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 Post subject: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:45 pm 
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Just came from a friends house to see his new Dillion SL 900. That is one hell of a machine. He has all the options including the hull feeder. What is he up against? It looks far more complicated than my MEC 9000G, and my reloads look better than his although he is just starting out. I'm sure they will get better. He paid $1400 about twice the price of a MEC. Is it worth it?




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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:09 pm 
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They are well built, and not really complicated. Not as adjustable as a MEC. Great customer service. A bit over priced IMHO, but it will be just fine as long as he is just looking to load target stuff and isn't looking to change the load very often.

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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:50 pm 
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I have that machine. I had a size master and first upgraded to auto MEC. I couldn’t get the hang of it, sold it and bought the Dillon since i was already using a 550 for metallic.

I dialed in the SL 900 for my skeet load and never looked back. It’s a great machine. To each his own.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:49 am 
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dogchaser37 wrote:
.....Not as adjustable as a MEC......


Something that I have NEVER heard about a Dillon. You can adjust powder charge and shot weight, plus adjust any of the dies. What else could there possibly be that would need adjusted that it doesn't do that a MEC does?

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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:17 pm
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Location: Trinidad, CO
In my case the Dillon was originally set up for the "old" style AA hulls. Adjusting the final crimp to keep from crushing the HS case causing a smallish ring around the hull proved to be difficult to me. Once you get it right it rocks and rolls. I just had a heck of a time getting a my hands and tools back in there. Adjusting for powder and shot as well as changing shot is a breeze. You can make a metric boat load of shells before you know it.

I also have and use the 550 and the 650. You just got to love Dillon


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:44 am 
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Gunsite Guy wrote:
In my case the Dillon was originally set up for the "old" style AA hulls. Adjusting the final crimp to keep from crushing the HS case causing a smallish ring around the hull proved to be difficult to me. Once you get it right it rocks and rolls. I just had a heck of a time getting a my hands and tools back in there. Adjusting for powder and shot as well as changing shot is a breeze. You can make a metric boat load of shells before you know it.

I also have and use the 550 and the 650. You just got to love Dillon


That case crush in the HS hulls is caused by two things:
1: The sidewall of the HS case is not as strong as the CF hull.
2: The interior volume of that HS hull is less than the CF hull and the hull is shorter than the CF hull.

This crushing problem is mitigated by using the next larger shot load wad.
If you are dropping one oz. of shot, simply use the wad for 1 1/8 oz of shot. This makes it all stack up perfectly. The crushing goes away like magic and then you can form a proper crimp with the right depth and with no peep hole in the middle.

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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:07 am 
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Try reloading something other than target loads on a Dillon in the typical, AA, Remington unibody or Federal GM hulls. If the wad column height isn't exactly correct hitting the correct settings is frustrating to not possible. Or using any wad that does not have a crush section like the AA or Figure 8. Not impossible but........ Federal wads can be a challenge.

Dillon's are definitely a 'pick a load and stay with it' kind of machine, which is probably good for most people. The issue is the final crimp die, one die does the whole crimp. It is unforgiving, because the die is not on a cam making case length and wad column height critical to get a proper crimp. MEC's are affected by case length and wad column height also but not as finicky by a long shot.

MEC's, once you understand the adjustments, can be used to load virtually any load where the wad column height and shell length is close. Very adjustable and very versatile.

ALL SHOTSHELL RELOADING machines have good and bad characteristics.

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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:41 pm 
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I bought a used SL900 from this board (much less $ than buying new) and had to get a couple parts replaced, clean and tune it a bit, but yesterday, after shooting some skeet, I was able to load 1200 rounds in a few hours. Coming from a 600 Jr., this is a vast improvement. The most difficult part is keeping an eye on the powder/Primer/hull/shot feeds. Once I get going, I don't want to stop.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:54 pm 
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What dogchaser37 is right on,all reloaders have a pro & con aspect,about them?


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:33 am
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Location: Virginia
I load a 12ga 3/4oz. in pretty much any hull and have no issues...only hulls I don't use are steel base, nothing to do with the press, just a personal preference.

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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:21 pm
Posts: 68
Location: Central Florida
After loading 12ga on a MEC9000G for a number of years, I decided I needed a Dillon SL900.

Primary reasons:
1. Hull feeder. Even with it's couple of idiosyncrasies and quirks, making one less step to fumble with in each stroke of the handle in the reloading process is incredibly valuable for volume reloading.
2. Ease of gauge changes. No keeping up with and fumbling around with dozens of parts and needing to disassembling the toolhead, and most of the machine to change gauges. Gauge changes are a breeze, with most of the kit coming on a ready-to-go toolhead and a couple of other gauge specific parts for the hull feeder, shellplate platform, and wad holder. You just pull two pins to slide out one toolhead and reinsert the new gauge toolhead. Settings for your chosen loads remain set. No need to readjust every single time you make a gauge change.
3. Powder measure. Other than hand trickling and measuring each load on a scale, which we do not do with progressive reloading presses (manual or single stage either, for that matter), other than a few extruded ("stick") powders... the Dillon powder measure is regarded as the best for metering and consistency.
4. Shot hopper and dispenser. Comes from the factory with the ability to hold a full 25lb bag of shot and the ability to unload it through the dispenser, if needed.
5. Incredibly easy to change the charge/weight of the powder and shot. No bushings to dicker with, or need to unload the powder and shot hoppers if you find the need to make changes.
6. The most important feature of the Dillon SL900 and worth the price of admission alone: hull activated powder and shot dispensing. If you spill powder and/or shot on this machine, it is because of something you've actively done incorrectly, or a through a faulty component of some sort... not because of the inherent design and operation of the machine.

I've loaded on a Dillon SL900 for a few of years now. Although I still find the 'Precision' part of "Dillon Precision" to be laughable at times... it is still more solid, easier to operate, and way smoother than the cheesy stamped steel and plastic MEC machines. To answer this question for you: Yes, these things make it worth twice the price of a MEC. However, I believe the MECs are overpriced for what they are, leading other and better manufacturers to be able to justify their high prices for their machines.
Cynical personal opinion alert!!!!!:
I get the cost of research and development and overhead of operating a business, but come on..... MEC has had that amortized over a period of several decades and has had basically zero major product updates, releases, or improvements in most of that time. That being said, they are collecting a pretty good price, for what is basically a clunky, out of date organized pile of cheap stamped steel and plastic.

That being said, I love my Dillon, but there are things about it that I would like to see some improvement, too.
What I DO NOT like about the Dillon:
1. The resizer, because of the way it is activated by the shellplate, does not resize the base of hulls down to the rim. it sizes all but about the final 1/8" of the base.
2. I believe the most common aggravation in most reloading stems somehow from priming. Dillon is no different than any of the others in that. Every loader has their priming issues of some sort and Dillon has theirs. Occasional failure to drop a primer, for whatever reason, is my gripe. That is why with every single stroke of the handle, the first place my eyes go in my 'circle of awareness' of my reloading process is the primer drop window of the primer tray.
3. If you are a Winchester AA reloader (since Dillon has an apparent love affair with Winchester hulls and sets their literature and machines to them), or a 'set it and forget it' reloader that only reloads ONE load for everything... this machine is golden. However, if you use hulls other than Winchester AA, or want to change between different loads/components (shot weight/different wads)... you'll need a ton of patience, for sure. Changing the weight of powder and shot dropped is supremely easy. Typically, you may need to adjust the pre-crimp, but if you do... it is pretty easy to do and the die is easily accessible. However, the final crimp die of this machine has made me want to throw it into the river on several occasions. It isn't easily accessible, nor adjustable in many people's opinions, not just mine.
4. Which leads to this: With a couple of exceptions, Dillon's customer service has been fantastic to me over the years, with both shotshell and metallic reloading. With shotshell, however, the first and ongoing focal point of any question, answer, and reference to their manual they have is... "What hull are you reloading?"
An important question, for sure, but if you answer with ANYTHING other than Winchester AA HS, be prepare to be told that, "Well... that's your problem right there.", and that ALL your reloading problems stem from that. Also, be prepared to even be told in quite a condescending manner, if you disagree with them. I get it... those AAs definitely ARE great, but I don't understand their almost incestuous infatuation with those hulls. May be hard for them to fathom, but not everyone loads on AAs. I would venture a guess, by many other threads we read in forums like this, that most people load primarily on 'inferior' (according to Dillon) hulls. I use mostly Remington Gun Clubs. When I was asking about an issue I was having with my pre-crimp, the customer service rep at Dillon just kept going on and on about how I should just switch to AAs and all my problems would just disappear. Said that Rem Nitro and Premier would be better, but I still should switch to AAs. In an online Dillon customer service 'chat session' (which I've saved and thought about uploading), the customer service rep said, "Go out and get yourself some AA hulls. Until then, there's nothing I can do to help you." and ended the chat session.
5. I'd love to see Dillon utilize some sort of powder measure quick disconnect from the powder funnel die. Thankfully, the aftermarket takes care of this.
6. I'd love to see some manner of shutting off the shot from the shot hopper, to be able to empty the few ounces of shot in the shot dispenser alone, versus the potentially many pounds of having to empty the whole shot hopper.
7. More clear instructions and maybe include verbage and literature for adjusting the toolhead for various hulls, not just Winchester AA. They made a setup and operational DVD for their metallic presses many years ago. Why not do the same for the SL900? How about a series of a few videos?
Sure, there are a few instructional videos out there on YouTube, but not that many and it would be grea tto see them from the manufacturer. In this area MEC wins, hands down.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:06 pm
Posts: 3654
I would advise anyone that would consider a Dillon SL 900,to go and download the instruction manual
on the web site,this will give you insight, about the loader?I knew some folks that were involved with the original design of the Dillon and most wanted a different set up,instead of the 650 loader frame
design which is what you have now.They have redesigned the final crimp about 5 times.It came to,we
will put it out there and fix things as need be?The dies are in a cramped area,for adjustment and I understand that there is a fixed primer depth adjustment,using the frame as being part of the depth,process?I could see why they would want to use a 650 style frame ,but I also can see why they should not have?


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:44 pm 
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cflanon wrote:
After loading 12ga on a MEC9000G for a number of years, I decided I needed a Dillon SL900.


2. I believe the most common aggravation in most reloading stems somehow from priming. Dillon is no different than any of the others in that. Every loader has their priming issues of some sort and Dillon has theirs. Occasional failure to drop a primer, for whatever reason, is my gripe. That is why with every single stroke of the handle, the first place my eyes go in my 'circle of awareness' of my reloading process is the primer drop window of the primer tray.


Have you watched the videos that the Powerfactor Show did on the SL900? The issues with the primer system were addressed with a simple fix.

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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:16 pm 
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Only downfall to the SL900, is that it does not reload 410, nor do they have a 16 gauge or 10 gauge tool set for the machine as well.

Its not that I'm shooting a lot of 32 gauge that most reloader's do not have a tool set for to start with in the states (easy enough to make though for most machines), but deal breaker on a re-loader that can not reload 410 to begin with, or has a 16 or 10 gauge tool set to convert the machine out as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:57 pm 
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I load on a MEC 9000G. I had a grab bag of about 30 hulls, a mix of Winchester, 3 kinds of Remington, and a couple of some kind of blue hulls (Peters?). Every one came out perfect without a single adjustment.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:18 am 
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wrfish wrote:
I load on a MEC 9000G. I had a grab bag of about 30 hulls, a mix of Winchester, 3 kinds of Remington, and a couple of some kind of blue hulls (Peters?). Every one came out perfect without a single adjustment.



Yeah, you'll have nuthin' but H**l trying that on a Dillon. Mainly because the Dillon cannot set a primer with brute force like the MEC will. The mechanics of a MEC basically allows one primer to work on many hulls.

I load trap loads by the thousands and use a Dillon. My life (and my dumpster diving) was made much easier when I began to ignore any 12ga hull that was not a AA-HS. For me, one pile of hulls vs many piles is a good thing!

AA-HS hulls (red or gray), W209 primer, and the Dillon are made to work together. If you wish to deviate on hulls or primers, you'll likely have problems. The Dillon cranks them out at an average (for me) of 450 per hour.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:54 pm 
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In spending 5 minutes to get setup prior to begin a session, I can get through 600 rounds in an hour. But to do this, I have my hulls ready for dumping, primers out, bag and a half of shot dumped in the hopper, and powder ready to go. I have been very happy with it.

I also do the "look for the primer" on every pull of the handle or the feel of "did I just set a primer?" one or two times per session.

In the year that i have owned my Dillon (came from a MEC 9000 and a Hornady 366), my biggest gripe is I run out of powder too often - I now load powder every time I load a tray of primers and have stopped that issue.

Second gripe is Rem Gun Clubs:
- in the priming station I have separated the steel head from the hull too many times in the last few months. Grab a set of pliers and pry it out spilling powder thru the base of the plastic hull.
-Priming a gun club with a win 209 takes some effort on the first reload of a fresh hull.
-The reloading of AA-HS and Run Clubs in a mixed batch can almost be done - but does neither well in that instance - I could do that with my 366 pretty well. I'm going to pitch my gun clubs after this reloading and use mostly the AA-HS.

I do have a stash of 10k Rio once fired that I have been saving to do a big run for load once, fire, and toss. Reading others experiences of loading other hulls, I'm starting to regret that decision. It may be too much hassle to make the adjustments is what I'm hearing.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:02 pm 
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I have MEC 9000s and two RCBS Grands. Both machines will digest any hull I feed them. The RCBS may be the easiest machine on the market for adjustments with lots of room and the most fool proof and reliable primer drop. AND the very best customer service with FREE replacement parts; no condescending remarks about not using a preferred hull. They will even completely rebuild your machine for free if you wear it out. The MEC is extremely light and portable compared to just about everything else and produces SUPERB reloads fully the equal of any competitive machine. I owned a Dillon RL550B for centerfire and I was constantly fiddling with it to keep it going. I finally sold it. It was a good machine but we just didn’t get along. My 2 cents

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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:14 pm
Posts: 143
StevenZ wrote:
cflanon wrote:
After loading 12ga on a MEC9000G for a number of years, I decided I needed a Dillon SL900.


2. I believe the most common aggravation in most reloading stems somehow from priming. Dillon is no different than any of the others in that. Every loader has their priming issues of some sort and Dillon has theirs. Occasional failure to drop a primer, for whatever reason, is my gripe. That is why with every single stroke of the handle, the first place my eyes go in my 'circle of awareness' of my reloading process is the primer drop window of the primer tray.


Have you watched the videos that the Powerfactor Show did on the SL900? The issues with the primer system were addressed with a simple fix.


I have watched those videos a few times and found them very helpful when setting up the Dillon. I haven't had any primer drop problems (maybe misses 1 in 200 or so) I do get the occasional hull hanging up in the feeder, but if I listen and glance up I spot them and correct them in about 1 second.

I do wish it had a larger powder drop hopper. Maybe twice the size of the one currently on it. I can get just short of 200 rounds with a full bottle. I also would like to put a tube on the primer ejector. The little bucket fills up to fast.

I've also run into the base being pulled off of the Gunclub hulls. I've never had that happen on the MEC Jr.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillon reloaders
PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:11 pm 
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wrfish wrote:
I load on a MEC 9000G. I had a grab bag of about 30 hulls, a mix of Winchester, 3 kinds of Remington, and a couple of some kind of blue hulls (Peters?). Every one came out perfect without a single adjustment.



I do the same with my Dillon, but only with Winchester and Remington hulls...AA, STS, "regular" Winchester and Remington Hulls...granted the crimps do not look great, but the hold shot and go bang every time. You guys that have to have the "perfect" crimp...bet you're the same type that spend better part of a Saturday cleaning your vehicle that depreciates every day, making it look good for someone setting at a stop light that could careless



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