Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ALDA BERGR, Feb 6, 2020.
Me, I would of bought a set of RCBS dies and set them lee dies aside just incase I needed them.
As far a function goes I find RCBS and Hornady dies equal.
Hornady pinch lock nuts are better than the RCBS gouge into the die threads allen head set screw lock nuts.
Both my RCBS and Hornady dies seem a bit more prone to rust than my Lee dies.
They are very reasonably priced when purchased in a 6 pack on Amazon. $19.95 for 6 right now.
I like the floating bullet alignment sleeve in the Hornady dies. I also prefer the split lock rings on the Hornady dies. RCBS used to have a split ring but later changed to the perpendicular setscrew.
For pistol ammo, RCBS expander dies have more adjustability. Easier to clean, too as someone else said. RCBS dies may be a little more precise in dimensions but I get good ammo from both brands.
I agree, that RCBS lockring set screw on the die threads metal to metal is a terrible design. I've found a fix however, got a 3/4 - 1" neoprene O ring at the hardware, cut a small piece of it with razor, (less than 1/8"), drop into set screw hole, don't overtighten. Neoprene is oil resistant. One O ring will make many plug cushions. Don't use lead shot, it'll mash into the die threads and freeze the lock ring from turning.
At present count I own 7 different brands of reloading dies. I tend to buy used spares to have on hand. The brand does not really matter as they all produce OK quality ammo. They all have their pluses and minuses but the two brands I use most are Lee and RCBS.
A tip for Lee users is that I put the lock ring on upside down. After setting it where I want it use a wrench on the locknut to losten it 1/2 a turn before twisting it out using the die body. Reverse the procedure to install the die and as it ts being snugged in turn the nut with a wrench while holding slight pressure on the die body in the same direction. You will not change the die settings and it provides a more positive and repeatable lock to your press than squishing down that "O" ring..
My preference is a die that only reduces the body about .002
Let's set the record straight.....While it's true that RCBS at one time had set screws that could conceivably damage threads on dies, that practice was done away with at least 10 years ago.......All my RCBS dies except for those I bought in the 1970's have brass set screws. You can tighten those things all you want and you are not going to damage any threads.....except maybe the brass threads on the set screw.....and if you do that you are tightening them way too much.
You don't need lead shot, copper wires, or O-ring fragments.......and if you ask about your old dies, RCBS will send you brand new brass set screws free......that's what I did. But I'll be honest with you, even my old dies don't have bunged up threads.....I didn't tighten them that hard.
Or get a lifetime supply of 10-32 hex head set screws for $17.00/100 I found here:
They changed the freaking price while I was posting! Now its $15.05 ($1.51 / 10 Items) + $6.50 shipping or $21.55.....nuts before it was "free" shipping...
RCBS Die Nut from their packet for advertisers:
Choosing a resizing die because of the lock ring or any other external feature might be the worst reason I’ve heard of yet.
I like Sniper's post....and I have found the same thing....I only have to change the years...more like 40-45. But I have Lees and even one Redding set for a wildcat. No Hornadys....and no reason for that except chance, availability at the time, or habit. But I have only one die set experience, less than perfect ... and that from the least likely source, Redding....and it was totally a one time fluke. Somebody didn't polish the barrel and it scratched brass brand new out of the box. That's personal bad luck, not a diss on Redding....no factory is perfect. (actually that was the latest die I've bought. and I'll bet nobody else will have that experience)
My first RCBS dies had round rings with steel set screws. Sometime somebody said, "get the Forster round rings with the tightening clamp screw" so I got a few. Years later Hornady made their clamp screws with the "flats" on opposite sides for wrenchability, so I bought some of those.....and I bought a set of Lee nuts with their O rings. They all work....some work better than others in certain cases. Dillon rings don't even have locks on their nuts. (think...you set them once on a removeable tool head, so why use a lock nut.)
My experience with Hornady rings are fine, but troublesome in my Pro 2000, because the "flats" don't always end up in an easy place to get a wrench on them....and the long edge sometimes interferes with the next station's Lock nut. RCBS rings are smaller and work fine....I tried the lead shot with them, and that's fine, but IME not necessary. Dillon rings are even smaller.....you don't need lock screws if you tighten down once on a tool head and leave it alone.....and that brings me to Lee O ringed nuts....
They are just as fine if you set them once on a tool head/ die plate and leave them alone. Once caveat with them.....don't even think about removing or adjusting a Lee ringed die by turning the barrel...only touch the nut itself......but you know what? .... that's wise with any die and nut.
Oh, I forgot to comment on Walkalong's comment about still needing a "soft" lead shot under a brass set screw. He's got as much experience as anyone....if he likes them, great, maybe good insurance....he's probably loaded and shot more in a year than I have in 10. But I haven't had any trouble with the brass ones slipping, maybe he has.
What I HAVE had is an annoyance with the clamp screws on Forster and Hornady rings. When you set your die and finger-tighten the lock ring, everything's fine....then you clamp the nut...you force the nut threads tighter into the die threads and that REALLY tightens the nut against the press....moving the die up just a little in the process, and requires more than a little wrench force to loosen it. Don't have that problem with set screws or no screws. But to each their own.
If I could only give one piece of advise to a new loader it would be stick with what you have and you don't need a bunch of dies for the same caliber to avoid having to adjust them. Spend some time loading and getting to know your equipment, eventually you will be able to adjust your dies without even thinking about it.
I have never used a Hornady set up, I do not know of any problems with that brand but for some reason when I look at Hornady reloading product, I just see red!
There’s really no need to over tighten a die requiring a monkey wrench to remove it.
To further a thought a 308 bolt face typically uses a .471 reamer with a cartridge measuring.470 at the .200 mark therefore a die that reduces a case to .4685 at the .200 is ideal for my purposes.
Not the die slipping so much as ease of tightening, loosening, adjusting a hair, tightening again. It's just easier and smoother with a piece of lead shot under the set screw. Without it you are trying to seat the set screw rubbing across on top of semi sharp threads while it turns, vs a slippery piece of shot which flattens against the set screw and forms into the threads, forming a barrier between the two.
Sure, they work without the shot (RCBS used to put something under the set screws, I believe Redding still does), but it is much smoother,precise and just more solid with it.
My Son and a couple of friends have Hornady dies and are as happy with them as I am with RCBS. I have no problems with RCBS lock rings but the Hornady is the better design.
The bottom line is that they both work and work well.
I've used one set of reading 357 dies, but all of my die sets are currently rcbs. I'm lmpressed with rcbs customer service a call or email and any problems are solved.
Had to get RCBS Small Base Dies in my Service Calibers, ..223, .308, 30.06, as I have some really tight Chambers when I had the Barrels replaced.
In those Calibers, I size with RCBS, and Seat with Hornady, go figure?
Have some Dillon for some Pistol Calibers
I have a Lyman for 30 Carbine, Lee for some Crimp, and Decapping.
Must like them all !!
Bottom line they all work, some have added features which make them more user friendly.
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