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Thread: Are RCBS, Lee,Lyman & Hornady Shell all Interchangable?

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Thank You Pressman for the history lesson. I now feel foolish for “switching” to a new die brand. I assumed that the hornady shell holder would work with the Lee on press priming system because my RCBS shell holders have in the past. From your history it would seem that Lee closely copied RCBS, and that is why the RCBS work so well with Lee’s priming system. It turns out Mr. Lee wasn’t just a good innovator, he was also a good copier.

  2. #22
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by Litl Red 3991 View Post
    Are they the same size? Not the pairs that I've gotten over time.
    This ^^ If I use my Hornady #1 shell holder in my hand primer, the primers don't seat as deeply (i.e. - not deep enough) as they do when I use my Lyman #1 shell holder.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

    Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    I have broken a Lee shellholder, when forming .40-82 brass from that blasted rock hard starline .45 2.4 brass. Tore the top of the shellholder right off. Extracted the case from the Redding die and stuck a Lyman shellholder in and went back to case forming. Lubed with Imperial Sizing Lube. lee shellholders are junk.
    When they came out with the auto prime with the slip in shellholders, the .44Spl/Mag cases would always slip out unless you held them centered.
    I HATE auto-correct

    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    OKC , Oklahoma
    I had a reloading friend that kept forgetting to lube his 308s and pulled the rim off them with his Lee shell holders. Correction he would pull the rim off.
    You must have had some bad ones cause I have quite a few along with rcbs mine all work
    Last edited by onelight; 03-08-2020 at 11:30 PM.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    South Western NC
    Lee's shell holders are "junk"? Goodness! Thank you, I didn't know that.

    Since 1965, I've been happily interchanging/mixing shell holders of most brands in RCBS, Lee, Herter's, Pacific and Lyman presses with no problems at all (including Lee's junk shell holders); what have I been doing wrong?

    Best I know (or can remember), it was Pacific who first made simple toggle presses as we know them and designed today's 7/8"x14 dies, including the actual working dimension (1/8" deep) for standardised shell holders.

    Think it was Fred Huntington who changed Pacific's original press ram (fixed) shell holders to the present "slip-in" design. ??

    In my youthful inexperience it seemed good to set sizers exactly "right" and then lock down the ring once and for all.

    But ... I finally got a precision case headspace gage and quickly found that brass spring-back between brands AND the number of times they have been reloaded varied much more than I had realised. I've not locked a rifle sizer ring in place since, not for the last 30 years or so.
    Last edited by 1hole; 03-12-2020 at 04:05 PM.

  6. #26
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    My first press was a Herters and the shell holders were not the universal type. I also have a few older RCBS shell holders that have a larger hole in the center than the newer ones do. I traded a few of those to a member here that needed the larger hole.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Central VA
    Quote Originally Posted by Pressman View Post
    RCBS came out with the shellholder as we know it in 1955 along with the Model A and Model B press and the Uniflow powder measure. Their thinking was the shellholder was no big deal, after all it was just a scaled down version of the Lachmiller & Herter's shellholder. So, they never filed for a patent application on the shellholder.
    As that turned out it was a wise move as everyone picked up the design and it quickly became the standard of the industry. As late as the mid 1960's there were still gun writers who referred to it as the RCBS type shellholder.

    And the rest is history.
    I must be getting old... I still think of them as RCBS type shell holders to distinguish from Herters and Lyman (J-type) shell holders. Of course now Im trying to track down Lachmiller style shell holders as well.

    "It aint easy being green!"

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    until they break
    You've broken a shell holder? How, praytell?

  9. #29

    Pressman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    In the Gopher State of Minnesota
    Lachmiller shellholders are easy to spot Mr. Frog person, sir. That is once you learn them differences. They will always have a smaller center hole as the Lachmiller priming system does not use a cup to hold the primer. Mostly they have a 180 degree cut across the face, they are marked for caliber by stamping or scribing, they may be checkered, or not, usually they have a small "C" notch in the rear of the top. But then some do not have the 180 degree cut and look normal except for the above characteristics. If in doubt, look at the center hole, it will always be smaller. For that reason you cannot use them on a Herter's press if you want to prime on the press, and using a Herter's in the Lachmiller primer tool can sort of be done, with mixed levels of frustration.

    See, that was easy.
    Antique Reloading Tool Collector, Historian and Writer
    Newsletter editor: Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    Archive manager, Antique Reloading Tool Collectors Association
    email: herters@netins.net

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Lee shell holders are really hard. Some are not well engineered such as the .43 Spanish which has a very thick case rim. With the usual 1/8" deep shell holder and thick case rim the rim of the shell holder is really thin. FL sizing a case may pull the rim right off of the shell holder.
    in comparison the RCBS shell holder for the .43 Spanish is deeper and the RCBS .43 Spanish loading dies are not reamed as deep to make up the difference.
    You would think Lee would know enough to avoid that problem. They could at least buy a RCBS shell holder to copy. They would need to make their dies different for the .43 Spanish too.

    Quote Originally Posted by str8wal View Post
    You've broken a shell holder? How, praytell?

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check