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Carbide Rifle Dies in a Dillon 550B

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by loadedround, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    I load large quantities of 223 and 308 brass on my Dillon 550 and use Dillon steel sizing dies. Has anyone used the Dillon Tugsten Carbide Die in either caliber. Even though Dillon states that cases need to be lubed first, and I would do that, does the TC Dies make it a more smoother operation to load on a progressive press. These dies are expensive to buy for just a little gain. All my pistol dies are Tungsten Carbide and would not use anything else.
  2. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    I have one in .223 I picked up in a trade. Still needs lube, but does feel smoother than standard dies. No worries of damaging the die with debris. Won't ever wear out. Don't know if I would buy one outright.
  3. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    You don't have to use Dillon dies. You can use whatever dies you want to with the 550.
  4. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your kind reply, but after running two Dillon 550's for over twenty years, I am aware that any 7/8 x 14 threaded die will work in Dillon and currently use both Redding and RCBS rifle dies. My inquiry was about Dillon Carbide sizing rifle dies. To my knowledge Dillon is the only company who has TC dies in 223 and 308. If there are others, please let me know, Dillon's are darn expensive. :)
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Yea, Dillon is it on carbide rifle dies. Nobody else makes them.

    My take on them is that they are more for commercial reloaders so they won't wear out and get out of spec as fast as steel dies.

    I would think that any increase in smoothness would be far offset by the high price for normal use.

    But I'm just guessing, based on carbide pistol dies not being that much easier then properly polished steel dies that I ever noticed.

  6. Russ in WY

    Russ in WY Active Member

    Try the Lee Collet Dies, No Lubing Ever.

    Also have a couple 550's & have had very good luck using the collet dies. They probably won't last as long as the Carbide dies for sure, however one could replace the Lee Collet die once a yr & with no lubing needed be way ahead in the long run. I do run a brush in the neck before loading, just a personal thing. I have the brush mounted in the front edge of the load bench next to the press. My 2ยข, Russ.
  7. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    How do you trim if you resize on a progressive?
  8. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "does the TC Dies make it a more smoother operation to load on a progressive press. These dies are expensive to buy for just a little gain."

    There is a LOT of difference...in the life. A steel sizer will typically last for maybe 40-50.000 rounds with normal care. A carbide die will last maybe ten times longer. If you need that it may be worth the extra cost. ??

    The Lee collet die is great for what it is, a neck sizer. Neck sizing is rarely a good choice for an auto loader.
  9. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    I normally check my case's OAL prior to running them thru my Dillon and separate out those that need trimming. The truth of the matter is that I usually end up losing more cases than I find and replace them with already prepared once fired cases. I'm loading for two AR15's and a NM M1A.
  10. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Well-Known Member

    I have wondered about the Dillon carbide dies for years, but after talking with a few folks with them, I could not justify the expense for the negative or minimal gain. You still have to clean the cases, and since I'm not loading thousands of rounds at a setting there is no chance of wearing the die out. Once I made the jump to carbide/TiN I wanted rifle dies, too, but they don't give the same benefit as pistol dies, and you can buy 6 or 7 steel dies for the price of the Dillon dies. I'm not slamming them, just noting that they wouldn't be beneficial for me. I still might buy a set one day - and a Harley... :D
  11. dmazur

    dmazur Well-Known Member

    As the 550 is a manual index progressive, one way to do this (if you don't want to do it on a single stage press as a side operation) is to remove the case after resizing/repriming, clean off excess lube, drop in a cartridge headspace gauge to check for trim length and sort into trim/don't bins. Then trim the ones that need it and chamfer the case mouths. Put them in with the "don't" cases.

    Now you have "prepped and primed" cases.

    Insert one of these in Station 1 as you would for pistol reloading, but don't pull the handle. Index before pulling. This skips Station 1 without having to remove the die. Operations at Stations 2, 3 (and 4 if you are doing a crimp) proceed normally.
  12. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    Thanks Guys, after all your feedback, I think I'll just stick with my steel rifle dies and spray lube. $$$$ saved will just buy more components. :)

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