3 die or 4 die set and a few other noob questions

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Kimber Custom, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom
    Vancouver, WA
    Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Made the mistake of buying a progressive press this weekend :p (lock n load AP) Now I'm a touch overwhelmed by all of the 'other' things I need to get.

    Just for the record I used to reload on a single stage but didn't enjoy it. I sold all my stuff 5 years ago after it sat for 5 years. That said, ammo is getting expensive and I'm really wanting to get into some bigger calibers so reloading seems to be the way to go.

    So first question is on dies; I'm considering the Lee 4 die set or the RCBS 3 die set. There is a rebate on the RCBS or I could even go with the Lee 3 die set and save a little cash up front. What's your opinion of the factory crimp die? My primary goal right now is 10mm but I anticiapte 9mm, .45ACP and .223 in the not too distant future.

    Next high priority purchase is a scale. I'm leaning digital but could be swayed. Any buying tips on a scale?

    Any place better than midwayusa.com to buy from?

  2. datguy

    Vancouver, WA

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    In my Dillon 550 I have Hornady's 3 die set and a Lee factory crimp. (the Dillon doesn't use the expander die). One thing I really like about the Hornady dies is the way the seating die's center bit drops down and guides the bullet into the case. I am very happy with this configuration for dies. For my .223 I bought the Hornady seating die by itself (from MidwayUSA) and use a RCBS full length sizing die and Lee factory crimp. Again, very happy with the dies.

    I bought the Lyman DPS 3. It is a digital scale/dispenser combo unit. I use it to check my charge weights on the Dillon and for dispensing charges when I load .308. I have read it is a bit faster than the RCBS setup. I am very happy with it. I use the RCBS beam scale that came with my Rock Chucker kit to verify the Lyman is working as it should.

    I have ordered from MidwayUSA and Sinclair International several times. If you select USPS Priority Mail for your shipping option it gets here in a couple of days. UPS takes almost a full week. Cost is about the same.
  3. Pepe-lepew

    Mid Valley
    Active Member

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    I don't think there is much use for the factory crimp die (FCD) on straight wall pistol cartridges. It crimps the same as any other crimp die, it just has a additional carbide sizer ring that is approximately max case diameter. If you having to post size the round with the carbide sizer ring there is issues somewhere else that need resolved.

    Many people taper crimp in a separate operation. For lead bullets and taper crimping, this prevents the case digging into the bullet slightly. With the LEE set you get the FCD to allow doing the crimp as a seperate operation. I bought extra seater/crimp dies at gun shows and removed the seater plug so I had a extra taper crimp die for each caliber. For roll crimped rounds and lead bullets I like to seat and crimp at the same time. It allows the case edge to slide up into the crimp groove against the side of the bullet groove.

    I am not a big fan of LEE's quality. You get pretty much what you pay for in reloading gear.

    Midway is fair if you can get a discount code on the regular priced items. They frustrate me on items out of stock.
  4. deadshot2

    NW Quadrant WA State
    Well-Known Member

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    I'd go with the Lee 4 die set. There's no requirement that you use the FCD every time but if you have a need to do a final "size" and light crimp on your cases it's far easier to do it with the lee die than try and do it with a seater die. Lee die sets are good quality for the money. If you decide to go with RCBS, just add the Lee FCD to the order. They DO come in handy and they're not that much money, even when purchased separate. Personally, I prefer the Lee Dies. Their decapping pins are as strong as they get. Their seater dies are easier to use than the rcbs and utilize a floating "Plug" inside that results in straighter finished rounds. This is the same feature as many $100 competition dies use. Only downside to Lee dies is that many of the internal pieces, such as the expander plug, need a little polish but a few minutes with some 2,000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and Flitz does a great job.

    As for Midway, they are as good as any for Reloading equipment. I just won't use them for Powder or Primers as they have to ship from two separate locations resulting in two hazmat fees. No way to combine orders to spread the shipping over a larger order. For powder, primers, and bullets I use Powder Valley exclusively.
  5. mjbskwim

    Well-Known Member

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    KC I'm into my LnL press for about $1500 after I get my 4 plates for the case feeder.Been thinking of a bullet feeder but that's another $400. That is with the press bullet plates and dies.
    Now some on here will tell you they have had perfect results from their RCBS dies and they probably have had them for some time.I had bad result with the RCBS and buy either Hornady or Redding dies.The RCBS sizing pins were 3 different sizes for the same caliber.Brand new pins BTW

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