A few years back, during an ammo shortage, I broke down and bought myself a Dillon XL 650 reloading press. After some research, watching many videos on the web, and watching the DVD that came with the press, I managed to actually produce some ammo.
There’s something very satisfying about making your own ammunition. It isn’t just about saving money. It’s also about accuracy. I’ve got a Del-Ton that seems to like the 55gr Hornady pushed by 25 grains of Varget, and loaded inside a brand new Winchester case and Winchester primer. This group was repeated several times at 100 yards. Just a plain ‘ol Del-Ton with a Primary Arms 1-4x scope.
I punched out the quarter with one of my .22 rifles but have it there for scale…just in case the tape measure wasn’t enough. The only problem was that it took some tinkering to get the Dillon to throw a consistent 25 grains. It kept wanting to throw 24.7. What really annoyed me was the powder bar adjustment bolt. Here’s what the factory powder bar adjustment looks like:
Yes, that’s a hex head bolt there on the end of the powder bar. Turning that adjusts the amount of powder that is dropped in each case. Don’t get me wrong. I love Dillon products. But I don’t love this means of adjustment because you just sort of have to “feel” it turn a little bit, and it’s an inexact science to say the least. As it turns out, there is a fix for this made by a company called UniqueTek.
UniqueTek produces an accessory called the Micrometer Powder Bar Kit. The micrometer allows precision adjustment for the powder bar and allows the reloader to have some frame of reference when changing the powder charge. Here is a link to the product in question. At $70 it isn’t exactly cheap. Lucky for me one of my wonderful in-laws asked what I wanted for Christmas and this appeared under the tree. They didn’t really know what it was but they are good sports and got it for me anyway. I hear people complain about their in-laws and it mystifies me. Mine are great.
So now I have to install it based on the four pages of instructions that come with the micrometer. Here are a few pictures of the meter just after I put it together. It comes with some Loctite 609, and I strongly suggest doing as they say and giving it a full 24 hours to set.
Here’s the micrometer installed in the Dillon powder dispenser. Though the numbers on the dial are upside down (something that UniqueTek clearly makes note of in their literature) one can still see it well enough to make small incremental changes to the powder charge being dispensed.
On a side note, I personally choose to reload with bare feet. I also have a plastic chair mat to stand on. The last thing you want while reloading is a spark from static electricity. Also, I always keep track of each and every primer. I’ve never had it happen to me, but I’ve heard a few stories about “finding” a lost primer with the vacuum cleaner.
Safe and happy shooting to you and yours,