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New at reloading - Die interchangeability question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by emptybrass, Jan 9, 2013.

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  1. emptybrass

    emptybrass Member

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    At the ripe old age of 63, I decided to get into reloading - go figure. Anyway, I am so new at reloading that all of my parts and pieces have not arrived. I did get my new Hornady Lock and Load Classic kit yesterday, but this morning Amazon cancelled my order for 45 ACP dies saying they could not get a delivery day. Are all major reloading dies interchangeable? If so, will some work better than others with my Hornady press?

    My current calibers are 45ACP, 380 Auto and .223/5.56 and I have dies ordered for the other two sizes as well. They are scheduled for delivery later this month - I'll just have to wait and see.

    Just found this forum the other day and will be a regular here, I'm sure.
     
  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    All dies are interchangeable for the most part with a few exceptions. So Lee, RCBS, Hornady, etc .... will all work. You will want the Bushings for your dies. This will make changing them only a few seconds. Now if you go Lee you will want to get the Split Lock Rings by Hornady or your settings will not stay. With the shortage you may want to go directly to Hornady and see if they have them. I have there set with the separate TC die, very good quality dies.
     
  3. Bud0505

    Bud0505 Member

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    Dies are pretty much interchangeable. Redding, RCBS, Lee should all work okay in your Hornady press. The only dies that are proprietary that I'm aware of are the Dillon Square Deal dies which are made specifically for the SDBpress. I would recommend that you buy carbide dies as it makes case sizing easier. There will be others along shortly with additional information on the interchangeability of dies. In the mean time you can use the search function and find the answers to some of your questions. Welcome to the forum.
     
  4. emptybrass

    emptybrass Member

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    I found a Lee three die carbide set that is available now. Should I wait for a four die set? And, what typically does the fourth die do...is that the crimping die?

    EDIT: I also found a three die RCBS die set...what RCBS shell holder number do I need for 45ACP?
     
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Reloading gear from Amazon, how droll.

    The biggest supply house is Midway
    http://www.midwayusa.com/

    See also
    http://www.grafs.com/
    http://powdervalleyinc.com/

    A four die pistol set has
    size-decap
    expand
    seat
    crimp

    This is particularly desirable for autopistol calibers where you need a taper crimp. You can roll crimp proper revolver bullets in the seating die.

    You need an RCBS #3 shellholder for .45 ACP.
    Or Hornady #1, Redding #1, Lyman #2, Lee #2
    Reloading manuals have charts of shellholder applications.
    You DO have a manual, don't you?
     
  6. quaid

    quaid Member

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    A 3 die set will load fine ammo. Many like to separate the seat & crimp operations. The third die, in a three die pistol set, will have a shoulder in the die that will either taper or roll crimp depending upon the caliber.

    Set the seat&crimp die by first backing the die out so it does zero crimping, now adjust the seating stem down to the appropriate height and seat a test round. Now back the seating stem all the way out. Now adjust the die down to give the appropriate crimp on your test round. Next, with the test round raised in the die, adjust/snug the seating stem back down to make contact with the loaded round. Next round you run through will get both seated and crimped at the same time.

    Some crimp dies get fancy, such as the lee factory crimp die. They also work fine, if that's the way you want to go.
     
  7. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    In case it hasn't been said already, you might occasionally find a die that can't be turned down far enough in the press once it's placed into a LNL bushing. The flange on the bushing is .130" thick, effectively shortening the working threads of your die by that much.
     
  8. emptybrass

    emptybrass Member

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    Good info and links...very helpful. Thanks to all that replied.
     
  9. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Welcome to the forum and thanks for asking our advice.

    The Lee "lock" rings stay in place by the friction of a rubber "O" ring set in a groove in the bottom of the ring. They stay in place, OK, but you have to handle them gingerly or they won't. But the "O" ring does make it easy to make fine adjustments, so these slightly insecure rings are one of my two favorite ways to lock dies.

    On the other hand, if you use the bushings to mount your dies, you can take the Lee Rings off, turn them over and screw them back on again, you can tighten them down on the bushing real tight with a wrench and they are very unlikely to move, ever, until you take a wrench to them again.

    Or, you can the the bushings that have a ring built into them (my other favorite solution) that you tighten with an allen wrench.

    Many solutions to the task.
     
  10. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    And you can always add the fourth die later if you decide you want or need it.

    Lost Sheep
     
  11. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    EmptyBrass,
    You can add a set screw to Lee lock rings if you have the capability. Then use a piece of lead, brass or weed eater line between the set screw & die body.
    I did mine & the decapping pin lock nuts as well. If you don't like the O rings just turn the nuts over.

    Quick change bushings are not needed if you set screw the lock rings. Then you don't need anything else when getting another die set or decide to pop them into a different press.
     
  12. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    I would go for the Lee die set. It comes with a shell holder and is less expensive anyway.

    The RCBS web site should tell you which shell holder number to use for 45 ACP. I believe it is #3 in RCBS' book. (Note: Different manufacturers use different numberings.)

    Lost Sheep
     
  13. emptybrass

    emptybrass Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks to all for you comments and links. Looks to be a good forum of shared knowledge and experience. I've got to absorb all your comments and then compare that to what is available in the die market.
    Thanks again.
     
  14. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    I would order Hornady dies from another vendor. Natchez Shooters Supply usually has good prices on Hornady dies. I agree with the other replies that you want dies with split rings to mount in the LNL bushings.

    Dillon dies are great but not recommended for single stage presses because they do not include an expansion die.

    I bought an RCBS three die set in .45 ACPS and then learned that the no. 3 die imparts a roll crimp. Not good for auto pistol. I had to purchase a separate RCBS taper crimp die.
     
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