There have been many people over the course of the past year who have asked us if we are going to develop an automation platform for many other presses aside from the Dillon 1050. The answer to that question at this time is a resounding "no". While we have been asked to automate several other makes and models, we are most often asked to automate the Dillon XL650. We are going to use this press as the basis of our argument as to why automating consumer-grade presses is a bad idea and why you need a 1050 if you are going to automate a press.
The XL650 presents many problems when automating, the worst of which is all of the plastic parts that make up a large portion of the press. The XL650 has a lifetime warranty because it requires it. The case feed system is plastic, the index ring is plastic, and it has issues with the priming system wearing because of metal on metal contact with no true bearing surfaces. The XL650 has a much lower rate of feed than the 1050. The shell plate is smaller, and it has a much snappier index than the 1050. It has no swage station, and adding an aftermarket swage capability will cause even more problems because the XL650 is not meant to handle the forces necessary to properly swage crimped brass.
The 1050, on the other hand, isn't covered by a lifetime warranty but it really doesn't need one. The wearable parts are all metal, and with some regular cleaning and dry lubricant, they will last for years. The indexing mechanism is built better and if something does break it doesn't require you to spend an hour or so tearing the machine down to replace it or a special alignment tool to put the press back together correctly. The feed rate of the 1050 is 1200 rounds per hour manually, and our system processes at speeds up to 2300 rounds per hour. It has a swage station, which means you can process crimped brass without a separate piece of equipment. It also lends itself to upgrades like our Primer Pocket Probe
for dealing with improperly sized primer pockets, missed de-primes, and ringers.
This is why if you are going to be automating you really need a 1050. The 1050 may not have the lifetime warranty, but you'll spend much less time with the machine broken. On top of that, Dillon will void your warranty if you put an auto drive on any press, so the lifetime warranty becomes moot. If you put a drive on the XL650 they'll figure it out due to the frequency and type of parts that you will be needing to have replaced.
The 1050 may cost more, but it is the better value once you take into consideration all that has been mentioned here. Also, Dillon presses are often sold in many online groups and pages for upwards of 80% of their retail price. If you are already the owner of a XL650, you can always sell it and use the proceeds to purchase a 1050.