In the past I would have promoted my 550 BUT, the almost fool proof priming of my 650 has me wanting to use the 550 less & less. Even without a case feeder, the 650 is just a flat better progressive, better than anything else out there in that price range imo.
IF YOU AREN'T HANDLOADING, YOU AREN'T SHOOTING ENOUGH!
NRA Instruc: Basic Pistol & Met Reloading
I had been reloading on an RCBS progressive for many years. Good reloader, but no option for a case feeder. I'm glad I stepped up to the 650XL with case feeder recently. Took a little getting used to after running the RCBS so long, but we're friends now and putting out reloads at a good clip. The "snowshoe" primer cutout is a nice add, as are powder dials with markings, UFO led work light, etc.
I, too, started with a 650 w/case feeder. In retrospect, I would do it again. It was my first progressive, and there were definitely some bumps along the learning curve. One, getting a "mess up" of any kind halts the progressive process, and you have to back out, clear the shell plate, fix what was wrong, and start again. This clearing process is much easier on a manual indexer like the 550. Two, learning how to avoid any kind of stoppage to the process to begin with. You pick up some tricks from experience on how to avoid one in the first place, by keeping it running smoothly. And you learn tricks, with experience for clearing it and get going again faster without having to clear everything out. The most important part is keeping it run smoothly. The extra station with a powder check die is the main reason I went with a 650 to start with. In many thousands of rounds loaded, I have never had a squib.
There are some aftermarket pieces you can replace on the 650 that make several things much easier. Keep it properly lubed (cuts down on "jiggles" which spill powder on the shell plate), and keep it clean, including blowing out debris from the general working area and under the shell plate (which also cuts down on "jiggles").
Caliber changes take a bit more time than on the 550, but you can cut this time down by buying some extras. The most important purchase I made was to buy a complete small primer system (mine came with large). Then it is just two screws to change over from one to the other. Also, get some extra tool heads and set up one for each caliber you load, set it up complete with all of the dies (including the powder charge die), and then changes mean just swapping tool heads. You don't have to buy all of these extras at the beginning at once, but add them as needed.
Good luck with whichever one you choose. Many of my fellow shooters use the 550 and turn out as many rounds as I do, but every one of them I talk to has some method (light, mirror, etc) to visually inspect the powder charge as that case goes by. The powder check die eliminates that part of the process. But they are happy with the 550 and it is all just a matter of establishing your routine to reload safely.
|Quit staring at my wife's Butt|
I would go with the 650 with a case feeder, it's easy to set up and easy to use just follow direction.
I'm considering a 1050 not that I need it , just want it.
I think the 650 has the best primer feed system in existence in terms of reliability.
The 550 is a lot faster press to convert for the seven different calibers the OP intends to load.
It has the fastest primer system swap out of all the Dillon’s.
I would still rather have two 650’s or 1050’s side by side but when I set them up I want to load a few thousand at least before converting them.
With the 550 I don’t mind bouncing around as much because there is less to mess with.
I can swap from 7-08 to 458 socom in less than 30 seconds on a 550. Can’t do that with a 650 or 1050.
When I bought my 650, I kept my 550 to load 9mm on... then i finally sat down and loaded 100 rounds of 9mm. It was so painful that I sold the 550 and bought a 650 conversion kit that day and moved on with life. I wouldn't go back to a 550 if you paid me.
I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew...
Thanks for all the input--it's much appreciated. Will probably go with the 650--sounds like I'll be happier with it long term.
Any sane person should be instinctively skeptical when all the smart people agree. Mark Steyn
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