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.
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