View Full Version : What are your FAVORITE reloading dies?

May 05, 2007, 10:25
I'm set up to load for around 30 different cartridges, some that I don't own guns for. I own and use dies from most everyone who has made them in the last 30-40 years. Most of mine are RCBS, but I also have a preference for Redding dies. A while back I bought a large lot of 'reloading stuff' from an estate sale that contained a dozen or so sets of Lee dies, and I have been using some of them since. That said, I would have to say that Redding dies are probably my favorite, with RCBS running a close second.

All have certain features that I like, and probably some that I dislike. I like Hornady's rifle seating dies, but I really dislike their expander/decapper assembly. I can never get them to stay in place. I rather dislike Redding's lock rings, but I really like their tapered expanders.

I don't own any Dillon dies, but if I begin reloading for any additional handgun cartridges, my dies will most likely be Dillon. They are just too well designed to pass up, IMHO.

How about you?

May 05, 2007, 11:09
Almost everything you've said goes for me also. Got 'bout 30 sets of dies, mostly RCBS. Three or four sets of Lyman, one set of Paciific, one Bonanza and two sets of Hornady.

Same trouble with Hornady decapping stem, also believe die body is soft. Replaced both sets with RCBS. I'd but Redding, but they just wern't available when I was looking. The old Pacific dies were good untill Hornady messed with em.

Lymans are OK, not great, but get the job done. I like the newer ones without the nickel plating. Forster/Bonanza dies are very good. Have heard Dillons are good, but again, just not readily available.

Only LEE dies I have is their "Factory Crimp Die". I change the lock ring. These work great on "hard to crimp" cases like the 30-30, 32 Spec, 348 Win. etc.

Still pissed at myself for passing up a Bonanza Co-ax press for $50. :rolleyes:

May 05, 2007, 12:15
RCBS. Ditto on disliking the Hornaday decap system.

May 05, 2007, 17:02
RCBS is good. Lee is good and pretty tough. Also like they way you adjust bullet depth on Lee. You can put some vaseline on the rubber things and the lock rings will move easier. Have a Lyman for 54R. Made couple test rounds with it so far and that's all.

May 05, 2007, 17:05
Redding, Hornady and then finally RCBS. Everything Lee makes has a cheap feel to it.

May 06, 2007, 08:54
I've used RCBS and Dillon dies in an RCBS Piggyback progressive conversion and a Dillon 550. The Dillon dies didn't work so well in the RCBS Piggyback, but the Piggyback didn't work very well anyway. Dillon dies work better than RCBS in the Dillon 550 which replaced the wretched Piggyback.
In a single stage press, I like Redding a lot. I usually change lock rings on any dies I use to the RCBS type.

May 06, 2007, 09:54
I've got about 30 set of dies, about half of them are RCBS that I've got with my first RockChucker press.

The only dies I've bought in the last 20 years have either been Redding or Dillon. IMHO they make the best standard dies available.

I will not use Lee dies. A buddy of mine has several sets and they over work the brass something terrible. Really shortens the case life.

I do have a Lee universal de-capping die that I make good use of and their hand-held priming tool is the berries.


May 06, 2007, 11:28
Originally posted by rob branson
I will not use Lee dies. A buddy of mine has several sets and they over work the brass something terrible. Really shortens the case life.

I agree completely about Lee Dies overworking brass. The neck portion of their rifle dies seem to grossly oversize the brass. I do have one of their collet dies which neck sizes the brass without the use of an expander plug. This die produces loaded ammo with almost zero indicated runout, which should be very accurate. Unfortunately, the one example that I have is in .303 British, and only one of my 3 Lee Enfields shows much inherent accuracy. It's incredibly accurate with any ammo that it shoots, so I can't really discern any difference with it.

May 06, 2007, 16:43
Hornady in first position, RCBS and Redding tied for second.
I haven't had any problems with the decapper in the Hornady dies even after countless thousands of rounds in an easy dozen calibers.
I'll admit to owning a couple of Lee die sets but the inadequate lock ring gets replaced with the Hornady product.
And a Lee decapping die lives in a Lee Hand Press

May 06, 2007, 17:29
RCBS, Redding, or Dillon. I have a few sets of Lyman dies that I got when my Uncle Harry passed away, but I rarely use them.

May 07, 2007, 20:19
I have found that Dillon's work best in a progressive press. Dillon has a wider opening bell to accomodate shells not perfectly aligned to the die. Don't get me wrong, I have and still use RCBS, Lyman and Redding. They work well but Lee's tend to be picky sob's.

In a single stage press I'd use #1 RCBS, Lyman and Redding #2 Dillon and again Lee last

May 09, 2007, 22:13
Redding #1; RCBS #2 for rifle.
Dillon (by far) for pistol (progressive loader).