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A friend called today with a question I would like to pass on to more experienced reloaders than myself. He has a Dillon 550 and needs a die set for a 45 apc. He wanted to know if carbide dies are worth the extra money and if so why. He loads some cast bullets but mainly jacketed ones. Also he would like to know if there is a reason to keep everything Dillon.

 

I told him I am no expert, but I am in SASS, and there are members who load 1000s of rounds who will know. So I told him I would ask and share the link to the SASS wire with him. Who knows maybe a potential new member.

 

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge with him and me.

 

DB

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Okay, on carbide dies...YES! they are so far superior to standard dies it is a no-brainer. Not having to lube every case, even with the new spray lubes, is wonderful.

On Dillon dies? I use RCBS, Hornady and Lee. My go to now are Lee, they work just fine on my 550.

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Carbide dies are absolutely worthwhile.  I like Dillon dies just fine, but also use Lee, RCBS, and Redding dies on my Dillon and RCBS presses.  The Lee Factory Crimp die is my favorite for straight wall cases, even in combination with others.

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Big YES to carbide sizer dies!

 

I really like the RCBS die line for most cartridge loading.  But, many of the Dillon dies are quite nice, too.   Especially the seater die in Dillon's pistol sets which has a drop-out seater stem making it easy to clean bullet lube out of the die.   I know of no other common die line that has that great feature.

 

Lee dies often do not have a positive lock on the stems that are in the dies, nor on the "lock" rings that rely on an o-ring to hold them at their setting, which always seems to drift especially when die is unscrewed from a press.

 

So, there's a different reason to prefer each of the various manufacturers' lines of loading dies.   Depends upon what is important to you.   Buying cheap dies that cause me grief is not my idea of a bargain.

 

The most critical die on .45 auto (standard name for the .45 ACP cartridge) is the seater and taper crimp.   The seater and the taper crimp are both VERY critical to the loaded round feeding and chambering properly.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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16 minutes ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Big YES to carbide sizer dies!

 

I really like the RCBS die line for most cartridge loading.  But, many of the Dillon dies are quite nice, too.   Especially the seater die in Dillon's pistol sets which has a drop-out seater stem making it easy to clean bullet lube out of the die.   I know of no other common die line that has that great feature.

 

Lee dies often do not have a positive lock on the stems that are in the dies, nor on the "lock" rings that rely on an o-ring to hold them at their setting, which always seems to drift especially when die is unscrewed from a press.

 

So, there's a different reason to prefer each of the various manufacturers' lines of loading dies.   Depends upon what is important to you.   Buying cheap dies that cause me grief is not my idea of a bargain.

 

The most critical die on .45 auto (standard name for the .45 ACP cartridge) is the seater and taper crimp.   The seater and the taper crimp are both VERY critical to the loaded round feeding and chambering properly.

 

Good luck, GJ

This ↑↑↑

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22 minutes ago, Geronimo Jim SASS # 21775 said:

I still lube case when using carbide dies.   Saves my elbows.   

This ^ ^ ^ ^

Carbide is definitely the way to go with straight wall cases and while lube is not technically necessary, I load in 1000 round lots. 1000 primers = 1 box, 1000 bullets =2 boxes, brass is kept in a tray that when full holds approximately 1000 cases.

Keeps my records straight as to how many components I have available for future reloading and how many I need to restock. Also a little bit easier to pull the handle and after a 1000 that adds up.

As far as the dies go I use Dillon, RCBS and lee some of which are almost 40 years old and they all still perform great. I like the Dillon for ease of cleaning when using traditional lead with lube as the lube sometimes gets to the point of changing the seating depth. RCBS has been around forever and never a problem. The lee's are used when I needed to grind away some of the die body and since they are cheap they are easily replaced if I mess up.

Regards

 

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:


Gateway Kid

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Carbide dies are your friend with straight wall cases. I also use lube since I like to do 1-2K at a time, once I have a load dialed in. I use Lee dies, but like the idea of the Dillon with the clip for easy cleaning. With coated bullets, that need to unclip and clean may be moot. I also like the Lee FCD because we tend to accumulate other people's brass over time and these help with variations in OAL. YMMV

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I like my Lee Carbide Sizing Die, Powder through Case mouth expander and Factory Crimp dies in .357 magnum,  If I was going to change out one die in the Lee Carbide 4 die set, I would change out the bullet seating die, it might be user error, or needing to clean it out or something, but I feel like I get shifts in my OAL when bullet seating.

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24 minutes ago, Kid Rich said:

That may be because of brass being different lengths.

kR

hmm, I didn't think that would affect my bullet seating, I honestly think I'm getting lead shavings up in there when I don't bell the case mouth enough... which could be due to inconsistent case lengths... 

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7 minutes ago, El CupAJoe said:

hmm, I didn't think that would affect my bullet seating, I honestly think I'm getting lead shavings up in there when I don't bell the case mouth enough... which could be due to inconsistent case lengths... 

That's exactly what will happen. If you don't catch it in a rifle the bullet will sometimes move back into the case.

kR

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Yes on the carbide. I also use lee dies. I did have a problem in some of my 1911's until I got a seperate taper crimp die. now the all work nice.

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If you are shaving lead, yes, the seater die has to be cleaned out regularly.  Bell the mouth of case properly so you NEVER get lead shaved off cast bullets!

 

If you are loading lubed bullets, the seater will collect lube in the stem, which seats the bullet too deep in case and may miss your crimp groove (if that is where you are trying to crimp).   Clean out the die as often as needed to maintain your desired cartridge OverAll Length (OAL).

 

Cases being different lengths are the least of my problems.  If I do find a case too short to crimp, I disassemble the load and scrap the case,  Because straight wall pistol cases DO NOT STRETCH even after many firings, there really are no "too long" straight wall pistol cases.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I powder coat all my cast bullets.

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17 hours ago, Geronimo Jim SASS # 21775 said:

I still lube case when using carbide dies.   Saves my elbows.   

+1, I make my own spray with Lanolin and the gas additive "Heat" @ 10-1 just add about 1oz. of lanolin to 10 oz of Heat the red bottle .

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I'm not disparaging anyone do as you please but I also load a lot and have won many championships over 50 years of completion and in my experience cheap equipment makes cheap ammunition.  Premium equipment makes premium ammunition.  That's not to say that a careful, meticulous, knowledgeable and experienced reloader  can not make good ammunition with cheap tools its just harder.  Of course the inverse is correct also dumb people make dumb ammunition regardless of the equipment.  Carbide dies are without a doubt worth the money whether you lube or not, they have a tendency to be like the little bunny they just keep on going.  Dillon dies are another worth it item.  The ability to service the die without removing the die body from the press is in my opinion priceless.  The decapping pin is removable or replaceable however you like to term that without removing/replacing the die body.  Likewise the seating die and the crimping die also have a removable center to allow service without removing the die body from the press, again for me, priceless.  I couldn't tell you how many times I've been loading for a match late at night with an early wake up for the drive to the match when clunk.  A rock or a smaller brass case has just made lite of my deprimer pin.  Makes me unhappy but its not an hour long process to get the die back into action.  The same is true with the seating die and crimping die.  The crimping die has given me more grief over the years wax buildup starts handing me shorter rounds bad for an auto or a rifle easy to fix with the dillon die.  Your mileage may vary of course and some people are much more careful than I am.  I load only because I love to shoot I don't love to load so I shoot.      

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To me it depends on what bullet and if the case is one gun only or used in several different guns.  I use carbide dies for full sizing if only neck sizing I don't.  When I was loading for 6 people shooting SASS the .32 H&R Mag, .45 Colt, and .38 spl I used carbide dies and thank Dillon for making them.  As I load for me or my brother I don't use any carbide dies as most calibers don't have carbide dies.  At times carbide is will worth the extra money.

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