Can’t decide on new press

Oct 1, 2017
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#1
I can’t decide if I want a Redding T7 or a Dillon 550c. I only reload rifle and don’t plan to ever reload pistol. I also don’t mass produce for planking rounds. All my reloading is for precision rifle shooting.

I currently have a Rockchucker and the only reason I want a new press is so that when I FL resize(without an expanded ball) I can immediately use my mandrel after. Also setting the dies and forgetting sounds nice too.
I like the idea of the T7 because I can have all my dies on one turret and I can have multiple turrets for the four different rounds I reload for. I should only need two turrets for that.

Opinions?
 
Mar 3, 2017
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#2
I have both a T7 and a 550C. My 550C stays setup for small primers for 9mm and 223. For large rifle primer calibers, they stay on the T7. I like to keep it slow and batch reload for 6.5 and 308. Not that I don't think the 550C can reload accurately for precision, but I like to take it slower and use the charge master to dispense, and not need to crank out hundreds at a time. I use the T7 to de-cap everything.
 

spife7980

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Feb 10, 2017
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#3
Ive thought about getting a t7 to put in place of my coax for that same reason, size and pump them back on the mandrel again real quick instead of sizing everything and then running through them again to mandrel. Not sure how much time I would actually save with that though, just the time to put the case in and out one additional time.

I think for an appreciable improvement in work flow and time the 550 would be the way to go, you would be doing both on two cases with the single stroke unlike the t7. I dont really want to do that though so I may just go back to using expander balls in the die and skipping the mandrel.
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
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#4
I am in the Dillon 550 camp. So efficient to run brass through and I get great results. I do care about production though since I'm loading a lot. In the past year it's probably 2500 precision rounds where I individually weighed charges, then another 3000 rounds of ammo with thrown powder charges - all done on the Dillon 550.

One big advantage of the Dillon is simply the way the cases feed into the press then are ejected as you advance the shell plate. Even if you were only using the press as a single stage for one operation, the rate at which you can feed and process cases is probably double that of the T7 just because you don't have to pull out the case before you put in a new one. Then when you add on top of that the fact that you can do multiple operations at once it's MUCH faster.

Example, this morning I sized 100 pieces of match 6 Dasher brass. Three separate dies, universal decapping, FL sizing, then separate expander mandrel. To run that through the T-7 press you likely would spend 20-30 minutes. Feed case, pull the lever, spin the top, pull the lever, spin the top, pull the lever etc etc. then pull out the case and put in a new one to start again. In the Dillon I ran through the bunch in ~ 6 minutes.
 
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Downtown

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Mar 1, 2013
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#5
I use my Dillon in the same manner. It is simple to keep extra toolheads set up for different chores, such as mentioned above. I do load pistol and .223 in the regular progressive manner, so It's invaluable for that. But it does come in handy for certain tasks in the precision world. There are numerous tips and tricks, such as floating toolheads, that greatly increase the accuracy of the press. Having said that, I do have a single stage press for tasks that the Dillon isn't especially suited for.
 
Nov 24, 2013
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#6
Ive thought about getting a t7 to put in place of my coax for that same reason, size and pump them back on the mandrel again real quick instead of sizing everything and then running through them again to mandrel. Not sure how much time I would actually save with that though, just the time to put the case in and out one additional time.

I think for an appreciable improvement in work flow and time the 550 would be the way to go, you would be doing both on two cases with the single stroke unlike the t7. I dont really want to do that though so I may just go back to using expander balls in the die and skipping the mandrel.
I've ended up just breaking my brass prep down into stages... work only 30 or so minutes at a time moving the whole batch through a given stage.

First stage is de-capping with a universal die, then into the tumbler they go, overnight. Next day, out of the tumbler, lube & re-size, back in the tumbler to get ride of the lube. An hour or two of that, then out of the tumbler, and over to expand the case mouths with the mandrel, and be done for awhile. Trim, then chamfer/debur, and walk away. Priming is done on the couch while watching TV whenever I feel like doing it.

Obviously, the whole process stretches out over several days, but taking it small bites at a time like that I don't get hand cramps, get sick of doing it, etc...
 
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spife7980

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Feb 10, 2017
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#7
I've ended up just breaking my brass prep down into stages... work only 30 or so minutes at a time moving the whole batch through a given stage.

First stage is de-capping with a universal die, then into the tumbler they go, overnight. Next day, out of the tumbler, lube & re-size, back in the tumbler to get ride of the lube. An hour or two of that, then out of the tumbler, and over to the trimmer. Trim, then chamfer/debur, and walk away. Expand case mouths with the mandrel whenever I have a spare 15 minutes. Priming is done on the couch while watching TV whenever I feel like doing it.

Obviously, the whole process stretches out over several days, but taking it small bites at a time like that I don't get hand cramps, get sick of doing it, etc...
My process is similar, I just run them over the mandrel when they are still lubed from the sizing down instead of after once the lubes tumbled off. During the week its usually one step a night. On nights I have to both cook and size the mandrel step pushes it on a bit later than I would like, though Im still usually done before 9. And the giraud has saved me a night devoted to brass prep and done away with my hand cramps :cool::love: and I do it all in front of the tv.
My buddies dont know why I dont get an xbox and play anymore instead of watching netflix or pbs; I wonder why they arent productively reloading instead of playing games.

If I were doing as much as sheldon or for any ar reloading I would probably go for a 550c in a heart beat. As it stands though I can get through sizing 100 cases in an hour probably and thats usually it for my weekly sizing though I do let them dwell for a couple seconds at the top and then Ill run them over a mandrel several times until I feel the tension uniform a bit, some cases are more difficult and some are less so but that adds on another hour maybe. Doing all that in six minutes sounds like cheating.
 
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Horns8491

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Apr 24, 2017
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Go with the Dillon. Grab a used single stage Lee or something cheap for things like pulling bullets. You will not be disappointed.
 
Sep 16, 2009
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#13
I have used T7 since they were introduced. I have a Dillon Super 1050.
Love the T7 but doubt it is worthwhile to change out the turrets. Just lock the dies down and far easier to just switch them out.
The Dillon I really don't care for. Too complex, never really worked that well. Nothing precision about it. Cannot list all the problems I have had with it. Purchased it new. Not a worn out junk machine.
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#14
The 1050 can certainly be finicky to get to run correctly. It is designed for high production and is not easily switched between calibers. A friend of mine switched calibers once on his and afterwards just bought another 1050. He loads high volumes of .223 rounds for 3 gun but he also loads some of the rounds for his Contender with it and they shoot cloverleafs at 100 yards. The 550 and 650 are capable of pretty good production but are more suited for precision reloading and can easily be used very effectively for that purpose. Just look at David Tubb, John Whidden and the U.S. Palma team.
 
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Jul 11, 2017
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#15
Not that I know anything as I still have tons to learn but what about the new yellow Lyman turret press? Just chucking it in the mix for consideration. No idea if it’s any good sorry.
 
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Fig

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#16
I guess I’m odd man out, but I disagree. The only rifle I load on a Dillon is 5X56. To me that’s reloading, not hand loading. My Dillon is mostly for pistol.

I can hand load cartridges twice as consistent in speed and groups as you can buy in the store (and it’s tuned to the rifle). I am never worried about ammo affecting my score. I don’t need a $1000 scale, but I’m not going to throw charges for match shooting. Any cartridge in that box is going to be as consistent as possible whether the range is 200 or 1,400 yards. You don’t get that on a progressive, and you don’t get zero runout like on a Forster.

To me it’s simply the right tool for the right job. If you are percision shooting at distance you want to hand load the cartridges. Consistency is more and more critical the further out you go. If it’s pistol or plink just reload.

Yes, I think a lot of the BR reloading methods don’t produce enough results outside of BR to mess with, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
 
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Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
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#17
You don’t get that on a progressive, and you don’t get zero runout like on a Forster.

To me it’s simply the right tool for the right job. If you are percision shooting at distance you want to hand load the cartridges. Consistency is more and more critical the further out you go. If it’s pistol or plink just reload.
I think you may be overlooking what a Dillon 550 is capable of, when set up and run with the right techniques. I wouldn't be using it for precision rifle if it didn't produce results that were on par with what I could do with a single stage. And yes, I do get zero runout. I'm also weighing charges with a separate scale and pouring the charge into the press with a funnel.

Good articles here on the techniques involved.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mmk8tv8yrk7vii7/12.23.15-Dillon-Prometheus-Article.pdf?dl=0

http://www.65guys.com/precision-from-a-progressive-reloader/
 
Feb 21, 2017
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#18
I have the rock chucker and the Dillon. Still use both. Haven’t used the T7 but any Redding stuff I’ve used has been good. Also have a Hornady auto press and not too impressed. Dillon is used the most by far.
 

Fig

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#19
Again, to me it isn’t the right tool for the right job. If you’re weighing each charge and aren’t throwing it defeats the pourpose of a progressive IMO. Can it be done, sure. Is it the best way to do it, no. There is much better equipment to hand load with that is much less hassle.

I have six tool heads for my Dillon. I use it a lot, and love it for what it is. I probably shoot 10X the pistol I would if I didn’t have it. And I make 5.56 runs for hours and hours. I would be completely screwed trying to do all that on a single stage.

To me we’re talking about three or four shots on a 200+ round match that I may get with weighing that I wouldn’t with the SD/ES of a throw. I don’t weigh and point my bullets, but I don’t pretend the people who do are stupid, or there’s no point to it. Again, maybe 1 or 2 %.

The Dillon is a great machine, and it is versatile. You can also use a screwdriver as a prybar.
 
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pmclaine

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Nov 6, 2011
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#20
The 1050 can certainly be finicky to get to run correctly. It is designed for high production and is not easily switched between calibers. A friend of mine switched calibers once on his and afterwards just bought another 1050. He loads high volumes of .223 rounds for 3 gun but he also loads some of the rounds for his Contender with it and they shoot cloverleafs at 100 yards. The 550 and 650 are capable of pretty good production but are more suited for precision reloading and can easily be used very effectively for that purpose. Just look at David Tubb, John Whidden and the U.S. Palma team.
I must have got the tamest 1050 out there because I load 5 calibers switching production runs every couple months with few issues. Looking for another tool head to start loading 9mm.

I finished loading a couple thousand .223 a few weeks ago and now its set up for another small primer round, .38 cal, 148 grn hollow base wadcutters. Ill do a couple thousand of those in two or three leisurely paced reloading sessions than break down and clean the press to switch over to maybe .308 or 30-06 depending on which is lower in inventory.

The key to the press is you need some mechanical ability to understand what it is doing and keep it clean.

Switching calibers takes me about an hour including making coffee, back and forth to the garage for the various wrench or two, and cleaning the shell plate pad/index parts/case feed parts.

Cleanliness is your friend with mechanical stuff like this. If you usually have powder and schmegma all over your machine get something less complicated.
 
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pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#23
I think I’m going to go with a T7 and use my rockchucker of whatever else that makes sense.
There was a T7 in the for sale adds yesterday.

Few years ago I ordered some small parts for guns from Brownells and somehow they ended up sending me a T7.

Of how I wanted to keep that but I sent it back.
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
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#25
There is much better equipment to hand load with that is much less hassle.
I don't see it that way. I "hand loaded" many thousands of precision rifle rounds on a single stage before moving to the Dillon. The amount of time I've saved since switchng is significant, and i've not seen a reduction in quality of the output. I certainly wouldn't call that more hassle.
 

Downtown

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Mar 1, 2013
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#26
I have to agree with Sheldon. I use my 550 like a turret press, loading a few dies in a tool head to do a specific chore. Only difference is is shell plate moves instead of turret. Finished work falls in a handy bin. I still use a single stage for many jobs, such as bullet seating if not appropriate for progressive loading. Would I have this press if I didn't also load pistol and rifle in large quantity for competition? Perhaps not, but it still proves a useful tool in precision loading.
 
Jul 4, 2017
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#28
I've stuck with my Co-Ax since I don't yet load the volume to necessitate a progressive. However as my time becomes more limited I may find myself investing in a 550 to process brass (thanks for the idea) and finish handloading on my Forster... my dad gave it to me years ago, I just can't part with it.
 
Jul 14, 2017
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#29
I've stuck with my Co-Ax since I don't yet load the volume to necessitate a progressive. However as my time becomes more limited I may find myself investing in a 550 to process brass (thanks for the idea) and finish handloading on my Forster... my dad gave it to me years ago, I just can't part with it.
I decided the same thing. I just ordered a 550 to do all the case prep and just seat bullets with my co ax. Will see how much time it saves after it gets delivered and set up.
 

padom

SuperMod
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Mar 13, 2013
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#30
I have used T7 since they were introduced. I have a Dillon Super 1050.
Love the T7 but doubt it is worthwhile to change out the turrets. Just lock the dies down and far easier to just switch them out.
The Dillon I really don't care for. Too complex, never really worked that well. Nothing precision about it. Cannot list all the problems I have had with it. Purchased it new. Not a worn out junk machine.
Ive got a RC, Co-Ax, XL650 and now a new 550c. Either you didnt have it setup right or didnt have the right parts. The Dillon is just as precise as the Co-Ax making precision rifle ammo. Ive run side by side tests with 50 cases each loaded on the Co-Ax and on the XL650 for precision 223. Same Forster Ultra Micrometer dies in both. Same Forster FL honed sizing dies in both. 8208XBR dropped from a dillon powder measure with Uniquetek powder baffle, powder micrometer and the hopper fully polished. Whidden floating die toolhead was used on the 650.

They had identical runout from both presses which measured nothing larger than .001. Both shot the same clover leaf 5 shot groups and both had identical single digit SD's.

Setting the press up properly for precision is the key and your ammo will be every bit as accurate as any single stage out there.

I just received my new Dillon 550c yesterday and got it all setup and dialed in last night. I got 6 Whidden floating die toolheads for it, Uniquetek toolhead clamp kit, Inline Fabrication Ultramount. Ill be loading my 6.5x47L and 223rem precision bolt gun ammo on it. Im tired of running 100pcs of brass through my Co-Ax for each step in the process and starting over again for the next step. Those days are gone.
 
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padom

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#32
You don’t get that on a progressive, and you don’t get zero runout like on a Forster.
Really???? So you've tested this to back up this statement??? Because I have. Many times...

A properly setup 550 or 650 will produce identical ammo to a Co-Ax. I have a RC, Co-Ax, 550c and XL650. I have tested this theory about a year ago loading 50 rounds each on my Co-Ax and XL650. Same Forster Ultra Micrometer seating dies, same Forster FL honed sizing dies with 21st Century TiN expander mandrel. Same 23.4g 8208XBR. My XL650 is setup with Whidden floating die toolheads and my powder measure has the Uniquetek baffle, Uniquetek Micrometer and the inside of the hopper and powder funnel have been polished to a mirror finish (you can find my old thread documenting this entire process and these mods).

Rounds where checked on my 21st Century Concentricity gauge after sizing and after loading and both had the same runout of 0.001" or less. I shot 50 each over the LabRadar at 100yds and 300yds and they both produced the same single digit SD's and accuracy. I can reproduce these results all day long with ease.
 

padom

SuperMod
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#33
Padom,
By your post you have indicated no experience with the Super 1050. It's a far different animal.
We are talking about a 550 not a Super 1050 per the OP. And your statement saying you dont care for the 'Dillon" as its not precise is misleading to people reading this thread trying to gather info on purchasing a Dillon for precision reloading. If you said Super 1050 that would be less misleading.

The super 1050 is not for loading precision ammo.
 

Fig

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#34
Clearly you can make it work. I run Dillon dies in my Dillon machines, and use them as a progressive press using Dillon's powder throw system. Essentially everything as it was designed.

If you can produce perfectly straight cartridges with single digit ES on a progressive then more power to you. There are a few top competitors who use a progressive, but the ones I've talked to think it's a waste of time to try and get a thou of run-out, or weigh each charge on a triple beam. I was not trying to personally insult you.
 

whatsupdoc

Duck season
Dec 12, 2017
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#36
I have been using my 40 year old Rcbs Jr press for making all my ammo, I also have a Co-ax press. I have tested both for case neck run-out using v-blocks and a test indicator. No discernible difference.

The Rcbs jr is faster to use than the Co-ax.
IMO the Co-ax should be mounted so that the handle swings right to left rather than back to front for a right handed user. When conventionally mounted you have to bring the cases around to the front instead of the side in a O press.
 

Fig

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#37
I found the exact opposite. Before I got into tactical steel my main hobby was hand loading to try and get factory rifles to shoot as well as possible. Both the RCBS and the Herter's presses I had set up for many years consistently gave me unacceptable run-out using comp seating dies. I switched to an auger press and hand dies (along with a lot of other BR techniques) before I became aware of the Forster. The Forster is a lot faster than using hand dies, and it delivers the same straight cartridges.

I always threw each cartridge through a concentricity gage after loading on the fixed presses, and would have to nudge them into true.
From the first batch through to today with the Forster I never have to use the concentricity gage. They are always within a thou or two, and usually the needle does not move. Every once in a while I'll spin a cartridge just to confirm it's still there. I'm certainly not saying that there isn't a fixed press that produces cartridges with no run out (lest I cause any more offense), but that has not been my experience.

I guess it's all perception, but the Forster seems very fast to me. Front loading it and not having to mess with a shell holder allows me to move pretty quick. What takes all the time is waiting for the Charge Master to underthrow the change, and then trickling onto the scale. I am done with a cartridge before the Charge Master has beeped, much less trickling onto the triple-beam. A faster press isn't really going to help me unless I clubbed up to a Prometheus, or had a way of weighing exact charges faster.

That I feel the press is far faster than the time it takes to prepare the charge is probably why I never really considered trying to set up a progressive to do it.
 

Sheldon N

Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut
Sep 24, 2014
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#38
A faster press isn't really going to help me unless I clubbed up to a Prometheus, or had a way of weighing exact charges faster.

That I feel the press is far faster than the time it takes to prepare the charge is probably why I never really considered trying to set up a progressive to do it.
The bulk of the benefit is in brass prep, but there's still some advantage to loading on a progressive too, mainly because you eliminate the separate step of priming.

if you want a faster way to accurately measure powder, try this technique.

http://forum.snipershide.com/threads/speed-up-your-powder-weighing-with-a-gempro250.6255772/

Works great with a cheap scale like the GemPro. I used to do this into a loading block but now I use this approach to feed my progressive press. Weigh the charge, dump in funnel on the press, throw a new charge and put it on the scale and cycle the press (prime, load brass, advance, seat bullet). With unprimed, prepped brass I'm about 40-45 minutes to load 100 cases with charges weighed down to the kernel.
 

FishDr

Sergeant of the Hide
Apr 10, 2014
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#39
My setup is similar to Padom. I also get low single digit SD and low double digit ES (12-16) loading on my 550 using the Dillon powder measure and appropriate powders (8208xbr and PP2000MR). Runout is .001 same as on my RC. I have found that setup and cleanliness is important, but consistent FORM using the press (ie pulling handle same speed, bumping with same force, same number of times, same pause, etc) is critical to getting consistent low SD. My ammo loaded this away runs about .5MOA which is all the particular gun and shooter combo is capable of.
 

Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
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#40
The 550b has been my only press since I started handloading back in the early 1990's. It has served my needs since I started as a 3-Gun Bullseye handgun only shooter, through the NRA N/M phase, through the Sniper Match phase, through the F Class phase, up until now, the AR15 accuracy/fun phase, and will undoubtedly serve me right on through to whatever comes next.

I especially treasure the interchangeable toolheads.

Greg
 
Feb 14, 2017
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#41
I started with a Rockchucker and went to a 550 and later a 650. Once I had the basics down, they easily transferred to the progressive presses. I currently use a 650XL for all my precision rifle loading and consistently get less than .001 runout and less with all my case measurements. My ES's are around 20 with SD's in the single digits. My best rifles shoot in the .1's with this ammo. Anyone who doubts the capability of these machines simply don't know how to best use them. My .02...
 
Oct 1, 2017
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#42
Anyone know of any dealers or discount codes for the Dillon?

Also any idea what cal conversion kit is needed for the 6.5 PRC? It doesn’t have it listed on Dillons website.
 

Downtown

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#43
Brian Enos site has a wealth of information on everything Dillon. I believe the shell plate and locater buttons for 6.5PRC should be the same as the parent case, which I believe is the .300 Ruger Compact Magnum. This link I found, http://dillondealers.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-Dillon-Dealer-Catalog.pdf has a chart that shows the part number .300 RCM #62255. This was a quick search, so please research more before spending money.
 

Downtown

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#47
No objections. I'm sure they are fine presses. But what stands out to me is the number of Dillons among competitive shooters. I've been shooting USPSA, IPSC for twenty years, a game that requires progressive reloading. I have never seen another brand of press used.
 
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