Why, I have had my RL550b for close to 20 years with no problems. The extra "stage" may be nice if you are trimming cases, but what do you use the 5th stage for? I still have the original invoice- $268.00 in 1991.
Because I have an RCBS bullet feeder so I don't have to handle anything, and I use a Lee factory crimp die, which works great in this press.
This thing is SO MUCH FASTER than the old 550b 'Square Deal' I used to have it's not funny!
I load somewhere between 300 & 1,000 or more cases a MONTH... Depending on weather and how much or how many people are shooting around the house...
And since my GirlFriend likes me to reload her ammo and thinks this is something I should have,
I'VE GOT ONE!
(good women are REALLY hard to find! She buys me Jeep parts, never complains when I buy guns, Jeep parts,
And she makes GREAT sausage gravy!
How can you go wrong with that!
This XL650 is more accurate also, and I like that part...
Could have been my old 550b & Square Deal was getting some age/wear on them, so I don't have them anymore.
I should have kept the 550, but a yuppie decided to give me WAY more than it was worth, so I sold it.
Now I have a XL650 that is soon to be automated!
"Charge bar won't return on the upstroke, and you have to nudge the charge bar every single time."
Isn't there suppose to be a spring loaded powder measure return rod to prevent this?
You took that out of context, which is usual.
With STICK POWDER the charge bar won't return to battery.
Pieces of the sticks roll up between charge bar and housing and prevent it from returning correctly..
Does fine with flake powder, but not even Dillon says you should use a flake powder with their powder droppers/charge bars.
Now I know why...
I *WISH* I could use one of the half dozen powder droppers I have around here, but they don't work with this my old 550 or this 650 worth a darn.
Costs you about $100 for the powder dropper, dies ect. (Caliber Change kit) but it's worth the three minute caliber change to have things 'Correct' when you slap it in there and start yanking the handle again!
Last year was the first time I loaded .223's on the Dillon, or any rifle rounds for that matter, and I have been very impressed on the accuracy of the powder charges. I used up some old BLC2 (lot number 2) kind of dirty, really like accurate 2460 and the old faithful H-335, TAC is also nice. They say it is important to use "small base" full length resizing dies in an AR for some reason, which is why I bought the Dillon carbide dies also.
Don't care for TAC, but a lot of people like it.
I like something a little slower burning for my longer barrel varmint/target rifles.
BL-C(2) works OK, but again, it's a little hotter than I like for long barrels.
H335 works about as well as most of the powder I use, but it's a little 'Smuttier' to clean than some of the others,
Since I shoot mostly ARs, that's a big deal when it blows carbon back into everything.
Still use it for the bolt guns, and it's fine in them.
And since I shoot A LOT, carbon wear on the barrels is an issue for me since I don't normally shoot 'Standard' barrels...
Mine cost too much for me to add extra wear when I can just change to a cleaner burning powder.
Same reason I keep the muzzle velocities reasonable...
Barrel lasts MUCH longer!
When I control muzzle velocity, I don't need new ballistics tables for every round I chamber!
Good to be able to whip out the drop tables and it shoot right on the money every time!
Added to that is, prairie dogs and coyotes do NOT get a new lease on life because my ballistics tables were off!
They get just as dead from a bullet that was traveling 3,000 FPS at the muzzle as a bullet that was traveling 3,300 FPS or 4,000 FPS at the muzzle!