1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Deluxe Lee dies are carbide? Seriously?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Snowdog, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    The 4-piece Lee "deluxe" die set I purchase for both the 9mm and .45acp have worked wonderfully so far. However, with some of the once-fired .45acp Winchester brass, I found I had to lube before decapping/resizing as they didn't seem inclined to cooperate without, requiring much more effort in both insertion and extraction.

    I later read that Lee carbide dies require no lube and noticed that the 4-die deluxe set (in the red square box with dipper) is listed as "carbide" in Lee's 2005 catalog. The image they show in this 2005 catalog for deluxe carbide dies appears to be exactly what I have.

    If I indeed do have carbide dies, can I skip on the lube? I am now under the impression that the lube may not be required for resizing with carbide dies, though lube might still be necessary for "ease of use".
    Does anyone still lube even while using carbide dies?

    I also received my Lee auto disk powder measurer yesterday and noticed it is designed to be activated by the case while being flared. Well I don't think this will work for me as it takes a bit of effort to extract an unlubed case from this die and I suspect some of the powder would "jump" from the case during extraction.

    Is there any markings on the Lee dies that indicate whether they are carbide or not? I've found no conspicuous indications or markings on the dies themselves.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2006
  2. BigSlick

    BigSlick Well-Known Member

    I still lube (Hornady One Shot) with carbides.

    Almost all Lee pistol dies are carbide.

    You can tell by looking at the size die and the FCD, both will have an insert. Here's a pic from another post:

    Lee carbide die ring


  3. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    Thanks a bunch, BigSlick. The photo link helps a lot!

    I was using CLP as a lube as I had nothing else for lubrication on hand. I'm sure that would glean a lot of hard looks from the veteran handloaders.
    Looks like I'll be placing an order for resizing lube from Lee.
  4. db_tanker

    db_tanker Well-Known Member

    If you can, instead of the Lee sizing lube, get thee some Imperial Sizing Wax.

    Trust me...it is the best...and a little, VERY little, goes forever. :)

  5. Dave P

    Dave P Well-Known Member

    I would hate to be forced into lubing hundreds and hundreds of pistol cases - what a mess!

    Maybe you could try tumbling your cases before the carbide die - thats what I do.

  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    The only straight wall pistol cases that I (lightly) lube is new or chemically cleaned brass that will drag in even carbide dies. A spritz of One Shot is good for that. Gun oil like Breakfree is not an adequate resizing lube and is harder to remove besides.

    I use a Lee "U" undersize carbide die for a good grip on jacketed bullets under 230 grains and have not noticed undue effort being needed on tumbled fired brass.

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    I too use One Shot with carbide dies, life is a lot easier and all the work is taken out of reloading.

    Like Jim, I have found new brass to be the toughest to run through the dies, it feels almost sticky.

    If your cases are free of dirt after firing load them before tumbling, the little bit of soot on them makes reloading a lot easier. You do run the risk of tearing up your dies though if you get some dirt on a case.
  8. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    I guess that would explain why they were sticking, I had just tumbled them in corn cob media with Frankford Arsenal brass polish.

    I'll have to read through the responses and do some research for what's best for me.

    Thanks for the information!
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I don't tumble my brass very long, I just want it clean, not necessarily bright. It runs without lube through any brand carbide die tried, to include Lee, Dillon, RCBS, Lyman, CH.
  10. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    Never a trouble with my Lee carbide dies, but I use no brass polish, just walnut media.
  11. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    I use Lee carbide pistol dies and tumble my cases before I resize/decap and have had no problem as you discribe. New cases, once fired or many times fired...I load 9mm X 19 and .45 ACP plus many other pistol/revolver cases without a problem...9mm X 19 always seem sticky because of the tapered case...Ignore it...:)
  12. Rockstar

    Rockstar member

    Corn cob media; Midway case polish "sweetened" with a little NuFinish car polish (one cap) Brass comes out slick and shiney. I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds of .45's and 9mm's, using nothing but Lee dies. Never lubed one yet. The CLP will cause more problems than it'll cure. When you're flaring the case mouth, flare only enough to allow the bullet to start for seating. Quit hypothesizing and get to work!:)
  13. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Go get-em Rockstar!!:D
  14. hpcc19

    hpcc19 Member

    Lee Auto Disk

    I have found that new brass(Win) sticks like the devil in the Lee expander/powder die, but fired brass is smooth as silk.

    Starline brass works fine even when new.
  15. AnthonyRSS

    AnthonyRSS Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you are flaring the case mouth a little too much. Just enough to seat the bullet without shaving lead.
  16. neoncowboy

    neoncowboy Well-Known Member

    +1 on no lubing the cases.

    I tumble all my .45 brass in walnut with a small splash of mineral spirits for a couple of hours...then sift and tumble in corn cob with a little squirt of maguire's car polish/wax. They come out clean (inside and out), shiny and slippery to the touch. They just glide in and out of the dies when treated this way.

    I would think that CLP all over the inside of your dies would be a bad thing.

    Good luck!
  17. Uncle Don

    Uncle Don Well-Known Member

    I don't lube cases for use in carbide dies but I'm sure they would go much better if you did. Since mine require almost no effort without lubing, I'm happy the way I am. That said, I also don't tumble brass - granted, my loaded rounds are not a pretty as some, but I never have trouble in the dies, not even my .357 SIG in steel dies. Carbon is a great lubricant.

    I go along with the poster who says that your flairing die is probably set a little deep. Turn that die in until it touches the shell holder, then back out between 1/2 and 3/4 of a turn and set the lock ring. That will get you incredibily close to where you want to be.
  18. Bill Z

    Bill Z Well-Known Member


    I am using the Dillon case polish right now since I bought a half dozen bottles, but when it's gone it's directly to Nu-Finish.
  19. Rockstar

    Rockstar member

    Beware of taking advice from a reloader who doesn't tumble his brass and loads on a Lee Loadmaster! :D
  20. JMusic

    JMusic member

    I'm with the guys on tumbleing. I have several carbide dies but the cases have to be clean. I ALWAYS tumble prior to reloading. I see little difference in brand of dies for my type of shooting, and own a few of most major brands. If they are carbide and clean you do not have to lube.

Share This Page