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View Poll Results: Favorite Reloading Dies
Redding 10 7.30%
RCBS 35 25.55%
Hornady 8 5.84%
Lyman 3 2.19%
Dillon 6 4.38%
Forster 6 4.38%
Lee 69 50.36%
Voters: 137. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 2, 2012, 05:31 PM   #51
primerman
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I use the Hornady dies but am getting ready to buy a set of Lyman's. The Hornady's are ok, as they were the first set of dies I bought, I bought a set of RCBS and they work ok, and if I scrape up enough money I might even try a set of Redding dies. By the time I finish trying I will probably end up with a set using pieces of each brand. Yep, it's a good thing the dinosaurs died...
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Old February 2, 2012, 05:38 PM   #52
excelerater
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I prefer Dillon dies,seem to run the smoothest in my press
Lee,far from a Dillon,RCBS same as Lee

those 3 are all i tried
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Old February 4, 2012, 09:39 PM   #53
Sport45
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Lee for me, unless I pick something else up at a garage sale or something. Lee gives me the most bang for my reloading buck.
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Old February 4, 2012, 09:54 PM   #54
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I've been out of reloading for almost 20 years now (reloaded for about 20 years) and I'm really surprised by the number of Lee dies picked. They must be making them much better then back in the olden days.
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Old February 4, 2012, 10:25 PM   #55
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"They must be making them (Lee dies) much better then back in the olden days. "

Not so much, it's just that more people have finally learned they have always been quite good.
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Old February 4, 2012, 11:06 PM   #56
oldreloader
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I have dies made by Lee, RCBS, Redding, Lyman and Hornady. They all work well and make good ammo. I mostly buy Lee now. They do as much as the others for less money.
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Old February 5, 2012, 12:10 AM   #57
Brian Pfleuger
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I've got my first set of non-Lee dies on the way.... Lee collet die for 270WSM is custom order, 10-12 week wait. So I ordered RCBS neck sizer and seater. I guess I'll see if I like them as much as my Lee collets.
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Old February 5, 2012, 01:53 AM   #58
sidewindr
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Nowadays ,price is the #1 deciding factor for what is bought.30-40 years ago most people honestly looked for quality and the price was just what was paid for that quality.Just look at how cheap everything is made these days(not just reloading equipment),and they are still sold by the millions.It all has to do with selling for cheaper prices(to compete).

I have several of all mfg,Most sets are a mixture of this brand for sizing,that brand for seating,another for crimping,ect.... the ones that I've had the least issues with finish and fittiment or the best polished bores(the brass slips by the easiest) has been RCBS,and then Redding. Hornady has the nicest seater
,my.02

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Old February 5, 2012, 11:01 AM   #59
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I am loyal to RCBS, and no others
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Old February 5, 2012, 05:45 PM   #60
Rodentman
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Variety of dies...

I started out with Lee but find that I prefer different mfrs for different purposes. I like the Redding micrometer bullet seaters, Redding crimp dies, Lyman M expander dies. I have 2 and sometimes 3 diesets for the same caliber because there are differences, especially with tough calibers like 5.7 and .357 sig. A thousandth of an inch makes a big difference.
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Old February 5, 2012, 08:27 PM   #61
wncchester
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"30-40 years ago most people honestly looked for quality and the price was just what was paid for that quality."

That's not so clear cut; 30-40 years ago a LOT of people fell for gun magizine writer's hype. But, IF we gauge "quality" by performance then the brand of our dies makes little - if any - average effective difference to our ammo. IF we gauge 'qualty' by the non-functional surface finish of short pieces of tubular steel then there is indeed a price to be paid for the extra glitter/quality.

Like the Rodentman, I have no emotional loyalty to inanimate objects. I choose my tools by their individual features according to the way I wish to work, so every brand of tools but Dillon is on my bench. And that only because I have no need for a progressive handgun loader.
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Old February 5, 2012, 10:14 PM   #62
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Through the years I have ended up with a lot of different mfg dies. Some Redding, Lyman, RCBS, Forrester, CH, and Lee etc. The greatest majority of them are Lee. I like the fact that you can remove a stuck case with a plastic mallet, and also the through-powder expanding die. I also dont have to replace any broken primer pins. They are also a lot less expensive (notice I didnt say cheap).
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Old February 5, 2012, 11:01 PM   #63
Archie
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Hmmm. Lee, mostly.

After using an RCBS Jr, a Lyman Spar-T turret press (which were stolen) and then wearing out a Lee Turret press, I am now running Dillon XL650s; one set for small primer and the other for large. (I hate changing that doodad.)

Mostly, I have Lee dies. Of course, with the 650 press, one only uses the sizer/deprimer die, the seater die and the crimp die. The expander is part of the Dillon powder measure system.

Lee dies have always done what I wanted them to do. It's as simple as that. I've also used RCBS, Pacific, Lyman dies for sure and I think something else I don't remember at the moment. One set of Dillon dies for the Super .38. I figured I'd give them a try, since it's a Dillon machine anyway. They work well.

None of the dies have caused me any great problem. The Lyman set won't work with the Dillon because the size die doesn't deprime on the first step - which has to happen with this progressive press. The die isn't faulty or lacking, just incompatible.

I have taken to using the Dillon small locking rings to keep everything in place. They seem to fit better on the tool head. I've also found with some calibers, it is easier to put the locking ring on the bottom of the tool head, rather than the top side.

As a side note, I have two of the Lee plastic seater stem dies; one in .38 Special and one in .45 ACP. I bought them new and they're still working. It is a two piece set up, the visible part is the adjuster and there's a second part, a floater which actually pushes on the bullet nose. The only problem I have with it is it gets gunked up with bullet lube when loading cast bullets. I regularly have to take it apart and push the internal part out and remove all the bullet lube and lead fragments so the 'floater' actually floats. Meh.

I also have a couple of the Lee expander dies with the Phillips head screw. There is no adjustment other than how deep one screws the die into the press. I don't use those dies, as mentioned, the Dillon powder measure system precludes their use. However, that ugly and somewhat odd looking Phillips screw is how they came.

I've been loading seriously since about 1971 or so. I cannot remember when I purchased each set of dies, but I know I've loaded in the tens of thousands of rounds easily and perhaps over one hundred thousand in the .38 Special dies. Had I known I was going to brag about it, I'd have kept better production records.
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:28 AM   #64
dickttx
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Thirty or forty years ago there was basically no differences in dies. When I first got into reloading the revolutioary carbide pistol dies (and rifle expander button) were relatively new but all manufacturers soon adopted those. Each company advertised how they drilled theirs straighter, used different metals, etc., but they were basically the same.
Lee had their whacking type handloader for under $10 and I, and apparently a lot of other people, started out with that. Even when I was 30 and had a strong grip from growing up milking cows, etc, it was a lot easier to use a mallet with the Lee set than to use the Lyman tongs. And they were considerably less expensive. At the time Lee also had a number of other small items that were really innovative and sold for much less than comparable items. The little champher/deburring tool comes to mind. I still have mine somewhere and it still works better than the bigger, more clumsy ones made by Wilson, RCBS, etc., that sold for several times the price of the Lee.
When I got back into reloading about a year and a half ago, lo and behold Lee had done the same thing with presses and dies. A quality product that does exactly what it is supposed to do at a much better price, because they use available materials and innovative designs.
I am not a basher of the other brands, they make very good products (and almost as many people like all the other brands, combined, as like the Lee) I just don't see the need, for what I want to do, to pay a larger price for something to do the same thing. I also use an F150, not a Lincoln LT to go up and down my dirt roads.
It would be a far worse reloading world if there were no RCBS, Lyman, Dillon, AND Lee. We all pretty much get to buy and use what we want.
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Old February 6, 2012, 11:41 AM   #65
chiefr
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I like Lee dies however, the locknuts with the O-rings are unacceptable IMHO on their seating dies.
When reloading favorite loads I have developed, I do not like to constantly adjust the seating die every time I screw it in my press. O-ring are fine for sizing & belling.
I have replaced all of Lee locknuts with the old style split ring variety on all my Lee Dies.
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Old February 6, 2012, 01:00 PM   #66
Elkins45
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Quote:
Don't know, but the Lee expander die David pictured may be a Lee expander before the Powder Thru Expander. If so, the screw may be to keep the stem from coming out.
That's my take as well. Don't you imagine they just produced one universal expander die body and then screwed in the appropriate expander and then stamped the correct caliber on it?

This thread has been very interesting to me because the first set if Lee dies I bought were for 44 magnum back in 1988 and they have a knurled aluminum seater stem. David's plastic specimen must have really been from back in the day.

I didn't vote in the poll because here wasn't an answer choice of "it depends". I own more Lee dies than any other brand, but I really like the floating seater sleeve in Hornady dies. For pistol dies Lee wins hand's down because of he powder through expanding die that lets me use my Auto Disk measure. I own several sets of RCBS pistol dies and I have replaced the seater in all of he with a Lee so I can use them in my turret press.
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Old February 6, 2012, 02:50 PM   #67
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Quote:
like Lee dies however, the locknuts with the O-rings are unacceptable IMHO on their seating dies.
When reloading favorite loads I have developed, I do not like to constantly adjust the seating die every time I screw it in my press. O-ring are fine for sizing & belling.
I have replaced all of Lee locknuts with the old style split ring variety on all my Lee Dies.
Prefer Lee lock rings to all others that I've used to include Hornady, RCBS and Lyman.

With an index line on the top of my press and an index line on the body of my dies, I simply tighten the die down to line them up and I'm indexed every single time, dead perfect, with no want or care if I ever see another set screw, ever.

If I had a bunch of RCBS dies (I have only a few) I would offer to swap the rings for Lee rings and I'd probably have a whole bunch of takers because everyone on Earth (except for me) seems to have the same problem.
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Old February 6, 2012, 05:52 PM   #68
MOshooter65202
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For the most part I purchase RCBS and Dillion these days,through the years I have purchased and used several different brands from Herters to Redding and everything in between. I generally go back to RCBS and Dillion because I like their products and customer service.
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Old February 7, 2012, 09:07 AM   #69
kalevatom
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I have a Dillon 550B and use the Lee sizing and seating dies in both caliber changes. The sizer takes the bulge out and I like the fine adjustment of the seating die.
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Old February 7, 2012, 11:41 AM   #70
JACK308
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if you reload cast lead Lee seat die is not the best to use,it might be ok for jacked but NOT LEAD!.
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Old February 7, 2012, 11:47 AM   #71
dickttx
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"if you reload cast lead Lee seat die is not the best to use,it might be ok for jacked but NOT LEAD!."

Why?
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Old February 7, 2012, 12:10 PM   #72
jimkim
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I cast Ideal 308241's, 308291's, Lyman 311291's, 358242's, 358429's, 429421's, 452374's, Lachmiller 38-168-K2's, Lee 309-113-F's, 401-175-TC's, 452-228-1R's, and 452-230-TC's. I also load SAECO 630's, RCBS 30-180-FN's, Lyman 31141's, 311299's, and various commercial bullets. These are all loaded with Lee dies. I have had no problems seating any of them.
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Old February 7, 2012, 08:41 PM   #73
Sport45
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Quote:
if you reload cast lead Lee seat die is not the best to use,it might be ok for jacked but NOT LEAD!.
Never had a bit of trouble seating or crimping cast bullets with any of my Lee dies. I've loaded many rounds with cast in .38spl, .357mag, .45acp, .45 Colt, .44mag, 7.7jap, and .375win.
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Old February 7, 2012, 09:26 PM   #74
Tim R
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Here we go AGAIN. More, Lee is great ,Lee is best ,Lee is #1, and when someone says something bad about them, Look out ,here comes the fists..
My very first set of pistol dies was a Lee carbide in 38/357.

Sizing brass felt like I was crushing rocks. Drove me nuts. I bought a set of RCBS carbides and they were smooth as silk. All of my pistol dies are RCBS carbides now. Rifle dies can include Forester, Redding, Hornaday and RCBS.
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Old February 7, 2012, 10:24 PM   #75
dunerjeff
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Thats how my first experiance with them also.I bought a set of 30-06 Lee dies and no matter what or how much lube I used it felt like I was trying to resize 50BMG cases down to 22Hornets.Didn't get but a couple done before one seized.All the Lee guys imediately blamed "operator",including Lee customer service.No possibilty it could be those precious dies .The LGS I bought them from did also and took them out back in his press to "proove it",and seized one also. He traded me for a RCBS set and in 20min I had 100 cases sized and ready to go,no problem.In the 20 yrs I've been using RCBS solely,I"ve never had an issue with the dies .I do have several Hornady sets and one Redding set plus a Redding X-sizer,no problems with those either.

I also picked up one of Lees C presses just for expanding or something that I could leave setup,its ram is 1/16 offcenter with the die hole! Anything I try to do with it is lopsided, I ended up buying a RCBS Partner press to serve as my cheap second single stage so I can put a Piggyback progressive attachment on my Rockchucker and still have a single stage for quick use.
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