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550 Tips and Tricks


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When I load the primer magazine, I use the low primer warning rod to follow the primers as they come out of the pickup tube. I hardly ever get an upside down primer with this method.

If your getting flipped primers inside the housing it's more then likely the primer tip not being fully seated. If the top and bottom tips are fully inserted there is no room for them to flip in the process.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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WOW! Lots of great information on the 550 from everyone.

I have an OLD 450 I bought from a neighbor (who then bought a new 550 from Dillon). My 450 has been retrofitted with all the 550 stuff...the only thing it doesn't have is the slide-in die plate.

Here's my 2 cents:

1) Lightly grease the shell plate ball bearing and underside of shell plate with Enos Slide Glide grease.

I use a small magnet to get the ball bearing and its spring out of their hole.

2) The cotter pin on the spent primer chute that came with the machine is not very good quality. I replaced with one of my wife's safety pins....works perfectly...won't rust, easy to take out and put back... and free. Just gotta find the right size.

I clean the chute with a Q-tip and a little rubbing alcohol. Incidentally, this can be done without taking the thing apart.

3) I clean my primer magazine tubes with a Q-tip occasionally. I stick the whole Q-tip into the end and push both cotton swabs through with the plastic follower rod that came with my low primer warning sensor from Dillon.

Hope this helps someone. It's a wonderful maching. Thanks Dillon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been running a 550 for at least 10 years, and have run in to the same issues posted earlier with the primer bar sticking and have resolved those issues.

With the original set up, I've never gone too fast because I try to look inside every case as it leaves the powder station and used to load about 300 rounds an hour, but, a couple of years ago, my wife bought me a casefeeder for Christmas, and it has been giving me fits ever since because whereas with the original set up, there used to be what looked like a little paperclip to hold a little tension on the brass to keep it in the shell plate, there are none used with the casfeeder set up and my brass doesn't always stay in the shell plate, where it is SUPPOSED to be, and I have to take a tool to hold the brass so it will line up with the sizing die, and a lot of times, I have to hold the brass in the shell plate so it will line up with the hole the primer comes up. It doesn't seem to matter what caliber I'm loading, and yes, the quality of the brass does seem to make a difference, but, I still have these issues with NEW Starline, .38 Supercomp brass.

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I've been running a 550 for at least 10 years, and have run in to the same issues posted earlier with the primer bar sticking and have resolved those issues.

With the original set up, I've never gone too fast because I try to look inside every case as it leaves the powder station and used to load about 300 rounds an hour, but, a couple of years ago, my wife bought me a casefeeder for Christmas, and it has been giving me fits ever since because whereas with the original set up, there used to be what looked like a little paperclip to hold a little tension on the brass to keep it in the shell plate, there are none used with the casfeeder set up and my brass doesn't always stay in the shell plate, where it is SUPPOSED to be, and I have to take a tool to hold the brass so it will line up with the sizing die, and a lot of times, I have to hold the brass in the shell plate so it will line up with the hole the primer comes up. It doesn't seem to matter what caliber I'm loading, and yes, the quality of the brass does seem to make a difference, but, I still have these issues with NEW Starline, .38 Supercomp brass.

I am so glad, that Brian talked me out of a 650 with a casefeeder. :cheers: Thanks again Brian, for only selling me what I needed. You saved me money, and cost yourself some money.

But, you have another lifetime customer.

RH45 like you used to, I look in each case before I seat the bullet. As far as that paperclip, when it's adjusted right, everything goes much smoother.

When my wife asks what I want for Christmas or my BD, I tell her, bullets, more bullets. :roflol:

A.T.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I took an old allen head wrench, the size for changing the shell plate holder, and cut it short enough so I can spin it inside the 550 B's innards. This way I don't have to make a quarter turn at a time during caliber conversions. That helps keep my stress level down. Also I would be careful about oil getting on that particular bolt. Mine got oily after years of use and kept following the shell plate around then tighten up till it locked up. After numerous degreasing attempts I finally put a dab of lock tite on it to fill the thread gaps up and then kept moving it so it would not set up while it dried. I thought this was a good plan... I don't recommend that though as the next morning I had an adrenaline rush when it did not want to turn. It did come loose though but it was a Kodak moment in my heart for a second or two. Maybe someone has a better tip for that then mine. Sure hope so.

earl

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I took an old allen head wrench, the size for changing the shell plate holder, and cut it short enough so I can spin it inside the 550 B's innards. This way I don't have to make a quarter turn at a time during caliber conversions. That helps keep my stress level down. Also I would be careful about oil getting on that particular bolt. Mine got oily after years of use and kept following the shell plate around then tighten up till it locked up. After numerous degreasing attempts I finally put a dab of lock tite on it to fill the thread gaps up and then kept moving it so it would not set up while it dried. I thought this was a good plan... I don't recommend that though as the next morning I had an adrenaline rush when it did not want to turn. It did come loose though but it was a Kodak moment in my heart for a second or two. Maybe someone has a better tip for that then mine. Sure hope so.

earl

There is a set screw under the ram assembly that tightens up on the center bolt, keeping it from spinning. No loctite needed. Take your center bolt back out, clean it, and use the set screw. Just don't forget about the set screw when you change calibers! :cheers:

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There is a set screw under the ram assembly that tightens up on the center bolt, keeping it from spinning. No loctite needed. Take your center bolt back out, clean it, and use the set screw. Just don't forget about the set screw when you change calibers! :cheers:

I forgot about that set screw when I went to change calibers the other day. Funny, even the manual says that this is an often forgotten step :)

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  • 4 months later...

CO Steve mentioned that to make a 20 second swap of primer assemblies on the 550b you need to purchase the assembly from Dillon. Is part number 14282 Primer Slide Assembly, Small the only item that you would need to order or would I need additional items like 14015 Primer track bearing, etc?

Thanks

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CO Steve mentioned that to make a 20 second swap of primer assemblies on the 550b you need to purchase the assembly from Dillon. Is part number 14282 Primer Slide Assembly, Small the only item that you would need to order or would I need additional items like 14015 Primer track bearing, etc?

Thanks

I was informed by a fairly reliable source that this doesn't speed anything up with the 550b.

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  • 2 years later...

Well, I just won an auction for a used 550b with 9mm dies. Saved a little bit but its not a huge amount. Now I just have to tell my wife I bought this. :unsure:

It is my first reloader and it will still be awhile before I start since I have to purchase quite a bit more. But I figure I have to start somewhere and this is a good start. Time to get reading.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

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It's always easier to ask for forgiveness, than permission.:cheers:

Well, I just won an auction for a used 550b with 9mm dies. Saved a little bit but its not a huge amount. Now I just have to tell my wife I bought this. :unsure:

It is my first reloader and it will still be awhile before I start since I have to purchase quite a bit more. But I figure I have to start somewhere and this is a good start. Time to get reading.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

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It's always easier to ask for forgiveness, than permission.:cheers:

Well, I just won an auction for a used 550b with 9mm dies. Saved a little bit but its not a huge amount. Now I just have to tell my wife I bought this. :unsure:

It is my first reloader and it will still be awhile before I start since I have to purchase quite a bit more. But I figure I have to start somewhere and this is a good start. Time to get reading.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

That is my thought process! :devil:

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  • 1 year later...

Take 2" hole saw and drill in 1/4" thick hardwood. Drop 1/2" hex head bolt in center hole and mark head shape. Take Exacto knife and cut out shape for press on fit. Paint knob, file notch in top edge, mark notch with white crayon, and press on to powder measure adjustment bolt. Print label on self stick printer label and apply.

PowderMeasureKnob.jpg

Or if you are lazy go to home depot and get $0.85 plastic knobs to put on the measure knobs

06_25_0.jpg

Great idea! I'm going to rig up that mod on my 550's powder drop.

Anyone know where to get those plastic knobs any more? I have been to 3 Home Depots and 2 Lowe's with no luck sad.gif

I have not been able to find one yet. If anyone has recently or has a source please post. The item as described in the store would be helpful. I would call it a "hand wrench" or thumb tool" but what does the manufacturer call it?

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  • 2 months later...
  • 8 months later...

Changing fast from large to small primer setup.. Remove the primer holder at the top of de primer bar. Put the small or large in, then put the press down and fastened it...

2811

Edited by Pol
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Select Home Depot's stock the press-on plastic knobs. But Home Depot will let you buy them online with free ship to store. If you have the Home Depot iOS app, search for SKU# 561556.

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  • 2 months later...

When changing shell plates, I found that if I remove the tool head and raise the ram, it lifts the center bolt high enough that I can insert and spin the hex wrench without interference (although I've also found that once you loosen the set screw, you can pretty much run the bolt out with your fingers).

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  • 4 months later...

Since no ones mentioned it yet... Being able to see is key with the 550b:

1. Mount your press at a height that maximizes visibilty. Bench height is determined by if you are using a strong mount or not. (I do use a SM now on my new bench but not on my other bench set ups at previous locations).

In other words the ideal height for myself is determined by the press operating handle up and down positions and how my arm and shoulder relate comfortably. (That applies to any press). This height must also allow you to watch what is going on while you use the press.

2. Plan on running the 550 standing up. This alows you to better see:

a) Down into the case receiving powder to confirm powder did drop and that the volume / level looks about right. That you have not double charged and..

B) down into the primer cup during the stroke and verify the primer is there and it is oriented correctly.

Standing allows you to apply better leverage to the handle also.

Put down one of those rubber mats for improved comfort and to cushion anything you might drop.

Get a tall barstool to use for those times when you feel you must sit.

3. Set up great lighting: I use an LED spot right above the powder drop. The more light the better, just make sure that it shines exactly where you need it, because bright light also can produce darker shadows. The brighter your whole bench area is the fewer shadow issues you have.

The progressive press and especially the manually indexed 550 require you to pay extra attention so that you do not accidently double charge the powder, which is possible if any interruption occurs and you back up and then raise the ram a 2nd time.

I feel that anyone using or planning on using a 550 should make sure they can keep a close eye on things.

The 550 is my favorite press because it is so versitile, reliable, fast and effective. I love it and have been using them for close to 30 years. You just need to set it up so you can see what you have going on.

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  • 3 months later...

Recently I began having problems with my 550 primer system. Primers in the cup were occasionally upsidedown or on their side.

I was told about the weighted primer follower and tried that. No help.

When coming down with the shell plate I was hearing a small click. Followed up on that and found that the primer cup was not centered in the shell plate platform hole. The cup was catching a very little bit on the shell plate platform as it came down. When the cup slipped free of the shell plate platform the spring in the cup rebounded, bouncy the primer slightly in the cup. Sometimes the primer got screwed up.

I spent a lot of time trying to recenter the primer cup. Also tried cleaning and lubricating. No help.

Finally after sitting in front of the press for hours, studing, I found the problem. The "shell plate platform" which is under the shell plate & home to the little ball bearing had turned very slightly. The two bolts which hold the platform go thru holes which are a little to large which allows the shell plate platform to turn some fraction of a degree. I loosed the two hold-down bolts, took up the slack in the bolt holes.

Primer cup now travels smoothly thru the shell plate platform and no more up side down primers.

Ruffian

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