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Dillon 550b - DAA 2 in 1 die and Powder Check


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So I have been loading on my Dillon 550b for about 7 years now. Mostly .40 and .45 and recently .9mm. So with that said I have always been very happy with my 550, it’s a great machine and has pumped out thousands and thousands of trouble free rounds. But the one thing I have always wanted to add is a powder check and lacking a 5th station that is problematic. Now I have never had a squib or a double charge on it yet because I always visually check, knock on wood, but would still like the added insurance of a powder check. So I was checking out the Double Alpha Academy Two in One Seater / Crimp die and while I have always been a strong believer in a separate seater and crimp die was thinking of giving it a try so that I could in fact add the Double Alpha Academy Powder Check. So has anyone else explored this option their 550? how is the is DAA 2 in 1 die? am I giving up anything up seating and crimping in the same station? Thanks everyone in advance for your insight. Joe

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14 hours ago, looking4reloadingdeals said:

Would be interested to hear from those using coated bullets


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Yes now that you mention it me too. I just started using Blue Bullets and plan on trying some Blacks. 

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17 hours ago, SteelCityShooter said:

Yeah, it's just a Lee seat/crimp die from a standard 3-die pistol set.  Every die maker sells the same type and it used to be the norm until Dillon and a few others made separating the seat and crimp steps easy.   

 

Yes it is just a Lee seat/crimp die. I have always loaded with a separate seat and crimp die. So I guess what I am asking is am I giving up anything with pistol rounds by combining seat/crimp into one station? Will there be any detectable difference in quality, consistency, standard deviation, OAL? Also since I have no experience with seating and crimping together whose die do you recommend? 

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1 hour ago, JJP161 said:

 

Yes it is just a Lee seat/crimp die. I have always loaded with a separate seat and crimp die. So I guess what I am asking is am I giving up anything with pistol rounds by combining seat/crimp into one station? Will there be any detectable difference in quality, consistency, standard deviation, OAL? Also since I have no experience with seating and crimping together whose die do you recommend? 

 

The popular Lee FCD (not the collet version) has a sizing ring on it that resizes the case post seating while it crimps. This is good and bad. It helps cover up issues if you had trouble sizing, expanding, seating. Some purists think that is insane. I personally thinks its just added quality protection. BUT, using it with cast (coated or any) is a little bad because it can size down the bullet that you were so careful to size to your bore. For coated bullets it can even ruin the coating. Best way to check is any of this is true is to pull some bullets after you seat to see if coating and size of bullet is still good. 

 

Other brands of crimp die don’t have the above protection but crimping separately easier an easier setup. 

 

If you look at DAA’s description, they even suggest it is difficult to get the die set correctly. I agree but no harder than any other seat/crimp die. Some folks really like Hornady seat/crimp dies as they like the setup. I have difficulty reading instructions because I am a real man who doesn’t need no stinking instructions. 🤪 But if you are a better man than me, you can do it. Plenty of folks do (and are!). ;) 

 

Personally, if you have to choose between between the safety check of a powder die or making sure your rounds feed perfectly, I would choose the safety. If you are concerned about function for a match, you can always get one of those case gauges to check your rounds after. 

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In a combo seat/ crimp die . No mater how you adjust it. You are still seating the bullet while the crimp starts.With coated bullets you will scrape (damage )the coating.

With plated you will damage the plating.(some plated bullets are tougher than others). When you separate seating and crimping . You will get a more consistent length

and crimp.Only way your going to know is to try it for your self .After that you will see why. If it is a problem or not.  Now powder ck dies are not as good as some people believe.

They drag powder out of the case making a mess.   on a 550 you can see in every case .

Edited by AHI
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9 hours ago, AHI said:

In a combo seat/ crimp die . No mater how you adjust it. You are still seating the bullet while the crimp starts.With coated bullets you will scrape (damage )the coating.

With plated you will damage the plating.(some plated bullets are tougher than others). When you separate seating and crimping . You will get a more consistent length

and crimp.Only way your going to know is to try it for your self .After that you will see why. If it is a problem or not.  Now powder ck dies are not as good as some people believe.

They drag powder out of the case making a mess.   on a 550 you can see in every case .

 

 

Thank-you guys you bring up some great points. I am leaning towards just giving it a try and see as I would like the added safety of a powder check and I always case gauge everything anyways. Currently I use mostly plated bullets but will probably start transitioning over to coated as the pricing is better. I have some Blue Bullets to try in .40 S&W. I also see on Blacks Bullets where they recommend separate seating and crimping. 

 

1. We recommend separate seating and crimping dies. Combo dies can be used as long as it is verified that the coating is not damaged in the process. Pull a bullet to check coating integrity.

 

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You won’t have to crimp the 40 much either so worth trying. I am trying to seat/crimp 38S&W now with the Lee seating die. Not happening. I just need to take the bell out. I don’t suspect those mouse fart loads are going to move the bullets in the cylinder. 

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Combo seat crimps will work fine once you fine tune the adjustment. As long as your brass is uniform. Which means  depriming and trimming, or keeping stuff straight by round count and not using range brass. Even 40 grows a bit. Without uniform length will be near impossible to keep ur crimp right on time. Will either crimp when the bullet is still being seated and cause a bulge or shaved coating. Or it will not completely remove flare.
Aint noboddy got time for dat !

If I was worried about it, Id just hook up a light and mirror and switch to a big bulky powder.

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On 7/12/2020 at 7:29 PM, Joe4d said:

Combo seat crimps will work fine once you fine tune the adjustment. As long as your brass is uniform. Which means  depriming and trimming, or keeping stuff straight by round count and not using range brass. Even 40 grows a bit. Without uniform length will be near impossible to keep ur crimp right on time. Will either crimp when the bullet is still being seated and cause a bulge or shaved coating. Or it will not completely remove flare.
Aint noboddy got time for dat !

If I was worried about it, Id just hook up a light and mirror and switch to a big bulky powder.

Hi Joe,

Thank you for your insights and that is what I have now heard and/or read a few times. It makes sense that with different length cases that would be a problem. So being that with my pistol rounds I am definitely using range brass and not going to trim and sort I will probably just stick with my current setup of seating and crimping separately with my Dillon Dies. I have a real nice skylight in my setup and can see in my cases but a few of the loads I like the best are fairly close to max such as 4.9 with a max of 5.3. As I age and my eyes grow weary, while I have no doubt I would pick up on a squib or a double charge a .5 drop would probably go right by me so I have been intrigued with the DAA Powder check that is reported to have the sensitivity to catch that. But alas, I don't think it was meant to be for coated bullets on my 550. So I think I will probably keep running as is for now and worry about the powder check when I move up to the 750. But thank-you again. 

 

Joe

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  • 5 weeks later...

On my two 550's at:

 

Station 1 Size, Decap, prime

Station 2 Case bell, powder dump.

Station 3 Powder check

Station 4 seat, crimp

 

I've been using them this way since the powder checkers came out without issues. I never trim or select brass by length either. The worst that can happen is I get a stretched case with a weird crimp over the bullet or shaved lead and I use it at the indoor range. I'd certainly never lose my 550's for a 5 station press. 

 

 

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