In one of my SHOT show posts, I brought up the Dillon DA3000 autodrive and expressed some disappointment to what was shown. To Dillon’s immense credit, a contact reached out to me with an offer to meet up and discuss the system in some depth, and try to answer some of the questions that I and others have.
First, the elephant in the room: sensors. One of the reasons that Mark7’s autodrive is so popular is the comprehensive sensor suite. The DA3000 launching without them was a disappointment to a lot of Dillon and RL1100 fans who were looking for a fully-competitive same-brand autodrive solution.
Sensors are on the roadmap. They’re being worked on, but were simply not ready for release. I heard swage is planned to be the first out the gate, but as we’ve seen in the past couple years, plans don’t always work out. No timeline was given, but I would not expect the sensors to be out tomorrow. The DA3000 includes the sensor interfaces, so your machine will be upgradable.
And, no, the Immortobot sensors won’t work, or so I was told. This wasn’t a deliberate decision by the Dillon team to destroy third party compatibility, it’s just how it worked out. They know as well as everyone else that third party sensors may become a thing again if people reverse engineer the interface, and they’ll handle that situation when they see what comes out. This is all a bit terra incognita to them.
The second question was “what took so long?” And the answer is pretty simple: the production line had to be moved, the production professionalized further, and the machine itself beefed up a bit. When you factor in extensive testing, it does make sense that there would be a substantial gap where this would not be available even without a lot of obvious changes. Dillon isn’t Ammobot; there are high expectations that come with being Dillon that their products need to meet.
Our discussion after that went in a few different directions. Suffice it to say that Dillon has had their own share of supply issues in the past year due to the huge run on reloading equipment, and is doing their best to keep up. They also have a lot of respect for their competitors and customers alike.
EDIT (1/24/2022): Dillon has informed me that the sensors will be released in 1-2 months (or such is the plan). They will require a separate control unit.