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550 primer alignment issues...


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So... recently been working with virgin Lapua .308 Palma (SRP) brass and Fed 205M primers on the old Dillon RL550B. Hadn't been having a problem before with my ~8x fired brass, but I needed to switch over to new brass, so...

Started experiencing the occasional 'full stop' when I went to push the handle forward to prime the case. Pull it out, everything looks fine. Try it again... no go. Dig that primer out, cycle the primer slide to get a fresh one, and that one usually went in just fine. Tight, being brand new Lapua brass, but fine. I tried seating the 'problem' primer in another case - nope. Not happening. On one or two that I tried anyway  the primer was definitely not going in correctly - almost like it was off center, hanging up on one side of the cup/pocket.

The occurences started increasing in frequency, until last night - of course, last night when I really *needed* to finish loading ammo to ship out today for a match - it just finally was every single primer refused to go in the hole. Had to break out the bench-mounted priming tool and prime all the cases first, then run them through the press for powder and bullet.

Not quite sure where to look for what the problem is. I took the shell plate off, and inspected both it and under it, to see if any grit or gunk had built up in the recesses around the case head and rim, that would preclude the case going all the way into the shell plate and lining up with the priming punch. Everything looked clean/clear.

 

Had a chance to take things apart this afternoon and mess with them a bit...

Yes, there had been powder spills, off and on. One of the 'hazards' of dealing with weighed charges, powder funnels, and other people interrupting me.  They'd been cleaned up just like before, using ye ole shop vac, and one of those gun-cleaning two-headed 'tooth' brushes.  IME, powder in the priming cup tends more to leave 'dents' in the primer during seating, rather than dick up the alignment. But it was clean, regardless.

The sub plate was/is tight. The feed lips on the bottom of the primer tube look pretty much cherry. The feed plunger looks fine. Not sure how the primer cup could be out of alignment with the sub plate - there's very little clearance around that thing to begin with.

Really weird, because nothing was 'adjusted', but the error rate kept getting worse and worse, until just nothing worked.

Any suggestions on what to look at next?

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Check the wire spring that retains the shell in place so that it is not pushing too much on the brass. It can push it off alignment and cause the primer to hang up or go in crooked. Make sure everything is clean on and around the priming bar. Your screws on the bottom that hold the priming station upright may have come loose. Undo the return spring and make sure the primer pocket is lined up with the shell plate tray hole. Tighten the priming station down, then put the return spring back on. Sometimes small shavings of brass get in the primer cup. Push the handle forward and make sure your primer seater is coming up high enough and has no gunk in there.

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  • 5 months later...

Hate to dig up an old thread, but this seems to be the same problem that recently started happening on my 550, after many years and thousands of rounds trouble free.

 

I load mostly 9 and 45, and it only seems to be happening with 45.  About half the time, when I start to push forward on the handle to seat a primer, I can feel it is hung up.  Sometimes it suddenly snaps into place, and when I advance the shell plate, I can see a little half moon of brass that was sheared off the primer.  Other times, it won't go at all, but if I use my finger to advance the shell plate ever so slightly, it lines up and the primer goes in perfectly.  It has gotten to the point now where nudging the shell plate with my left hand as I seat the primer is just part of my flow, in order to make the primers seat smoothly.

 

It's as if the shell plate and the primer cup/ram have become misaligned.  

 

The shell plate still seems properly aligned with the dies, it all goes up and down smoothly.

 

Any ideas?  

 

edit, after a little more research, it looks like maybe need the alignment tool.  I haven't taken anything apart, but maybe just wear and tear over the years?

Edited by rev1911
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3 hours ago, rev1911 said:

 

 

Any ideas?  

 

edit, after a little more research, it looks like maybe need the alignment tool.  I haven't taken anything apart, but maybe just wear and tear over the years?

Are you using Range brass?  And it only happens one in a while?  Are you sure you don't have 45ACP small primer brass mixed in?  You would be surprised at how many small primer 45 cases I pull out of the range brass I pick up.

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17 hours ago, stick said:

Are you using Range brass?  And it only happens one in a while?  Are you sure you don't have 45ACP small primer brass mixed in?  You would be surprised at how many small primer 45 cases I pull out of the range brass I pick up.

 

It's definitely not a small primer brass issue.  Advancing the shell plate just a little fixes it and the primers go in fine.

 

I called Dillon today and they agreed it could be an alignment issue, and they are sending me the tool for free.  Hopefully that fixes it.  I'll report back.

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there is an adjustment on the primer slide. it may require adjustment from small to large primers. And the reverse.

Also very possible that the primer cup pin may be bent. It dont take much. Ck all screws they come loose after a while.

My 550 started doing this a few years ago . what I found after a great while and a lot of frustration .That after app 30 years

the frame had worn to a point that adjusting ,aligning was not helping.Dillon replaced the frame. no more problems.An observation

we ,including my self just dont lube these presses enough.

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Received the alignment tool yesterday. Easy process to use it. I was skeptical because the screws holding down the base plate were not loose at all, everything seemed tight. But when I put it all back together, it works beautifully. Primers slide right in now. My press must have just slowly worked itself out of alignment over the years.
 

Kudos to Dillon for some great customer service. 

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