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Will I be happy with Lee dies?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Huskerguy, Jan 5, 2013.

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  1. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    +1 to this. All my handgun dies are mounted on turrets, so the Lee lock rings don't pose a problem for me. The dies don't move when I swap turrets, and I've had a couple of those turrets since 1989.

    They also work reasonably well in single stage presses as long as you follow Lee's instructions and remove them by the ring and not the die body---but I still would put witness marks on both with a Sharpie if you really want to be sure. Or you can mod them to be lock rings.

    I bought my first set of Lee dies in the late 80's before I owned a turret press and used them in a RCBS Reloader Special single stage press. This was the age before the internet so I didn't even know you could buy replacement packs of locking rings from other makers. Being the enterprising sort, I decided I would turn the Lee rings into locking rings. I drilled a hole through the side of each ring, tapped the hole and inserted an appropriately sized screw. 30 years later that same set of dies is still wearing those lock rings and they still haven't moved.

    Other than a handful of other brands that were bought when the Lee version was out of stock, I think all my handgun dies are Lee. My general practice is to buy Lee dies for both rifle and handgun if they are in stock.
     
  2. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    All the lock rings have their quirks.

    The split ring type needs to be backed out before the screw is tightened, or you lock your die in the press. So it's the most fiddly to adjust. The kind with the screw-on-thread damages the threads. The Lee rings can accidentally be moved from their set position if you're not careful.

    I wonder if it wouldn't be better to augment a Lee ring by adding a split ring above it, rather than replacing it, outright (at least on the dies that have room). Then you have the O-ring to hold the ring to the press, and tightening the split ring would freeze the rings from moving on the die without locking the die in the press. You would still have a +-a 40th of a turn variation, perhaps, when turning in the die hand tight, but that doesn't bother me so much as the possibility of the Lee ring moving ever so slightly any time you handle the die, opening up the possibility of cumulative drift.

    The best for me are Lee rings plus a quick change bushing. But they don't fit in all my die boxes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  3. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Dies with Hornady L-N-L bushings fit in RCBS die storage boxes except one of the saddles near the "clasp" needs to be trimmed out to make room for the bushing's flange where the "clasp" intrudes on the interior of the storage box.
     
  4. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    Thanks for pointing out the typo. Little keyboard that my thumb covers about 8 keys. I get a few typos but over all pretty close.
     
  5. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    The only dies I have that aren't Lee are ones that they don't make. All the Lee's work as they should. So do the Lyman M dies and the RCBS expanders that I have. If Lee made those dies I would buy them first. Because they'd most likely be cheaper and work just as well.


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  6. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    JC it's the same with the Lee's with the o-rings. I have never had to reset my dies.
     
  7. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    I've never had a problem with my Lee dies. I also have RCBS but I only bought the RCBS because I didn't like the way the Lee dies fit on the Dillon xl650 I had. The quality of the ammo from one brand to the other is negligible. I don't consider another brand when I buy dies anymore. Also Lee supplies a shell plate. Be confident that Lee dies will keep you happy.
     
  8. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Yup. If you rarely take the die out of the press/toolhead, Lee rings are peerless. They stay put, and they're still a snap to adjust. If you're worried they'll move on their own, how do you sleep at night with the knowledge that your seating stem doesn't have a set screw/split lock ring on it?

    The major drawback for the Lee rings is experienced by those that frequently swap dies without changing settings.
     
  9. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Being as I happen to like reloading with 2 single stage presses set up side by side, I switch dies from press to box and from box to press with every caliber change. This happens to be the way I like to do it, don't ask me why it just is. I have turret presses and plenty of torrents, but I went back to 2 single stage presses.

    Therefore I'll stick to my split rings and settings that once set are set till I unset them.

    Furthermore as far as the bullet seating stem each caliber and bullet combination I reload for has its own dummy case and bullet set. One of the great uses for the steel cases found all over the ground at most ranges. Not a big challange to check the bullet seating depth using the dummy cartridge before heading into the reloading session.

    My dummy cases now amount to close to 100 different combos. Heck, maybe more if I took the time to go count them all up.

    I'll even add there times I enjoy returning to my old Lee Loader Kits and reloading a few the old, old way I did a half century ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  10. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    Yup!
    I have 10 sets of dies, 7 are Lee, 1 RCBS, 1 Dillon & 1 Redding.

    I bought the RCBS & Dillon dies just cuz of all the good things I've read & the Redding set came with a gun.
    I honestly can't see any difference & don't notice any in shooting the ammo.

    I won't "waste" my money on the expensive sets any more.
    Just my 2¢ worth. YMMV
     
  11. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    I find it curious that no one has mentioned Lee's Lock Ring Eliminator, which is a combination of their quick change bushing and a split ring.http://leeprecision.com/lock-ring-eliminator.html


    I bought a set to try out, so far they seem to hold setting just fine.
     
  12. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    I can't seem to get them to fit in my Reloader Special :)
     
  13. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    :banghead: Well, yeah, they work in the Lee press. Forgot to notice OP is using LNL

    But still, they're working for me!
     
  14. CountGlockulla

    CountGlockulla Member

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  15. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    What I find interesting is that Lee champions their o-ring lock rings for decades and then come out with the Lock Ring Eliminator for their breech lock bushing press.

    I guess it gives their customers the option of using or not using the o-ring.
     
  16. moonzapa

    moonzapa Member

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    I started with Lee dies, scale, etc., that was over 25 years ago. Have moved on to Redding Dies. Lee equipment will get the job done in a minimal manner, but nonetheless the equipment will get the job done. If you decide handloading is not your cup of tea, then you have not broke the bank with Lee products.
     
  17. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    You may be happy with them but not me. You get what you pay for (most of the time). I think Redding are the best.
     
  18. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Then there are times one gets much more than they pay for. Like a like new 1947 Winchester Model 52 B complete with all but the box it came in, even had the hang tags for the outlandish sum of $50.00. That also encluded the Lyman Target Spot scope.

    If Lee products were so lacking they would have gone by the wayside long ago.
     
  19. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    Some people aren't happy with anything.

    Whether or not Lee dies make the OP happy has a lot more to do with the OP than the dies.
     
  20. Legion489

    Legion489 member

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    Lee dies work fine. Are they as good as other dies? PRECISION SHOOTING MAG did a test several years ago and the finding was Redding, Dillon, Forster were the best (they also cost it), then RCBS, with both Lee and Lyman in last place. That said, NONE of the dies were really bad, but some were finished better, loaded smoother, had higher tolerances, easier to use, had nicer features, easier to adjust, easier to take apart/clean, etc.

    If you can afford Redding, get Redding. Dillon and Forster have a limited selection but are equal to anything out there. RCBS is next and RCBS and Lee are running neck and neck for dies in my collection, especially in pistol dies (the idea that I don't like Lee is promoted by fools and liars that want to attack and smear me for their own reasons). I like the four die deluxe Lee pistol die sets as I really like the FCD. Some people don't like them, others do, take your pick.
     
  21. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    I have a LnL AP Progressive myself and own both Lee and Hornady dies in .45ACP.
    There are 2 problems with Lee dies being used in a LnL.
    The Lee dies are shorter than Hornady dies so they are bottomed out with the lock rings barely hanging on.
    Secondly they don't fit in the Lee die box with the Hornady bushings installed.

    As far as the dies making good ammo there is no problem there.
     
  22. jack44

    jack44 Member

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    Lee's are good for the price but most of my dies are RCBS$$$
     
  23. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    My die shelf has Red boxes, Blue boxes, and Green boxes on it , all work good , but for handgun loads Lee is all I use and for most rifle loads I use Redding , soon to be all Redding for Rifle , but I wont give up My Lee's for handgun loads ,
    so YES go with the Lee for your 45acp , that's what I use for my 45acp in a Loadmaster 5 stage:)
     
  24. RE-15

    RE-15 Member

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    Money is not a issue for me and I still buy Lee dies.
     
  25. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    Thou hast spaketh a truth! :eek:
     
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