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Really old RL550 - updates?


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I recently bought a used 550 package.  I am the 3rd owner.  It is running pretty well, I get a few hundred made before something comes loose or needs a slight adjustment.  Anyway, one neat thing was that the owner's manual still had the original purchase receipt in it.  It was bought in June of '86.  I believe 550's were made starting in '85, so this is vintage!   It has never been back to Dillon, but I'm sure it has important safety updates.   It has the low primer warning, and the fail-safe powder measure linkage.    However, I'm not sure what was changed for the 550B, and again for the 550C.   Can anyone enlighten me?

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I don't know, but I'll bet a call to Dillon would bring you up to speed.  I think they would probably update it for you pretty reasonably.  Their Tech people are really good and their warranty it outstanding.  I don't think it matters that you are the third owner. 

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Abilene, I had one of the very early ones and bought a case feeder for it a few years ago.  When I held the case feeder up to the 550 it was obvious it would not fit.  I took it to Dillon (which is only a few miles from my house) and they quickly said, "wow you have one of the really old ones."  It turns out there was a design change in the frame and the case feeder would not fit.  They asked if I would trade them the old one for a new one since they wanted to have one of the old frames on hand for future questions.  So I got a new machine and they installed the case feeder to make sure everything was operating correctly.

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Seriously Abilene :huh:  It's fairly obvious from some of the Tin Types floating around here and there, you're well seasoned.  You might however, consider coming into the Twenty First Century.  Splurge.  Early Visit from Santa.  Out of Cycle Birthday Celebration.  Snag a new Dillon 750.  You'll absolutely LOVE the thing.  Bet you can even order it Gift Wrapped :D

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2 hours ago, Muleshoe Bill SASS #67022 said:

For technical questions please OPEN A TECH SUPPORT TICKET or call us at 800-223-4570. To avoid holding on a call, you can request a callback via the widget on the lower left side of any website page.

Abilene, the above is the best advice.
 

Since I know you’re handy, you might want to check out the YouTube videos on rebuilding the 550. Alternately, spend the $80 or so dollars for shipping back to Dillon for refurbishment. Good luck.

 

La Sombra

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59 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

Seriously Abilene :huh:  It's fairly obvious from some of the Tin Types floating around here and there, you're well seasoned.  You might however, consider coming into the Twenty First Century.  Splurge.  Early Visit from Santa.  Out of Cycle Birthday Celebration.  Snag a new Dillon 750.  You'll absolutely LOVE the thing.  Bet you can even order it Gift Wrapped :D

 

Heck, after 20+ years of the Lee Turret, I LOVE the 550!!  I love loading enough fast enough that I run out of brass!  It will be a while before I get tired of this and want a newer faster shinier machine.

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one obvious thing they keep 'improving'..not in my book...is the powder bar return mechanism.I"m still using just 2 springs and  1 rod  that is redundnant to the springs. The new C series has all kinds of gobbledy gook things on it for that. I sent  mine for refurb and kept my OLD  powdermeasure and told them I would, they were fine with that,and it's still running great. 

 

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Abilene,  I purchased my Dillion 550 in April of 1986 & never did anything to it.  About 3 years ago I contacted Dillion to send it back since it had never been lubed since I purchased it.   I sent it back and within a week had it back at my door with all of the updates for the 550B (550C was not out yet),  It only cost me the original shipping to Dillon.  It was a good thing to do, in my opinion.    Driftwood Dan

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Abilene, I just started having problems with my RL 550 I purchased in '86 or '87 and sent it back to Dillon after opening a Tech Support Ticket... cost of shipping:  $41.  It's due to arrive there tomorrow.  I fully support the recommendations to call and talk to them.  They were really helpful on the phone and even with my limited ability to describe what was happening, they seemed to understand.  They asked me to "unbolt it from the bench, turn it upside down and ship them everything that doesn't fall off!"  I had to take it apart to make it fit in the box, and had to take off the shell plate so I could finish loading on my other 550... I hope they understand...

 

And Coffinmaker, I would "LIKE" to upgrade to a 750, but... just to replace all the accessories I have with my 2 550s, it would amount to nearly $2,000!  (Maybe less if the powder hoppers are interchangeable, but right now the noted lead times are nearly 6 weeks!  I'm hoping the 550 can be fixed quicker than that... as I'm down to one press and have a MESS of .223 to reload!  I had to swap out to my other 550 just to get my C45S ammo can topped off!  Luckily I loaded my 45 Auto & 45 Colt first!  

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On 12/6/2020 at 9:39 PM, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

 

Heck, after 20+ years of the Lee Turret, I LOVE the 550!!  I love loading enough fast enough that I run out of brass!  It will be a while before I get tired of this and want a newer faster shinier machine.

 

i agree with you, Abilene.  I have a 2006 550 with casefeeder, bought used. The 550 is fast enough considering that I'm not in much hurry, and it's much faster than a turret press.  It is easier to recover from a loading problem  with the 550 compared to the 650 (Can't speak to the 750).  I had a 650 for a week, decided that the advantage in speed wasn't worth the complicated recovery, sold it.   I would not buy another casefeeder for a 550 as there isn't but a second or two difference with/without the casefeeder, and when there is a feeding problem the recovery requires some attention and occasionally  some time.  Best to spend that $265 on bullets, powder, or primers.

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Grouchy, I have not even considered the case feeder at this point, and probably won't.  Aren't they caliber-specific?  I just today got that little paper-clip-looking spring thingie adjusted properly that holds the just-inserted shell into the shellplate.  I was fighting that thing before, mucho better now.  Now I'm fighting the bell-crank on the powder measure wanting to hang up on the return stroke.  Plus things keep coming loose.  I will likely send it in to Dillon.  But even with the hassles it is still cranking them out!

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I got my 550 in the 90's and it still runs good.  I bought an SD B that went through a flood, Dillon said send it in.  I sent it to them and they rebuilt it sending me a machine like new at no charge.  Now have 1 550-B, 3 SD B'S.

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On 12/10/2020 at 8:18 PM, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

I will likely send it in to Dillon.  But even with the hassles it is still cranking them out!

I called them and got an RMA # to send mine in... boxed it up and sent it off the 5th of Dec.  After attending a match today... look what was leaning up on my garage door when I got home....

DSCN1322_1_.JPG?width=450&height=278&fit

 

And inside?

DSCN1320_1_.JPG?width=450&height=278&fit

 

I guess it was cheaper for them to simply replace mine... the BEST part...?

DSCN1323_1_.JPG?width=450&height=278&fit

 

Who knew it was a really good decision back in 1987 when I bought my first progressive?    Call them to discuss your issues... if they feel it needs rebuilding, they'll give you a RMA #, where you can send it in, and they'll be expecting it.  I couldn't be happier!  

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Well, Shootin Fox, sometimes my chain needs to be jerked. Let me tell you how my time line works.  This is not my first Dillon.  I have an old SDB I bought used about 21 years ago.  Priming problems.  Dillon sent me some parts.  Still problems, so I basically ignored it for 15 years and loaded on my Lee.  Around 5 years ago I handed it back to Dillon who refurbed it and sent it back.  I finally took it out of the box and bolted it to the bench last year and finally tried it out this year.  Same problems.  It's like they stuck a new powder measure on it and sent it back without trying anything.  So I need to call them on that one also, but it is at home and I am only there on weekends.  The 550 is at a brother's house in San Antonio, and I am only there on occasion during the week.  I will call them on that one when I can get free from my duties as Grand Poobah of Procrastinators Anonymous.  

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Okay, I'm at home now so this got me fired up to look at the SDB again.  I managed to successfully load 10 rounds of 45 Colt, although it took 12 primers.  I think I figured out part of the problem.  There was a "catch" on the upstroke of the arm that was sometimes flipping primers.  Did it even without the primer assy in place.  I'm not sure how much play there should be in the white plastic linkage bearings, but I think this one has way too much.  By either holding the bottom of the left linkage arm down with my left hand (or pushing up, either works) while slowly raising the handle, this eliminates that play and also eliminates the catch that was happening inside.  It eliminated the primer flipping.   Sort of makes me think further that Dillon did not actually refurb the press.   Getting primers to drop into the cup every time and not mangle the red tip still needs resolving as well.  At least I will know more what to tell Dillon when I talk to them about the SDB.

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I had one of the arms break on an SDB, called Dillon and they sent two new arms and white linkage bearings, no sending in old parts.  Replaced the old ones and it runs just fine.  I found the primer tube can be tighted down too much.  I put the tube in and only use light finger pressure on the retaining nut that the low primer system mounts on.  I have had the red tips deformed, out of round, out of the replacement package not letting a primer though.  Put a new red tip that is good on the end of the primer rod and insert it turning the rod around and around till the back drops into the little cut out.  then only finger tight the retaining nut on top.

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On the SDB, there is a little cup that the primer drops into from the loading tube.  It rides in that cup on the carrier to the shell plate.  The depth of that cup is adjustable with an Allen wrench.  If it's not adjusted correctly, it will cause you all kinds of problems, like flipped primers, no primer and multiple primers dropping at one time.  

 

I ran a SDB for over 10 years and it's a great machine.  They hold their adjustments once you get them right.  I now have two 650's.  I sold my SDB to another shooter who is still using it.  

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