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I'm sure this question has been asked many times but I did not have much luck with the search feature. I've been loading on a Lee single stage press this year and am ready to speed things up.  I load 45 colt for myself and 38 special for my dad, a minimum of 200 rounds (per caliber) a month but would load more if it were less time consuming.  I know with either press I'll need another tool head, dies, powder measure, and the other change over parts.  I know that will be pretty costly initially.  My plan is to load 45 colt on the Dillon and 38 special on the Lee until I get the 38 special stuff for the Dillon.

 

I don't mind spending the extra $150 for the 750, so I don't have to skimp.  Would you choose the 750 over the 550 if the extra cash didn't bother you?  I'd love to hear which press people prefer and why.  My goal is to be able to load 100-200 rounds of 45 Colt without sitting at the press for several hours.

 

Thanks !

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Kaya and I run two 550s. I personally like being able to run it as a single stage for my rifle rounds and I think you have a better feel and more interaction with what is going on. I can load 500 roun

The 750 will have more to understand and "tune" requiring mechanical ability and patience.     I went from a SDB to a 650.  The SDB was more "plug and play" and the 650...well I was regretti

The current lead times are 12 weeks for a 750 and 6 weeks for a 550.  Pistol dies and the Square D press are both at 14 weeks.  I will probably end up ordering a 550 later today. 

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Kaya and I run two 550s. I personally like being able to run it as a single stage for my rifle rounds and I think you have a better feel and more interaction with what is going on. I can load 500 rounds a night after work and before dinner. Most in a day is 1600 rounds. The caliber conversion dollars are slightly less too.

The 750 is a nice press too. More bells and whistles that I don't need or want though.

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First and foremost is that you do realize you're asking a Ford vs Chevy question, right?  All the answers you're going to get will be 100% correct because it's nothing more than personal opinion.

 

In my case I can't see having a progressive press that doesn't automatically advance the shell plate.  Also, the big knock against the 650 was always the difficulty of caliber changes due to the priming system.  That got fixed with the 750. For those reasons I like the 750 over the 550.

 

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If those are the only calibers you’ll load you can also use a Dillon Square Deal.  The biggest difference with the SDB and the other loaders is it’s proprietary dies.  Otherwise the SDB is a good progressive press and easy to use.  The options and tool heads are the biggest differences between the 550 vs 750.  The 750 auto indexes the 550 doesn’t; the 750 has as spot for an extra die, the 550 doesn’t.  All of these things you can figure out yourself just by looking at Dillon’s website.  Any of the 3 machines will load much faster than any single stage, all have a great warranty.  IMHO with the amount of you’re loading in just those calibers either a 550 or SDB should be good.

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All in all, the 750 allows one to load more in less time than the 550.  The 550 indexes manually while the 750 does not.  There are some other differences, which may  be of interest.   If you're only loading 100-200 rounds then the 550 is certainly good enough.   As Slim mentioned you can load a lot more than that, if you wish; certainly more than you can load with a single stage press in the same amount of time.

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The 750 will have more to understand and "tune" requiring mechanical ability and patience.  

 

I went from a SDB to a 650.  The SDB was more "plug and play" and the 650...well I was regretting my upgrade for several weeks untill I finally understood how the 650 operated and I finally got all the tweaks and adjustments correct.  I did not like reloading, boring.  Insert brass and a bullet, pull the lever and repeat and repeat and repeat. I'd load 20 or 30 until supper time then quit for the day.  The thought of forty cents I'm saving at every pull of the lever kept me going.  Once I understood the 650...WAHOO!...I actually enjoy reloading.  Dump the brass in the hopper, fill the primer tube and off to the races!  Now instead of reloading a few each night until I have enough for the next match, I reload all the brass during the off season (winter).  And instead of loading only one caliber I'm up to five.  This is fun!!!

Edited by Matthew Duncan
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When I got my 650, they didn't have the automatic case feeder for a 550.  I like the automatic case feeder.  Makes reloading much faster.  Once I get everything loaded up in the press, I can load 100 rounds in about 6 minutes.  The SDB is also a fine press and I loaded on one for 10 years.  You'll have to put each piece of brass on the shell carrier with one hand and put a bullet on a case with the other hand.  Either press will be a great improvement over what you have now.

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Both great machines the question is putting a case feeder on.  Put the case feeder on regardless of machine choice.  The 750 is faster and will load rifle as well at least in my experience.  The extra station is worth a whole heck of a lot on the 750 let your imagination run wild with that one.  So for what it can do and how well it does it the 750 just makes sense.  Looking for a used 650 also makes sense its a darn good machine and survived practically unchanged in an increasingly competitive field for almost 30 years.    

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Run 2  550's.   Like the simplicity and less costly conversions.  I do not use any add ons like case / bullet feeders. Can load 500 rounds per hour  As for the cost of conversions, I have 11,          GW

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Because of the manual indexing the 550 offers easier recovery from the inevitable problem.  I run three 550s, one of which has a case feeder.  I would not buy the case feeder again for a 550.  I sold a 650 after a few weeks of use, didn't need the capacity or the complications.  Every six seconds a reloaded cartridge falls out of a 550 (not counting primer resupply) , and that is at a  casual pace of putting a bullet and a case into the die, stroking, and indexing.  Powder level checkers are nice but periodically I look at the powder measure and the primer feeder so I'm not loading squibs.  And I look inside each case before setting a bullet on top of it, just to be sure that powder has dropped.   Choose any one of the three presses and you won't regret it.  The unique dies on the SDB make it a bit less attractive IMO, so looking for used equipment for a SDB narrows the market.   Seems that most have 550/650/750 models.

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Using a 550 is like running 4 single stages at the same time. The manual indexing isn’t a problem, actually I like that fact when it comes to fixing an oops.  It’s simple.  I don’t run a case feeder.  I haven’t ran a 650 or 750  to compare yet, but I’m pleased to have my 550.   Put the extra $ for the 750 twirls your second caliber conversion.  You like that a lot feature more than the upgrade.  

 

If you you ever decide to upgrade from the 550 to a 750, the 550 will still be worth what you paid for it to another pard. Dillion presses hold their  value. 

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I loaded on a 550 for over 25 years bought a 650 and I prefer the 550 for some things and the 650 for others.  I think you can feel more of what is going on with the 550 you can also use it as a single stage press I do not think the manual indexing slows you down once you get a routine pick up bullet and as your thumb passes the indexer it hits it and the bullet is in place.  I added a case feeder to the 550 and can load close or the same depends on how fate is treating me on that day.  If I don't need two powder measures (black powder) I always use the 550 

You can not go wrong with any dillon machine I prefer the 550 and have used all three 

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I prefer the 550 specifically because of the manual indexing.  I have had autoindexing presses before but now use 3 550s.  You can’t crank out as many rounds per hour as with a 750, but caliber conversions are cheaper and when something goes wrong (and I guarantee it will), it is easy to recover on a 550.

I would also have to start inspecting my brass a lot better if I ever added a case feeder...

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I've run both 550 and 650s for cowboy ammo.   I VASTLY prefer the 550 for simpler operation, and quite a bit lower price.  I too can load at least 400 rounds an hour.  That means in a given month, at pre-lockdown match useage rates, I spend 5 hours a month loading to support probably 40 hours at matches.  And with 550, I've never blown up a primer feed tube (but twice with a 650).

 

Good luck, GJ

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Simple answer: get one of each

 

i know several cowboys that have both, and for practical reasons that have already been mentioned above. I personally love my 750, souped up with case feeder, automatic primer feeder and skylight lighting system. After using a single stage RCBS for a year, I am very happy with it. 

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I love my 550, it does everything I need. If I ever get really spoiled I will get a second one so I can be really lazy and have one for large primers and one for small!

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9 minutes ago, DeaconKC said:

I love my 550, it does everything I need. If I ever get really spoiled I will get a second one so I can be really lazy and have one for large primers and one for small!

It's not lazy -its efficient! But only because I do that. If I didn't, it would be lazy. ;)

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My vote is for the 550. I can do 600 (mol) an hour and that includes primer replacement and checking powder every 100. Still don't know why I check powder that often though, it's never been off.

 

Either way you go, you'll get the absolute best guarantee of any reloading machine out there. Your fault, my fault, nobody's fault...they'll replace any part or rebuild/replace the machine for free.

 

Enjoy your purchase

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1 minute ago, Michigan Slim said:

It's not lazy -its efficient! But only because I do that. If I didn't, it would be lazy. ;)

Absolutely!

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550 is a dandy press. I load 45-70 (2 different loads) and 38-55 on mine. 3 toolheads so changing calibers is simple.  I only have 2 powder measures, so one is for 38-55. The other for 45-70, I just change the powder bar out do I don’t have to adjust the bar every time I change from trapdoor to sharks loads.  The manual indexing does have some advantages, and it’s really pretty fast once you get a process that works for you. 
 

the 750 is also excellent. I use mine for 38SP, which is what I shoot the most of. I can really crank them out. 
 

I had a 650, bought a 750 and sold the 650. I just like  the priming system on the 750 better. 
 

I also have a Lee Classic Turret. I load 45-60, 32SW, 38SW, 44-40, 45colt on it. It’s also very good. 
 

in short, different presses have their pluses and minuses. Your reloading process will have more to do with quality ammo than what color your press is!

 

if I could only have one, it would very likely be the ales Classic Turret. 

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Skimming thru the replies, no one mentioned that the 750 have 5 stations, and the 550 only four.  Assuming you run separate seat and crimp dies, that doesn't leave any room for a powder check die.  When I was buying my Dillon that was important to me, so I bought a 650 and don't regret it.

 

Also, while the manual indexing does indeed make it easier to correct a problem, it also adds another manual operation that must be done and not forgotten.  Running properly having to fix an issue is rare, so for me the auto indexing made more sense in my mind.  If I do have an issue, I pull each case and verify that it is in the correct condition for the die it's in.

 

Lastly, in this day and age, if you already have everything you need to load except the press, it may come down to what you can find available.

 

Grizz

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I have no idea how to answer your question because I use a different press but you definitely have one of the best SASS aliases around. Just wanted to say that. My compliments!

 

:D

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1 hour ago, Grizzly Dave said:

Skimming thru the replies, no one mentioned that the 750 have 5 stations, and the 550 only four.  Assuming you run separate seat and crimp dies, that doesn't leave any room for a powder check die.  When I was buying my Dillon that was important to me, so I bought a 650 and don't regret it.

 

Also, while the manual indexing does indeed make it easier to correct a problem, it also adds another manual operation that must be done and not forgotten.  Running properly having to fix an issue is rare, so for me the auto indexing made more sense in my mind.  If I do have an issue, I pull each case and verify that it is in the correct condition for the die it's in.

 

Lastly, in this day and age, if you already have everything you need to load except the press, it may come down to what you can find available.

 

Grizz

On my 550, loading rifle rounds, I shake each one by my ear as I box them up. I’m not saying I could tell a grain difference, but can certainly tell if it has powder in it, and I suspect I could tell a double charge, but I’m not intentionally loading one to find out! 
 

I do have a RCBS lockout for in my 750. 

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3 minutes ago, Hoss said:

On my 550, loading rifle rounds, I shake each one by my ear as I box them up. I’m not saying I could tell a grain difference, but can certainly tell if it has powder in it, and I suspect I could tell a double charge, but I’m not intentionally loading one to find out! 
 

I do have a RCBS lockout for in my 750. 

 

There's surely ways to work around either press's strengths or weaknesses.  All a matter of what the user prefers and wants to do.

 

I can say if someone gifted me a 550 along with the dies for calibers I loaded, I wouldn't refuse nor be overly inclined to sell it.

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I would go with the basic XL750 as it has 5 stations.

 basic XL 750 includes the following: 

  • 1 powder measure with standard large and small powder bars (small bar installed). The small bar throws from 2.1 to 15 grains of powder. The large bar throws from 15 to 55 grains of extruded powder or up to 60 grains of ball/spherical type powder. 
  • 1 primer system with large and small priming parts (appropriate size installed). 
  • 1 large and one small primer pick-up tube. 
  • Low Primer Alarm 
  • 1 loaded cartridge bin 
  • 1 toolhead 
  • 1 powder die 
  • 1 caliber conversion kit - Note: You must select this from the dropdown menu; adds it's cost to the cost of the loader. 
  • 1 set of standard Allen wrenches

I would use your dies.

I would order another Powder Measure, the Conversion Kit for the caliber not with the machine, an. exter tool head, 

 

XL750 Basic.        $593.00                         RL550C Reloader       $529.99

Edited by Pee Wee #15785
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3 hours ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

What's the real world difference in price between the 550 and 750 ?

 

Jabez Cowboy

The difference in cost of the two presses is $150.   Caliber conversion is about $30 less on the 550 and deluxe quick change setup is only about $4 less on the 550. 

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44 minutes ago, Dantankerous said:

I have no idea how to answer your question because I use a different press but you definitely have one of the best SASS aliases around. Just wanted to say that. My compliments!

 

:D

I'd say that's pretty bold talk for a one eyed fat man...but then I don't know if you have one eye and are fat :)  Thanks, I thought it was a pretty fun alias.

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Thanks for all of the great answers, I appreciate it!  I know no matter what I choose it will be a big improvement over what I am using now.  If i can load 200-300 rounds an hour, I'll be doing a lot more shooting.  At least until my components dry up.  Fortunately I dipped my toes in the reloading pool before everything disappeared and I have a little bit of hoarder in me when it comes to ammo.  I was able to get a decent supply before it all went away.  I'll think on it for a little bit longer and watch a few more YouTube videos, but I'll likely order a 550 or 750 very soon.

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If you don't get a case feeder and/or bullet feeder with the 750 you're not going to see a marked increase in speed over a 550.  You'll still have to use both hands after you pull the lever to place a new piece of brass and a bullet, but you will get the extra die capacity.

 

Regardless of press, you still have to reload the primers every 100 rounds.  Filling primer tubes take a few minutes at most.

 

Either will be faster than loading on a single-stage.

 

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