Reloading Ammunition with a Dillon Square Deal B Progressive Press

Reloading Ammunition with a Dillon Square Deal B Progressive Press

For reloaders looking for maximum production speed, nothing beats a progressive press.  Although you’ll certainly pay more for them than you would for a single stage or turret press, they’re by far the fastest type available.

In this article we’ll be taking a look at Dillon’s Square Deal B.  While it requires specialized dies, and won’t load rifle cartridges, the Square Deal B is also fairly affordable for a progressive press. What it lacks in versatility it makes up for in value, as every press comes complete with a full set of carbide dies including a crimp die, a shell plate, a powder measure, automatic indexing and Dillon’s famous ‘No-BS’ warranty which covers literally every part of the press for life.


As a progressive press, the Square Deal B works on four casings at a time, with dedicated stations for each operation.  Once it’s set up, loading a cartridge (or several hundred) becomes almost comically simple.  For simplicity’s sake, I will describe the process of loading a cartridge using a single casing; as you review the steps involved, know that in reality you would be repeating each of them every time as more and more casings are added to the shell plate (to a maximum of four).

The operator begins by placing a spent casing in the shell holder at station one.  This will both resize and deprime the casing, returning it to it’s original factory specifications.

As the operator returns the press handle to it’s starting position, the press automatically indexes the shell plate to the next station.  This not only increases productivity, but also helps eliminate operator error; it’s also one of the features that makes progressive presses so incredibly fast to load with.

With the casing in the second station, the operator pushes the handle inwards, moving the ram down to the very bottom.  As the ram bottoms out, a primer (automatically positioned below by the primer feed system) is seated into the base of the newly resized case.  With the primer in place, the user now reverses the direction of the handle, pulling downwards to raise the ram.  This inserts the case into the powder-through expanding die, which drops a pre-measured charge of powder into it while simultaneously flaring the case mouth, making it easier to seat a bullet.

As the casing indexes to station three, it now has a primer, charge and flared case mouth, leaving it ready to receive a bullet.  The operator simply drops one on top of the case mouth, and even though it may not be completely straight/flush, the seating die will automatically realign it.  At this point we have a perfectly straight bullet, seated at the correct depth, with our case mouth just touching the bullets crimp groove.

Finally the cartridge has indexed to the crimp station.  As the ram is raised one last time, the press will crimp the case mouth tightly into the bullet’s crimp groove.  This will help to ensure the completed cartridge feeds smoothly and achieves maximum (and thus accuracy) when firing.

At this point the operator has completed reloading one cartridge, with three others in various states of completion; one to each station.


Are progressives more complex than single stage and turret presses?  Yes, yes they are.  To try and suggest otherwise would be dishonest.  However, if you have a solid grasp of the various processes involved in reloading, and you’ve taken the time to learn the core concepts of how the machine performs them, you’ll likely find progressive presses really aren’t that difficult to use.  With all four stations working in tandem, and the primers feeding automatically, the operator’s only real job is to supply the press with cases and bullets while keeping an eye on the supply of primers and powder.  Everything else from the primer placement to the ejection of cartridges is completely automated.

I’m by no means a fast reloader, but using the Square Deal B I can churn out hundreds, and hundreds of cartridges in an hour while maintaining a high standard of quality.  Not unlike the turret press, with a progressive you never need to worry about an interruption resulting in a pile of half-loaded rounds.  As every cartridge cycles through all four operations, you can stop any time you like and you’re left with nothing but completed ammunition.

Progressive presses offer reloaders an unsurpassed level of production, but as you can imagine, it comes at a price.  With many fully-loaded progressives pushing into four-figure prices, it can be hard to justify the expense.  Dillon’s Square Deal B offers budget-conscious shooters the speed and efficiency they crave, without asking them to remortgage the house, or compromise on critical features.  If what you’re after is a rock-solid press for pistol and revolver ammunition from a company that stands behind their products 100%, for life, the Square Deal B could be the perfect fit for your bench.

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