How to get started

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Frankie_2_Times, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. Frankie_2_Times

    Frankie_2_Times Active Member

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    Hello All,
    Let me start by saying I know almost nothing when it comes to reloading. I recently was given (free /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif) a Dillon 550B loading press. The press is several years old but the box was never opened, so its basically band new. Anyhow, How to I go about getting started and is this a good press to get started. Like I said, I don't know much but I definitely want to get started. Where can I find a good instruction on how to begin.

    Thanks.
     

  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Frankie,

    See if you can find someone that is "good" at reloading and get some time with that person.

    Some will say get the "book". Not bad advice.

    Midway USA has the Guntec video series that covers a broad spectrum of the rifle/reloading/shooting theme. At 29.95 don't think it would be a bad deal. Link
     

  3. 1doug

    1doug Well-Known Member

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  4. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    It's a great press and system for the advanced loader who is going to need large volumes of mediocre ammo. It is just not for beginners. I would leave it in the box for now and look into a quality single stage press like a Rockchucker or Special 5 from RCBS to learn on. Get the feel for what things should feel like. With a single stage press you can visually verify the powder charges and weigh them to perfection. With a Dillon this can't be done. When you get a machine gun or start shooting .223 or lots of handun ammo that Dillon will be a great asset. For now though it will make more mistakes faster than you can fix them. 10 minutes at the handle of the Dillon could cost you hours pulling bullets. Hang onto it though. It is money in the bank.
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    What are you planning to load for and how much will you shoot?
     
  6. Viking

    Viking Active Member

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    Apr 14, 2005
    No disrespect, but I think Hired Gun should try a Dillon 550B or at least look at a Blue Press before giving advise to a person trying to use one. First go to Brian Enos Website and look through all of the information for the 550B and general Dillon information. Second, call the number listed and they will walk you through everything you will need to get started. Third, make sure to order a AT500 powder die and a funnel, the 550B video along with a good scale (any beam scale for reloading in grains will work). Then you can let everyone know what a great thing a 550B can be for the beginner.

    The Dillon 550B is good for loading a lot of ammo, but truly shines when you take your time with it. The problem that Hired Gun is refering to is the powder thrower does not meter well with long grained powder, but neither does any other powder thrower under +/- $2500. I have a Redding BR thrower and it will get you in the ballpark, but you will still need to trickle up and measure each round if you want anything near match ammo. The great thing about a 550 is that even when you measure each powder charge you are still performing all of your functions at once (deprime, reprime necksizing, setting bullet and crimping if required).

    I would agree with Hired Gun if you were asking about a 650 or 1050 with auto indexing. A begginer can get into alot of trouble quickly. Dont't get me wrong they are great if you want a lot of very good ammo, but they are very difficult for the beginner.

    Remeber that David Tubbs uses a 550B with a very advanced scale (promethius sp?) to load all of his ammo when he is winning every long range event I can think of. Also look at LTRDavid for instructions to reload true match ammo. I have used single stage presses and would recommend them to someone who is trying to save a buck until they know if they are interested in reloading, but I have yet to see one keep it after they try a Dillon.

    Good Luck!
     
  7. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    Viking, I have read the Blue Press plenty. I still would like to have a Dillon XL 650 but I don’t need one for the shooting I’m doing now. Brian Enos is loading pistol ammo. For load development it is not practical when only 3 loads per powder charge are being loaded. They are great for high volume work. No question about that. Enos is most likely is using flake or ball powder. Most of the powders I use are tubular powders like RL-19, 22,25 or IMR 4350, 4831, 7828 doesn't go through powder measures very fine. When I’m running near redline a 3/10 variance will blow my group. If I was doing 22-250 with H-380 I have no doubt it would throw match grade ammo for that. If you are running a rifle with a wide margin either side of optimum charge weight it would be fine.

    I didn't say I had never used one. I used to use a Dillon 650 when I was doing action shooting with my 686. At the time I was shooting 250 to 500 rounds a week. Just enough to stay proficient enough to run 4" groups at 100 yards with factory iron sights or to draw and rip off 12 shots at 25 yards on 4” targets at 25 yards in 7 seconds. It was good pistol ammo. For long range rifle shooting where I like my extreme spreads to stay in the single digits if not less than 5 fps, I just don’t feel it can maintain the precision with tube powders in the 1/2 of a 10th grain of powder or better that I can trickling on my beam scale.

    I went over the sites you listed and even David Wilson feels the need to weigh his completed rounds to be sure there really is powder in them. I didn’t realize the 550 could be set up with a funnel rather than a measure. I still stand by what I said. A single stage or even a turret press would be a better choice for someone who has never loaded before. If he is starting out with just doing pistol ammo or small case shells and ball powder then by all means set it up and crank away. It is still an expensive complex machine to set up, maintain and troubleshoot for the first timer compared to where with a single stage press and minimal instruction, you will be producing match grade ammo in a couple hours of opening the boxes.

    [​IMG]

    If he had said he had been using it awhile and had run into a glitch my post would have been completely different.
     
  8. Viking

    Viking Active Member

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    Hired Gun,

    I am having a hard time seeing the relevance of the XL650 when this person is asking about a 550B he recieved free and wants to know if it would be usable for a beginner. I agree that any progressive with auto indexing (xl650 or super1050) is going to be more of a challange than a begginer needs, but the 550B has to be manualy indexed so it is not a problem.

    If you read through my post I gathered that you were refering to the powder thrower. That is why I suggest anyone with a 550B gets the powder funnel setup. As far as Brian Enos goes, I was refering to his enomormous wealth of information on Dillon products and uses which I don't have the time or inclination to try to replicate as well as Brian Enos has already done.

    For rifle accuracy I was pointing out that David Tubb uses a 550B to load all of his high power rifle rounds (I think Mr. Tubb is arguable one of the greatest rifleman currently and can use what ever press or ammunition he wanted). He also uses a promesius (sp?) powder thrower which if I remember correctly is north of $2500. I think for the average guy a beam scale and a powder trickler will get the job done.

    I would like to know what you do to keep your charges true. I have found that if I throw a light charge with my Redding BR thrower then trickle up I can keep my rounds within +/- .05 grains also. Regardless you can then dump the powder into the case when the powder thrower would cycle and you have a known good powder charge. I see no reason to recommend spending more money on a single stage when a Dillon is in this shooters hand and can be used effectively with the extra cash invested in video, better dies, manuals, components or whatever else this new reloader will need to get going.

    I agree that there is a greater learning curve when everything is happening at once, but I will add that you should get more accurate workup loads because everything else will remain constant except your powder throw. I would happily recommend a 550 to a begginer as long as they start with an experienced person to help or watch the video to get going.

    I would also say that a single stage will not make better ammunition than a 550B. A 550B will just make it faster.
     
  9. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    I agree that a progressive is not the place to start on reloading, plus you are going to need a single stage anyway.

    No matter what, you are going to need a basis of experience and the good single stage press (used ones on Ebay for $40 or less) is the place to start.

    As this is a LR forum, the assumption is you are reloading for rifles and you can get in a bind in a hurry if you do not understand the nuances of properly setting up the dies, powder charges, etc on a single stage much less a progressive. Progressives are easy to make mistakes on with powder in particular and that can lead to a "significant emotional event".

    Get someone who is an experienced reloader to walk you through the steps, setting up dies, weighing charges, OALs, trimming etc. As you gain experience you can learn how to set up the progressive and turn out limited loads and compare to what you build on the single stage. As your technique and experience improves and the rounds are the same and shoot the same, then you can spend more time on the progressive.

    got both and the progressive is not the place to build quality LR rounds.

    BH
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Unless you are planning to reload tons of ammo, sell the Dillon and you should have plenty for a complete setup. Something like the Rockchucker supreme master reloading kit that the guys are talking about here.
    Learning the basics/becoming competent
     
  11. AKBman

    AKBman Well-Known Member

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    I started my reloading on the 550B, I used it more or less as a single stage press for the 1st year, I only loaded 45 Colt, and 30'06, nothing else, now I load a multitude of calibers. The only thing that I wish is that I could have afforded to buy more of their reloading dies, they are excellent, as is the machine, and their customer service. I suggest getting a couple different reloading manuals, reading them, and thoroughly reading the Dillon instructions, before you even set the machine up, once you really get into reloading, you will really appreciate what a gift you have been given, super easy to use, and I have loaded on mine for over 12 years.