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Lee vs Dillon dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Woody3, Jun 18, 2011.

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  1. Woody3

    Woody3 Member

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    What are your feelings on the aforementioned die sets? Specifically in .223.

    Thanks, woody


    Keep your head low and your powder dry.
     
  2. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    My opinion:

    Redding
    Forster
    Dillon
    Hornady
    RCBS
    Lyman

    In that order.
     
  3. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    Dillon dies are much high quality than the Lee dies. If you are buying dies for a Dillon reloader, stick with the Dillon dies that were designed for the 550B press. BTW, don't waste your money on a carbide sizing die for your 223. You still have to lube your cases and the carbide die was designed for high volume reloaders, not people like us.
     
  4. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    for what gun? Dillon dies are going to be slicker and easier to use as a full length sizing die, but if you've got a bolt gun, the lee neck sizing collet die is pretty sexy. and a whole lot cheaper too. They work all right.
     
  5. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I have Lee, Dillon, and RCBS dies in 223 (used in my Dillon 550), and I challenge anyone to show how the Lee dies are any poorer or make less accurate rounds.

    The Lee dies are mechanically sound and create accurate ammo. The Dillon dies tend to have a thicker surface finish and resist oxidation better, but also tend (in general) have a more flared mouth on the sizing die that does not resize quite as far down the body as do some other brands of dies.
     
  6. JerryM

    JerryM Member

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    Dillon dies may be better quality, but I don't like them. I find them too difficult to re-adjust. Lee and others are much easier if I wish to change oal, etc. The locking rings take up a lot of room on the block and are difficult to loosen and tighten without disturbing other dies.
    However, Dillons are very easy to clean.

    Jerry
     
  7. Woody3

    Woody3 Member

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    You guys and gals never disappoint. Thanks for the awesome input. I'll probably just pick up the standard dillon set.
    Woody


    Keep your head low and your powder dry.
     
  8. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Any brand die will work as well as the next provided it's true. The lower the cost, the greater the odds of a defect. I've purchased two sets of Lee dies: .223REM and .45ACP. The .45 dies worked fine, but I didn't care for having the lockrings on the bottom. The .223 size die was shaped like a banana. Returned them and bought Redding.
     
  9. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Well let's see here... There have been a few 1000 yard world records set with lee dies. I don't know how many 1000 yard benchrest records Dillon dies have under their belt. If you were loading for a bolt gun, then The Lee collet dies would be better, but for an auto the dillon dies are what you want. Of course Redding and forster dies are even better.
     
  10. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    Mr Moderator: Let's assume you have a set of Dillon dies and a set of Lee dies. I fyou use them on a regular basis for 15-20 years, you will find the Lee dies scrap aluminum. Yes lee dies are fine for the average small volume loader, but one who has loaded for over 45 years and have used all makes of dies, I will take dillon dies or Redding (not previously mentioned) for their original quality and ability to last.
     
  11. 45ACPUSER

    45ACPUSER Member

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    Dillon Dies in rifle calibers are three die sets with a FL sizer decapper, seater dies with no crimp feature, and a taper crimp die. Really meant for progressive use. Hence the radiused features. But, that is not really an issue period!

    Lee Pacesetter 3 Die sets come with three dies, too FL Sizer decapper, seater with roll crimp feature, and factory crimp die.

    I view dies like this
    For stand Press Mounted Dies 7/8 x 14
    Redding makes the Cadillac
    Forster makes the Buick
    RCBS makes Chevy
    Hornady makes Ford
    Lyman makes Chrysler
    Lee makes the VW, serviceable dies.
     
  12. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Except when I mentioned them in the second post.

    I think Ford builds a better automobile than Chevy and I would have rated Redding as Lexus.
     
  13. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I have close to a dozen sets of Lee dies that I bought in the late 1980's and several of those sets have probably made well in excess of 75K rounds each. They are still working well and producing ammo within SAAMI spec.

    You can assert anything you want as opinion, but it's not aligned with my actual experience. Oh, and all Lee dies are made from steel and not aluminum (excepting the lock rings).

    I own dies made by Lee, Dillon, Pacific, RCBS, and Hornady. I have been unable to wear out any of the Lee dies, and my predominant complaint with them is that their external surfaces (especially their rifle crimp dies) are prone to mild oxidation if not kept lightly oiled.
     
  14. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    I have found that the cheap pacesetter dies have a better internal finish (sizing die only) than rcbs or Lyman dies, but as you said they don't worry too much about the external finish on any of them. That is one of the areas money is saved.
     
  15. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Do you think you're being cute or do realize like others in this thread that you are simply ignorant? Too many kids have too much time on their hands to do anything other than post non sense in these threads. Why don't some of you kids spend a little time learning to load ammunition and actually use the tools people inquire about rather than post such childish remarks. Be helpful not hateful.
     
  16. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    Reloading for over 45 years and I'm a Kid?
     
  17. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    All but two sets of my pistol/reveler dies are Dillon, one die set for 45 Schofield is RCBS.
    The other, 10 mm is Reddding all are carbide. Rifle dies are either RCBS or Redding.
    What little Lee equipment I have used I ended up giving away as the quality of the equipment left something to be desired by me.
     
  18. DanTheFarmer

    DanTheFarmer Member

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    Hi All,

    Honest questions here, I'm not trying to stir up the pot.

    What do you mean when you say one die set is better than another? I'm new to reloading (I've got mostly Lee equipment.) and I'm assuming all dies from all manufacturers will size things within SAAMI specs. Within specs is the goal, right?

    Are some dies easier to work with? Longer lasting? What else would make you prefer one brand over another?

    Thanks.

    Dan
     
  19. Zcarp2

    Zcarp2 Member

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    For Rifle dies, the neck guides the brass into the die. For straight wall pistol brass, Lee and RCBS have a sharp edge. The brass can get caught on the sharp edge and crush a case if you are not careful. I have to run up and slowly insert (wiggle) the brass into the sizing die. The Dillon edge is rounded and can generally be loaded quicker. IMHO

    If it makes finished ammo that works in your gun, it's all good. Lee slowed me down too much. I bought Dillon.
     
  20. billybob44

    billybob44 Member

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    ^^^+1 What he said--I would add RCBS to the LASTING side of the list..Bill.
     
  21. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have mostly Lee dies because they are cost effective (cheap like me) and I have some RCBS and Redding. I use the Lee most and like the Redding better than the RCBS but I'm sure that's only personal taste because most dies are of good quality.
     
  22. Uniquedot

    Uniquedot Member

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    Well i guess not since you have been making ammunition for as long as i am young :D
     
  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Lee dies themselves are fine but the lock rings suck and the storage boxes do not fit my storage system. By the time I bring the Lee dies up to my standards, I have spent as much as for some of the other dies although not Dillon.

    So, i stopped buying Lee dies over a decade ago.

    I prefer Redding, but frequently my purchases are based on what I find in stock. Dillon dies have some interesting features though. I might try a set when I get another new cartridge to reload for. (22 and counting)
     
  24. Duckdog

    Duckdog Member

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    I guess I would have to ask what makes the Lee dies inferior quality. I have over 20 sets and have yet to have any issues, whatsoever. I also have a couple of sets of RCBS and Lyman and those are alos excellent dies, but I use the Lee dies most of the time.

    I'm not calling anyone out, but how in the heck clould a die get a bend like a banana? Seems like the machining process would make it virtually impossible.

    IMHO, buy Lee if you wish and you'll be happy.
     
  25. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Figuratively speaking, not literal. Ever measure case runout?
     
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