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Old October 1, 2011, 11:37 PM   #1
THORN74
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just jumped in the deep end of the pool...

so i have been contemplating reloading for a while now .... im the kind of guy who does a lot of research before dropping my hard earned coin. I have a general idea of what i need, or at least im starting to formulate a list.


so i was at cabelas today and they had the hornady LNL AP press for sale about $40 cheaper than i have been able to find it new online. So i grabbed it!!!

now i have this kool looking paper weight, press waiting for the other parts. I am going to start out with 45acp. i know i need a shell plate, brass tumbler, scale, powder, brass, primers, powder, calipers, etc ...

its the dies i am confused about. I am tempted to get the Hornady ones (free bullets offer) but they have like 4 diff .45acp dies!!! there is a 2 die set, a 3 die set, one with titaium coating, one with taper crimp , etc... which ones do i want and why ???

eventually i will load for 9mm and .40s&w also ..... perhaps even .308win, 5.56mm, 8mm mauser, 9x18mm

should i get the hornady load manual (i already have a lee 8th edition) or does it matter?
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Old October 1, 2011, 11:48 PM   #2
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For the progressive get a three die set. You don't need the Hornady load manual, but it wouldn't hurt to get it.

I'm sure others will chime in.

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Old October 2, 2011, 12:07 AM   #3
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I've got dies in a dozen and a half different calibers. I've got Lee, Lyman and RCBS. I've actually not used any Hornady dies but I've been completely satisfied with all the Lee dies I've ever bought. Many years, tens of thousands of loaded rounds. Simple 3-die Lee Carbide handgun dies. Don't need the "Factory Crimp Die."
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Old October 2, 2011, 12:11 AM   #4
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My advice is to pass on the Hornady dies. When I first started reloading, I got all of my die sets at once (9mm, 357MAG, 40S&W, 223 REM, 308 WIN, 7mm REM MAG, 30-06) ... and they were all Hornady.

I regret that choice, and am slowly replacing all of those sets with Redding die sets. I have found the Hornady dies to be of unusually (for Hornady) poor quality. My 308 FL sizer absolutely destroyed my brass ... sent it to Hornady, and they had no explanation -- just that the die was "mis-machined". No problem, they sent me another.

Then my 223 FL sizer would always get a case stuck ... not matter what lube I used, or what technique ... it got stuck. Sent it to Hornady, and they had no explanation -- just that the die was "mis-machined".

See a pattern there?

I love my Hornady press, their bullets, and many of their reloading accessories.

But I am done with their die sets. Unacceptable.
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Old October 2, 2011, 12:38 AM   #5
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Purchase the Lee 4 die set, you may or may not use the Factory Crimp Die at first but it will come in handy later and for the $5.00 difference between the 3 die and 4 die set you can't lose. The four die set is carbide, I am not sure if the 3 die set is but most likely nowadays it is, but you can not buy the FCD for $5.00 by its self.

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Old October 2, 2011, 12:53 AM   #6
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I don't think it's even possible to get a new handgun reloading die set made by anyone today that doesn't have a carbide sizing die.

That's worth noting by the way... we call 'em "carbide sets" and every manufacturer and retailer markets them that way, but it's only the sizing die that has carbide steel in it.

How is that information handy? Well, next time you are at a gun show and you see that table that has the old, unloved and left-for-dead die sets for only a couple bucks, SNAG one of those handgun die sets if you already have that die set at home. Chances are, if it's really old and cheap, it doesn't have a carbide sizer... so it's almost "unsellable" because everyone knows you should buy "carbide dies."

What you get for only a few bucks is a second flare die and a second seat/crimp die. If it's .38/.357, now you have dies that will stay adjusted when you switch between the two. If it's .45, now you have a second flare die and you can keep one adjusted for a larger flare (cast lead) and one adjusted for less flare for your jacketed/plated loads.
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Old October 2, 2011, 06:39 AM   #7
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I don't load "alot" of pistol calibers, but I'm heavy into rifle stuff .243 win,.223 rem, 22-250, .270 win, 30-06 Spring, 7mm rem mag,. 45-70. and I found from my experience that RCBS is probably best "All around" in the die making busines. I own and use Lee dies, but the bullet seater dies are somewhat sloppy on some of the bullets I like to load where as the Rcbs have been more productive in making sure the bullet is seated straight. But I still use Lee, and I won't bash 'em.
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Old October 2, 2011, 07:34 AM   #8
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New steel sizer dies (non carbide) are still made in handgun calibers, although you have to look hard for them and I don’t know who would buy them. http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=184512
I have been told Lee dies are too short for the Hornady LNL AP I know they are just long enough for the Dillon XL 650, but have little room for adjustment.
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Old October 2, 2011, 09:06 AM   #9
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I've bought a few sets of Hornady dies but they're not my first choice. The ones I have seem to be well made and free bullets would sweeten the deal. Reddings are only a few dollars more than RCBS and both are very good.
A tumbler or vibratory case cleaner is not mandatory but if you have the money you might as well get one, shiny brass makes a big difference to some folks.
And yes, I'd get the Hornady manual...and the Lee manual and the Lyman manual....that should get you off to a nice start. While it's possible to get all the info found in manuals on the 'net I've enjoyed reading the instruction section in each manual I own and learn something every time I do so. Bought my first manual almost 30 yrs ago and bought three in the last year. The Hodgdon website is a great resource for load data tables as well, they list loads for Hodgdon, Winchester and IMR (DuPont) powders. I understand the Alliant website is excellent as well but I haven't developed a new load for one of their powders in quite a few years, all my "Alliant" powders still say "Hercules".
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Old October 2, 2011, 10:09 AM   #10
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I have RCBS, Hornady and Lee dies. The Lees are just as good and a lot cheaper.
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Old October 2, 2011, 10:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
TXGunNut: A tumbler or vibratory case cleaner is not mandatory but if you have the money you might as well get one, shiny brass makes a big difference to some folks.
so u can load "dirty" brass?? i thought u needed to clean it out?
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Old October 2, 2011, 12:02 PM   #12
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you can; I don't

I have ruined dies with uncleaned cases; scratches.
Yes, even carbides.
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Old October 2, 2011, 03:52 PM   #13
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Respect your gear - all of it. That includes components.

Quote:
Originally Posted by THORN74
so u can load "dirty" brass?? i thought u needed to clean it out?
Quote:
Originally Posted by WESHOOT2
you can; I don't
I have ruined dies with uncleaned cases; scratches.
Yes, even carbides.
Yes, you should clean your brass. No, you don't have to tumble it.

I loaded for 30 years cleaning my brass with terrycloth. Looked ugly as sin, but shot just fine. I finally got a vibratory brass cleaner (gift from a friend who, I suspect, was embarrassed by my brass). My brass is prettier, but shoots just the same.

You can wash your brass in a dishwasher, in a clothes washer or in the bathtub by hand. With or without polish (but NEVER with ammonia, it weakens the brass) and swab out the inside of your dies every once in a while, too.

Treat your loading gear just as you do your guns.

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Old October 2, 2011, 07:34 PM   #14
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RCBS or Lyman 4 die carbide set for 45 ACP comes with a separate taper crimp die. I have both Lyman and RCBS dies that are fine but not a LNL press. Lee makes good dies as well but the factory crimp die for pistols, IMO should not be used with cast bullets. You should clean you brass, easiest way is with vib cleaner but a clean rag will do.
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Old October 2, 2011, 08:45 PM   #15
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Don't buy the Hornady die set - the seat/ crimp die will perform a roll crimp. If you're shooting an autoloader you want a taper crimp. Hornady does not sell the set with a taper crimp option - you have you buy it separately.

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Old October 2, 2011, 11:18 PM   #16
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so u can load "dirty" brass?? i thought u needed to clean it out? -THORN74

Yes, you should load clean brass. No, you don't need a machine to clean it. I fired some BP .45-90's today and washed them in a plastic jug w/ hot, soapy water after decapping. Rinsed & repeated. Put them in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes to dry and they came out pretty and clean, just not shiny. I tossed them in my vibratory cleaner with the 45-70's and now they're shiny.
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Old October 5, 2011, 10:52 PM   #17
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Two good things about the Hornady pistol die sets:

Rebate of 100 Hornady bullets

Seating dies come with both flat and conical stems. Some bullets (only one I've come across so far) won't seat to a consistent OAL unless you use the right stem.

FWIW, I don't crimp with the seating die.
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Old October 15, 2011, 10:19 PM   #18
THORN74
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ok question as to die setup ....

if i am NOT using the PTX expander with the powder measure, do i use the seperate expander die before or after the powder drop???

also for the inital degreasing for the dies and press if i cant find the hornaday cleaner/dry lube what else would do the trick ?? i have some BK gun scrubber, but not sure of the lube part.
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Old October 15, 2011, 10:21 PM   #19
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Quote:
DarthNul: FWIW, I don't crimp with the seating die.
why not? and what do u yuse instead ?
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Old October 16, 2011, 12:02 AM   #20
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1 - Deprime/ size
2 - EXPAND
3 - Powder
4 - Seat or you could use powder cop
5 - Crimp only (or seat and crimp)
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Old October 16, 2011, 12:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
what do u yuse instead
Either a Lee factory crimp die (FCD) or a seating/crimping die with the seating stem backed out.

I get more consistent overall length seating and crimping separately. I can also taper crimp a little tighter without the mouth of the case starting to roll in (and yes I am absolutely sure it is a taper crimp die and not a roll crimp die).

I think the rolling of the case mouth happens when you seat and crimp at the same time because the seating stem is still pushing the bullet down while the crimp ring is tightening the case mouth which results a lot of resistance to downward movement of the bullet.
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Old October 16, 2011, 05:05 PM   #22
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Here is my recommendation:

Sizing die - EGW

http://www.egwguns.com/undersized-re...eloading-dies/

Expander die - Hornady Powder Through Expander Die (PTX)...make sure it is their new PTX die.

http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/...roductId/20542

Powder Check - RCBS Powder lock out

http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/536...s-lock-out-die

Seating die - Redding Competition Seater Die

http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/734...uto-rim-45-gap

Crimp die - Lee Factory Crimp Die

http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/716...cp-45-auto-rim

This "set" is not the cheapest solution, but I believe it is the best. I strongly recommend a powder check die. I believe the RCBS powder lock out die is best since it prevents the ram from traveling all the way up in the event of a squib load (no powder) or double charge. I also recommend seating and crimping with separate dies.

I have been using a Hornady LNL for a couple of years and love my setup.

Last edited by FtrPilot; October 16, 2011 at 05:30 PM.
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Old October 16, 2011, 11:14 PM   #23
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well i already have assembled the Hornady .45 ACP 3 die set, the hornady powder cop and a .451 ptx (im now thinking i should have gone with the .452 ptx)

i was planning this layout:

1: sizing
2: expanding
3: powder
4: powder cop
5: seat & crimp

i still need a tumble/vibrator to clean the brass i have collected, and i need the cleaner/dry lube to clean everything off ... then i plan to start loading... next payday maybe.

i could use the .451 ptx and try seating and crimping seprately if its really a big deal... might try and find the .452 ptx though first.

my plan is to use plated lead, but i also have 600 free JHP coming from hornady also
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Old October 17, 2011, 08:49 PM   #24
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I understand hard earned$$. BUT Id also consider some 'premium' dies like Redding.

To bad all die makers dont use fine threads on the seater stems in 'regular' dies and not just their premiums. I think that would make seating a lot more fun.
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Old October 20, 2011, 12:26 PM   #25
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how many times do u guys use/reuse the tumbler media? does it thrown away after 1 use? or can it be used over and over?

im getting close to starting up.... just have to buy the tumbler to clean my dirty brass i have been saving and then buy the powder and primers
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