Tips and Tricks

As we get time, we will post handy tips/tricks to make your Dillon 1050/1100/2000 run smoothly.


  • Whether using an auto-drive or via manual operation, decapping is what causes presses to run rough.  Specifically, the roughness is caused during indexing due to primer pullback.  We have made the best of a bad situation with our Decappin Pin Holders.  See our products for more details.
  • When decapping 5.56/.223 length rifle brass, ensure that the front toolhead alignment pin is engaging the shell plate before the brass is engaging the die.  To do this, remove the tool head from the press and hold it over a vice.  The second longest pin is closest to the press operator, and resides just after the final station in the press.  Using a punch and big hammer, knock this pin down about 1/8″ to 3/16″.  This will ensure that the toolhead pins are engaging the shell plate before the dies can engage the brass.  Each press will require slightly different tuning.  If the pin is knocked down too far, the shell plate will start to index before the pin has withdrawn.



  • After firing, never resize brass before trimming.  There are two reasons for this.  First, if the brass is full length sized first, the trim die won’t have as much tension on the brass.  If there is insufficient tension on the brass, it can spin, which will eventually ruin the die and shell plate. Second, depending on manufacturer and brass, the trim die can cause the neck to be undersized on the ID.  Always full length resize and set neck tension after trimming.
  • No matter what trimmer or trim die is being used, the bottom of the die window must be flush or higher than the top of the tool head.  If the window is below flush, chips will collect instead of being cleared.  This will cause inconsistent trim lengths as chips fall back into the trimming area.
  • A 3HP vacuum is all that is required to properly clear swarf (chips).  Anything more is just wasted power and noise.  The trick to properly clearing chips is to minimize the amount of corregated hose used between the vacuum shroud on the trim die and the vacuum cleaner.  No more than 10″ should be used on a 1050.  On other presses, with stationary tool heads, adapt directly to 1-1/4″ PVC.  The reason for PVC instead of the corrugated hose is that lube and swarf will collect in the corregation, causing brass “poop”.  Your hose will become constipated.

Brass Lubrication:

  • Pure Liquid Lanolin lube mixed with ANY percentage Isopropyl Alcohol is the cheapest case lube that can be had, and it works great.  The higher the percentage of Iso Alky, the less shaking that needs to be done to suspend the Lanolin in the mix.  We have tried 8:1, 10:1, and 12:1 ratios of Iso alky to Lanolin.  The 12:1 mix seems to work well, while not being horrible to clean up.  Wet tumbling is still recommended.
  • Excessive lube will cause dents in the case necks of bottleneck cases.  These will fire form out, but when the proper amount of case lube is applied, they will not be present.


  • Always process brass separately from loading.  On the Dillon 1050, our swage rod will cause the press to lock up if it encounters a primer at the swaging station.  On presses without this ability, it is impossible to ensure of 100% decapping of the brass.
  • Decap and swage in one operation, then trim and full length resize in a second operation on the Dillon 1050.  Military brass has different crimps, and as such, different amounts of force, and the point at which the force applied is at different heights. Trying to decap, swage, trim, and resize in one operation will cause large variances of trim and shoulder lengths.  When separating the operations as noted above, trim/shoulder lengths can be within +/- 0.001″ over tens of thousands of cases.
  • When converting .300 Blackout, see above tip, and add the rough cut to the decap/swage operation.  Trim to ~1.420″ after swaging.


  • Always run a Lee Universal Decapping die in the first station.  As stated in the processing tips section, decapping cannot be guaranteed 100% when not swaging.  Running a decapping die during loading will act as a safety.



  • To remove steel cases from your processing stream easily, tape a magnet to the drop tube between the case feeder and press.