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First rifle dies? Which Brand the best bang for buck?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by aquariumjunky, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. aquariumjunky

    aquariumjunky Albany, Oregon Active Member

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    Hey I am looking to get into reloading a couple of rifle calibers. .308 and 45/70

    I was wondering if any particular brand is hands down the better dies or if it really mattered? I am most likely going to get a rockchucker press so kinda looking at RCBS dies just to keep the colors the same. But I have also heard good things about the Hornady new demension dies and was wondering if I should go that route.


    Thanks for any help you can provide or a die is a die is a die for rifle?

    Steven
     
  2. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    I own RCBS and Redding.
    All Redding if I had it to do over.
     
  3. NWCustomFirearms

    NWCustomFirearms Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    I've used rcbs, redding and hornaday dies, I returned the hornaday dies after two days, my redding and rcbs dies work great. I've had to replace several de-capping pins in my redding dies but other then that, no issues with either brand.
     
  4. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I used RCBS dies for all of the .45-70 reloading I did. (1000-1200 rounds) They worked very well with bullets from 300 gr to 500 gr. I also use RCBS dies for my .30-06 with zero complaints. However I usually just back the sizer off some and use it to neck size. They're going back into the same rifle and work well.
    The 2 sets of Hornady dies I have appear to be of high quality, but one set works well and the other is very difficult to get the sizer die adjusted properly. It's for a 7mm-08 and you can't back it off and neck size with it. I think it's squeezing the case so much right from the start that I am forced to completely resize it to allow the finished round to chamber. I really like the Hornady seating die so I'm keeping my eyes out for another brand of sizer.
    I use Lee dies for all handgun calibers but .45 ACP. That's a Redding set I got as a gift. They do seem to be a little "nicer" than any of the others.
     
  5. Huntbear

    Huntbear Ellensburg, Wa. Member

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    Buy the Redding set with 3 dies. Comes with FL sizer, Neck Sizer, and seater die. I love mine, and I also own RCBS.
     
  6. rudedog04

    rudedog04 oregon-roseburg Member

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    redding has great qualty
     
  7. blacktail hunter

    blacktail hunter southern oregon Member

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    I have rcbs and lee dies they both work great but for the money i wold go with lee.
     
  8. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree. The Lee dies work great and I have used mine quite a bit all calibers that I load. The pistol dies I get are stainless and don't require lube at all. The rifle dies I get with the factory crip die included also. I order directly from Lee and they have a limited run section for all the odd calibers. I just bought the new turret press and now can load all calibers including .50's.

    If you decide to come out and try out my guide gun I'll give you a set of Hornady dies for the 45/70.
     
  9. aquariumjunky

    aquariumjunky Albany, Oregon Active Member

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    I'll take it!

    I will give you a call tomorrow from work. What does your schedule look like?
    Steven
     
  10. dobanion

    dobanion North Portland, Oregon Member

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    Disclaimer: I'm a reloading newbie.

    I'll put my vote in for Lee. I have all Lee stuff and it's working great so far.
     
  11. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    +1 for Redding. I have about 20 sets and I've never been disappointed.

    Like anything, though, they need care.
     
  12. Oohrah

    Oohrah NorthwestSouthern Oregon Coast Member

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    Actually I load for 26 diferent calibers and have just about all brands. Probably own more RCBS than any of them, with a couple of custom dies for a 25-08 or 25 Super, and 30 Gibbs. However, any straight walled pistol cases and 30 Carbine, I always use a set with a Carbide sizer. All have climbed in price significantly in recent years. However, there isn't a great difference in quality anymore, Unless you are loading the amount that could be considered commercial (tens of thousands) my vote also goes to LEE for more bang for the buck. Also the incorporation of the collet dies of recent years, crank out some of the most consistant and accurate rounds that can be had. They have just about the same warranty as the more expensive ones. Yeah, I have broken, scratched, and managed to ask for replacement stuff over the years, and have had the best service with Lee and RCBS. Occasionally some Lee stuff will go on sale, but seldom if ever will RCBS. Also that personal touch kind of left RCBS, when that family business was sold to Blount. Sad but much of the made in the USA is part of some conglomeration and owned by people not of this country!!!! Seems like Lee is still a midwesten company I'm thinking maybe Wisconsin. No doubt all in the business are all good, or they would surely fall. So many have joined the ranks of big corporation. Old time scopes like Weaver and Redfield are now of Japan manufacture. Well maybe Redfield is no longer made and dropped from the line.:confused: More I think about it, LEE is the one. Last month I needed a collet for an RCBS case trimmer. Non of the collets or the pilots from any other company will work as the shaft size of the pilots are smaller.
    Where an inexpensive trimmer had a collet to fit any case head, RCBS you need four different ones to cover the same. The kicker is they don't make that trimmer any longer, and a pilot and a #1 collet couldn't be ordered by my dealer. Now the neat part was he had a LEE cutter and shell holder for the caliber I needed, and built in case length guage. The whole thing cost less than one of RCBSs pilots for their trimmer. I'll still continue to look for that 30 cal pilot and number 1 Collet for the RCBS. May get lucky!:D
     
  13. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    +1 on Lee. No problems here, so for the price I'm sitting here looking at 11 sets (calibers) of them in rifle and pistol.

    IMHO all pistol dies should be carbide, and I personally know of no manufacturer who makes rifle dies in carbide.
     
  14. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    First Choice after 40 yrs of reloading: Redding.
    Note, for rifle dies, include the carbide neck sizer button; neatest add on you can get!
    But, if Lee is what you can afford, they'll do fine!
    Oh, carbide rifle dies are available in some calibers, but still need lube. They are used by the commercial reloading guys: from Dillon.
     
  15. Oohrah

    Oohrah NorthwestSouthern Oregon Coast Member

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    Pretty sure that you are correct Gunner. With the exception of 30 Carbine that also can be a pistol caliber as well, the FLS are pistol. Motorman is also correct about expanding carbide button that works pretty slick, and eliminates inside neck lube. I think there some Tungsten neck size dies out there also.
    The longer 30 Carbine still need a little lube every few cases maybe because of length and case wall thickness. The 357 cases don't seem to need it as much, even though about the same length. If it starts to feel a little sticky, I just run a lubed case or two that has been lightly lubed.
    Went to my load room to see if there were any Redding dies, and I don't, so
    don't have a clue. Forgot about some new calibers accumulated over the last couple of years, and there are 37 calibers. Some not mentioned that are pretty good, but I only have four or five sets of them are Pacific and Lyman. I do have a bunch of Redding equipment like scales, a measure, and various other misc. All great stuff and well made.
     
  16. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I did a quick google check and motoman98 is correct that Dillon makes some carbide rifle dies. I couldn't find a price but I suspect they aren't for the typical home reloader. They may be for the mass production machines. They do still appear to need lube.

    What I had always read was that rifle dies were just too difficult to make in carbide because of the shape. Pistol dies actually just have a ring for the straight walls? Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I can add one more to my Lee die set count. My set for .380 ACP arrived in the mail this afternoon. Lordy, are once-fired .380 cases expensive. Some guy on gunbroker just paid $200 plus shipping
    for 2,000 of them. Link

    I have 1000 of them and that's going to do me for a while. :)
     
  17. Oohrah

    Oohrah NorthwestSouthern Oregon Coast Member

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    Yes it is just a ring insert and is the reason that the straight walled cases work so slick. Kind of glanced in the Midway catalog but didn't spot anything except some dies that did not full length size rifle cases but had a tungsen insert that neck sized the cases. I know that RCBS used the tungsen insert early on before the switch to Carbide. I think I have an very old set of RCBS 30 Carbine dies with the tungsen insert for full length sizing. Digging around earlier today, I also came across some old Herter dies. That goes back a little bit.
    Hey Gunner is the the number 3456, an MOS number for machiner gunner? Guess with all the newer releases of 380 pocket pistols like Ruger and some others, there may be a shortage. I have one of the early imports from Russia, IZH-70, in the 380 Cal. Not as crude as some I have seen and wear adjustable sights. Good little hiddy gun, but shot very little. I have a box or two with some personal defense rounds. Probably not the best caliber, but not the worst either. Up till now, I never thought about loading for it. It's a nine so may even be able to use the 9mm dies to load it.( kind of like loading 38 special in 357 Mag dies) Well, it's a thought for some reason.
     
  18. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Here's where I saw the Dillon carbide rifle dies. Link

    Naw, 3456 is a random number - nothing special about it.

    The nice thing about a .380 is the very small size. It will drop into a pants pocket while my Kel Tec PF 9 9mm won't.

    As for loading 380 with 9mm dies, my bullet seating and crimping die won't adjust down that far unless I don't know something. I also like to have separate dies for my Lee Classic Turret because I buy a turret for each set and don't have to readjust them unless I change bullet types.
     
  19. smonk

    smonk Oregon Member

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    Another vote here for Lee Precision products. The other brands word as well for the most part, but Lee costs less................ Way less................. For about 150.00 you can get a Lee reloading kit and a set of Lee dies (even the carbide ones) and have everything you need to get started. After that each die set is 20.00 to 35.00. At the price of Lee products, it doesn't take long for reloading to pay for itself!
     
  20. johnboy

    johnboy Hillsboro Member

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    You cannot beat Lee for dollar value....but if you want something that makes it all easy and smooth for the many many years of reloading with nice little features like polished expander ball, finger adjustable seating knobs,and just ease of use....REDDING is it......