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Old January 29, 2001, 08:10 PM   #1
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Hey Everyone,

I am sort of "coming back" to reloading after a few years. My father and I used to reload together about 10 years ago and we bought all RCBS stuff. Now, I'm thinking of starting back and reloading .38/.357, but I'm trying to decide which 3 die set to get. I've never had problems with RCBS, but am curious about Lee and other such brands. Are Lee dies any good? How are they compared to RCBS? Will they work just fine in my RCBS press (I have a Rockchucker)? How about Lee Shell Holders. Will they work in an RCBS press? Or, should I avoid Lee and just stick to all RCBS stuff?

Also, do Lee pistol dies come with the shellholder? I thought they did, but I could be wrong.

And... another quick question. Can lead Semi-Wadcutters be loaded to .357 power, or will it cause excessive leading? Should I stick to loading non-jacketed bullets in .38 and jacketed bullets in .357? Just curious.

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Old January 29, 2001, 09:19 PM   #2
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I use Lee carbide dies for .38/.357 Mag. and they work fine for me. No problems to speak of, and yes, they do come with the shellholder. I'm not sure about the RCBS question, but I'd bet money they would. As far as semi-wadcutters, it's been years since I've used 'em (I used them when I first started reloading the .357 and they left too much lead in the barrel--I think I loaded them too hot), but as I remember, there wasn't a problem.
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Old January 29, 2001, 10:41 PM   #3
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"Are Lee dies any good? How are they compared to RCBS? "
lee dies are good for the money,the RCBS are made better a bit easier to adjust for me and the locking rings are better IMHO,I use both and they both get the job done. buy carbide in either brand for pistol calibers(no lubing).

"Will they work just fine in my RCBS press (I have a Rockchucker)?"
Lee Dies will work,I also use a rock chucker.

"How about Lee Shell Holders. Will they work in an RCBS press?"
yes they work in the rock chucker and the RCBS hand priming tool.

"do Lee pistol dies come with the shellholder?"
Yes a nice plus, RCBS does not,cost about 4.00 for the shell holder.

as for the cast bullets,Unless the lead is real hard pushing them to 357 specs will cause leading,with all the plated and cheap jacketed bullets on the market save the lead for 38spl loads.

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Old January 30, 2001, 10:02 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses, everyone! I appreciate the input!
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Old January 30, 2001, 01:12 PM   #5
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Lead Semi-wadcutters

Lead Semi-wadcutters can be loaded to 357 mag velocities.
2 things to keep in mind. The lead must be hard enough. 15 to 20 Brinnell. Get them with Gas Checks, that will help a lot. Quantrill
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Old January 31, 2001, 09:00 AM   #6
Join Date: December 20, 2000
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I have reloaded only about 1000 rounds in .45 acp and 200 rounds .40 S&W with my Lee Carbide Dies and have had no problems.

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Old January 31, 2001, 11:21 AM   #7
Join Date: January 31, 2001
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I use both the lee and the rcbs carbide dies and both work well. The RCBS are easier to adjust and have seen over a thousand rounds with no troubles. I prefer to shoot the JHP in the 357 because of lead fouling. You can get them for under $40 for 500 from Rem or Win. All the good reloading sites have them both.,, etc.

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Old January 31, 2001, 12:13 PM   #8
Joey Sanders
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When buying reloading equipment its real easy. Buy green,green or blue and you'll never be sorry. That is RCBS Redding or Dillon. Everyones got a opinion and thats just mine but you'll never regret buy equipment from these people and I have regretted buying some of the other stuff out there.
Joey S
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Old January 31, 2001, 07:46 PM   #9
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38/357 Suggestion

These are comments to be investigated and connsidered.

RCBS carbide dies are good but, their weakest point is the decapping pin and it's stem.

I find Lee dies to be about 1 1/2 turns shorter, on the screw-down. Lee clains their dies are not shorter.

When I bought Lyman dies in the late 1980, the ones I got had a floating decapping pin. The lacked quality control.

I have been using Hornady dies for 10 + years and am satisfied with them. I have a set of 223 rifle dies that requires an excess of lubricant and sometimes a STUCK CASE REMOVER.
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Old February 1, 2001, 07:41 AM   #10
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Good lead bullets can be loaded up. Good lead-bullet powder is our old standby 2400. Great 'medium-load' powder is Hodgdon Universal Clays.

Suggest Lyman 4-die Deluxe set, because it includes their superb powder-through "M" flare/bell die, a die that gives consistent case-neck tension, and allows you to mount your powder measure on top.
For crimp HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Redding Profile Crimp die; it will give better accuracy.

(The Lee shellholders are for Lee stuff; recommend RCBS shellholders.)
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Old May 7, 2001, 12:00 AM   #11
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I own four or five different brands of dies. As my die collection increased, I purposely bought different brands so I could compare them. I started out with Lee Dies and still use them to some extent. I see nothing wrong with them. In fact I really like their decapping/sizing die the best. I also use Lee factory crimp dies no matter what handgun cartridge I am loading(providing Lee makes a factory crimp die in that caliber). In addition I use Lee Collet rifle dies for every caliber I load in centerfire rifles (bottleneck cases that is). I use a couple sets of RCBS dies and they are fine, but don't really pull my chain. I have several sets of Redding dies which are very nice dies and one of the better dies out there. I think if I was starting over again and had to buy one brand of die for handgun loading, it would be Hornady. They are smooth, and very well made. As always, your milage may very. A certain amount of this is subjective; the bottom line is that I think they are all better than adequate and I don't think you are missing much by going with Lee. I use Lee shellholders and Lee priming tool exclusively.
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