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Thread: Thoughts on Progressive Reloading Machines

  1. #81
    Boolit Master
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    I do not have or use a metallic progressive press, I've seen a Star in use and was impressed, my P-W 12 ga. reloaders are solid and slick, but when i see clips on here using some other reloaders they look like they are ready to fall apart. They are swaying and flopping from side to side and don't look like they will survive and I don't see how they could produce accurate safe ammo. They operate like they are set up on springs, I'll just keep doin' what I'm doin'.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjwcaster View Post
    I love my Dillon 550 and lust after an automated 1050 but I have to disagree on all the free parts.

    Small parts they are still good for, but not everything any more.
    I finally called for some parts for my 20+ year old 550 last year and they wouldnít provide powder bars. But they would sell them to me at $30 each.
    All the other parts I requested were sent free of charge.
    Dillon has been burned by people getting warranted parts and selling them on evilbay, so I canít blame them.
    And the parts are worn due to my lack of maintenance, missing plastic bushing caused excessive wear in the actuation slot of the bars, plus accelerated wear from lack of cleaning.
    Piece of junk only lasted 20 years

    I might have gotten better service from another rep, other people have posted about warranty issues that were resolved by calling back and getting another rep, but it didnít bother me that much and I didnít reload much in the last year, just really getting back into it in the last few weeks

    I just ordered another complete powder measure (can never have too many toys) and when the current madness ends I will send in my 2 old measures for repair/replacement. Or maybe pay the ~$90 and send the whole press in for some TLC.
    I figure the measure only cost me $30, $90 - 2x$30 (price of bars).
    I still might buy one more small bar, that way I can just switch bars instead of taking a few minutes to readjust powder throws for my most loaded calibers.
    The older I get, the lazier I become, plus I have a tool addiction.

    Still canít beat the performance for the price.

    I still love Dillon, but things arenít quite like the stories of the good old days due to peopleís ethical greed, stealing basically.


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  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnt Fingers View Post
    The powder bar isn't something that breaks.
    Define breaks.
    My small charge bars are worn out and not working properly nor safely. They hang up and get stuck at times, even after a good cleaning.
    As stated above, the actuator slot is worn, mangled, no longer square, along with the whole bar is worn.
    One is serviceable, barely, the other is not.

    They do not perform the function for which they were designed, they are broken.

    Not Dillons fault, I take the blame for lack of maintenance, but indeed they no longer work properly.


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  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Chambers View Post
    I do not have or use a metallic progressive press, I've seen a Star in use and was impressed, my P-W 12 ga. reloaders are solid and slick, but when i see clips on here using some other reloaders they look like they are ready to fall apart. They are swaying and flopping from side to side and don't look like they will survive and I don't see how they could produce accurate safe ammo. They operate like they are set up on springs, I'll just keep doin' what I'm doin'.
    I have a Ponsness Warren Duomatic 375 so I understand what you’re saying about how solid they are. I also currently have two Dillons and have owned a total of four of them. They would only sway and flop around if not securely mounted, just as with a P-W. The Dillons are smooth precision machines capable of producing very accurate ammunition in the hands of a capable user.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Chambers View Post
    I do not have or use a metallic progressive press, I've seen a Star in use and was impressed, my P-W 12 ga. reloaders are solid and slick, but when i see clips on here using some other reloaders they look like they are ready to fall apart. They are swaying and flopping from side to side and don't look like they will survive and I don't see how they could produce accurate safe ammo. They operate like they are set up on springs, I'll just keep doin' what I'm doin'.
    Please do not be offended but your opinions are incorrect. Every competitive pistol shooter I know uses a progressive. I doubt anyone can shoot a pistol better than the accuracy of ammunition produced on a good progressive press. But I have only owned or used Stars, Dillon’s and a Camdex.
    Don Verna

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  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjwcaster View Post
    Define breaks.
    My small charge bars are worn out and not working properly nor safely.
    Not Dillons fault, I take the blame for lack of maintenance, but indeed they no longer work properly.
    Hey, mjwcaster, I have a Dillon, and I have never seen anything that implies the charge bar needs maintenance,,

    What should be done to the powder feeder?

    I thought the graphite in the powder acted like a lube,, so I just have run my 550B,,
    It has never been serviced,, on any part of the press,,

    For a decade, I loaded at least a 1,000 44 MAG per month,, my neighbor and I would shoot a lot,,,
    We destroyed a LOT of steel targets,,
    (I thought that was a lot... Hmmmmm,,)

  7. #87
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    Going all the way back to the OP;

    There's an AMAZINGLY strong human tendency to self-validate your own decisions, particularly purchasing decisions.
    Once someone has made a decision to purchase something, they tend to view that purchase as a wise decision.
    It's not a flaw, it is just something we must recognize.

    It can also be very difficult to fit other people's criteria to your criteria. For example, one person may value durability over all other aspects, while another person may see cost as the primary factor. So when someone highly recommends something, it may be wise to ask why they hold it in high esteem.

    Some people are just more mechanically inclined than others. I have a friend who is highly intelligent but he thinks a screwdriver is a drink that contains orange juice and vodka.

    How long has the person owned the device? Did they have an opportunity to replace it and decide to hold onto it? Or did they only recently acquire it?

    Did the person buy another identical item to supplement the first one?

    Did the person buy the item? Inherit the item? Was it a gift? Did they pay a lot for it or was it inexpensive? - All of these factors can affect how they perceive the quality of the item.

    Is it just shear brand loyalty? I've seen people struggle with products but refuse to switch brands.

    In the end, only you can decide what is best for you.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjwcaster View Post
    Define breaks.
    My small charge bars are worn out and not working properly nor safely. They hang up and get stuck at times, even after a good cleaning.
    As stated above, the actuator slot is worn, mangled, no longer square, along with the whole bar is worn.
    One is serviceable, barely, the other is not.

    They do not perform the function for which they were designed, they are broken.

    Not Dillons fault, I take the blame for lack of maintenance, but indeed they no longer work properly.


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    dont have a fail safe rod on your powder bar? Dillion will give you one for free and theres no way your powder bar can hang up with a fail safe system. Only ones ive ever seen hang up were the old square deals with the springs for return. Ive loaded hundreds of thousands of rounds on those square deals and the springs can get tired. that said ive loaded hundreds of thousands on a 550 with a fail safe rod and dont even know how a powder bar could possibly hang up. If it did its would surely stop the machine cold. i dont know how much you load but i load A LOT and have never wore out a powder bar. Ive wore out carbide dies. Wore out the plastic bushings on square deals, but the only thing thats ever "wore out" on a 550 has been primer return springs.
    Last edited by Lloyd Smale; 10-20-2020 at 06:41 AM.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Please do not be offended but your opinions are incorrect. Every competitive pistol shooter I know uses a progressive. I doubt anyone can shoot a pistol better than the accuracy of ammunition produced on a good progressive press. But I have only owned or used Stars, Dillon’s and a Camdex.
    yup ive used dillons, hornady lnls, stars, and even lees and have never seen anything flopping side to side even on a cheap pro 1000. Like was already posted. About 99 percent of competition handgun ammo is loaded on progressive machines and ive load TONS of rifle ammo on 550s and lnls and with the rock chucker sitting there too. Same load same gun loaded on any of those machines groups size variations would need to be measured in .001s. Show me a guy that claims he will only load on a single stage machine because his ammo is more accurate and ill show you someone that doesn't shoot enough to aquire the skill to take advantage of it. Either that or he sleeps 3 hours a night because between shooting and loading and casting (some say you have to use single cav and a ladle to get good bullets too) and sizing he spends 12 hours for every hour he can spend shooting. I reload to shoot. I reload so that its is cheaper to shoot so i can shoot more. I buy equipment that allows me to spend the least amount of time loading (and still getting quality ammo) so i can spend more time doing what i love! SHOOTING!!! I was the guy who got up at 4am so i could cast a pot before work. Come home and go shooting for an hour then stay up till midnight sizing bullets and loading ammo on my rock chuker so i could do it again the next day. Then it got to the point that rounds like the 556 i had to take a lee hand press to work and a lee primer and size and prime brass on breaks and at lunch to keep up. When i bought my first 550 i thought i died and went to heaven. Went there again when I bought my star sizer. Then added 5 square deals set up in pistol calibers so if i wanted ammo they were set to go. Lost all that in a fire and before my new barn was even done i had a new 550, three lnl progressives and a rock chucker set up on a new bench in the garage. Only mistake i made was not going with 650s or even back to square deals instead of those lnls. Load with what you want but if i had to go back to a single stage press id sell everything but a 44 mag and an 06 to hunt with and find a new hobby. you can have my wobbly 550 when you pry my cold dead fingers off of it. Hands down the best 500 bucks a guy that actually shoots can make. Cant afford it? Sell a gun.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetMk View Post
    Hey, mjwcaster, I have a Dillon, and I have never seen anything that implies the charge bar needs maintenance,,

    What should be done to the powder feeder?

    I thought the graphite in the powder acted like a lube,, so I just have run my 550B,,
    It has never been serviced,, on any part of the press,,

    For a decade, I loaded at least a 1,000 44 MAG per month,, my neighbor and I would shoot a lot,,,
    We destroyed a LOT of steel targets,,
    (I thought that was a lot... Hmmmmm,,)
    All my issues with the press have been operator error.
    Lack of cleaning, and checking for loose/missing parts.
    The plastic bushings (bell crank cube #13871) on the bell crack #97034 cracked/went missing and I didnít notice and kept running them. So the round nub on the bell rank wore the channel out on the bar.
    Plus one bar/measure corroded/wore to the point that powder would escape between the bar/measure and my efforts to clean/polish it made things worse.
    The press was also improperly stored in a high humidity environment for some years and rusted/corroded.
    As far as I am concerned Dillon owes me nothing as far as the powder measures are concerned, it was my fault.


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  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    dont have a fail safe rod on your powder bar? Dillion will give you one for free and theres no way your powder bar can hang up with a fail safe system. Only ones ive ever seen hang up were the old square deals with the springs for return. Ive loaded hundreds of thousands of rounds on those square deals and the springs can get tired. that said ive loaded hundreds of thousands on a 550 with a fail safe rod and dont even know how a powder bar could possibly hang up. If it did its would surely stop the machine cold. i dont know how much you load but i load A LOT and have never wore out a powder bar. Ive wore out carbide dies. Wore out the plastic bushings on square deals, but the only thing thats ever "wore out" on a 550 has been primer return springs.
    There is a failsafe rod, but it only works the bellcrank and only pulling the powder bar out.
    If the problem is where the bellcrank meets the powder bar.
    So sometimes the powder bar wonít move enough to get a charge or if it does it hangs up long enough for the shell plate to be down far enough so that when it finally breaks free with a jolt powder just dumps everywhere, some of it making it into the case.
    Yes it is broken really bad, and no it did not happen overnight, years of neglect caused this.
    This particular bar/measure was worn and finicky but when the above issues started happening it was downed from service and I just used the other measure and small bar, which while worn is still in somewhat serviceable condition.

    Dillon did send out new plastic bushings for the bellcrank, but this particular bar is too worn out for that to fix it.


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  12. #92
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    why dont you replace the worn bars! It makes me shake my head. I load more the 90 percent of the people here and my bars dont look like new but theres not wear or gouges in them anywhere. I would think if anything would wear first it would be the cast measure body the slide rides on. Bottom line is there a mechanical tool. They need to be kept clean and lubricated where needed. Absolute only trouble the dillion measures have given me is they dont meter stick powder real well. But then ive yet to find one that did. Honestly if mine was wore out after all the rounds ive loaded i sure wouldnt be ashamed to admit it here. Round count is in the hundreds of thousands and anything mechanical wears out. Its a testament to dillion that they dont wear out. Now like ive said. Im a big fan of square deals even though i dont own them anymore. But i will tell you that all 5 of the ones i had had to have new (plastic) bushings after a couple hundred thousand rounds. i always kept a spare set in the drawer so i could rebuild it and call dillion for a new set to keep in the drawer. Ive wore out square deal carbide sizer dies but id bet if a guy did the liquid pin type cleaning instead or walnut like i use that would have never happened either. If you can snap a couple pics of those wore out bars. Id like to see where they were wore.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  13. #93
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    Thoughts on Progressive Reloading Machines

    Lloyd read my responses, no need to shake your head.
    I have multiple powder measures, not just one broken one.

    I have another new powder measure on order and will send the powder measures or maybe the whole press back to Dillon after all this madness is over.

    I am replacing the bars, just in my own way.

    Full explanation-

    I was initially just going to send the whole press back for the $90 rebuild instead of paying $60 for just two bars. Seemed like a better deal to me, spend a few more bucks and let the factory rebuild everything.

    And one of the powder measures/small bars still works Ok with a new bellcrank bushing, even if it is worn a bit.

    I just didnít cast or reload much last year or most of this year and never got around to sending the press in.
    No sense in spending money on something I wasnít even using, I even toyed with the idea of selling the press, then buying a 650(now 750) when I got back into reloading.

    I just really got back into reloading in the last month but it is not the time to send anything in to Dillon, they are too backed up.

    It was hard to even find a powder measure in stock, actually all I could find was a kit with extra tool head and stand included. Sad thing is I wanted an extra tool head just for sizing until I got the Lee App, now I donít really need it.

    I might even buy 1 more powder measure so I can just leave all my most used calibers setup, whenever I can find just the powder measure by itself.
    If I didnít want to upgrade to a bigger Dillon it would be easier to justify more accessories for my 550.


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  14. #94
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    Thoughts on Progressive Reloading Machines

    Lloyd here is a pic of the bad bar where the actuator rides.


    And I suspect the cast body might be worn, hence the powder escaping the bar. Another reason I didnít just spend money on a replacement bar.

    Taking a straight edge to things, the spacer isnít flat either.
    Who knows, but I still attribute it to improper storage and operator error, the wear pictured from the missing actuator bushing was nothing but operator error. That just didnít happen in one reloading session.

    Dillon did send me new primer slides and primer track bearing.
    They were worn and sticking no matter how clean/polished I got them.
    New ones worked fine, no priming issues as long as I keep things clean.

    Did I mention this press was not stored/maintained the best.

    To give you an idea I had kept my reloading setup in totes in an unconditioned shed when I lived in southern Illinois.
    I opened a tote one day and found the bottom filled with water. Took me a while to realize it was just from condensation, building didnít leak and the tote had a lid on it.
    While I have owned the press for 20 years it was in storage for at least 10 of those years.
    When I really got into reloading 7 years ago I did a lot of rust removal and lubing, should have just sent the press in then.
    But a testament to dillon, even after all that abuse, with a little cleanup the press was in working condition, as things got bad a few small replacement parts got it back fine.
    All except the powder measure, which just got worse.


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  15. #95
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    man thats beat up and gouged up. Almost looks like it seized in the body and someone beat it out. Never seen anything like it. But for sure that measure and those bars are all junk. Im sure dillion would replace them for free if you sent them in. That sure doesnt look like normal wear from loading. Something happened to cause that. Like i said mine have MANY MANY thousands of rounds and dont have a single scratch on them and that said im not some anal guy who is constantly cleaning it. Matter of fact ive never once cleaned a dispenser or charge bar. Only thing i clean is the primer system occasionally. No doubt your storage episode caused some major corrosion of the cast parts and caused the galling. Just be thankful its not a lyman or youd be opening your wallet to get it right. Dillions no bs warantee is just that. I lost my square deals and my first 550 in a fire and i called dillion and told them all i had left was the steal ram of the 550. They sent me a brand new 550 with 3 tool heads a caliber coversion and a strong mount for free. Thats like accidently burning your pickup and expecting ford to give you a free replacement!!
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  16. #96
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    I had a Dillion Square Deal for 45acp and .357 and .44. Was easy to stay ahead of 45acp match needs with it. Did not like switching over to a new caliber with it though. When I got back into shooting after about 15 years off I started with a Rock Chucker again. That combined with a Lee AAP press had me at a production level that could keep up with my shooting. Decided to start loading 9mm and that is when I started thinking of a progressive again. But I got a Lee Classic Turret instead. Extra turrets are cheap and I like how fast you can switch calibers with it. Having the dies all adjusted in their seperate turrets is great. Watched the videos of the fully automated machines and they look fantastic. But I don't need that many rounds so the investment is not worth it for me. The Rock Chucker will do rifle duty. I have the inline fabrication quick change set up with case ejectors and bin holders and they increase productivity nicely.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjwcaster View Post
    Define breaks.
    My small charge bars are worn out and not working properly nor safely. They hang up and get stuck at times, even after a good cleaning.
    As stated above, the actuator slot is worn, mangled, no longer square, along with the whole bar is worn.
    One is serviceable, barely, the other is not.

    They do not perform the function for which they were designed, they are broken.

    Not Dillons fault, I take the blame for lack of maintenance, but indeed they no longer work properly.


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    I had one like that and last week walked into Dillon and they looked at it and handed me a new one.

    I also had the carbide insert pulled out of a Dillon die. handed that to them and they handed me a new die.

    I have always had top notch service walking in to the Dillon showroom.

    As it is right now, I have a 450 set up for 300 Win Mag (it stays that way). Then 2 550's, 1 in large primer and 1 in small primer.

    Then I have an RL1100 and a Super 1050 on a Mark 7 auto drive. I did just add a couple more conversions to the 1050/1100, so I will probably sell off one of the 550's.

    The part I like most about Dillon, is in 20 minutes I can be at the store and usually they have everything I need.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    theres one at the bottom of my pond out back if someone wants to go swimming
    LOL, Lloyd it's a good thing you didn't have your fishing boat tied to it. It wouldn't hold it anyway. LOL.

    I was real heavy into the bulls eye pistol and combat and when you get used to use a Star progressive for loading pistol ammo and for trap the Ponsness/Warren 800 you get spoiled with their smoothness and how well they work. I sold the star in the late 70's when I quit shooting the pistol matches because the lack of matches being held here close. I didn't have time to travel because of my Plumbing trade when the work schedules are heavy in the warm months working 60 hrs a week keeping up.
    I still have the 800 P/W press and the only problem I ever had with it is sweeping up the shot off the bench and floor when I bumped the shot dump lever with my elbow

    For the rifles I just use the Rock Chucker or the RCBS Big max. Never had much interest using a progressive for rifle.

    But we all have our own ways and satisfaction with what tools we use.

  19. #99
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    So I outsmarted myself, yet again.
    The new powder measure kit arrived yesterday and I opened it up to marvel in it's glory.
    Then I realized that they changed the failsafe rod with the powder measure redesign and my old one wont work with the new measure. I couldn't do anything but laugh. I still have one working measure so I can keep loading for now.

    I just filed an online warranty claim with Dillon for parts, new failsafe rod assembly and included pics of the worn bars and asked about just sending the old measures in for replacement/rebuilding.
    We will see what happens, too bad I really didn't want to bother them when they are so busy right now.

    And Lloyd I explained what happened with the bars, missing plastic bushing 13871, no hammering or that type of beating, just unintended, repeated metal on metal contact. The bellcrank is made out of much harder material, there is no wear on it at all, it just slowly ate into the powder bars.
    I have no idea when the bushings went missing, if I just lost them when changing bars, they cracked and fell off or if they were never there when I bought the press used.

  20. #100
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    I have a Dillon 550. It had just came out in 86 or 87 when I purchased it, the only game in town. Looked at a 650 and a 1000 the last 3-5 years after I got out of skeet and sporting clays. Got a hydro Scolari in all gauges for that. If I was to do it again with the products out there, I would go for a 550, 650 or 750 and be done with it. On the road as much as I am now, I rock an RCBS Rock Chucked for the limited pistol and rifle calibers I load for when I need to zone out.

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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