Dillon Reloading Press Buyer’s Guide

Dillon Precision has a number of presses to choose from. How do you choose? 

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Progressive Press Shootout 

The Dillon name is often synonymous with progressive reloading presses. To educate our viewers on a number of presses, we put together the Progressive Press Shootout – a video comparison of 12 different progressive reloading presses on the market. 

We highlighted four offerings from Dillon in this video: the Dillon Square Deal B, RL-550C, XL-750 and RL 1100. (The TP2000 wasn’t included in the shootout.) 

Dillon Square Deal B

This four-station press is specifically optimized for economical pistol loading — it will not load rifle ammunition. It does not have a case feeder and doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as other Dillon progressive presses but is one of your best options for quality pistol reloading on a budget, featuring a shorter, pistol-optimized stroke. This helps you to conserve energy. 

The Square Deal B is the least expensive press in Dillon’s line-up, but also is the only press that requires proprietary dies. Dillon sells various caliber conversion kits, but this press will not accept standard ⅞-14 dies. Keep in mind that though the Square Deal B is for loading pistol cartridges only, that doesn’t keep you from reloading ammunition to shoot in rifles chambered in pistol cartridges (ex. .357 mag). 

This press also has several of Dillon’s standard features like the slide bar powder measure, low primer warning and tube-fed priming system.

As shown in the picture above: 

  1. Sizing and de-priming
  2. Powder Charge/Priming
  3. Bullet Seating
  4. Bullet Crimping

What it’s for:

  • Pistol reloading on a budget

What it’s not for:

  • Rifle reloading, commercial loading

Pros:

  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Simplicity
  • Pistol-optimized stroke

Cons:

  • Proprietary dies
  • No case feeder
  • Pistol-only

Square Deal B Stories on Ultimate Reloader

Dillon Square Deal B: Overview and Loading 45 ACP 

Dillon RL-550C

I call this press the “all-rounder.” 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.

A small diameter shellplate keeps the plate from rocking, leading to more consistent shoulder bump and bullet seating depth. There is also an abundance of aftermarket accessories available for this model, including case feeders from Dillon and Double Alpha Academy and the Inline Fabrication ergonomic roller handle. This press is incredibly capable and versatile, but also more affordable than some of Dillon’s other options. With four stations and no auto-indexing, you must remember that if you want to have a powder check, for example, you’ll need to combine other steps on other stations.

As shown in the picture above: 

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

What it’s for:

  • Precision progressive reloading, quality on a budget

What it’s not for:

  • Commercial or mass production reloading

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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

Dillon XL-750

While the RL-550C represents great value and versatility, the XL-750 is ideal for progressive reloaders looking for a five station press. The XL 750 is the upgrade/replacement of the XL 650, which we’ve previously featured. One of the big differences is that the old telephone dial priming system has been replaced by a sliding bar priming system. This full-progressive press is auto-indexing, comes with a drop tube for a case feeder that is sold separately and features quick caliber changes. Dillon’s model encourages users to keep all dies set up on a tool head. I recommend getting a dedicated powder measure for each basic setup. This allows you to very easily change between calibers.

The XL-750 has purpose-built parts for the case feed system. This means that all parts are ready to go when you do a caliber conversion— they are optimized and pre-adjusted. There is an added cost for purpose-built case feed parts for caliber conversion kits, but I believe the extra expense is well worth it. The case feeder is the stand-out feature of this press, though the capacity is also worth a mention. Max cartridge length is 4.68” and max case length is 2.72”. Having five stations allows for a powder check die or for users to separate the seating and crimping processes. Dillon has their own powder check system, which is probably the most reliable and simple option. 

As shown in the picture above: 

  1. Sizing/de-priming
  2. Priming, powder charge
  3. Powder check (not shown)
  4. Bullet seating
  5. Bullet crimp

What it’s for:

  • Pistol and rifle reloading up to medium volume

What it’s not for:

  • Budget reloading, commercial reloading

Pros:

  • Quality
  • 5 Stations
  • Great case feed system
  • Quick caliber changes

Cons:

XL 750 Stories on Ultimate Reloader

Dillon XL-750: Unboxing, Setup, Loading Pistol and Rifle Ammo

Mr. Bullet Feeder Caliber Change: 9mm to 45 ACP on Dillon XL-750

XL-750 Bullet Feed Solution (Double Alpha Extra-Short Powder Bar) 

Dillon XL-650 vs XL-750: Differences Explained 

Overview: Mark 7 Autodrive for Dillon XL-750 and XL-650 Reloading Presses

 

Dillon RL 1100

The RL 1100 is Dillon’s premium press introduced only a few years ago in 2019. Unlike the other Dillon presses featured, the frame is made of cast iron and steel. These 8-station machines are frequently run into millions of rounds and ideal for commercial reloading.

The RL 1100 comes with a dedicated, including case-feed with on-press swaging. This is of especial value to anyone reloading military brass as the military crimp needs to be removed. More die stations allows you to separate more of the separate reloading processes. This allows you to make easier and quicker adjustments and caliber conversions. This press was preceded by the Super 1050 and is the latest version in that family of presses. 

As shown in the picture above: 

  1. Case inserter
  2. Sizer/de-primer
  3. Swager
  4. Priming
  5. Powder charge/expansion
  6. Powder check or bullet feed
  7. Bullet seating
  8. Bullet crimping

What it’s for:

  • Serious reloading, Pro-Sumer commercial reloading

What it’s not for:

  • Casual reloading

Pros:

  • 8 stations
  • Reliability, smoothness
  • Standard case feeder
  • Commercial-grade quality

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Complexity

RL 1100 Stories on Ultimate Reloader

Dillon RL 1100 Unboxing, Setup, Loading 9mm

WARP SPEED! Loading 9mm on the Dillon RL 1100 with Mr. Bullet Feeder

CP-2000

This case-prep machine, like the RL 1100, also has on-press swaging. If you have the RT-1500 electric case trimmer installed as well, you can make quick work of case prep. This model has a lower price-point compared to the RL 1100. It doesn’t come with priming or a powder measure and related parts. The CP-2000 is a press ideal for commercial case prep rather than reloading. 

Conclusion

Across all presses, Dillon has low primer sensors and quality, optimized parts. All Dillon products are made in the USA and though they can get expensive, they offer massive benefits, especially for volume reloaders. 

Not all presses are created equal — evaluate and be honest about your current and future needs. 

Get the Gear

Square Deal B Reloader – Dillon Precision

RL550C Reloader – Dillon Precision

XL750 Reloader – Dillon Precision

RL1100 Reloader – Dillon Precision

CP2000 Case Processing Machine – Dillon Precision

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Thanks,
Gavin Gear

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