Lee vs. RCBS dies for .357?


March 1, 2013, 02:23 PM
I ordered Lee dies for my new .357, but the backorder date has slipped from last Friday to May! As of a couple of days ago, the LGS had RCBS dies. Any reason NOT to just get those and cancel the order for the Lees?

At this point, the $25 difference in price is not looking so significant, vs. shooting only factory ammo for a couple of months. :cuss:

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March 1, 2013, 02:25 PM
I have both, they both work....Everything is slow right now. Can't go wrong either way, unless you are impatient..

Good luck,

March 1, 2013, 02:26 PM
Only reason I can think of is you will need to order a #6 shell holder to go with the RCBS dies.

Personally, I much prefer RCBS dies to Lee dies.


March 1, 2013, 02:27 PM
I am a Lee Lover but May!?!?! Yea I'd be picking up the RCBS dies.

March 1, 2013, 02:55 PM
What is "patient?" Never heard of it!

March 1, 2013, 02:57 PM
Will a Lee #6 shellholder work? I have one of those.

You sure you don't like RCBS just because you both have RC in the name? :)

March 1, 2013, 02:59 PM
Lee #1 fits .38/.357.

Lee #6 fits 9mm Luger.


March 1, 2013, 03:02 PM
yep Id get the rcbs dies

March 1, 2013, 03:43 PM
I would wait a week. I wouldn't wait two months.

I'm too much of a rookie to be able to discern any quality difference between Lee and RCBS. But I do like that the Lees come with a shell holder, and by the time I buy a couple of locking bushings to go in my lee hand press, I'm pretty close to to the same price anyway. (Some people don't like the Lee rubber gasket lock-nut system, I don't mind it, I just like locking nuts better.)

March 1, 2013, 03:54 PM
I really like the powder through expander die from lee, and need a shell holder. So when I tried a redding die set for 38, I found myself soon after buying a lee 38 die set too. I now use the lee shell holder, lee carbide sizer, lee powder expander, rcbs powder lock out, and redding seat/crimp die on my 4 hole lee turret press.

I recently broke my rcbs 223 fl sizer die. (sneaky berdan brass cannot be resized with a die designed for boxer brass :o ) Long story short, RCBS customer service impressed me. If the choice is wait two months or buy an RCBS 38 die set- I would have bought the RCBS die set already. After calling RCBS cs, I'd definitely buy the RCBS die set first.

Holding the LEE dies and comparing to RCBS dies, the RCBS dies give the sense and feel of a better quality product. Do new production RCBS dies come with separate seater plugs for wadcutters and round nose? LEE definitely does not.

March 1, 2013, 04:04 PM
My .45 RCBS dies came with both plugs. About a year ago.

March 1, 2013, 04:18 PM
I have used both, but I actually prefer the Lee because it has a powder thru die. Other than that, the Lee set is a bit less costly, but both are good dies and will get the job done.

March 1, 2013, 07:05 PM
Both are will do the job. For what it is worth, all my dies are RCBS.

March 1, 2013, 07:23 PM
All brands of reloading equipment works, that's how they all manage to stay in business.

March 2, 2013, 12:27 AM
I bought the Lee powder through dies to go with my RCBS dies. Then I replaced all my RCBS dies with Lee does.

March 2, 2013, 12:33 AM

On the bullet seater die, mine had the flat plug, I was loading some Hornady bullets with the plastic orange plug inserted, it kept mashing the pointed part. So, I got my drill and inserted a larger than needed bit, "GENTLY" touched the flat part of the seat part, drilled out what I thought was enough, it worked !! No more flat points, plus, loading flat pointed bullets, they never even know !

March 2, 2013, 12:35 AM
I own both brands and each work fine. However, I now only buy Lee due to cost.

March 2, 2013, 12:05 PM
I own both brands and both do a good job. I kind of think the RCBS has an edge on Lee but not much. The one gripe I have about Lee is the O-ring on the adjusting ring. It's a pretty easy fix and considering the difference in cost I don't mind it. I drilled and tapped all the rings on my Lee dies.
Then I ground the dished end of the allen set screws flat so it wouldn't booger the die threads and now the rings stay in place after adjustment just like RCBS dies.

March 2, 2013, 12:26 PM
BUY RCBS! Sure Lee and RCBS are dueling it out of top honors in the die department here, but that is due to cost. If it was get RCBS NOW or wait two months for Lee, I'd have nothing but RCBS (well, OK, and Dillon, Redding, Forster, Lyman, Herters, Hornady/Pacific, etc.)

March 2, 2013, 02:09 PM
I usually buy what was available locally the day I needed them. Because of that I have some of several brands. I find them all to be good.

I do not like the O-ring type locks on the Lee. I have got some rings from other brands to replace some of the Lee rings. I like to have a solid lock on the expanding, and seating and crimping dies, so when used with a single stage press, it will stay in adjustment taking it out and putting it back in next time you want to use it. Saves time on the setup. If you were putting the dies in a turret plate and leaving them there, it would not matter. The O=ring locks hold fine once adjusted, but not if taken out of the press or plate.

So I load 44 Spl and 44 Mag with the same dies. If I am switching over, the dies have to be adjusted any way. Haven't gained a thing. I had an old set of 44 dies that did not come with the carbide sizer, so I bought a set of RCBS 44 dies with a carbide sizer, now I can set up the other dies one for Spl and one for Mag, and avoid the constant adjustment when switching.

Same story with the 38/357 dies.

I do definitely like the carbide sizers for straight walled cartridges. Any brand.

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