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

Lee dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BNAllen, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. BNAllen

    BNAllen Active Member

    I have numerous die sets. All are RCBS or Hornady. I am trying to find an RCBS carbide die set for M1 .30 Carbine, but, I've had no luck (all out of stock). I did find Lee carbide dies and noticed they are cheaper than RCBS. I am interested in knowing the difference, quality, etc in the Lee product and whether they will fit my RCBS press. Or, is there a site that might offer a review that I should read?


  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    They don't measure up to RCBS in fit and finish (IMHO), but they will load good ammo. I have some Lee dies, as well as RCBS, Redding, Forster, Lyman, C&H, Hornady....
  3. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    I'm not a fan of Lee Dies. I purchased a Lee Carbide 30 Carbine die set and cracked the carbide sizer die in the first 100 cases sized w/lube. Lee replaced it and it too cracked after 200 cases. Lee did replace it the second time and I finally dumped the whole set on Ebay for two dollars more than I paid for the set. Bought a set of Dillon carbide dies and never looked back. Originally bought the Lee dies because they were cheap but learned that is no such thing as a free lunch! You get what you pay for! :cuss:
  4. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    So you're trying to tell us all there is no such thing as value. Its very obvious you have never been in a purchasing position for a large company where a 1/4 of a penney makes the difference whether the vendor gets the business or not.

    Did you lube the cases before resizing? I've loaded in the last 2 years somewhere between 10 to 20 thousand rounds of 30 carbine with Lee carbide dies with no problem.

    Lee's biggest problem IMO is they have no bragging rights to your other shooting pals.
  5. RugerBob

    RugerBob Well-Known Member

    The 1st set of dies I ever bought were Lee carbide 45LC. Still got them and use them for 3000-4500 cases a year. I do own other brands such as RCBS and Lyman. I have had no problems with any of them. The only reason I bought the higher priced dies is that they were out of Lee dies and I ain't very patient.
    I never lube my straight walled cases. If I was gonna I would not have bought a crabide set. jmo Bob
  6. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    I agree with you about not having to lube straight walled cases but in the case of the 30 cal. carbine it sure makes resizing much easier. I lube with a spray of teflon, much easier than doing them one at a time.

    BTW 30 cal. carbine is not straight walled but tapered.

    If you check their catalog the Slap Chop Lee Loader in this caliber is listed as being more difficult to resize.
  7. RugerBob

    RugerBob Well-Known Member

    I didn't know the 30cal was tapered, my bad. thanks Bob
  8. y5e06

    y5e06 Well-Known Member

    I went nuts and have bought 10+ sets of lee dies over the last year when I started into reloading. I'm thinking of trying out the other vendors for my more critcal calibers.
    I have problems with two sets (out of 10!):
    8mm Mauser FL sizing die was finished too deep, not bumping the shoulder back far enough and none of the brass would chamber in 3 rifles. I milled the top of the shell holder thinner to compensate.
    7.62x54R bullet seating die, HUGE sharp burr in the narrowest section of the die neck. Severely mangling the bullet & brass. I'm using my 8x56R Hungarian die for the moment.
    I haven't sent them back to fix as I didn't want to spend $8 shipping for repairs on two $8 parts.
  9. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    I have several sets of Lee dies and find them to be an innovative design and an excellent product for the money, with never a problem.
    I also have some Pacific, RCBS, Lyman, and Herter's, and they do need a decapping pin once in a while.


    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    I have sized many, many thousands of 30 Carb. cases with my Lee carbide die set. Good product with good backup. I did buy a Lyman "M" die to ease loading cast bullets.
  11. essayons21

    essayons21 Well-Known Member

    I use lee, rcbs, redding, and forster dies. I use the lee dies probably 90% of the time, with the others for relatively specialized purposes. They aren't always as pretty as some other manufacturers, but they produce just as, and in some cases, more accurate ammunition.

    And yes, all dies will fit all presses.
  12. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "I am interested in knowing the difference, quality, etc in the Lee product and whether they will fit my RCBS press."

    Mr. Essayons is correct in my experience as well. I have dies from Bonanza, Herters, Lyman, Hornady, Pacific, Eagle, Ruhr-American, Redding, RCBS, Foster, CH, Savage (yeah, they once sold dies too), Lachmiller, LEE and a couple of others I can't remember off hand. The ONLY ones that were out of SAAMI specs are the Savage and they didn't stay in the market long.

    Externals vary quite a bit but it's the insides that do the job and my tests of several dimensions from all those brands, including duplicates in some cartridges, showed no average advantage to ANY brand of conventional dies. Meaning Lee's make as good ammo as any on average, and sometimes better. If you gage "quality" by the external eye candy others do look nicer. ??

    Two brands of "BR/Competion" dies, Foster and Redding, are (slightly) superior to convientional types. Few facory rifles are good enough to see the difference tho.

    All modern dies except one unsual line from Dillon (SDB ?) interchange in both presses and shell holders.
  13. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I currently own 20 sets of Lee dies, all work perfectly and have had no problems in the last 100,000 rounds loaded.:) I have other brands of dies and they also work well but at a larger price when purchased. Next time I will buy Lee dies again!:D If you treat a tool with respect and use it only for the use it was intended it usually will last a lifetime.:cool:
  14. Ateam-3

    Ateam-3 Well-Known Member

    +1 to FROGO207

    I own about 12 sets of Lee dies. I have loaded several thousand rounds of ammunition with them and no problems.
  15. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    After using 5 or 6 brands of dies (new and used) I do believe Lee offers the best value in dies. I finally replaced my 9mm Lee dies earlier this year with Dillon dies, but I retained the Lee crimp die because it was simply better than the Dillon crimp die.
  16. shootr

    shootr Well-Known Member

    Have about 10 sets of Lee dies and one RCBS. No question, RCBS looks nicer and cost more but I've NEVER had ANY problems with Lee dies over 14 years of using them. The ammo they produce measures up to any other I've shot and Lee has great tech support.

    I've called them a few times with questions and always have gotten very cordial and knowledgeable answers.

    Maybe if I was a serious bulk reloader or benchrester I'd look at Dillon or Forster/RCBS, but I'm not. I've been real happy with all my Lee stuff - presses, primer and other accessories -- and haven't yet found a reason to go "upscale." JMHO, YMMV.
  17. WNTFW

    WNTFW Well-Known Member

    I have other brands I got that were "Pre Owned".

    I like the Lee dies when I'm paying for them. I don't like their lock rings with the O-ring. There are ways around that including changing the lock ring.
  18. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    Bottom line is, if Lee were as bad as some would have us believe they would have disappeared years ago, long before the Yugo.

    Isn't it odd when a die set costing less than $20.00 has a flaw we tear into the manufacturer claiming his complete product line is crap. But we spend $15/20 thousand on a new vehicle and it has a major flaw we march down to the dealer for warrenty work and still think the manufacturer is building the greatest line of cars ever.

    Lee may have had some defective products here lately but does anyone stop to think of the pressure they are under trying to just fill back orders, let alone trying to fill new orders.

    Just my 2 cents
  19. hydraulicman

    hydraulicman Well-Known Member

    I like my 9MM lee dies and I plan to buy 357 sig lee dies
  20. MikeS.

    MikeS. Well-Known Member

    I have Lee in 9mm and .45acp and like them very much.

Share This Page