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Brand names for reloading dies... does it matter?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by wacki, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. James2

    James2 Well-Known Member

    I have used C&H, RCBS, Lee, Herters, and Redding.

    All have been satisfactory.
  2. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    I have to admit that I like being able to take apart the Dillon dies for cleaning with out having to change settings.

    But is that worth the added expense?
    Not for me.

    I have 10 sets of Lee dies, 1 RBCS & 1 Dillon.
    I don't think the RCBS or Dillon dies are worth any more than Lee.
  3. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I solved the problem to my satisfaction guys. I mostly buy Lee dies. For the price they can't be beat. I order a set of deluxe dies and a set of RGB dies at the same time.:) Still cost less that the nearest competitors basic dies. For handgun dies I buy Lee deluxe die sets. FWIW I also own RCBS, Forester, Bair, Herters, Pacific, and Lyman sets and they all work fine as well. I still like my Lee dies best. Or you can pay more up front once and get lifetime warantee dies.
  4. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    You guys do realise this thread is a month old?

    Just another thread that Legion489 has dug up to try to start something. Taking words out of context & quoting is not bring truthful.
  5. fiftybmg

    fiftybmg member

    Each brand has specific features, some you may find more usefull.

    1. Some bullet seaters don't have a lock ring on the seating plug. It's possible for the screw to turn itself out a few 1/1000 over one reloading session.

    2. Hornady seating dies have a guide sleeve, that helps the bullet alignment straight during seating.

    3. Some bullet seaters don't crimp

    4. Some bullet seaters do not support the case wall fully while seating, causing case bulges.

    5. Some brands of sizing die size a bit smaller than others. [ RCBS small base is one ]

    6. RCBS X-dies limit case length on full-length resizing [ you should look at this if you reload .223 for semi-auto, or if you find case trimming a boring job ]

    7. For bottleneck brass, you can get a neck sizer only , instead of a full-length sizer

    8. Some brands offer a micrometer measure on their seating dies

    9. Pistol sizing dies can have either carbide or nitride sizing rings

    10. Some decapping dies have replaceable decapping pins

    11. Some decapping dies have the pin and rod in one piece

    Over time, you'll find you prefer certain features, or dislike certain others, and you'll end up with specific die sets or combinations of die sets that best suit for what you reload.
  6. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I'm still a bit of a nob, but I would gladly steer anyone to Lee for pistol dies. They come with a shell holder, and for .45s I have added the factory Crimp Die to my RCBS carbide set anyway.

    For rifle cases, I would still steer people to RCBS, I have found they are less likely to be sticky and difficult. (I do still have Lee 30-06 and .270 dies still in the box I haven't tried yet.)
  7. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Well-Known Member

    THE LAST TIME I COUNTED about ten years ago I had used 28 different brands of loading dies. ONLY one set would not load good viable ammunition as they were received. It took a bit to figure out what and where to cut steel but it was easily fixed.
    AT the same time I counted 135 die sets in service at that moment in time.
    And so it goes...
  8. engineermike

    engineermike Well-Known Member

    I like what Otto said about the warranty. Now that being said, just buy a set of dies and try them out if you don't like them you can always sell or trade them for something else. I don't see too many used sets out there for sale that don't sell for a reasonable price. (Except for nowadays but this should pass) You may be like most that have several different die sets for the same caliber rifle or pistol.
  9. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Well-Known Member

    For me it did.

    Two years ago my Dad gave me his old RCBS 30-06 dies, probably produced in the late 70's. Would take three seperate depressions on the press handle before they FL sized and with significant pressure. Why I simply do not know, cleaned them, inspected them but to no avail. My brother had two sets from the same period, the .303 used to shave the cases while the 7mm used to collapse the neck (he is an experienced reloader) so it was not die setup. We can only put it down to there being a factory problem late in the 70's as RCBS is a great brand.

    Bought a set of Hornady, even with the FL sizer all the way down the cases were still a lttle tight in the chamber. Like the bullets seating die though. Gave the set away to someone less fortunate than me and he is dead happy with them.

    Bought a set of LEE and no problems.

    My chamber in my CZ550 30-06 I think may be very tight and was not tolerant of cases that were not sized to the bottom end of the spec. I think that conincidently the LEE's just happen to fit my particular chamber best.

    My experience hardly makes for being a statistic but it is my experience none the less.

    The next set I bought was for my 6.5mm and here I bought LEE and no problems although I am sure most other brands would have worked.
  10. KingMedicine

    KingMedicine Well-Known Member

    Well. From my experience, lee makes great pistol dies... But I've had horrid luck with lee rifle dies. In rifles, hornady has been my bread and butter. I love them.
  11. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Well-Known Member

    When I started shooting a little o er 2 years ago I was unsure if I would be successful in reloading or would enjoy it so I bought a Lee 50th Aniversary kit for $89.00 and dies in 9mm, 40 S&W, and .45ACP.
    I enjoyed reloading enough to buy a Hornady LnL AP Progressive setup and a bunch more dies.

    I had no problem with Lee pistol dies so I bought a set of their .308 Win. dies and had great success with them.
    I also own Hornady dies for each caliber that I reload on the progressive press.
    I find that the Hornady dies are deeper and fit that press well.

    I own a couple of sets of RCBS dies for calibers that I didn't find in Lee dies in stock when I needed them.

    As for what I think are the best rifle dies I will go with Redding for a couple of reasons.
    Micrometer seating dies for when you are seating more than 1 type of bullet and you want to be able to go back to a different seating depth.
    Neck bushing dies for the most repeatable neck tension with match grade ammo.

    I still love posting this 100y photo which reminds me that if I do everything else right it doesn't matter whose dies I use.
    That's (3) 5 shot groups and a pair in the lower right target.

  12. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    I actually prefer Lee dies and have shot many one hole groups with ammo loaded with them. Now, I don't have experience with all the different brands, but I can't tell a difference in RCBS and Lee as far as accuracy. The RCBS do seem a little more refined, but that means nothing to me. The Lee dies are great. I love the easy seating depth adjustment knob, the powder through expanding dies for handgun stuff, and the lockrings (I know, most people hate them).

    I'm not a Lee fanboy either. Their equipment is serviceable, but I generally prefer RCBS or Lyman as far as presses and tools go. Their dies however, are my favorite.
  13. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "If you need one hole groups, then maybe the more expensive dies will give you tighter tolerances. "

    Not so, they all make dies to SAAMI tolerances. The tolerences are a range, not a spot figure they try to get close to. Anything inside the tolerance range is as 'precise' as anything else. Therefore, individual dies vary within the same brand as much as they do between brands.

    Who knows if it's better to have dies cut nearer the large or small side of the tolerance range? That would depend on the chamber tolerances of the individual firearm the ammo will be used in and chambers also have a SAAMI specified range of tolerances!

    Anyone counting on the air bleed hole in a sizing die to prevent oil dents will likely be disappointed; that hole is too small to let out enough lube fast enough to matter.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    And is often covered up by the lock ring anyway. :)
  15. Sport45

    Sport45 Well-Known Member

    Not to me.
  16. twofifty

    twofifty Well-Known Member

    a few other differences

    - Some dies have mouths that bell more than others, which can be an advantage when working fast.
    - Seating dies have different seater profiles, so some are better suited for different bullets nose profiles.
    - An easily noticed difference is in the type of lock ring.
  17. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

    I have ~ 250 dies.

    After buying zillions of dies, I have fallen into a pattern.
    Typically for a new rifle cartridge I want a Forster FL die honed out at the factory, a Forster seater, and a Lee collet neck die.
    Typically for a new pistol cartridge I get a Lee die set and a Lee factory crimp die if it is a semi auto.

    Lately, for my wildcats, I have been making my own dies.
    I like the store bought dies better.
  18. Spammy_H

    Spammy_H Well-Known Member

    The only thing I would add is that Lee will work for just about everything except they can be difficult to adjust in a progressive press which has a thicker die plate (Hornady, Dillon, not sure about RCBS).

    I used exclusively Lee dies on a Lyman T-Mag turret press and was very satisfied. I upgraded to Hornady when I went to a progressive, but I never had a problem with Lee before that.

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