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Thread: Lights, camera, powder check

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Feb 2012
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    N. IL. Kankakee County
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    Lights, camera, powder check

    Have any of you added a camera to your press for a visual powder check?
    If so what did you use and does it help on bottle neck cases?

    I run a Dillon 550 and finally got some led light strips and a backup camera, newer model of one that I have seen used on a Dillon before.

    I cannot figure out a way to mount it that will be useful on long/bottleneck cases which is the reason I wanted one, I can already see into short pistol cases.
    After finding the camera install thread I notice it only shows pistol cases. More research only shows videos of pistol cases, except on true overhead cameras installed on presses with more room than a 550.

    Maybe something run through the hole in the middle of the tool head might work.

    The lights are going to work good.
    Too good actually, I rigged up a few strips for a quick test, on the far support arm of the press.
    I stuck one strip on there, it seemed fine so in true overkill fashion I added 2 more and soldered everything up.
    Way too bright, blindingly bright. I will be disconnecting 2 of the strips and continue adding lights to the near side and over head as I originally planned.

    Also planning on adding lights to the gun cabinet, these led strips are really nice and cheap.

    The lights will be a nice addition, the camera might get returned.


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  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    I've done two versions.....one for my 5 station Pro 2000 using a pinhole and another for my Pro Chucker 7, using an old seating die with a cheap Chinese bore scope inside. Both work to see inside any case including bottle neck.

    The following video shows both working....left side is the Pro 2000 with pistol cases....right side is the PC7 showing .308.

    There are how-to's I posted to both on THR.org





    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.ph...cker-7.840175/

    The next video is using a camera under the die plate....no die used no station used. You will notice you can see into a .308, but not the .223. In real life you can, but in the video of a video no. Had I wet tumbled the .223 with pins....like I did the .308, would have been able to see inside easy.


    before you start the video, look at this picture....you can see the camera over on the left side. Since then I have changed the camera to an even smaller one.

    On the Pro Chucker 7 I could afford to use a die and a station.....not so with 5 or less....
    Last edited by GWS; 09-23-2020 at 02:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    That looks good.
    The only problem is lack of overhead space/stations on the 550.
    For 223 I seat/crimp in one station right now, all other calibers I use all 4 stations.
    Even on 223 I would have to seat in station 4, it would be kind of awkward to place bullets.
    I guess I could run a camera in station 3 and then place the bullet in the normal way, but actually seat in station 4. I think I flare the cases enough to hold the bullet in place while rotating the shell plate.
    Right now I only need this for 223 and 38spl, all other calibers the powder level is visible enough.

    It has become more of an issue with my new lower bench that I run seated. When standing at my old bench it was possible to see into the cases better. Slow and awkward, but still better.

    I think I will return the backup camera and try the bore scope type camera, I was just hoping for something press mounted, not toolhead mounted, but after trying it I don’t think I can get a good angle without direct overhead mounting.
    Maybe even drill a hole in the tool head, but there is not much room to play with.

    Just another reason to want a 1050.


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  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    I added another video and some more explanation since you posted.

    I understand the limits with your press.....the Pro 2000 had one of the 5 stations off the tool head.....and that's where I put the camera. Don't the tool heads you use have a hole in the center? Maybe you could make a rod with a camera on it to stick in that hole.
    Last edited by GWS; 09-25-2020 at 05:55 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    There is a hole in the center that people use for lights or a camera.
    I am just not sure if it will be close enough to see in the small 223 cases.
    From the little playing around I did last night I need to be just about perfectly overhead to see my powder charge in a 223 case.
    I am thinking of a camera between stations 2/3 to see directly down into the case while rotating the shell plate.
    38spl should’ve easier, even larger bottleneck cases shouldn’t be as hard to see into, the small 223 is problematic.
    And unfortunately what I need to load the most of right now.

    I need to finish my lighting first, better light will be helpful.
    I might even break down and mount a few leds onto my 223 toolhead with a quick disconnect.


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  6. #6
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    Perhaps change powders. When I loaded .223 I used an RCBS Little Dandy that dropped half a charge each time. That filled the case high enough that I could easily see inside the case to the powder level. I don't remember the powder but I'd guess W748 since my only other rifle only powder was and is IMR 4064.

  7. #7
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    I attached a led light to the center hole, attached a borescope to see into the cavity after the powder dropper hooking the borescope to a tablet on a stand.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Land Owner's Avatar
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    You guys are awesome. Innovation and necessity - the Mother of Invention. LED lighting, bore scope camera technology, tablets as a head's up display, all of these are the tools, some real cheap too, that have evolved over my 6 decades on this planet. Your means of using them is OUTSTANDING and I don't mind "ripping you off" in copying some of your thinking.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Land Owner View Post
    You guys are awesome. Innovation and necessity - the Mother of Invention. LED lighting, bore scope camera technology, tablets as a head's up display, all of these are the tools, some real cheap too, that have evolved over my 6 decades on this planet. Your means of using them is OUTSTANDING and I don't mind "ripping you off" in copying some of your thinking.
    Rip away.....that's what we're for.
    Below: The high tech tools required.

    The parts: Chinese bore scope, .308 case, epoxy putty, old .45acp seater barrel,and the 5" screen.

    Ring of epoxy around the base of the borescope.....45 remnant pressed over it.


    Screw into the die barrel.

    Screw into the press and connect to the video screen and powersupply



  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Just an update-
    I got an in-line fabrication sky light.
    It is nice, but still doesn’t light up a 223 case enough.
    And either the camera or monitor died, no picture when I tried today, just wanted to play with it some more with the new light.

    I got through a 223 reloading session the other day with a headlamp, it really helped, proving I just need better, directed lighting.

    A big part of my current issues is press height, too short to stand and I can’t see straight down into the case when seated.
    So I am going to have to get on building a dedicated reloading bench here, the same height as my last one.
    Still have some ideas to play with for press lighting and camera also, but I would actually prefer to just see in the case naturally, not have to look over at a monitor.
    Short cases like 380 or 45 are no issue on this bench and that is most of what I load, so it hasn’t been a priority until recently.


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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check