Once in a while I amaze myself and do something smart. I reload on a Dillon XL650. Great machine, I love it. That said, it has an annoying design flaw. It’s the spent primer catcher. Not every spent primer ends up in the spent primer cup. There are spent primers on the floor, the reloading table, me, and just about anywhere you can imagine. They bounce, they roll, and I swear some of them sprout wings and fly because danged if I can understand how some of them end up where they do. After every loading session, I have to pick spent primers off the floor and wherever. Sometimes lots of them. Ugh.
Actually, getting the spent primers in the XL650’s primer tray is not as straightforward as one might hope. That’s because the primer tray is not directly under the case that is being deprimed. Directly under the primer is a ramped slot.
If the primer is pushed straight down out of the case, it hits the ramp in the platform that leads to an opening over the tray. And to make it more complicated, the part of the tray under the opening is an extension of the tray, and not the body of the tray where the primer will eventually come to rest. And there’s more: there is a ~ 0.42″ gap between the opening in the platform and tray extension.
The design of the spent primer collection system means there are two places, the platform ramp and the tray extension, which the primer can bounce off of, and the gap between the platform and the tray allows the bouncing primer to go in whatever direction it pleases.
The XL650 is not the only loading press that has issues with errant primers. Any press that does not have a direct and isolated pathway to the spent primer cup will have errant primers on the floor. I had this same issue with my Dillon Square Deal B, and don’t even get me started about my RCBS Rock Chucker.
When spent primers get pushed out of the case they sometimes come out at great speed and will bounce off surfaces and end up wherever the forces of physics take them.
Clever individuals have designed improved ways to catch those pesky primers by making a direct route for the primer to travel from the case to a container by eliminating any free gap where the primers can bounce off into hither-land. In the case of the XL650 (and many other presses), a piece of tubing attached to the platform leading to a container is all that’s needed.
There are several types offered for the XL650 but they share a common design. A part mounts to the platform to which you can attach a piece of tubing. They are not complicated devices, nor do they need to be. In fact, some people make their own. In any case, there are several companies and individuals that offer upgrades and some are listed in the resources below.
I bought a kit off eBay that seemed to suit my needs (see the resources list at the end of this article). The kit has a quality aluminum and brass mount that attached to the press. The kit included the mount to fit the press, mounting screws, three feet of 1/2″ (OD, 3/8″ ID) tubing, a hose clamp, and an adaptor lid for a bottle—everything that’s required. The price was $17.95, and it included instructions.
This kit had everything required except a container for the spent primers.
Setup was simple. Just remove the old spent primer cup, remove the bracket, and bolt on the new part. Attach the tubing, apply the hose clamp to keep it secure. Attach the other end of the tubing to a bottle (or place the tubing in a box, bucket or old powder bottle—whatever your heart desires) and you’re good to go. Simple, inexpensive and effective. Why did I wait so long!?
Before (left) and after (right) pictures. Remove the old bracket and replace it with the new one. Easy peasy.
This kit really is awesome. I’ve loaded several thousand rounds since I attached it. Since then, not a single errant primer!
Primer catcher upgrade kits are made for most Dillon presses. Most of the adaptors are very similar in design and function, and choosing one over the other is simply a toss of the coin. Make sure it fits your model of press. Some adaptors won’t fit the older XL650 presses. I also noticed some made for a few models of Lyman, RCBS, Lee, and Hornady presses on the web—including some 3D printed devices. I even found one for the RCBS Rockchucker. Do a search online, and see what you can find for your machine.