Lee vs Dillon dies


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Woody3
June 18, 2011, 03:07 AM
What are your feelings on the aforementioned die sets? Specifically in .223.

Thanks, woody


Keep your head low and your powder dry.

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EddieNFL
June 18, 2011, 08:04 AM
My opinion:

Redding
Forster
Dillon
Hornady
RCBS
Lyman

In that order.

loadedround
June 18, 2011, 09:55 AM
Dillon dies are much high quality than the Lee dies. If you are buying dies for a Dillon reloader, stick with the Dillon dies that were designed for the 550B press. BTW, don't waste your money on a carbide sizing die for your 223. You still have to lube your cases and the carbide die was designed for high volume reloaders, not people like us.

greyling22
June 18, 2011, 10:02 AM
for what gun? Dillon dies are going to be slicker and easier to use as a full length sizing die, but if you've got a bolt gun, the lee neck sizing collet die is pretty sexy. and a whole lot cheaper too. They work all right.

rbernie
June 18, 2011, 11:03 AM
I have Lee, Dillon, and RCBS dies in 223 (used in my Dillon 550), and I challenge anyone to show how the Lee dies are any poorer or make less accurate rounds.

The Lee dies are mechanically sound and create accurate ammo. The Dillon dies tend to have a thicker surface finish and resist oxidation better, but also tend (in general) have a more flared mouth on the sizing die that does not resize quite as far down the body as do some other brands of dies.

JerryM
June 18, 2011, 12:41 PM
Dillon dies may be better quality, but I don't like them. I find them too difficult to re-adjust. Lee and others are much easier if I wish to change oal, etc. The locking rings take up a lot of room on the block and are difficult to loosen and tighten without disturbing other dies.
However, Dillons are very easy to clean.

Jerry

Woody3
June 18, 2011, 02:13 PM
You guys and gals never disappoint. Thanks for the awesome input. I'll probably just pick up the standard dillon set.
Woody


Keep your head low and your powder dry.

EddieNFL
June 18, 2011, 03:19 PM
I have Lee, Dillon, and RCBS dies in 223 (used in my Dillon 550), and I challenge anyone to show how the Lee dies are any poorer or make less accurate rounds.

Any brand die will work as well as the next provided it's true. The lower the cost, the greater the odds of a defect. I've purchased two sets of Lee dies: .223REM and .45ACP. The .45 dies worked fine, but I didn't care for having the lockrings on the bottom. The .223 size die was shaped like a banana. Returned them and bought Redding.

Uniquedot
June 18, 2011, 08:50 PM
Well let's see here... There have been a few 1000 yard world records set with lee dies. I don't know how many 1000 yard benchrest records Dillon dies have under their belt. If you were loading for a bolt gun, then The Lee collet dies would be better, but for an auto the dillon dies are what you want. Of course Redding and forster dies are even better.

loadedround
June 19, 2011, 03:48 PM
Mr Moderator: Let's assume you have a set of Dillon dies and a set of Lee dies. I fyou use them on a regular basis for 15-20 years, you will find the Lee dies scrap aluminum. Yes lee dies are fine for the average small volume loader, but one who has loaded for over 45 years and have used all makes of dies, I will take dillon dies or Redding (not previously mentioned) for their original quality and ability to last.

45ACPUSER
June 19, 2011, 04:13 PM
Dillon Dies in rifle calibers are three die sets with a FL sizer decapper, seater dies with no crimp feature, and a taper crimp die. Really meant for progressive use. Hence the radiused features. But, that is not really an issue period!

Lee Pacesetter 3 Die sets come with three dies, too FL Sizer decapper, seater with roll crimp feature, and factory crimp die.

I view dies like this
For stand Press Mounted Dies 7/8 x 14
Redding makes the Cadillac
Forster makes the Buick
RCBS makes Chevy
Hornady makes Ford
Lyman makes Chrysler
Lee makes the VW, serviceable dies.

EddieNFL
June 19, 2011, 05:05 PM
I will take dillon dies or Redding (not previously mentioned)

Except when I mentioned them in the second post.

I think Ford builds a better automobile than Chevy and I would have rated Redding as Lexus.

rbernie
June 19, 2011, 06:08 PM
Let's assume you have a set of Dillon dies and a set of Lee dies. I fyou use them on a regular basis for 15-20 years, you will find the Lee dies scrap aluminum.I have close to a dozen sets of Lee dies that I bought in the late 1980's and several of those sets have probably made well in excess of 75K rounds each. They are still working well and producing ammo within SAAMI spec.

You can assert anything you want as opinion, but it's not aligned with my actual experience. Oh, and all Lee dies are made from steel and not aluminum (excepting the lock rings).

I own dies made by Lee, Dillon, Pacific, RCBS, and Hornady. I have been unable to wear out any of the Lee dies, and my predominant complaint with them is that their external surfaces (especially their rifle crimp dies) are prone to mild oxidation if not kept lightly oiled.

Uniquedot
June 19, 2011, 08:47 PM
I own dies made by Lee, Dillon, Pacific, RCBS, and Hornady. I have been unable to wear out any of the Lee dies, and my predominant complaint with them is that their external surfaces (especially their rifle crimp dies) are prone to mild oxidation if not kept lightly oiled.

I have found that the cheap pacesetter dies have a better internal finish (sizing die only) than rcbs or Lyman dies, but as you said they don't worry too much about the external finish on any of them. That is one of the areas money is saved.

Uniquedot
June 19, 2011, 08:55 PM
Redding (not previously mentioned) for their original quality and ability to last.

Do you think you're being cute or do realize like others in this thread that you are simply ignorant? Too many kids have too much time on their hands to do anything other than post non sense in these threads. Why don't some of you kids spend a little time learning to load ammunition and actually use the tools people inquire about rather than post such childish remarks. Be helpful not hateful.

loadedround
June 19, 2011, 09:42 PM
Reloading for over 45 years and I'm a Kid?

highlander 5
June 19, 2011, 11:38 PM
All but two sets of my pistol/reveler dies are Dillon, one die set for 45 Schofield is RCBS.
The other, 10 mm is Reddding all are carbide. Rifle dies are either RCBS or Redding.
What little Lee equipment I have used I ended up giving away as the quality of the equipment left something to be desired by me.

DanTheFarmer
June 19, 2011, 11:46 PM
Hi All,

Honest questions here, I'm not trying to stir up the pot.

What do you mean when you say one die set is better than another? I'm new to reloading (I've got mostly Lee equipment.) and I'm assuming all dies from all manufacturers will size things within SAAMI specs. Within specs is the goal, right?

Are some dies easier to work with? Longer lasting? What else would make you prefer one brand over another?

Thanks.

Dan

Zcarp2
June 20, 2011, 12:16 AM
For Rifle dies, the neck guides the brass into the die. For straight wall pistol brass, Lee and RCBS have a sharp edge. The brass can get caught on the sharp edge and crush a case if you are not careful. I have to run up and slowly insert (wiggle) the brass into the sizing die. The Dillon edge is rounded and can generally be loaded quicker. IMHO

If it makes finished ammo that works in your gun, it's all good. Lee slowed me down too much. I bought Dillon.

billybob44
June 20, 2011, 12:18 AM
Mr Moderator: Let's assume you have a set of Dillon dies and a set of Lee dies. I fyou use them on a regular basis for 15-20 years, you will find the Lee dies scrap aluminum. Yes lee dies are fine for the average small volume loader, but one who has loaded for over 45 years and have used all makes of dies, I will take dillon dies or Redding (not previously mentioned) for their original quality and ability to last.
^^^+1 What he said--I would add RCBS to the LASTING side of the list..Bill.

ArchAngelCD
June 20, 2011, 05:06 AM
I have mostly Lee dies because they are cost effective (cheap like me) and I have some RCBS and Redding. I use the Lee most and like the Redding better than the RCBS but I'm sure that's only personal taste because most dies are of good quality.

Uniquedot
June 20, 2011, 07:21 PM
Reloading for over 45 years and I'm a Kid?

Well i guess not since you have been making ammunition for as long as i am young :D

cfullgraf
June 20, 2011, 08:12 PM
Lee dies themselves are fine but the lock rings suck and the storage boxes do not fit my storage system. By the time I bring the Lee dies up to my standards, I have spent as much as for some of the other dies although not Dillon.

So, i stopped buying Lee dies over a decade ago.

I prefer Redding, but frequently my purchases are based on what I find in stock. Dillon dies have some interesting features though. I might try a set when I get another new cartridge to reload for. (22 and counting)

Duckdog
June 20, 2011, 08:29 PM
I guess I would have to ask what makes the Lee dies inferior quality. I have over 20 sets and have yet to have any issues, whatsoever. I also have a couple of sets of RCBS and Lyman and those are alos excellent dies, but I use the Lee dies most of the time.

I'm not calling anyone out, but how in the heck clould a die get a bend like a banana? Seems like the machining process would make it virtually impossible.

IMHO, buy Lee if you wish and you'll be happy.

EddieNFL
June 20, 2011, 08:41 PM
I'm not calling anyone out, but how in the heck clould a die get a bend like a banana?

Figuratively speaking, not literal. Ever measure case runout?

EddieNFL
June 20, 2011, 08:42 PM
Reloading for over 45 years and I'm a Kid?
Wish I was.

Duckdog
June 20, 2011, 10:01 PM
Truth is, about 95% of my shooting is with cast bullets, so I do not waste my time with measuring it. So my guess is, "bent like a banana", is something like .002", and not something a regular Joe like me would probably worry about?

I still think Lee are excellent dies and highl recomend them.

BullfrogKen
June 20, 2011, 10:12 PM
I've used Lee, Hornady, Lyman, and RCBS dies for both rifle and pistols.

I liked Hornady and RCBS the least.

If I can get it in a Lee die, I buy Lee. They load ammo. They load accurate ammo. And they're a great value with interesting features, like Factory Crimp and Neck size only dies, in sets that I have to buy separately in other brands.

clone
June 20, 2011, 10:15 PM
I have gotten good use out of my "disposable":rolleyes: Lee dies.

cfullgraf
June 20, 2011, 11:06 PM
I still think Lee are excellent dies and highl recomend them.

Yes, the dies themselves are fine. By the time I bring them up to my standards Lee dies aren't the bargain any more.

But, i have some idiosyncrasies when it comes to die usage and reloading.

Duckdog
June 21, 2011, 07:39 AM
We all have our quirks and vices'. There's plenty of stuff I'm more anal about on my reloading bench as well that robably would not trouble the next guy.

ranger335v
June 21, 2011, 02:28 PM
"What are your feelings on the aforementioned die sets? Specifically in .223."

My feeling is that they both work fine. In any caliber.

In some 40+ years of reloading with wide variety of tools I've gone way passed the "my favorite die brand" stage. Individual exceptions exist but on average I've learned there is no real difference in what can be done with any brand of dies. Or presses. Or scales. Etc.

oldreloader
June 21, 2011, 05:24 PM
"What are your feelings on the aforementioned die sets? Specifically in .223."

My feeling is that they both work fine. In any caliber.

In some 40+ years of reloading with wide variety of tools I've gone way passed the "my favorite die brand" stage. Individual exceptions exist but on average I've learned there is no real difference in what can be done with any brand of dies. Or presses. Or scales. Etc.
My thoughts exactly. I have Redding, RCBS, Lyman, Hornady, and Lee dies. They all work very well.

amlevin
June 21, 2011, 06:05 PM
I've got both. Both produce cartridges of the same quality.

For .223 I like the Lee over the Dillon as it's less money. After somewhere near 40k rounds of .223 reloads the Lee dies are still functioning just fine. On the Lee die the likelihood of breaking a pin when sizing/depriming a case with a crimped primer is almost nil. At the worst it will push the whole de-priming/expander assy up and out of the die.

There two appreciable differences and when using a Dillon press the Dillon die might excel. The Dillon dies are longer and you don't have to put the lock ring on the bottom of the die, under the toolhead. Dillon dies are also polished more. Lee's lack of polish doesn't seem to harm anything though as I don't notice the difference in operation or final cartridge.

Buy what you want. If you think you'll feel better spending more money then do so. If you want to save then get the Lee dies. They make great ammo.

giggitygiggity
June 23, 2011, 12:28 PM
I only have Lee dies. I buy the Pacemaker dies and Deluxe carbide pistol dies. They are of excellent construction and have near perfect machining. For a fraction of the price of just about every other brand, I can't see why anyone wouldn't get the Lee dies.

Ian Sean
June 23, 2011, 12:58 PM
I have had no problems with any of my Lee dies, and I have a few of just about every brand.

I do agree the internal finish can be a little rough, I have found the Lee's do benefit with a polishing with Flitz and a shotgun bore mop, other than that no problems.

Lee is the only brand I have never had an issue with a decapping pin.

johnnierock
June 23, 2011, 03:29 PM
I was at a gun show a few months back and was looking for .223 dies. I asked a gentleman that sold specifically reloading equipment if he had any. He said no but asked me a question, if I was using it for a automatic or bolt. When I told him auto he suggested to use small based dies due to them having less issues chambering. So I did some research in many forums and found he was steering me in the right direction. Some people said it didn't make any difference but I found a post that matched my particular rifle and went with the RCBS SB dies and have not had any issues.

Enco
June 23, 2011, 05:43 PM
I used Lee dies for years and thought they were fine UNTIL I tried Hornady
dies. Man what a difference in quality, and their "zip" spindle decaping pin
is GREAT.
Try them, you'll love them, plus you get 100 bullets free through the end of 2011 with the rebate.

Enco

Red Cent
June 23, 2011, 06:44 PM
"Yes, the dies themselves are fine. By the time I bring them up to my standards Lee dies aren't the bargain any more."

I am seriously curious what you do to a die. Really. Please explain.

cfullgraf
June 23, 2011, 07:13 PM
"Yes, the dies themselves are fine. By the time I bring them up to my standards Lee dies aren't the bargain any more."

I am seriously curious what you do to a die. Really. Please explain.

The Lee lock rings suck. They do not clamp to the die. Without a clamping lock ring, the die setting is lost when removed from the press and at the least requires confirming the setting when re-installed. (Some folks will dispute this but the bottom line is with no positive lock, the setting can be easily lost.)

So, I replaced all the lock rings on the Lee dies. Of course, if you use the Lee Breech Lock, or Turrets, the Lee lock rings are fine. Just set the die and hawg down on the lock ring against the Breech lock bushing or turret. Of course, you are then buying extra stuff for the dies and increasing the cost of your die set.

I do not care for the Lee storage boxes. I prefer RCBS or Redding. Works with my storage. My choice.

So, by the time i buy lock rings and storage box as well as pay extra shipping, I have come close to the cost of other dies that come set up the way i like. Also, I was finding difficulty getting lock rings as many vendors would be out and i would have to compromise or wait. Time I would rather not waste.

i could drill and tap the Lee lock rings for a set screw, but i really prefer split lock rings.

My choices and my idiosyncrasies. Adequately explained?

ranger335v
June 23, 2011, 07:16 PM
"Lee vs Dillon dies -

Your ammo will never know the difference. Some brands have more squared mouths so they can size a bit further down the case than a more rounded mouth would do. All a rounded mouth can accomplish is to let misaligned cases enter the die easier -and "banannas" come out.

There are several slight variations in lock rings. Each design has some fans and some detractors but I can't see any rational logic in demeaning a whole die brand because of an individual user's lock ring preference. ?? IMHO, Lee's rubber lock rings are superior to the set-screw types like RCBS uses but I don't slime my RCBS dies because of it. (I DO change the steel set screws to brass tho.)



" I fyou use them on a regular basis for 15-20 years, you will find the Lee dies scrap aluminum."

Goodness. I've used my first sets of Lee dies for some 30 years and they continue to be steel, exactly the same as the Lyman steel dies I bought in '65; maybe I'm not doing something "right"? But, even if they should turn into alum after 15-20 of regular use I'd still be satisfied considering the purchase price and get another set --- IF that steel-to-aluminum transition actually happened! ;)

mallc
June 23, 2011, 08:39 PM
I save an hour-a-day by not getting involved in such controversial discussions. This time I fell off the wagon.

They all work just fine. When buying new, I buy Redding or CH4D because they are American made. Can any other brand make that claim?

Scott

Duckdog
June 23, 2011, 09:20 PM
I thought Lee were made in Wisconsin. In fact they're only about 2 hrs from me.

clone
June 24, 2011, 07:48 PM
Can any other brand make that claim?

Lee is made In the US.

clutch
June 24, 2011, 07:56 PM
I have mostly Lee, with RCBS, Lyman, and a T/C die set to add to the mix. I don't like the lock ring system on Lee but that is all I don't like about them.

CLutch

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