How many bad dies did you get?


April 4, 2010, 12:15 AM
Hello everyone. I've been reloading for about a year and a half now. I've purchased 12 different sets of RCBS dies and of the 12, 2 have had problems. The first was a seating die that wouldn't crimp. The second was a seating die with burrs in both plugs. A friend of mine was joking that he has never had to return a set of Lee dies, though he has had to polish the internals of a few. I was wondering just how often other folks on the high road have problems with their die sets.

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April 4, 2010, 12:22 AM
I have mostly Lee dies but I do have a few sets of RCBS and one Hornady die set too. I have never had to send back dies because of a defect.

April 4, 2010, 12:55 AM
Aren't they made in China now?

April 4, 2010, 01:11 AM
The casting for the Rockchucker press is made in China, but the dies are made here in the U.S., in Oroville, CA.

I load for 31 calibers at the present time and have multiple sets of dies in most calibers. I started loading in 1963 and during that time I've had two dies with a problem from the factory. One was a .243 Winchester sizing/decapping die that had a .223 expander in it, and it wasn't from RCBS (Hornady). The other was a carbide .45 acp sizing die that is too large in diameter. That one also wasn't from RCBS (Lee). Other than that, I've never had a problem with a factory die from any manufacturer.

I do buy a lot of used dies, just because they can be had dirt cheap, but I'm pretty adept at polishing out scratches and fixing minor problems induced by ham fisted "reloaders" who think pliers are supposed to be used on dies........

Hope this helps.


Hondo 60
April 4, 2010, 01:21 AM
I have ( or had ) four sets of Lee dies. Never had to send any back.

I did have one bullet seating die that had too much lube in it from the factory & I had to clean it out to get consistent seating depth.

April 4, 2010, 02:11 AM
My Hornady .223 die set needed a few thou shaved off the bottom to size the brass to minimum specs. My first caliber to reload for EVER, and that little hiccup. :D

No others in 9 sets more of mixed Hornady and Lee's.


April 4, 2010, 02:33 AM
All Lee carbide dies and no problems - no polishing, no scratches, no lube - just occasional cleaning with Q-tip.

April 4, 2010, 05:34 AM
I have a lee resizing die I am wanting to return, and I have a Lee seater I would also like to return.

The sizing die, Carbide, is oversizing, taking extreme pressure to resize, I have been lubing the cases and it helps. But the brass has that hourglass look more than normal.

The other the seater is scratching brass and polishing hasn't helped.

I have also returned quite a few lee in the past, mostly for resizing punches not holding tight enough and pushing thru the top with non crimped primers.

Never returned any other dies brands but have broke and stuck a few (RCBS).

I have been slowly replacing all my lee with redding dies.:barf:

April 4, 2010, 06:34 AM
Had one problem with a Lee die. It needed polishing badly. But otherwise I've never had any with the rest. Which covers several brands.

April 4, 2010, 07:39 AM
I've owned 50+ die sets including Redding, RCBS, Lyman, Pacific and a few others. I started loading in 1969 and I've never had any problem with any die that was not my own fault.

Jimmy K

April 4, 2010, 07:46 AM
I've never seen a bad RCBS die set in 40 years of handloading, and most of my dies are made by them. All of their equipment has worked as designed.

All my Lee dies have worked.

I had one bad set of 8x57mm Lyman dies years ago.

April 4, 2010, 07:50 AM
One RCBS match seater that couldn't seat straight. One Redding bushing die that wasn't bored for the bushing and one set of Lee dies that made banana ammo. A couple of sizer dies that had to be shortened to properly size; one RCBS and I forget the other.

April 4, 2010, 08:08 AM
I must be the lucky one. I just counted them up 58 sets of dies (some repeats) and the only set were a set of vintage CH in 45LC that were scratched a lot that I purchased recently. They were almost free and worth about what I paid. I did polish them up OK however and it was worth it. FWIW 70% Lee 20% RCBS 10% assorted. more than half of these were purchased used on line and only this one was not perfect. I have had people say that buying dies on line is bad but my experience is that it's OK to do.:D

April 4, 2010, 08:27 AM
In about 40 years I never had a die that needed to send back--I do question my last set--Hornady .380--the resizer die will extend new brass 5 thousands in length.
Hornady says thats ok ?
Also---resizer is so tight that puts a sharp bend in on Blazer brass cases just above the head?

Steve Marshall
April 4, 2010, 08:27 AM
A .243 die that set the shoulder back about 1/16th too far. A 7 Rem. Mag. die that sized the body close but no cigar to .280 Remington. a 30-30 die that was so eccentric that the neck and the body was almost straight on one side. A carbide .44 die that was later determined to work on 45 Auto. There were a few others, but I can't remember them all. Most were replaced. Some used dies were either "off" or were used to attempt a solution. Like the 35 Whelen that somebody tried? to make .375 Whelen. RCBS at one time and maybe still, used to use several reamers to finish sizing dies. A little inattention from the machine operator and voila, junk. I only buy Redding when purchasing new as I've never had a problem with them. You can see the quality. On the other hand, most of the problem dies I've encountered have been RCBS but then again, they represent the majority of dies out there so are more prone to having a bad die, no?

April 4, 2010, 09:03 AM
I've used a great many different brands of dies, at one time I was loading 141 cartridges using all the brands made today as well as Herters, Lachmiller, B&M, Wells, Pacific, and some others long gone. Never got a bad one. My take on the degeneration of quality control is that; hands off CNC machines don't get checked as often as they should. Prior to CNC, every component was made one at a time and individually checked. Now, production runs are sampled or spot checked, sorta like random urinalysis at your work place.

ol' scratch
April 4, 2010, 09:18 AM
I have a Lee Factory Crimp I couldn't get to work when I first bought it. It kept crushing cases. I was at a loss until I took it apart. They installed the sleeve upside down. After I put it back together, it worked fine. That was the closest I have had to a bad die.

April 4, 2010, 09:27 AM
I have 40 some dies mostly from Lee. Had to polish the expander plug on a .380 die and other than that have had no problems with any dies in 50 years of reloading.

I will add I had a .38 spec die gall with some nickle plating and it needed to be polished out, but that was not the dies fault.

April 4, 2010, 09:30 AM
Bought a RCBS swage die with the threads in the cap drilled/tapped at an angle. RCBS sent out a replacement cap and all was well.


Peter M. Eick
April 4, 2010, 10:11 AM
None so far, or more accurately none that had a problem I could find with them.

April 4, 2010, 10:27 AM
The only problems I have ever had with dies could all be traced back to me doing something stupid, like forgetting case lube or something.

Whirling Dirvish
April 4, 2010, 10:45 AM
I have been reloading for over 45 yrs.......most of my dies are RCBS, few Lee, and Hornady. All my Dillon Presses have Dillon Dies. I have only had to return one die back to the MFG in all those years......It was a .223 sizing die, (date on top of die--1982---), RCBS exchanged it due to severe scratch marks it would leave on the neck of the case, had not tried to used the die in years, discovered why and returned a couple of months ago.., quick turn around........ RCBS and Dillon makes good stuff and stand by their warranties for sure! ----------------Thanks, W.D. :cool:

April 4, 2010, 02:01 PM
I have four set of Lee dies, no problem with any of them.

April 4, 2010, 02:08 PM
i had one bad die. it was a dillon FL sizing die

April 4, 2010, 04:45 PM
I've had two bad Lee dies out of twelve. one had a bad burr in the throat of the seating die for one rifle set and other where it was reamed too deep and none of the brass would chamber in 3 different rifles.

April 4, 2010, 06:09 PM
It's nice to know I'm not the only one who has had issues. Still, two problems in 12 sets means either I'm very unlucky or RCBS could stand to improve their QC.

April 4, 2010, 06:37 PM
No bad dies but a bad shellholder that wasn't machined to the right size and it oversized the shoulder. I've got several die sets for many pistol and rifle calibers from Hornady, RCBS, Redding, Lyman, two Lee sets, and Weatherby, and NO problems with any.
Shellholders need to be checked especially if mixing brands. Check the distance from the top of the shellholder to the ledge that the case sits on.

April 4, 2010, 06:47 PM
I returned a RCBS 30 carbine sizer (steel, not carbide) back in the 1970's when I found it would not resize the brass enough to grip the bullet. Tried several types of brass and returned 4 different samples of brass with the die. RCBS replaced it very quickly. Their customer service is at the top. I have ordered different items from them over the past 40 years and they have always made me happy! Can't go wrong with them!

Jesse Heywood
April 4, 2010, 06:56 PM
I currently have 4 sets of RCBS dies. The only problem has been with an expander that was still rough from machining. I could feel every ridge when used. Since I didn't want to wait for a replacement, I chucked it in the lathe and polished it.

April 4, 2010, 07:03 PM
The casting for the Rockchucker press is made in China, but the dies are made here in the U.S., in Oroville, CA.

Reloaderfred when I bought my rockchucker China was still a territory.

I have only had two dies with problems. Bothe were Lee dies that scratched the brass. Lee said they would polish them but it was just easier and faster to do it myself.

April 4, 2010, 08:22 PM
And both of my Rockchuckers were made in the good ol' USA when I bought them, back before RCBS was purchased by ATK..........


April 4, 2010, 11:38 PM
The casting for the Rockchucker press is made in China, but the dies are made here in the U.S., in Oroville, CA.

RCBS steadfastly denies that any part of the Rockchucker Supreme press is made in China.

I've been reloading since 1976 with mostly RCBS dies, and I've never had to return a single one because of a defect. Maybe I've been lucky; I don't know. Everybody ships out a turd periodically, even Redding (whose dies I slightly prefer over RCBS).

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