Originally, Sir Knight made the investment in his Dillon Press so that he could shoot reloaded ammunition for practice and save our factory ammunition for "good". The theory was that the factory ammunition was sealed and consequently more moisture resistant than what we could reload (the primers and bullets are sealed in mil spec ammunition), therefore it was prudent to save those and use our reloaded ammo.
Rather than a drudgery, reloading became an anticipated hobby. .308/7.62x51, 45ACP, 45 Colt (also known by the slang "long colt", given to it by the soldiers of the day so not to confuse it with .45 Smith & Wesson (a shorter cartridge), and 300 Winchester Magnum soon joined the 9mm and .223. Our home became a regular ammunition factory. It wasn't the least bit unusual to come home to the gentle hum of the case cleaner putting the final shine on a load of dirty brass.
|Installing the press in our living room|
|Help from Miss Serenity|
Back when we started reloading it was far more cost effective than purchasing new ammunition. Over the years, as the cost of ammo has increased, the cost of reloading components has increased exponentially and the bureaucracy has become more and more off-putting (you now have to pay hazardous material fees for both primers and powder (when ordering online), not to mention that they cannot ship together, which also increases the costs. It is interesting to note that loaded ammunition is NOT considered that hazardous and can ship ORM-D (although not through the United States Post Office - don't even try!).
Now, rather than a cost saving effort (although it is cost effective in most cases), we reload because it is a necessary survival/preparedness skill. In addition to the survival aspect, we can also reload match ammunition far cheaper than we can purchase its equivalent. Reloading exotic calibers (300 H&H, 300 Win Mag, 338 Edge, so on and so on) is much less expensive than purchasing factory ammunition.
|Removing .45 Colt conversion from press|
|Putting .45 Colt tool head on its stand|
|Shell plate for 9mm|
|Installing 9mm shell plate|
|9mm conversion installed|
When Sir Knight was researching reloading presses, he came across the Dillon Precision Progressive press. Although far more expensive than a single stage press, the Dillon was capable of reloading speeds of up to 500 rounds an hour (we have loaded pistol ammunition at this rate). From a mechanics point of view (Sir Knight), it is one of the finest engineered pieces of equipment we have ever owned. Dillon's "No BS Warranty" is truly that - no BS. Sir Knight has accidentally broken several items on his press (due to operator error) and called to purchase new parts only to be informed that the parts were in the mail and "No, you can't pay for them". They arrived within 2 days, UPS.
|Checking proper load for 9mm with both a reloading manual and internet source|
|Filling the powder measurer|
|Picking up primers off the flip tray|
|Brass in the first stage|
|One pull and one push - the brass in the first stage gets resized, de-capped|
(old primer removed), and the push seats the new primer
|Advance the press and install brass in the first stage again|
|The brass in the second stage receives the powder charge and the case is|
slightly belled to allow easier bullet installation in the third stage
|Check your powder weight (according to your reloading manual)|
|The third stage receives the projectile (bullet)|
|The projectile is seated in the third stage|
|The fourth stage installs a taper crimp|
|Check the overall length against your reloading guide|
Survival equipment is nothing short of an investment. The Dillon Progressive has proven to this family to be worth its weight in gold. It is most definitely a worthy preparedness investment.
Sir Knight's Reloading "Bullet" Points
Sir Knight's Reloading "Bullet" Points
- This is not a "how to" reloading post. This is a basic pictorial featuring the Dillon RL550-B.
- Using a progressive press is an advanced reloading skill. Do your research before purchasing and using one.
- The reason I chose the RL550-B were the mechanical advances on the turntable (you turn it by hand, it does not automatically turn). There is a feel to using a progressive press. Once you have used one, you will understand what I am talking about. If something "feels" wrong, you can stop what you are doing and check the cases in the cases without the press advancing automatically.
- I have reloaded close to 20,000 rounds with this press. Other than routine maintenance and cleaning, I can found no wear at all in this press to date.
- Full Disclosure: I have used this Dillon Press for over 20 years. We have received no money to do this post. The only thing we have received from Dillon Precision was excellent customer service.