loading press

Review of Dillon Precision RL550B 4 Stage Progressive Reloading Press

Anyone in the reloading business will understand quality when Dillon Precision is mentioned. Dillon is consistently taking reloading performance to the next level with unparalleled innovation and improvement in their reloading product line.

The Dillon Precision RL550B 4 Stage Progressive Reloading Machine is quite a mouthful to say all at once, and is often referred to as the Dillon 550 in short. Dillion has been in business for over twenty years and has been producing reloading equipment for one type of shooter or another long enough to fill a catalog.

Dillon Precision RL550B 4 Stage Manual Progressive Reloading Press Kit

The Dillion 550 is one of the mainstays of their line and has carved and fought its way to the top to stand with brands like Hornady and Lee in the realm of excellent reloading tools. Inside the box comes many components that are essential to reloading [easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B005DH9W8G” cloaking=”default” height=”500″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41IJJwQl9DL.jpg” tag=”bestreloadingpress.net-20″ width=”258″]fast and easy, including a powder measure with small and large powder bars. The small bar = 2 to 15 grains or powder. The large bar = 55 to 60 grains of powder. In addition, you can expect:

  • One prime system with large and small priming parts.
  • One large and one small pickup tube
  • One toolhead
  • One powder die
  • One loaded cartridge catch bin
  • One written instruction manual
  • One set of standard Allen wrenches

The Dillon 550B will perform a completed round with each pull of the lever. Experienced reloaders are capable of producing upwards of 500 rounds an hour. The Dillon 550B can be set up slowly like a single stage press and allow the reloader to make any and all small adjustments to guarantee consistent reloading. Once the reloader has everything set to his or her guidelines, they can reload as fast as they choose. Simply due to its sheer reloading power and long standing history of success, we have no qualms advertising this as one of the best progressive press kits available, as shown on our homepage.

Additional Features of the Dillon 550B Press

The RL550B can load rifle as well as pistol cartridges and uses standard 7/8 by 14 thread per inch dies, as long as they deprime in the size die.

The Dillon 550B takes the efficiency of a progressive press and takes it one step further. Let’s say you have your dies set on a tool head and you want to change calibers. Normally this would mean you have to remove all your dies and replace them with the new caliber’s dies and start the process of adjustment all over again. With the Dillon 550B you have the option of purchasing separate tool head and converting calibers . At the drop of a hat you can switch the tool head, and switch calibers you’re reloading quickly and easily. This feature of the Dillon 550B is perfect for people in three gun competition who choose to reload and have multiple calibers to deal with.

Like the tool heads, the Dillon 550B also has interchangeable shell heads. The shell head on a progressive press is capable of holding multiple rounds of one caliber. The shell head for a 9mm with have a smaller holding platform than one for a 45 ACP, so multiple calibers require multiple shell heads.  So changing the shell head is required anytime one goes from a smaller to a larger caliber or vice versa. There are exceptions, for example, 40 S&W uses the same shell head as the .357 SIG and 10 mm Automatic.

The Dillon Precision RL550B is a progressive press — so what does this mean? What’s the difference between a turret press and a progressive? Well the old joke goes, “About 500 rounds an hour.”  Simply put a progressive press is the most efficient of all reloading presses. The machine reduces the time of loading by performing multiple tasks at the same time, all with the pull of a lever.


The Dillon 550B is an excellent progressive reloading press, and it’s only flaw is somewhat temporary or situational. A progressive press is often more complicated than a turret or single stage, and has a sharper learning curve for beginners. The speed of how fast one can reload can be dangerous if one does not follow the proper guidelines and safety when it comes to reloading. A beginner would be much better suited for a turret press or a single stage press until they’ve mastered both safety and an understanding of how reloading works.

As a reloader, when using the Dillon 550B I constantly check myself to make sure I am not sacrificing safety and quality for speed. The last thing you want is wasted hours when the setup is botched. That’s why you can rely on videos from YouTube to guide you in the setup because nothing is made easier than watching instructions to follow step by step.

Closing Thoughts on the 550B by Dillon

The first thing a person notices when they unbox the Dillon 550b press is the overall quality. Every aspect just screams quality. The press seems overbuilt and stronger than necessary. This no doubt guarantees years and years of usage.

Even with the noticeable extremely high quality of the Dillon 550, they still offer what they call the “No B.S. guarantee”. They say if it breaks they will fix it, and that’s that.  When a company stands behind a product like this there is no doubt your getting a good deal. Trust me, when you start reloading with this press and see how it just oozes quality you’ll know you won’t have to worry about ever actually using the warranty. You’ll still be glad it’s there though.

The Dillon 550B is an excellent reloading press for both hobbyists and professionals producing premium ammunition for the consumers. The Dillon 4 Stage Manual Press is an excellent device and built to a high standard of quality, and represents the maximum in efficiency.