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Why Only Lee?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by lizziedog1, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Well-Known Member

    I purchased a new gun the other day. Today I was in a gun shop looking for dies for it. I try to buy Lee dies whenever possible.

    They didn't have Lee, but another brand. Being that I was anxious to try this new gun, I bought them along with a few components to get the ball rolling.

    I opened the die box and instantly realized there was no shell holder. I was bit upset.

    I guess I am spoiled to Lee, they include a shell holder with each set of dies.

    Luckily I had a shell holder that works for this caliber.

    Here is my question.

    Why is Lee the only company to include shell holders with their dies? How much does this cut into their profits?

    And all the other companies that make you buy shell holders separately, how much money does this practice make for their shareholders.

    Maybe other dies makers produce better quality dies than Lee. Maybe reloading with those dies might produce better ammo. But for me, I'll only buy Lee from now on. If I have to shop around for them, if I have to order them on-line, don't care.

    I know this might seemed like an overblown rant. But including shell holders is a big deal to me. Is it to anyone else?
  2. James2

    James2 Well-Known Member

    I will happily buy a shell holder to have some decent-that is, real lock rings on the dies. I am sorry I don't like Lee (non locking) lock rings.
  3. denton

    denton Well-Known Member

    I use practically nothing but Lee dies.

    It's true: Most companies don't give you a case holder with a die set. Lee is the exception.

    ROCKFISH Well-Known Member

    I also try to buy only Lee dies. I like their attitude. They make products that are more than capable of producing quality ammo, and offer a lifetime gaurantee. They could make stronger more expensive products, but they would have to charge more, and it is not neccesary. Their stuff works and is reasonably priced.
  5. Striker Fired

    Striker Fired Well-Known Member

    After you already have a shellholder that fits 10 calibers,why insist you nees ten more ? I don't concider a shellholder a deal. Plus they don't even work on most, if not all, turret or progressive presses. I've had and used all brands,so far the only ones I have had trouble with are the Lee's.

    HOWARD J Well-Known Member

    I take the gasket out of Lee rings & they work fine.
    I use a Lee turret press--some rings from other Companies are too big to work on the turret, Dillon & lee work fine.
    My fingers are too old & tired to play with the gasket in a Lee locking ring.
    BTW--after 40 years of reloading I have 2 or 3 shell holders for all my calibers.
  7. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Well-Known Member

    Its the principle of the matter when it comes to shell holders. How much can one of those set a company back?

    I don't care if I have ten or twenty or thirty case holders. If I don't have the one I need, I am out of luck.
  8. RandyP

    RandyP Well-Known Member

    I use Lee products and they are a great match to my needs and budget.

    The only folks who could answer your question however would be the other die manufacturers?
  9. grubbylabs

    grubbylabs Well-Known Member

    I started a thread very similar to this a few months ago. For the 5th time or what ever I went to the store and bought a set of Hornady dies only to get home and realize I forgot to get the shell holder. I only buy Hornady, I just like them.

    I personally would pay a few extra bucks to have a shell holder come with a set of dies. I don't care if I have 50 calibers that use the same shell holder, I want a shell holder in each box of dies. For me it is just easier. However many folks on that thread said it would be more inconvenient to have that many shell holders.
  10. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    I prefer Lee and Dillon lock rings. they lock the die to the press. Split die rings means you first align the die to the round and then try to turn the die body out without losing the alignment and lock the ring to the die. Then you rely on the die staying locked to the press by friction.
    Best solution for me were bushings (per Lee and Hornady) or a tool head (per Dillon).
    The Lee rings with the o-ring mean that you do not lose the setting when you loosen the die from the press. Not as good as bushings/tool heads, but it works.
    Most reloading companies have always sold a set of 11 or 12 shell holders, though back in the '60s, all die sets came with shell holder.
  11. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Many prefer die locking rings and they are cheap enough ($14 for a set of 6) - http://www.midwayusa.com/product/23...es+&+Shellholders-_-PriceCompListing-_-236200
    I reload mostly on LCT/Pro 1K and have the dies preset in removable turrets (and no, they do not move once set in the turrets). When I do load development on the single stage press, dies are easily removed with finger pressure.

    I think it would still be cheaper to buy the Lee dies and then buy the locking die rings.
  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    I agree!

    I will agree if you use a Lee turret or the various bushing systems on the market, the Lee lock rings are fine. Just jam them down and they will not move.

    As far as the shell holder, why doesn't Lee drop the price of the dies a few bucks and leave out the shell holder?

    Personally, I do not need a shell holder for each set of dies. If one shell holder works for several cases, I do not need extras.

    Back in the nineties when I stopped buying Lee dies, Lee dies sets with aftermarket split rings and a new storage box to my liking cost as much as one of the other manufacturer's die sets. It was too aggravating ordering three separate items and dealing with out of stock status.

    The difference is greater today but the aggravation is still there so I still buy dies other than Lee.

    I do like the Lee lock ring on my powder cop die. This die gets adjusted with each caliber change on my progressive and I find the Lee die with the o-ring works well here.
  13. thorn-

    thorn- Well-Known Member

    I have no need for shell holders at all, as my press doesn't use them. Or little plastic dippers. So, I'm happy I'm not paying $2-3 (or whatever a shell holder costs) for something I have no use for when I buy a set of Hornady or RCBS dies.

  14. Wildbillz

    Wildbillz Well-Known Member

    Some like Fords and some like Chevys.

  15. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    That's a good question, why is Lee the only company to include a shell holder?
  16. 4895

    4895 Well-Known Member

    I use Lee dies, Dillon, and RCBS. I appreciate the load information that LEE sends with its dies sets, especially for those hard to find surplus military calibers. I really like the quality of RCBS dies over Lee and will be buying more RCBS in the future over LEE. I can spring $5 for a shell holder if I need it that bad. Besides, I can get RCBS almost anywhere in town. Lee products are almost mail-order only. Why spend the shipping cost and waiting period...I want to reload now...
  17. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Well-Known Member

    Good point. Except that without a proper shell holder, you can't reload.

    I should add something.

    I live in a small town ninety minutes from the nearest civilization. If I get home and don't have the proper shell holder on hand, I am SOL.

    I could get back in my car and go for a three hour drive to pick up a small item that I think should have been included with the dies.

    To me it is sort of buying a car and the keys are not included. It might be a great deal on a great car, but without the keys it is pretty worthless. Dies without the correct shell holder are worthless too.

    I have to mail order many things. So, from now on I'll order direct from Lee. In the past I have had their dies delivered in a few days anyway.

    Some of you mention that Lee dies are of dubious quality. I suppose if someone is some sort of expert or sharp-shooter, it might make a difference. I am an average shooter, at best, Lee quality is fine for me.
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Lee rings work fine if you are going to lock them down on a bushing or a tool head and leave them alone. The Hornady split rings are much better if you are going to remove them from presses or tool heads, which I do with many of my dies. I have some dies locked down on bushings with Lee rings, but most stuff has Hornady lock rings, with a few RCBS rings, which I despise. Love their dies, hate their lock rings. The only way they are worth using is to put a piece of shot or some kind of wad under the set screw, which has been replaced with a steel one. The brass ones strip way too easily, and are worthless if they need to be re-adjusted 4 or 5 times.

    I have shell holders from Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, and Redding. They all work well enough, although some had to be modded to fit the plastic piece that holds them on my RCBS hand primer.

    I ordered new dies for my latest caliber the other day and forgot the shell holder. Arghh. Remembered the shell plate, forgot the shell holder.
  19. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    In my parts I cannot remember the last time I was in a local gun store. Their inventory is abissmal unless you want some "wonder auto" for self defense. So, mail order is it. No sense wasting time and gas running around town and not finding what I want.

    In my past, I lived near a good gun store. While I still did lots of mail order, they were handy to get some stuff I needed quickly, although at a price.

    Generally, I find paying shipping is offset by not paying sales tax. I do not shop locations that charge me sales tax and shipping. If our state government has its way, that is going to change.
  20. jcwit

    jcwit Well-Known Member

    Don't forget to factor in your gas at $3 to $4 bucks a gal. running all over town.

    Shipping generally run around $10 for me, thats just over 2 gallons of gas. Being as my closest gun store that carries is over 30 miles away..................I think you get the point.

    I also do not like the locking rings from Lee, but split rings are very cheap from industrial supply houses.

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