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Thread: Which Dies?

  1. #1

    Which Dies?

    new to deer stalking, just about to start reloading. Got a few bits already, and am about to order the rest, cost being an issue, I will be going mainly for Lee.

    But I don't really know what dies to go for. I am thinking of Lee, RCBS, and Hornady at the moment.

    The Lee dies I am thinking about are the Lee Ultimate set. Which includes full length-resizing die , collet neck sizing die, dead length bullet seating die and a factory crimp die.

    But I believe the bullet seating die doesn't support the head before seating it in the case - but RCBS and Hornady dies do. But RCBS and Hornady are selling 2 die sets, and I would need to add either a full size or neck die at extra cost to get to the same versatility at extra cost.

    And on top of that, if I go for Hornady, if I feel the need sometime in the future, I can upgrade the seating die to micrometer adjustment for 24.

    An thoughts, ideas, guidance, or opinion?

    Most of my shooting is on a range, in .223 or 308.


  2. #2
    Are you loading for hunting or the range, or both?
    To save money, to tune for accuracy, for a variety of bullet weights and styles, for fun, or all of that?
    What press, scales, trimmers and other tools are you using?

    The Lee Ultimate is with the collet die and factory crimp die will do it for most loading needs - cheaper to get it all as a set, too.

  3. #3

    reloading initially for the range, but latter both.
    At the range, distances 100 to 500 yds, occasionally longer.

    To both save money, and to tune for accuracy,

    Lee press and trimmers, powser thrower. RCBS scale and trickler.
    Will throw below weight, trickle up to weight.


  4. #4
    Case sorting and prep, trimming, finding the recipe for bullets, primers and powders will do 99% of what you can put into a hand load. I don't see the need for a micrometer seating die unless you are shooting matches and are going to leave a press set up for seating and want the convenience of dialing to known settings for different bullets, as match shooters do for different range and wind conditions.

    I have a portable reloading kit with a Lee Hand Press in it, and load cartridges at the range which shoot half-MOA - which is good enough for my hunting.

  5. #5
    As above really, get a decent set of scales like an RCBS 5-0-5 and use whatever dies you like, just be as consistent as you possibly can be with your process.

    I use Lee dies for all my stuff, factory crimp everything and have no problems with accuracy (apart from the largest variable which is me on the day!).
    There's room for all Gods creatures ........... right next to the mash and gravy

  6. #6
    Southern & Phaedra,

    thanks for that. Its a bit of a minefield, all the makes seem to claim to be the best. As a friend says, I am hoping to "Buy Once, Cry Once" rather than upgrading over time.

    Do you use Lee dies? I am hoping to neck size only as much as possible, and keep trimming to the minimum. Lee suggest this is possible with the collet neck sizing die.

    Do you crimp? I have read its suggested for hunting where cartridges may be handled a bit roughly? Others seem to think its not required.


  7. #7
    dont buy hornady!
    the rest is personal choice and bling rights

    most of them do the same thing when it comes to FL sizing
    They all have their foibles

    I like lee stuff, its cheap, does what I need it too, replace bits easily if they break
    Lee Collet neck dies are relatively unique in their design and do produce very consistent ammo, good for reducing work hardening
    Factory crimp die is even recommended by other brands

    i do crimp now even though I have no scientific proof that they are better

  8. #8
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    I started loading for rifle in 1978/1979 or thereabouts. The gold standard then was the RCBS Rockchucker and standard RCBS FL 2 Die Set mounted securely to a solid loading bench.

    But things move one. Lee's factory crimp IF you need a crimp is excellent and their collet sizing die ditto. But their standard dies I wouldn't give house room to. Not user friendly.

    RCBS FL 2 Die Set? Having tried Redding I prefer them for the sole and only reason that I can fit a carbide sizing button. If not RCBS...or Lyman. Hornady with the moving sleeve? No advantage but some disadvantages. Save your money!

    Micrometer dies? Truth be buy a second seating die and set that up for your second bullet selection. Label it and the first one for your first bullet selection. Cheaper, quicker, less bother.

    Lube? Imperial Sizing Wax.

    Scales? Anybody's basic set RCBS 5-0-5 or Lyman's equivalent. Lee's? Your having a laugh...useless.

  9. #9
    I only use FL die and the seating die. Thats it. Never crimped a case in my life. But then I don't reload for lever-actions or combat.
    I've got Lee, RCBS and Hornady dies I don't have a strong preference. Oh except I do like the telescoping sleeve in the Hornady seating dies.
    If you need to trim or neck turn ask the members of the club if one of them has the gear and minds you using it. Otherwise to start with get the basics and be meticulous with load development.

  10. #10
    "Scales? Anybody's basic set RCBS 5-0-5 or Lyman's equivalent. Lee's? Your having a laugh...useless.[/QUOTE]
    Absolutely agree, don't touch Lee scales.
    Ive used the same RCBS beam scales for 30 years, great scales. They were used when I bought them.
    RCBS Model 5 0 2 Reloading Powder Scale 09069 | eBay
    Last edited by hybridfiat; 12-01-2016 at 20:44.

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