THE Progressive Press Shootout (12 presses compared)

Dillon Precision RL 550C 4-Station

This is the third iteration of the RL 550 and is manually indexed. This allows for reloading of larger cartridges but if you aren’t used to it, you are at greater likelihood of double charging.  Overall, this simple but quality press allows for repeatable, consistent loading.

Here’s the overview video for the Dillion Precision RL 550C published on Ultimate Reloader:

What’s In the Box

Dillon’s packaging is second to NONE. Everything inside the box is protected from damage by custom-molded inserts. A benefit of this kind of protection is that if you ever need to send the machine to Dillon for any reason (they offer the famous “No B.S. Warranty”) you’ll be confident it will arrive without damage.

The Dillon RL-550C comes with everything you need to load rifle and pistol ammunition (with large and small primers) except a caliber conversion kit and dies. Here’s what’s in the box:

Above we have:

  • Literature
  • Low primer warning system
  • Handle and mounting hardware
  • Priming system components (for large and small primers)
  • Press assembly
  • Powder measure and fail-safe rod (with extra powder bar, both rifle and pistol sizes included)
  • Discharge chute (mounts to bench)
  • Primer catcher cup
  • Indexing components
  • Allen key set
  • Die lock rings (3)
  • Completed cartridge bin

RL 550C Features and Specs

RL 550C Die Stations Example (Pistol)

As shown in the picture above: 

  1. Sizing/de-priming, priming
  2. Powder charging/expansion
  3. Bullet seating
  4. Bullet crimping

RL 550C Total Cost of Ownership

RL 550C Summary

What it’s for:

  • Precision progressive reloading, quality on a budget

What it’s not for:

  • Commercial or mass production reloading


  • Quality
  • Simplicity
  • Versatility, standard features
  • Precision
  • Economy


  • No auto-indexing
  • 4 stations

RL 550C Stories on Ultimate Reloader

Dillion RL-550C In-Depth Overview 

Reloading 223/5.56 From A to Z

Reloading 223/5.56 with Berry’s 55gr FMJ Bullets

DAA Mini Case Feeder for the Dillon RL550


Hornady Lock-N-Load AP
RCBS Pro Chucker 5
RCBS Pro Chucker 7
Mark 7 APEX 10
Dillon Square Deal B
Dillon RL-550C
Dillon XL-750
Dillon RL 1100
Frankford Arsenal X-10
LEE Pro 1000
LEE Breech Lock Auto Pro (Pro 4000)
LEE Loadmaster
Total Cost of Ownership Recap
Inline Fabrication Mounts
KMS Squared UFO Press Lighting

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8 thoughts on “THE Progressive Press Shootout (12 presses compared)”

  1. I am sort of disappointed that their is no single press that fits my needs.
    A) I reload 30-06 – not all accommodate
    B) I reload 300 Winchester Magnum – not all accommodate
    C) I reload tons of 9mm, 45 ACP, 223/5.56, 308 – high speed progressive needed
    D) Hornady Lock-N-Load AP and RCBS Pro Chucker 7 fit for A) and B) but not C)
    E) Only Mark 7 APEX 10 fits C) but NOT A) or B)
    F) Swaging is important but is very stressful on progressive presses, thus I swage on a single stage Rock Chucker which is about 40 years old.

    1. I have an rcbs pro 2000. I use it for 7.62×54 and 303brit or 7.7×56 if not u.s.. I’m fairly certain that I could do 3006 on it although I haven’t tried. It has good beef for sizing these cases. I like it but the cost to me was just a few shell plates so I may be jaded. Also used it for 7.5×55 308 and 6.5x53r dutch

    2. John, there is no hard definition for “C” but a 1050 will do what you are asking up to 30-06 in my experience. I would ask the OEM what they say about 300 WM in terms of case and bullet feed.

  2. A couple of things I wish you would have added the warranty for each press (you mention it in general but not specific for each press) for i.e. DIllon on there lower end press lifetime warranty and the 1100 one year warranty (unless they change it). Also where they are made (you mention it on a few of them but not all of them).

  3. When I got my L-N-L AP I avoided Big Blue because their powder measure was said to be less accurate than drum types, primer safety concerns and I didn’t want to hand over my wallet and tell them to take whatever it cost. It was said, Team Red lacking floating die head had to be precision manufactured and produced precision ammo as a result. Now I have a reloader that requires some ongoing tinkering compared to Big Blue which was said to run on rails and the Red Team gets no respect.

    My L-N-L AP has sat for awhile but when I had contacted Hornady CS in the past I sometimes got someone interested in helping me solve my problem and sometimes got someone who treated like I was looking for a problem and since they were not overcharging for a BS Warranty, we’re not interested in any fixes that might cost them.

    Now I’m older and retired, shocked at component prices more than doubling with things like primers near impossible to get or the ideal powder choice unavailable, Im thinking I like precision loading on my single stage Co-Ax. Anyway who is buying these mega ammo plants when you can’t keep them fed or afford to keep them feed ?

  4. Thanks Gavin, I have been looking to get a new progressive press to replace a destroyed RL550b
    May go with the RL550c as I never had an issue with the RL550b ever
    But that XL 750 has me thinking…

  5. I run both a Dillon 550 B with case feeder and a Lee Loadmaster. No question the Dillon is a better press, but you get what you pay for.
    The Loadmaster can be fiddly. You need to be the kind of person who loves to tinker and make things work in order to be happy with the L/M in my opinion.
    I load .44 mag and .44 Special on the L/M
    All other pistol calibers-9mm, 38/357, 45 ACP and .45 Colt on the Dillon.
    I like the case feeder on the Dillon because it allows me to concentrate on the powder drop and bullet seating stations. It also can be a p.i.a. at times, especially with .45 acp cases not wanting to center on the decapping station, but like other Dillon products it is well made and backed by solid customer support.
    Now Gavin. Time for a shotshell reloading press shootout.

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