Why the Dillon Super 1050?

I finally bit the bullet (pun intended), and bought a Dillon Super 1050. Before I go walking you through the install, and a minor improvement or two, I thought I might go through my decision process – that is… why the Super 1050? And how might that apply to you?

About a year ago, I updated my press from a Dillon 550 to a Dillon 650. The idea was to increase rate of ammo production. I could do 600 or so an hour on the 550, which means that I was basically loading enough ammo for 1-2 practice sessions for each hour in the garage pounding out ammo. I wanted to increase that some to save me some time. As luck would have it, I won the press off the prize table at the 2010 Area 2 Championship, and only had to add the case feeder and a few other accessories to get it configured the way I wanted it.

As it turns out, though, the 650 didn’t pan out as well as I would’ve liked. I ran a 650 “back in the day”, before I took a break from the game, and it was a solid press then. The new ones are even better – and include zerk grease fittings and such. But… the achilles heel of the 650 is powder spillage. The N105 load I run fills the case up to the top, and the nature of the expander/powder-funnel part on the 650 (and the 550 for that matter) is such that a good amount of the powder charge is still up in the expander as you start to raise the handle, and that powder has to flow out of the funnel and into the case as the expander is pulled out of the case on the upstroke. Inevitably, this causes an occasional grain or two of powder to spill out onto the press platform. Over a period of 20-30 rounds or so, this becomes significant enough to gum up the works on the 650. I had problems with case not fully seating into the shell plate (due to powder grains being crushed into the slots in the shell plate), and getting hung up on the size die or causing primers to get flipped sideways as they’re being seated.

In the end, my production rate dropped to around 400 rounds an hour or less. Ugh. With a less demanding load, the 650 should be capable of 800-1000 rounds an hour with no problem – it just wasn’t a good fit for me.

My only options were to go back to a 550, or go up – see, the 1050 has a different powder drop and expander arrangement. It expands in station 3, and drops powder separately on station 5 using a funnel that bells the case slightly, but has a much wider interior hole and pushes into the case far less than the combo expander/bell/powder funnel on the 650. This means the full powder charge should be able to drop into the case at once. Excellent.

Now, there are other very compelling reasons for a competition shooter to look at the 1050, and these are things I’d really wanted to take advantage of for a long time. For instance, the 1050 primes on the downstroke, rather than on the upstroke like the 650 and the 550. Instead of having to feel the primer seat and push forward enough to seat it fully, you adjust the primer seating depth with an allen wrench, and set a consistently deep primer each and every time. This means you have far less chance of ammunition issues due to a high primer or the like.

The press also has a shorter stroke and greater leverage than the other presses. Both of these things allow you to operate the handle more quickly, which leads to higher production rates.

And, it includes zerk fittings in all the important spots, so press lubrication is a no brainer.

The original Super 1050 had a faster rate of shellplate movement, which could cause powder to be slung out of the case when the shellplate finishes indexing to the next station. The current variant has resolved this issue, and the case moves very smoothly to a stop. Cool beans.

The downsides? The price tag, for one. Weighing in at $1700, the 1050 is far and away the most expensive Dillon progressive loader. Even fully configured, the 650 is still some $600 less. Secondly, the 1050 doesn’t benefit from the Lifetime No-BS Warranty that most of the other Dillon products arrive with. Instead, it only has a 1-year warranty. Commercial loaders actually use this press and put a [b]lot[/b] of wear on them, and so Dillon has to treat them as a professional, commercial grade device. And then, of course, you have to factor in how complex the press is – there’s a lot more going on with a 1050 than, say, a 550. In fact, the 550 is the press I normally point novice reloaders to, due to its relative simplicity. The 1050 would not make a good newbie reloader, in my estimation.

Despite the downsides, you’ll still find that a large number of competitive handgun shooters load on these beasts. The biggest benefit you get is truly time – the less time you have to spend cranking a reloading press, the more time you have to practice, and that’s a huge boon. In terms of time, it pays for itself rather quickly… It might not be the best option for everyone, but for folks who spend a good amount of time practicing, the time savings really begin to make sense quickly.

About the author


USPSA Grand Master, NRA Instructor, http://re-gun.com/about/

Permanent link to this article: http://re-gun.com/2012/01/why-the-dillon-super-1050/


2 pings

  1. Les says:

    Dude – I bought a Super 1050 and a Mr Bullet feeder…


    I love my 550, but I can load, no BS, ~1000 an hour if I’ve got my tubes all setup!

    Congrats on the purchase!


    1. DaveRe says:

      I’ve actually done over 1000/hr on a 1050 with no bullet feeder, and that was taking my time… With a bullet feeder, I did 1000 in 40 minutes or so… CRAZY fast… I have a bullet feeder on order, too, so… ;-)

  1. DR Performance says:

    Why I'd choose the DIllon Super 1050? http://t.co/jnl3qpTE

  2. xre says:

    Why I'd choose the DIllon Super 1050? http://t.co/jnl3qpTE

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