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Comparing reloading die sets.....RCBS vs. Redding

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Cat Daddy, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Cat Daddy

    Cat Daddy Member

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    I am just getting into reloading and had a question about buying my first die set. I am trying to decide between the RCBS 3-die set (20904) and the Redding 3-die set (80209) for my Marlin 45-70. I have read that both seem to be really good brands, but most people seem to give the edge to Redding over RCBS when comparing the two. If it matters, I just purchased a RCBS Rock Crusher kit, but I know either will fit it. First, I would like to know what is really the big difference between the two brands and what makes one better that the other. Second, I would like to know if the price difference between the RCBS and the Redding is worth it. I can get the RCBS die set for $40 total while the Redding set will be about $75 total. I realize that the 45-70 isn't exactly a sniper caliber but I would like the ammo that I turn out to be as accurate as possible. Besides, I am in the process of building an accuracy AR-15 and whatever brand I go with on this caliber will probably be the same that I go with when it comes time to start loading .223 rounds.
     
  2. zeke

    zeke Member

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    Neither, as the ones tried sized down the case much more than needed. Yes you can adjust them up for less sizing. For older lever action calibers have gone to Lee size dies, most any expanding die and Redding comp seater.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    RCBS dies are never a bad choice. Redding makes good stuff too, and I seriously doubt one set would load better ammo than the other set.

    Welcome to THR
     
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  4. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    ^^^Yep, I agree. Both are from reputable manufacturers long known for their quality reloading dies.
     
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  5. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    It's always nicer when working with quality tooling.
    You will pay more for RCBS and Redding but they will work better
    and like most company's they stand behind their products.
     
  6. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I've used mostly RCBS dies for most of my reloading life and that company has treated me well, probably better than I deserved. I've bought a few Redding dies in the last couple of years and have been impressed with the quality. Specifically, I had problems loading 7.5 x 55 for a K31 with RCBS dies. The case just wasn't sized correctly and required the bolt to be closed "smartly" to go into battery. I know that RCBS would have cut a new die for me to fix that problem. A Redding sizer fixed it for me too. I also had issues seating .45 acp cast bullets with my RCBS seating die. Quite a few were slightly crooked and bulged the case, no matter how much care I took. A Redding competition seater solved that problem too.
     
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  7. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I have dies from both mfg. All of my RCBS dies are 30+ years old. One of the things I like about the Redding is the stem for decapping is supported by a very long fine thread which maintains the center. Where the RCBS has a much shorter smaller thread which needs to be set carefully to ensure it stays centered. RCBS uses a larger decapping pin rod since it runs the full length + of the sizing die. Where the Redding is screwed into the heavy bottom of the larger fine thread head. As far as general purpose I dought you will see any differences. All of my later dies I buy these days have been Redding. I like the finish and precision of there match set. RCBS has good match sets too but I don't have any of theirs dies to compare too. Another thing I have run into is that the sizing die on Reddings can over size a piece of brass a great deal if you crank it down for solid contact. I believe this is because they set them up to work with the competition shell holders which are 0.010" taller than normal. All of my Redding dies have the micrometer shell bullet seater on them. Which is nice but not needed, but very convenient.

    You will not go wrong with either.
     
  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    For 45-70, I’d be lying if I said I see a difference between RCBS and Lee dies for performance. Save the $10 there, get the Lee.

    For your “accuracy AR,” buy the Redding. Frankly, save up more and buy the Redding bushing dies, and have their small base bushing sizer on hand too (cycle it into the front of your process, without a bushing, every few loadings to act as a body only die, and help ensure reliable feeding even as your firing count climbs).

    Don’t get hooked into believing you should only buy one brand of dies for all of your applications. I have $9 flip flops for river fishing in a John boat sitting in my closet beside $600 caiman boots for sitting in a board room. Would be stupid to buy $600 flip flops, and equally stupid to buy $9 dress boots. Your precision AR will have different expectations than your 45-70, will have different demands for proper feeding and function, and will yield different responses to an increase in die quality and functionality. Giving a 45-70 a $200 die set instead of a $30 set won’t yield on the targets, but it will in your AR, if you build it properly.
     
  9. fotheringill

    fotheringill Member

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    If it matters to the OP, Redding is made in New York and RCBS in the Far East.

    In .223, I have a lot less runout with Redding (I have both).
     
  10. Milt1

    Milt1 Member

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    Most of my dies are Redding (4 sets) but for a .222 that I just purchased I decided to try an RCBS two die set. I haven't used the RCBS yet but I'm very impressed with the quality and finish. The Redding dies required quite a bit of clean-up to get rid of factory oil, grit, etc. The RCBS seems to be very clean from the start inside and out. I hope they work as well as they look.
     
  11. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    For pistol and straight-wall rifle, I would buy Lee, or maybe RCBS if used or for a feature I wanted (like Hornady's sleeved seaters). For general bottleneck, I like RCBS + a micro seater. For precision, Lee Collet sizer + RCBS/Redding bushing dies + micro seater.

    Don't buy the name, but the features.
     
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  12. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    RCBS dies are made in Oroville, CA. That's probably the far west to you.

    https://www.rcbs.com/about-us.html

    It's not a good idea to spread false internet garbage without knowing the real story.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    When I buy a new set of dies, Redding are my first choice.

    But, if I can’t find a set of Redding dies, I’ll buy RCBS in an NY minute.

    Both have features that I like and both have good customer service.
     
  14. Bat Rastard

    Bat Rastard Member

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    For a straight walled cartridge like 45-70, the Lee dies would be more than adequate.
    I am gravitating to Redding on new endeavors.
     
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  15. Herman B

    Herman B Member

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    No experience with RCBS dies. I load seven cartridges, incl precision rifle, using Redding dies (and a bunch of other Redding products). The dies and Customer Service have done me right. I like the Micrometer adjustable seating and crimp dies - makes fine adjustments expedient and affords the opportunity to note the numeric settings for specific bullets. Turn the dial and go!
     
  16. gifbohane

    gifbohane Member

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    If I am feeing rich I will buy the Redding when I am feeling regular I buy the RCBS. For me I see no difference in results.

    Interesting that the OP asked about Redding/RCBS and some brought out their "other" brand
     
  17. Bwana John

    Bwana John Member

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    Because of the OUTSTANDING aftermarket service I have received over the years I would recommend RCBS.
     
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  18. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

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    RCBS would be my choice because of price, quality and customer service. You may want to go Redding for the AR, or you could get a RCBS competition set. You will learn more as you go along and should make that choice when you get there.
     
  19. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    I have atleast twenty-five calibers for rifle & pistol set up. Most are RCBS and a few are other brands. I did get a couple sets of Lee dies and got rid of them because of their customer service.

    RCBS and Hornady both have great customer service. I have two of the Hornady Lock.N Load single stage presses and will be buying a Hornady progressive press next year.
    Once you get started plan on buying more equipment and plan on shooting more.
     
  20. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I use a lot of Lee dies. I also love the Hornady seating dies. Having the collar that slips down to align the bullet sure helps.
    My Lee 357 dies are 20 years old and my 44 mag RCBS were my grandfather's. He died in 94...
    They will be here for a long time. So buy the ones you will want use forever.
     
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  21. Lee Q. Loader

    Lee Q. Loader Member

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    The Hornady seating dies are worth their weight in gold!
     
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  22. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I have tools from Redding, RCBS and Lee and I have dies from Redding, RCBS and Lee. There are differences in features and that is why I buy one brand or another. I have never had a problem with customer service from these companies.

    I am happy with a Lee press for high-volume handgun ammo. I would not choose this for precision rifle. But that does not mean that Lee is junkier or cheaper quality or that it merely serves the purpose of economy. Lee dies can be excellent and they may have the features that I'm looking for. I use their Universal decapper die. I can't think of why I'd pay more for a different one. I also use their bullet seating die. I bought a fancy Redding seating die with the micrometer adjustment knob, but the shape of the seating stem does not match my bullet well and it leaves a ring-shaped dent on the bullet ogive. I could have Redding machine a custom seating stem for the bullet, or I could just use my Lee seating die which already has one. I also use a Lee Factory Crimp die, but not to crimp. I use it to resize the body of a straight-wall cartridge because the carbide ring in it is an ideal diameter. The other brand's resizer's rings are too small.

    The main reason I started buying Redding was for their neck bushing dies. RCBS does not offer that to my knowledge. But I also now have a Redding expanding die for a handgun cartridge, and a Redding micro-adjustable crimp die -- both of which have features the other brands don't offer.

    For RCBS, I use their Lock Out die. This product is unique to RCBS. There are other dies that serve a similar purpose but work on a different principle, and the Lock Out die is my choice. I also prefer the RCBS hand primer.

    Buy on features that you want rather than brand loyalty.
     
  23. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    Dies are for the most part indestructible... except the decapping pin... especially in a progressive press. I can buy RCBS decapping pins locally which is an advantage to me.

    I have a mix of RCBS, Redding, Hornady, Lyman, Forster and Lee. They all work and none of them have ever really given me any sort of problem other than the decapping pin. I do like the lee collet crimp dies and have them for most of my rifle calibers and many pistol calibers. I often mix the Lee collet crimp dies with other die sets and use the regular crimp die for seating then the Lee collet crimp for crimping.
     
  24. Waterboy3313

    Waterboy3313 Member

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    I am very new to reloading like the OP says. I have a Lee press and 2 of the 3 sets of dies I have are Lee. The other set is RCBS. My RCBS has issues with the lock ring in the Lee press. One thing I like about the Lee set is you get a shell holder. Probably not a big deal to a lot of people but it's nice for a beginner to get a a set that comes complete right out of the box. So far my Lee dies and press have been great and I have been able to create some very accurate loads that I am more than happy with. My RCBS die set seems to be hit and miss. Nothing against RCBS they are located about two hours away from where I livea I am a big believer in the shop local thing but for me especially being a beginner Lee seems to be a better value and has worked well for me.
     
  25. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I’d be interested to hear from folks who only use RCBS because of their “great customer service experience” - what bad customer service experiences have you had with other brands? Equally, what other brands have you had which did not require customer service assistance? And why did your RCBS products require service?
     
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