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Old 05-13-2022, 03:18 PM
rhodesengr rhodesengr is offline
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Default Die issues and what is your favorite die brand

I have been doing more metallic reloading recently as opposed to shotshell. I am doing 38special, 357mag, and 9mm.

I have two set of 357 Hornady dies, and one set of RCBS dies.

I am seeing minor issues with both versions. So I am asking here which brand of dies you prefer and why.

My first set of Hornady dies I think is OK but I bought an RCBS set just to get experience with a different brand. The outer thread on one of the three dies had a machining defect so that was disappointing. It dinged up the thread in my press a little before I noticed it. The expander die on the RCBS seems to have more of a taper shape while the Hornady type has more of a flair shape. I don't know if it makes a difference or not.

The second set of Hornady dies has two issues on the "seat and crimp" die. There is a rubber washer under the seating rod. That washer seems too soft and squishes out when I snug it down. The washer in the identical, first set doesn't seem to act that way.

The second issue: as I am adjusting the crimp depth, something is catching on the down-stroke. I don't think the first set acts that way. Any ideas about that?

Anyway, I would love to her any replies about which brand of dies you prefer and any comments about the issues I am seeing.
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Old 05-13-2022, 03:30 PM
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I have always liked rcbs dies and have been very happy with the warranty. I think ribs would happily replace the problem die that you mentioned. The quality of rcbs dies is really second to none. I am also impressed with the quality of Redding dies and have used those with very good results. Regardless of what you choose, happy loading.
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Old 05-13-2022, 03:36 PM
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RCBS has always treated me right. Use mostly Dillon dies but do have RCBS and a couple Forester.
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Old 05-13-2022, 03:39 PM
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Lee have proven very reliable for me. Great value IMHO.

Have a couple of CH4D for some odd-ball calibers…..great dies, but at a premium.
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Old 05-13-2022, 04:21 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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RCBS is about as good as it gets for standard and Carbide pistol dies. For Long Range and Target rifles I like Redding Competition die sets, but they cost double to triple RCBS's best rifle dies. My targets prove they are worth it!

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Old 05-13-2022, 04:44 PM
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Usually Hornady. I prefer their seating dies.. Redding are absolutely the best but pricey.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:01 PM
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can anyone shed light on the "catching" issue? This is while I am adjusting the crimp. The seater is backed out. I turn the crimp die in a little, raise the case to add to the crimp and then as I lower the case back down I can feel the assembly catching on the die somewhere.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:11 PM
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I have been very pleased with RCBS for over 40 years. I have used Lee for a shorter period, but no problems I am aware of. There is also 1 set of Lyman I have had for a very long time also.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:19 PM
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LEE anything else is just a reloading die. Why pay porterhouse steak prices when flank steak is just as good.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Save Ferrous! View Post
Dumb question: Is this just the case mouth wedging in the crimp, and it feels weird because of the case rim fitting loosely in the shellholder?

Does the shellholder contact anything with this die?

How does if feel with now brass? Brass but no bullet?
I don't know what it is.

The shell holder doesn't get anywhere near the set&crimp die. The bottom is way up inside.

I have never crimped an empty case. The bullet is always pressed in at the stage where I set the crimp.
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Old 05-13-2022, 05:54 PM
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Smile To Die For

Which Reloading Dies do I like? Iím just a practical reloader.
I donít do precision shooting, I donít do long range shooting.

I have no loyalty to any Reloading Manufacturer. The majority
of my stuff is Lee. I have RCBS. I have Hornady.

All I know is they make me some very accurate reloads in
Revolver, Pistol, and Rifle. Iíve been reloading for a good
30 years.

I also know, time behind the Sights, time working the Trigger
and putting a Crimp on my cartridges makes me an very
good shooter. Thereís some other things in there too.

Iíve really donít have any complaints with the Reloading
items I use and they are in good company of each other.
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:05 PM
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Smile FCD

P.S. I only have used Lee Factory Crimp Dies
(FCD).

Never had trouble with any of mine. Just followed
their instructions and they did their job.
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:19 PM
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I guess I've used just about all the brands since 1965 including some that are no longer made like Herter's and Wells. Also Neil Jones hand dies for benchrest. I've had few problems. I doubt you'll go wrong with anything currently marketed. Die problems can really be die problems but can also be operator problems.
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:26 PM
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First choice=Lyman, second choice=RCBS, third choice=Lee. Of course if I can get Dillon dies for the Dillon 550 and Star dies for the Star Progressive...

I especially like the Lyman M-type and Powder through expanders, and it seems like the Lee taper crimp type crimpers are working well for me if that step is needed.

All in all, I'm pretty easy to satisfy in my tastes in dies.

Froggie
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:40 PM
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Most of mine are RCBS. I started with them a long time ago and they've been great. Never had to use their customer service for dies. They were great one time with my primer tool.

I have a few Forster dies; they're the dies that Hornady wishes they were. In my opinion, Hornady fails miserably with dies and should stick to making bullets. The Lyman dies I have are good, Redding are great but expensive. For super accurate rifles, I use Wilson dies and an arbor press. Wilson dies are like jewels.

At last count I have at one time or another handloaded 39 different cartridges, so I've had a few die brands over the years. I guess I'm allowed to be somewhat opinionated . . . .
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:58 PM
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I've been reloading since '61, Started out with Herter dies but now have used just about everyone's dies. I prefer Lee, mainly the factory crimp die set. the only bad dies I've run across are ones someone didn't care for, dirty brass, rusty. I'm not a precision reloader, I've learned that paper doesn't care what you shoot at it. I do my rifle loading on an old Rockchucker I bought used for $25 and my pistol with Dillon Square Deals (paid $138 for the first one). I'm still using my first set of dies I bought in 1961, Herters in 30-06
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Old 05-13-2022, 06:59 PM
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For loading handgun in standard carbide dies, I use a VERY thin coat of pure lanolin on my brass, applied to the clean, ready-to-load brass in bulk. I simply put a tiny amount on the palms of my hands and rub it about the brass that I've put in a clean gallon plastic bag. Leave the brass in the sealed bag until you are ready to load. Your loading tool arm force is considerably reduced and your loading dies will last much longer. It is not necessary to remove the lanolin at the end of the loading process. Nor is it necessary to remove any small residue from the case mouth. Given a few hours the lanolin will evaporate away into the air.
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Old 05-13-2022, 07:04 PM
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Over the years I started with Herter's which I quickly abandoned. Next went to RCBS and was completely satisfied. That was until I went to a Dillon progressive press. The Dillon dies are optimized to run on their presses. RCBS did re-machine my in-use dies (at no charge) to run on my progressive. Both Dillon and RCBS have given excellent customer service over the years. For a couple little used applications I have Lee dies.

I've seen good things from Redding also and will consider them the next time I add a caliber.
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Old 05-13-2022, 07:06 PM
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Favorite dies, Hornady. But my very first ones were Lee and they worked fine, RCBS in the middle (but a tad closer to Hornady).
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Old 05-13-2022, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhodesengr View Post
can anyone shed light on the "catching" issue? This is while I am adjusting the crimp. The seater is backed out. I turn the crimp die in a little, raise the case to add to the crimp and then as I lower the case back down I can feel the assembly catching on the die somewhere.
May be a powder settler feature, all of my Lee dies do that same thing in the crimp die. Allegedly, this was to level and somewhat pack the powder against the primer.

Also, how firm of a crimp makes a difference.
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Old 05-13-2022, 08:08 PM
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I tend to stick with RCBS, but have had good service from all the big players, i.e., Redding, Lee, etc.
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Old 05-13-2022, 08:13 PM
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I’ve been a loyal RCBS user for over twenty years...don’t plan on making any changes
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Old 05-13-2022, 08:25 PM
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I've been reloading for 55+ years. 26 calibers. 100% Lee dies. I only had 1 problem and Lee replaced the die for free.

I dunno what's what except all my reloads are perfect. Tens of thousands of rounds down the pipe.

Maybe the expensive brands are better, but I don't know why, and at this point I don't see the need to find out.
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Old 05-13-2022, 08:56 PM
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Been loading 20yrs, started with Lee, now only use Dillon and RCBS. I had a Lyman carbide set in there somewhere, but sold them as well. The only issue I ever had with ANY brand dies I've tried, is the older model Dillon decapping pins break. No biggie, Dillon sends a little bag of 6 for free.
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Old 05-13-2022, 09:31 PM
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Still have my RCBS dies bought in mid 70’s, years ago bought all Carbide RCBS. Sadly have heard disappointing reports about new RCBS equipment.
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Old 05-13-2022, 10:14 PM
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I like the RCBS dies for reloading handgun ammunition. The expander die is much better than the Hornady. The design of the RCBS allows you the modify the expander punch to increase the amount of tension on the bullet if needed. Also, the “straight” section of the punch makes the bullet “snap” into vertical position better than the Hornady.
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Old 05-13-2022, 11:33 PM
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For rifle I must admit I like Redding dies...esp the expensive target type.. But have and do use RCBS. I also have Dillon Carbide 223 & 308. For the Dillon progressives I use Dillon...For other presses I use RCBS dies. Hornady dies are a non starter for me as are Lee dies. Have used almost every brand over the years and almost all worked ok. I started loading in the late 50's and i used whatever I could afford back then including Herter's Pacific Hollywood Dunbar and others. The only dies I ever had fail were Lee and only have one set I will even use...they are the collet dies they made

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Old 05-14-2022, 12:51 AM
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Redding for me. I have sets for every caliber I load. I do like Lee factory crimp dies, though.

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Old 05-14-2022, 01:28 AM
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"I have never crimped an empty case." Uh, well, you must REALLY value every brass case!

1. Read the instructions that come with the dies regarding how to set/adjust the crimp.
It may differ from one manufacturer to the next. (It does!)

2. Have you ever heard of friction? Are the dies for a roll crimp or a taper crimp?
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Old 05-14-2022, 03:27 AM
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RCBS and Lyman. Never a problem with either.
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Old 05-14-2022, 11:41 AM
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Don’t reload anymore.
But when I did, preferred RCBS Dies.
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Old 05-14-2022, 12:30 PM
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I’ve been reloading since the 60’s. Own a lot of different makers dies.
My preferred for rifle calibers is Forster.
My preferred for pistol is Redding. I also use the Lee carbide crimp die.
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Old 05-14-2022, 01:14 PM
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A couple guys here we're pretty negative about Hornady. Can you be more specific what you don't like about them?
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Old 05-14-2022, 01:41 PM
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Dillon on my 650.
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Old 05-14-2022, 04:47 PM
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Hornaday changed their dies to a floating bullet seater that can be a pain to adjust. My dies run from Bonanza to RCBS, Lee, Pacific and Hornaday. I prefer RCBS to most others.
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Old 05-14-2022, 07:22 PM
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It looks like people's favorites run the gamut. Most of mine are Hornady, with Lyman M type expanders for the revolver cartridges. I also have several RCBSs and Redding (rifle) dies, along with some Lee FCDs. No issues with any of them, really, although I do prefer Hornady's locking rings.
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Old 05-14-2022, 09:54 PM
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I have at least one set of every brand, but for no particular reason I prefer Lyman.
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Old 05-15-2022, 12:30 AM
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I think the 'hang up' issue on the crimping as you are adjusting the die is due to the press going 'over center' which they are normally designed to do.

You may be feeling the ram pushing the case back into the crimp section of the die once again as the ram lifts slightly and then retreats as the handle is lowered back down to pull the round out of the die.

The heavier the crimp,,the more you will feel it on pulling the round back out of the die. All because the linkage going back over center will first push it back up to the max height before retreating back out of the die.

You can feel the same effect w/a FL sizer if you adj the shell holder on the ram to bottom out & touch the base of the FL die with the ram all the way up.
Then pulling the ram back down, at first there is a slightly more difficult to pull effort needed on the ram handle. This is the linkage going over center.
It first pushes the ram up,,and then it retreats and goes smoothly back down for you.
If you adj the shellholder/ram to be pressed too hard against the bottom of the FLSizer die with the ram at it's top position,,it can be near impossible to bring the ram back down because of that overcenter linkage movement that first pushes upward before moving abck downward.

re...Reloading Die Brands,,,I use and have about anything imaginable.
I use them all and they all work.
Somewhere around 60 different caliber sets and a lot of odd dies I use for forming brass and even making bullets
.
Some brands many likely have never heard of. Some others I have are those that many won't even consider as gifts let alone actually buying them. But they work just fine. A few home-made dies too.
They don't all have to have the same brand name on them either to load any certain caliber.

No die-snob here.
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Old 05-15-2022, 01:51 AM
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I lean towards Redding Dies.
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Old 05-15-2022, 08:46 AM
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If Dillon doesn't make it I buy Redding.
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Old 05-15-2022, 11:45 AM
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As with presses, I think many favor the first brand owned. A lot of folks I've helped out over the years never took the time to read the instructions for a different die set.

Some have good usable features in one die type while lacking in others.

I'm a tinkerer, like to try different brands and types. Curiosity can been expensive. Regardless of brand, I always incorporate a Lee powder through case mouth expansion die for my straight wall cases.

I get along with most brands. In recent years Hornady rifle dies lost a few stars. The Zip Spindle rod used in their sizing die is easily bent. After discovering mine was arc shaped I found many others complaints of the same issue. My older Hornady dies have never given any problems with bent or slipping rods.

I have several calibers with multiple brands of dies. The majority being Lee and RCBS. As for a new set, FL bottleneck dies: whichever is available. I prefer Lee carbide for handgun loads. The powder through expander is a winner. I like the Lee Factory Crimp Die for heavy magnum loads. 300+ grain .429 and .452 revolver rounds being launched by a case full of H110 require a solid crimp.

Many of my most used die sets are a mix of brands. My 9mm are loaded using Lyman carbide sizer, Lee PT expansion/Lee Deluxe Auto Disc, Lyman seater, and Lee fcd.

I use a combo of Hornady, Lee, and RCBS for .308 Win.

.223 includes RCBS, Redding and Lee brands.

As long as they work and have features I like, I couldn't care less what name is on them.
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Old 05-15-2022, 12:49 PM
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My first set of dies came in the form of a Midway kit that contained a Lee Challenger O-frame press and a set of Lee 38 Special/.357 Magnum dies. The second set of dies I bought was a Lee set for 45 ACP. I found the press to be good, but the Lee dies seemed cheap and the powder through expander plugs were not exactly round. The third set I bought was a Lyman set for 9x19mm and they were quite a bit better quality. Since then, I have replaced the Lee dies with those from RCBS and have been very happy and have added RCBS die sets in 10mm Auto, 44 Special/Magnum, and .308 Winchester to my collection.
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Old 05-15-2022, 07:46 PM
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With the exception of "Texan" dies (from the 60s and early 70) All the die brands I have used, worked. Some better than others. I have dies from all the current makers except Dillon. I have a about 15 different makers. Most all will make decent ammo. Some, Lee and the old Herter's brand, sometimes require taking apart and a little polishing and deburring. My Lee 45 Colt and 45-70 dies date from the 1970s and make great ammo. My newer 30carb. And 300 H&H Lee's also so a fine job. I have wrecked several dies ,mostly carbide sizers, RCBS and Lyman ) and have been able to bring them back. My advice is buy what you like and if they don't work for you, sell them and move on.
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Old 05-16-2022, 07:31 AM
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Am not loyal to one brand of dies. As Cdog indicated, some brands have better features for differing purposes. Being older, some information may be dated as haven't bought new dies for awhile.

One example is a preference for Lee dies in traditional lever action calibers. They don't act like a small base die as some other manufactures do.

Another example is preference for Redding comp seating dies for precision loading. While always expensive, they be extremely expensive now.

With the prices of dies nowadays, maybe should be locking em up or insuring em.
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Old 05-16-2022, 08:34 AM
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We use a lot of different brand dies; Lee, Redding, RCBS, Hornady, and quite a few no longer manufactured. Totally agree with an earlier post that relates poor dies to those not cared for properly. They all work pretty much as advertised. I really like the old Pacific Dura-Chrome dies - when you can find them.

I used to buy Redding exclusively expecting some extra margin of perfection and, frankly, that extra margin has proved elusive compared to virtually all the other brands I use. Pretty much a Lee guy these days.

With respect to anything "crimp" I long ago relegated all crimping duties to Lee Factory Crimp Dies. They work perfectly every time and I don't miss the trial & error learning curve that is intrinsic with adjustments of seating dies for the task.
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Old 05-16-2022, 08:51 AM
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CH4D CH4D
Experienced reloaders know about this brand ...

Pacific and Bonanza are no longer made but if you see a set for sale , in good used condition , they can usually be had for a great price and are very good dies .

Lyman used to make some good dies , Lyman All American , but I haven't bought any lately so don't know if they are still good .
When they were All American ...I liked them a lot .

CH4D are perhaps the best made today ... made in America by an American and his American Wife ... Nice people to do business with , very helpful .
Gary
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Old 05-16-2022, 08:55 AM
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Good info here.

I have and use Dillon, RCBS, and Hornady. They all work great and I have had zero issues with any of them.

If I pick up a new cartridge I may have to give Redding a go.
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Old 05-16-2022, 09:43 AM
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Lyman dies. I own and reload with Lyman, RCBS, Lee and Dillon. Lyman and RCBS are very good quality. Dillon dies work best in Dillon presses. If I were a bench rest shooter or other rifle accuracy shooter, I might consider some of the premium (expensive) brands, but mostly I load for pistol.
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Old 05-16-2022, 09:50 AM
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RCBS is what I normally buy, but I have several sets of Lyman die’s that I’ve owned for 40 years or more.
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Old 05-16-2022, 10:02 AM
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Luckily picked up 2 sets of Redding Competition dies recently. One was a set in 22 Hornet. The Hornet has always been a bit harder to seat in because of thin necks and case length issues. Brass for the Hornet has seemed to be better made than years ago though. Also got a set of 25-06 Comp Reddings. And for some reason I bought a set of 45 ACPs too. But I did good at 35 bucks a set from an estate. Hornets and 45s were both new. I also have a few sets of RCBS Competition dies in the wooden box. 222 223 243 and I think 30-06(never used them...yet). The 222 and 223 work great. I also recently bought a Frankford Arsenal Universal Bullet seating Dies I am going to try. Hey the price was discounted one day on Amazon...45 bucks for the set. Guess we'll see sometime soon. Anyone had any success with the FA set?
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