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LeviSS

How much of an upgrade is a 650 from a 550?

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I currently have a 550 and I've been thinking of upgrading.  I'd really like a 1050, but I'm finding it hard to justify the price difference.  I would probably add a bullet feeder to the 650.

 

I plan on keeping the 550 and only loading 9mm on the 650.

 

I've been having tendonitis in my elbow, so reloading hasn't been much fun.  I'm thinking a higher output machine would keep me at the press less, plus reduce repetitive motions like grabbing brass/ bullets.  Am I trying to justify it too hard?  I really wish I could afford auto-drive.

 

Is the output difference that much greater?

 

Any cons to the 650?

 

Should I just wait to upgrade to a 1050/Mark 7 Evo when I can afford it?

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You're still going to get one round per pull on the handle.  All you're going to gain with the 650 is auto-indexing.  If I were going to buy a Dillon to load just one cartridge I'd look hard at the SDB.

 

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Guess why I upgraded from a 550 to a 650?  Tendonitis!

 

Yes it is a big upgrade but it is at the cost of being a more complicated machine.  To be fair to Dillon, mine is used, old, and previously abused by multiple owners, but it took almost two years (intermittently) for me to really get it singing because of its complexity.  I suspect that if I’d bought it new the story would have been different.  Flip side, the 550 can be adjusted very easily, relatively speaking.  

 

Edit to add:  Make sure you get the case feeder. Without that you’re better off with the 550, IMHO. 

Edited by jkrispies

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12 minutes ago, ExStreetWalker said:

You're still going to get one round per pull on the handle.  All you're going to gain with the 650 is auto-indexing.  If I were going to buy a Dillon to load just one cartridge I'd look hard at the SDB.

 

 Different strokes for different folks but in my opinion this is terrible advice. I went from a 550 to 650 and later added a bullet Feeder. It’s fantastic.  100 rounds in four minutes without even trying to go fast.    Almost as big a change as going from the single stage press to the 550. Unless funds are in issue, there is no reason to buy a SDB

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No cons to the 650, I love mine but the actual motion of reloading is the exact same as a 550. Although for about $1k with bullet feeder and case feeder, lubed cases make it a breeze to load. You'll certainly increase output over the 550. I average 900 per hour if I go that long, normally it's ~500 rounds in 30 minutes.  

 

Pro to the 650 - it can be automated. Probably not the best press but still doable.  Although I'm waiting to upgrade to a 1050 for the swaging and better functioning automation.

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Good luck as I went through this decision recently on whether to get a 650 or 1050 after loading on a 550. The 1050 is expensive but as of now I don't have one regret, none. I sold my 550 but in hindsight I probably should have kept it and still got the 1050. The price sucks but it is instantly forgotten. You could get the 1050 and add the bullet feeder later on, that's what I'm doing. Good luck with your decision.

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Get the 650. You will not regret it. Only con is cost of machine and conversions. Keep the 550 for doing the low production stuff. The only problem I had with mine to make it run well was deburring the primer disc. Get your stuff ready and in 4-5 minutes you have a 100 rounds without trying. Bullet feeder might shave time off of that. I used 450s and 550s previously and did not think there was much of a difference. Boy, was I wrong. The case feeder is a must have.

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If I've looked at it right, you can't have the powder check with the bullet feeder.  Or can you have it, but then must seat and crimp together?  Is it a big deal to not have the powder check?

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47 minutes ago, LeviSS said:

If I've looked at it right, you can't have the powder check with the bullet feeder.  Or can you have it, but then must seat and crimp together?  Is it a big deal to not have the powder check?

 

ive loaded give or take 100k rounds on Dillon machines... never ran a powder check, never had a dillon measure NOT drop powder OR double charge.  I mean I am sure its possible if you arent paying attention, but reloading is something that IMO requires 100% attention at all times.  With the 650's auto index you COULD get a squib load, but I would say a double charge is almost impossible(I would say 100% impossible because somebody will prove me wrong).  If you get the case up high enough to engage the powder die, the shell plate is going to index on the way day.

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51 minutes ago, LeviSS said:

If I've looked at it right, you can't have the powder check with the bullet feeder.  Or can you have it, but then must seat and crimp together?  Is it a big deal to not have the powder check?

A $10 light and paying attention eliminates the need for a powder check

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1 hour ago, LeviSS said:

If I've looked at it right, you can't have the powder check with the bullet feeder.  Or can you have it, but then must seat and crimp together?  Is it a big deal to not have the powder check?

I got my 650 (up from a 550) in 2004 and never had the powder check. And, I never had a malfunction related to too much or too little. With auto-index, something else has to go wrong first to distract you into double dumping or zero dumping. I also added the bullet feeder (KISS the original) and have been quite happy. My only complaint is that had I known that I was going to wind up mostly 9mm, a 1050 would of been great for the primer swage. At the time I was swapping between 45/40/9. Not so much anymore.

 

Later,

Chuck

 

BTW: My initial time trials of the bullet feeder from full tube to buzzer was 2:04. ?

 

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Both the 650/1050 will be a noticeable improvement, I went from a 550 to a 1050 and had no regrets at all.

Based on what you mentioned (injury and single caliber, keeping the 550 for other cals), I’d strongly a consider the 1050, you can always add a bullet feeder and or Mark7 down the road.


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I learned on a 550, bought a 650, then an auto drive 1050, put the bullet feeder from the 1050 on the 650 and sold the 1050.

 

Case fed, bullet fed 650 is a pretty great setup.

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By the time you buy the 650 "as it should be" ,  it's almost as expensive

as the 1050    :surprise:

 

AND, the 1050 eliminates the Up Stroke to seat a primer, uncrimps

9mm brass and has 8 stations    :wub:

 

Go all the way.   Get the 1050 and you'll have it forever (only $1/week,

if amortized over time).   Less than you spend on pain medicine    :) 

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The 650 is a great machine.  If you're only loading 9mm, you'll be happy with the 650.  The case feeder is a must!  For your tendinitis, you can add some inexpensive aftermarket parts to make it easier on you.  My press is so smooth and effortless.  Here's what I added:

Aluminum Roller Handle (Dillon Part)

Roller Cam Follower ($15)

Roto Cam Actuator ($17.75)

Top Plate Bearing ($7.75)

Primer stop switch ($24.75) Doesn't smooth out the press but makes it easy to stop primers.

All the after market parts were bought from a guy named snowshooze on Ebay.

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3 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

Go all the way.   Get the 1050 and you'll have it forever (only $1/week,

if amortized over time).   Less than you spend on pain medicine    :) 

HAHA, yes at this rate in just 150 years the machine is paid off!?

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1 hour ago, jhgtyre said:

HAHA, yes at this rate in just 150 years the machine is paid off!?

 

No, the $1.00/week is the difference between buying a fully loaded 650

and buying a 1050 - NOT the total cost of the 1050.    ?

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If you think that the 650 is "complicated" then stay away from the 1050.

I had a 650 for about 4 years and about 60,000 rounds or more.  I had a few issues but really if you have the bullet feeder and the case feeder all you are doing is pulling the handle.

I moved to the 1050 to get better production rate and I had issues with the resizing station not staying aligned properly.  I was just tired of fussing with it so I got a 1050, bullet feeder, case feeder and the auto primer loader.  Problem solved.

It is a more complex system but better over all.  I would recommend the 650 though.  Just get it tuned up and use the alignment pin that you can purchase and you will be good.

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12 hours ago, LeviSS said:

If I've looked at it right, you can't have the powder check with the bullet feeder.  Or can you have it, but then must seat and crimp together?  Is it a big deal to not have the powder check?

I ran a powder check for a first few hundred rounds then gave up on it as I though to look into each case and make sure it had powder. Its easy to see if you have double powder or none....the rest is in the middle and should be within tolerances. I bought an LED light kit that lights up my press and is much easier to see into the case as they pass by. As mentioned before I learned on a 550 buy my friend also had a 650 and it was like going from a Mini to a Porsche. Get the 650 and a case feeder to start and you will be very happy.

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4 minutes ago, quiller said:

I ran a powder check for a first few hundred rounds then gave up on it as I though to look into each case and make sure it had powder. Its easy to see if you have double powder or none....the rest is in the middle and should be within tolerances. I bought an LED light kit that lights up my press and is much easier to see into the case as they pass by. As mentioned before I learned on a 550 buy my friend also had a 650 and it was like going from a Mini to a Porsche. Get the 650 and a case feeder to start and you will be very happy.

Agreed-- the powder check is nice, but I end up looking in each case anyway so it's not necessary at all.  If you're planning to get a bullet feeder, don't hesitate on that over the sake of the powder check.  

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5 hours ago, stick said:

The 650 is a great machine.  If you're only loading 9mm, you'll be happy with the 650.  The case feeder is a must!  For your tendinitis, you can add some inexpensive aftermarket parts to make it easier on you.  My press is so smooth and effortless.  Here's what I added:

Aluminum Roller Handle (Dillon Part)

Roller Cam Follower ($15)

Roto Cam Actuator ($17.75)

Top Plate Bearing ($7.75)

Primer stop switch ($24.75) Doesn't smooth out the press but makes it easy to stop primers.

All the after market parts were bought from a guy named snowshooze on Ebay.

Thanks for the note on the seller.  I just checked him out.  His machining is good?

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Don't forget a little One Shot lube on the cases would help your arm also.

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19 hours ago, jkrispies said:

Thanks for the note on the seller.  I just checked him out.  His machining is good?

His machining is great.  As I mentioned earlier, It makes the machine silky smooth.

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19 hours ago, jkrispies said:

Thanks for the note on the seller.  I just checked him out.  His machining is good?

Not only is his machining great, but his customer service is top notch.  I had an issue with the primer stop switch - not his issue because my 650 is an ancient model - and he went out to resolve the issue.  I'd recommend him in a heartbeat.

 

As for the original question as stated, the 650 offers an additional station and auto indexing. I fell for the powder check early on, but have found it's really not needed.  If you plan on limiting your caliber changes, the extra station works great for a bullet feed operation.  The 650 also is a great machine if you are into case prep and wet tumbling.  Adding a tool head with a Lee universal decaping die allows you run brass through at an incredible rate to deprime before cleaning. If I was considering going to a 1050 in lieu of the 650, I'd take a hard look at the new competition, the Mark 7 Revolution.  Pricey, but man, what a machine! 

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