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Old April 8, 2014, 10:03 PM   #1
shane32
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die/ shell holder question's

I was wondering if I can use two different brands of die/ shell holders. For instance I have lee shell holders and a redding die. Is this ok to do. Thanks!!
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Old April 8, 2014, 10:17 PM   #2
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I do it all the time. Most of my dies are Hornady because of the free bullets but I have a "who's who" of shell holders. I do like the RCBS best, it seems like Hornady doesn't de-burr their tools very well.
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Old April 8, 2014, 10:44 PM   #3
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For the most part you can interchange, but believe me there are some that will not interchange. You will notice right away when you are at the range and the bolt will not close or have an FTF in an auto. I am referring to bottleneck cases.

You check COL and it is good and you know your headspace is good. Then it comes to you to mike your brass & find the shoulder length is a few thousands too long. I have had this happen in a 3006 bolt action, a couple of 8mm bolts and a Ruger #1 223.

I have noticed differences as much as 10 thousands of an inch or more between die brands in relation to shell holders. Some you can even cam over the press and the round still will not chamber due to shoulder not set back enough.

Bottom line: If you have doubts, make sure your reload will chamber
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Old April 8, 2014, 10:44 PM   #4
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I'm sorry, but if you HAVE the two parts, can't you try and put them together yourself to see if they work?
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Old April 11, 2014, 09:49 AM   #5
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Most brands of shell holders are "universal". The only time you'll run into a problem is if you find a shell holder that was designed to be used with a specific make of press - example would would be some of the shell holders that went with the old Herters presses years ago. Herters was a mail order shooting supplies dealer in the 50s and 60s - we all looked forward to their new catalogs each year!

As for shell holders - as an example, a Lee will work in a RCBS press and a RCBS shell holder will work in a Lee press - this goes for other makes as well.

Die sets are pretty much "universal" as well. Today's die sets - no matter who makes them, are interchangeable between different makes of loading presses.

From the number of your posts - I'm assuming that you probably are pretty new to reloading. To answer another question that "wasn't asked" - you can use multiple makes of dies together to reload a cartridge. As an example - a person may like the way RCBS dies work for them so they use a RCBS "sizer/de-proming die", a RCBS "expander die" (to flare the mouth of the cartridge for easy bullet insertion) and a RCBS "seating die" to seat the bullet - BUT, they prefer to seat the bullet and perform the crimp in two different operations - and they like the way the Lee "factory crimp die" works - so the first three dies are RCBS and the last one a Lee.

As far as your original question - different makes can be used together but follow the "set up" instructions that come with the die set to do the set up and adjustment of your dies for the cartridge you are loading.

Everyone is "new" to reloading when they begin - and most don't want to make mistakes - which is important in reloading. As such, what may seem to be a "simple" question to one who has been reloading for a while is still an "important" question to the person asking it. If a person thinks about it - when you buy a Lee Reloading Manual or a Speer Reloading Manual - they all "tout" their product line. Lee promotes Lee - Speer promotes RCBS. I'd wager that neither manual address the question of using another manufacturer's product with their product line. As you progress in your reloading - when you have a question - ask. That's what this forum is all about and that's how we all learn. Good luck! You'll get it all figured out!
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Old April 11, 2014, 10:15 AM   #6
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There are a few specialized shell holders out there, such as those Lee makes for their Auto Prime tools. (These have no foot to snap into a standard shell holder slot in a press ram.) But the vast majority can generally be physically interchanged, but their numbers can't necessarily be interchanged.

For example, the standard 0.473" rimless head used in .30-06 and many others, is a #1 holder from Hornady or Redding or C-H, a #2 from Lee or Lyman, and a #3 from RCBS.

This chart shows which number from which maker fits which chambering.
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Old April 11, 2014, 10:18 AM   #7
243winxb
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About .125" more or less.

Never hurts to measure the deck height. Standard is .125"
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Old April 11, 2014, 02:42 PM   #8
Bart B.
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Redding makes special shellholders in .002" height increments above the industry standard of .125 inch. Great to use so when the full length sizing die's set to stop against one when the press is at the top of its stroke, sized case headspace will end up a couple thousandths less than what it was when fired and not set the case shoulder back too far. And the spread across several cases' headspace will be pretty small using these competition shellholders.

http://www.redding-reloading.com/ind...ellholder-sets

Their comment:
Quote:
Each shellholder has a distinct black oxide finish and is clearly marked to indicate the amount it will decrease case-to-chamber headspace.
should say they will "increase" case-to-chamber headspace. A shellholder marked '.004' will have it's bottom (where the case head rests when sizing) .004" further away from the die's bottom and the case headspace will be .004" greater than if a standard .125" shellholder was used; the bottom of the shellholder's .129" below the bottom of the die.
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Old April 12, 2014, 02:54 AM   #9
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I've had a debate about something like the OP is asking with a friend . He says like all of you that shell holders are interchangeable . I say no . Yes a redding holder will work with a lee die and a rcbs will work with a Hornady die etc etc . It's my thought that they are not interchangeable though . If you have your X-brand press ,x-brand dies and Redding shell holder set up to size the perfect case for your rifle . You can't just switch the shell holder to a lee shell holder or any other brand and get the same results as you were getting with the Redding shell holder with out adjusting the die . You might get the same result but it's not a given therefore not interchangeable .

Am I wrong on this ???
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Old April 12, 2014, 06:29 AM   #10
Bart B.
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If a company's sizing dies were spec'd to only their shell holders, wouldn't they include one with their dies and include cautions about using other brands?

I've never read anything anywhere about this being reality. I've measured several brands and they're all within about a .002" spread at .125" which is better than full length sizing die's shoulder distance from their bottom. There's a greater spread across a company's dies' headspace (distance from their bottom to shoulder) which is easily measured with a chamber headspace gauge noting how far its head sticks out past the die's bottom. There's also a spread in diameters in dies' body and neck diameters.

Exceptions are special ones unique to special presses as Unclenick and bedbugbilly mention.

Measure your stuff and that of others if you're unsure. Don't guess or make assumptions.
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Old April 12, 2014, 10:07 AM   #11
Metal god
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Quote:
Measure your stuff and that of others if you're unsure. Don't guess or make assumptions.
OK just measured height From base ( where it makes contact with the press) to the top ( where it would make contact with the die )of 3 different 308 shell holders .

Hornady .2615
RCBS .2485
Redding .2515

I also measured the distance from the base to where the head of the case would sit inside the shell holder .

Hornady .138
RCBS .123
Redding .127

There it is there NOT interchangeable .
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Old April 12, 2014, 10:18 AM   #12
243winxb
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Quote:
Hornady .138"
Odd? What number is it. Not a problem for pistol. Would be for bottle neck rifle.
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Old April 12, 2014, 10:32 AM   #13
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#1 went back and measured again . it's correct
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Old April 12, 2014, 11:00 AM   #14
tangolima
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal god View Post
OK just measured height From base ( where it makes contact with the press) to the top ( where it would make contact with the die )of 3 different 308 shell holders .

Hornady .2615
RCBS .2485
Redding .2515

I also measured the distance from the base to where the head of the case would sit inside the shell holder .

Hornady .138
RCBS .123
Redding .127

There it is there NOT interchangeable .
You need to subtract the 2nd number from the 1st number.

.2615 - .138 = .1235
.2485 - .123 = .1255
.2515 - .127 = .1245

They are right around .125. However there are unusual ones. I have a old, at lease 25 years old, Lyman .30-06 die that came with shell holder.

.220 - .103 = .117

That die must use that shell holder, or full length resizing doesn't work for most rifles.

-TL
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Old April 12, 2014, 11:10 AM   #15
Bart B.
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Measure from where the case head sets in the shellholders' bottom to the flat top that stops against the die's bottom. All other dimensions may be specific to the ram design and have no effect on a die's headspace.

Those three measurements around 1/4 inch are compensated for by the die needing to adjusted up or down so the shell holder just stops against the die's bottom. It's the distance from the die bottom to the shell holder bottom where the case head rests that determine the die's headspace. If the Hornady one was put in a press to replace the RCBS one, the die would need to be moved up about .130" as the top of its shell holder is that much higher than the top of the ram it rests on.

Most rimless bottleneck full length sizing dies are "chambered" so that die headspace with a .125" deep shell holder is a few thousandths less than SAAMI headspace gauge GO dimension to allow for brass case spring back.

243win's picture shows the critical dimension that's the industry standard +/- .001" or thereabouts.
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Old April 12, 2014, 11:51 AM   #16
Metal god
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Quote:
You need to subtract the 2nd number from the 1st number.
Yep I get that and maybe I'm still missing something here . I know you can use all those shell holders with most any dies . My point is that if your in the middle of sizing 100 cases and you change shell holders at csae 50 it will change the sizing of your cases

Quote:
OK just measured height From base ( where it makes contact with the press) to the top ( where it would make contact with the die )of 3 different 308 shell holders .

Hornady .2615
RCBS .2485
Redding .2515
If your sizing case where the die just touches the Hornady shell holder and switch to the RCBS with out making any other adjustments . Will the cases be sized the same ???

I just sized 5 cases each doing that very thing

Hornady shell holder
1.6115
1.6105
1.6095
1.6105
1.6110

RCBS shell holder
1.6225
1.6215
1.6210
1.6200
1.6210

Am I still missing something here ?
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Old April 12, 2014, 12:00 PM   #17
tangolima
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal god View Post
Yep I get that and maybe I'm still missing something here . I know you can use all those shell holders with most any dies . My point is that if your in the middle of sizing 100 cases and you change shell holders at csae 50 it will change the sizing of your cases



If your sizing case where the die just touches the Hornady shell holder and switch to the RCBS with out making any other adjustments . Will the cases be sized the same ???

I just sized 5 cases each doing that very thing

Hornady shell holder
1.6115
1.6105
1.6095
1.6105
1.6110

RCBS shell holder
1.6225
1.6215
1.6210
1.6200
1.6210

Am I still missing something here ?
You will need to readjust your die when you change shell holder. They are interchangeably workable but not identical.

There is not much reason to change the shell holder in the middle of resizing, I don't think.

-TL
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Old April 12, 2014, 12:06 PM   #18
Metal god
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Quote:
There is not much reason to change the shell holder in the middle of resizing, I don't think.
No but if you have a press that uses quick release bushings for the dies you need to use the same shell holder that the die was set up for each time that die is used or you'll need to adjust . Not much need for quick a release system if your adjusting the dies every time .
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Old April 12, 2014, 12:07 PM   #19
Bart B.
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The RCBS shell holder's top flat was .130" further away from the die's bottom after replacing the Hornady one. That's about the difference you're seeing. And the spring of the press made the difference only about .110"

As long as either shell holder stops against the bottom of the die, or stops the same distance from the bottom the die, there's no difference. But the ram won't be at the same place as the head of the case is .130" different from the bottom of the die comparing the Hornady and RCBS shell holders.

The reference in all this is where the case head sets/rests in the shell holder and its dimension from the top flat (or deck, as some call it). That's the .125" standard. There's no standard from the bottom of the shell holder where the case head rests to the top of the ram that supports the shell holder. That's why there's threaded dies so they can be adjusted for different shell holder dimensions below the place case heads rest.

Redo your very good test but adjust the die to touch each shell holder as the ram reaches its peak and sized case headspace will be the same (tolerances excluded) across all of them.

Kapeesh? Please, kapeesh?

And that quick release system enables quick changes of the shell holder but the distance from their bottom to the top of the ram stays the same only when the same dimensional shell holders are used. If one of a different dimension is used, you have to reposition the die in the press to keep the standard .125" space from the bottom of the die to the bottom of the shell holder where the case head sets the same across all of the die and shell holder combinations.
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Old April 12, 2014, 12:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart B. View Post
As long as either shell holder stops against the bottom of the die, or stops the same distance from the bottom the die, there's no difference. But the ram won't be at the same place as the head of the case is .130" different from the bottom of the die comparing the Hornady and RCBS shell holders.

The reference in all this is where the case head sets/rests in the shell holder and its dimension from the top flat (or deck, as some call it). That's the .125" standard. There's no standard from the bottom of the shell holder where the case head rests to the top of the ram that supports the shell holder. That's why there's threaded dies so they can be adjusted for different shell holder dimensions below the place case heads rest.

Redo your very good test but adjust the die to touch each shell holder as the ram reaches its peak and sized case headspace will be the same (tolerances excluded) across all of them.

Kapeesh? Please, kapeesh?
Exactly.
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Old April 12, 2014, 12:51 PM   #21
Metal god
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lol , Bart I have kapeeshed this whole time . I just wanted the OP to understand that you can't just switch out the holders and everything will be the same . That's it , and I think we all have accomplished that here in great detail . I'm ok with looking like the dummy as long as my point gets across .
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Old April 12, 2014, 12:59 PM   #22
Bart B.
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As long as the OP understands the die has to be adjusted to the same clearance (relative position) to different shell holders, I'll kapeesh with that. Maintaining that same clearance is what wasn't stated in your comments, Metal god. And that's what TL and I were interjecting.

I think we are all on the same page now. Now let's party; drinks and food are on me.
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