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Thread: Preferred die maker?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy PBSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Preferred die maker?

    Searched this briefly and couldn't find answers.

    Have any members here found one particular brand of 7/8x14 dies to give more accurate ammo than others when loading cast bullets?

    If your game is tin cans at the town dump or ringing gongs, it might not make much difference.

    If, on the other hand, you're looking to load ammo with minimum runout, maybe the choice of sizing and seating dies will make a difference. I know with jacketed I was having very good luck with Hornady New Dimension, and I believe it had to do with design and quality of the sizing and seating dies.

    I can't afford the best benchrest dies made, so let's keep this in the blue-collar range.

    Look forward to your thoughts. Thanks.


  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    jimkim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Dodge Co. GA. Between the Ocmulgee and Little Ocmulgee rivers.
    For general purpose dies, I like Lee. As far as premium dies go, Redding or Forster are top shelf.

    Sent from my VS880 using Tapatalk

    US Govt mantra. if it's moving tax it, if it's still moving regulate it, if it stops moving subsidize it

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    St. Louis
    I prefer Redding and Dillon, but I do have a couple Lee sets.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    I use dies from most makers all can be very good. For high use calibers I like the bushing dies so I can size to what's needed and not over size brass. Some straight line dies can load very accurate ammo but require a arbor press to use and are slower than the press mounted dies.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    bruce drake's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Brownsburg, Indiana
    ANY die set except Hornady has performed perfectly well for me. I own Lee, Pacific, Herters, CH4d, Redding and RCBS. I've tossed out a 6.5 Creedmoor Hornady die set and replaced it with a LEE. No more crumpled shoulders or misaligned bullets now.
    I Cast my Boolits, Therefore I am Happy.
    Bona Fide member of the Jeff Brown Hunt Club

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy 380AUTO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Androscoggin County, Maine
    Price is not an issue for me when it comes to purchasing does yet I still prefer Lee dies above all. I get ragged holes using my .308 Lee ultimate die set.
    Last edited by 380AUTO; 01-10-2019 at 01:44 AM.
    Proud to serve, U.S. Army Infantry

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Everyone has their favorites but there probably is not a wrong answer. There are some advantages to having the same brand. For example, say you are sizing brass and bend the depriming rod in a 30-30 die. If you have all the same brands you can grab the stem out of your 30-06, 308 or 300 Winchester set and keep working. Also, some manufactures have better customer service than others. RCBS and Dillon are fantastic. Redding is said to be as good. You hear mixed satisfaction with Hornady and Lee and Lyman. Having said all of that, I have mostly RCBS followed by Redding and then Dillon.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Near that little town in Eygpt or SW Wyoming, whichever
    I like Redding (but don't like the price). I use a lot of RCBS, Lyman, some Lee and a few other odds and ends (Old Pacific, C&H, Bair, and a few others that nobody ever heard of.) If they do the job I will use them. If not, they go away.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    I've got dies from most makers going back 60+years. Most have worked well for me, some of the older dies work a lot better then the new made ones.
    For instance I have or used to have for .44-40 : an Old LYMAN 1960's set, 3 RCBS, from 1978, 1987 & a Cowboy set from 1999. An old Pacific set, a HORNADY set from 2005, and a REDDING set.

    A Lee. Pieces of junk put in a plastic box & actually sold.

    I use the old LYMAN rather then any of the others.
    I've sold of the Pacific, the RCBS Cowboy, the Redding and another of the RCBS.

    And if dillon makes them, I wouldn't take one for free.

    Most dies from reputable manufacturers work well.
    I have no particular favorite these days, but if I can afford them, Redding.
    I HATE auto-correct

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

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    each die is different on the outside, essentially the same on the inside.

    Most would say that any 6" digital micrometer can measure a 0-6" long piece of plastic regardless if it cost you 20$ at home depot, or 150$ from a company that sells measuring equipment to aerospace companies.

    But only honest, knowledgable salesmen would remind you that the industry standard holds that only the first 4" would be considered "accurate" to the 4 decimal place read out.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    So Cal
    I prefer RCBS, that said all the prep and care is what makes great ammo.

  12. #12
    Vendor Sponsor

    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ojai CA
    Lee first: Their machining and interior finish is better than most and their prices are hard to beat. when I see other outfits wanting 5x more for the similar dies I just laugh.

    Being a machinist helps me sort thru Die BS real quick, and when I see better quality in the cheapest die sets out there, and dies others don't even offer, it makes me wonder how the really expensive outfits stay in business.

    My .02

    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

    M-Tecs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I load for a lot of different rifles in the same caliber bottleneck cases mostly for long range competition. I prefer the Redding or Forster micrometer and neck bushing dies. For 223 and 308 I run Dillon carbide sizing dies. For handgun it is mostly feature based. Some work better than other for some applications like cast bullets. I have only had issues with one die maker but I want to stay out of the ford chev type stuff.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    I just got a used Lyman M die from EBay yesterday. Holding it in my hand, I thought to myself, this is really well made. It was a marked difference from the Lee universal neck flaring die I had recently been working with. I wondered why in this age of CNC, there was so much of a difference. I have mostly RCBS die sets and a few Lyman. Now a couple of Lee’s.

    I have had mixed results from Lee products. Some work well and some are ****. From what I’ve heard from others, when you buy from Lee it’s often hit or miss. Sure they seem to be good about replacing defective items, but who wants that hassle. For something like a die set for high accuracy, as you say you want, I think one of the higher priced brands would be a better bet.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Central NY
    Redding Bench Rest Dies. Also many precision shooters use arbor presses. That said, most dies will suffice for 95% of us shooters.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    'Bout a hundred miles from the Gulf of Mexico
    RCBS,Pacific, Hornady, one set of Lee, 99% RCBS. They just work for me. Everybody has their own preference so I don’t bash anybody’s choices. My .02
    I firmly believe that you should only get treated by how you act, not by who or what you are!!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Pleasant Hope MO
    Hornady New Dimension is working good for me, Redding & RCBS are always good, I have been moving away from Dillon and don't even consider Lyman or Lee.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    I have used almost every brand of die during the last 50 years.
    I began reloading before Lee made anything but the whack a mole loaders.
    There are 3 considerations for buying dies.
    1. Affordability
    Most dies are affordable. If your feelings are hurt to spend an extra few dollars for a set of dies that will last a life time your priorities need to be changed.
    2. Quality
    You only want trouble free dies to load the best ammo.
    RCBS, Forster and Redding dies are all excellent. RCBS has the best warranty and customer service proven for many decades.

    3. Availability
    RCBS have been on the market for more than 60 years and have been manufactured in the widest selection of calibers.

    I generally shop for excellent condition used die sets and buy the top 3 when I can can find them at prices better than the cheapo dies..
    I may buy other brands if they are the only thing available or if they will see limited use.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
    one-eyed fat man's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Elizabethtown, KY
    I have dies, some going back to the early Sixties, from C-H, Lyman, Redding, RCBS and Lee. They all work OK, but I will say I really like old Lymans and Redding. For some tasks, there are dies which I find useful. Lyman M dies not only good for cast bullets. With bottle neck cartridges NOT using that ball on the decapping rod to expand the neck eliminates a lot of case stretch. (Someone here often mentions how much they hate case trimming) Lyman M dies bodies are easily adapted as compression dies for black powder cartridge reloding. Lee factory crimp dies are most useful when modified to crimp heeled bullets in .32, 38 and 41 Colt cartridges or .310 Cadet.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    toallmy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    easternshore of va.
    As far as dies I use a little of everything , depending on what I want to do with the loaded ammunition . I even mix and match die sets ,+ modify some of them to reach my end goal .
    But I have at times used a screwdriver as a big nail when needed .

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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