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My New RCBS .40S&W Carbide Dies...a Little Bummed Out

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by BinRat, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. BinRat

    BinRat Well-Known Member

    I just received my dies from MidwayUSA. I prefer to seat and crimp in separate steps, so I purchased the 3 die carbide set and an additional seating/taper crimp die. Unfortunately, both the 3 die set and the extra seating die came with only a SWC seating plug. The last time I did this (which was a long time ago), for the .38 Special, the extra die came with the WC, SWC, and round nose plugs. So, today I called RCBS Customer Service, and they informed me that they only make the SWC plug for the .40S&W. If I wanted a round nose, I'd have to send them 3 sample bullets and a check for $21.45, and they would make a custom seating plug. Call me disappointed.

    On the positive side, the lady was pleasant and is sending me, at no cost, the spacer ring for 10mm use (which was missing) and a new plastic box because it was cracked.

    I'm just wondering....is this the norm for all dies now? I've always used RCBS dies, but are there other dies that still come with several seating plugs?

    Not wanting to damage the die threads, I'd also ordered Hornady lock rings to replace the RCBS lock rings. Now, I'll have to spend another $21.45 in order to use the dies. I am definitely bummed out.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    The standard bullet shape in .40 S&W has always been a truncated cone FP, or a flat JHP.

    I don't know of any factory load made with a RN bullet in that caliber.

    But, It sounds like the lady on the phone didn't know what she was talking about.

    A .40 RN seating stem is a stock part and costs $6.95.

    They also make three others for the Speer Gold Dot line.




  3. Innovative

    Innovative Well-Known Member

    rcmodel ........ +1

    Great reply.
  4. BinRat

    BinRat Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info rcmodel. I should have checked that myself, but after talking to customer service, it just didn't occur to me because of the info I was given.

    I've always loaded cast bullets in the past, but since I'll be loading for a Glock, I figured I'll have to load plated or jacketed to avoid leading, unless/until I decide to pick up an aftermarket barrel. I'll be using some 180gr round shoulder flat point FMJ bullets for my initial work ups. Since these will be my first jacketed bullets, I thought I'd need a round nose seating die. Will the SWC seating plug work for these without deforming them? Thanks.
  5. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    Yes. The seater plug has a flat surface that corresponds to the flat point. Since almost nobody makes or uses a round nose bullet for the 40 it makes sense RCBS would not include it in their die set.
  6. MikeOBWan

    MikeOBWan Well-Known Member

    I recently (last week) noticed this also, so I called RCBS on it and they were happy to send me out a round nose seating stem. The comment he made to me was, he wasn't sure why they didn't include the Round Nose since the die set is for 10mm also.

    I requested this stem because I was loading Berry's 165gr. Round nose hollow base bullets, and it was putting a little bit of a flat spot on the top of the bullet when seating it.

    I received my round nose seating stem yesterday, no charge. Man I love RCBS customer service.

  7. BinRat

    BinRat Well-Known Member

    Maybe she didn't like my voice. :uhoh:

    At least I now know that it won't be another $21.45, and there is a round nose plug available. She sure missed the mark on that one. This has been my only contact with RCBS customer service and after your feedback, I'm somewhat disappointed.
  8. Krogen

    Krogen Well-Known Member

    Interesting coincidence. I just received a set of RCBS 40 S&W dies and couldn't be happier. They work very well. A nice plus is the expander plug is stepped like a Lyman M die. I don't know when they started doing that, but none of my older RCBS dies are made that way.
  9. MikeOBWan

    MikeOBWan Well-Known Member

    BinRat. I would call them back again, and just say i bought a 40s&w set and it didn't come with a round stem for the seating die.

    I've called them a number of times and they have been very helpful and nice. You might have just gotten a gal who didn't know what she was talking about..

    I'm actually on hold with them right now cause I scratched the crap out of the inside of my 7.62x39 resizing die, and need a new die.. We'll see what they say..
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I bet big bucks you didn't scratch the die.

    Sizing dies are harder then woodpecker lips, and there just isn't much that can scratch them.

    If cases are coming out scratched, you have galled brass stuck in there.
    It happens if you didn't use enough case lube!

    Use some copper solvent bore cleaner to eat it out.
    Or use a flap of 320 or 400 black emery paper in a slotted dowel rod in a drill and polish it out.

  11. BinRat

    BinRat Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Duplicate. Have to get that finger fixed.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  12. BinRat

    BinRat Well-Known Member


    When my jacketed bullets came from Rocky Mountain Reloading, I used the included SWC seating plug to see how it would work out. It worked to seat the bullet, but resulted in a shallow ring indentation around the bullet shoulder (180 grain round shoulder flat nose).

    So, as recommended by MikeOBWan, I called them the other day and explained my issue again. This time, I spoke to a really personable and eager to help guy that said he would mail out a round seating plug and also another regular plug that I could attempt to modify if the round one doesn't work out.

    And again, no cost to me. Now I'm feeling some of that RCBS customer service everyone has talked about.
  13. engineermike

    engineermike Well-Known Member

    "Woodpecker Lips?" :)

    Just can't beat RCBS's customer service.
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    RCmodel's comments are spot on.

    To add, I suspect that RCBS has dropped including extra seating stems to cut costs and keep the retail prices of their die sets down.

    They include the seating stem that would be the most popular in use.

    I recently bought a new set of RCBS 38 Special dies and, if I remember correctly, it came with only one seating set,. My 1980 vintage 38 Special.357 Magnum dies had several seating stems.

    Yes, the split locking rings are better than the set screw rings.I prefer them. But, I have never had an issue with the set screw rings. The only time I have changed the setting of my hand gun case dies is when I changed presses and need to readjust the dies. You do not have to hawg down on the set screw to the point of stripping the hex socket on the set screw to maintain your adjustment.

    A piece of lead shot under the set screw will protect the threads if you are worried.
  15. drhenzler

    drhenzler Member

    40 S&W Dies

    I bought a set at a gunshow a few years ago for $22 (Cabide) and am just getting around to using them. Bought some 180gr RN cast bullets, and plan to shoot them with 4.5gr of Bullseye. Do any of you have any Bullseye load you like better for the 180gr?

    David dhenzler@sonic.net
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Do you have a reloading manual??

    Older Alliant manuals suggests 4.5 Bullseye is a MAX load giving 33,000 PSI with a 180 lead bullet.
    So you should back off 10% for a starting load, and work up as always.

    But using Bullseye in a 35,000 PSI .40 is like smacking a bowling ball with your hard clenched fist, while trying to bowl a strike.

    It would probably go down the lane without as much fuss & pain with a push or shove from slower burning powder.

    Not saying Bullseye won't work.
    Just don't try for max loads in a .40 with it.

  17. BGD

    BGD Well-Known Member

    I email RCBS about a seater plug for the round nose berry bullets for my 40 S&W. They mailed me a RN seater plug for my die at no charge. Those guys at RCBS are great:)
  18. fguffey

    fguffey Well-Known Member

    There is a world outside of the Internet, part of the outside world include gun shows, other reloaders and garage sales. What looks like junk to the untrained eye completes ‘the’ set for others. Bits, parts and pieces, I know it is possible to run out of space, I have three RCBS green box sorters that are plastic but are the same size as a bolt tray, one contains seater plugs, another contains sizer die parts the last one contains case gages, trim gages and Uniflow drums for both large and small size measures.

    By the time I get an opportunity survey the contents of a dealer’s table all the shiny/new stuff is gone, when I get there the dealer is selling by the pound, even then one dealer had two boxes (40 pounds) of junk dies, gages, what appeared to be home made parts, bits and pieces. Again, before I had the opportunity to check out the contents a buyer was examining a bullet puller (RCBS complete with a 30 cal collet), he was looking for something wrong with it, he succeeded, it was locked up, the collet was jammed. He decided $20.00 was to much, he placed the jammed up puller back into one of the boxes. Puller and collet complete is worth $24.00, no need in examining the rest of the contents, again, as a good gesture I started removing the lee dies with the intent of giving them back to him, he saw straight through my intent, and refused my generous effort. He claimed he threw the Lee dies in for free, he said the Lee dies were thrown in on the deal. I honestly thought I could lighten the load going to the parking lot when I left.

    Spacer for die sets? RCBS made 38 Special reloading dies, when the 357 Magnum came out they made 357 Magnum dies, not noticing the press and 38 Special dies had threads and were adjustable. The additional set of dies were not necessary , before they manufactured the 357 Magnum die sets the 38 Special reloading dies would load both the 38 Special and 357 Magnum, before the Internet. For those that secure the lock ting to the die RCBS included a spacer/washer that was equal to the difference in length between the 38 Special case and the 357 Magnum,. something like Skip’s shims. jacking the seating die up and off the shell holder was necessary for crimping the 357 Magnum case.

    I secure the die to the press with the lock ring.

    F. Guffey
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  19. fguffey

    fguffey Well-Known Member

    “I just received my dies from MidwayUSA. I prefer to seat and crimp in separate steps, so I purchased the 3 die carbide set and an additional seating/taper crimp die. Unfortunately, both the 3 die set and the extra seating die came with only a SWC seating plug. The last time I did this (which was a long time ago), for the .38 Special, the extra die came with the WC, SWC, and round nose plugs. So, today I called RCBS Customer Service, and they informed me that they only make the SWC plug for the .40S&W. If I wanted a round nose, I'd have to send them 3 sample bullets and a check for $21.45, and they would make a custom seating plug. Call me disappointed”

    Assumed? If I was ordering an additional seating die I would specify the rational/reasoning for the additional die. Around here there is no shortage of seating dies and or seater plugs, with the minimum knowledge of shop skills the seater plug is the easiest to modify.

    “But, It sounds like the lady on the phone didn't know what she was talking about”

    RCModel,The OP could find nothing good to say about RCBS, I find this behavior common among fans of other manufactures that claim “They ordered RCBS to....etc., etc.. Fair and objective?


    No mention of two seater plugs, no included spacer, for those that do not secure the lock ring to the die there is always adjustability. Back to the days when RCBS made a 38 Special set of dies, before they manufactured the 357 Magnum dies the the 38 Special die set would size the case and seat bullets for the 357 Magnum. Many reloaders had to be told the sizer die would size both the 38 Special and 357 Magnum and the seater die would seat and crimp the 357 magnum bullets, even then reloaders were afraid they would loose their place if they moved the lock ring.

    Years ago, I called RCBS to caution them about a phone call they were going to receive, the lady said “TOO LATE!”. He wanted a reply in the form of an email, seems there was at least one reloader that did not agree with him and he “Couldn’t handle it”. RCBS said they suggested he contact Redding if he did not like they way shell holder were manufactured with a deck height of .125” etc.. There was only a hint of suspension in what could be considered his anger when dealing with anyone that disagreed with him.

    And then she said they deal with all kinds of reloaders, Presidents, astronauts, Presidents of the NRA and Chuck, to the other extreme she said she had talked to the ‘mad bomber’, she then included the reloader that insisted she agree with him and send proof in the form of an email, then worried about how sensitive I could be she added “We include you in the long list”. Then I ask about Chuck, "’Charlton Heston?”, no, Chuck Yeager.

    Let us pretend Redding had the misfortune of having the OP order from them at $30.00 plus, no mention of a spacer, no mention of an additional seater plug an no mention of the description of the seater plug the new proud owner is going to receive. With all the ’no mentions’ and me being a wise shopper I will assume ‘it’ is not there, like the ‘V Eight I could have had’ I should have asked.


    then Redding:

    built-in crimping ring and the proper caliber seating plug. Like all Redding dies,


    It is not easy to protect someone from themselves.

    F. Guffey

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