View Full Version : Failsafe rod on Dillon 550
Bob Ghengis Khan
I bought a used Dillon 550 (not the 550b), and am having trouble installing the old style failsafe rod. The Dillon website does not have instructions for the older 550, and I cannot find instructions anywhere online.
The previous owner gave me a VHS tape with the reloader, but I cannot get it to run (I do not know if the tape or my player is at fault). Does anyone know where I can find diagrams online for how to set this part up?
(Edit: I will be contacting Dillon after the July 4th weekend, but was hoping to get it working before then)
Bob Ghengis Khan
Thank you for the link, but it does not detail what I am looking for. I have the auto powder system listed on page 15 of that manual, but since it is an optional upgrade for the BL550 (included on the RL550, but I have an older version), it does not have instructions for how to set that part up.
Mine is the older part with a 90 degree bend, like in the manual you posted, not a set of 2 bends like in the newer version
edit: after some reading, I do have an RL 550B, but this part is the older version
The new style has two bends so you can simply lock the rod in place. So it won't fall out, but still floats freely.
The old one with just a single bend has a little "e" clip on the end. I can see it in the photo. See if the rod has a groove for a clip. If not, look for a hole drilled through it. Dillon uses those little spring clips as well.
Then follow the written instructions to adjust the spring and wing nut.
Here's the 550B manual.
Bob Ghengis Khan
Thank you for the help! I zoomed way in on the picture and focused on the clip you were talking about. I found it in the bottom of my bin. The previous owner was pretty good about grouping small pieces together by where they go, this one was loose for some reason and I would not have ever spotted it unless you had posted that.
There are a few different failsafe rods to be found in the different generations of RL 550B presses.
Ones that have a sort of Z bend at the top and one that only has an L bend at the top one end and uses a clip to hold it in place. Functionally they are the same. If you have trouble, call Dillon and they will walk you through it and send you a new part if warranted.
Also, you may want to upgrade the bellcrank on your powder measure. The newer Dillon powder measure has a 2-piece bellcrank which is a bit noisier but also more reliable on snapping back into place and hence "safer". I don't know if Dillon will send you one or charge you a few bucks. But it is a reasonable upgrade to the powder measure for reliability reasons.
My own RL 550B presses are 1993-1995 time frame presses. It is interesting to see how things have changed over the years.
Dillon also has a non PDF online manual
See this schematic for the older style like you have:
technically you can run the press without the failsafe rod. It is just an extra layer of security to make sure that the powder bar returns and does not get stuck in the open position. Especially if you have the older style with the long spring wrapper around the base as described below.
Older powder measures also had a long spring that wrapper around the base of the powder measure and then around a knob thing at the end of the powder bar to ensure return. Newer powders measures don't have that spring anymore (and have the 2-piece bell crank thing instead).
I think I bought mine around mid to late 90's. It has the two springs wrapped around.
I'm getting ready to order some things to start loading 9mm so that's good to know. I will probably upgrade my measure.
There is also a thread here in reloading where someone posted a string of videos for reloading .223. It has some good info of little upgrades to the 550B. One is some after market parts.
Bob Ghengis Khan
Mine also has two springs wrapped around. I think my setup is complete (besides tweaking measured powder, bullet seating depth and crimping), but I would like to start with 9mm and the only bullets I have right now are .45 (which I will be reloading for my brother, and I do not want him to be the test dummy for my first reloaded round). I had some free time this weekend, and wanted to get it set up, thanks for the help, guys
I will call Dillon on Tuesday about the upgraded powder measure
When you set your powder throw, just check, re-check and check again. Once you get it settled in check each 5th round. After that I might check 1 in 20 or so.
I think the seating depth, crimp, OAL you will be very confident with after you get it dialed in and locked up.
I always worry about the powder as it's the one place where you always have in the back of your mind that something could go wrong. Especially light loads could accidentally get doubled up.
If you get "out of the zone" just remember. It's nearly as fast to pull all the shells off the press and start at zero again than to get a case back into the "proper state".
This is especially true with the 550B because of the human aspect of having to cycle the shell plate around and know which state each shell is in.
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