RepackboxTitan ReloadingLee PrecisionMidSouth Shooters Supply
RotoMetals2WidenersPBcastcoInline Fabrication

Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Cowboy Vs Standard

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Jacksonville NC
    Posts
    38

    Cowboy Vs Standard

    Hey guys just a quick question. Whatís the difference in RCBS Cowboy die sets and their standard 2 die sets? The cowboy offers a roll crimp but so do their standard sets. Just curious if they are worth the extra money. Thanks!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    pworley1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    2,983
    I only have one set that I bought used and the only real difference I could see was the expander.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Jacksonville NC
    Posts
    38
    Quote Originally Posted by pworley1 View Post
    I only have one set that I bought used and the only real difference I could see was the expander.
    Good to know, thanks! In your opinion is the dedicated expander necessary? Iíve been using a Lee adjustable expander with no issues


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Recycled bullet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2022
    Location
    Suburbs south of dc
    Posts
    243
    I'd like to know too if the RCBS cowboy expander is really good

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Sam Sackett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Shippensburg, PA
    Posts
    274
    RCBS standard dies have an expander meant for jacketed bullets. We normally use bullets about 0.002” larger in diameter when we load cast bullets. If you use the standard expander, you will see the bullet being squeezed down by the case when seating the bullet. Therefore, they came out with “Cowboy dies”. These have a larger expander stem, reducing bullet squeeze during seating.
    Some guns, Marlin micro groove in particular do not do well with small diameter bullets. Leading is the result.

    Just my nickle……
    Sam Sackett

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


    Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    2,973
    RCBS "Cowboy" dies use a Lyman "M" type Expander die. That, the brass lock rings and a different colored box are it.
    I HATE auto-correct

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

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

    SASS #375 Life

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Butler, MO
    Posts
    8,660
    The cardboard box is not as durable as the standard RCBS plastic box.

    The set I have in .38-55 has two expanders one for .377 and one for .379" projectiles. The larger one works well for my 336CB Marlin. Which tells me that in theory the sizing die is overworking the case mouth and neck for the larger projectiles.

    Robert

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Posts
    7,830
    I never researched it, but I'd heard the cowboy die sets were made more for cast boolits rather than jacketed.

    If that's true, and with the lower pressures of cast, the sizer might be a little less 'aggressive' also.
    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.


    OK People. Enough of this idle chit-chat.
    This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE!
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    5,230
    I have a serious bias toward Lyman Reloading Dies with the M expander. In 32-20, is there any advantage to be gained by going with the RCBS Cowboy Die Set instead? With the current brass drought, I will be loading some virgin WW and Starline brass as well as some assorted once fired factory stuff from manufacturers I've forgotten, so I guess flexibility would be a plus.

    I've got a Lee set as well as a Lyman 310 tool and Tru-Line Jr die set in 32-20 not to mention an old Winchester tong type reloading tool to work with now.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  10. #10
    Boolit Master fastdadio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Mi.
    Posts
    928
    Another difference in the cowboy expander vs the standard expander plug is the cowboy plug has the belling flair to flair the brass mouth making it easier to seat plain base boolits without shaving. I don't think a standard expander will flair a case.
    Deplorable infidel

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    5,230
    I like the Lyman “M” expander because it flares the case mouth (with flair )
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Butler, MO
    Posts
    8,660
    Froggie,

    While I haven't compared the Lyman and RCBS Cowboy dies in the same caliber, I have a set of Lyman dies for the .25-20 and the aforementioned RCBS Cowboy dies in .38-55. Functionally, there isn't much difference; but I kind of like the Lyman set better.

    This may be because I have several other M-dies, so am familiar with how they need to be adjusted.

    If there is a significant difference in price, well I'm frugal (sounds so much better than cheap). If they are close in price; I'd go for the Lyman set, solely for the M-die.

    Or you could use the M-die from another of your sets of .32 dies.

    Robert

    Just remembered,

    A few years ago I had an issue with an old RCBS expander not expanding the case deep enough for a Lee 148 WC in .38 Special. A Lyman M-die solved the issue.

    I didn't think of this at first, I have over a dozen .38/.357 dies that get used as needed.

    R
    Last edited by Mk42gunner; 05-25-2023 at 05:40 PM. Reason: additional info

  13. #13
    Boolit Master hc18flyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    NE Nebraska
    Posts
    1,049
    I just ordered the RCBS Cowboy expander plug for my standard dies. They do work great for my cast bullets in .38 Special and .45 Colt. I have the Lyman M die for other rifle calibers. hc18flyer

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    5,230
    I’ll have to look and see whether I have a Lyman die set in 32-20 (for a full size press). If not, I’m sure I have a Lee set, and I have a Lyman die for powder through the expander, and I believe that uses the “M” profile. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve mixed up a hybrid set from different manufacturers to get the combination of features I want. I wonder whether my Lee set has the “factory crimp” feature.

    Oh well, another pot on the stove. Got so many things cooking I’ve gotta make sure nothing boils over! I found a prepped bunch of GC .313 bullets in the 105-110 gr range… they should work well for my next run of 32-20s. Then I’ve gotta move revolver stuff to the back of the stove and prep for my Schuetzen event I’m running at the home club the end of the month. I shoot these bullets as-cast, but that means I’ve gotta cast them!!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    winelover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    North Central Arkansas
    Posts
    2,383
    Both sets of RCBS Cowboy dies (44 & 357) that I purchased are carbide. They came in a black plastic box, not cardboard, anymore. The expander is larger for cast bullets, akin to the Lyman "M" expander. So, purchasing a set of the cowboy dies, negates having to purchase a separate/larger "M" type expander for cast.

    The 44 set is labeled, 44 Russian/44 Special with no mention of 44 Magnum. However, I use the sizer, without decapping rod, to neck size my 44 Magnum brass for my Marlin. IIRC, the decapping rod is too short when attempting to full size 44 Magnum brass and decap in one step. Not an issue if you have a universal decapping die.

    Winelover

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Posts
    8,732
    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    RCBS "Cowboy" dies use a Lyman "M" type Expander die. That, the brass lock rings and a different colored box are it.
    Right ... Omit the Lyman M-Die expander for the required Lead Boolits and you have the standard Two Die set .
    The cowboy dies can load both cast and J-word boolits ... the standard two-die set ...Just J-words !
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables
    " Let's Go Brandon !"

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    675
    Quote Originally Posted by Recycled bullet View Post
    I'd like to know too if the RCBS cowboy expander is really good
    I’m not a fan of the RCBS cowboy expander, because the flaring portion on mine was spherical which made straight seating if the boolit problematic. I use Redding expanders (same as Lyman M), but I believe a custom expander (softer lead gets sized down by the brass) from Buffalo Arms or NOE is the best way to go. The M style expander makes it easier to seat the boolit squarely.
    *
    Hornady’s cowboy seating die is fantastic. Straightens the boolit during the seating operation, and does not deform soft lead hollow points.
    *
    I just realized you are asking about rifle dies. I only load for pistols, so maybe what I wrote above does not apply.
    Last edited by justindad; Yesterday at 09:21 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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