I spent hours setting up the 550b Dillion when I first got it. Trying to figure out what OAL (over all length), setting up the correct amount of powder (I locked in 4.0 grains of Hodgon Titegroup and haven't changed it in years), the proper crimp (stage 4 of press), the right amount of belling out of the case (stage 2 on press), etc. I should of just gotten a square deal because all I reload is .40. My biggest fear is double charging a case (round). I did have a squib load once. Not sure what happened but I guess I either didn't put powder in the round or the powder funnel malfunctioned. So now I look into each round before I place a bullet on stage 3 of the press. Once you get used to reloading it becomes a way of life. Even your friends will beg you to come over and want to make ammo. I have a few friends who come by and use my set up. If memory serves me well it cost me close to $1,000 for my entire set up. I have made my money back. I saw a box of .40 (50 rounds) selling for $30 dollars at the range today! I can make 50 rounds for less than 5 bucks.
One more thing to add. You will also notice that the ammo you make will have less recoil than the retail ammo you buy from the store. I shoot only .40 caliber. I cronographed some retail .40 and they were going about 1200 ft per second. The rounds I make are going about 965 ft per second. I can definitely tell the difference in the amount of recoil between the retail ammo and what I make.
Mr wolf_fire, I do not recommend using reloads for SD carry. Buy premium defensive ammo. Your life is worth the $20-30 per box of 20-25 rounds. May you never need them.
I just ordered it, can't wait to start using it. Does anyone have advice as to what to watch out for or pay special attention to? I'll be loading 45ACP, maybe some 9 after a bit.
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I only use Titegroup. It is an awesome powder for the .40 caliber I make. ( 180 grain FMJ Montana Gold bullets, 1.125 OAL, 4.00 grains TiteGroup, Winchester small pistol primer, Federal once fired brass). I normally get a tab bit over 930 FT per second and make 165 power factor for major in a USPSA pistol match.