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nitride VS carbide dies?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by joebeemish, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. joebeemish

    joebeemish Member

    I need to get a set of dies for my 45 acp. I have RCBS carbide dies for 380, 9MM, 38 Special & 357. I have no complaints - these are good dies. Any body have both the nitride & carbide dies? What do you think?
  2. RyanM

    RyanM Well-Known Member

    I had a set of Hornady .357/.38 titanium nitride dies. Didn't notice much of a difference with sizing force vs. carbide dies. What I did like was the seating die, with the floating seating thingie. I never bell cases, so it really helped keep the bullet lined up on the way in.
  3. ocabj

    ocabj Well-Known Member

    I also have a set of Hornady pistol dies with the titantium nitride coating. I wanted to try out Hornady pistol dies and since I finally acquired a 40S&W pistol, it allowed me to do so. I only reload for two other pistol cartridges (9mm and .45ACP; technically 3 if you count 7mm TCU), and those dies are RCBS (carbide). As RyanM stated, resizing force is the same.

    But I recommend the Hornady pistol die sets. The quality is very high and in my opinion, is better than RCBS as far as look and feel of the die is concerned. I already own Hornady dies in other rifle cartridges, so I'm already familiar with the Hornady seating die design, which is very sound (sleeve design). What was really nice was that Hornady included two seating stems in the .40S&W set: one for round nose and one for flat nose bullets. I'm sure other die manufacturers would do the same, though.

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    The Hornady dies are good, that is for sure.

    Try a set of Redding Competition dies, they are incredibly good.
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Many years ago I bought a Hornady Projector. I had .45 dies so I got it with 9mm. I really like their seating dies and have purchased more since then, but the Nitride wore off the sizing die within 2000 rounds. I tossed it and bought a Lee sizer which is still going strong. They must have have fixed the problem by now or maybe mine was just one bad one. I will not purchase a set again, although like I said, I have purchased more seaters since then and they are great. I like Redding sizers just cause they are smoooooth, not necessarily any better. I like Lyman or Redding expanders which use the two step method. ( I guess Redding "borrowed" the idea from Lyman) I like the Redding seaters, but the Hornady is much cheaper and works just as well. I do like the repeatabilty of the Redding. The only one I have is for .45 where I use many different bullets and can dial the seater in for each and then just tweak it if necessary.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2007
  6. benedict1

    benedict1 Well-Known Member

    Lee Tungsten Carbide Pistol Dies

    For the best price/performance I don't know how you can beat Lee tungtsen carbide dies. Wearing one out seems to be nearly impossible. I have 5 sets of pistol dies in different calibers, all including the Lee Factory Crimp die, and with the money I have saved on them I have been able to buy many more components.

    I have no idea why some makers have brought out titanium nitride dies--kind of like the golf club companies--different alloy every year--when tungsten carbide is the industry standard. If there are technical advantages I would like to hear about it. Maybe I'm missing something really good.

    I am not knocking Hornady, RCBS, Redding, etc. They are just more expensive and seem to offer no measurable advantage, IMHO, in the case of pistol reloading.--:D
  7. facedown

    facedown Well-Known Member

    +1 for Lee Carbide Pistol Dies.
  8. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Well-Known Member

    I agree with benedict1, in pistol dies, the Lee 4-die sets are about impossible to beat for quality, performance and price. In rifle dies, I really like the Hornady seating dies with the sleeve.

    I own both carbide and nitride die sets. I see no significant advantage of one over the other. My gut feel is the carbide will outlast the nitride, but I have no technical evidence to support this opinion.


  9. Idano

    Idano Well-Known Member

    Gentlemen if nitride is implanted properly with and electron beam implanter like those used on cam shafts and tool faces it should be just be just as durable as the carbide ring without being brittle. I say should be, because it is hard to say how deep they are going with the implant, only time will tell if they hold up. So far I have 5,000 rounds ran through my .40 S&W Hornady dies which are the only nitride dies I own my others are RCBS carbide.
  10. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Well-Known Member

    There are many choices in carbide or TiN pistol sizing dies, and all are about the same, more or less. The pistol expanders, with the exception of Lyman M dies, which beat all else, are all about the same. The seat/crimp dies are where the differentiation is between dies. The Hornady's are excellent, and much cheaper than the Redding competition dies. You can buy a whole Hornady die set plus the optional micrometer seating adjustment screw, for less than the Redding competition seating die alone. And not only does the Hornady seater die crimp too (the redding comp seater does not), it also comes apart easily for cleaning without affecting the settings for crimp or seating depth. That is really handy when seating lubed up lead bullets that tend to gunk up the seating die. Nobody else has that combination of quality and features in a seating die. And Hornady lock rings are the best on the planet, with clamping action instead of a set screw, plus wrench flats.

    I've tried Lee dies, and I don't care for their seating dies at all, nor their lock(less) rings. RCBS seating dies are slightly better, as are their lock rings. Hornady and Forster seating dies are the best I have tried, but I have not tried the RCBS competition (windowed) seating dies, nor the Redding Competition seating dies. The Forster lock rings are aluminum (clamping style), but have a phillips head screw which does not work as well as the allen head screws on the Hornady lock rings.

    Lee FCDs for rifle and bottleneck pistol cartridges, with the collets, are excellent. I don't care for the carbide FCD in 45 colt, the only one of that type I've tried; maybe the taper crimp ones work better.

  11. berettashotgun

    berettashotgun Well-Known Member

    Nitride is a coating, carbide is an insert of metal put into the die body.
    I drill A LOT of holes in some various aircraft parts (sometimes in the wrong place:rolleyes: ) and often use rotary cutters (or "burrs") to trim stuff. I also reload rifle/pistol/shotgun and a beer cooler occasionally.
    Carbide cutters last ten billion times longer than high speed steel, the gimmick coating on some hss cutters has no effect on the lifespan of the hss cutters. Ditto with milling tools. I don't know why cobalt isn't used on reloading dies, but the stuff is excellent for drill bits for use on titanium/stainless/inconnel or 1095 spring steel.
    After letting that barrage of crap out, I still think carbide dies are more suited for the looooooong term - but the coated dies should work for most every reloaders lifetime.
    I'd be surprised if you don't find that the inherent nuances of reloading cause you to get pretty finiky about every brand and type of die, not to mention the strong opinion you will form- like me:neener:
  12. Idano

    Idano Well-Known Member


    I don't believe the Nitride on the dies is a coating, because a coating would not hold up. I think you will find that the Nitride, (Titanium nitride (TiN), is ionized and implanted into the metal that physically changes its structure. Here is a simplistic description of the process:

    Depending upon the dose and temperature nitride ions can be driven fairly deep into the metal. This process is used to harden the lobes on cam shafts so it definitely durable enough for reloading dies.
  13. koja48

    koja48 member

    I'm very pleased with the Lee dies in several calibers.
  14. Kurac

    Kurac Well-Known Member

    A few years back I bought a set of the Hornady dies in .40S&W, the sizer ring came undone and stuck around the second case I ran through it. I was able to pry it off and noticed that it is very light in weight. If I had to guess, I would say that it is made out of a metal matrix ceramic. Hornady made good on the problem and sent me a new die with one phone call and that one has held up for at least 5,000 rounds.
  15. berettashotgun

    berettashotgun Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I guess that walkalong didn't really have the stuff wear off his stuff.........., doesn't wear from jet engine hubs either- we just put more on for the fun of it. :rolleyes:

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