|Dillon Precision Nomenclature
Click the blue links below for pics of the terms…
An Akro Bin comes with every Dillon press. It is a plastic box that loaded rounds fall into as they auto-eject from the press. (Mounting hardware is included.)
All Dillon presses include an Auto-eject System, which ejects the loaded round from the press’s Shellplate into the Akro Bin.
Dillon’s Bench Wrench has a one-inch, open-end wrench, designed to fit their die’s lock rings. The outside dimensions are small enough so the wrench can fit on the Die Lock Rings in the tight confines of the press’s Toolhead. (A one-inch mechanics wrench is too big to be of any use.) A 7/16" box end wrench is on the opposite end of the Bench Wrench, which fits the Powder Bar’s adjustment nut.
The above Bench Wrench fits the 550, 650, and the 1050 presses; the Square Deal has it’s own custom wrench.
You can safely disassemble a loaded round with a Bullet Puller. It is shaped like a hammer, or a plastic mallet. Unscrew the cap on one end of the puller, drop in a loaded round, screw the cap back on and rap the other end of the puller on a hard surface a few times, which removes the bullet from the case. Unscrew the cap and pour out the bullet, powder, and case.
The Bullet Puller fits into this mental category: Buy it, forget about it, and at some point you will be happy you have it.
The Bullet Tray is an optional press accessory that bolts to the Strong Mount on the Square Deal, the RL 550B, and the XL 650. (Depending on the machine, the Strong Mount raises the press 6.5" to 8.5" off the bench.) If you buy the Strong Mount, I consider the Bullet Tray essential. With the Bullet Tray on the Strong Mount, the bullets will be next to the Shellplate. It eliminates the "reach time" there would be with the Strong Mount but without the Bullet Tray.
On the Super 1050, the Bullet Tray bolts to a bracket on the press, replacing the plastic bullet bin that comes with the press.
A Caliber Conversion Kit comes with each Dillon press. As you add calibers to a press, a Caliber Conversion Kit is required – it includes all the parts that are caliber-specific for the press.
For the RL 550B, a Caliber Conversion Kit includes a Shellplate, Locator Buttons (Qty. 3), and a Powder Funnel. The caliber Conversion Kit for the XL 650 includes the same items, in addition to several caliber-specific items required for the Casefeed and tube assembly.
For a 550, 650, and 1050, Dies are NOT included with a Caliber Conversion Kit. Dies are included with the Square Deal’s Caliber Conversion Kit.
Calipers are required to reload ammunition. Calipers measure the cartridge overall length (OAL) and the taper crimp dimension. The readings from those measurements guide you while adjusting the Seat Die, for OAL (Overall Length), and the Taper Crimp Die.
A Case Gage is a handy SAMMI spec, hand held version of your gun’s chamber. With it you can drop-check a loaded round to be sure the round will fit in your gun’s chamber.
Although not technically required to reload ammo, for pistols and rifles they are very handy because you don’t have to remove the barrel from the firearm. They are extra handy for reloading rifle cases, as you can correctly adjust the Resizing Die by checking the case in the Case Gage. I don’t typically recommend them for revolvers, because the cylinder is easy to get to. Unless your revolver is in your gun safe, then a Case Gage would be handy.
Case lube is required for resizing rifle brass, with both steel and carbide dies. Although with straight-walled pistol cases and carbide dies, case lube is not required, I HIGHLY recommend it. It cuts the "handle effort" almost in half. See my Dillon FAQs or Which Dillon for more info on a brand of lube I recommend for pistol cases – Hornady’s One Shot Case Lube. (I don’t sell it, but most local gun shops carry it.) Dillon’s Case Lube is the best lube for rilfe cases.
Case Polish (Dillon’s Rapid Polish)
If you add Rapid Polish to the tumbling media, the cases will come out "shiny new looking." Without Rapid Polish however, the cases will come out perfectly clean and ready to reload, they just won’t be as "shiny new looking."
Brass must be cleaned before it can be reloaded. If you don’t clean the brass, dirt particles on the case will scratch and ruin the Resizing Die (even a carbide die). Pour the Tumbling Media (either walnut hulls or coarse-grade corncob) and brass into the Tumbler and turn it on. After the brass is clean, in about twenty minutes to two hours depending on how clean the media is, pour the brass and media mixture in Dillon’s Media Separator and roll the handle around a few times, which separates the brass from the tumbling media.
The Casefeeder is an optional accessory for the RL 550B and the XL 650, and it comes standard with the 1050. It does exactly what its name implies. You pour the brass in the Casefeeder, turn it on, and it automatically feeds the brass into the Shellplate to begin reloading in Station 1. A Casefeeder comes with a Casefeed Plate. See below for more info on Casefeed Plates.
The 550’s Casefeeder will only work with handgun brass, and I normally don’t recommend a Casefeeder with a 550’s first purchase. See my Dillon FAQs for more info on why not.
As you add calibers to a press with a Casefeeder, depending on the caliber you are currently loading and the caliber you are adding, you may have to buy an additional Casefeed Plate. Four sizes of Casefeed Plates cover all the common pistol and rifle calibers: Small Pistol, Large Pistol, Small Rifle, and Large Rifle.
The Casefeed Plates required for common calibers are listed in my store’s pages, in the Casefeeder and the Casefeed Plate descriptions.
A Deluxe Quick-Change Kit is typically bought, in addition to a Caliber Conversion Kit and Dies, when you add a caliber to your press.
For the RL 550B and the XL 650 presses, a Deluxe Quick-Change Kit includes a Toolhead, Powder Measure and Powder Die, and a Toolhead Stand. The Quick Change Toolhead assembly for the Square Deal B and the Super 1050 include a Toolhead, Powder Measure and Powder Die (no Toolhead Stand).
Dies are purchased separately for the 550 and the 650 presses.
Dies are required to reload ammunition. All Dillon brand pistol and rifle dies are 3-die sets. The first die resizes the case and deprimes it. The second die, that goes in the third station of the Toolhead, is the Seat Die, which seats the bullet to the correct depth. The 4th die is the Taper Crimp Die, and in essence all it does is remove the flare or "bell" put on the case mouth by the Powder Funnel. (The Powder Funnel comes in a Caliber Conversion Kit and goes in the second station, inside the Powder Die/Powder Measure assembly.)
Dies come with a Square Deal and a 1050. Dies come in a Square Deal Caliber Conversion Kit, but they do not come in a 1050 Caliber Conversion Kit.
An optional accessory for the 550 only, the bracket bolts to the Strong Mount and its Akro Bin holds the empty cases next to the Shellplate. I highly recommend it if you buy the Strong Mount for your 550.
Locator Buttons come in a Caliber Conversion Kit for each press. They drop into a small hole in the press’s platform, and are designed to keep each case pushed back all the way into the Shellplate’s u-shaped grove. Three come in a Caliber Conversion Kit for the Square Deal, 550, and 650. Five Locator Buttons come in a 1050’s Caliber Conversion Kit.
The Low Powder Sensor is an optional accessory that sits on top of the Powder Measure, which sounds an audible alert when the powder runs low in the Powder Measure. I normally don’t recommend it, as the Powder Measure is right in front of your face and it has a clear, plastic powder hopper.
Various Machine Options can be purchased for each press. For the Square Deal, there is a Strong Mount and Bullet Tray.
For the 550, there is a Strong Mount, Bullet Tray, Empty Case Bin, and the Roller Handle. (Aluminum and Plastic Roller Handles are available. The Aluminum Roller Handle is highly recommended and favored over the Plastic Roller Handle.)
For the 650, there is a Casefeeder, Strong Mount, Bullet Tray, and Roller Handle. There is not an Empty Case Bin for the 650, because hopefully you will have the Casefeeder on your 650 (so an Empty Case Bin would be useless).
For the 1050, no machine options are available from Dillon.
I typically recommend the Spare Parts Kit (over the Maintenance and Spare Parts Kit) when you buy any Dillon press. The Spare Parts Kit is the Maintenance and Spare Parts Kit plus lube, and shooters have lube. See the Spare Parts Kit for more info.
The Media Separator consists of two items: a plastic squirrel cage and a big plastic box or "catch-pan," which catches the tumbling media as you roll the squirrel cage around. (The brass ends up in the squirrel cage.) It looks a bit mickey-mouse but it works fantastically.
Two Powder Bars come with every Dillon Powder Measure (and therefore with every Dillon press): Small (or Pistol), for dropping 3 to 20 grains of powder, and Large (for Rifle), for dropping 20 to 50 grains of powder.
Special purpose Powder Bars are available, and are purchased individually: Extra Small, for dropping less than 3 grains of powder, and Magnum, for dropping 50 to 85 grains of powder.
The Powder Check System is an optional accessory for the XL 650 and the Super 1050 (only). It mounts in a dedicated station in the Toolhead, and checks the powder charge after the powder has been dropped and before the bullet has been seated. It sounds an audible alert if the dispensed powder is off by more than a grain or so. In a nutshell, its purpose is to warn you of case without powder – a "no charge" – or a case that you somehow managed to "double charge."
A Powder Die comes with a Dillon Powder Measure. The Powder Die is not caliber specific. The Powder Die is adjustable in the Toolhead, just like a size, seat, or crimp die. Its adjustment controls the amount of "flare" or "bell" put on the case mouth by the Powder Funnel (which comes in a Caliber Conversion Kit). The Powder Funnel, which fits inside the Powder Die, is tapered to apply a varying degree of flare to the case mouth, depending on where, up or down, the Powder Die is in the Toolhead.
If you add a caliber to your press, in addition to a Caliber Conversion Kit and Dies, if you do not get a Deluxe Quick-Change Kit (which includes a Powder Measure/Powder Die), then I highly recommend getting a Toolhead and Powder Die. This will allow you to leave all the dies, including the Powder Die, locked down in the Toolhead.
Toolheads and Powder Dies are so commonly bought together that I have them as a one-click SKU in my store’s caliber conversion pages.
A Powder Funnel comes in a Caliber Conversion Kit for each press. They are caliber specific, and do three things: It puts the "bell" or "flare" on the case mouth; it actuates the Powder Measure; and it drops the powder (through a hole in it) into the case from the Powder Measure.
Unusual but not that uncommon scenario for the Powder Funnel, when you are adding a caliber to a pres. Say you are going to load both 9mm and 38 Super on your 550. Those calibers require different Dies, but the Caliber Conversion Kit (and the Powder Funnel) is the same for both calibers. If you are going to have dedicated Powder Measures for both Toolheads (Deluxe Quick-Change Kits), in addition to one 9mm/38 Super Caliber Conversion Kit, buy and extra 9mm/38 Super Powder Funnel, because each will end up "trapped" inside the Powder Die/Powder Measure assembly.
Dillon’s automatic Powder Measure System (and Powder Die) is inclcluded with each press. The Powder Die screws into the Toolhead, the Powder Funnel goes inside it, and the Powder Measure bolts on top of the Powder Die. All three work together to drop powder in the case every time the handle is pushed all the way down – as long as a case is in the Powder Measure’s station. If an empty case is not in the Powder Measure’s station, then powder is not dispensed.
A Primer Early Warning System comes with every Dillon press. It sounds an audible alert when the Primer Magazine has a few primers left in it.
Primer Filler (Automatic)
The RF 100 Automatic Primer Filler is an electronic machine that fills its tube (will not work with Primer Pickup Tubes) with with 100 primers. I typically do not recommend it with any machine’s first purchase. Get some Primer Pickup Tubes and a Primer Flip Tray to start with – you’ll appreciate them even if you get the RF 100 down the road.
A Primer Flip Tray is a commonly purchased accessory when you are getting started in reloading. It has small, concentric ridges on the bottom plate, and a lid that fits on top of it. You pour on 100 primers, gently shake the tray back and forth until the primers flip "anvil side up." Put on the lid and flip it over. Now you have 100 primers "cup side up," so they can easily be picked up by a Primer Pickup Tube.
A Primer Pickup Tube is an aluminum tube with a plastic tip that holds 100 primers. The plastic tip has a flexible "finger-tab" on the side. Primers stick in the tip when you push it down on them, so you end up with 100 primers in the Pickup Tube. Flip the Pickup Tube over, set it on the primer magazine (in the press), remove its metal clip, and 100 primers drop down into the press’s Primer Magazine.
Two sizes of Primer Pickup Tubes, Small and Large, fit all handgun and rifle primers. One Small Primer Pickup Tube and one Large Primer Pickup Tube come with each Dillon press. I highly recommend buying and extra 4-Pack of Primer Pickup Tubes with your first press order. If you do, with the Pickup Tube that came with the press, you can pre-load 500 primers before a reloading session.
Primer Pocket Swaging
Swaging the primer pockets is not required for commercial brass. But most military brass (all rifle brass) will have "crimped in" primers. The primer can be removed with a standard resizing/depriming die. But the crimp must be removed before you can seat a new primer. The tool to do that with is Dillon’s Super Swage 600. (There is a youtube video of it in operation near the bottom of my Dillon FAQs page.)
The Super 1050 has a built in primer pocket swaging station.
Reloading components are cases, bullets, powder, and primers. I do not sell reloading components. But there is a thread in my Reloading FAQs Subforum: "Where do you buy your reloading components," that has the member’s favorite vendors listed. Check it if you cannot find components locally.
The standard handle for the 550 and the 650 is a straight handle with a round plastic ball on the end, referred to as a "Ball Handle." The Roller Handle, either in plastic or aluminum, is an optional accessory for the 550 and the 650. The Aluminum Roller Handle is hugely favored over the Plastic Roller Handle, due to its round, smooth shape. I probably sell 300+ Aluminum Roller Handles for each Plastic Roller Handle.
A Roller Handle is not available for the Square Deal, and a Plastic Roller Handle comes standard on the Super 1050.
A Powder Scale that reads in grains is required to reload ammo. There are two types of scales: a balance-beam, and an electronic, or digital, scale. Dillon sells a balance-beam scale and an electronic scale. I also sell a moderately priced electronic scale and a high-end or "High Performance" electronic scale.
Shellplates are caliber specific, and come in the Caliber Conversion Kit for each Dillon press (and with each press). The Shellplate has u-shaped notches in it, that hold the case against the machine’s base platform, as the cases go in and out of the Dies. If you have reloaded on a single stage press, Dillon’s Shellplate would be the equivalent of a single stage press’s Shellholder.
I recommend a Spare Parts Kit with each machine’s first purchase. It’s value is that it will save you the "down time" should a small part break on the machine down the road. If a small part breaks and you have the Spare Parts Kit, you are back up and running while the new part is in the mail (warranty) from Dillon.
The Spare Parts Kit fits into this mental category: Buy it, forget about it, and at some point you will be happy you have it.
The Strong Mount is an optional accessory for the Square Deal B, the RL 550B, and the XL 650. Depending on the press, it raises the press from 6" to 8.5" off the bench. It’s value lies in that it increases the mounting footprint from approximately 5" to 6" square, to approximately 11" to 12" square. Check the Bullet Tray for more info if you buy the Strong Mount.
A Strong Mount is not available for the 1050 – it doesn’t need one.
All Dillon’s presses have a removable Toolhead, and one is included with each Dillon press. Toolheads are not interchangeable with any of Dillon’s different presses. And although the Toolheads are not caliber specific, once you lock down a set of dies in a Toolhead, that Toolhead and Dies are now caliber-specific.
When you add a caliber to your press, in addition to getting a Caliber Conversion Kit and Dies, I highly recommend also getting, at the minimum, a Toolhead & Powder Die. See the Deluxe Quick-Change Kit for more info, which is the Cadillac version of a Toolhead & Powder Die.
The Toolholder with Wrench Set is an optional accessory for all Dillon’s presses. The Toolholder with Wrench Set includes a Bench Wrench for the press, which fits the Dies Lock Rings on one end, and the other end fits the adjustment nut for the Powder Measure. It also includes a set of ball-end Hex Keys that fit all all the Allen Head Bolts on the press. Ball-end Hex Keys are much easier to use than standard Hex Keys, because the Ball-end Hex Keys can be inserted into the Allen Head Bolts at a slight angle. Standard Allen Wrenches must be perfectly aligned to go into the Allen Bolt.
Dillon does not have a machine-specific Toolholder w/Wrench Set for the 1050. But the 550’s Toolholder w/Wrench Set will attach to the 1050 and work perfectly.
It’s not necessary to trim handgun cases. With handgun brass, the case mouth will crack or it will be lost long before the case gets to long to chamber.
In my opinion, for rifle cases – unless the round will not chamber because it is too long, or, you’re attempting to win your state’s rifle benchrest championship – trimming brass is a waste of time.
An exception to the above for .223 or .308 rifle. Say you’ve collected a lot of "range brass" (brass that was not fired in your rifle) of unknown origin, and you’re ready to start loading it for your semi-automatic rifle. Now Dillon’s RT 1200B Power Case Trimmer will work great to "batch-prep" the brass.
Due to the RT 1200B’s 4800 rpm motor and carbide blade, the trimmed brass is absolutely burr-free. So chamfering the inside or the outside of the case after trimming the neck is not necessary.
Check the video of it in operation in my Dillon FAQs.
Keep your cases organized by the number of times they’ve been fired. This will keep all the cases in a particular batch of brass near the same overall length. Then you can forget about trimming after your first batch trimming, unless you just want to trim after a few firings anyway.
After a batch of brass has multiple (5-10) firings on it, you may notice the Seat and Crimp Dies (for handguns) require a small "backing out" adjustment, to compensate for the slightly longer overall length. It’s much easier to fine tune the Seat and Crimp Dies every now and then than it is to trim the brass.
The Universal Mount Kit includes a set of 1/4" bolts, washers, and nuts that are required to mount the press to your reloading bench.
Note: If you buy a Strong Mount for a Square Deal, 550, or 650, you will not need the Universal Mount Kit; the Strong Mount comes with all the hardware required to mount the press to the Strong Mount, and the Strong Mount to the bench.