RL 550C

Dillon RL 550C Reloading Machine

The machine stations work as follow:

1. Resize & Deprime / Prime
  • The cartridge case is manually inserted into the shell plate (at the bottom).
  • When using the optional electric case feeder, the cases are automatically fed from the case feeder tube into the shell plate.
  • When the handle is lowered, raising the platform and shell plate to the dies in the tool head, the case enters the first die and is resized and de-primed (at the top).
  • The handle is raised, lowering the platform and the cartridge case is then primed (at the bottom)
  • The shell plate is manually indexed, to end the cycle.
2. Powder Drop / Flare
    • On the next cycle, as the handle is lowered, raising the platform and shell plate to the dies in the tool head, the case enters the powder die and is flared or belled (at the top) and powder dispensed (only if a case is present)
    • NOTE: The flaring action is not applicable to most rifle calibres.
3. Seat
  • The bullet is manually positioned in the case mouth (at the bottom)
  • As the handle is lowered, raising the platform and shell plate to the dies in the tool head, the case and bullet enter the seating die where the bullet is seated to the desired depth to achieve a suitable overall length of the cartridge.
4. Crimp
  • When the case enters the final die (at the top) a taper crimp is applied to remove the flare that was applied at station 2 and to suitably grip the bullet.
  • The crimp is especially important for semi-automatic firearms to ensure safe and reliable feeding from the magazine into the chamber.
  • The case is automatically ejected into the cartridge bin after the handle has been raised and the machine is manually indexed.

The RL 550C is covered by Dillon™s legendary Lifetime 'No-B.S' warranty. Shooting Stuff fully supports this warranty and has a spares cupboard with most spare parts available in stock. Please note that electric / electronic items and textiles have a 1-year warranty.

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Technical Specifications

Ram diameter 1½” 
Loading rate
  • 400 to 600 rounds per hour,
  • 800 rounds per hour when using the optional 220V electric case feeder
Height (from bench)
  • without optional electric case feeder - 21" (~535mm) 
  • with electric case feeder installed - 38½" (~980mm) 
  • with optional strong mount - additional 9” (~220mm) 
Capacity
  • Small Powder Bar - throws from a little under 3 to about 20 grains of powder.
  • Large Powder Bar - throws from 15 to nearly 45 grains of extruded type propellant, and from 20 to about 50 grains of ball/spherical type propellant.

Additional Powder bars (not included with the machine):

NOTE: Capacities depend on actual propellant type, the values listed here are approximate.

Key Features

  • 4-station, progressive reloading machine:
    • Station 1. Resize and deprime, seat a new primer
    • Station 2. Flare handgun cases, dispense propellant
    • Station 3. Seat the bullet
    • Station 4. Crimp the cartridge case
  • Insert cartridge cases manually.
  • Index the shell plate manually.
  • Feed and insert new primers automatically.
  • Dispense propellant automatically.
  • Operator places bullets manually.
  • Eject loaded cartridges automatically.
  • Loads most popular rifle and handgun calibres (requires additional calibre-specific items).
  • Accepts standard ⅞” x 14 tpi (thread per inch) dies. - Dillon dies are designed for high speed use, as well as rapid cleaning. Non-Dillon dies must re-size and de-prime in the same die. Note that the case flaring die from other brands is not used on the RL 550C, as this function is covered from the calibre conversion kit and powder die.
  • Interchangeable tool head, for quick and easy calibre conversion.

Package Contents

The basic RL 550C machine (the big white box) includes the following:

  • RL 550C machine
With the tool head and primer system already fitted. The primer system is setup at the factory for large primers, and the parts for small primers are included accessories.
  • Primer early warning system 
Blue buzzer and black follower rod, to warn when primers in the magazine get low; before they run out!
  • Operating handle 
With knob, Nylock nut and washer.
  • Powder measure
Including the powder die, with the small bar installed.
  • 550 Accessory Bag
  • 1 x Primer pick-up tube for large primers (green tip)
  • 1 x Primer pick-up tube for small primers (yellow tip)
  • 1 x Spare primer magazine for small primers (blue tip)
  • 6 x spare plastic tips
  • 4 x R-clips
  • Powder measure failsafe rod (with blue wing nut)
  • 550 Operating rod (silver)
  • 550 Accessory Box
  • 1 x Aluminium chute bracket for ejected cartridges
  • 1 x Blue plastic AkroBin for loaded cartridges
  • 1 x Spent primer cup
  • Set of standard Allen wrenches
  • Small primer slide
  • Large powder bar
  • 3 x 1” die lock rings (use with other manufacturer’s dies)
  • Index sprocket
  • Shell plate bolt
  • Index ball and spring
  • Brass-tip set screw


Essential

You will also need the following (not included with the machine) to reload:

  • Calibre Conversion Kit for RL 550C 
Select the RL 550 B Calibre Conversion Kit conversion kit for the the calibre you want to reload.
  • Reloading Die Set 
Select a die set for the calibre you want to reload.
  • Scale 

Set and periodically check your powder charge, we recommend one of the following: 

  • Loading Manual
  • Safety Glasses 

You should always protect your eyes when reloading. Primers contain explosive compounds and nitrocellulose propellant is extremely flammable, with explosive characteristics when burning in a confined volume. We recommend:

  • Case Lubricant
Dillon Case Lubricant (DLN-13733) - spray-on lube highly recommended even when using carbide dies, and is essential for all rifle and bottle-necked cases. Trust us on this one; you need a bottle!
  • Vernier calliper 

Set and check cartridge dimensions, like crimp and overall length, we recommend:

Recommended

This set of recommended accesories for the RL 550C are very popular and we do feel they add a lot of value. We’ve grouped them to make the complex list a bit more understandable.

Machine Mounting

If your bench is either too low for comfortable use, or you need to access drawers underneath, a Machine Mount or Strong Mount elevates the entire RL 550C above your bench top. It raises the height of the RL 550C by about 9” (~220mm) and moves the entire machine back slightly so that less protrudes in front of the bench’s front edge.

  • Machine Mounts 
Available options:
  • Bullet Tray *
Dillon Bullet Tray Kit (DLN-22214) - blue, cast aluminium bullet tray that elevates the bullets to the level of the shell plate for easier reach. This kit requires one of the RL 550C machine mounts.
  • Cartridge Case Bin & Bracket *

This kit positions the empty cartridge cases conveniently on the right-hand side of the RL550B, ready for inserting into station 1.

  •  Quick-Mount

Shooting Stuff RL 550C Quick-Mount Kit (SSB-QM550) - a cost saving bundle that includes the following:

  • Shooting Stuff Machine Mount for RL550 (SSB-Mount550)
  • Shooting Stuff Cartridge Case Bin & Bracket for RL550 (SSB-CCBB550)
  • Dillon Bullet Tray Kit (DLN-22214)

* marked kits require one of the RL 550 machine mounts for installation. 

Primer Transfer

Dillon offers a manual system of flip tray and pick-up tubes or an automated system to get the primers from their shipping box into the RL 550C primer magazine. While the manual system is the most popular approach, the RF 100 is really convenient!

  • Primer flip tray
Dillon Primer Flip Tray (DLN-13606) - This steel tray gets the primers “the right way up” after dispensing them from the box, prior to loading into the pick-up tube, and won’t flip them back!
  • Additional primer pick-up tubes

Transfer the primers from the flip-tray to the machine’s priming system. Once the primers are shiny-side up in the flip tray, dab each one with the appropriate pick-up tube to load-up a hundred primers into a tube.

The RL 550C is supplied with one pick-up tube of small primers (yellow tip) and one for large primers (green tip). Extra primer pick-up tubes, pre-filled, are useful when loading more than a few hundred rounds per sitting.

They are available individually, or in value-packs of four:

  • RF 100 Automatic Primer Filler 
The Dillon RF 100 Automatic Primer Filler is an electrically powered machine to sort and transfer a hundred primers from their packaging box into a "transfer tube", for subsequent transfer into the primer magazine of your favourite Dillon progressive reloading machine. The RF 100 eliminates the need to manually fill primer pick-up tubes, and is available for either large or small primers with conversion kits to change to the other size.

Tools, Setup & Maintenance

  • DVD Instruction manual
Although the printed manual included with the machine is filled with photos, the Dillon RL 550C DVD Instruction Manual (DLN-19483) offers additional clarification that only comes from the motion of video. This is not the stuff you’ll find on the Internet!
  • Toolkit 

The tool head on the RL 550C is quite compact, with little space between dies. Conventional spanners or shifting spanners are usually too bulky to work well in the confined space, so we offer a specially designed spanner to get in and adjust then lock your Dillon dies.

Most other adjustments on your RL 550C require Allen wrenches. The RL 550C is supplied with a standard set of these, adequate to work on your machine. The development of ball-ended Allen wrenches made it much easier to adjust bolts and screws where space constraints make it difficult to perfectly align the standard Allen wrench with the bolt. The ball-end allows you to work “off axis”, a much more convenient solution!

Convenient toolkits with mounting brackets are available (all the tools required to adjust and basically service the RL 550 machine):

Individual items available:

  • Spare parts kit

Dillon RL 550C Spare Parts Kit (DLN-20048) contains an assortment of small parts for the RL 550C, to avoid downtime while waiting for a replacement part should something break or get lost. Consider this kit insurance against Murphy’s Law which states that if something can go wrong, it will, at the worst possible time – i.e. the night before a big match! 

  • Case gauge 

Dillon's Stainless Steel Case Gauges allow rapid checking of critical aspects of each loaded cartridge – especially valuable for competition or carry ammo. Invest in one for each calibre!

NOTE: Dillon’s case gauges are available for defined popular calibres only, but those from LE Wilson expand the range considerably (coming soon).

Optional

These products offer additional convenience, but are not for everybody. Nevertheless, this section includes more than just 'nice to have' items. Some of these items are required to load the more exotic calibres (large and small).

  • Roller Handle 

A Roller Handles is more comfortable to use than the standard ball-handle, especially for extended reloading sessions, and it can also reduce operator fatigue. We offer the following options:

  • Low Powder Sensor 

Even though the powder level is visible through the clear polycarbonate hopper, a low powder sensor backs you up when you lose concentration or get distracted. 

  • Dillon Low Powder Sensor (DLN-16306) - warns you both audibly and visibly when the propellant level in the powder measure’s hopper gets low. The weight of the sensor is also reported to enhance charge consistency at lower powder levels.
  • Machine Cover 
Our machine covers are designed to keep the machine dust free. They have a locking feature to secure the machine from little hands, or other unauthorised tampering. We have the following options available:
  • 220V Electric Case Feeder 

This device automatically sorts and feeds the cases right side up into the included case feed tube, and stops and starts automatically to keep the tube filled. The case feeder for the RL 550C is only suitable for specific handgun calibres! Select from:

NOTE: The RL 550C electric case feeder requires additional Calibre Conversion parts.

Since the RL 550C case feeder is a more complex add-on than the case feeder for the XL 650, the price for an RL 550C with case feeder is very similar to an XL 650 with case feeder. So, if you already plan to have a case feeder we recommend you consider the XL 650 from the start.

  • Powder Bars 

The RL 550C is supplied standard with the Small and Large powder bars. Additional powder bars are available for very small or very large charges:

NOTE: See Technical Specs tab for powder bar capacities

  • Belted-Magnum powder system 

When loading lots of ammo for big, powerful calibres like .338 Lapua Magnum, .416 Rigby, .458 Lott, etc, you will need a powder measure capable of dispensing over 100gr of extruded type propellant.

Dillon Magnum Powder Measure (DLN-97126) comes with an Oversize Powder Die (DLN-21253) for calibres too large in diameter to fit in the standard powder die.

Calibre Conversion

Calibre Conversion on the RL 550C is both as quick and easy as you want to make it. Dillon offers various levels of convenience to suit your requirements and budget.

Option 1 - Minimum Kit   As a minimum, you will need the following to change calibres:

Adding a Case Gauge for the specific calibre is always a good idea! 

Option 2 - Convenient Conversion

Option 1 does not take full advantage of the convenience offered by the RL 550C’s interchangeable tool head. So, if you want to leave your dies pre-set, you'll need:

Including an additional powder die allows you to move your powder measure from tool head to tool head without changing the flare or belling adjustment. Choose from:

We call this 'Convenient Calibre Conversion', a.k.a. the moderately easy way. If you don't already have one, we always believe that a Case Gauge for the specific calibre would be a good idea! 

Option 3 - The Easy Way 

For the full Dillon convenience of changing calibres, consider the option to leave your dies and powder system set up and dedicated to a specific cartridge for faster, easier calibre changes. We call this 'Calibre Conversion, the Easy Way':

If you already have the optional electric case feeder you may need a different case feed plate. Please refer to the calibre conversion chart in the Instruction Manual for the correct plate. The RL 550 B Instruction Manual can be downloaded here, or call Shooting Stuff for advice. Available case feed plates (applicable to the RL 550 B) are:

  • Dillon Large Pistol Case Feed Plate (DLN-21072)
  • Dillon Small Pistol Case Feed Plate (DLN-21073)

 

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