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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Northern Berks County, PA
So with a dillon (can't speak to the others, not saying they're bad, I just know how the dillon system works), the primer tube sits back a smidge from the station on the press where priming is done. I don't know...maybe an inch, give or take?
There is a shuttle that comes back to take a fresh primer, which then is shuttled forward under the station holding the case to be primed. Incidentally, this same station, on the up-stroke, resizes/deprimes the case. On the downstroke, the fresh primer is brought under the case, and you bring the case all the way down, then press the handle forward to seat the primer.
There is nothing above the primer when it is seated except an empty brass casing.
So....a chain detonation of the tube full of primers, while I'm sure someone could (and has) make it happen, I'm not entirely sure HOW they would accomplish it. At least, not with normal press operation.
I haven't setup my 550 yet, but I've used my 450 a fair bit, which is the same thing but without the option of the removable tool heads.
I can easily do a 300 or so rounds in an hour, probably more, without hurrying myself...just reloading at an unrushed pace. While I thought going into this I just had to have the autoindexing of the 650 or Hornady LnL, and I'm sure it's cool to have it, you learn a rhythm pretty readily that includes indexing the shell plate.
The only thing I can't do with 4 stations that I'd do with 5 is that I can't have a powder check die. I have the resize/deprime die on Station 1. The brass is also primed on station 1. On station 2, the case is flared and powder is dropped. Station 3 seats the bullet. Station 4 crimps. I have my lighting so that I can easily see into the case on Station 2 when it comes down and I just visually look as the case comes down to be sure powder dropped. Not as good as a check die, I know, but it's still a check to avoid squibs.
If I wanted to adjust a seater to also crimp, I could run a check die, too, but I prefer seating and crimping separately.
I used to do my pistol ammo on a rockchucker. That got old, fast. I moved to a Lyman turret to speed it up, which it did. But I still hated it.
The Dillon makes loading some volume ammo much, MUCH less of a chore. Definitely glad I got into that setup.
Check out a place called Inline Fabrication. I haven't used their stuff yet, but some folks whose opinions I trust have, and they swear by them. Essentially, you put a flat mount plate on your bench and can then put adapters on any/all presses. The press then locks into the plate and you run it like any other press, but then when you're done, you can remove the whole thing and have the press off your bench. Multiple presses? No worries. Put an adapter on each one, then just put the one you need at that time into the plate on your bench and go to work. This is how my bench is getting rigged. I can run my Rockchucker for hunting rifle ammo, 450 will be used for 5.56/308 volume ammo, and the 550 for pistols.