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DIES, Lee vs. RCBS vs ?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Mikej, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Are Lee Dies going to work as well in the RCBS press as the others? In 9mm .38/357 .45 ACP.

    Good/Bad?

    Cabellas has them for $28.00 a three die set, quite a difference from $48.99 locally.

    Mike
     
  2. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    Probably. But Redding will probably work better than RCBS or Lee.
    Just MHO.
     
  3. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    2nd that. Redding dies are very good quality.
     
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  4. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Lee dies are great, period. Some can't get past the "they cost less so they must not be very good" thing. I actually prefer Lee dies over others.

    All of their pistol dies are carbide, and almost no one's rifle dies are anyway. The only carbide rifle dies I've even seen were for a high speed commercial loading machine and those dies were sky high.
     
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  5. Grunwald

    Grunwald Out of that nut job colony of Seattle, WA Well-Known Member

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    I cannot speak from experience about anything by my Dillon dies that came with the SDB press.
    I did a very stupid thing with my green box 30-06 die. I tried to deprime without any lube. Let me just say it was a very bad idea.
     
  6. WillaminaOR

    WillaminaOR Near Willamina, OR Member

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    I bought a Lee 4 die set from a guy out of the classifieds here for .40 S&W. I've only loaded 50 rnds so far but they seem to work just fine. I've got some Hornady to compare to and I think I like the Hornady seater die better because of the sleeve that drops down to get the bullet started strait but otherwise the Lee's are just great and lots cheaper.

    Bryan
     
  7. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    It's just like guys who are ford, dodge, or "Chevy" you get into a name and like it. I have nothing but Lee for my Lee press and love they way they work and how Lee stands behind there products, which I'm sure all the reloaders do.
     
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  8. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    I own Lee Dies. They work well. Redding has a reputation for match quality, but I've never used them and the ammo I load with the Lee dies shoot better than I can anyway. Most modern presses have the same standard thread pattern, so it shouldn't be an issue. I've been told unless you are shooting 1000 yard competition, most brands of dies work fine. For pistol ammo, Lee does fine, and includes the shell holder -- other brands you have to buy it separately, adding to the expense.
     
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  9. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Thanks guys.....I think I'll order the Lee's then, it's going to be a $13.00 savings.

    Mike
     
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  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    If you were to sort through my dies you'd find Lee, RCBS, Dillon, and Redding. So far no Lyman or Forster's but I'd have no qualms on purchasing any of them.

    All these dies use the same thead size and pitch (7/8" X 14) so they are interchangeable among the various manufacturers presses with the same T.P. There are subtly differences though. Lee, for the most part isn't as highly polished inside as others might be. My Redding and Dillon dies seem to be the "smoothest". When comparing standard dies though, they all produce good ammo.

    Some have some proprietary features that are desireable.

    Lee uses a de-priming rod that is held in a collet. If a primer is crimped, or you inadvertently try to size and deprime a berdan primed case, the pin/rod will merely slide up in the collet. All you need to do then is remove the case, loosen the collet, and reset the pin. On other dies you'll end up breaking the depriming pin and if no replacement is available your session is over.

    On Seating dies Lee uses a sliding seater plug similar to the high end Competition Dies. This has the benefit of first setting the bullet straight before pushing into the case neck. Others use a fixed "ram". Redding "S" dies can be upgraded by replacing the seating plug with a micrometer adjustment seating plug, the end result being a competition type die for less cost.

    RCBS dies are "just dies". I've found that they don't really do much different than my Lee Dies than just cost more. The ammo isn't any prettier or more accurate.

    Redding dies are the nicest finished dies I've used so far, along with the Dillon dies. If I wanted some "High End" standard dies I'd buy only Redding.

    The above referred to only Standard dies. The kind used by most hunting and target shooters. If you want "Competition Dies", that produce ammo with minimal concentric run out or OAL's that can be adjusted .001" at a time then go with Forster or Redding. When shooting long distances everything needs to be taken into consideration. The die is merely an assembly device. You can buy expensive dies but if you haven't paid careful attention to component selection, preparation, and load development, the dies you buy aren't going to make the ammo more accurate or for that matter any less.

    For "progressive" dies I like the Dillon's. Seem to be truly designed for high production progressive presses with extra taper at the "mouth" to allow for slightly misaligned cases as they enter the die. Also have some nice features built in to deal with primers that tend to be pulled back into the primer pocket when de-prime/sizing. Also allow for removal of seating plugs to clean without changing the adjustment of the crimp.

    In short, Lee dies are the best value for the money. They are, however, kind of like riding a moped. Both work but few like to admit that they use either one.
     
  11. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    You sir are a wealth of information! Thank you very much for taking the time to write all that you have, it's greatly appreciated.

    Mike
     
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  12. SPU

    SPU Southwest Oregon Old Fart

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    I learned a couple things from this post. Thanks Deadshot2
     
  13. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    Lee will for sure get the job done. just tighten them down by grasping the nut,not the die,or it will just keep on turning. you can replace their friction lock rings,but I like them.For my/our kind of shooting a thousandtlhs or two here and there just don't matter,Mike
     
  14. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Some of the guys on here will say that the RCBS dies they have had for 20 years work perfect.And they probably do
    Probably made right 20 years ago.
    With my short time reloading I have found the "new" Redding dies to be much higher quality than the "new" RCBS stuff.
    I haven't talked to too many people that have or use Lee.Mostly Redding and Dillon,with some old time RCBS users and devoted reloaders that won't buy RCBS at all.

    From an apprentice reloader's POV,I would buy the Redding dies and the carbide size button kits.Spend the money and you will be much happier.Or do like I did and buy twice
    Carbide Size Button Kits | Redding Reloading Equipment: reloading equipment for rifles, handguns, pistols, revolvers and SAECO bullet casting equipment
     
  15. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Well, this ought to be interesting. I've lined up and will soon have all three of my die sets. I got a used RCBS set in .45, a NEW Lee set coming from Cabele's in 9mm and last but not least a used Hornady set for .38/.357. I guess this will give me a chance to learn subtle differences of three brands. I figure if something doesn't work out for me I can resell sometime down the road, for a bit of a loss. Of course if a DEM gets into office all the righties will start yapping about our guns and ammo getting taken away, and all the stuff I'm buying will double in price!!!

    Thanks for all the input, and I'm still listening.

    Mike
     
  16. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Lee dies are great for the money.. they have the toughest decapping pins around, but they finally got real and stopped calling them "unbreakable"..
     
  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    For those that check concentricity of their finished cartridges you'd be amazed at how "near perfect" loads that were neck sized with the Lee Collet die come out. Unlike those that expand by bulling a ball back through the undersized neck, the Lee "forms" the neck around a mandrel. Balls tend to follow the weakest (thinnest) side of the neck thus creating a case with runout that needs to be then corrected in the seating die.

    Yesterday I loaded 100 rounds for this AM's range session. Checking them on a Hornady Run Out Gauge showed that almost half had run out of less than 1/2 thousandth and the rest were all UNDER 1 thousandth. All cases were neck sized on a Lee Collet Die. When using my RCBS Neck Size Die, the same cases have measured as high as .005" in run out.
     
  18. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah keep yelling him that so we can keep picking his brain.
    Good stuff
     
  19. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    At my age "yelling" os just about normal speech. It's nature's way of helping us cope with grandkids;)
     
  20. nrc

    nrc Oregon Member

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    I like being able to 'lock' the rings on my dies. I have lee, redding rcbs, hornady and custom (Neil Jones). The lee work fine - but by the time I buy 2 or 3 locking rings at $3 apiece, the price comes out closer to that of RCBS.