BobRockefeller
BobRockefeller
1 post
Joined December 2017

Why manual index?

I've been reading around the Internet (a dangerous thing to do, I know) in an attempt to decide on the right Dillon machine for me. I only shoot pistol (9mm and 45 ACP) and probably shoot "just" 4,000–5,000 rounds per year.

The 550 looks "right," but does not have automatic indexing. The Square Deal also looks "right," but might be a little confined in the working area under the dies (I'm about of average size: 6', 185#, average size hands).

Lots of folks explain away the lack of auto-indexing by saying things such as:
• It's easier to develop new loads
• Auto-indexing unnecessarily complicates the machine
• Manual indexing provides more "control" (whatever that means)

How much of that is real and how much is an attempt to defend a design shortcoming?

Why in the world would one NOT want auto-indexing on a progressive press?
rmcpherson1
rmcpherson1
1 post
Joined March 2012

RE: Why manual index?

I am also trying to decide. 550 or 650 that is the question of the day. Personnaly I am leaning toward the 550.
OneLargeEye
OneLargeEye
12 posts
Joined August 2013

RE: Why manual index?

Go with the 650. I started with the 650 and have been very happy with it. Kind of sorry that I did not go with the 1050. Mainly because of the swaging feature.
Bucolic_Buffalo
Bucolic_Buffalo
58 posts
Joined June 2016

RE: Why manual index?

My SDB made good ammo. But it was just a bit cramped for space with my hands. I wear an XL size glove. But it worked.

I chose to go with the XL650 next. Very happy with that choice. More room to work. I do not do any rifle on it, but I can in the future. I gained a powder lock-out station for an additional powder level check in addition to my visual check.

With automation comes complication. Just think things though. If you have a problem, stop and make sure you are solving all that needs to be dealt with. Go slow. And slow down some more. You will get more accurate powder throws and still make lots of ammo. Be sure to follow the manual. And lubricate the pivots and sliding surfaces. Info in the manual. But also in posts on this forum. I make notes in my manual.

With the manual index models, your hands are already down there. Feeding bullets. It's just training your hands. Muscle memory. It may be easier to clear a problem. You still have an advantage over doing everything on a single-stage press.
dillon
Administrator
dillon
2,866 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: Why manual index?

For automatic indexing, it requires about 25% of the stroke length to rotate the shellplate. All other things being equal, you can load a longer cartridge on a manually-indexed machine than on an auto-indexed machine.
Additionally, manual indexing is easier to learn in that you can feed a single case into the shellplate, run it through the various stations to load it, then insert the next piece of brass. Once you are comfortable with all the steps, then you use the machine in a progressive manner.
jforwel
jforwel
32 posts
Joined November 2007

RE: Why manual index?

Been using my 550 for about 32 years and manual indexing is just part of the process, I don't even notice that I do it. It only takes a swipe of my thumb. But I do believe it's easier to fix a problem. Just my 2 cents.
alaska_guy
alaska_guy
6 posts
Joined January 2018

RE: Why manual index?

Total agree. I reload 9mm and 45acp as my main cartridges and love my 550b's. Yes that's right I have one dedicated to each caliber. 45ACP is large primer and 9mm is small primer. So I basically have a small primer 550b and a large primer 550b setup.

Ive had some issues with each machine when I first bought them, mainly the ram was not aligned correctly. But after alignment is done they feed like butter. I enjoy the process of reloading and usually will sit down and do 200 rounds in an hour and then call it a night. So 200 rounds times 7 days a week =1400 rounds. The 550b pumps out plenty of ammo for casual/frequent shooters. If you are a competition shooter or shoot daily I could see the 650 as a good choice.
coderpitt
coderpitt
86 posts
Joined November 2012

RE: Why manual index?

I started on a 550B and have really liked it. Now I am doing some rifle rounds and it doesn't work with the casefeed attached. If I were starting again, I would probably lean towards the 650. I don't shoot enough to justify a 1050 even though I would love the swage function. Instead I just bought the super swage 600 and have to handle the rounds more. Maybe one day I'll sell the 550 and upgrade to the 650.... but I just have a hard time letting go of my awesome machine!

Keep in mind that if you go with the case feed, the caliber conversion is only 5$ more for the 650 than the 550. So don't let the cost be the deciding factor.
dfkaplan@gmail.com
dfkaplan@gmail.co...
2 posts
Joined August 2016

RE: Why manual index?

I've used a few auto-indexed presses. The thing is... I like the 550 more. Auto-index has more going on, so you'll get more foul-ups. I used to run into constant problems because they're more complicated. It's a lot easier on the 550. I'm actually pumping out more ammo instead of constantly fixing problems.
Stevequad
Stevequad
13 posts
Joined January 2018

RE: Why manual index?

I love my 550B. I've been using it for almost 35 years. 9mm, 38-357mag, 44mag, 45ACP, 30.06, and now .223. I just installed the case feeder, and I am doing .223 with it now. Easy conversion to the other calibers, except for the 30.06. I have to tie back the case feeder, and manually stick a 30.06 case in the shell plate holder. Since I don't load that many '06's at a time, I don't mind the slight inconvenience. (actually I haven't even done any 30.06 since I put the case feeder on. I just did a dry run to see how it would work)
konrad
konrad
1 post
Joined April 2010

RE: Why manual index?

I originally purchased my RL550B to produce 44 Mag ammunition with the option of loading for my baby 375 H&H Mags. At the time the Dillon was the only progressive machine large enough for that shell length. After seeing how smoothly the process actually produced 450 to 500 rounds per hour of pistol ammo, I set up for the 375.

On all of my rifle ammo I use the press as a single stage machine with dies already set for the common projectile my firearms like (Sierra 300 grain SBT Gameking). For rifle ammo I install each primer using a hand press (Lee Auto Prime) because I get a better feel for how deeply the primers are set.
I also set the powder measure for two strokes and then trickle/weigh each and every charge before returning the shell with powder to the press and seat the projectile.

Perhaps were I loading to feed an AR platform, I would use the machine as a true progressive as when manufacturing pistol.

I believe that is what is meant by "flexible" in this context.

A true "automatic" reloading machine would allow one to just add bulk powder, primers and shells, turn the machine on and watch finished product fall out the other side.

Iklwa