Reloading Tips – Dillon 650

Bullseye demands an extremely high degree of consistency. On the firing line, we use a “shot plan” to do that, shot after shot. And when reloading, I follow a written reload procedure (click here to view [and print]) to build the needed consistency into my ammunition.

Here are some tips and a summary of some key parts of that written process, many of which apply to the Dillon 650, and some tips that may apply to any reloading effort regardless of brand.

  • Dirt
    • Dirt in the primer feed tube causes no end of ills. At the beginning and end of each reloading session (when the primer tube is empty), I use a can of compressed air to blow it out along with most of the rest of the machine.
    • Just as critically important, before starting with the pickup tube, I blow it out. And I blow off the primer flipper tray as well and then keep the lid on it to prevent dust in the air from settling therein.
    • I wear hearing and eye protection when reloading. That “dirt in the primer tube” might be a contributor to a primer stack “Bang!” I had that embedded the follower rod in the sheet rock ceiling and necessitated many (free) replacement parts from Dillon.
  • Starting
    1. I begin reloading with the machine empty: No brass, no powder, no primers.
    2. I write in my reloading log book what I will be making, either the whole formula, or “same as previous”.
    3. Check and adjust OAL and crimp now.
    4. Put on “eyes and ears”.
    5. Load the powder reservoir (only) and do ten (10) “dry” cranks (no brass or primers yet) to settle the powder.
    6. Powder-throw checking and adjustment occurs now. Safety note: At least three “throws” must be done – and discarded – to ensure repeatable density filling the cavity for subsequent drops. That is, when the powder reservoir is first filled, you must do, and discard, a couple of throws before starting to make real ammunition.
    7. Load the first batch of 100 primers into the primer feed tube. (Still no brass.)
    8. Crank six (6) cycles. This positions the first primer for the first piece of brass that will soon be coming along.
    9. Finally, I put about 250 pieces of brass – I use a salvaged from the trash and cleaned quart-size (32 oz) yogurt tub for this “measurement” – into the shell feeder and turn it on and allow brass column to charge.
    10. Start cranking. The first piece of brass will get the first primer. (I always double-check, on the scale, the powder in the first shell because some extra cranking took place before it got served. But at least so far, it has always passed that test. Accordingly, I put the powder back into that shell and let it continue normally in the sequence.)
    11. I then make exactly five finished rounds and then stop. I double check OAL and crimp on those finished rounds, and I also verify the powder throw in the shells at positions three and four.
    12. If everything is correct, the machine is ready to make lots of ammo.
    13. I then make ammo until the low primer alarm sounds. Stop and check OAL and crimp on 2-3 cartridges on top of the new pile. Check the powder throw in the shells at positions three and four.
    14. If OK, move that ~100 new rounds to the larger “finished rounds today” pile (quart-size yogurt bucket(s)) for later boxing.
  • Finishing
    1. When the low primer alarm sounds, there are eleven (11) primers left. This is my preferred point to start the emptying process.
    2. I turn off the brass feeder.
    3. Make exactly eleven more cartridges saying the number aloud for each one. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.” At that point, all the primers are gone.
    4. Empty any remaining brass in the drop tube, etc.
    5. Cartridges needing to be taken apart and re-done are disassembled at this point.
    6. Any primed but otherwise empty brass is now inserted into the process, starting at station #2 and loaded. (I prefer to end the reloading session with no primed-but-empty brass.)
    7. Any partials needing reseating (OAL too long) are done next and, finally, any needing recrimping.
    8. Time to empty the powder reservoir, etc.
    9. I stick a note on the shell feeder reservoir saying which flavor of brass is therein to remind me next session.
    10. Finished rounds are then boxed and labelled.
    11. I update my reloading logbook with the number completed, crushed, etc. and then I’m done.

See you on the line!

10 thoughts on “Reloading Tips – Dillon 650

    • For the most part, yes, this is what I do.
      The few exceptions occur where I’ve changed something and a step is no longer needed. For example, I rarely have brass leftover in the feeder at the end of a reloading session or, if I do, it’s just a few pieces and I run them out. That way, the brass feeder bin is empty and there’s no need to put a label stating “what’s in the bin.” That step (Finishing, #9 above) is no longer needed.
      But I still do most of the other steps because, in most cases, it’s something I’ve learned the hard way, by suffering the consequences of *not* doing it.

  1. I personally use Dillon Precision 16944 XL 650 9mm Progressive Auto Indexing Reloading Machine which is just awesome. If anyone want to buy a Progressive press then my recommendation is Dillon Precision 16944 XL 650. BTW thanks for your nice informative reloading tips for Dillon 650

    • You have to remove the two bolts that hold the primer tube assembly in place. The watchamadig that rotates to place the primers into the little rotating wheel goes with the assembly so the primers in the tube don’t fall out. Don’t turn it upside down until you’re ready to catch them coming out the top, and do it slowly so they don’t jam. If one becomes stuck, try uprighting and then reinverting the tube a few times. Resist trying to poke them out — that’ll make them (all!) go bang if you do it too hard. FYI: If it’s only a few, you can remove all the shells and cycle the machine with no brass until the primers, one at a time, end up in the overflow.

  2. Actually I should have asked about removing the primers when you have made such a large mistake that is best to restart the setup from scratch.

    • Generally speaking, YES. When I make a mistake, I stop. I empty out all partial-brass and set it aside. (I’ll use it later. Keep reading.) Primers and powder are Okay “as is” but I want all the brass out of the reloading stages. (Reservoir of brass is Okay if you have that option. Plug it up so no brass drops until you’re ready to restart.) Once the machine is “clear” (as described), then I’m ready to restart. Much later, when I’ve “used up” all the primers, then I’ll re-insert any partially-loaded brass saved from when I was clearing the machine of partials. And, if necessary, I’ll even store the partially-loaded brass [with primers] in a separate container to be “filled” in the next session. FYI: I *never* attempt to push out a live primer. Never, never, never. If I need to get rid of those primers (in brass), I’ll load them one at a time into a gun and make them go bang in a safe direction — wear your ears; they’re loud!

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