Gear review: Dillon XL 650 with all their Bells & Whistles
Ron Gunner 05.29.17
Dillon XL650 is truly one of if not the best progressive reloader on the market today. You can start with the best and never have to upgrade again. There I said it, and yes I am sponsored by Dillon, but before you think this is just a sales pitch let me tell you I’ve used other brands for years. I have Hornady AP LNL Ammo Plant, RCBS Pro 2000 auto indexing, RCBS Rockchucker, Hornady single stage, RCBS Grand, Forster, MEC, and Redding.
I have them all and used them all for years, then I got my first Dillon the RL550B with everything offered for it, thought it was the best thing ever. Then along came the XL650 loaded with every option and I can truly say that if you want the best reloader out there, buy the Dillon XL650.
When you order the Dillon XL650 you get a caliber with it and the Dillon dies are great, a wide mouth opening and full length sizing, in fact it comes almost ready for the Casefeeder, and all you have to buy is the Casefeeder itself and bolt it on.
This is a 5 station press the auto indexes with the pull and return of the handle. You get the regular handle with the press the black ball handle. I suggest that you order one of the roller handles, they come in black plastic roller handle and a blue aluminum roller handle. If you have ever loaded hundreds of rounds in one setting you will understand why the roller handle upgrade is well worth the money.
You can mount it directly to the reloading bench or you can buy the Dillon strong mounts which lift the press about 8 or so inches above the bench. I personally like the strong mount as it puts the press just at the right height and only takes 4 screws to mount the press to the bench.
Dillon also offers a metal powder coated bullet tray that mounts to the strong mounts and put the bullets right at the spot where you need to grab the bullet to place it in the case. There is also a powder check alarm that comes with the press, you set your powder charge in the case to what you want it to be. Then you set this rod that goes into the case when the ram is raised and you then set the rod. From that point on, it you have a strong enough over charge that will hurt you or your gun or a low charge that could cause a squib load, the alarm will go off to let you know.
The case flaring and powder drop are done at the same station. Just like the system on the 550. The primer system is different and in my opinion better than the 550 primer system. It is on a rotating plate that moves the primers around with each pull of the handle. The whole system is smoother and faster.
The Casefeeder system is even different and you never have to worry about a case falling forward on its side as they sometimes do in the 550. I am just impressed at how this Dillon XL650 is designed and so user friendly. It’s an easy setup meaning you don’t have to be an engineer to set this up and get it running. Now you CAN if you wish, remove the powder check system/alarm and install a bullet feeder from Hornady or RCBS and have a full just pull the handle auto press.
Dillon has now partnered up with Mr. Bullet Feeder and they make a system which includes a new tool head designed to have all the factory Dillon items plus a bullet feeder die. Oh I forgot to say that the Casefeeder now has two speeds unlike the one on the 550. The entire press is different from the RL550 series, it’s not just a upgraded 550, and it is its own machine. In fact the frame of the XL650 is also used in the 900 shotshell press and is VERY heavily built.
Now as good as this machine is, believe it or not there are a few upgrades you can buy on eBay to improve the Dillon XL650. Of all of the things and I think there are about 6 different items, I can tell you only two really make it even smoother. A friend of mine bought every upgrade he could find on eBay and found out that most of them really didn’t help. The two that really worked are both sealed bearings, one is for the indexing. Instead of the fiber/polymer indexing system “fins” riding on a solid machined metal part that you have to grease, this is a part that just bolts on and replaces the part and has a sealed bearing that the fins now ride on. Two bolts and its changed.
The other part is the metal rod that works the case feeder slide, the factory part is a nice heavy rod that has a cut on the end about 45 degree and is also slide on a greased part. There is a part you can buy that is just as heavy rod, threaded the same to screw through the top of the press and it has a sealed bearing on it to ride on the part. Both of these upgrade eliminate the need for grease which we all know attracts dirt, excess powder etc. And even makes the press run smoother. I would like to see Dillon offer these parts for their customers or just include them with the press.
So take a look at Dillon and the XL650 press and all that it offers. Buy your last press first. Now you can say I am just saying this because Dillon is a sponsor, that would be wrong, I used the Dillon RL550B for almost 5 full years before Dillon became one of my sponsors. Like I said before, you read the list of presses I have and have used and I was telling people about Dillon long before there was ever any talk of sponsorship.
I actually use my sponsor products FIRST before they ever become sponsors because I want to have the best products I can get when I am in a match. Then after I use them for at least a year, I will contact them about sponsorship. I have turned down free product and sponsorships before because the product was just not good and I will never promote or try to “sell” anything just because it may have been given to me.
So again, I ask you look at Dillon Precision and see what all they offer and sign up for the Blue Press magazine they send out monthly. You can see which is right for you in there along with other items they sell. Dillon really is the standard in reloading and the others are just trying to catch up.
Get a manual, buy a Dillon and become a better shooter.
See you out there.