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Thread: Preferred die maker?

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Another thing to consider herewith the 7/8 14 dies sets is the press alignment between ram and die mount. the frames strength and flex. THe best set of dies in a weak press with a ram off center wont load the very best ammo. A good solid press with accurate alignment is required. Something Ive been thinking about is a visual check for this. Loke the bars with 2 points to check scope ring alignment. A 7/8 14 bar with 60* point and a 7/8 rod with the shell holder base machined on it and a 60* point. install these in the press and carefully raise ram to almost touching, any mis aloghnment should be readily visible.
    That's one of the benefits of the straight line dies and arbor press. The case and dies float freely to center and align. This is also a plus of the coax press the die floats in and out the shell holder side to side.
    Niel Jones, Redding , warner will if you send 3-5 fired cases bore a die just for your rifle and chamber. These dies size right to what you need and little more. Expensive but again a custom fit and hand work. Its an option that's available

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    My handgun dies are RCBS carbide, my 30-06 and 30/30 A.I are Hornady, my 30/30 is Herters, my 30-06 A.I is Redding, and it loads some very accurate rounds. I never had a whole lot of satisfaction with Lee dies, altho I do have quite a few Lee products that I use.
    My oldest son has a really nice Redding turret press and I do believe all of his dies are Lee.
    I really can't complain about the quality of any dies that I have owned, just some didn't suit me.
    Tom
    μολὼν λαβέ


    Did I ever mention that I hate to trim brass?

  3. #23
    Boolit Bub
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    Mostly RCBS, Redding for the precision stuff and Dillon mixed with modified Lee on progressives.

  4. #24
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Have any members here found one particular brand of 7/8x14 dies to give more accurate ammo than others when loading cast bullets?
    Nope ... I have 61 die sets for every caliber I shoot and believe from every manufacture. They all generate perfect reloads including those in the red plastic boxes - Lee Precision and the blue box Dillons. The most expensive ones are CH4D for my unique calibers ... 22 LR and metrics
    The only part of the die sets I have to modify sometimes is the bullet seating plugs. All plugs come as a standard round nose or a round nose flat point. So for perfect bullets for some of the bullet calibers, I have to fill the plug cavity with hot glue to conform to the bullet nose I'm reloading
    Regards
    John

  5. #25
    Boolit Master novalty's Avatar
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    For rifle dies, Forster is my favorite.
    My Feedback, (did I buy or sell to you? Please add your Comments)
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...hlight=novalty

  6. #26
    Boolit Master

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    I started out with RCBS and one set of Lyman. RCBS have some great die sets, pretty consistant product, the Lyman were pretty rough. I ended up with some Redding 445 SM dies because they were the only one with that perticular cartridge at the time and was impressed. I have one set of Foster benchrest dies that load excellent ammo. I moved to the Redding collet style dies for small stuff and experimented but real results on paper hasn't proven their worth. I recently picket up a set of 32 H&R dies from Lee. Nice but they are real 'grabby/chatter', might need a polishing or use the burnish the working surfaces for smoother operation. Since getting into lever guns, the RCBS Cowboy dies are nice with large expenders for boolits. I'm getting ready to mod a 358 cowboy expander for my RCBS carbide 9x19/21/23. Contemplating on a 6.5 cartridge. My next experiment will be a lee collet die with a foster seater.

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    redding have allways been my first choice. but I use them all.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  8. #28
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Another thing to consider herewith the 7/8 14 dies sets is the press alignment between ram and die mount. the frames strength and flex. THe best set of dies in a weak press with a ram off center wont load the very best ammo. A good solid press with accurate alignment is required. Something Ive been thinking about is a visual check for this. Loke the bars with 2 points to check scope ring alignment. A 7/8 14 bar with 60* point and a 7/8 rod with the shell holder base machined on it and a 60* point. install these in the press and carefully raise ram to almost touching, any mis aloghnment should be readily visible.
    That's one of the benefits of the straight line dies and arbor press. The case and dies float freely to center and align. This is also a plus of the coax press the die floats in and out the shell holder side to side.
    Niel Jones, Redding , warner will if you send 3-5 fired cases bore a die just for your rifle and chamber. These dies size right to what you need and little more. Expensive but again a custom fit and hand work. Its an option that's available
    Good point and nifty idea on press alignment. I'm not in a position to manufacture what you suggest but will see what I can rig along similar lines. Thanks.

  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use various makes of dies.Mostly they all work fine.I have Herter's,CH.Lyman,RCBS,Hornady,Pacific,and Lee.Some have features that I don't care for but I just deal with it.I replace the lock rings on the Lee dies with setscrew lockable rings.I preferred the Pacific Durachrome dies over the current Hornady product.Mostly now I buy RCBS or Lyman dies unless I find something at a good price on EBay.

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy 44magLeo's Avatar
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    I think the brand isn't as important as the skill of the operator.
    A good press and die set used well makes good ammo.
    A good press and die set used poorly makes poor ammo.
    Leo

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Redding, Forster.

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use Hornady, Lyman and Lee dies and they all produce good ammunition.
    ukrifleman

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 44magLeo View Post
    I think the brand isn't as important as the skill of the operator.
    A good press and die set used well makes good ammo.
    A good press and die set used poorly makes poor ammo.
    Leo
    Amen.

    All of our commercial die makers stick to SAAMI size die specifications and that's a range, NOT a specific point; if everything's within that tolerance range that's as good as they can get.

    I once had a collection of nine .30-06 die sets by various makers, including two by RCBS. One of the Green sizers was at the tight edge of the specs, the other at the loose edge - the rest were in between. Which one was best? Actually, the loosest die made better shooting ammo because the cases fit my factory chamber better! And all of the seaters were much less than perfect according to my concentricity gage.

    I've been doing this looong time and have known a lot of other serious loaders. Most of us graduated from the "my favorite tool maker is best" club a long time ago. The ONLY way to know if any given two sets of dies, even from the same brand, is better is to load quality and shoot your best ammo from them.

    Skilled reloaders with good rigs and well developed loads and well chosen components can make good ammo from most any brand of tools but people hoping to find quick answers to all that by choosing certain color boxes and price points simply doesn't work.

    On average, I've found Lee's dies work as well as any others of the threaded 7/8" types, especially their collet neck sizers. Well, all others except Redding and Forster Competition and BR seaters.

    Case preparation, not dies, is probably the weakest link in most people's bottle neck loading system. No one can load good ammo in cases with bent/tilted necks - a Redding body bump die used along with Lee's unique collet neck sizer is about as good as it gets for sizing, neck or FL. Then finish with a full body guided Forster or Redding seater.

    Get a concentricity gage and check your loads for bullet run-out. If your results are less than good consider light neck turning to clear up the worst of the neck variations. For factory (SAAMI) chambers, that's really about the best we can do. Then take the time and do the measurements to learn how to use those tools properly because simply pushing cases into and out of the dies, ANY brand of dies, simply won't get it done.
    Last edited by 1hole; 01-11-2019 at 09:48 PM.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
    troyboy's Avatar
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    Quality brass is the most important factor in concentricity. Die brand is more of a feature driven proposition. I use Redding body sides, Lee collet neck sizer and Forster seaters for accuracy driven calibers. For normal loading, dies with the features I like or can afford. One most know how to use the tools...........
    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees" Looking for an RCBS Ammomaster and H&R shotgun barrels regardless of condition

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
    lefty o's Avatar
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    my preferred is redding, though rcbs will get er done in a pinch.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    I have and use CH , CH4D , Lyman , Herters , Lee , Pacific , Redding and RCBS . I can honestly say I can see , feel and touch the difference between Lee and RCBS . It's worth the $15-20 per set for the touch and feel . I don't have a Lyman set less than 40 yr old in fact I think I only have maybe 10% of my gear that was made in this century .
    I don't believe there is a $40 difference , at least not in 45-70 and 32 Rem , in Redding and CH4D .

    I have 3 really great presses . I can only think of a couple of rifle cartridges that I haven't cut groups by half from base line ammo . A 222 that shoots under an inch with every loading I've had available . A 45-70 that is likely to never be less than a 2 MOA full power rifle , and a wild cat that there isn't a base line for that I didn't load with standard dies relieved to suit . I've never had a visible runout issue that wasn't corrected with chamfer , lapping or another adjustment of the seating stem .

    Buy your dies as available , as much as you need .
    Spend the best money on a press with a rigid frame and ram and a shell holder that does move enough to seek perfect alignment with the dies . Buy good shell holders that are square with the ram and die axis .
    In the time of darkest defeat,our victory may be nearest. Wm. McKinley.

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  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    Used all the handgun dies, except Dillon, and prefer RCBS. In many calibers, the expander die can be retrofitted with "Cowboy" M style expander plugs. Greater diameter for cast bullets. In rifle I like Redding, Forster seaters, and RCBS dies. I do think that the Lee Universal Expander outfitted with NOE M expander plugs has a strong role to play. Otherwise, I own zero Lee rifle dies because I prefer others.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master Clark's Avatar
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    I have 309 dies listed in my spreadsheet. I can see I still need to add the 280AI dies purchased in September 2018.

    My flow chart is:
    A) Rifle cartridges:
    1) Get the Forster full length die with the neck honed out on Forster's Sunnen hone to my specification. Usually 0.003" smaller than a loaded neck.
    2) Get the Forster sliding sleeve seater die, and de burr the deburring cut Forster made on the seating stem. Use a microscope or jewelers triplet.
    3) Get the Lee collet neck die. If needed have Lee reduce the mandrel, but leave some of the mandrel diameter in tact where it centers in the collet.

    B) Pistol dies
    1) Get the Lee carbide die
    2) Get any seater die and adjust so not seating and crimping in one step.
    3) Get the Lee factory crimp die

    If Forster does not make dies in that cartridge or something close, use a different brand.
    If no one makes a die, use 7/8-14 threaded rod and make my own dies.

    I still can't upload pics. Giving money does not help. Complaining does not help.

  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy Anonym's Avatar
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    I admittedly have not used Redding dies but hear they are nice. My rifle favorite is Forster (have a couple Bonanza, same thing) although I do have RCBS, CH4, and Hornady. If I couldn’t have Forster, I would probably prefer RCBS sizers and Hornady seaters. The Forster/Bonanza Bench Rest seating die is top notch and what Redding and (sort of) Hornady base their seating dies off of after their patent expired.

    I did not care for Lee and thought Dillon was over priced and overrated. Sold my Dillons at a premium and bought 2-3 times more RCBS/Hornady/Bonanza/CH4.

    For pistol, I have and use RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, and CH4. I tend to gravitate toward RCBS and Hornady.

    I have tried and do not care for Lee, but would use them if needed. That said, I LOVE Lyman M-dies and use them for rifle and pistol. I have replaced all brand pistol die expanders with them.

    I honestly have not bought into the micrometer seating die fad. They would be extremely useful for playing with seating depths on initial load development or if you swapped projectiles often and had repeatable references to bounce between them for consistent seating depth of each bullet type, but I don’t do this often enough to justify the extra cost.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master
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    Hi...
    I have used Lee, RCBS, Hornady and Redding dies.
    I tend to gravitate towards RCBS when buying new dies , but have recently been purchasing Hornady dies to use in my LnL presses.
    I have some specialty dies from Redding that I bought for loading .375SuperMag and a bulge buster for .40S&W brass. I also have some Redding die sets that I bought at auction that I don't even have firearms for, so they may be sold.
    I have had a bad experience with Lee dies(don't like the o-ring) and presses, so I generally don't consider them, although I do have some of there quick trim tools(although I haven't used them yet). I am most probably going to rely on RCBS trim dies, so the Lee may be sold as well.
    I use RCBS and Hornady presses, but my next progressive will be a Dillon just because I want to try one.

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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