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Old June 8, 2012, 02:23 PM   #1
rebs
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Lee vs rcbs shell holders ?

Lee shell holder are about half the price of rcbs, are they as good ?
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Old June 8, 2012, 02:36 PM   #2
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They work well for me.
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Old June 8, 2012, 05:47 PM   #3
C7AR15
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buy the lee

Lee is a privately owned co. and as such does not have to answer to shareholders.

if you saw how fast shell plates were spit out of the CNC machinery, you would know that they cosy very little to produce.

so when RCBS charges double the price - they are gouging as much as they can out of the consumer.

Lee is satisfied with their profit margin at half the retail price
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Old June 8, 2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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I have both. They work the same for me. With my shooting you would be able to tell which shell holder was used. Most of my dies are Lee, and came with the shell holder.
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Old June 8, 2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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Not ot be a contrarian, but, I have a lot of shell holders, including Lee, Lyman, RCBS, Hornady and Redding. Exactly ONE of them is not square (i.e., the plane of the casing base in not perpendicular to the axis of the ram). That one was made by Lee. But, I have others made by Lee that ARE square. So, it is probably a QC issue, not a regular production problem. At the cost of Lee shell holders, I can simply buy another one, it probably will be square, and I will still have spent less than one shell holder from any other company.

But, check for proper squareness, anyway.

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Old June 8, 2012, 07:01 PM   #6
David Bachelder
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I have a few LEE shell holders and I have never had a problem with them.
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Old June 8, 2012, 07:14 PM   #7
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I have both and both are equally as good as the other as far as concerned.
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Old June 8, 2012, 11:17 PM   #8
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A shell holder is a shell holder, except? Here. When forming cases for short chambers, Lee is my favorite, the RCBS shell holder allows me to gain .012 thousandths length under minimum length/full length sizing, that is .017 shorter than a go-gage length chamber, the lee is ‘more loose’ I can gain an additional .003 thousandths, has not happened to me ‘yet’ but reloaders have have pulled the top of Lee dies off when lowering the ram on stuck cases.

Back in the days when a shell holder was required on some case trimmers, automatic primers and presses, it took time to move the shell holder from the press to the trimmer to the automatic primer, 9 shell holders from Lee for just over $1.00 each saved a lot of time.

Then there are shell holders from Herters, a different kind of shell holders, if is was not for RCBS shell holders I would be out of business but in there own way the Herters shell holder was unique.

Then there are Redding competition shell holders, anything that can be accomplished with the Redding, I can accomplish with a RCBS shell holder when used with the companion tool to the press, the feeler gage, difference? I have 12 options between .000 and .012 thousandths, the Redding has 5 between .000 and .010 thousandths, + I can form cases for short chambers all with the same shell holder, I am the fan of getting all the use/money investment out of my tools, 5 shell holders for $40.00 from Redding, 1 shell holder from RCBS $5.00 + or – $3.00, feeler gage? $11.00.

Then there is RCBS and 4 different designs, my old shell holders from RCBS will not fit some of the new equipment, I enjoy going to gun shows, some of the dealers act as though they want me to have this stuff when making me a deal.

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Old June 10, 2012, 09:00 PM   #9
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Have used only Lee shell holders so can't comment on the RCBS. Never had an issue with the Lee holders.
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Old June 10, 2012, 09:08 PM   #10
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Lee shellholders are good to go. I have one RCBS shellholder and it works every bit as good as those in my Lee set.

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Old June 10, 2012, 10:07 PM   #11
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All Lee shell holders and dies here and have no reason to want to try anything else, they work great.
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Old June 10, 2012, 10:22 PM   #12
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Shell holders numbers not equal

While all brands of shell holders work just fine for me, be aware they don't all use the same numbering in matching them to cases. A Lyman#10 is the same as an RCBS #1, a Lee #6, a Hornady #7, and a Redding or a CH4D #3. This chart decodes them.
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Old June 10, 2012, 10:27 PM   #13
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Goodness gracious, we're only talking about a couple bucks. And if you spent a couple hundred grand on that CNC machine I don't care how fast it spits them out I want to make my money back! Nobody's getting rich off of shell holders.
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Old June 11, 2012, 01:55 AM   #14
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Lee shell holders will work just fine for most reloaders.
But, be aware that Lee's shell holders are a 'compromise' shell holder. Where other manufacturers might make individual shell holders for 7 different cartridges, because they have slightly different base and rim dimensions, Lee will just lump them all together and open up the tolerances so that they all fit. That results in a really sloppy fit for cartridges that were on the small/tight end of the spread. This leads to more rim distortion during sizing operations, and can contribute to more stuck cases if you're prone to forgetting your sizing lube (less shell holder on the rim means it's easier to slip off of, or rip off, what it is contacting).

Lee's shell holders also have quite a bit of variance in what I call 'deck height'. (The distance between the surface the base of the cartridge contacts, and the upper most face of the shell holder.) If you have any cartridges where this measurement is critical (such as with certain small base dies), Lee shell holders can really screw up the process; or at least leave you scratching your head for a while.

Although RCBS shell holders are a decent step up from Lee in 'deck height' consistency, they still have 0.005-0.010" variation. (Lyman is right with them.)
Most reloaders will never have a problem caused by those variations. But... I did. So, I learned quite a bit about whose shell holders had the best tolerances, while searching for a solution.

Hornady has become my preferred shell holder source. Their deck height is always spot-on (+0.002"/-0.001"), and the base collar (the part that slides into your press ram) allow easier insertion and removal from press rams and priming tools.

Redding shell holders are nearly as consistent as Hornady, but not quite.


I have lots of Lee and RCBS shell holders. I have a small number of Redding and Lyman shell holders. I think I even have a Forster shell holder somewhere. I have no plans to get rid of any of them. But... all new shell holder purchases are Hornady.
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Old June 11, 2012, 06:50 AM   #15
F. Guffey
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FrankMauser,

“Although RCBS shell holders are a decent step up from Lee in 'deck height' consistency, they still have 0.005-0.010" variation. (Lyman is right with them.)
Most reloaders will never have a problem caused by those variations. But... I did. So, I learned quite a bit about whose shell holders had the best tolerances, while searching for a solution”

I am the fan of ‘the thing you discovered and named {deck height}, I want shell holders with inconsistency, if there was such a thing as inconsistency among shell holders I would not need the companion tool to the press, the the feeler gage, and there would never had been a need for grinding the base of a die or deck of a shell holder, if there were inconsistencies Redding would not have offered Competition Shell holders for as little as $40.00 and as high as $57.00.

All of my shell holders have a deck height of .125, RCBS informed me if they were not .125, send them back, again, I am the fan of inconsistency, as Redding has proven, a reloader must pay more for it.

I can do anything the Redding shell holder is designed to do with a feeler gage with more options, I can accomplish the same results with a feeler gage a misguided grinder of dies can accomplish, and the same for shell holders.

And not all shell holders are not alike, I prefer different shell holders for functions.

I have a set of Redding #6 Competition shell holders, I checked the deck height, they are off .003 thousandths, for me? Not a problem, I do not need them, but for $5.00 dollars at the Big Town gun show in Mesquite,TX plus my senior citizen discount, it made the trip worth while.

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Old June 11, 2012, 06:57 AM   #16
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There there are those that claim ‘it was not always that way’, I have RCBS and Pacific rams with integral shell holders, out of 8, 6 have a deck height of .125, there are not many Herters shell holders I do not have, again, the deck height is .125.

F. Guffey

Again, for sizing for short chambers the Lee edges out the RCBS, but? Who sizes cases for short chambers?
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Old June 11, 2012, 11:54 AM   #17
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I've long used a variety of shell holders in a mix with a variety of dies and never found any difficulty.

Redding's costly set of extra thickness 'competition' shell holders are mostly made to make it easier to compensate for chambers that are on the large size but if we set our dies up correctly with any shell holder they really don't do much.
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Old June 11, 2012, 06:33 PM   #18
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If I remember correctly, the Lee shell holders will not work in the RCBS hand primers. Must use RCBS...I think.
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Old June 12, 2012, 11:14 AM   #19
F. Guffey
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Serf-rett, Like everyone else, I have 4 different types of RCBS shell holders, forget lee, RCBS has shell holders that will not fit RCBS hand primers, There is a difference, most of the difference has to do with the bottom, the newer shell holders have a tapper at the opening, some shell holders have no chamfer, others have a slight etc..

Then there are two Lee shell holders, one fits a press and is interchangeable with the RCBS shell holder, then there is the special Lee shell holder that fits their hand primer, easy to install and cost efficient, 9 shell holders from RCBS, $45.00 +/-, shell holders from Lee for their hand primer, about $15.00 +.

F. Guffey

Last edited by F. Guffey; June 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM. Reason: change a t to a f
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Old June 12, 2012, 11:26 AM   #20
Fusion
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Quote:
If I remember correctly, the Lee shell holders will not work in the RCBS hand primers. Must use RCBS...I think.
It must be a difference in which hand primer you have. I have an RCBS hand primer I bought new about 2.5 years ago, and my Lee shell holders work on it fine. I'm not sure about older hand primers though, and I know the newer ones have a universal piece to accept any type of shell.
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Old June 12, 2012, 05:40 PM   #21
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
It must be a difference in which hand primer you have. I have an RCBS hand primer I bought new about 2.5 years ago, and my Lee shell holders work on it fine. I'm not sure about older hand primers though, and I know the newer ones have a universal piece to accept any type of shell.
It's just the crappy tolerances Lee holds their shell holders' external dimensions to. I have Lee shell holders that work fine with an RCBS Hand Prime. I have Lee shell holders that don't even come close to working with an RCBS Hand Prime. And, I have Lee shell holders that sometimes work, if I use some retard strength to jam it in the tool. I also have recent production RCBS shell holders that won't fit their own tool, though.

Hornady shell holders, on the other hand, slide in and out of the RCBS Hand Prime, like they were made for it. Since they aren't as sloppy as Lee and RCBS shell holders, the actual priming operation is much better, too.

Some people are willing to buy cheap tools and fight them every time they want to use them. ...Not me. If you're always fighting low grade tools, you'll never be able to turn out a quality product. Buy what works, and don't look back. (If Lee shell holders are "good enough" for you, that's fine. But, they aren't good enough for me.)
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Old June 13, 2012, 09:49 AM   #22
F. Guffey
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Franken Mauser, you started with RCBS shell holders that are off by as much as .010 thousandths, a request, send them to me, I know what to do with them, if RCBS sent me a shell holder that was off by .010 thousandths I would think I came close to winning the lottery. Again, I form cases for short chambers, with the RCBS shell holder I form cases that are .012 thousandths shorter than a minimum length case from the head of the case to its shoulder with out grinding or modifying the die and or shell holder, going the other way I can size cases to minimum length to infinity, I can do better with the Lee shell holder.

There are shell holders that I can not do anything but full length size to minimum length out to infinity in thousandths. It has to do with skill, technique, methods and a a curiosity. For years it has been the standard, reloadrs have ground the shell holder, they have ground the bottom of the die or top of the shell holder our of ignorance (not knowing), anything that can be accomplished by grinding can be accomplished with a feeler gage. Anything that can be accomplished with Redding Competition shell holders can be accomplished with a feeler gage, the advantage goes to the feeler gage because of the added options, between .000 and .010 thousandths Redding has 5, the feeler gage offers 10.

I do not care what tool a reloader chooses, I try to stay above insult through innuendo or intimidation:

“Some people are willing to buy cheap tools and fight them every time they want to use them. ...Not me. If you're always fighting low grade tools, you'll never be able to turn out a quality product. Buy what works, and don't look back. (If Lee shell holders are "good enough" for you, that's fine. But, they aren't good enough for me.)
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Back to the RCBS shell holders, in 60 years of designing shell holders there have been improvements and changes, RCBS offered to exchange all of my shell holders for the latest designs in an effort to allow me to use the shell holders with the hand priming equipment, that was nice, but with two lathes I could have modified all of them before I could find a box, get to the post office and dig out about $10.00 +/- dollars. Then there was that problem with the 9MM dents in the primers, RCBS and I have a working understanding, when they want my advise the will ask for it.

A reloader was having problems with dents, being one of the best reloaders I know it was no surprise he called RCBS instead of me, they sent him enough parts to build another hand primer, they built a part for his hand primer, and, I called him again to check progress, they were sending him another shell holder, and, I said that will not fix the dents, sure enough the new shell holder arrived, nothing improved. I offered to loan him my hand primer with two shell holders, no improvement, then! called RCBS, they offered me another shell holder, anyhow, I have never had a 9mm fail to fire because of the dents, the dents did not/do not bother me, I could ask: ‘If the dents bother you to look at, do not look at them’ Both of us reloaders have the Lee automatic hand primer with the flat hand primer shell holders and when it comes to Federal primers? We load them up.

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