Automatic Casefeeder for the Dillon 550B Loading Press


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

February 5, 2006




It has been almost a full year since I first saw the prototype for an electric casefeeder for the Dillon 500B loading press at the 2005 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ever since, the folks at Dillon have been hard at work perfecting the design, and now they are ready to ship.

The Dillon 550B is, in my opinion, the best and most versatile progressive loading press on the market. It has been around for a couple of decades now, and is perfect for loading pistol, revolver, and rifle cartridges. Its versatility lets the operator load one at a time, as on a single-stage press, or fully progressive, getting a loaded cartridge with each pull of the handle. For more information on the 550B, I refer the reader to my review of the machine here:

While the 550B allows the operator to achieve a high production rate, Dillon now has an automatic casefeeder available which allows an even faster rate of production.  In use, the 550B requires the operator to use his right hand to place an empty cartridge in the first station, while the left hand loads a bullet into the case at station three, and indexes the shell plate. With the casefeeder, the operator never has to release the operating handle with his right hand, except to load the primer feed and case hopper every 100 rounds or so.

The automatic casefeeder works with just about any pistol or revolver cartridge. Dillon lists 32 different cartridges that can work with the casefeeder, most requiring only a separate conversion kit, which are caliber specific.

The conversion kit shipped with the sample casefeeder was for the .45 Colt cartridge.  Once the casefeeder is installed on the machine, changing to another caliber is quick and easy, and requires no tools.  The casefeeder comes with good assembly instructions, and I had it installed in less than an hour on my 550B.

Getting started with the casefeeder was easy, and I quickly could see how this will speed up production. I had only one minor glitch with the casefeeder, and it was easily corrected. Sometimes, the case falling down the clear plastic tube would hang its rim on the edge of the lower tube. Slightly chamfering the inside edge of the tube, as can be seen in the pictures, immediately corrected the situation, and it never exhibited that problem again.

I was concerned about the case having to slide from the feeder onto the shell plate, but the casefeeder slid them in quickly and smoothly. It worked just great. The casefeeder ran much quieter than I expected. There is an automatic shutoff that only runs the feeder when the tube gets low on cases, so that the motor is not running when not needed.  Pouring in about 100 cases at a time, I tried to outrun the feeder, but could not. It kept the cases ready to load, and inserted them as fast as I could pull the handle and advance the shell plate, as I was cycling them through without actually loading the cases, to see how fast it would run. I ran several hundred cases through the machine this way, before actually loading any ammo, to check for potential problems. It of course also ran smoothly when loading ammo, whether I used the Dillon powder measure, or another measure such as the Lee. There was plenty of room for any die set or powder measure that might be used on the 550B.

As stated earlier, changing to another pistol or revolver cartridge is fast and easy, but the casefeeder will not handle most rifle cartridges.  To load these, the lower feed assembly must be removed, which requires a couple of Allen wrenches and a few minutes' time. If a person loads mostly handgun cartridges, or rifle cartridges which are of handgun length, such as the .32 and.44 WCF cartridges, the casefeeder is a very worthwhile investment. It will save time and operator fatigue while loading a large batch of ammo. Ideally, I would like to keep one 550B set up with the casefeeder, and have another set up for rifle cartridges. I will most likely buy another 550B, and just leave the casefeeder on one of them at all times. Either way, it only takes a few minutes to remove the lower feed assembly. The case hopper and related hardware is not in the way when going back to manually inserting cases into the machine.

Like all Dillon equipment, the new casefeeder for the 550B is a high quality piece of equipment. It adds speed and ease to the job of loading quality ammunition, while still keeping the versatility of the 550B intact. I like it.

Check out the extensive line of America’s best loading machines and accessories online at:, or order by phone by calling 1-800-762-3845.

Jeff Quinn


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Click pictures for a larger version.


Automatic Casefeeder for the Dillon 550B Loading Press.



The casefeeder is mounted to the press by use of this bracket.



Casefeeder is operated by this cam.



Case drops from the hopper.



Case entering shell plate.





Jeff corrected a very minor glitch by chamfering the lower tube with a case deburring tool.



A mark of quality!