Dillan Reloading Press   (Having primer seating problems?)

Dillon RL550 Progressive Reloading Press
Dillan RL550 Progressive Press

      The Dillan RL550 is a spectacular progressive reloading press.   I've used mine for over 20 years to load a jillion rounds of .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and occasionally .223 Remington.   After a few years of not using this press, I recently loaded a few boxes of .45 ACP ammo.   That's when I noticed an unusual problem setting up the priming station.

      I obviously had forgotten some of the lessons learned when I first got this press.   The main problem I had was getting primers to seat properly.   They didn't consistently line up very well, and sometimes a primer would get shaved leaving a small curl of metal under the next primer to be seated.

Dillon Shell Plate
Dillan Shell Plate

      Like most progressive reloading presses, this machine uses a large revolving shellplate to advance cases to the different stations.   While adjusting the die height and powder measure, I noticed that some primers were not getting properly seated.   I discovered this several times before advancing to the powder station, so I was able to reseat the primers on those cases with my nearby RCBS Rockchucker press.   That's when I discovered about 30 cases (out of about 2,000) would not even fit in an ordinary shellholder!

Conventional Shellholder
Conventional shellholder

      The cause of this priming problem was bad brass.   It would have never been found by adjusting the Dillon press, because the press was not the problem.   This problem would never happen on a single stage or a turret press, because they use ordinary shellholders that fit tighter on the case.   In the process of solving this problem, I also discovered some new improvements that Dillon has made on their newer RL550 press.

      Dillon has some of the best product support in the industry.   Like our tech support, they take phone calls, even after hours.   You almost always have direct access to an experienced technician.   I called Dillan and found that my RL550 was their "old style" press, and it used larger lock rings.   They were a real pain to adjust.

New Style Dillon Lock Rings
The larger lock ring at the lower right is the "old Style".

      Dillan sent me a special alignment tool, a one inch wrench, and they included some smaller (one inch) lock rings for their dies at no charge.   Their new smaller lock rings are a major improvement, because they allow better access to reach between the dies.

      If you use a progressive press, it's a good idea to check the fit of your cases in an ordinary shellholder - before feeding them into your press.   This solved my priming problem, and I'm sure that discarding my defective cases can only help the feeding reliablity of my handguns.



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Larry A. Willis,   Innovative Technologies
1480 Guinevere Dr., Casselberry, FL 32707


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407-695-2685
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