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Waimea

Reloading Dies

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I have always used Dillon dies with the Lee Factory Crimp die.

 

But I have heard that RCBS puts out some purdy good dies.

 

I came upon a new-to-me Dillon 650 and need to get some dies.

So what do you use and why?

 

Waimea

 

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Posted (edited)

What caliber do you want to load?

Edited by Nickel City Dude

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I’ve got Dillon , RCBS , Redding and Lee , can’t say I’ve been dissatisfied with any . The Redding is hard to beat but also usually the most expensive of the ones I listed 

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Caliber mostly will be .38 spl.

But 9mm, .32 s&w, .38 s&w and all derivatives of .45 are being considered.

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Dillon makes a die set for 38/357 that includes a decaping/sizing die, seating die and a  really nice crimp die so you would not have to buy a separate die for crimping.  But when you order get the conversion kit at the same time to save some shipping $$.

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I'm using the Dillon dies on my 650 only because I can clean them without having to reset them, I guess because I'm lazy :wacko:.  I always thought that if we were doing precision shooting the Redding dies would be better but I'm no expert.

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7 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

I'm using the Dillon dies on my 650 only because I can clean them without having to reset them, I guess because I'm lazy :wacko:.  I always thought that if we were doing precision shooting the Redding dies would be better but I'm no expert.

Waimea, the Dillon dies work very well for .38, that is what I use.  I also have a set from Lee that I used when I first started reloading with my Lee turret press.  I eventually got a bullet feeder so I am now using the Lee combo set/crimp die in position#5, bullet feeder is in 4 and I wanted to keep my powder check capability in position 3. 

 

Some folks swear by the Lee FCD and I do use that die for all of my other pistol caliber ammo.  Any of the 3 suppliers you listed would work just fine but if you are shooting benchrest or precision competition get the Redding.  Howsumever I don't know no Outlaws that shoot for precision! :lol:

 

Kajun

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The Dillon dies have a spring loaded decaping pin that positively ejects the spent primers (at least mine do, not sure about all).  That is a plus because sometimes a primer sticks to the decaping pin and is then reseated.  The decaping stroke punches out the dent from firing, so now you have a squib or failure to fire.  
 

I have a hunch that many “bad primers” were actually reseated spent primers.

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1 hour ago, Krazy Kajun said:

Waimea, the Dillon dies work very well for .38, that is what I use. 

(Some Kajun tech mumbo jumbo was here.)

Howsumever I don't know no Outlaws that shoot for precision! :lol:

 

Kajun

Well if Dillon dies are good enough for you, that just settles it fer me.

 

Outlaw philosophies: pray and spray or one shot, one kill

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To be totally honest I don't know what I'm using! I know I have Dillon bullet seating die and a Lee Factory crimp die but not sure about the other two. I think they're Redding! I'm loading .38's on my Dillon 550. I also have Lee dies for .45 acp that I haven't used yet.

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Don't try to 'fix', what ain't broke.

Dillon dies are designed for Dillon presses.

OLG 

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80% of my die sets are Hornady, 15% are Lyman the Last 5% is splint between Lee, Redding and only 2 sets of RCBS one of those being RCBS "Cowboy" Dies ...

It might seem I have a strong affinity For Hornady dies ,,, and that is So ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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I use Dillon because they came with the press. I have RCBS and Lee if I change off of the cowboy calibers.

 

I have seen Kajun shoot precision or at least he tries to use the sights. Not sure different dies will help him.:lol:

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Posted (edited)

Seems to me, dies all use the same thread pitch and size. Might be some proprietary dies out there, but it appears to be a standardized item. I’m fond of RCBS and Lyman. Have a set of Hornady 45-70 dies also. Have used Lee’s in the past. And you know what, they all fit in my Dillon press. So, I guess I’m just not “brand-loyal“, but “results-loyal”. So much of what we do with reloading is focused around patience and consistency, resulting in performance. Picking a “brand” doesn’t appear to be as important as how we use it since they are all basically the same when it comes to design and thread pitch. I do like factory crimp dies for my pistol rounds,  but I’m just one old reloader. I’m confident there are many here wiser than me. However, I do know you don’t have to use ONLY Dillon dies in a Dillon press. 

Edited by Captain Curly Strait
Misspelling
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I have and use Lee dies for 9mm, .38 special/,357, .45 Schofield,  and .45 Colt in my 650. I use the Lee FCD for .38 Special to allow for different case OAL. I'm cheap which is why I use the Lee brand.

I also have a dedicated Dillon SD in .380 acp and one in .45acp which use their proprietary dies.

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RCBS and Lee make up the lion's share of my dies, but I also have dies from Dillon, Redding, Herter's, 4-D, Hornady, Lyman, and Pacific.

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Posted (edited)

I derive a portion of my income from Ballistic testing various Loads in Many calibers from .204 Ruger -to .460 Weatherby...

Like many in the 1970s I had a bunch of RCBS Dies, mostly because they were Available in every gun shop up here in Western Canada.... They were decent dies for the Times ... But it seemed that RCBS was Happy to retain those standards while other manufactures were working hard to improve theirs , the first time I noticed this was In setting-up some Lyman Dies in .270 Winchester for a friend in 1973 .

I noticed that the bullets seated straighter than my RCBS dies , make a long story short to equal the amount of bullet run-out his Lyman dies produced just seating bullets normally ... I had to seat a bullet about 70% turn the case 180 degrees and seat it the rest of the way ...

Not to put to Fine a point on things my above post states my die choices , one of my remaining RCBS sets is in .38 Spl./ .357 Mag and is a carbide set and is ok .

I do not use .38 Spl. much and .357 Mag even less , and accuracy is not of great concern , so they stay around for use... 

I must say I was Favorably impressed with my 2017 made  RCBS Cowboy Dies in .38-40 ,,,, I just couldn't get a set of Hornady New Dimention Dies in .38-40 ...

Truth be told I got Impatient and bought the Cowboy Dies, because the Kid in me wouldn't Wait ...  They are nicely made and will see much use ...

I put Hornady and Redding as the very best in die sets, baring Custom made usually Bench Rest dies ... Redding cost a bunch more than Hornady hence I have more of the Red Brand ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

   

Edited by Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129

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The only set of Dillon dies I have are the .45 Colt dies I bought with my 550. The rest are either RCBS or Lee. All will fit and work fine in a Dillon press...

 

I also use the Lee Factory Crimp Die for a lot of different calibers...

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For Cowboy Action match ammunition loaded on a progressive press I use the Lee Deluxe 4 Die sets (come with Factory Crimp Die) with very good success.  The Lee Dies have produced very consistent ammunition for me and are a good value.  They are so inexpensive I have a dedicated bullet seating die for each bullet type and seating depth I prefer.  Over the years I've used RCBS, Hornady, and Redding all with excellent results on my single stage RCBS press.  The RCBS dies have produced sub-MOA ammunition for my 7.62 and 5.56 gas guns.  As others have said, not dissatisfied with any of them.  For the money I do prefer the Lee Deluxe 4 Die sets for pistol as they have produced very good and consistent match ammunition for me.  

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All of the above are really good. That being said, everything I use is Hornady, but then I am spoiled (I work less than a mile from their offices anytime I have a question), and even when I told them I screwed up (pop a decapping pin, etc.), they always replace it for free

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i use RCBS carbides for my loading needs and have not been disappointed with them , but i have had others over the years that have performed well - get what you are confident in , 

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I use RCBS Cowboy dies, because they are designed for the larger diameter of lead bullets, with the larger sizer allowing finished rounds without the bullet printing through the case. I have other dies that I tried and which are now reserved for jacketed/plated bullets. The only crimp-only dies I use for cowboy is the Redding 45 AR for 45CS and one for 38 Long Colt. One backup gun is 41 Magnum, which has no die size alternative from RCBS, but the limited lead ammo supply loaded okay. 44 Magnum and 44 Special are RCBS Cowboy. 357 Magnum uses the same cowboy set as 38 Special. 44-40, 32 H&R, and 45 Colt are all RCBS Cowboy. The 45 Colt is using a Hornady sizer, which for some reason is larger than the RCBS Cowboy and pairs better with the diameter of the expander (no sticking). The 38 Long Colt is a mixed set starting with the only instance where I prime cases by hand due to having trouble priming new Starline brass on the press. That allows space on a 4-hole turret for a crimp-only die, which is by Redding because of limited brand choices for that cartridge. The 38 Long Colt is cobbled together using a Lee powder die (on a Lee turret), a Lyman M-die expander; a Lee seating, which didn't crimp the way I wanted; and a Redding crimp. Turned out to be a fussy little cartridge.

I gauge every round I reload, and as long as I set the bullet to be seated straight, have no real problems with rejects and no issues with leading. Accuracy is a question, because we shoot at such close ranges, and my guns shoot better than I do.

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I've been reloading longer than Dillon has been making presses and dies.  The store where I bought my first reloading outfit, carried RCBS.  And when I bought my first 550, I got one set of dies with it... the rest I just continued using my RCBS.  I have a couple of Redding sets.  I've been given Lee dies for a couple of cartridges I don't load much... and FWIW, they're fine.  But, having loaded with RCBS dies for over 40 years... I've come to trust them.  I just bought a set of 44-40 dies, loaded my first 50 or 60 rounds on my single stage, (haven't received the Dillon caliber conversion set yet), and they loaded this new brass, with NO issues, using 3 different bullet weights and shapes.  I did crush one case on the Lee Handloader making a dummy round, but I had a small divot in the mouth before I started.  Should've straightened it out before I seated the bullet, but...   wanted to see just how easily 44-40 cases crushed as compared to my 45 Colts.

 

Bottom line... anyone asks, I'll always recommend RCBS, but... have some loads where I prefer the Redding sets (bullet guides, micrometer adjustable seaters, etc., used for match grade ammo in 5.56 and 30.06), and others where I don't care that the dies are Lee (25ACP & 38S&W).  I have some cartridges, (38 Spl & 45ACP), where I have both RCBS and Dillon dies, have loaded with both, and the finished product is indistinguishable.  

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9 hours ago, Griff said:

I've been reloading longer than Dillon has been making presses and dies.  The store where I bought my first reloading outfit, carried RCBS.  And when I bought my first 550, I got one set of dies with it... the rest I just continued using my RCBS.  I have a couple of Redding sets.  I've been given Lee dies for a couple of cartridges I don't load much... and FWIW, they're fine.  But, having loaded with RCBS dies for over 40 years... I've come to trust them.  I just bought a set of 44-40 dies, loaded my first 50 or 60 rounds on my single stage, (haven't received the Dillon caliber conversion set yet), and they loaded this new brass, with NO issues, using 3 different bullet weights and shapes.  I did crush one case on the Lee Handloader making a dummy round, but I had a small divot in the mouth before I started.  Should've straightened it out before I seated the bullet, but...   wanted to see just how easily 44-40 cases crushed as compared to my 45 Colts.

 

Bottom line... anyone asks, I'll always recommend RCBS, but... have some loads where I prefer the Redding sets (bullet guides, micrometer adjustable seaters, etc., used for match grade ammo in 5.56 and 30.06), and others where I don't care that the dies are Lee (25ACP & 38S&W).  I have some cartridges, (38 Spl & 45ACP), where I have both RCBS and Dillon dies, have loaded with both, and the finished product is indistinguishable.  

I load 44-40 on a 550 and do not need the caliber conversion kit the 45 colt kit works fine.

kR

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I don’t have any Dillon dies, but I load about 30 different calibers using a mixture of rcbs, Lee, Lyman, 4-D, and a few other makers dies.  A lot of what I load is obsolete American cartridges for old western guns so I buy dies from the folks who offer them.  I do load some modern calibers (primarily military ones) but I don’t shoot long range target competition, where small differences can lead to big differences in success.  For the stuff I load and especially for sass cartridges, I have never really noted a lot of differences between the dies of different makers.  Thee are some dies I find more convenient to use, for example I like carbide dies for straight walled cases and I have a lot of Lee factory crimp dies, but other than that, as long as the round fits the chamber, the bullet is the right diameter, and the overall dimensions are within the envelope, the cartridges all shoot fine.  You would have to have some pretty serious problems with your dies to make any kind of noticeable difference in performance in sass calibers at sass ranges.  

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I have found that Lee dies in .38/357 work well and with using the Lee factory crimp die. The Redding profile crimp dies works awesome for my 44-40 when loading smokeless powder, where the Lee die was not as good for me but fine for BP loads. Could have been me as well. I use a little of everything as far as dies go but do like the Dillon sizing decapping die very much.

 

that's my 2 cents

 

Hochbauer

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Almost any die will load a workable cartridge.  I have several 1880 era loaders and they work.  However, if you load lead with lube Dillon Dies will save you time and effort. 

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In using different dies, I'v noticed that the Dillon Bullet seating die is the most forgiving when a bullet shifts just before you seat it. The others I've tried seem to jam more easily in this situation.

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My Bullet Man (Hubby) uses RCBS in his 650s. One of our neighbors bought a 650 and Hubby advised him to buy RCBS dies. He bought Dillon dies and had problems with them. When he called Dillon, they weren't nice to him.  :o Odd, huh. So he gave the 650 to Hubby and he has no problems with it and RCBS dies. Now we have three 650s.B)

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