it will serve you well also. I'll be willing to bet you find it a night and day improvement over the Lee. SJ 40

Well, it was 16 years ago, so it's hard to make a direct comparison. My memory is that the Lee progressive served me very well for what I was doing with it. It was actually more automatic than the 550, as the shell plate rotated with strokes of the operating handle. I think that where people get in trouble with the Lee progressive press is when they try to use it for applications that are beyond it's design parameters. Mine said in the instructions that the only rifle cartridge it was designed to load was the .223. It's really designed for pistol cartridges, at least mine was.

My impression of Lee equipment generally is that it's inexpensive but not necessarily cheap. Some of it is cheap. But, for example, I like the Lee Autoprime much better than the comparable RCBS tool, which I also have. I think the Lee is a better design, more comfortable to use. I've been using it for years, and it's not wearing out.

As I said, I had no complaints with the Lee progressive press I had. I just didn't want/need to do progressive at some point, so I stopped. I've used several Lee single stage presses, both "C" and "O" types over the years, and have never had a problem with any of them. I still have one, although I'm not using it right now. And the Lee stuff is USA made. RCBS is China made. Dillon is USA.

I am impressed with the Dillon ruggedness, flexibility, and precision. I am sure it will give me many years of service. It's hard to compare features and ease of operation with my old Lee, as it's just been so long that I don't remember it all that well.

SARDG
12-01-2012, 20:24
That Primer Filler alone, with large and small setups, would be nearly $400.

unclebob
12-01-2012, 20:53
That Primer Filler alone, with large and small setups, would be nearly $400.

I will assume that it is a Vibra prime. Not a Dillon.

SARDG
12-01-2012, 21:01
I will assume that it is a Vibra prime. Not a Dillon.
Oh... that changes everything. I got the impression this was generally all Dillon stuff.

dhgeyer
12-02-2012, 07:09
Oh... that changes everything. I got the impression this was generally all Dillon stuff.

It is all Dillon stuff, including the RF 100 Primer Filler, which came with everything needed for large and small primers, along with replacement tubes, tips, and spare parts for anything that might break or wear out. It's even got a little spacer gizmo (actually 2 of them) to help with the fairly sensitive setting of the stabilizer plate. I used the word vibrating in my initial description because that's how it works. Please bear with me, as I am still learning some of the terminology.

The only non-Dillon thing in the whole lot is a set of .45 Colt dies, which I will probably throw away as I already have a better set.

I've loaded a couple of hundred more 9mm. I'm taking it slow. I don't want to make any mistakes. I'm still tweaking a few things. I replaced my 9mm RCBS dies with Dillon ones. There was a little roughness in the sliding action of the rod through the plates on the fail safe part of the powder measure, which I smoothed out. And after I reassembled the press using the alignment tool, the primer cup wasn't quite perfect. There's a simple screw adjustment for that. Now everything is as smooth as butter.

I'm going to load a few hundred more 9mm, and then get a set of Dillon .38 Special dies. The conversion kit came with the stuff I bought. It came with conversion kits for .45 Colt and .223/5.56 also. I also discovered a couple of conversion kits in there that I don't need: .45 ACP and .44 Mag/Special.

I started with the 9mm dies I had - RCBS. I won't do that with the .45 Colt and .38 Special. I only want to set those toolheads up once. I'll buy the Dillon dies first. It came with 3 toolheads. I'll have to buy one more if I want to have all 4 calibers I load permanently set up. It came with 4 powder bars, so moving the powder measure around is no problem. I'll just leave one powder bar set for each cartridge.

I'm not sure if I'll replace my .223/5.56 RCBS dies. I haven't researched enough to know if there is any big advantage to that. With the pistol/revolver dies I like the easier feed into the resizing die and the separate seating and crimping. Anyone have any thoughts on the .223/5.56 dies? Any big advantage to replacing them?

unclebob
12-02-2012, 07:34
It is all Dillon stuff, including the primer tube loader. I used the word vibrating because that's how it works. The only non-Dillon thing in the whole lot is a set of .45 Colt dies, which I will replace with Dillon dies.

Boy did you kiss him on the way out the door? :supergrin: You didn't get a good deal you stole it.:wave:

dhgeyer
12-02-2012, 08:02
Boy did you kiss him on the way out the door? :supergrin: You didn't get a good deal you stole it.:wave:

And the funny thing is it's not like he didn't know what he had. This guy is retired and in his 70's, but his whole professional and recreational life has been centered around guns and ammunition. He was a sales rep for one of the major ammunition companies for 30 some odd years. He's been in my club since Christ was a corporal, and is one of its primary officers. He is involved in several of the club's organized/competitive shooting disciplines. He's shot everything from 600 yard high power to cowboy action to black powder. He's a walking encyclopedia of anything to do with guns and shooting.

Now that I know what he did, I'm going to have to ask him why he didn't ask for more. My guess is he wanted a quick sale to buy some other new shooting related toy, and, having been a high level sales person, sized up what I, in my total ignorance, would pay. That's just a guess. I'm going to ask him when I see him.

PCJim
12-02-2012, 08:22
It could very well be that he took a liking to you, saw your interest and wanted to be sure that his equipment would be used by someone with the same enthusiasm that he once had. I wouldn't ask him why he didn't ask for more - if I'm correct, it might be construed as an insult to his intelligence and knowledge of the worth of his equipment.

Just make a general comment as to how thankful you are that he gave you a great deal to help you get started. If I'm correct, that will be more reward to him than a couple of C notes.

BTW, while Dillon makes great dies, you are not stuck with their brand on your machine. Lee dies will do the same job and are sometimes better suited. They certainly cost less!

unclebob
12-02-2012, 08:45
It could very well be that he took a liking to you, saw your interest and wanted to be sure that his equipment would be used by someone with the same enthusiasm that he once had. I wouldn't ask him why he didn't ask for more - if I'm correct, it might be construed as an insult to his intelligence and knowledge of the worth of his equipment.

Just make a general comment as to how thankful you are that he gave you a great deal to help you get started. If I'm correct, that will be more reward to him than a couple of C notes.

BTW, while Dillon makes great dies, you are not stuck with their brand on your machine. Lee dies will do the same job and are sometimes better suited. They certainly cost less!

:agree:

SJ 40
12-02-2012, 08:48
It could very well be that he took a liking to you, saw your interest and wanted to be sure that his equipment would be used by someone with the same enthusiasm that he once had. I wouldn't ask him why he didn't ask for more - if I'm correct, it might be construed as an insult to his intelligence and knowledge of the worth of his equipment.

Just make a general comment as to how thankful you are that he gave you a great deal to help you get started. If I'm correct, that will be more reward to him than a couple of C notes.

BTW, while Dillon makes great dies, you are not stuck with their brand on your machine. Lee dies will do the same job and are sometimes better suited. They certainly cost less!:agree: Don't ask him but when you see him Thank him. SJ 40

dhgeyer
12-02-2012, 08:59
It could very well be that he took a liking to you, saw your interest and wanted to be sure that his equipment would be used by someone with the same enthusiasm that he once had. I wouldn't ask him why he didn't ask for more - if I'm correct, it might be construed as an insult to his intelligence and knowledge of the worth of his equipment.

Just make a general comment as to how thankful you are that he gave you a great deal to help you get started. If I'm correct, that will be more reward to him than a couple of C notes.

BTW, while Dillon makes great dies, you are not stuck with their brand on your machine. Lee dies will do the same job and are sometimes better suited. They certainly cost less!

Thanks for the tip on the dies. What I'm really wondering is, since I have RCBS dies for .223/5.56 that I'm using in my Rockchucker, is there a good reason not to just use those? With the pistol dies there is a good reason go with a 4 step process and dies made for a progressive press. Is there any reason the same would be true for .223/5.56?

You may be right about the seller/benefactor. As I mentioned, the stuff sat untouched in the boxes he gave me for several months. Every time I saw him he asked me about it, and I said I hadn't done anything with it and might or might not ever get to it. He got this exasperated look, and urged me to set it up and use it.

I was, frankly, intimidated by the task. There was so much stuff, and it was so disorganized, I knew it was going to be a challenge. There was no logic to what was in which box with what. Even the conversion kits were mixed up. Some of the pins didn't match the shell plates which didn't match the powder funnels in the little blue boxes. It was a mess. It would have been next to impossible for someone that didn't have 50 years of reloading experience and who wasn't very "mechanically inclined". And I wasn't totally new to progressive reloading, although it had been 16 years. With a little help from the manuals and Youtube I've been able to get it all sorted out. Mostly. There's still some stuff in there that I have not identified.

Anyway, I know you are right. If I just tell him I've got it up and running it will make him feel better. He's not the shy, overly sensitive type. The group he hangs out with on the range razz each other unmercifully. I could probably walk up to him and tell him he was a Damn fool, and if I said it the right way he'd just laugh. Those guys do that stuff all the time.

PCJim
12-02-2012, 22:06
By your comments, I'm pretty sure I was spot on as to the giver's intentions. It's always good to hear of such.

You can use your RCBS 5.56 dies in the Dillon press. No reason not to. Remember though that bottleneck reloading is much different from straight wall reloading. You should know this having reloaded 5.56 on your RC. FWIW, my process for 5.56 is as follows:

tumble, lube, resize/deprime on a single stage press, tumble (15 min in cob to remove the lube). Swage (Dillon Super Swage), trim (Possum Hollow Kwick Trimmer), chamfer and debur. The remaining process is done on the 550b with a universal depriming die in stage one. This die is used to insure the flash hole is clear of media.

You can probably use some fine adjustments to your regular resizing die to accomplish the same goal (without causing a potential stuck case in the die due to a lack of lube), by setting it up properly, then backing the die out until it accomplishes the task.

One thing I really like about Lee's resizing/depriming dies is that the depriming mandrel is held in a slip sleeve. If it hits a rock, berdan hole or other hard object, the mandrel slips and you save ruining your pin. Simply loosen the nut on the die, slide the mandrel back into place, and retighten.

My system works for me, others have their own methods. As long as you're reloading safely, you're good.

dhgeyer
12-03-2012, 07:42
Actually I've been reloading bottleneck cases for 50 years. I've never used a tumbler. Just wipe off any grit and lightly lube. I don't trim every case. I set my vernier caliper to the max length, and use it as a go-gage after resizing. I trim the ones that need it back to the trim-to length. After that, it's all just the basic steps. I don't crimp at all. I'm loading for a Windham Weaponry MPC carbine (AR family), and after extensive testing have concluded that neck tension is sufficient. I'm not trying to load the most accurate ammo possible. The carbine wasn't made for that kind of shooting.

Back in the day when I was woodchuck hunting out to 300 yards with a Ruger #1 varmint rifle chambered for 6mm Remington, I was a fanatic. Neck sizing only, neck turning with a special tool, marking and orienting each case so that it went into the rifle and the press the same way every time, weighing charges and bullets - blah blah blah. But that rifle could deliver results and I needed them for what I was doing. I also drove myself crazy.

No more. I just take the carbine out and bang away at 50 or a hundred yards and have fun.

Thanks for the reply. I won't buy another set of rifle dies.