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How are Lee carbide dies?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by scythefwd, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. scythefwd

    scythefwd Senior Member

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    How are the lee carbide die sets, 4 die set and is it worth the extra to get it over a 3 die set?

    Where is the least expensive place to get them? I've got about 40 to spend on them. Also, lowest price out there for a buldge buster kit? Yes, I know it requires the fcd from lee if you get lee's kit... which is why I'm wondering about the 4 die set. I've got free brass coming my way and some of it was shot in a glock... don't know if it is bulged or not yet.
     
  2. rondog

    rondog Senior Member

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    I have nearly all the available Lee 4-die carbide pistol sets, and like them very much. Have had no issues, and I'm fixin' to buy a set in .45 Colt soon. Some folks don't like the FCD, but I do. If you don't want/need it, get the 3-die set. But definitely go carbide! Brass needs to be cleaned first though, or they can scratch the sizing die.

    I've always ordered mine from Midway, but only because I can't find a place locally to buy them. I'll be in a city Monday that has a Cabela's, so I'll buy the .45LC set there. Not sure where to tell you to buy them from, but that forty-dollar-bill might not be enough.
     
  3. AlliedArmory

    AlliedArmory New Member

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    I use the Lee Deluxe 4-die pistol sets for 9mm and 45acp. They both work just as advertised. I seat/crimp in separate stations so went with the 4-die set rather than the 3-die set.

    They seem to be on sale at Midway right now for $35 + shipping, so it fits right in your budget. Sale ends at the end of the month.
     
  4. GP100man

    GP100man Senior Member

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    For auto pistol I found it easier to get positive results with a taper crimp die rather than a FCD die.

    FCD die if adjusted to just roll the flare back in still relys on the cases being a consistent length somewhat.
     
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Senior Member

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    I've been using the 4 die sets for 9mm and 38 special for years, work just fine, very pleased with them.
     
  6. rondog

    rondog Senior Member

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    Thanks for that tip! Just ordered my .45LC dies online, will probably be here before I make that trip to Cabelas! Midway is great about shipping quick.
     
  7. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I have used a 4 die set before, but I really don't recognize the benefit of it. I guess I've been reloading with the 3 die set for so long that I've become entirely comfortable and consistent with the seating & crimp die.
     
  8. chhodge69

    chhodge69 Member

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  9. rick300

    rick300 Member

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    I'm still new, (a little over two years and about 6 k rounds). 357, 40, 41, 44, and now 45. All I use is the four die sets. So far so good. "If it aint broke don't fix it" Rick
     
  10. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Senior Member

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    I have almost 80% Lee dies and do be sure to get them in carbide if they are available in that cal. I think they are the best bang for the buck. I always get the 4 die sets. May not need all 4 but for the price difference that's the best deal.
     
  11. Josh45

    Josh45 Senior Member

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    I have 4 die sets for 3-4 different calibers. They work just fine and as they are supposed to. Have no problems with them.
     
  12. RandyP

    RandyP Senior Member

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    I like most all Lee products - work great, cost little. Lots of other excellent choices for more $$ for those that prefer other brands.

    IMHO evryone out there is making sound products at various price points.

    Most of my Lee dies are the 4-die carbides except for the 7.62 Nagant 3-die set for converting 32-20 brass.
     
  13. CHALK22

    CHALK22 Member

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    Lee are the only dies I buy (I have had some RCBS given to me, tho) and I like them very much. If you are an ebay shopper, I bought a bunch of my Lee stuff from a seller called "reloaderschoice" very easy to deal with, and they will combine shipping, fast and trackable shipping also.
     
  14. jcwit

    jcwit Senior Member

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    sythefwd, do a search regarding the FCD before you pop for the 4 die set. Frankly, I think the FCD solves a problem that doesn't exist, but that only MO. Do a search!
     
  15. scythefwd

    scythefwd Senior Member

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    jcwit - the fcd is being considered for bulged range brass. My chamber is fully supported, so it's a one time use on some range brass (I won't use bulged brass if it looks like it's been sized before). It does post sizing, which actually causes some problems with certain types of bullets too like the golden sabre or any bore riding bullet. I have done some homework on it, and I'm still trying to decide if I really want to buy one and get the taper later or if I buy the taper crimp die and get the fcd later for use in the bulge buster.

    I can get the 3 die set here for 28. The four die set will have to include shipping, so that adds even more cost (taking it up to an average of 40). I think the 3 die carbide set + the fcd/bulge buster kit later is probably the way to go.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  16. Win1892

    Win1892 Member

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    I use RCBS, Forster, Redding , and Lee.

    I loaded 400 44 specials with the carbide Lees last night. Flawless.
     
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Senior Member

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    Lee dies themselves are fine and work as advertised although an early 357 Mag carbide die I had would leave a bulge after resizing. Worked fine for 38 Special but not max loaded 357 Mag. Used a steel die for that until I purchased an RCBS carbide die.

    But, the lock rings suck. They do not clamp to the die and unless you use a Lee turret press, Lee breech lock, Hornady L-N-L or change the lock ring you will not be able to guarantee your die setting each time you remove your die.

    I also do not like their storage boxes so by the time I replace lock rings and bought a new storage box, I was spending as much or more as the other guys' dies.

    Just one of my idiosyncrasies.

    The decapping pin is a nice design. prevents some decapping pin breakage.

    In my opinion, the FCD is a solution looking for a problem. But if it rings your bell, go for it.
     
  18. P-32

    P-32 Senior Member

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    I'm going to be the stick in the mud here. My first set of 38/357 dies were the Lee carbides. While the dies die work fine, it felt like I was crushing rocks every time I sized a case. I bought a set of RCBS carbides. The difference of the feel between Lee and RCBS was huge. I have bought only RCBS carbides for every new pistol round I've come into since then. The RCBS carbides are as smooth as glass.
     
  19. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Senior Member

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    no probs with then in a lee loadmaster
     
  20. scythefwd

    scythefwd Senior Member

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    cfull - I already have some different lock rings with set screws here.

    The FCD will be used in the bulge buster kit. I'd prefer a taper crimp personally, but I'll end up getting that die anyways due to using range brass and unglocking some of it.
     
  21. mdi

    mdi Senior Member

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    I agree with some of the other posters; No need for the Factory Crimp Die. I've been reloading for 30 years off and on and have used mostly Lee dies. I reload mostly hand gun ammo including 45 ACP and find no need to swage my finished rounds, so all my Lee die sets are 3 die sets. I used a FCD on my .44 Magnum ammo once, got leading, and it's now in my reloading room in a box, somewhere...
     
  22. Tallinar

    Tallinar Member

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    I've had no issues with the Lee dies. However, I hate the "locking" rings that come with them. They don't really lock. If you go with Lee dies, you'll save yourself some headaches by replacing the lock rings with the better type.
     
  23. scythefwd

    scythefwd Senior Member

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    mdi - do you ever use range brass that has been bulged? How do you get rid of the bulge in order to get everything to chamber correctly?
     
  24. chris in va

    chris in va Senior Member

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    My CZ 9mm won't run without the FCD. My 45acp on the other hand could care less.
     
  25. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Senior Member

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    I thought the FCD die for auto calibers WAS a taper crimp die? :confused:
     

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