Dillon SL 900


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn


In early September of this year, while looking around the palatial offices (the reloading room) of Gunblast.com, it became apparent that we were in desperate need of a new shotgun shell reloader. It stood to reason that, with the vastly increased amount of shooting that we were about to undertake, we needed a high volume reloader to replace the aging equipment already on the bench. After much agony and despair over which of the progressive loaders on the market to sample first, the decision was made and the order placed to Dillon Precision Products for their 12 gauge SL 900. 

In less than two weeks the big brown truck of happiness arrived and the boxes were unloaded that contained the goods. The press and related accessories were well packaged, but UPS had managed to damage the box containing the electric case feeder, along with the case feeder contained therein. I placed a call to Dillon and they had a replacement in route the next morning, no questions asked. In three days the parts arrived and we were ready to begin.

The size of this machine and the number of parts to be assembled caused me to think that maybe this was to be a very complicated project to get the thing up and running. This concern proved to be unfounded, as the machine comes with an excellent instruction manual. I found that by following the manual step-by-step and studying the photos, the process was very simple and was finished in about 35 minutes. The machine came ready to load AA hulls, and the only adjustments necessary were to the shot and powder dispensers. The instructions lay out the adjustment procedure to follow that involves turning a couple of wrenches and weighing the components to get everything set up. I had to make a small adjustment to the primer feed, and this is also covered in detail in the 51-page manual. All of this is not nearly as complicated as it sounds.

There are two things that really set this machine apart from most of the others on the market. First is the impression of overall quality of materials and workmanship on this unit. This is a heavy duty, well-built machine. The second thing is the electric case feeder. This thing really works, and works well. You just dump in a bunch of cases and turn it on. It fills the feeder tube quickly and smoothly, and doesn't make a lot of noise in the process.

Without going into detail of what is happening at each station on the press, I will just say that with each pull of the handle I got a loaded shell that equals a new factory shell in every way. After filling the shot, powder, hull, and primer hoppers, I placed a wad in the machine with my left hand and operated the handle with my right. Each and every pull drops a perfect shell into the bin. This machine is fast, and at one time I almost ran it out of powder, but the hoppers are in plain view and easy to watch. Running it out of components would have to be attributed to operator error. I also very much like the fact that if no hull is in place, it will not dump the shot or powder, so spills are not a problem.

If you need a reloader that can provide speed and a high quality shell, I very much recommend the SL 900. It will set you back about 820 bucks, but is complete at this price. It doesn't use shot and powder bushings so no further expense is necessary once the initial purchase is made. It is a machine that should outlast a few shotguns and makes loading the shells almost as much fun as shooting them. 

Jeff Quinn


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The Dillon SL 900 occupies a place of honor in the reloading room.







The electric case feeder is a simple, quiet and effective design that sets the Dillon SL 900 apart from lesser machines.







A perfect shell with each pull of the handle!