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Thread: dies

  1. #1

    dies

    I have come into possession of older reloading dies. Herter, Lachmiller, and Bair. Are these any good, and how do they compare to what is made today?
    They all appear to be well made, at least as good as some of the current made dies.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    Bair bought out Pacific in the ‘80s, IIRC. For a while it was a Bair-Pacific, then just Bair. The paint jobs and logos changed, but the quality stayed high. Pacific invented the modern C press and the 7/8” x 14 reloading die set.

    Lachmiller Engineering made a full line of casting and reloading equipment. RCBS bought them out and only continued the lubrisizer in production, painted green rather than blue. Lachmiller’s stuff was as good as anyone else’s. I have a couple sets of Lachmiller loading dies, and the lubrisizer, and use them regularly.

    Herter’s dies were made to a price. For a while, I think they were made for Herter’s by C-H, which went through an uncomfortable period quality-wise after the founder, Charles Heckman, died in an auto accident. They should be OK, but they are definitely the Low-Priced Spread. As one reviewer of the time wrote, “Herter’s stuff doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to, but it sure is cheap!”

    On the other hand, George L. Herter said that Herter’s products were made of the finest materials on the most modern production equipment by the most highly skilled craftsmen, and sold at fair prices, unlike the overpriced, shoddy rubbish that everybody else was foisting off on the hapless, ignorant reloading public.

    So I guess you’ll just have to try the Herter’s dies and see how they do.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bent Ramrod View Post
    Herter’s dies were made to a price. For a while, I think they were made for Herter’s by C-H, which went through an uncomfortable period quality-wise after the founder, Charles Heckman, died in an auto accident. They should be OK, but they are definitely the Low-Priced Spread.

    Mr. Charles Heckman was a craftsman who made some great reloading tools and some of it went to Herter's. His heirs were NOT craftsmen and really didn't want to fool with making stuff. No surprise, they didn't last long and the business was eventually sold to become CH4D; now they are maintaining the custom build quality started by Charles.

    Next, there never was any the Herter's dies because Herter didn't make anything. He contracted to buy dies (and presses, scales, etc.) from several makers at the same time to provide his catalogs the widest variety of design features on the market. To the best of my experience (and the experience of everyone else who actually knew what they were doing) Herter's least costly tools worked as well as those with much higher price tags.

    As one reviewer of the time wrote, “Herter’s stuff doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to, but it sure is cheap!”
    Yeah. Same as, "Every web reloading guru in the know knows Lee's dies are too cheep to be any good", right? Except ... it ain't true! I've made chamber casts and gage tested a lot of dies from a lot of makers for a very long time. I found as much average internal variation between dies of the same brand as between different brands --- including Herter's ... and Lee's!

    I started reloading as a tool brand snob, I just knew "my" favorite brand was "best"! But, I've used a lot of Lee and Herter's tools and dies since 1965 (and many other brands as well), and - when used correctly - every one of them has performed as well as I could ask. (And I haven't been a brand snob in decades! )

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    ^^^ What he said! ^^^
    "It's a poor workman who blames his tools!"
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    My Dad gave Me a set of Herters dies in .303British, back about 1985ish. I've probably loaded 1,000rds or more. Never had any kind of problem. They are as well made as anything out there.
    I HATE auto-correct

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

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

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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy WarEagleEd's Avatar
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    Pacific was bought out by Hornady in the 1980s. Bair made some of Pacific's products until they had some sort of falling out. Then Bair starting marketing their own stuff. Or, Bair started selling reloading equipment with their name and that led to the falling out. I think there was a lawsuit between the two companies and that might have led to the demise of the Bair brand, but I can't remember for sure. Some of the Bair presses are the spitting image of Pacific presses.

    I have a set of Bair .30-06 dies. They've worked fine so far, though I haven't used them that much.

    Lachmiller is good stuff. I would like to have a one of the Lachmiller 707 Olympian reloading presses.

    Sent from my T799B using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    And speaking about the Lachmiller line of tools I have a few of their boolit molds along with a lube-sizer (blue, of course). All of these are quality tools that would be among the last to leave if I should have to reduce my tool inventory. Love them!

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    i started loading in 1958(sporterized o3a3 springfield in 3006) and a friend of my dad sold me a set of very old hollywood 3006 dies and a single stage pacific press for 5.00 and said fill the case up to the neck with 4831 surpluse powder and a 150 gr bullet. since then the rifle and press have gone, but i still use the hollywood dies.

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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