Quick Change Kit | RL550 Series
Hold Your Head Up!
By D. K. Pridgen
I’ve mentioned the trials and tribulations of the pre-Dillon press world. Size and de-cap a case, then prime if you wished. It took a lot of practice to develop the correct feel for priming – not too deep and not too shallow. And it interrupted the flow some. My group used a hand primer, which my wife mastered, allowing me to continue sizing/de-priming or charging cases she had primed.
Charging was a treat. Raise the powder measure handle, tapping just the right number of times, then lowering the handle to dump powder into individual cases in a tray. Simultaneously monitoring the measure’s powder level to be sure it didn’t run out or drop low enough to affect the charge dispensed. There was tactile feedback if the powder measure tried to jam. Fun!
When all your cases in trays, or all fitting on the bench, were charged, the bullet seating fun began. We mostly cast and lubed lead bullets for reloads. Cheaper than buying full metal-jacketed bullets and there weren’t many companies dropping finished bullets in boxes for sale. (When I stepped up to Dillon’s offerings I used the same bullets and powders. If it ain’t broken …)
In my early days of Dillon Precision’s progressive presses, the original 450 specifically, their presses shared many traits with single stage ones. But a Dillon press held all dies and powder measure simultaneously. No swapping from one die or another and accomplishing only one chore at a time.
Dies screwed directly into the Dillon’s press, securing with die locking rings. Time to reload another caliber and dies were unscrewed, losing their settings. With the next caliber, all of the pain and anguish of resetting dies began again. Powder dies and perhaps powder bars might have needed swapping.
Lord knows I cursed and cursed. All of my original effort for naught and the pain when returning to the caliber, seemed I could never get everything set exactly as they were.
And the powder measure! I thought about buying one for each caliber but why? Like the dies, when removed they lost their setting, except the powder charge dropped. The powder measure, as nicely as they usually worked, was dependent on the powder used and occasionally didn’t return fully. Dillon fixed this with their Powder Measure Failsafe Kits.
The introduction of Dillon’s Toolhead ended most of the caliber conversion problems. New presses and press conversions arrived with a slotted space in the upper area where the toolheads slid in. Screw dies and powder measures in place, lock ring them in down and no settings ever have to be reset unless you want them to be.
Unless you removed the powder measure to use with another toolhead. Yes, you’re correct – I multi-tasked the powder measure, circumventing one of toolheads’ benefits. Powder measures were/are reasonably priced so this was really ridiculous of me. I learned.
With only dies in place, the toolheads sat well on the bench. Add the lopsided weight of the powder measure and, whoops, the entire thing hurries to topple over.
In strolls the Dillon toolhead stand! The 550 and 650 share a stand design, while the 1050 and Square Deal are blest with their own. Attach the Toolhead, with powder measure, dies and others accessories, to the stand and the entire shebang just stands right up. Neat and it frees up always-needed bench space, which makes reloading less stressful.
Don’t be cheap! (I’m frugal.) Buy extra powder measures, toolheads and toolhead stands. Make your reloading bench look like a grownup works there!
WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which are known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive harm. For more information, go to https://www.P65Warnings.ca.gov