In my previous post, I walked through the process of setting up the Dillon XL-650 to load 9mm Luger ammunition with Hornady pistol dies. In this post, we’ll cover adding a bullet feeder to this setup. What will be unique about this setup will be the fact that we’ll use most of the RCBS pistol bullet feeder (everything except the bullet feed die) and will use a Hornady pistoll bullet feed die. Since I’ve had both pistol bullet feeders in the shop (RCBS and Hornady) I’ve wondered what it would take to use parts from these bullet feeders together. This is my opportunity (and yours) to find out!
The first challenge was to get the drop tube (clear lexan tube) adapted to fit the Hornady bullet feed die. In addition to getting these two components to fit, I also took some measurements to figure out how to get the height of the RCBS collator and drop tube to properly line up with the top of the Hornady bullet feed die when mounted in the Dillon XL-650 toolhead as mounted on the press. Since the XL-650 is a tall press, this meant some shortening of the drop tube would be in order since I wanted to mount the base of the RCBS unit directly to the T-Track system on the top surface of my bench. That way I can move both the press and bullet feeder sideways without the need for special adapters and parts.
In order to adapt the drop tube from the RCBS bullet feed system, I decided to shorten the clear lexan drop tube to account for the overall height of the Hornady bullet feed die in the press. After careful measurement, I parted off a portion of the lexan drop tube this was a good way to cut the tube to length without worry about shattering bits of the tube with a saw blade. I then carefully measured the inside diameter of the top of the Hornady bullet feed die (adjustment screw).
This inside surface would be where the Hornady drop tube (spring) would normally insert into the bullet feed die (when using Hornady bullet feed collator). I then proceeded to turn down about 1/2″ of the end of the shortened lexan drop tube so that the necked-down end of the tube had the slightest press fit into the top of the Hornady Bullet Feed die (adjustment screw). Here’s a picture showing the factory tube next to the modified tube:
By shortening the tube down to 5″ overall, I was able to accommodate the taller press (Dillon XL-650) and also the taller bullet feed die (Hornady die is taller compared to the RCBS bullet feed die). The shoulder was turned down to 0.473″ so that it would fit nicely (slight drag when inserting) into the top of the Hornady Bullet feed die.
Using my Logan Model 1922 11×36 Metal Lathe and a carbide indexable cutting tool made for a clean finish and a nice shoulder to bottom out against he Hornady reloading die adjustment nut.
There we go, the pieces all fit together now! Here’s a quick look at the entire setup:
Next, we’ll look at test driving the setup, and will figure out the final tweaks needed to make this entire setup function smoothly. I can’t wait to start cranking out ammunition because I have a hungry Glock 17 (Raced up by a friend) that needs to go to the range!
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