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Old November 26, 1999, 11:01 PM   #1
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This weekend I'm going for it! I'll be buying my press either at the gun show, (or baring any great deals) from Midway. (I'm going Rockchucker, Crusher or T Mag .) My question, which dies to buy for a beginner? I'll be loading 38 special, 9mm, and 223. I know to buy carbide dies, but which brand? How about a full length resizer die? Can I get one in a set? I've heard about the Lee factory crimp die. Can I get this with a full length resizer? I keep hearing about the X die from RCBS and the Lee facory crimp die. Boy, am I confused!

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Old November 26, 1999, 11:45 PM   #2
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Since you're going to be loading with a single-stage press, you might want to try the Lee Speed Dies for your handgun ammo. You have one die body, but the carbide sizer, etc., screw on and off the body for the different steps.

I have an RCBS X die for loading .223, but haven't used it yet. You have to make an initial trim to 1.740", then supposedly you don't have to trim any more.

Lee F.L. dies are fine for .223, but you won't find them in carbide. Dillon sells very expensive carbide dies for .223, but you still have to lube the cases.
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Old November 27, 1999, 10:47 AM   #3
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I use Lee dies exclusively in my Dillon 550B with one exception. The dies work just fine and the price is righht. Make sure to buy carbide pistol dies.
I always use a Lee factory taper die in the final position....using the bullet seating/taper die only to seat the bullet. I had previously had some feeding problems which led me to use the taper more feeding problems.
The exception is for the .223. I had big time chambering problems with my .223 reloads. I found out the problem was the dies and a fairly tight chamber. Some folks on one of the chat rooms put me on to small base dies for the .223 and I got a set of more problems.

Hope this helps, Mikey
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Old December 1, 1999, 02:28 PM   #4
Kenneth L. Walters
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I've lost track over the years of all the dies I've used. One thing is clear, however. At least for me, they all worked well. Personally I like RCBS the best but probably whatever is least expensive would work every bit as well.
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Old December 2, 1999, 01:19 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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If you find used die sets cheap, you can add an individual carbide sizing-die. Might save some bucks.

Some of my rifle die-sets are over 50 years old and they work just as well now as "way back when". Absent abuse from hammers and rust, presses never wear out.

For the cartridges you're loading, a good used "C" press will work just fine. If you go on to full-length cases of the '06 variety and full-length resize, the "O" press will avoid what little "warp" might be found in a "C" type...I've loaded a lot of sub-MOA '06 on a C-type.


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Old December 8, 1999, 12:22 AM   #6
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Still have an old RCBS Jr. press, circa 1967, probably loaded close to 100,000 rounds of pistol and rilfe on it. Never had problem 1 with it, though I believe it is out of production now. The Rockchucker would be quite a bit stronger, suitable for bullet swaging, a far cry from what you mentioned, but it's a strong press.

For .223, any reputable makers 2 die set would work well. I use RCBS in all calibers I load,, old habits die hard, never had any problems with them, and they used to modify seating punches, to closely fit particular bullet shape, virtually for free.

Get carbide sizer dies for pistol loading, and consider a spearate taper crimp die, especially for pistol loading. Matter of fact, I taper crimp 38 special, without problems, though I do sort by length. Almost never trim 38 special cases, they usually wear out first.Have yet to trim a pistol case. Rifle brass is another thing. Have had no experience with RCBS "no trim" dies Carbide rifle dies are quite expensive, and still require lubrication of cases.

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Old December 8, 1999, 12:29 AM   #7
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If you think that you are going to want "lots" of ammunition, a single stage press gets to be a pain, though I and many others used them for years. You might consider a Dillon 550B. I have been using one for almost 20 years, it's a good machine, and customer service offered, is truly worth the name. They really do replace, for free, broken/worn out parts, and will completely overhaul their presses at no charge, other than shipping. Depends on how much convenience you want, vs, how much money you have to spend. Dillon 550 will work with ANY standard dies (7/8 x 14 thread).
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