Dillon 650 Procedure

Prepared By

Ed Skinner, ed@flat5.net, http://www.flat5.net/


I disclaim all warranties, liabilities, and so forth, implied or expressed, for these instructions.

Reloading ammunition is inherently dangerous. Proceed at your own risk. These instructions are what I do but I make no claims as to their efficacy, safety, or advisability for any purpose.

Cleaning and Lubrication

Clean and lubricate approximately every 3,000 rounds. (See last section herein.) Note in reloading log book for future reference.


In this section, all equipment is prepared, inspected, and adjusted.

Initial Steps

  • Begin with no primers and no powder.
  • Turn on electronic scale.
  • Turn on any additional illumination such as of the rotating reloading plate.
  • [Gently] check all bolts. (If loose, determine what to recalibrate.
  • [Gently] check lock nuts on dies. (If loose, recalibrate that die.)
  • Ten (10) empty shells, spent (fired) primer intact.

Main assembly

  1. [Catch!] Remove and clean seating die: Remove hitch pin, extract seating stem, removing holding pin from side, remove stem, clean with Sweet’s 7.62 solvent or Hoppes #9, match end with bullet type and reassemble.
  2. [Note direction of insert!] Remove insert from Lee Factory Crimp die, clean, reinsert (crimping shape downward) and reassemble.
  3. Verify shell plate tension.
    Note: Before adjusting, loosen 1/8" allen bolt shell plate set screw beneath platform before attempting to change main bolt [1/4" allen] tension.
    Note: Bolt tension is critical and should be on the verge of the plate binding on rotation.
  4. Verify arm and platform have full and unimpeded stroke.
  5. Remove (three) locator buttons (brass pins) from all stations.

Adjust sizer / decapper

  1. Insert / remove decapping (de-priming) pin as needed, or remove die completely (new brass only).
  2. Raise platform, verify sizer die (station #1) just touches platform.
    Note: Perform final tightening with sizer down on a real shell to guarantee proper centering of the die.

Adjust Bell

  1. Loosen powder reservoir bolts, pull upward slightly on powder reservoir to remove slack, then re-tighten powder reservoir bolts.
  2. Adjust bell (station #2) for 0.010" widening and save belled shells for bullet seating adjustment (next).
    Note: Dillon recommends 0.020” but the Lee Factory Crimp Die “booms” with that much bell.

Adjust bullet seating

  1. Verify match of seating stem type to bullet type (station #4).
  2. Load previously belled shell into station #4 and place bullet.
    Note: also place appropriate partially-assembled rounds in all other stations for maximum precision.
  3. Raise head to seat, then partially lower head, remove cartridge and check length to specification.
  4. Adjust die as needed (full turn = 0.070" approx.). (When increasing OAL, use fresh shell and bullet. Verify final setting with fresh shell/bullet.)

Adjust crimp

  1. Seat bullet in empty belled brass and crimp.
  2. Adjust die as needed. (When crimp too tight, seat fresh bullet in shell for next attempt.)

Adjust powder drop

  1. Check powder measure bolts for tightness (5/32" allen wrench). If loose, loosen both powder reservoir bolts, pull upward slightly on powder reservoir to remove slack, then re-tighten.
  2. Check low-powder alarm battery: verify that the alarm sounds.
  3. Verify scales at nearest available standard weight.
  4. Set mechanical balance to desired throw weight.
  5. Check safety arm:
    Blue plastic wing nut should be tight enough so that when pushing on main arm (as when seating a primer), the white bushing (captive in black arm) presses on and pulls down the safety arm enough to slightly compress the spring above the blue plastic wing nut. (Next step may require additional tightening of the blue plastic wing nut.)
  6. Verify full travel of white “cube” on powder bar when cycling with empty shell in place – see Dillon manual if inadequate.
  7. Put on safety glasses and hearing protection. (I somehow set off the entire stack of primers once. It embedded the primer push rod in the ceiling. I was very glad to have the glasses and ear protection at that instant.)
  8. Load powder reservoir to 75% and set low-powder checker on top.
  9. With no brass, cycle main arm ten (10) times to settle powder.
  10. Use seven (7) empty shells with (spent) primers as follows.
  11. Throw seven (7) charges but discard the first two (2).
  12. Check the remaining five (5) for consistent weight on two scales.
  13. If the weights are not consistent (within 0.1 gr), return all charges to the reservoir and try again.
  14. When the weights are consistent, check against desired weight and adjust the throw accordingly.
  15. Throw ten (10) and weigh the total amount. It should be 10x the desired load. Adjust accordingly (discard 1st two after adjusting.)

Adjust powder checker

  1. Verify powder check battery: tilt it up - alarm should sound.
  2. Verify powder check push rod is centered in pass-through hole and moves freely up and down.
  3. Using old brass with old (fired) primer intact, ready at station #2, cycle once (loading powder into shell) and lower handle (shell now at station #3, powder check).
  4. Adjust powder check (station #3).
  5. Lower arm, remove shell and return powder to dispenser.

Primer Tube

  1. Replace all locator buttons.
  2. (Load any pre-primed brass left-over from earlier sessions.)
  3. Verify primer tube buzzer - Press down check arm, buzzer sounds.
  4. Load primer tube with primers. (Save one empty primer package.)
  5. Crank six (6) full cycles (no brass) to position first primer (but it will not be visible yet).

Final Preparation

Adjustments are complete. Final supplies are now made ready.

  1. Hand-inspect approx. 250 pieces of brass (about 1 qt. volume).
  2. Remove any of wrong caliber,  splits or other obvious defects.
  3. When making competition grade, pass through Martindale gauge.
  4. Load good brass into shell feeder and continue.
  5. Switch on feeder to “Low” and verify operation (fills then stops).
  6. Verify all locator buttons are in place.
  7. Put a supply of bullets in ready tray.

Make Ammunition

  • Cycle handle and place bullets.
  • Watch shell feeder for jams.
  • Verify shell is upright and fully seated in position #1.
  • Visually check powder level in shells.
  • Check powder reservoir and maintain between 25% and 75%.
  • Every 50 rounds verify powder weight, OAL and crimp.


Note: After primer buzzer sounds, eleven (11) more primers are coming.

  1. Remove and Store Powder
  2. Remove powder reservoir bolts (5/32" allen) and safety arm.
  3. Empty powder reservoir back into manufacturer’s container.
  4. Manually cycle powder bar to empty hidden chamber.
  5. Return all powder to manufacturer’s container.
  6. Reassemble powder reservoir (pull upward to remove slack].
  7. Remove and store primers
    • Hand cycle Primer Indexing Arm to eject remaining primers. Alternatively, loosen shellplate bolt locking bolt (1/8” Allen), remove shellplate bolt (1/4” Allen), remove shellplate, carefully remove two bolts (3/16” Allen) securing primer feed assembly and carefully lift away primer feed assembly – pick up loose primers now sitting on platform shelf. Remove primer stack alarm (3/32” Allen), unscrew primer stack magnetic shield cap and holding primer magazine in place, gently tump out primers. Hand cycle Primer Indexing Arm to remove final primers from assembly. Replace primer feed assembly, magnetic shield cap, primer stack alarm, shellplate, shellplate bolt. Adjust shellplate bolt tension and secure with shellplate bolt locking bolt (1/8” Allen).
    • Return primers to original [saved] packaging.
    • Reassemble primer tube insert and knurled nut.
    • Raise platform and hand-cycle primer wheel to empty final primers. Return primers to original packaging.
  8. Disassemble any partially completed ammunition.
  9. Store primed brass with primers.
  10. Empty shell feeder reservoir (5/32” allen).
  11. Empty spent primer cup into recycle bin.
  12. Turn off electronic scale.
  13. Turn off any additional illumination such as of the rotating reloading plate.
  14. Clean up spilled powder from reloader, table and floor.
  15. Empty trash.

Loaded Ammunition Identification

Labels on the containers of loaded ammunition should include:

  • Name of reloader;
  • Date;
  • Bullet brand, weight, style and composition;
  • Powder brand and throw weight;
  • Primer brand and type;
  • OAL (OverAll Length); and
  • Crimp.

Cleaning and Lubrication

Clean and lubricate approximately every 3,000 rounds. Record in reloading log book for future reference.

Note: Do not use penetrating or spray oils such as WD-40 or Breakfree.

Note: Leave all other areas and surfaces dry.

  1. Remove and clean all dies with Hoppes #9.
  2. Use acetone to clean powder bar but apply no lubrication.
  3. Grease the following bearing surfaces (use blue Dillon grease):
    • Along case insert slide and slide cam (97082, p.54) when they contact the camming pin (13371, p.52 bottom);
    • Where case insert slide and slide cam (97082, p.54) ride platform (22060, p.54) and station #1 locator (caliber specific part);
    • Primer cam (13670, p.50) face where ridden by Primer Indexing Arm (13662, p.55);
    • Contact area between Indexer Block (16776, p.50) and Ring Indexer (13677, p.54); and
    • Contact area between Shellplate Bolt (13418, p.54) and Shellplate (caliber specific part).
  4. Oil (30 wt.) Main shaft (13485, p.50).
  5. Use needle-oiler to place one drop each
    • into three (3) oil holes for contact between Link Arm Pins (13700-2, p.50) and Link arms (14922-2, p.50), and
    • on each side so it runs down to mainshaft Pivot Pin (13830).

End of Dillon 650 Procedure by Ed Skinner, ed@flat5.net, http://www.flat5.net/


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