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Dillon 550 Casefeeder - Worth it?


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I've seen a couple threads on the topic with no real action so here goes. I load exclusively on a 550 and am considering a casefeeder. Is it worth it? Considering I'm still manually indexing the shellplate, is the effect of leaving my hand on the handle going to substantially increase production? I would love to hear from others who have considered this, and ultimately whether or not the forum consensus feels this is worth it.

 

Before I hear sell the 550 and/or get a 650, I reload for quite a few calibers and it's not realistic at this time for me to switch over to a 650. I also know that the 550 casefeeder only works with pistol brass, and that's not an issue.

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1 hour ago, TrackCage said:

I've seen a couple threads on the topic with no real action so here goes. I load exclusively on a 550 and am considering a casefeeder. Is it worth it? Considering I'm still manually indexing the shellplate, is the effect of leaving my hand on the handle going to substantially increase production? I would love to hear from others who have considered this, and ultimately whether or not the forum consensus feels this is worth it.

 

Before I hear sell the 550 and/or get a 650, I reload for quite a few calibers and it's not realistic at this time for me to switch over to a 650. I also know that the 550 casefeeder only works with pistol brass, and that's not an issue.

 

I would also say skip it. The beauty of the 550 is its simplicity. Its such a basic press, that it really doesn't need anything fancy like a case feeder. The case feeder does speed it up, but the gains in ammo production are off set when you have an issue with the case feeder.  The case feeder honestly complicates a machine that was designed to be uncomplicated. 

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Thank you for digging up that thread (sorry I missed it in my search). I think for me, the biggest struggle is the caliber changeover. Although I load mostly 9mm, I do load so many other calibers that all the sudden the case feeder becomes more of a hassle than it's worth.

 

Interesting too that someone said Dillon quotes a 20% increase in output. I would have thought much higher...

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On 2/9/2018 at 1:35 PM, leewongfei said:

 

I would also say skip it. The beauty of the 550 is its simplicity. Its such a basic press, that it really doesn't need anything fancy like a case feeder. The case feeder does speed it up, but the gains in ammo production are off set when you have an issue with the case feeder.  The case feeder honestly complicates a machine that was designed to be uncomplicated. 

Ditto on the no case feeder BUT I also have a 650 with a case feeder.  I really like the ease of use of the 550 and the slower pace for my low volume ammo.  It really depends on how much ammo you will reload.  I am under 2K rounds a year for calibers I reload on the 550

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3 hours ago, Banacek said:

Ditto on the no case feeder BUT I also have a 650 with a case feeder.  I really like the ease of use of the 550 and the slower pace for my low volume ammo.  It really depends on how much ammo you will reload.  I am under 2K rounds a year for calibers I reload on the 550

OP here. I currently reload 20k per year on a 550. Hence the ask. If I removed 9mm from that, I'd cut my number in half, maybe more

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5 minutes ago, TrackCage said:

OP here. I currently reload 20k per year on a 550. Hence the ask. If I removed 9mm from that, I'd cut my number in half, maybe more

If you have the room buy a 650 or 1050, you are in the big leagues for reloading.  How often do you clean the 550 and what is your current priming routine?  What accessories have you purchased for the 550?   You are a subject matter expert on the 550 compared to many.

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I lube the 550 shaft probably once a month. The grease fittings less often than that, but often enough. I take the press completely apart for a full teardown once a year. Load primer tubes five at a time so I don't need to stop and refill tubes during a session. 

 

It's funny because my reloading routine is super casual,  just very regular. I wake up on saturday mornings and load a few hundred rounds. If I do that one other time each week then I'm upwards of 25k loaded a year. Never did the math until you asked me earlier.

 

The only accessories I have are the strong mount, roller handle, and complete quick change caliber conversions for everything I load except 44 mag. I didn't even have the roller handle until about 6 months ago when my shoulder was bugging me after a couple marathon loading sessions.

 

The 550 has been really good to me. 

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  • 1 month later...

Without taking caliber conversions into consideration, I see the speed/output of a 550 with a case feeder capable of being the same as a 650. If you add a bullet feeder to the 650 i think it's capable of outputting the same as a 1050. 1050 I think is overall a better machine with the swager, more stations, priming on down stroke, etc. So output alone is not the only thing to take into consideration.

 

I like the case feeder on my 550 and have not experienced that many issues with it and it's definitely faster. Yes it can jam up but it's typically very consistent. I don't think people take into account the time it takes to grab and orient the case in your fingers and then place it in the shell plate. Sometimes (at least for me) I'll grab a case upside down or something so I'll I have to fumble it around in my fingers before placing it. 

 

I can see if the case feeder is not set up properly it being a pain in the butt and not getting into a good flow or rhythm is annoying. 

 

If you're changing calibers as much as it seems, I'd say it's probably not worth it. I shoot 9 and .40 so I load like 10k of 9mm before I switch to .40. I have the case feeder parts for .40 which only takes about a minute to change out so it's not bad. 

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The 550 is a great balanced machine without a case feeder.  The 550 case feeder was an afterthought.  I was in the same position:  I was happy with the 550 but wanted to increase production.  I thought about buying the case feeder or upgrading to  650.  I bought the case feeder and struggled with getting it to work reliably with multiple calibers (9, 40, .38spl).  I ended up buying a 650, selling the 550 and my 550 case feeder feeds my casepro.  I know a few people that are happy with their case fed 550 but I know more that tried it, got frustrated, and upgraded to a 650.  YMMV but the good thing is the 550 and accessorizes hold their value which you can recoup when you sell and upgrade to 650 eventually.  

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  • 1 year later...

Was searching on a different topic but ran across this old thread.  Completely disagree with those saying the case feeder isn't worth it on the 550.  I have a 550 and 650, both with case feeder.  Once you get a rythem on the 550 with the case feeder it isn't far behind the 650.  And there are benefits to the 550 not being auto indexing when something goes wrong.  I have had no problems getting the 550 case feeder to work.  The 650 case feeder was feeding 9mm upside down until I got the options narrow funnel from Dillon.

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56 minutes ago, sitw said:

Was searching on a different topic but ran across this old thread.  Completely disagree with those saying the case feeder isn't worth it on the 550.  I have a 550 and 650, both with case feeder.  Once you get a rythem on the 550 with the case feeder it isn't far behind the 650.  And there are benefits to the 550 not being auto indexing when something goes wrong.  I have had no problems getting the 550 case feeder to work.  The 650 case feeder was feeding 9mm upside down until I got the options narrow funnel from Dillon.

 

Wow. You did dig up an old thread... I did a lot of searching myself to see if case feeder was worth it on 550. I really want to run my 38 S&W on my 550 with a case feeder(since there are no shell plates for my 1050). Been waiting to see if the DAA  case feeder is any better.

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I put a case feeder on my 550 and I have been really happy with it. Haven't had any problems at all. The only thing is now it is pretty much a pistol cartridge reloading machine other and a couple rifle cartridges.

Brad

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2 hours ago, bradleygt said:

I put a case feeder on my 550 and I have been really happy with it. Haven't had any problems at all. The only thing is now it is pretty much a pistol cartridge reloading machine other and a couple rifle cartridges.

Brad

 

 

Can the feeder mechanism be removed easy enough to load other stuff like large rifle? 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/12/2018 at 12:23 PM, Banacek said:

Ditto on the no case feeder BUT I also have a 650 with a case feeder.  I really like the ease of use of the 550 and the slower pace for my low volume ammo.  It really depends on how much ammo you will reload.  I am under 2K rounds a year for calibers I reload on the 550

Same here-no case feeder for my 550. I use my 550 much like Banacek. Low volume runs or for load development. I have a fully decked out 650 for my high volume runs. I picked up my 650 used and rebuilt it. Great learning experience on how 650 really operates. I plan to keep both. If you have some patience, you can pick up a used 650 at a good price.

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I was in the same boat wanting to add something to speed up my loading on my 550. I ended up getting a used 1050 and it has been so nice it’s put the joy back into loading for me. My advice is to keep the 550 stock and save  your pennies for a 650 or a 1050 with a case feeder and bullet feeder for the cal.that you shooting the most. 

Edited by Dwbsig
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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry about diggin up the old thread, but maybe someone will get somethin out of it.

 

I don't disagree with Dwbsig on upgrading if you really want to speed things up and smooth them out.  But saying the case feeder doesn't help the 550 much, I believe it realy does.  And at times, since it is not auto indexing, it is easier to clear a jam.  But for sure the 650 and above for max speed.

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