Rich: try ebay I just bought a Square Deal last week and got a good deal.
Thing is about Ebay you need to search the listing several different ways, because people use different key words alot..
I started with "Dillon SQ Deal", then when I did "Dillon Reloading Press", I got different hits. after 3 searches I found a SQ Deal that was a "buy it now" For $265. it didn't come up on any of the previous searches. Since the price was right and the machine was what I was looking for for $100 less than normal I got it. I hate sitting there waiting, and then losing the auction, so normally I just buy from "buy it nows."
There are more 550's on Ebay than all others combined. You should be able to find what your looking for with a minimum of hassle. If not just try back in a few days. it will be there.
S.D. -- I contacted Doc because a guy at work was sorta interested and asked the same question as you. He replied "everything but dies". I forgot to ask what conversion kit came with it; perhaps he'll reply to this and let you know. $300 shipped is a pretty fair price!
Guys $300 for a Dillon 550 is a screamin' deal, and I wouldn't wait too long on that one. The ones you see on ebay all are priced that way for a reason, the used ones go for nearly as much as a new one because Dillon has the best warrantee in the business, and if you send the press back to them they will practically rebuild it to new for nothing.
I just bought a SDB for $265 on a "buy it now" deal. Several others I was looking at went as high as $350, and they are only $365 new!
This outfit makes pretty good machinery, I designed automated machinery for a living and all I can say about their equipment is it is the best thoughtout and best designed loading machines I have seen. And the cool thing is none of the actual components of the machines are particularly expensive to build.
That's why they can offer the unconditional warrantee, the machines don't cost that much to build and cost hardly anything to rebuild. I call that "excellent design"!
To give you an idea, my SDB has the main frame and ram made by permanent mould casting. Thing is, both of these pieces have delrin runners in between them which act as slide bearings for the ram to slide in. Since there is no contact between the metal parts they can be cast and have a minimum amount of machining after the fact. The 4 delrin runners are worth $2.00 on a good day. All of the pivot points in the press linkage are bushed by inexpensive delrin bushings too. So theoretically you could work the hell out of one of these presses, and as long as you don't chip the paint and keep it clean, it could be rebushed indefinately literally for a few bucks each time, and be run forever, or as long as you can stand to pull the handle.
None of the comparable machines out there are built like this, so when they wear out they are done!.
This is the Maytag way of building machinery. Maytag had a very simple transmission, and it was very inexpensive to produce, but it was also far superior to any other washing machine's mechinism. As a result Maytag could spend more money on electrics, and premium finishes which made their machines way better than the competition. As a result they could charge more for the machines because the consumer was getting a better product. They were the best laundry machines available until the company was sold to Whirlpool in the late 1990's and now they are built just like everything else with planned obsolecense as the primary design criteria.
Like I said I'd jump on that 550 for $300, and not look back. As far as the caliber conversion, you buy the tool head and then use your dies so it doesn't matter what it came with originally.
Randy -- I completely agree. I've used a XL650 since they first came out in the early/mid 90's, selling my SDB to get one. I also use a SL900 for my shotgun reloading and can't imagine a better press for me.
As for the conversion kit, it includes a caliber specific shell holder, locating tabs, and the correct powder funnel. So you could not just buy a tool head and a set of dies and start loading unless you purchase a conversion kit as well. You won't be loading 45 ACP if it comes with a 223 conversion kit!
rocket: New to Dillon, so I haven't haven't got all of the nuances yet, but I'm a quick learner. I wish I had bought a SDB instead of the C&H Auto Champ I got off Ebay. It will be hard to recoup the money I paid for it and all of the parts I bought to bring it up to snuff, when I coulda had a V8.
I hear ya Randy, Dillons are pretty easy to sell because of that "no BS" lifetime warranty. I shot a lot of IPSC/USPSA matches for 17 years and loaded hundreds of thousands of rounds on the 650. When it started getting sloppy I sent it back to Dillon to get rebuilt. All I had to pay was the shipping charge to get it to them. They turned it into a "new" press and even paid return shipping. How can ya beat a deal like that?
And you don't even have to be the original buyer, they fix 'em/send free parts no questions asked. I bleed Dillon blue and I'm certain my son will too after he gets the 550 I bought for him. Thanks again Theo!