Dillon SDB Reloading Machine

The Dillon SDB is a 4-station progressive reloading machine capable of loading 400 to 500 rounds per hour. Not as robustly constructed as the larger RL 550B or XL 650, the SDB is intended for occasional shooters who load fewer than ~500 rounds per month (6 000 rounds per year). The SDB is more prone to high levels of wear or even mechanical failure if these levels are frequently exceeded. While fully covered by Dillon™s warranty, any failure is frustrating so Shooting Stuff recommends large-volume shooters should rather consider a bigger, stronger Dillon progressive reloading machine like the RL 550B or XL 650.

For complete peace of mind, the SDB is covered by Dillon™s legendary Lifetime "No-B.S." warranty. All electrical & electronic components in Dillon equipment are covered by a one-year warranty, as are textiles. Shooting Stuff fully supports Dillon™s warranty and has a spares cupboard with most spare parts available in stock. 

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Starting with an empty machine, the SDB works as follows:

Station 1
  • The cartridge case is manually inserted into the shell plate (at the bottom).
  • 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 operated using the right hand.
  • The handle is raised, lowering the platform and the shell plate is automatically indexed to end the cycle, moving the resized and de-primed case to station 2.
Station 2
  • At the end of each cycle, or the start of the next, the handle is pushed away from the operator to insert / seat a new primer into the empty, resized and de-primed case (at the bottom).
    • The primer is automatically fed from the reinforced primer magazine to the correct position under the resized cartridge case.
    • It is personal preference / technique whether the empty cartridge case is inserted to Station 1 before or after the primer has been seated, but most operators insert the case after seating the primer, and then start the cycle by again pushing the handle away to seat the primer, or confirm that the primer is seated.
  • As the handle is lowered again, raising the cartridge case(s) in the shell plate to the tool head with dies, the newly primed cartridge case receives the correct powder charge and the case mouth is flared / belled to facilitate later bullet seating.
  • The case enters the powder die and the case mouth pushes the powder funnel up. The powder funnel serves several purposes:
    • Firstly, only if a case is present, the powder funnel is forced up into the powder die, activating / cycling the powder measure to dispense the previously-calibrated charge of propellant. No case = no mess!
    • Secondly, the powder charge falls through the hollow powder funnel and is guided into the case without mess.
      • It does take time for a large powder charge to fall through, so pause for a second or two when your load requires large quantities of propellant, especially extruded types. This is why large calibres load slower than small calibres.
    • Pistol cases are flared / belled in the powder measure station to facilitate seating of the bullet, and especially lead bullets. This action is less critical for copper plated or jacketed bevel-based bullets.
  • The handle is raised, lowering the platform and the shell plate is automatically indexed to end the cycle, moving the primed, charged case to station 3.
Station 3
  • Using the left hand, a bullet is manually positioned in the case mouth (at the bottom).
  • On the next cycle, first push the handle away to seat the primer into the case in station 2. Then, 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.
  • The handle is raised, lowering the platform and the shell plate is automatically indexed to end the cycle, moving the cartridge to the final station.
Station 4
  • On the next cycle, as always, first push the handle away to seat the primer into the case in station 2. Then, as the handle is lowered, raising the cartridge cases in the shell plate to the tool head with dies, the case with seated bullet enters the final die. A taper crimp is applied to remove the flare that was applied at station 2 (on pistol calibres) 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.
    • All Dillon dies feature separate seating and crimping.
  • The cartridge is automatically ejected into the cartridge bin when the handle is raised, lowering the platform and automatically indexing the shell plate to end the cycle.
    • With progressive machines like the SDB, all of the functions are being simultaneously performed each and every cycle, so a loaded cartridge is ejected each time the handle is cycled.

Technical Specifications

Loading rate
  • 400 to 500 rounds per hour
Height (from bench)
  • 18½" (~470mm)
  • with optional strong mount - additional 9” (~220mm) 
  • Extra Small Bar - throws from ½ grain to about 3 grains
  • Small Bar - throws from a little under 3 grains to about 20 grains of powder.
  • Large Bar - throws from around 15 grains to nearly 45 grains of extruded type propellant, and from around 20 to about 50 grains of ball/spherical type propellant. 

NOTE: Powder bar capacities depend on actual propellant type.

 Key Features

  • 4-station, progressive reloading machine:
    • Station 1: Resize and de-prime (at the top)
    • Station 2: Seat a new primer (at the bottom), then flare and dispense propellant (at the top)
    • Station 3: Seat the bullet (at the top)
    • Station 4: Crimps the cartridge case (at the top)
  • Insert cartridge cases and bullets manually.
  • Index the shell plate automatically.
  • Loads a limited list of handgun calibres only (requires additional calibre-specific items), including popular calibres like:
    • 9mm Luger, .38 Spl, .357 Mag, .38 Super, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .44 Mag, etc.
  • Interchangeable tool head, for quick and easy calibre conversion.
  • Accepts proprietary SDB-dies only – one set included
  • Comes from the factory adjusted and ready to use!

Package Contents

The basic SDB machine (the big white box) includes the following:

  • SDB machine

With the dies pre-adjusted in the tool head and primer system already fitted. The primer system is configured at the factory for correct size primers.

A bag with small parts is usually attached to the priming system, this includes:

  • 3 x brass locator buttons
  • 1 x spare decapping pin
  • 1 x Seating stem, for alternate bullet shape.
  • 1 x Sample cartridge case and inert cartridge from the factory setup.

NOTE: When Shooting Stuff reconfigures a machine or sets up the machine on request we put these in the calibre conversion kit box.
  • Primer early warning system 
  • Blue buzzer and black follower rod, to warn when primers in the magazine get low; before they run out!
  • Ejected Cartridge Chute Bracket 
  • 1 x Aluminium bracket
  • Calibre Conversion Kit Box
  • 1 x Empty Calibre Conversion Kit Storage Box (Blue)
  • Powder measure
  • 1 x powder measure, with the appropriate powder bar installed (usually small).
  • SDB Accessory Bag
  • 2 x Primer pick-up tubes
    • 1 x for large primers (green tip)
    • 1 x for small primers (yellow tip)
    • 4 x spare plastic tips (green, yellow, clear, blue)
    • 2 x small R-clips
  • 1 x Primer magazine tube with coloured plastic tip
    • Tube for large primers has a red tip, if small tube with blue tip is installed in the machine.
    • 1 x Spare blue dispensing-tip
    • 1 x Spare red dispensing-tip
  • Primer transfer bar (large, if small is installed in the machine)
  • Powder measure failsafe rod assembly (with blue wing nut), and 1 x large R-clip
  • 2 x Allen cap screws
  • SDB Accessory Box
  • One loaded cartridge bin (small, blue plastic AkroBin).
  • Alternate powder bar (usually large, if small is installed)
  • Plastic bag with:
    • 1 x spent primer cup (blue, plastic)
    • 1 x spent primer cup bracket (black, steel)
    • 1 x Set of standard Allen wrenches.
    • 2 x mounting screws


Other than the pre-adjusted SDB machine in the calibre of your choice, we suggest you will also need the following items:

  • 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:


These recommended accessories for the SDB 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 SDB above your bench top. It raises the height of the SDB 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 *
  • Cartridge Case Bin & Bracket *
The Cartridge Case Bin & Bracket is a kit that positions the empty cartridge cases conveniently on the right-hand side of the SDB, ready for inserting into station 1.
  •  Quick-Mount

* marked kits require one of the SDB 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 XL 650 primer magazine. While the manual approach is 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 SDB 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

  • Toolkit 

The tool head on the SDB is very compact, with little space between dies. Conventional spanners or shifting spanners are generally 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 SDB-dies.

Most adjustments on your SDB require Allen wrenches. The SDB 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!

We have developed a stylish toolkit bracket to conveniently hold a set of ball-ended Allen wrenches as well as the SDB spanner. The bracket mounts to the back of the machine.

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

  • Dillon Toolholder with Wrench Set for SDB (DLN-19441) - a bracket that mounts to the SDB progressive reloading machine to organise and store a set of dipped, ball-ended Allen wrenches and the SDB Bench Wrench. These tools are supplied in the kit and are what's required to adjust and basically service the machine.
  • Shooting Stuff Toolkit for SDB (SSB-TKSDB) - a stylish, one-piece bracket that mounts to the SDB to organise and store a set of ball-ended Allen wrenches and the SDB spanner. These tools are supplied in the kit and are what's required to adjust and basically service the machine.

Individual items available:

  • Spare parts kit

Dillon SDB Spare Parts Kit (DLN-20778) - contains an assortment of small parts for the SDB; to avoid downtime while waiting for a replacement part should something break or get lost.

Consider this kit insurance against Murphy’s Law that 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 Accessories for the SDB

This final set of optional accessories for the SDB offer additional convenience, but are not for everybody. Nevertheless, this section includes more than just “nice to have” items. Some of these items (like the extra small powder bar for .32 S&W;) are required to load the more exotic calibres.

  • 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:

  • Powder Bars 

NOTE: See Technical Specs tab for powder bar capacities

Calibre Conversion

Calibre Conversion on the SDB is both as quick and easy as you want to make it. Dillon offers various levels of convenience to suit your requirements and budget. While it does take a little longer to change calibres on the SDB than on the RL 550B or XL 650, it is straight-forward and quite quick. 

Option 1 - Minimum Kit 

 As a minimum, you will need the following to change calibres:

Option 2 - Convenient Conversion

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

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':

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