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Old March 6, 2005, 05:49 PM   #26
Dead-Nuts-Zero
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Simple Balance Scales? 2nd part of your post.

I just unpacked my Lyman balance scales model D-7. It's 20 yr. old but little use and was well packed in original box. I think it's same as Lyman 500 now, it is a 505 gr. scale.

Problem.........When I pulled it from the box, I noticed a very tiny piece of led that looks like the very tip of a 1/8" twist drill. This piece was a calibration weight from the large sliding weight (Poise) on the beam. The back of this lg. weight (Poise) has drill holes in it and I guess they used lead to refil the holes to calibrate it.

Not having any certified weights to check the calibration, I took several cast and jacketed bullets of many sizes and did a weight averaging chart and several calculations. The scales are not right based on my test. I tried putting the tiny weight on the top of the lg. poise and still it was not perfect and noticible up around 400 gr. I could glue the tiny weight back in the hole, but I figure the glue is perhaps enough to throw it off.

Problem is, the heavier your weight, the higher % the scale is off.

I checked with Lyman and about 20 bucks to recalibrate. Add in shipping and insurance, 2 ways transportation out and back and I have nearly invested equal to a new scale.

I will buy another new scale and use it to calibrade my old one. For almost the same money as a repair I hope to have two working units units.

My point is.......be careful, your balance beam scales could be missing a counter weight so small you would not know it. I think my tiny piece weighed about 4.3 gr. Perhaps I am over cautious but I like to have as much percision as my tools (and budget) will allow.

Maybe someone else has had to recalibrate and can suggest a simple way to double check our scales.

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Old March 6, 2005, 06:34 PM   #27
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Take this for what it's worth. People that are truly satisfied with Lee equipment have two primary core issues, $ and the amount they actually reload. I have been at it for over 20 years, I am about to wear out the 4th Autoprime that I have had and it is the only Lee product I have bought since I found out in 1991 that their majic dies left a lot to be desired. This is a classic case of you get what you pay for and I don't know many experienced loaders that have not upgraded from Lee equipment.

For a Priming tool, look at Hornady's it is steel not cast Zinc formerely known as potmetal. LEE presses are cast aluminum, but then again, so are Dillons. My press is a a cast iron REDDING BOSS and my dies are REDDING Titanium Carbide. I'll never have to buy another set. I use seperate REDDING Taper crimp dies and I am not sure that Lee understands what a correct taper crimp amounts to. I know they didn't when I had to return the dies. I don't do this because I have money to burn, rather, I do it because I don't have money to burn. I have used equipment from all of them. My case trimmer is a Lyman and my powder measure is an RCBS Uniflow that I bought 20 years ago. It throws every charge exactly on the money 20 years later. My scales are RCBS and Lyman, my next one will be digital when and if I ever need it.

I started with a Lee handheld loading tool, used more of their equipment for a short time, but for the amount of loads I produce, Lee will not get it done. The Auto Prime is the best product they make and would be 4 times better if it were steel or at least forged aluminum. The Hornady is an even better design from a leverage standpoint, it's steel and you should use Hornady shellholders for best results. I have used one and it will be the next one I purchase. All of my dies in any caliber in the future, will come from REDDING. RCBS and Lyman Carbide dies are fine. I have read comments that would make me wonder about Hornady NITRIDE Titanium, which is a coating and not a carbide. If I got a free set of Lee's, I would turn around and buy the REDDING's and put the Lee's away, I would not give them away, I would suggest to someone in need of them, to get RCBS, Lyman, or better yet REDDING carbides! Excuse me for saying what I really think and I've avoided posting on this thread for almost a week, because I knew what I would say well in advance of saying it!
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Old March 6, 2005, 07:36 PM   #28
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"People that are truly satisfied with Lee equipment have two primary core issues, $ and the amount they actually reload."

Beg pardon?

I'm truly satisfied with the vast majority of my Lee equipment.

Not sure what first core issue, but I suspect that I'm well into the top 10% of earners on this board, and it's well within my means to buy just about anything I want, but I also don't want to burn money just because I can. That's why I generally purchase Lee products -- they generally work well.

I've also put approximately 50,000 rounds through my Lee autoprime, and have yet to wear it out, and that's on top of the approximately 50,000 rounds I loaded prior to purchasing the Lee tool.

I, too, have been reloading for well over 20 years now (closer to 30, actually). When I buy a piece of Lee equipment, do I delude myself into thinking I'm buying Redding or Forsner? No.

I've yet to have a single problem with any of the dozen or so Lee die sets that I have.

I did wear out the auto indexing on my Lee Turret press, but instead of fixing it at that time, I bought a used Lyman Turret Press and am reloading on it. I'll spent about $10 and redo the Lee and set it up as a .38 Spl./.357 Mag. only press.

I'll continue to buy Lee products becuase they represent a good value for the money.
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Old March 6, 2005, 08:18 PM   #29
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How much you earn and how wisely you spend it are two different topics. Glad it works for you and glad to see you bought a Lyman Turret press. The reason for my purchase of the REDDING BOSS 7 years ago was because of the top dead center feature. It's the only brand of press that uses one that I'm aware of and 18 years of experience at that time made it the most attractive feature on any press. Wanna guess why?

If you have never used any dies other than Lee, what would you base a comparison on?

If buying REDDING Dies is a delusion, it might be time to check with record holding shooters and survey them and the number of them using anything else, Pistol or Rifle! There is method to the madness, or the delusion!

Might also be a good idea to check on the number of recalls by die manufacturers. I believe Lee is #1 in that category!
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Old March 6, 2005, 08:50 PM   #30
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I'm guilty of not lubing my Auto-Prime so now it's prematurely worn. But I've shimmed it up in the wear points with some plastic from a Mtn Dew bottle and it gets my by until I decided what to do about it
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Old March 6, 2005, 09:17 PM   #31
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Problems

Does anyone still read the directions on the bottom of the boot? First, rather than after something breaks or wears out?
Don
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Old March 6, 2005, 09:24 PM   #32
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I have had very good luck with Lee products over the years. It began with their now obsolete Zero Error Target Model Lee Loader (ZE Loader), of which I have three: one each for .222, .308, and 30-06. These were a sophisticated version of the original Lee Loader, combining a neck-size-only die, internal neck reamer, and micrometer adjusted seating die into one tool. This clever arrangement allowed both removing the neck-shoulder junction “doughnut”, should there be one from many reloadings, and uniforming the neck wall thickness at the same time. Unlike other internal reamers which run into an unsupported case neck, this unit reams while the case neck exterior is inside and constrained by the neck sizing die. The neck sizing constriction is, in turn, concentric with the reamer stem journal above it. That journal drilling also serves as the seater guide. Everything is concentric and aligned by definition. Only tolerance limitations remain to introduce error.

I suppose the modern benchrest shooter would find those tolerances too loose. An external neck turning tool can keep uniformity within a couple of ten thousandths of an inch, while the old ZE Loader probably allowed a half thousandth of concentricity error. That’s my guess based on the feel of the mechanism. But my old Remington 600 in .222, firing Sierra spitzers over IMR4198 measured using the dipper measure supplied with the loader and assembled in that loader fired groups in the low 4’s (0.4” to 0.45” center-to-center at 100 yards) all day long. Benchresters will be disgusted by groups larger than the low 2’s these days, but this was an as-made factory sporter rifle with a short barrel and a cheap Weaver variable scope. What more could you ask of it?

One overcast day I fired two rounds from that gun that looked through the Weaver to be touching holes. The third round appeared to be out about an inch at two o’clock. This puzzled me. Thinking the scope had shifted, and with the group ruined anyway, I put my crosshairs on the flyer hole to see if my fourth round would print yet another inch high and right of that? No new hole appeared on the paper. Now I was really concerned. I was sure something was desperately wrong.

At the range cease-fire I went to inspect the target. (I should point out this was years before I invested in a good Kowa spotting scope. The ancient Tasco I had back then had so much chromatic aberration I was better off looking through the Weaver—even in bad light). To my surprise, when I got close to the target I could see one of the two original holes was egg shaped. Clearly my third shot had actually gone into that group and almost through that same hole; not out at two o’clock. So I looked at the two o’clock hole. One hole. My fourth shot with six short, fine little black lines with elbows arrayed symmetrically in threes on opposite sides of the hole. My first three shots had been fine. The flier I thought I saw was no hole at all, but a fly that had landed on the target. Shot four had plugged him dead center, replacing him with a hole and leaving line marks where the black dust on his leg hairs printed on the paper.

I kept the fly target for years, but eventually lost it in one move or another. I had intended to frame it and buy myself a trophy with a golden fly on top, but never found one. I still have the old ZE Loader and will probably always perform my initial neck sizing and reaming on it for that caliber.

Anyway, that’s my best Lee reloading accuracy story.

In the meantime, about other Lee products: I don’t shoot a lot of shotgun, so when I went to reload shot shells I got Lee’s Load All. Yeah, sure, I have to flick the primer feed chute with my finger to keep things moving, but darned if it doesn’t make good consistent shells for a tiny fraction of the cost of a MEC. It will outlive me.

My old Lee Challenger press now serves as a dedicated decapper. With the Lee unbreakable decapper die, all I do is change shell holders to decap whatever rifle case I am about to tumble. For pistol rounds I don’t bother, but for match rifle loads I like the primer pocket to at least lose some of the dust. I don’t have proof that helps accuracy, but it doesn’t hurt. After tumbling, a second run through the decapper clears plugged flashholes of corn cob, walnut, or polycarbonate chips, or whatever my tumbling medium de jour is.

I own a Lee hand tool you couldn’t pry away from me for love or money. Well. . . O.K.: for enough money to replace it, plus some change for the inconvenience, maybe. But I won’t have a range loading box without one these days. When I am working up loads I prep the cases before going to the range. Once there, I load the cases and seat the bullets with the hand tool. I like Redding’s Benchrest seating dies, so I use those in the Lee hand press. I have yet to make a comparison with Lee's seating dies. I should. They claim theirs are dead on. For working up pistol loads I use the Lee hand tool with Lee Speed Dies at the range; very hard to beat for portability.

The Lee Perfect measure has a patented wiper that accounts for what makes it such a good stick powder measure. I own three of them. They are cheap enough that I can leave one loaded with Varget, another with H322 and another with H4350, my current main rifle powders. I just keep a big rubber band over the lids and toss them in the range box. Why bother clearing old powder out and making large changes in settings when you can buy several of these measures for the price of a metal one?

Lee’s innovation is big factor for me. They spend little effort on finish appearance, in part, I think, because they assume most persons get started reloading to save money. But they also often get things right that nobody else does. Their .38 wadcutter Tumble Lube bullets consistently group half the size of any other bullet out of my K frame Smith target revolver.

Lee claims their honing system makes their dies more precise than any others on the market. This is in terms of roundness and overall surface uniformity (no surface waviness or egg shapes). I haven’t verified this claim, but they certainly produce good rounds. And they are so inexpensive you can experiment with making modifications and not risk a lot. Following one of Veral Smith’s suggestions, I got a stick of Dico SCR buffing compound (their stainless steel polishing grade) and used it to mirror polish the inside of my Lee sizing dies. No measurable removal of material occurs (I tried checking before and after with a small hole gauge and micrometer). I just put a felt bob in the Dremel, dip it in Brownells’ TCE degreaser, spin it on the compound stick to load it up and head into the die. I spin the die on my lathe for convenience, but you could do this rolling it on a board if you don’t have a lathe. Degreasing it then soaking it for 72 hours in Sprinco Plate+ makes it super slick and helps insure against accidental stuck cases. Lee bullet sizing dies treated this way allow unlubricated bullets to pop through, emerging with glass-like surfaces.

True enough, with age, experience, and hobby affluence (my wife lets me spend more on it than she used to), I have changed equipment over time and now reload most rifle rounds on a Forster Bonanza Co-ax press. Dillon has all my pistol reloading chores for reasons of speed. (A friend and I can get 1800 rounds of .45 ACP out of the Dillon 1050 in 45 minutes; this is with one of us cranking and the other loading bullets and keeping the primer tube full—shoot all day, reload for an hour, eat, sleep and repeat—reloading opulence at its best.) I use K&M and Sinclair priming tools for rifle. Wilson and Gracie case trimmers. A Neil Jones pocket primer depth uniformer and the Wilson primer pocket profile uniformer. I like Stoney Point and Redding tools for determining bullet seating depth. Despite all this gravy, the Lee equipment continues to earn its keep among my gear. I don’t think I’ve ever completely retired anything I own of theirs except the old cookie-cutter bullet lubricators. And I still keep those—just in case.

Nick

P.S. What others have said about the Autoprime needing lubrication is true. Take care of the tool and it will take care of you. Tear it apart and use Q-tips and denatured alcohol to clean the old lube off. If you have a hard black grease that takes some rubbing to remove, it is actually part grease and part metal particles, so you haven’t been lubing enough.

Polish the rubbing surfaces of the cast aluminum connecting rod/cam with Flitz and a felt bob on the Dremel tool. Degrease it to remove the wax and, if you can find it, apply a product called Ceramic Grease, by Tamiya. I bought my tube in a hobby shop some years ago. It is a boron nitride based grease for model racing equipment. It’s principle advantage here is that it is plastic safe. Otherwise, you might try DuPont Performance. Be careful to apply it only to the metal parts (disassembled) and let its petroleum solvents dry completely before reassembling.
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Old March 6, 2005, 09:45 PM   #33
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Lee

Well, I have a Lee Classic Cast single-stage press coming. I have heard good things about it and the cost was very fair. That being said, when it comes to the other equipment, I like Redding and plan to get the rest of my stuff from them. The Ultra Mag is supposed to be a great press, but it seems a little pricey for a single-stage press.
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Old March 6, 2005, 09:59 PM   #34
Mike Irwin
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"Wanna guess why?"

From the sounds of it, you're loading match ammo. I'm not. Nor do I have any intention of doing so.

"How much you earn and how wisely you spend it are two different topics."

So you're the arbiter of all that's fiscally right in the world? Christ, here's my paycheck, save me from myself.

"If you have never used any dies other than Lee, what would you base a comparison on?"

Please tell me where I said that Lee dies are the only ones I've ever used.

Here's what I actually said: "Virtually all of my dies are Lee dies."

Not the same thing. Here's the breakdown of the dies that I own (luckily today's laundry day, so I had to go to the basement anyway):
  • 14 sets of Lee dies
  • 11 sets of RCBS dies
  • 2 sets of Redding dies
  • 2 sets of Lyman dies
  • 1 set of Hornady dies
  • 1 set of CH dies

Hum... I can see that my own point about virtually all of my dies being Lee is incorrect.

The only die set I've ever retired because of manufacturing error/imperfection are the CH dies for my .300 Savage. They were made by the original owner before he wrapped his car around a tree. They had a burr on the inside that scratched the living hell out of the case neck. Dave Davison offered to repair them for me, or replace them, but I didn't feel right about that given that they were made years before he took over.

"If buying REDDING Dies is a delusion..."

Sturm, you're showing a naiscent, but so far consistent, pattern for taking what was actually said and completely twisting the meaning. Try reading my message again, and you'll see that I'm not slamming Redding.
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Old March 7, 2005, 11:27 AM   #35
Sturm
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Mike, please be careful with the use of clever words, I could hurt myself. Manic would not have offended me, BTW. Naiscent, and I think you meant Nascent, sounds a little calumniating. I didn't take you for a REDDING basher, but I do take exception to the amount of recommendations I see for Lee's equipment, and yes I did lubricate the Autoprimes, but when they were using Zinc for the bulk of it's construction, I doubt lubrication made a lot of difference. How much would it cost Lee to add a touch of synthetic lube if it were the issue? Some lubes contacting primers, is not a real good idea, BTW. Thanks for checking your virtually all description. Are either of your REDDING set's Titanium Carbide?

I am not loading "Match" ammo intentionally, in fact in pistols I load hardly anything but JHP's and on very limited occasions some hard cast lead. My defense loads do come out, "Match Accurate" however, because I am far from nascent. Check the thread on Taper Crimping the .45 ACP and you may get the answer to: "wanna guess why?" Top dead center without the use of a micrometer seating die (competition) allows a tolerance of +/- .001" for my defense loads which can be 10 times better than even premium factory loads, where tolerances are often +/- .010" or worse. I get this from a BOSS press I paid $85 for in 1997 or 98. What could be more cost effective than affordable precision. Keep your Paycheck, all is well. I am not here to prove the errors of anyones ways. I would like to point out to those interested that good value in reloading equipment is not necessarily a low sticker price. $85 ain't bad for a very excellent SS press!

Auburn Tiger, I can't remember if the Ultra Mag has the TDC feature, I'm guessing it does and if so, it is worth the difference over its competitiors.

Unclenick, great group and very fair and informative post. As you know, Benchrest shooters deal with greater ranges, but I do love to see a sub .5" group at 100 yards! The .222 has a reputation for accuracy with good reason and I think you proved that! The Boron Nitride based grease was also an excellent suggestion. I think most synthetic greases would work decently and yours is a great example.

Last edited by Sturm; March 7, 2005 at 01:04 PM. Reason: Right author wrong thread, see the one on OAL insted!
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Old March 7, 2005, 01:03 PM   #36
Mike Irwin
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"I think you meant Nascent"

Correct. Spelling isn't my strongest suite. I've come to rely much too heavily on spelling tools.

But, fact remains, you took three of my statements and twisted them into something that I never said.

"but I do take exception to the amount of recommendations I see for Lee's equipment"

Then that's your problem, not those of us who have a long history of good service from Lee products. Don't come in as if you're the only savvy reloader who knows a dollar from a dime. If Lee were truly as bad as some people claim, they wouldn't be in business.


"but when they were using Zinc for the bulk of it's construction, I doubt lubrication made a lot of difference."

50,000 primers seated with my circa 1981 Lee Autoprime, in all of its zinc glory, and I've yet to have a piece break on it.

"What could be more cost effective than affordable precision."

How about my getting better accuracy with my .45, .38, and .357 - built with a Lee turret press, loaded with Lee dies, and powder measured with a Lee measure - than I can get from Winchester White Box, or Remington "premium" ammo?

And all without having to run around with a caliper worrying about TDC and thread pitch?
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Old March 8, 2005, 01:02 AM   #37
Sturm
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Well, I'll tell ya, when you said nascent, I couldn't remember reading that one for about 10 years, so I had to look it up. While I was at it, I dug up calumniating. I guess 12440 posts might give one a sense of credibility, but you lost me at not needing a dial caliper.
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Old March 8, 2005, 10:27 AM   #38
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"but you lost me at not needing a dial caliper."

Sigh. Here we go again.

No where did I say you didn't need a caliper. I didn't even mention the word dial (although I prefer a digital, myself). A caliper is a very handy tool for the reloader.

If you truly want to develop a sense of credibility here on this board (as well as actual credibility), you might try starting thusly... Don't take someone else's statement, twist it, and then use that twisted version to claim something that the original poster NEVER said.
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Old March 8, 2005, 11:15 AM   #39
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I use Lee dies in a Lee press to load ammo for my Winchester Featherweight that will shoot 3 shot groups smaller than 1" @ 100yds.

I use Lee dies and a Lee powder measure in the same Lee press to load ammo for my handguns that will let me hit bowling pins at 50yds without too much difficulty.

I've been using this equipment for over 6 years now and have loaded nearly 1000 rifle rounds and over 5000 handgun rounds in that time. My choice of Lee obviously makes me a newbie and a lightweight.

On the advice of several people, I tried Redding's Profile Crimp Die for my 38special and 357mag loads. I'm unimpressed. I've seen no improvement in accuracy or velocity standard deviation, but my wallet did get a bit lighter. Not only did a piece of equipment not make my loads better, it made the process more difficult since the die is more difficult to adjust than the "flawed" Lee Factory Crimp Die.

I may or may not stick with Lee presses as time progresses, but I will stick to Lee dies until someone can prove to me that the alternatives are better. So far, all I've seen are opinions.

Chris
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Old March 8, 2005, 12:03 PM   #40
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Mike, I think Sturm was playing with you the last time when he said, "but you lost me at not needing a dial caliper" followed by a wink. I read it as his attempt to add some humor to his previous (as you correctly stated) meaning changes of your written statements.

Like Mike, I have an eclectic collection of dies. I have no problems at all with my 4 or 5 Lee dies, and I especially like the Lee factory crimp dies. Don't have a Lee press, so no comment on them. I will say that I have never liked the looks of them from an engineering POV. However, the relatively new Classic looks quite substantial to me and seems like a good value.
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Old March 8, 2005, 12:56 PM   #41
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I'll say this in good fun.

If MEC, producer of shotshell reloaders, could/would produce metallic reloaders I think they would put to shame both Lee and Dillion.

Fashion a reloader similiar to the Mec 650 line and I doubt there be many mishaps, breakdowns, etc. Nothing is troublefree but I'll place bets on the Mec for the fewest problems.

Just a thought.
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Old March 8, 2005, 06:16 PM   #42
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My original comment was my oppinion and meant as an alternative view to those praising Lee. Not an attack on a particular person. I really could care less what someone is using if they have been satisfied with it for a number of years, but I don't find that it is necessarily to preach on forums for a number of years and in doing so, having beginning reloaders feel justified in buying the least expensive products on the market, thinking that they are the best value $ for $. A number of experienced Lee users say they have had satisfaction and also mention they have moved on to other brands.

The only way you can make an accurate assesment of two brands is by having used them both, so when someone says that they have used REDDING TITANIUM CARBIDE DIES and Lee's finest carbide set, I'll listen. If they have not, I have better things to do with my time. BTW, I forgot to mention, if you are looking for a good low cost press alternative and don't need the features, I like, the RCBS Partner press is as good as anything else in that price range.
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Old March 8, 2005, 09:45 PM   #43
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"The only way you can make an accurate assesment of two brands is by having used them both"

Bravo.

Sierra.

It doesn't take a scientific analysis by ever handloader to understand whether or not their equipment is giving them ammo that performs to their expectations.

But, you might be interested in this...

You'll note on my list of dies that I have two sets of Redding dies... One of those is a set of .38/.357 Mag. Redding dies in... titanium carbide.

Let's see... Redding Titanium Carbide dies currently MSRP for just shy of $100 (thank God I have friends in the industry at those kinds of prices).

I also have not one, but TWO sets of Lee tungsten carbide dies in .38/.357 Mag.

I also have a set of RCBS .38/.357 dies, but they're my old steel dies, which I don't use anymore because of the lubricating issues.

Having loaded about 1,500 rounds in the Redding Titanium Carbide dies, what have I found?

Have I found my brass to be resized to any greater degree of consistency? No.

Have I found my ammunition to be any more accurate? No.

Have I found my brass lasting any longer? No.

Have my bullets been seated any more precisely? No.

Have I found any clear advantage, at all, to the Redding Titanium Carbide dies over Lee's tungsten carbide dies? Functionally, no. Dies by both manufacturers produce identical ammunition to the same degree of precision and to the same accuracy potential.

The one feature about Redding dies that I do prefer over Lee dies? The lock rings. But I also like the Lyman, Hornady, and RCBS lock rings more than I like Lee lock rings.

So, were I to actually buy a set of Redding Titanium Carbide dies (instead of being gifted with them) for about THREE TIMES the price of Lee dies, would would I get? Other than lighter in the wallet? Essentially, a very expensive lock ring.

Oh, my primary set of Lee dies in .38/.357? 25,000 rounds loaded through them, and still counting, with no loss in accuracy or precision. At this rate I should wear them out sometime around A.D. 2170.

In any event, I will agree with you that Redding makes very nice products. I'm certain their bottom line is very happy for them, as well.


"I have better things to do with my time."

Such as willfully twist statements made by other posters so that you claim they've said something that they did not? Interesting hobby.

"I don't find that it is necessarily to preach on forums for a number of years..."

Then why did you start off your stay here with a sermon about how people who use Lee dies are know-nothing imbeciles?
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Old March 9, 2005, 07:38 PM   #44
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I don't believe anyone here thinks I called anyone a know-nothing imbecile and I'd like you to point out where I did, because you can't. If you think I twisted your statements around, maybe you ought to try writing definitive sentences. I have not yet begun to preach, but somehow I believe you're going to give me that oppurtunity. If you are looking to but heads with someone, I promise you, you picked the right guy!
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Old March 9, 2005, 08:17 PM   #45
Mal H
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I trust Bass Man has had his questions and concerns addressed to his satisfaction, becasue this thread has gone far afield from the original reason for starting it.

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