Why I Use Dillon for Reloading

For more information on Dillon, check out their website DillonPrecision.com.

Every year, a new group of people becomes interested in the shooting culture, whether it is because a sport like USPSA, Skeet, or Benchrest has attracted them or perhaps they are just coming of age to begin buying their own guns. It is usually not too long after this new bug bites them that they realize ammunition is expensive. Even the cheap stuff, if you shoot a bunch of it. And they start thinking about reloading.

I’ve done an introduction to reloading before, so I won’t retrace my steps on that very big subject here – but for those who have decided to take the plunge, the next big decision is what brand of reloading equipment to invest in. There are a number of strong and reputable brands that offer great solutions for the reloader, but one brand seems to tower above them all – Dillon Precision. Why?

SEE ALSO: Dillon Beefs Up the 550 – Comparison of 550, 650, 1050 & Square Deal Progressive Presses- SHOT Show 2017

I started my reloading hobby on a RCBS Rockchucker single stage press – bought the deluxe set that “comes with everything” and then added all the stuff I needed that didn’t come with it. Used it for years, while my hobby was small, and it was a great setup. But when my hobby grew, and I needed hundreds of rounds per week in several different calibers – just for handguns – I needed a serious machine. And that, my friends, is when you start looking at Dillon Precision, because Dillon is for the serious reloader. By serious, I mean professional shooters like high volume instructors, competitive shooters, extremely active enthusiasts, and perfectionists.

Dillon is for the serious reloader. (Photo: Dillon Precision)

Dillon Precision reloading machines are rugged and simple, yet feature rich and innovative. Dillon machines come in several models and can accommodate the 20,000 rounds per year shooter like me, or the guy running a small ammunition manufacturing business. Dillon makes buying what you need easy with “packages” that make sense. I purchased my RL 550B (the 550C is now the current model) with the extra options that made sense to me, and it has served me faithfully for years.

But I still haven’t really answered the “why” question, have I? How about a “No BS Warranty” – Dillon’s terminology – that basically says if anything ever breaks or stops working they replace it. How about a selection of models ranging from a starter hobbyist level to thousands of rounds per hour automation? How about the quickest and simplest quick-change system in the industry that lets me go from 9mm to .40 S&W in about two minutes (with no need to ever recalibrate your dies or powder charge)? And finally, how about precision loading that produces exacting tolerance ammunition round after round – tens of thousands of times?

These are reasons, or at least many of them, why Dillon Precision reloading equipment is the only brand that most serious reloaders will even consider.

For more information on Dillon, check out their website DillonPrecision.com.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Bud August 14, 2017, 2:07 am

    no BS warranty? Hmmm, I have a Dillon that I got from a friend , that needs a tune up. I called Dillon and they told me to send it in and they would fix it for a price plus shipping. it is still in the box, waiting to be shipped off. Other people I have talked to have have total set ups done for free. I wonder why I am charged for the same or less service/

  • Capn_Stefano March 27, 2017, 12:46 pm

    I ordered a Dillon 550 back in the mid 1980s. Their customer service was so incredibly rude and unhelpful that I cancelled the order and bought a Hornady Pro 7 at a local reloading supply shop

    A buddy gave me a RL1050 he didn’t want, set up for .45 ACP with case feed hopper. I have yet to set it up

  • PaulWVa February 26, 2017, 8:46 pm

    I love the look and operation of the Dillon systems but have stayed away due to the initial price of whole set-up. Plus I have my Lyman T-Mag from 1980. I can take my time a crank out 300 rounds in an evening. Putting together 10 to 20 boxes during the week makes for good weekend of shooting. Plus I can switch between two calibers with just a change of shell holders. Maybe someday I’ll feel the need for a progressive loader but my T-Mag makes excellent ammo for now.

  • bob February 21, 2017, 9:39 am

    the first reloading equipment I used was a “Herters” turret press (right after the GCA-68 scared everyone – I finally got a Dillon 550 about 8-10 yr ago – a very nice machine (my favorite)

  • Shootin Nut February 20, 2017, 6:44 pm

    So this is where the reloading community has sunk to. Pretty friggin sad.

    So much for like-minded individuals enjoying discussions and sharing knowledge.

  • LJ February 18, 2017, 5:25 pm

    Been using a Dillon 650 for 20 years. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  • Andrew N. February 17, 2017, 5:31 pm

    I too started with a Lee single stage press 30 years ago. It was great until it finally broke. I upgraded to an RCBS Rock Chucker single stage, and the difference was amazing. Smoother and stronger, it made reloading easier on my old, “surgerized” shoulder. I finally moved up to a progressive, and bought the Dillon 550. I bought it for a variety of reasons, including reviews by customers and because every time I saw a picture of any older Gun Writer’s ( whose work I enjoy ) reloading room, there was a Dillon in the picture, usually located in the “prime” location for reloading. I figured if the people who NEED a good machine bought a Dillon, it must work pretty well. I never “trust” a review by the writers only, as their salaries are “paid” by advertisers, with the exception of Gun Tests magazine, which has no advertising.

  • LG February 17, 2017, 3:37 pm

    I guess the censors in their infinite mercenary wisdom did not approve my previously posted comment. I do apologize for not being merchant’s politically correct and I believe this comment too will be suppressed/ If Guns America has adopted a Politically Correct policy they might as well remove me from their mailing list.

  • LG February 17, 2017, 2:58 pm

    I do not mean to offend or accuse anyone but my opinion is that his glorious praise of Dillon products smells a lot like PAID stealthy ADVERTISING. I do not mean to criticize Dillon excellent product, just to point out that there are other good systems some as good, some better and of course some worse than the Dillon line.
    Just please, save us from the advertising, even though we understand that you have to make a living.
    Thank you very much

    • Justin Opinion February 17, 2017, 5:28 pm

      The title of the article is “Why I Use Dillon…” – which implies that the objective of the piece is for me to present an argument in favor of that brand. Even so, I said this in the opening paragraph: “There are a number of strong and reputable brands that offer great solutions for the reloader”. If you were slightly open minded, you might consider that an acknowledgement that other brands have earned reputable success making good products. But once again, the focus of the article is about why I use Dillon. Whether or not the article is a veiled “advertisement” is between you and the Editor, I had no such instructions for writing it.

    • Michael MacKay February 18, 2017, 9:53 am

      It’s a Dillon press, it just works well, and they have a gold standard service department and really stand by their machines for the life of the press. I have a 550B and a quick change caliber conversion kit for it…fast easy, reliable.

      That’s just it.

      If you don’t own one and have not dealt with the Dillon manufacturer you will never understand.

      • Capn_Stefano March 27, 2017, 12:50 pm

        “they have a gold standard service department”

        My experience was the polar opposite. They sent me right into the arms of Hornady

  • Renron February 17, 2017, 2:13 pm

    Dillon buys it’s dies from RCBS.
    Both have a no BS parts policy. Blue or Green both work well when setup properly and used responsibly.
    Changing calibers is easier on the progressive Green one, but many prefer the Blue because of their history and advertising.

  • gary February 17, 2017, 11:40 am

    Have a an RCBS A4, PRO- 2000 AI, and I am perfectly happy. They do everything I need. Tried a LEE turret and a Hornady Pro-7, they both had issues though. When I want use the single stage I have a B&M powder measure that does very accurate drops and a powder dribbler to get dead on. When I want practice cheaply I mould my own.

  • Alan February 17, 2017, 10:56 am

    Dillon is only Kool Aid if that same person says all else is junk.
    Dillon is great, however for the person on a budget, it’s also a wallet killer to switch to multiple calibers.
    I load 5 different rifle calibers, and 8 different pistol calibers.
    That equates to several hundreds of dollars more than those same calibers in either Lee or other mutli stage press set ups.
    Yes, in time spent and production rate, Dillon is king. But the price to be King is high, and I would rather put that money to the essentials, and get thousands more rounds of ammo for it.
    If my time was that precious, I wouldn’t be loading.
    My Lee progressives CAN be finicky, but I’m a tinkerer by nature, and can tune one to run very close to a Dillon.
    If you have money, and aren’t very mechanically inclined, the Dillon is for you.
    If you’re a tinkering skinflint like me, Lee offers up a wonderful love/hate relationship that produces fine ammo.
    Just be prepared to cuss a lot.

  • TadC February 17, 2017, 10:40 am

    I use Lee reloading and get good results. My son has a Dillon 550B he uses for 9mm and .223. If I wanted to reload thousands of rounds I would definitely get a Dillon.

  • Mike February 17, 2017, 9:51 am

    Great responses from people regarding The blue Kool-Aid. I have a Lee challenger press that I am very happy with because it cost me next to nothing and I get just as good as results as my friend who has a square deal. Face it, most of us reload to get the price down.

  • OldJarhead February 17, 2017, 9:43 am

    I bought my first Dillon 550 back in 1988. I was shooting IPSC running a 5″ Colt GM and the cost of .45ACP began to add up. The group I shot with were all in agreement that I needed to (a) start rolling my own and (b) if I planned on getting better I needed to do so in volume. I still use that same 550 to load 9 pistol calibers and 6 rifle calibers in bulk. I’ve had some repairs over the years, all covered, even a full work-over after year 20. No cost, full upgrade and quick turnaround. I’ve got an RCBS Rock Chucker for various tasks, a Forster Co-Ax for match level rifle ammo loading plus some Lee presses for other tasks. I use several brands of dies, depending on my desired output.
    Everyone can lighten up a little as the man likes his Dillon. There’s a reason why. I don’t recall him saying everything else is junk. There is some junk out there, and anyone who loads at the level this individual and others like him (me included) has plunked down dollars on something that doesn’t work as advertised. Loading equipment has evolved rapidly over the last 20 years and more options than ever are available. Get what you want, don’t beat him up for doing the same.

  • Old Eagle February 17, 2017, 9:10 am

    I started with a RCBS Jr. Hand measured every load and got -1″ groups at 100 yds. Remington 700 sporting a weaver 4x scope. It is not always about the equipment but the person and their care in what they are doing. I did upgrade to a Lee progressive and still measure the powder. Results are still great and the cost is a fraction of the Dillon. Over 50 years reloading now and no telling how much money has been saved.

  • Mike M February 17, 2017, 8:47 am

    I too upgraded from an RCBS single stage to the Dillon 550B a few years ago and am VERY happy. I did my research, spoke with my friends who reload and I found that Dillon was the best for my needs. The NO BS warrantee is just that. With RCBS, I had to answer a bunch of questions before they would consider replacing the broken part whether it was my fault, their fault or no fault, not with Dillon. Caliber changes are easy but I am only reloading for about 10 different calibers and the volumes are only in the couple hundreds for each but still, less than 10 minutes and that is only if I need to change primer sizes it quicker if I only need to change caliber. The Dillon dies are great but pricey. I use mostly Lee dies which work great and I already had many from my RCBS days anyway. All in all, Dillon is a great progressive press solution

  • Roy February 17, 2017, 8:10 am

    Reloading is a small niche market. Every brand out there as a good warranty program so the belief that Dillon is somehow superior based on warranty alone is a fallacy. Not every reloader is after volume, which means a substantial number of reloaders can and should consider a single stage press (Dillon does not make a dedicated single stage). Consider the goal – are you after volume/speed, more accurate rounds, the ability to make wildcat rounds, the hobby (relaxation, something to do, some reason to get out of the house, etc.) or some combination of the foregoing. To arbitrarily state that Dillon is the best or the only brand is akin to picking out one gun manufacturer and stating that everyone who bought another brand is wrong. Some shooters like 1911 style guns and others would not consider anything except a poly gun and inside each group there are price points, features, and handling qualities (ergonomics) that appeal to different shooters. So stop trying to convince the world the blue koolaide is a magic elixir that will cure everything. FYI: I tried Dillon before I bought Hornady.

  • MilesM February 17, 2017, 8:00 am

    Wow. So sorry to hear about Mike Dillon, he was a titan in the shooting community, met and conversed with him many times at shooting matches and shows. I bought my 550 back in 1987, and have loads literally millions of rounds through it (I stopped logging in my book at 1.5 million back in 1997) and it still works like the day I bought it.

    RIP Mike, wherever you are.

  • Bill Weldon February 17, 2017, 7:49 am

    I used the Dillon 450 press back in the 1980’s in my reloading business. It turned out to be a great, dependable machine.

  • Only Hornady February 17, 2017, 7:14 am

    Talk about biased reporting, push the blue koolaid away from you. One article bashes antigun reporters as being biased and then we go right into only saying there is only one good reloading company. I have totally banished another gun group from sending me any emails looks like gun america is sliding down that path as well.
    I know more reloaders that have went from dillion over to Hornady for a variety of reasons not the least of which is more bang for the buck. Any issues I have had Hornady has quickly remedied AT NO COST TO ME, sound like the same warranty as what dillion offers.

    • Justin Opinion February 17, 2017, 5:40 pm

      It’s amusing that someone identifying himself as “Only Hornady” wants to accuse me of extreme bias. You may want to take a “reading with comprehension” class, as you are yet another reader that doesn’t get the concept of the “make an argument for -” style of article. If an esteem author writes a book about Colt handguns does that automatically mean his is trashing every other maker? In this article I state my opinion as to why I prefer Dillon. Of course it is written with bias. That’s the only perspective it can be written from. You needn’t agree. But I sure hope you pay more attention when reading load data instructions.

      • Only Hornady February 18, 2017, 8:53 am

        I have other brands of reloading equipment besides Hornady. I started reloading in the mid 80’s on an RCBS Rock Chucker and still have it today, and I have used a Lee Loadmaster and got to use a friends Dillion 550 a little trying it out before I bought my Hornady. Both the Hornady LNL and the Dillion 550 are pretty much a match in what they are capable of, that is loading good quality accurate ammo at a decent pace. There are other brands of progressive presses as well both at lower and higher price points that make good ammo. When it came down to making the decision of which one to buy the Hornady had features I liked over the Dillion and at the time I had only looked over the Hornady online and read reviews. The Hornady was also about 100 bucks less than the Dillion 550 and Hornady had the 1000 bullet rebate going on. It just added icing on the cake. Maybe if I was made of money or just needed my press to match the decor of my reloading room it would have been blue or nothing. Oh and I read loading manuals just fine, have been for 32 years now and currently reload 17 different rounds some of which there are no factory loaded ammo for these days. In all those years I have yet to have a squib or over pressure.
        I have reread your article and the only correction I would have to make in my initial statement is I stated you “said” Dillion was the only good reloading equipment supplier, that is my bad, you were simply insinuating Dillion was the only good reloading equipment supplier. I will not argue that Dillion makes good equipment but I will argue that they are not the only ones. While having good equipment is important, in the bigger picture its the person moving the lever that has more to do with the ammo quality outcome than the machine. During my experience with the Lee Loadmaster I made just as good of ammo with it as I did my Hornady or as someone could do with a Dillion, its just the Loadmasters seem to need considerable more tweaking and attention to minor issues that will slow down the loading process. The Lee Loadmasters fill a market gap at their price point and I will not belittle someone if thats all they can afford, but I will if asked offer my experience from using one and make suggestions based on that experience.

  • MikeC February 17, 2017, 5:44 am

    I agree totally. I bought my first dillon about 25 years ago and it’s been great. I can easily load 400 rounds in an hour, and that’s taking my time and doing a lot of QA. I got a great deal in a gun store a couple of years ago on a second one, set up for 2 calibers, for $200. It was rusty and missing some parts, I called dillon and explained it to them and they wouldn’t even let me pay for the replacement parts, I had them in a few days. Now I have one set up for small primer and one set up for large. They have paid for themselves many times over, heck even in the last 2 years when I started loading 300 AAC for about $0.30/round.

    I was sad to see they lost Mike Dillon this past year, I hope they will keep on the tradition of great customer service and the no BS warranty. I have a million stories about the pleasure of dealing with them as a company, and the quality of their machines.


  • Dillon user February 12, 2017, 11:48 am

    Your primer alarm is disabled. Big mistake.

    • Justin Opinion February 17, 2017, 5:09 pm

      While you were being so super-observant, did you also notice that the primer follower is ALL THE WAY DOWN, indicating there are no primers in the tube? That means I am not actively loading, and don’t need the alarm engaged. Nanny much?

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