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Old August 25, 2012, 01:27 PM   #1
UtopiaTexasG19
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Are RCBS And Lee Shell Holders Interchangeable?

I am going to order a RCBS Automatic Bench Priming Tool and the write up states that it uses "regular" shell holders not included. Most of my shell holders are Lee. Will the Lee shell holders work in the RCBS Bench Priming Tool? Thanks...
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Old August 25, 2012, 01:58 PM   #2
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The Lee standard press shell holders should. The Lee priming tool shell holders (no foot for a press retaining slot) will not. Also be aware that various manufacturers use different numbering systems for shell holders. There is a conversion table here.
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Old August 25, 2012, 02:09 PM   #3
wncchester
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Yes. Shell holders are made to a common standard, same as dies. All are brands are interchangeable. Well, except a very few special purpose types such as Lee's Autoprime shell holders but they are labled for their proper use.
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Old August 25, 2012, 02:55 PM   #4
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Herters and some other companies used to make shell holders for some of their presses that did not interchange. Most all do now. However they may vary a little in dimensions, so the dies need to be set for the shell holder in use. As I use one press for sizing and another for priming and bullet seating, I have two of each size, often of different makes. I would not want to leave a die in a press and just slip in a shell holder without checking for proper adjustment. I can't picture doing this, but it makes the point.
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Old August 25, 2012, 05:28 PM   #5
William T. Watts
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Exception to the rule (who's rule?)

Shell holders aren't always interchangeable, I needed a RCBS #14 shell holder for a 45/70, I was sent a lyman replacement after Midsouth assured me the lyman shell holder was a direct replacement/substitute for my RCBS press and hand priming tool. Tain't so, the shell holder would not mount/fit in my RCBS 90200 hand priming tool. This is why I usually insists on Genuine RCBS tools. William

Last edited by William T. Watts; August 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:30 PM   #6
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Alot of the center holes are different , just can`t remember which is which now .

I have a Hornady trimmer where the rod goes thru the regular shell holder to lock the case & 1 brand the center holes were too small.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:40 PM   #7
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
Yes. Shell holders are made to a common standard, same as dies. All are brands are interchangeable.
Although that's theoretically true, it doesn't hold up when you examine different brands closely.
They're all designed to fit the same nominal dimensions of the 'modern' slotted press ram. But, that's about where the interchangeability and dimensional similarity stops.

Each company uses different bore sizes through the shell holder (for priming/depriming). Each company uses different chamfers on different parts of the shell holder. And, each company has their own idea of what the tolerances should be.

Hornady, for example uses a larger bore hole through the shell holders (for priming/depriming), due to certain dimensions on their case trimmer. No other brands will reliably fit that trimmer without modification.

As far as RCBS priming tools go:
Most Lee shell holders will NOT fit, without modifying parts of the tool(s). Even then, it's a tight fit.
Most Redding shell holders will fit, but may range from tight to a sloppy fit (depends on age).
Most Hornady shell holders will fit, but will be a little sloppy.
Newer RCBS shell holders fit without issues. But, older shell holders may be a tight fit, or require slight modifications to some parts of the tool(s).
I can't remember what I determined for Lyman shell holders in the RCBS priming tools.


Shell holders are "universal" in the idea that they fit all reloading presses with slotted rams. Outside of that... the dimensions are quite variable and their usefullness in certain tools ranges from questionable to "not even close".
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Old August 26, 2012, 12:12 AM   #8
F. Guffey
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RCBS, I have 4 different shell holders, all 4 are RCBS.

Then there are other difference between brands, the shell holder is a tool, I get all the use out of a tool possible.

There is a difference between the Lee and RCBS shell holders, I am the only reloader that benefits from the difference, then there is Herters, one fine shell holder.

(For me) The number one criteria for a shell holder is deck height, my favorite deck height is .125 thousandths, there is an advantage to having shell holders with different deck heights if the reloader knows there is a difference in deck height.

Then there is Redding Competition shell holders, for $40.00 dollars a reloader can have 5 shell holders that have 5 different deck heights, nice but not necessary. I purchases a #6 set at the Big Town Gun show for $5.00. I checked the deck height and found 3 of the shell holders were off by .001 thousandths each, again, they are nice but not necessary.

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Old August 26, 2012, 12:23 AM   #9
F. Guffey
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Quote:

“Most Redding shell holders will fit, but may range from tight to a sloppy fit (depends on age)”

My best and most favorite shell holders are old, my favorite because they fit, fit has its advantage as opposed loose.

My favorite case is a case that has been fired in a trashy Ol’ chamber. My favorite shell holder is a trashy old loose shell holder with a deck height of .125 thousandths.

F. Guffey

By design (most) shell holders are loose and sloppy
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Old August 26, 2012, 03:55 PM   #10
FrankenMauser
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F. Guffey, as far as the "sloppy fit" - I was referring to the way they fit in RCBS priming tools (due to the inserts/guides used in the tools).

As we discussed in the thread where I brought up the issue of deck height variance across different brands, I very much prefer a shell holder that fits well. Sloppy shell holders that let cases flop around a lot are far from my preference. There are circumstances in which they come in handy (like a poorly machined Lee .25 ACP shell holder that fits .22 WMR rims), but those circumstances are not common at my bench.

When it comes to the RCBS priming tools, RCBS shell holders are the best bet.
If you want to use other brands, you have to plan on modifying the tool. (Or buying a second set of inserts/guides to be modified to work with the other brand(s) of shell holders.)
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Old August 26, 2012, 10:27 PM   #11
wncchester
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"Tain't so, the shell holder would not mount/fit in my RCBS 90200 hand priming tool."

Your priming tool's slots might be out of tolerance.
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Old August 27, 2012, 12:15 AM   #12
F. Guffey
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http://www.midwayusa.com/product/329...d-priming-tool

I have three sets of RCBS shell holders that will not fit my RCBS hand primer, I have one set that will, I can modify 2 of the other 3 sets to fit.
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Franken Mauser,

Shell holders are "universal" in the idea that they fit all reloading presses with slotted rams. Outside of that... the dimensions are quite variable and their usefulness in certain tools ranges from questionable to "not even close".
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Franken Mauser, I find some good in all shell holder brands, the shell holder is a tool, I am not interested in the color or brand, I use shell holders, I do not talk about using them.

If I measure the deck height and find the deck height is .125 I am not surprised, there was a time when reloaders on the Internet claimed it was necessary to use the matching brands as in RCBS dies with RCBS shell holders then they qualified that assumption with something that came after ‘BECAUSE’, and I did not buy that.

But, on the outside chance I find a shell holder that does not have a deck height of .125 I know how to deal with the difference, this stuff does not run me into the curb.

Again, I purchases a #6 Redding set of competition shell holders for $5.00 dollars, I measured the deck height for each, two were correct, the three in the middle were off by .001 thousandths each, even that did not lock me up, for me is is a simple matter of filling in the blanks, or I could use a standard RCBS shell holder to do anything a set of competition shell holder set can accomplish.

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Old August 27, 2012, 11:48 AM   #13
William T. Watts
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Height/Width

Lyman shell holder height .865", width .472", RCBS shell holder height .811", width .503". It's been pointed out the shell holder will fit in the slot on my Rock Chucker ram (it will). I now have the correct RCBS shell holder (#14). I suspect none of the lyman shell holders will fit RCBS hand priming tools (I'm not purchasing any more to disprove that opinion either). William
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