Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Lee vs RCBS dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by hometheaterman, Apr 12, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,115
    So I'm considering getting a new set of dies. I see the Lees RGB dies are about half of the price of the RCBS standard dies. Is there anything better about the RCBS or are you just paying for the name? Can you crimp with the Lee dies? I see the more expensive set of Lee dies comes with a factory crimp die. Is this the die set I'd need if I wanted to crimp?
     
  2. mongoose33

    mongoose33 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    IMO, the RCBS dies are better. Higher quality. I have had trouble w/ the Lee seating die (inconsistent OAL).

    You can also consider the Hornady offerings, which is where I tend to spend my die money.
     
  3. ScratchnDent

    ScratchnDent Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Messages:
    546
    Location:
    Tampa Bay area
    I have several sets of Lee dies that work fine for me. I can't compare them to RCBS as I don't own any of those. I would spend the extra on the more expensive Lees than the RGB though, simply because they include a shellholder, powder dipper, loading data, and the factory crimp die, which I like much better than crimping with the seating die.
     
  4. Col

    Col Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    Wales UK
    I have several varieties of dies..including LEE,and RCBS,also Lyman,the best set I find are the LEE 4 die sets,but I must add,I take the screw type lock nuts and use them on the Lee dies,
     
  5. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    5,236
    Location:
    Florida
    The Lee dies are very good but with the RGB you only get 2 dies. I gather you are looking to load rifle caliber? For the few extra dollars get the Pacesetter and or the collet neck sizing.

    If it is bolt action and only for that gun you can get the collet (neck sizing dies)

    If it semi auto then the Pacesetter dies are good.

    RCBS makes fantastic products and a absolute no BS warranty on anything they make. For the average Joe shooter I think the Lee dies are better than I can shoot and saves me enough money to buy just about every handgun caliber and 5 rifles calibers.

    Bottom line, they all will work, depends on your wallet.
     
  6. Dunkelheit

    Dunkelheit Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    242
    Location:
    Hessen, Germany
    Did you check out Redding TC dies? I can recommend them.
     
  7. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,797
    "Is there anything better about the RCBS or are you just paying for the name?"

    Yes. RCBS has a better external finish and some really nice knurling, plus the name/snob appeal to those affected by that, but they are good dies, on average. Lee's are also good dies, on average. There's really no average functional difference.

    I have sevaral sets of both brands and several others. I've actually measured the finished results from several examples of all our brands of dies, including on targets, and find there is as much - or as little - variation between dies of the same maker as there is between makers. That's a fact, not an opinion based on how nice they look. Seems ALL dies are made to SAAMI specifications, +/-, no better and no worse, so what you actually get becomes a matter of luck, it's not brand dependant. Any maker will let a lemon get by from time to time but they will all correct it quickly, IME.

    The DESIGN of the Forster/Redding die set twins is slighly superior to all others but the differences aren't massive and few rifles will ever notice any difference even with them.

    So, I believe I can prove that the best rifle die set deal on the market is the Lee Delux set. It includes a "free" shell holder, a normal FL die and an excellant "collet" neck sizer which many of us who actually use it think is better for factory sporters than the current rage of expensive "bushing" sizer dies.

    The Lee rifle "Dead Length" seaters don't crimp but you may purchase Lee's terrific Factory Crimp Die seperatly for not much...but most rifle cartridges really don't need to be crimped. Any OAL inconsistancy with Lee's seater is due to variations in the bullets or improper setup, not the die.

    Only Dillon makes TC sizer dies for bottle neck cartridges (at about $200) and then only for .223 and .308 but they still require case lubing. I don't think anyone has made non-TC pistol dies for years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  8. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    12,879
    Location:
    Home Of The First Capitol Of The Confederate State
    Over the year's, I've used RCBS-Lyman-Redding; and the factory crimp dies
    as made by Lee. I have owned more RCBS and Lyman dies than ay other~!
    All have worked flawlessly for me, thus far. Now, I'm gett'in ready to invest
    in a set of RCBS rifle dies in caliber .223 (5.56); as I now own two AR's, and
    quality ammo is not cheap~! :uhoh: ;) :D
     
  9. deerhammer

    deerhammer Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    I have LEE , RCBS and Lyman. They all work.
    However , I have had problems with one particular die. Small base sizer X die in .223 from rcbs, currently awaiting the third return from cust service for stuck case. The cust service has been great ,they remove case , polish die & send it back , but it is a pia sending it back over and again. I think it was a lemon from the gitgo & hope they send me a different die this time. I have had no problems with the cheapo RGB .223 set I use in the interm. Go figger.
    my .02
     
  10. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    9,378
    Location:
    Hopewell Big Woods
  11. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,899
    Location:
    Nicholls,GA South Georgia
    You can ride in a Hyundia-Kia-Yugo or a Lexus-MBenz-BMW. All will get you where you want to go. Drive what you can afford and are willing to spend.

    Redding & Forster are the top class, RCBS, Lyman & Hornady are the middle class and Lee is the value class. Drive what you can afford or are willing to spend.

    Your choice.

    Most of my dies are Redding, Forster, RCBS, Lyman and Hornady.

    Jimmy K
     
  12. AMBASSADOR

    AMBASSADOR Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Ocean County N.J.
    DIES

    I use both brands of dies,consider them to be equal to each other.I use only carbide dies.
     
  13. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    3,329
    This is the first time I've ever read RCBS and snob in the same sentence.

    Based on the price spread between the different makers, RCBS must be "entry level snob" dies.
     
  14. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,906
    I have a few Lee dies. They work well. The rifle dies are quite a deal. I have loaded some good ammo on them. The neck size only and coming with the shell holder is a plus.

    I think the biggest problem with the Lee:
    Lock rings don't lock to the die. There are several fixes and maybe a non issue it you leave the dies setup or have a bushing system.

    The Decapping pin can slip too easliy on some of them. I fixed mine. Not a deterrent to buying more.

    I like the RCBS & Redding I have as well. I think the decapping pins & lock rings are better. I bought some used so price was not really a consideration.
     
  15. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,797
    "...RCBS must be "entry level snob" dies."

    Ed, you gonna tweek some RCBS snobs even worse than I did! ;)
     
  16. Publius1688

    Publius1688 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Knoxville TN
    If you do buy Lee, go to Midway.com & buy the screw lock rings. My Lee's have a problem staying set.
    All the dies are good, in their own way. If you are just starting, get the Lee. Six months from now, if you are still hot for handloading, move up to another brand (maybe even buy them used, to save a little $)
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    48,851
    Location:
    Alabama
    RCBS over Lee.
     
  18. Lorenzo Rojo

    Lorenzo Rojo Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    Seventy miles Northwest of the OK Corral
    Lee vs. RCBS

    I prefer Lee for handguns and RCBS for rifles. I usually buy Lee shell holders because they are about half the price of the RCBS and are clearly labeled. I also like the Lee case trimmers and cutters. I do agree that the RCBS dies give me more consistant results, especially in OAL.
     
  19. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    2,258
    Location:
    S/E Michigan
    I have been at this " save your money-spend all your money on this hobby" for many
    years.
    I am loading 30 car. today--using dies from 3 different Mfr's
    I always find one die I like better than the one in the set & I change it.
    Mark my words----------in time-you will do the same thing.
    Lee costs less--works good...
    Have fun.......................................:):)
     
  20. sonick808

    sonick808 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    576
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    i only load pistol ammo, and prefer lee carbide dies.

    I have considered a Lyman expander die because of the flare shape preventing scraping; "M" series i believe.

    Redding and Forster are sexy and work very well. I still prefer Lee first though
     
  21. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    7,413
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    We have both and I like the Lee dies. Granted, all I've loaded with the Lees are pistol stuff. Our rifle dies are all RCBS.
    I like the lock nut feature of the Lee a lot. I hate those little brass allen head screws.
     
  22. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,899
    Location:
    Nicholls,GA South Georgia
    If you like Lee lock nuts ...
    then you would not like the Forster or Lyman cross bolt lock nuts at all.

    Jimmy K
     
  23. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    5,236
    Location:
    Florida
    I can't believe it:what: A whole thread on dies and no one mentioned the, oh so great Blue one:D
     
  24. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Messages:
    748
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    I have both Lee and RCBS sets, actually I have several types of both makers' dies. The plain vanilla dies from both makers are good.

    If you load much rifle ammo, you'll grow to hate trimming, and if so look at RCBS X-dies.

    Lee has their Collet die, which is working well for me in bolt-actions where all I need do is neck size.

    There are other higher technology dies, such as the Redding bushing dies, where if your neck wall thickness is uniform you choose one of many precise internal diameter bushings to size the outside of the neck, which also gives you the precise neck internal diameter you want, working your brass a lot less than the common set-up with an expander would.
     
  25. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    48,851
    Location:
    Alabama
    My 9MM set is a Lee sizer, a Redding expander, a Hornady seater, and a C&H crimper. I have numerous mixed sets of dies.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page