Best dies for reloading


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Hi all,

Did the usual and started with lee. Now im in the process of getting a new caliber I need to buy some new dies. Looking at getting RCBS but there are several others out there, forster, lyman and hornady being the main other competitors by the looks of it.

What would people suggest?

Thanks in advance



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Lee. All the others I've looked at just seem to be trying to find a more complicated way of doing things. Specialist dies are something else. I have a Forster shoulder bumping neck sizing die that I have yet to try and I'm sure it's a work of wonder, but Lee dies just work. There is, of course, no bragging value in using Lee dies or kit, but IMHO, much of Lee kit is as good as, or better than, their competitors.

Hornet 6

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I'm happy with Lee dies in the main, if set properly they will produce very good ammo.
The only time I have moved away from Lee is for calibers they don't cover, and to try
Redding S type collet dies, which I like very much, but I except it's just a choice, at the
end of the day the ammo is no better than Lee makes.

Neil. :)


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What dies would experienced members recommend for a .284W F-class rifle? I have Lee Classic Cast presses to use them in.


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Lee are good - I use these for my current rifles. I also have Hornady and Redding for future rifles.


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I've tried them all, Lee, RCBS, Forster aka Bonanza, Redding.

As others say properly set up there's no issue with Lee. But my criticism of them is they don't suit my reloading methods. I set my dies in my press and then lock the set ring such that I can screw the dies in and out and they always remain as set up. You can't do this with the standard rings that come with Lee dies.

I therefore was exclusively an RCBS user. I tried Forster aka Bonanza with the sliding sleeve and found that they slowed down loading and, again, for my methods were too fiddly. So I stuck with RCBS until one new product arrived!

That's Redding's "new" (although these have been available in the past from third party makers for RCBS but never saw them here in the UK) add on carbide neck expanding ball arrived in UK. Via Norman Clarke of Rugby. Tried one and bingo!

I've now switched all my dies to Redding soleley because of this accessory. I can say that it removes all the squealing and graunching that you get with using a steel neck expanding ball. And even though it meant changing my die sets in .270 WCF and .280 Remington that I already had I did so.

My rifles are only for staliking so I don't see any need for neck bushing dies and the like. They aren't capable of that sort of accuracy to warrant that nor do they need that sort of accuracy even if they were capable of it.

The only "odd ball" dies I do keep, though, are a set of RCBS Small Base dies that are useful for an initial size on purchased once-fired brass that's come from a third party. As it restores them to a tighter base dimension that standard dies that DO NOT IN FACT RESTORE TO FACTORY CASE SIZE SPECIFICATION.


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Lee gets my vote for value for money.

I have spent money on bullet seating competition dies, and to be honest I can get just as accurate bullet seating with a basic Lee die (+ / - 0.001"). How accurate do you want it?

The biggest variable in my shooting by far is me, not the rifle and definitely not my reloading.


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I have all the major makers. THere is little difference in dies when it comes to a hunting rifle. Some chambers don't jive with a certain die set which is not the fault of the dies. I have a custom barreled 6.5x55 for which only one specific die set will work. I have a Model 70 , 308 for which only a set of ancient RCBS dies will work satisfactorily. I have a lot of Lee dies. I like them. My 6.5 Creedmoor dies are Lee's and I shoot that out to 1100+ yards.~Muir.


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material quality and design are often lacking in dies IMO

RCBS are OK but I don't like overworking of the brass and no neck size or collet option exists
Lee are simple and do the job but some materials are very soft, but the flip side is they are cheap
Redding and Forster are fearsomely expensive and over engineered but provide a modular approach to case resizing...not convinced they are needed in most applications
Hornady I thought were very poorly made and the cost and design doesn't outweigh that

I use the Lee Collet neck sizer more than anything else

big ears

Well-Known Member
Had same issue with Lee dies, gave variable neck tensions and sizings. Bought new brass after instructions from the great and the good on here same problem, bought Redding dies never looked back.

Think there is is little to choose between Redding, rcbs, Forster so you choose which one you want.



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I'm also a bit of a mix and match type. Lee carbide dies for straight walled pistol calibre rounds like .357 etc are hard to beat and the Lee collet dies work well. I also have Redding bushing dies in 6mmbr and 6.5x284 and some older RCBS dies.

For the last year or so I've mostly removed the expander ball and use a plug expander.


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Are locking rings like those with Hornady dies, available on their own?
Update: Just found them at Amazon!
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Are locking rings like those with Hornady dies, available on their own?
Update: Just found them at Amazon!
Yes but quite expensive in the UK. About £27 for 6 I think the last time I checked. I got a mate to bring some back from the US last year as they were about $20 then.


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The Lee lock rings are cheap as chips. If you don't like the "0" ring you can easily remove it and by using two Lee lock rings on the same die they can be locked together.


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It is often a poor workman that blames his tools & I feel that many people blame dies when their resizing problems are the result of varying brass hardness & / or poor lubrication. Particularly in full length & bushing dies. Dry die parts including expander buttons cause unnecessarily high material stress loads which is a bad thing for both equipment & the brass.
All dies except collet dies need good lubrication to work properly.
Annealing cases & using Imperial Sizing Wax has solved may "problems" in my experience.