Dillon setup

  • I just got a steal of a deal on a slightly used Dillon 650 with a ton of accessories; trimmer, casefeeder, dies, swager, etc.

    Problem is the one thing that didn’t come with it was a manual.

    I have no idea on the order to setup these toolheads and the internet is no help. I do know we have a couple users here.

    I’m trying to set up for 223. Station one decap seems obvious, then I get confused. Do I need to resize before I trim, or can I just size in the trimmer? I think I’d like to do a prep toolhead: size, trim and expand, then tumble followed by a load toolhead: prime, charge and seat.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  • If you are running a trimmer you will have to run two toolheads.

    Station 1– decap. I prefer lee decapping die for .223...but you need to taper above the pin on a grinder to keep from crushing necks once in a while.

    Trim station can go wherever works. I have found that you are better off setting the trim die to size the case to about .005 longer than you want.

    Then the last station needs to be a 223 sizing die with decapping pin removed but size button in place. You may have to grind the decapping pin off. Set this die to final size the case.

    Before running the brass through the processing toolhead you will need to lube. I use liquid lanolin and alcohol mixture. I put about 150 cases in a gallon ice cream tub. Spray a little (2-3 times) and then shake. Then drop them in the case feeder. You will need to tumble them between processing and sizing to get the lube off. You don’t need to lube for
    The loading toolhead.

    The loading toolhead the first station can be empty as it is typically for sizing which has already been done. Second station is powder drop. Third station is for a powder check which you likely don’t have and doesn’t work well with 223 anyway. Just don’t double charge. The fourth station is for bullet seating. You will manually place a bullet on the case mouth. The fifth station is for crimping.

    Dillon also has pdf versions of the manual on their site.

    Any other q’s let me know.

  • Outstanding. Thank you for the reply.

    Is there anything that prevents me from sizing in a single step with the Dillon trim die? I’m finding this vacuum attachement for the trimmer eats up the two adjacent stations.

    I also seem to be limited on where I can put it because the pins that hold the toolhead.

  • @tackyp

    You can size in a single step, but I have found that you really need to run an expander down the neck at some point. You can do that with a Lyman M die in station one on the loading press. If you use a standard sizing die you will need to lube again. You might get by without the second sizing...you can try it.

    You can run with only one toolhead pin in place. Are you sure you can’t fit the extra size die on the processing toolhead. It would make it much simpler.

  • Thanks for finding that manual for me.

    If I’m able to run with a single pin that would enable me to place the trim die in station 3 and then a sizing die with a ball in it in station 5. I was of the impression I needed both pins.

    I’ve done some additional googling, and found some people recommend a M die in station one on the load tool head to help smooth any edges down from the trimming. I may simply leave out the ball in the sizing die and let the M (.220) die do double duty. Thoughts?

    I’ll have to play around with that setup in the morning.

    Also do you have any input on achieving a consistent bump on mixed head stamp brass? I’m using a piece of loaded factory LC brass as a target (1.457ish) and trying to size only with the trim die I achieved wildly inconsistent bumps with some coming in right on target and others going way under spec 5 thou or so.

    Thanks again.

  • Also, have you tried a micrometer style die in the Dillon? I don’t foresee changing it much, but I like the idea of improved concentricity from the sleeve.

  • The trim die is not going to be extremely consistent at sizing the brass and that Is partially why I size a second time. The second die will be much better. I also target the minimum headspace instead of just bumping .003” to ensure that I am sizing them enough to feed consistently. As far as the M die goes...I wouldn’t use if brass has been sized after trimming already.

    Dillon recommends two pins, but the way the toolhead is made it really can’t go anywhere with one.

    You will never get single stage consistency with the Dillon press. It is really made for plinking ammo.

    I haven’t tried a micro die in the press as I have never loaded precision ammo on a Dillon. It might allow marginally better results...but I can’t I imagine it would be exceptionally better. Worth a shot though especially if you already have the die.

  • @tackyp I don’t have anywhere near the experience with Dillon presses as @dddoo7. also I only have a 550, but I have used a Redding competition microseater as well as a hornady seating die with the micrometer stem attached in it with no issue. It worked very well and produced very accurate ammo. I was loading bulk precision ammo (1500 rounds) for a prairie dog hunt on a short notice. Ammo preformed just fine out to just under 1000 yards on the pdogs.

    My normal loading process on my forester does better and produces better ammo, but for bulk precision ammo on short notice the 550 worked well.

  • Thanks for the replies guys.

    I suppose I should adjust my expectations. I’m not expecting to come anywhere close to the coax and custom dies but if I’m targeting the minimum headspace (1.4565, I think) I’d expect it to hover somewhere around there.

    I’ll give it a try with the sizing die on there too with the trim die set long and see if that brings me closer to spec.

    Ultimately I just want cheapish blasting ammo for the AR. I’m noticing that when I anneal a like batch of brass I get a very repeatable shoulder bump.

    I suppose for anything that requires “precision” I’ll either sort out brass as I did for that competition or I’ll find one of those sellers online who reprocesses military brass so I get a semi consistent batch of LC or something.

    Thanks again.