Which Die brand do you prefer?


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Wildbillz
October 7, 2011, 01:54 PM
Hi All
I am thinking about picking up some spair reloading dies as trade stock. If you were looking at a gunshow table and had the chose to pick from, RCBS, Lee, one of the other brands which would you prefer and why?

Thanks for your in put
WB

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ColtPythonElite
October 7, 2011, 01:59 PM
I have RCBS, Hornady, and Lee on my bench. I bought the first two before I discovered Lee. I like Lee dies and really like their price.

Uniquedot
October 7, 2011, 02:10 PM
How is it possible to have a poll on dies and not have Lyman listed? BTW i find Lee dies better for most, but not all of my loading.

rcmodel
October 7, 2011, 02:15 PM
Using dies for trading stocK?
Now that right there is a new one on me!

If I were doing that I would always pick older RCBS dies.
So I voted RCBS. But Redding should not be ignored either.
But I have about as many sets of new Lee's as old RCBS.

The quality of RCBS & Redding dies back in the day was second to none.
And used $60 MSRP dies are always going to be worth more in a trade then used $30 MSRP dies.

rc

loadedround
October 7, 2011, 02:25 PM
The best dies for use on a single station press are the Redding dies bar none. For a progressive press, Dillon stands alone. My opinion after 40+ years of reloading.

thomis
October 7, 2011, 03:12 PM
I have a hard time discerning quality differences between brands. I use them all.
But I do think RCBS and Redding customer service is better than Lyman.

cfullgraf
October 7, 2011, 03:19 PM
I prefer Redding dies. But have RCBS and Hornady as well.

When I start loading a new cartridge, if Redding dies are not available, I'll buy one of the other two to get me in business.

rsrocket1
October 7, 2011, 03:30 PM
Lee dies are far and away the best value for your money, but just like a Hi Point or S&W Sigma, they aren't the best items for commodity trading. Their best value is to the one who is using it.

USSR
October 7, 2011, 03:53 PM
Anything but Lee. Most of my dies are Reddings, but I have several RCBS and Lyman dies as well.

Don

rikman
October 7, 2011, 05:43 PM
Redding

sellersm
October 7, 2011, 05:48 PM
Overall I'd say Redding. But it all depends. Some of the RCBS dies are useless for various handgun calibers and functions. I generally mix-n-match the sets for various purposes.

For only price, Lee wins hands-down!

A Historian
October 7, 2011, 06:40 PM
I have Lee, RCBS, and Lyman.

If you forced me to pick, I'd probably say RCBS... But, I just know that I would not buy Lee again.

Ala Dan
October 7, 2011, 06:42 PM
R.C.B.S.

BYJO4
October 7, 2011, 07:50 PM
There are 3 or 4 excellent die manufactures. Since I started with RCBS over 30 years ago, I have stayed with them. Excellent quality and customer service. There have been several times that I needed replacement part and they were very quick in sending it to me.

Master Blaster
October 7, 2011, 08:21 PM
Redding for rifle / single stage, Dillon for progressive press.

I Have some Hornady dies in my LNL and I have already broken parts on them that had to be replaced, not so for my dillon dies in my 550 which have loaded 100x as many rounds.

JMHO YMMV

ranger335v
October 7, 2011, 08:48 PM
"I have a hard time discerning quality differences between brands. I use them all."

Ditto. In fact, I've found NO consistant difference in effect by brand alone. Features change some functions, a little, but that's a personal preference thing having little to do with what can be done with the dies. Some are a lot more costly and prettier than others but the ammo does't care about that!

On average, I find as much difference between dies of the same brand as between brands. And, after some 46 years of reloading and currently have some 50+ dies sets in about ten brands in some 30 calibers (all the current brands except Dillon, some no longer made, and have owned several more sets over the years) that I have actually measured the output from both sizers and seaters, I think I have a solid base to say that.

Only way I can suggest anyone can get a 'better die set' is to buy as many sets as possible for whatever cartridge and measure what each die does; keep the best single individual dies and sell the rest; you sure can't do it by buying your dies in a special color box! But, if it's any comfort to you, you can also be sure the output of any average die set will do very good work if you do your part.

Snowbandit
October 7, 2011, 09:01 PM
I voted Hornady because they are the best value for the money when you take the free box of bullets they give you into account. RCBS, Dillon, Lymon and Redding also make quality dies. They're just more expensive. I'll buy any of those five brands.

rcmodel
October 7, 2011, 09:05 PM
But, the OP's question wasn't which was the best brand of new dies to reload with yourself.
Or which was the best value when you buy new dies.

The question was, which brand of used dies you find on a gun show table would make the best trading stock later on.

I still say it is older RCBS, or Redding.

rc

S&W610
October 7, 2011, 09:31 PM
After 40 years or reloading and thousands of rounds, my wife and I both shoot IPSC,ICORE,ACTION STEEL, AND 3 GUN.
My rock chucker has RCBS dies. I have several sets of Dillon dies sitting in boxes on the shelf. All the tool heads for my 550 run Lee dies.

beatledog7
October 7, 2011, 10:12 PM
Any brand in calibers for which dies are no longer made or are hard to find or for which ammo is no longer factory loaded.

When the factories have all stopped making ammo for your favorite old 303 British bolt action, and all the dies are snapped up or outrageously expensive, you won't very much care what make the dies are when you finally get a chance to snag some.

gamestalker
October 7, 2011, 10:45 PM
It really depends on what I'm loading. For my high powered rifle loads I like to use RCBS. I have been using that brand since I first started loading metalic many years ago and have never had a single issue with them.

Now for handgun, I like Lee because of the powder die/belling die. I don't care much for their resizing die though, mostly because of the push up depriming rod.

HOWARD J
October 7, 2011, 11:05 PM
I use Lee turret press
If I don't like a die in a set--I replace it with another Mfr.
If you check my turrets you will find more than one Mfr. in most of my turrets.

StoneColdKiller
October 7, 2011, 11:17 PM
All I have ever used is RCBS... Runs in the family!

A-FIXER
October 7, 2011, 11:26 PM
I attempted to give my allegiance to Hornady but after many broken Zip Spindles, I am phasing them out for RCBS dies and Lee dead length seaters never been happier.

Romeo 33 Delta
October 8, 2011, 01:56 AM
Lee for the "normal" calibers they offer and for their collet die for ALL my calibers, even many of them custom.

RCBS, Hornady, Redding for calibers Lee can't supply as "stock".

CH-4D for ALL my custom calibers and wildcats.

Twmaster
October 8, 2011, 02:14 AM
I voted Lee. First because their value is hard to beat. Second because most of what I have is Lee and I've never had an issue that was caused by the dies.

I'll buy any brand of dies if a deal is to be had or I cannot find that cartridge in Lee.

I have Lee, RCBS and Lyman dies.

FROGO207
October 8, 2011, 08:11 AM
For your reasons I would think Lee would be your choice as well. I have some type of 6 brands of dies. They all work well for that matter but for the money invested whether purchasing new or used you would have more choices available for the same $$$ invested if you purchased an assortment of Lee dies IMHO. If you are going to do that sort of thing look for other used gear and get it cheap before the time you are going to sell the stuff and really max out your selection. I have done this as well at a local gun show and made out well in the end. YMMV

Scott_R
October 8, 2011, 08:49 AM
Nobody has mentioned Forster dies. I voted "Other".

Six months ago, I replaced my RCBS X-dies (after some research) with the Forster Ultra set for .223.

Now I want to replace my 30-06 dies. As far as rifle dies go, the Forster Ultra set is my first choice.

Full disclosure: I've never tried Hornady, or Redding, but considered both when I was in the market.

EddieNFL
October 8, 2011, 10:28 AM
Redding, Forster (toss up)
Hornady
Dillon
.
.
.
.
RCBS
Lyman

wankerjake
October 8, 2011, 10:41 AM
I use Lee for (most) pistol, RCBS for rifle. I will eventually try Redding dies, just hasn't happened yet. I have a set of Forster benchrest dies for my 270 WSM and I dig those. Don't know how necessary they are, but couldn't pass on them at $60 shipped.

jcwit
October 8, 2011, 11:15 AM
Any of those listed. However I have more Lee than the others just because I like value over price.

ranger335v
October 8, 2011, 11:31 AM
Lee for equal (or better) function, any of the others for cosmetics.

Well, except, sometimes, Forster/Redding for rifle but only then because of the straight-line seater design, not "tolerance." Fact is, some conventional seaters load as straight as possible and it can't get any better than that no matter what die we use.

hAkron
October 8, 2011, 11:37 AM
I like lee dies because the price and because they include the shell holder. RCBS are excellent quality. I like Redding's Competition seating dies. I am starting to develop a fondness for Hornady dies as well. I like their lock rings, and with the free bullet promotion the are running it brings the cost of the dies down somewhere between Lee and RCBS. The best thing about the Hornady dies is that they still fit in the box when you install the LnL collars on them. The seating dies are very nice also and you can add a micro meter adjustment to them.

Scott_R
October 8, 2011, 11:38 AM
A micrometer seater die is much more than cosmetic. If Lee makes one, I am not aware of it.

aguila
October 8, 2011, 12:15 PM
redding for rifle,dillon on pregressive.

Redneck with a 40
October 8, 2011, 12:33 PM
All of my dies are Lee, haven't had a problem with any of them, excellent performance value for the money.

rodinal220
October 8, 2011, 01:57 PM
I prefer Dillon dies for all normal handgun cartridges,308,30-06,223 they did make dies in 303 Brit and 30-30.Then I use Redding dies and for oddballs like 577 Snider 577-450 MH is use Lee and their .50BMG dies have worked well.

ranger335v
October 8, 2011, 03:49 PM
"A micrometer seater die is much more than cosmetic. If Lee makes one, I am not aware of it."

No, Lee does not, but those are just another feature that some like and some don't care. IF most people thought they were very helpful and wanted them badly enough to pay for 'em all seater dies would have them. Fact is, all any micro seater spindle does is make it a little easier for some people to achieve a given OAL but that can be done just as well without the micro heads. And mix heads add exactly nothing to the quality of ammo that can be made with the die and that was the my point.

Scott_R
October 8, 2011, 04:00 PM
Then perhaps you were looking for a word other than 'cosmetic'. I can only respond to what you actually type, not what you meant when you typed it.

P-32
October 8, 2011, 07:56 PM
Scott, what Ranger typed is something I agree with.

I use RCBS for all of my pistol stuff. For rifle it could be Hornaday, Forester, Redding and RCBS.

I had one Lee carbide 38/357 die set. I gave it away after using a RCBS varbide die. The RCBS was smoth as silk compaired to thew Lee. The Lee felt like rock crushing was going on in my press. I also found RCBS shell holders not as sloppy with machining as the Lee's.

Scott_R
October 8, 2011, 09:14 PM
P-32,

I think you need to reread what Ranger typed, or maybe I do.

Looks to me that he is saying Lee is as good or better than the others, and the only thing the others have over the Lee is cosmetic.

Is that not what it says?

RE-15
October 8, 2011, 09:51 PM
I have Pacific brand in .243 what happened to them? Did they go out of buisness or get bought out?

rcmodel
October 8, 2011, 09:56 PM
Pacific was bought by Hornady in 1971.

In 1983, Pacific reloading Tools were renamed Hornady Reloading Tools

rc

Hondo 60
October 9, 2011, 12:43 AM
90% of my dies are Lee.
Price was a deciding factor.

Once I had experience with them, I thought they did a fine job.
And just kept buying Lee.

RhinoDefense
October 9, 2011, 01:09 AM
Redding and only Redding.

Arkansas Paul
October 9, 2011, 01:16 AM
I voted before I really read the initial post.
I voted for Lee because I fee that they are very good for the money, and I like their lock ring better than dealing with the stupid little brass allen screws.
But as rcmodel said, the more expensive the die, the more they'll be worth in a trade.

EddieNFL
October 9, 2011, 09:30 AM
Looks to me that he is saying Lee is as good or better than the others, and the only thing the others have over the Lee is cosmetic.

I tried two sets of Lee dies, but they didn't meet my standards.

I'm sure folks get acceptable results with Lee dies, but IMO there are better choices available

Fatelvis
October 9, 2011, 11:47 AM
Redding or Dillon

jcwit
October 9, 2011, 12:02 PM
I tried two sets of Lee dies, but they didn't meet my standards.

Guess I have low standards.

mnhntr
October 9, 2011, 03:53 PM
I like RCBS dies but I also like the Lee FCD. The Lee sizing dies I own are junk.

CraigC
October 9, 2011, 05:00 PM
Looks to me that he is saying Lee is as good or better than the others, and the only thing the others have over the Lee is cosmetic.
I never found that to be the case. I bought some Lee dies and my overwhelming initial impression was that they were "cheap". I returned them, ordered more RCBS dies and never looked back. Now maybe they work just as well, maybe they don't. Fact is they didn't instill much confidence that I had bought the best I could afford. I'll probably never know. I know that folks will take exception to this statement and that is fine. Some folks just can't be objective about that stuff.

jcwit
October 9, 2011, 05:51 PM
Different strokes for different folks. I prefer value over $$$$ spent, main reason I have no mortage on my home, and purchase all vehicles with cash, yup even the new ones, and no credit card woes. Life is good.

CraigC
October 9, 2011, 06:13 PM
I prefer value over $$$$ spent...
As do I. It's funny because you can never make any type of disparaging comments about anything perceived as "cheap", without protagonists of said "cheap" product chiming in with all manner of condescending comments. Because apparently you can never spend more to get more. You're only buying a name. Or status. Or you have money to burn. I swear I run into more people who are snobbish about their cheap stuff than about their BMW, Aston Martin or Westley Richards.

cacoltguy
October 9, 2011, 06:46 PM
I use RCBS for my rifle shooting and have been very happy. I am kind of surprised to see Lee dies taking the lead in this vote. I remember when I got started with reloading, I asked a lot of the serious local shooters at my club what brand they recommended. Almost all of them said you can't really go wrong with any of the major brands (Hornady, RCBS, Lyman, Forster etc.)....except Lee. They all said to avoid Lee if possible unless budget was of the utmost concern. Maybe its unfounded, I don't know but dies aren't really a a huge expense in the reloading world considering how much use you get out of them and I decided to spent a few more bucks for piece of mind. As far as using them for trade, if a lot of people feel the same towards Lee then you are better off going with the other brands that are pretty universally accepted as being of high quality.

EddieNFL
October 9, 2011, 08:27 PM
I am kind of surprised to see Lee dies taking the lead in this vote.

I'm not. It's all about demographics.

Hondo 60
October 9, 2011, 08:49 PM
I wish the posters would explain their selection.
To say Lee, or RCBS or Redding or whatever is fine, but it doesn't explain why.

I voted Lee & said price was my first issue.
When they worked fine, I saw no reason buy more expensive dies.

But if there's a reason, other than brand loyalty or brand snobbery (anti-Lee), I'd like to hear it.
I think others would too

I'm not trying to insult those who buy more expensive dies.
Just trying to learn why. ;)

Scott_R
October 9, 2011, 09:04 PM
I wish the posters would explain their selection.
To say Lee, or RCBS or Redding or whatever is fine, but it doesn't explain why.

I voted Lee & said price was my first issue.
When they worked fine, I saw no reason buy more expensive dies.

But if there's a reason, other than brand loyalty or brand snobbery (anti-Lee), I'd like to hear it.
I think others would too

I'm not trying to insult those who buy more expensive dies.
Just trying to learn why. ;)

Good point.

I like the Forster Ultra die set because of the way the expander ball slips back through the case effortlessly compared to the RCBS X-dies I previously used for .223 Remington.

I also am very fond of the micrometer seating die, as once I have started a bullet with the die, I can simply measure it's oal, and do some simple subtraction and dial in the correct setting to achieve my target OAL.

Additionally, once I have that setting for a particular bullet, there's no guess work next time I load that same bullet. Just look in my notes and set the die accordingly. It saves me time. I like that.

And yes, they cost more than Lee, but they're worth it to me.

USSR
October 9, 2011, 09:27 PM
OK, there are 2 reasons why I won't buy Lee dies (actually I have one in .30 Carbine and would gladly trade it to a Lee-lover for the same of a different brand): 1. I HATE that stupid lock ring that doesn't lock in place, and 2. I don't like the way the depriming pin attaches.

Don

mnhntr
October 9, 2011, 10:52 PM
I wish the posters would explain their selection.
To say Lee, or RCBS or Redding or whatever is fine, but it doesn't explain why.

I voted Lee & said price was my first issue.
When they worked fine, I saw no reason buy more expensive dies.

But if there's a reason, other than brand loyalty or brand snobbery (anti-Lee), I'd like to hear it.
I think others would too

I'm not trying to insult those who buy more expensive dies.
Just trying to learn why.

My reason for liking RCBS sizing dies over Lee is the Lee dies I have bought have been very poorly made. The threads are stripped or the de-capping pin slpips because the top nut won't tighten enough. I have never had a problem with RCBS dies and I like their design better. I do like the Lee FCD alot.

lightman
October 9, 2011, 11:06 PM
The title to this thread and the content contradict each other.For trade,or resale,the more expensive dies would be what to look at.My personal favorites are RCBS,Redding,and Dillon. Lightman

jcwit
October 9, 2011, 11:13 PM
The threads are stripped

That I would like to see. Post a picture.

the de-capping pin slpips because the top nut won't tighten enough.

Get a longer wrench, never saw this problem either. Actually they are made to slip before breaking the pin, thats why they are made that way.

mnhntr
October 10, 2011, 12:07 AM
Quote:
The threads are stripped
That I would like to see. Post a picture.

Quote:
the de-capping pin slpips because the top nut won't tighten enough.
Get a longer wrench, never saw this problem either. Actually they are made to slip before breaking the pin, thats why they are made that way.

Since I am obviously being called out because your favorite company could never make a mistake here it is. Straight from Lee this is how I recieved my 45acp dies. And I know how the dies work. They just don't work well.

jcwit
October 10, 2011, 12:54 AM
Contact Lee with this, its obvious there has been an error made by the manufacturer, things such as this happen, remember the Ford Pinto fiasco to name just one. This is why manufactures have warrenty policies.

BTW I do not consider Lee as my favorite company and I have reloading equipment from all of the major brands. From Lee all the way to Dillion and Sinclare International.

CraigC
October 10, 2011, 01:04 AM
I'm not trying to insult those who buy more expensive dies.
Yet you use the term "snob"???
or brand snobbery....

Montana Griz
October 10, 2011, 01:40 AM
If I were doing that I would always pick older RCBS dies.

But I have about as many sets of new Lee's as old RCBS.

The quality of RCBS & Redding dies back in the day was second to none.


rc
Do I understand correctly that RCBS Dies That I bought new between 1965 & 1980 are of a higher "over-all quality" than those of recent mfg? Thus worth more on the "resale market?.... Of the 6 that I don't use any more....2 are in the Green cardboard boxes--the others in the plastic boxes ........(26/06; 30/06; 30/30; 300 WBY & .357 Mag & .45 Long Colt )

sig220mw
October 10, 2011, 06:25 PM
I have had good success with rcbs and redding. Tried hornady but was not satisfied.

I have one gripe about the rcbs dies though and it is that sorry brass set screw. I usually buy other brand locking rings to replace them.

Master Blaster
October 10, 2011, 08:03 PM
Argueing about which reloading dies are best is like argueing with your wife even when you are right you lose.

EddieNFL
October 10, 2011, 08:24 PM
Argueing about which reloading dies are best is like argueing with your wife even when you are right you lose.
Not even close.

johnjohn
October 13, 2011, 06:19 PM
I have RCBS,Lyman,Lee and one set of Hornady they're all good.

thorn-
October 13, 2011, 11:42 PM
Nearly all my dies are Hornady, and I like them just fine. My only other die is an RCBS powder cop; the lock ring / nut to be of lower quality than on the Hornady. Of course on this particular die, hard-locking isnt THAT crucial (as it would be with seating), but I imagine the rings are the same on their other dies too.

I think the micrometer insert is very much a time-saver and definitely worth the money.

I have tried a borrowed set of 44 mag Lee dies. Though I was thankful for the generosity of the fellow than loaned them to me, I didn't find them to be as ...refined? as Hornady dies, in terms of features and finish.

And FWIW, i dont' consider myself a budget shopper nor a big spender. I buy based on what I want from a product; price only comes into play when I start wishing for one of those nice precision Redding seating dies. ;)

thorn

Deavis
October 13, 2011, 11:43 PM
Redding and Dillon are missing?

redbullitt
October 14, 2011, 03:22 PM
For me I like forster. Great bang for the buck. Redding of course is top notch; GREAT customer service as well.

Out of what you listed I like the lee.

mnhntr
October 19, 2011, 03:14 PM
Contact Lee with this, its obvious there has been an error made by the manufacturer, things such as this happen, remember the Ford Pinto fiasco to name just one. This is why manufactures have warrenty policies.
Called Lee today and the nice woman on the phone said to send it in and they would send me a new one. Good customer service.

PO2Hammer
October 19, 2011, 05:43 PM
Redding.
Have some RCBS too.
Most of my Lee dies have been retired.

luis7
October 20, 2011, 04:42 AM
I like Lyman dies.
They are the best.
Greetings.

sugarmaker
October 20, 2011, 08:38 AM
For "collector value" older RCBS comp dies (in the wooden box), Forster, Redding are the pre-64's of the die world. Not that they are that much better than new stuff, they just hold value well.

Newer dies: FL sizer about anyone is the same, haven't tried Dillon I hear they are better but no experience. Some sizers have a tapered mouth for better progressive feed but then they don't size all the way down the case, tradeoff. Seater dies: Lee is the worst, Forster BR's the best IMO. For .308 and longer on a progressive RCBS comp seaters allow bullet feed from the top of the press, pretty handy.

Uniquedot
October 20, 2011, 10:39 AM
I like Lyman dies.
They are the best.
Greetings.

It seems that of the Lyman "type" of dies people prefer RCBS which are basically just copies of Lyman dies which are Ideal :) Hornady sizing and seating dies are upgraded Lee copies. Redding standard dies are better finished copies of Lyman & RCBS type dies. No other company that's still with us is as rich in die making history as Lyman. I use mostly Lee, Lyman, and RCBS with a Forster thrown in on occasion. They all get the job done regardless of what i paid for them.

Maximumbob54
October 21, 2011, 08:59 AM
I always love the Lee bashing. I have bought RCBS, Redding, and borrowed several others and I still prefer to buy Lee dies when I need a new set. Once I figured out what the pistol FCD did I started to like it. I LOVE the rifle FCD. Now I find that Ranch Dog sells custom ordered rifle versions of the FCD for revolver ammo and I may buy some of those for the cast bullet loads I make. Lee gets a lot of my money for several reasons and it's nice that high cost isn't one of them. I even tried a set of Lee RGB rifle dies and while I don't own a set I would buy them if price were really an issue. They made my very first .30-30 loads just fine. I just made some fantastic .300 Win Mag loads with Lee Pacesetter dies. So I would say I would enjoy trading for Lee dies since I have done it several times already. I just traded my way into some Makarov dies from Lee a few weeks back. Now I just need the Lee 9mm Mak mold for some bullets!!!

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