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Thread: Die recommendations??

  1. #1

    Default Die recommendations??

    I just bought the RCBS Rockchucker kit. To get up to speed I've read the hornady and speer reloading manuals but while they are full of good information they didn't help in choosing dies (they all seem similar). Can anyone explain why Redding or RCBS or Lee or Hornady Dimension dies would be better than another? I've been reading a lot but the dies all look similar. I want to reload for my 30-06 (bolt), 30-30 (lever) and my 454 Casull revolver. I was thinking of getting the Redding 3 die set for the 30-06 so I could neck size and then if the brass gets too big I could use the full size to get the cases into factory specs. Good idea? What about the Lee Carbide 4 dies set for the 454? No idea what to use for the 30-30, was thinking any full length resize should be fine.. Lee?

    Thanks for any information,

    Mike

  2. #2
    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I generally choose my dies by what kind of bullet I am going to be loading. For cast bullets, RCBS sells flat point seater plugs for their dies that work great with cast bullets, and they are easy to find on Midway USA. The only thing I don’t like about Lee dies is that stupid round plastic case thing they come it. It makes storing them a pain. I do really like the Lee crimp dies though, and have one for nearly every cartridge that I load.

    I got dies from Lyman, Hornady, Lee and RCBS and they all work well. I have never forked out the cash for Redding stuff but hear that they are nice. Its not a huge thing, but If you find one brand that you like, try to stick with that brand as you will have interchangeable parts.

    Carbide dies are a good deal for pistol cartridges if you plan to load a bunch. All you need do is clean your brass in your tumbler and then run them thru the dies, no lube necessary, and that saves some time and the mess of dealing with lube.
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  3. #3

    Thumbs up Redding, RCBS, and Lee

    I recommend you buy Redding for the -06, RCBS for the 30-30 and Lee carbide for the 454.

    Here is the method to my madness: You will get three quality brands and will be able to use them for a lifetime (assuming good care, etc) and this will help you decide what brand for the next caliber you buy.

    Personally I really, really, really like Redding for rifle. I actually have more die sets in RCBS than any other brand, but that is because of what I was given, found on sale, bought at auctions, etc. Lee is fine too for rifle, but my third choice. I like Lee carbide for pistol just fine. Alangaq, I agree with you on the red case. Made me laugh.

    Redding dies are Cadillac and RCBS are Chevrolet. You can see and feel the difference, just a few notches better on the mfg and quality scale. That is why I recommend you buy a set of Redding for your -06 and RCBS for your 30-30. Then you can make up your own mind if you want to fork out the extra bucks for Redding in future die purchases.

    Of course, there are other brands out there too, but these three are great to start out with. Enjoy your new press and have fun!

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    Well I don't have much experiance, but here is what I know.

    I was going to get RCBS dies for my 06 just because I had a RCBS press. I could not find them so I got Redding. Price was a little higher, $35 vs. $28. I have no complaints about the dies in anyway, but I really can't compair them to any others.

    One thing I would do if I got dies again, and I plan to get in my next order, is some Forster Cross Bolt Die Locking Ring's. The set screw type that came with my dies work and lock fine but they tend not to release. I have to get out my channel-locks to get the ring lose after I tighten the set screw. This is not only a pain but makes it hard to make small adjustments once the set screw is tightened.

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    I probably should stay out of this lest you folks misread what I'm trying to say but as usual I cannot.

    Let me start by saying that the quality and workmanship are different from design. A poor design or just a design I dislike for whatever reason, may be well made and of the highest quality, but it wil still be a poor design. I own well over 100 sets of dies. Most about 60 or so are Redding and many of them are custom. I like the way Redding treats me with my custom orders and they have always turned out right when I send them the chamber reamer drawing to make them. I own a bout 30 or 40 sets of RCBS, some are custom and they are all very good. I also have about a dozen or so Forster (bonanza) micro seater die sets. The expander assembly in the RCBS dies I hate. I can't take the stem out the top, except some sets, which is part of my gripe, no commonality of parts. The expander in the Forster rifle dies is the best there is functionally but here again not so easy to remove and not as universal as are the Redding expander assemblies, I really like that part of the Reddings. Redding also has a polished tapered expander button available and I like that. I think Redding is the hardest and RCBS the smoothest inside. I like the RCBS for cast bullets and with an extra expander body I can use their cast bullet expanders, I have a set of those and I like them better than the two piece Lyman "M" (expander) dies.

    I prefer the Redding Titanium Carbide for handgun, (no lube) beter than other tungston Carbide dies, they are the hardest and smoothest and leave cases pretty. I also like the profile crimp dies alot for heavy revolver loads.

    I do a lot of specialty loading and case forming and having a bunch of different caliber dies to mix and match (matching parts) I'm able to form cases with two or three dies for different calibers abd not buy expensive forming sets. Thats where all the Redding sets come in handy.

    I dislike the new Hornady dies and some of the Lyman dies and most of the Lee dies because of design not quality, they don't fit so well with the way I like to use them.
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    Murphy:

    Yer a man who knows what he likes.

    Design, Quality, and Use. I agree that there is more than one issue to consider.

    That is a helpful approach.

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  7. #7

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    Am I correct in surmising that Redding dies are generally considered the best except for their cost?

    Thanks again,
    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeStaten View Post
    Am I correct in surmising that Redding dies are generally considered the best except for their cost?

    Thanks again,
    Mike
    You will be well-served by any die you choose. Most of mine are CH4D.
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    Regardless of the dies you decide to go with, you will want to purchase a “stuck case removal tool”.

    When you screw up and forget to properly lube a case (and you will…… some day) and get it jammed in your die after ripping the rim off, you will be glad you have that little tool!!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Regardless of the dies you decide to go with, you will want to purchase a “stuck case removal tool”.

    When you screw up and forget to properly lube a case (and you will…… some day) and get it jammed in your die after ripping the rim off, you will be glad you have that little tool!!
    Here is one case where RCBS with its bottom loading expander stem comes in handy. You can screw the stem down against the inside bottom of the case and this will push the case out of the die, often saving the case and lots of time. Redding will do this but has limited travel and can't get the really stuck cases out.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeStaten View Post
    Am I correct in surmising that Redding dies are generally considered the best except for their cost?

    Thanks again,
    Mike
    I think I would tend to agree with this statement but from a quality stand point there has never been an issue with any RCBS I've owned. I have had one issue with my many Redding dies and at least one issue with all the other brands. Quality control related issues, that is. The carbide ring in one of my Redding dies came out. (I think they are epoxied and crimped into the die.) It was replaced without any problem.

    I do have several sets of CH4D dies and they are fine dies with very good precision and good prices but not quite as smoothly finished as RCBS/Redding.

    I have owned a few sets of the new Hornady dies and have given them away or sold them very cheaply. Here again a design I dislike, not a quality control issue. Sometimes I buy rifles and many times they come with dies, brass, ammo etc, especially the wildcats. I take these dies and give away the ones I don't like and I just keep RCBS, Redding, Forster or CH4D dies. I have a set of Forster dies for every Weatherby caliber made except the 30 and 338/378 calibers. I got these from a Weatherby guy who sold me all his rifles. I don't own any Weatherby rifles today, I do have the dies and some were unused when I got them. I have a set of 30 Newton dies in CH4D. I used these to make some brass for a guy in Canada from 8x68 RWS brass. That's all I've used them for but they are fine dies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Here is one case where RCBS with its bottom loading expander stem comes in handy. You can screw the stem down against the inside bottom of the case and this will push the case out of the die, often saving the case and lots of time. Redding will do this but has limited travel and can't get the really stuck cases out.
    That works?????

    I'm sure it does, if you've tried it, but seems like it would be too easy to jimmy up the screw slot. I shouldn't think you'd have a lot of leverage to turn it, if the case was stuck reeeeely tight.

    I'll keep it in mind, but I've already got an RCBS Stuck Case Remover Tool. It's always worked for me. Maybe, 3 times I've had to use it.

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    That works?????

    I'm sure it does, if you've tried it, but seems like it would be too easy to jimmy up the screw slot. I shouldn't think you'd have a lot of leverage to turn it, if the case was stuck reeeeely tight.

    I'll keep it in mind, but I've already got an RCBS Stuck Case Remover Tool. It's always worked for me. Maybe, 3 times I've had to use it.

    Smitty of the North
    It works if it's not stuck really tight and you need to get the shell holder turned for a new grip and asssist the screwing down (?) with the press arm. I have a bit for a battery powered driver and that usually works. Also some caliber decapper/expander spindles are too short to do this. I don't understand the three different length decaping spindles RCBS uses and three different diameters, I would like to be able to swap and mix them like I do Redding stuff but it rarely works.

    Oh, yeah, nothing beats a stuck case remover if you need one badly and sometimes that's what you've got to have.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Murphy:
    Thanks for the clarification, on that.

    One time ago, as my Bro-In-Law usta say, I got a case stuck in a Lee Die. Sooo, I loosened the locking collet and tapped, make that DROVE (tapping didn't work) the case out of the die by pounding on the expander pin part.

    (I can't say that it hurt things too much, but years later when I became more affluent, I replaced the expander and collet.)

    My memory isn't that clear, because it was a long time ago, but to do that I hadda take the die out to keep from breaking the press. I think I put the die on the jaws of my bench vise, with the case in between.

    If I ever had to do it again, I'm thinking I might try putting the die into the press from the bottom and after putting something flat on top of the shell holder, try to push it UP with the press. I sure it's better to push or pull than to pound, but there I was pounding on my die.

    And there you have it.
    Another exciting episode
    from my Life of Low Adventure.

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    I have Redding, RCBS, Lyman, Forster and Neil Jones die sets. For most rifle cartridges I prefer Forster two die sets with their benchrest seater. I use a NECO case gauge and if I prep cases properly the Forster die will produce bullet run out that is right on par with my Redding competition seating dies at a much lower price point. For revolver cartridges such as the 454 Casull mentioned by the OP I prefer Redding or RCBS carbide three die sets, but do not use the crimp feature built in to the seating die. I back off the seater so it will not crimp and use a separate Lee factory crimp die. This gives a beautiful, deep roll crimp. I really do not care for Redding's Profile crimp and would use the RCBS seater/crimp die if I didn't go with the Lee factory crimp die.

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    I have a Lee 4 position Turret Press, and when I’m loading for 44 Mag, using Lee 4 Die set with the FC die, I think I’ve arrived.

    I don’t use the Lee Turret press for anything but 38, 357, or 30-30, because it isn’t suitable for much else. I have a Redding Beeg Boss, for the heavy work.

    Like most peoples, I have a selection of dies, and I like having a Neck Sizer in the set too.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
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