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Need the wisdom of the forum.

gunwalkergunwalker MemberPosts: 479 Member
I have been considering updating my reloading equipment,which,like me,is old. I'm interested in the Dillon 550B progressive. When you add on the accessories pictured in their ad, the cost is about $750. As you know,women tend to view things quite differently than men. So when I informed my dear sweet wife of my plans she asked a very good question. She asked if I had figured how much ammo I could buy for that price without investing time in reloading? Does she have a valid point? BTW I am 72.
We do not view the world as it is, but as we perceive it to be.
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Replies

  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,094 Senior Member
    I have used a progressive when I was younger, and shooting competitively. Since I quit the competitions, I quit using it.

    Not going to say you don't "need" it, since need doesn't really matter.
    How much do you shoot? and how many different calibers?

    In my experience, changing calibers on a progressive is a HUGE pain. Which is why my progressive hasn't been used in 20+ years. I don't shoot enough of one caliber to justify the aggravation of setting up the progressive for a 1-200 round batch.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • twatwa Senior Member Posts: 2,238 Senior Member
    I would say it depends on the calibers you plan on reloading.....some of the exotic rifle calibers like I reload (7MM RUM, 300RUM, 300 WSM etc...) you will probably be better off investing in the reloading equipment, depending on how much you shoot. Also, you get the satisfaction of cooking your own so to speak.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,958 Senior Member
    For me the cost of reloading equipment is out weighted by being able to achieve greater accuracy, custom tailor ammo by using bullet weight's and types not offered by factory loaded ammo. A question you have to ask yourself is how much shooting are you doing ? Since I retired I don't do 1/10 of the shooting I used to do so my 550 hasn't been used in years, most if my loading today is done on a single stage press.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 7,826 Senior Member
    Depends on what you are loading, but progressives can be a pain, as already said! Stuff like 9mm, .45, and 5.56 I consider blasting ammo and don't even bother to reload, because it's so cheap!! I have an old Lyman turret press, and it works just fine, even for pistol cases like .38. I had a progressive, but something always went wrong, like a primer jamming up, and it took me longer to fix the machine, when I could have been plodding along with a regular press!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    I haven't set up my Dillon RL550B in a few years. I bought some extra parts to change calibers so I can reload about 12 different ones on it. I have enough for two complete easy tool-head swaps, but have the required parts where I can set up for the other calibers. I inherited it from a late brother.

    It is a little bit of a chore to change calibers unless you spend the $$$ to make it easy. It has its quirks like all progressives do. Darn fine machine with a great no BS warranty.

    ONCE you get it set up and running for a caliber it is great, makes me reluctant to wanna swap calibers. Now I own an AR and along with my Ruger Ranch Rifle maybe it would be the smart thing to set it back up in .223 again.

    Like they said depends on how much you shoot. I have been happy with my Lee Classic Cast Turret Press and have many of my dies mounted in 4 hole turrets which is a snap change out for different calibers. I load anything from .32 ACP through 45-70 on it.

    Some reloading activities are better done on a single stage press like an RCBS press mounted primer pocket swager and maybe where you have particular specialty dies you wanna use like small base dies, just depends.

    Hornady/Lyman/RCBS/Lee/others all have other than progressive choices with Turret presses.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    I own a Dillon 550 and a single stage RCBS. The only accessory I would like on the 550 is the wrench holder to mount on it. All of the other stuff is to increase the speed and I don't really need it. I use my single stage press for small batches and hunting ammo and use my progressive for high volume practice and plinking ammo. I can blow through 200 rounds of .45ACP in a range session pretty easily and on my single stage press, that would take a few hours to reload but on my Dillon, about 30 minutes. I have tool holders for all of the dies that I use on my 550 and the dies stay adjusted after they're set up. I just pull a couple of pins and replace the tool holder for a new caliber. You can even buy additional powder measures so that you can leave that set up with the dies and really make the caliber changes fast. If you plink or practice alot then a progressive press is the way to go and a Dillon is a few steps ahead of anything else out there. Their warranty and customer service is unparalleled also. I chose the 550 over the 650 because I wanted to be able to interupt the cycle if I wanted to, like if a case didn't look right or a primer didn't feel right. On the auto indexing 650, it's a little more of a pain to pull a round out in the middle of the cycle. If you shoot enough volume, a progressive is the way to go but I would always keep a single stage for small batches of hunting or high precision stuff and although the Dillons are capable of making accurate ammo, the charge might vary .1gr on occasion and on small batches, most of us weigh each charge. Even my Redding match measure will vary .1gr depending on the force that you hit the lever with or the particular powder.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    I'll just add that a huge portion of the cost can be saved by buying used.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    I'm a little bit crippled up, but I think I could still outrun anybody who tried to give me a progressive press. They make it easy to turn a simple mistake into a major blunder!
    Jerry
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    Weatherby wrote: »
    I'll just add that a huge portion of the cost can be saved by buying used.


    I believe that there's a guy on this forum with a 550 that he hasn't used in years and he might be talked into parting with it.:tooth: Bear in mind that Dillon has a no BS lifetime warranty on their presses and you don't have to be the original owner. Incidently, there's nothing wrong with old stuff. I bought my RCBS used in 1977 and it is still tight and smooth. I'll never sell it.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    I'm a little bit crippled up, but I think I could still outrun anybody who tried to give me a progressive press. They make it easy to turn a simple mistake into a major blunder!
    Jerry

    Hey, I thought you were a friend :jester:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    I'm a little bit crippled up, but I think I could still outrun anybody who tried to give me a progressive press. They make it easy to turn a simple mistake into a major blunder!
    Jerry

    There's nothing at all wrong with using progressive presses, you just have to load a lot of volume to justify it.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    There's nothing at all wrong with using progressive presses, you just have to load a lot of volume to justify it.

    There is one that comes to mind that works just fine IF you don't use it to prime the cases.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Elk creekElk creek Senior Member Posts: 6,450 Senior Member
    I have a square deal 'B' that I load 9,40 and 45 I really like it. However, I do all my rifle loading on a Lyman orange crusher press. I doubt I would ever get a progressive rifle press.
    Aim higher, or get a bigger gun.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,958 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    There's nothing at all wrong with using progressive presses, you just have to load a lot of volume to justify it.

    :agree::that:

    The only cartridges I used the 550 for were,

    9 mm
    500 at a time
    .45acp
    500 at a time
    .223
    500 " " " NRA across the course (NRA ATC)
    .22-250
    1000 " " " PDs 3-4 times a year
    .308
    500 " NRA ATC
    ,30-06
    500 " NRA ATC

    For the other 15 or 20 used strictly for hunting I used a single stage
    One thing I will say for the 550 it has the most accurate and consistent powder measure I ever used including the Redding 3BR.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • wizard78wizard78 Senior Member Posts: 1,004 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    I own a Dillon 550 and a single stage RCBS. The only accessory I would like on the 550 is the wrench holder to mount on it. All of the other stuff is to increase the speed and I don't really need it. I use my single stage press for small batches and hunting ammo and use my progressive for high volume practice and plinking ammo. I can blow through 200 rounds of .45ACP in a range session pretty easily and on my single stage press, that would take a few hours to reload but on my Dillon, about 30 minutes. I have tool holders for all of the dies that I use on my 550 and the dies stay adjusted after they're set up. I just pull a couple of pins and replace the tool holder for a new caliber. You can even buy additional powder measures so that you can leave that set up with the dies and really make the caliber changes fast. If you plink or practice alot then a progressive press is the way to go and a Dillon is a few steps ahead of anything else out there. Their warranty and customer service is unparalleled also. I chose the 550 over the 650 because I wanted to be able to interupt the cycle if I wanted to, like if a case didn't look right or a primer didn't feel right. On the auto indexing 650, it's a little more of a pain to pull a round out in the middle of the cycle. If you shoot enough volume, a progressive is the way to go but I would always keep a single stage for small batches of hunting or high precision stuff and although the Dillons are capable of making accurate ammo, the charge might vary .1gr on occasion and on small batches, most of us weigh each charge. Even my Redding match measure will vary .1gr depending on the force that you hit the lever with or the particular powder.

    This. Buy the powder measures for the calibers you use the most of and leave adjusted on tool heads. Have a spare powder measure to swap around on other less often used calibers that you have tool heads for.

    “When guns are outlawed, only patriots will have guns.”
  • gunwalkergunwalker Member Posts: 479 Member
    Well gentlemen, you have clarified it very nicely. Thank you for your insights. I have been giving a lot of thought to whether I would actually shoot more if I had the progressive. And if I am honest with myself, the answer would be,no. I hated to admit that but it seems to be the reality. Thanks again.
    We do not view the world as it is, but as we perceive it to be.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    gunwalker wrote: »
    Well gentlemen, you have clarified it very nicely. Thank you for your insights. I have been giving a lot of thought to whether I would actually shoot more if I had the progressive. And if I am honest with myself, the answer would be,no. I hated to admit that but it seems to be the reality. Thanks again.

    Tell the wife you made a difficult decision............no Progressive, but another gun instead!
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Hondo341Hondo341 Member Posts: 448 Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Tell the wife you made a difficult decision............no Progressive, but another gun instead!

    Yeap, Big Chief hit his head on a nail.......I mean the nail on the head. You should easily be able to get another gun, and ammo, out of your sacrifice.
    "People are responsible to play a role in their own safety." Sheriff David Clarke 2016
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,036 Senior Member
    My first reloading press was a Dillon 550B with every accessory you could imagine. I bought it while living in Louisiana in anticipation of my upcoming relocation to Colorado and all the pdog shooting that entailed. It served me well, and any company in business could take lessons from Dillons customer service dept, all I can say is that I now (for several years) downgraded to a simple RCBS Rockchucker, and never looked back.

    A Rockchucker press and a Redding 3BR powder measure does very well for me, and you can churn out way more volume than you're likely to ever need.

    But....nobody, and I mean nobody, beats Dillons customer service.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,921 Senior Member
    I've been using the same single stage RCBS for going on 40 years....never been in so much of a hurry to produce ammo that I've ever considered a progressive. AND every KABOOM I've ever seen was due to ammo reloaded on a progressive press....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,493 Senior Member
    You could always consider a turret press. I've loaded a LOT of ammo batch loading with my turret press.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,036 Senior Member
    You could always consider a turret press. I've loaded a LOT of ammo batch loading with my turret press.

    This is an excellent option. Though I've never owned one, I've always been impressed with the Lyman T-Mag Pro. Probably the best compromise between progressive and single-stage on the market.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,258 Senior Member
    If you do some shopping, you'll find that $750 buys a rather pathetically small pile of ammo - the most expensive component of which is the reusable brass. Yes, there's some investment in loading equipment, and if you really want to save, casting equipment. That gets "cheaper" over time as you load more rounds on it. If you're pouring your own slugs, you can be shooting 9mm, .38, .45, etc... for less than that .22 ammo you can hardly find.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,152 Senior Member
    gunwalker wrote: »
    She asked if I had figured how much ammo I could buy for that price without investing time in reloading? Does she have a valid point? BTW I am 72.

    You will never save a penny in reloading. You will either shoot more so that any small percentage saved will be eaten up, or shoot the same, and never catch up to amortize the initial cost of equipment while buying all the consumables.

    If you factor in the cost of your time, it is even worse. HOWEVER, if you look at it as a craft, part of the hobby where you lovingly build the ammo from the ground up to your specifications and to fit your guns then it is a great part of the hobby and a pastime that is very rewarding. Plus its something you can do with guns when you can't get to the range!
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,094 Senior Member
    Big, Bullsi, both of you seemed to miss
    gunwalker wrote: »
    I have been considering updating my reloading equipment,which,like me,is old.

    So apparently he's been a reloader for some time, he was just considering going to a progressive.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Hand loading has an intangible benefit - you tend to spend ammo more wisely that you have painstakingly assembled yourself. In other words, I want my hand loaded bullets to go exactly where I intended for them to go. Also, I like .45 ACP handguns, so the savings is greater and I shoot more. On the other hand, it doesn't really bother me much to piss off a box of 9mm practice ammo. It is relatively inexpensive in 115 gr. Winchester white box, and I'll pick up a box or two whenever I run across it.

    As for the Dillon press, I think I would make larger screw-ups with one. The Lee turret is fast enough to suit me, for handgun loads, and I use a RCBS single stage and a Chargemaster system for 'precision' rifle rounds...just because I like it.
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,973 Senior Member
    I have done a lot of math on this and if you cast your own lead, you can reload handgun ammo darn cheap and it makes it economical to the tune of $5 to $7 of savings a box of 50.

    If you shot 150 boxes at $5 a box you break even.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • gunwalkergunwalker Member Posts: 479 Member
    Wow, you guys are good. It never occurred to me to "sacrifice" and buy another gun. I am inspired.
    We do not view the world as it is, but as we perceive it to be.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,663 Senior Member
    gunwalker wrote: »
    Wow, you guys are good. It never occurred to me to "sacrifice" and buy another gun. I am inspired.

    Oh wait. The level of enabling in this forum is astronomical! We all live vicariously through each other...
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    knitepoet wrote: »
    Big, Bullsi, both of you seemed to miss

    So apparently he's been a reloader for some time, he was just considering going to a progressive.

    That's what I got out of it. He basically just wanted to know if it would be practical or if he would gain anything worth while out of getting a progressive loader.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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