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  #1  
Old 02-05-2009, 07:42 PM
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Carbide pistol dies?


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This isn't exactly a "which brand is best" question.

I've bought nothing but Lee dies for a decade and a half whenever I've bought new dies. However, I'm thinking of trying something else for 1 caliber, just for fun.

I'm prone to balk at the higher price of everything else, but stay with me here for a minute:

--I'm looking for 10mm Auto dies.
--I'm going to load cast for massive cost-savings reasons.
--I often think my Lee dies bell the case mouth of my .45 ACP more than I want when I load cast, but if I don't bell that much I often get shaved bullets.
--10mm needs a taper crimp like most auto-loader cartridges.
--RCBS and Hornady appear to include taper-crimp dies in their 3-die carbide sets for 40/10mm.
--Lyman appears to to include a roll crimp die in their 3-die set for 40/10mm.
--I've read that Lyman's expander die is the hot ticket for cast bullet loading.
--Lyman's 4-die carbide set appears to include a taper-crimp die?

If you got all the way through that, thanks! Here are my questions/issues:

--Am I actually 'over-working' my brass with my Lee dies, or imagining it?
--Will the Lyman 3-die set (which apparently has only a roll-crimp?) work OK for 10mm?
--Will it be a major pain to get the crimp adjusted just right so that I still headspace properly but get enough bullet grip to avoid bullet setback?
--Is Lyman's expander really that much better than the other brands' mentioned?
--Is it worth the extra money to move to Lyman's 4-die carbide set?
--Will I really get anything more out of these more expensive dies (I'll have to buy a shell-holder, too, since all my Lees come with them so I don't have a set) than I get out of my usual Lee sets?
--If the Lyman expander isn't that much better than others', is it worth trying the Hornady for a box of bullets?

I can get the Lyman 3-die set for roughly the same money as a Lee 4-die set, plus I'll have to buy the shell-holder.
RCBS is all I can get locally; the rest are mail-order-only for me.

So, if anyone has bothered to read this whole thing, thank you very much and thanks for your opinions.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2009, 08:04 AM
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When loading cast bullets it is necessary to expand case mouths. If you are overworking your brass, it will show up in split case mouths after only a few reloads. Split case mouths will eventually occur anyway due to the expanding and crimping operations but you can extend case life with properly adjusted dies regardless of brand.

Suggest you confirm if Lyman 10mm dies really come with a roll crimp as generally, semi-auto dies come with taper crimps while revolver dies come with roll crimps. No big deal adjusting a taper crimp die as all you need is to take out the belled case mouth and form a slight taper that indents into the bullet.

All die makers produce a product that will do the job properly. The rest is small refinements that will make reloading easier and do the job better. Case in point: Hornady dies for .44-40 are especially good due to the sliding alignment sleeve built into their seater die that aligns the bullet with the case. Whether you are considering purchasing a particular brand because of a sales promo (a free box of bullets or shell holder) is entirely your call. IME, purchasing carbide dies for straight wall cases is definitely the way to go. For a few dollars more, you need not be bothered with lubing and carbide is far less prone to scratching cases.

When I first started reloading (a long time ago) Lee products consisted mainly of the Lee Classic Reloader so I purchased "more expensive dies" the same as most of my generation. Having experienced excellent service from my dies Customer Service Department has kept me brand loyal. Since I am still using dies that I purchased in 1963, the initial cost of my dies is no longer the primary factor in deciding which brand to buy. I'm sure whichever brand of dies you decide on, it will do the job. The rest becomes subjective. That's the best advice I can give you. I'm sure you will get other viewpoints.

Last edited by Marshal Kane; 02-06-2009 at 08:07 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2009, 09:02 AM
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Its okay to stray to the Green side... they don't bite... I promise.

I've loaded 10,000 or more pistol rounds with my RCBS dies, I load .45 Colt, .44 Mag, .357 Mag, .45 Auto, .40 S&W, & 9 MM. I load cast and jacketed and have never had a problem with the dies. I've done some stuff to break the decap pins or bend the rods, RCBS always replaces them quickly, no matter how much of a dingbat I've been.

As Marshal said, all die makers make good dies that do the job well. I personally prefer RCBS from a customer service standpoint, and even though Redding offers the same level of service, I'd have to order their products in and I'm happy supporting my local businesses.
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:12 AM
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Great post MZ5..... great minds think alike. I am getting into casting myself after many years away from reloading. These thoughts have been rattling around in the back of my mind as well as others. I'm not setup just yet, but have things on order and should start arriving next week. I would be interested to get your thoughts on casting in general and how these loads figure into your personal supply of ammo.... uses for cast vs jacketed ect ect.....
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2009, 12:40 PM
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Hey, GiddyUpGo. I'm using the supplier in Louisiana who sells cast bullets cheaper than I can find lead, so I won't be making my own. This gun will be a trail gun, but if downloaded a bit, might be fun at the local action pistol club. Cast is fine for that.

I used to live in Yuma. You a long-timer? I was only a half-year farmer there so I lived in various places but farmed down near the big checker-board building at Ave. B & County 19th.
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:23 PM
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The Lyman M die patent has expired, so the form is copied by Redding, and, I think, maybe by Hornady or Forster? Call them and ask. An alternative way to go is to buy the Lee dies you usually get and just buy a Lyman M expander die by itself. The Lyman 4-die set has a separate taper crimp die. It isn't part of the seater as the roll crimp usually is. That leads to better accuracy because you aren't pushing the bullet in while digging into the brass. A taper crimp applied while seating creates shaved lead rings you need to remove to keep your throat from packing up.

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  #7  
Old 02-06-2009, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MZ5 View Post
Hey, GiddyUpGo. I'm using the supplier in Louisiana who sells cast bullets cheaper than I can find lead, so I won't be making my own. This gun will be a trail gun, but if downloaded a bit, might be fun at the local action pistol club. Cast is fine for that.

I used to live in Yuma. You a long-timer? I was only a half-year farmer there so I lived in various places but farmed down near the big checker-board building at Ave. B & County 19th.
Who is the supplier in Louisiana? Have to check them out. I lived in Yuma in the mid nineties when I worked for Bose Corporation. Then left and went to Prescott Valley for a few years. I'm back in Yuma now and have been here for about 18 months. It's a DRY heat....
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2009, 06:55 PM
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You'll have to search around, I was likely looking at a lever gun site? Beartooth are the thing for cast hunting bullets, but the only thing Beartooth has for 10mm is heavier than I want to shoot.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:58 PM
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Thanks for the graphic, unclenick, and the tip on the patent. I'll see what I can find out.
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2009, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MZ5 View Post
This isn't exactly a "which brand is best" question.

I've bought nothing but Lee dies for a decade and a half whenever I've bought new dies. However, I'm thinking of trying something else for 1 caliber, just for fun.

I'm prone to balk at the higher price of everything else, but stay with me here for a minute:

--I'm looking for 10mm Auto dies.
--I'm going to load cast for massive cost-savings reasons.
--I often think my Lee dies bell the case mouth of my .45 ACP more than I want when I load cast, but if I don't bell that much I often get shaved bullets.
--10mm needs a taper crimp like most auto-loader cartridges.
--RCBS and Hornady appear to include taper-crimp dies in their 3-die carbide sets for 40/10mm.
--Lyman appears to to include a roll crimp die in their 3-die set for 40/10mm.
--I've read that Lyman's expander die is the hot ticket for cast bullet loading.
--Lyman's 4-die carbide set appears to include a taper-crimp die?

If you got all the way through that, thanks! Here are my questions/issues:

--Am I actually 'over-working' my brass with my Lee dies, or imagining it?
--Will the Lyman 3-die set (which apparently has only a roll-crimp?) work OK for 10mm?
--Will it be a major pain to get the crimp adjusted just right so that I still headspace properly but get enough bullet grip to avoid bullet setback?
--Is Lyman's expander really that much better than the other brands' mentioned?
--Is it worth the extra money to move to Lyman's 4-die carbide set?
--Will I really get anything more out of these more expensive dies (I'll have to buy a shell-holder, too, since all my Lees come with them so I don't have a set) than I get out of my usual Lee sets?
--If the Lyman expander isn't that much better than others', is it worth trying the Hornady for a box of bullets?

I can get the Lyman 3-die set for roughly the same money as a Lee 4-die set, plus I'll have to buy the shell-holder.
RCBS is all I can get locally; the rest are mail-order-only for me.

So, if anyone has bothered to read this whole thing, thank you very much and thanks for your opinions.


I use Lee carbide dies & the powder through the expander die .

God bless
Wyr
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2009, 08:04 PM
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I also like Lee's four die sets. For 40 S&W and 45 Colt I don't use the universal expander, but do for cast bullets in the 38/357, 41 mag, 44 mag and 45 Colt. I also like the powder thru expander and use Lee's Pro Auto-Disk powder measure. I've been loading cast in my friends 40 and haven't had any problems at all.
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2009, 02:41 PM
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"--Am I actually 'over-working' my brass with my Lee dies, or imagining it?"

Probably imaging it it, but maybe not. ??


"--Will the Lyman 3-die set (which apparently has only a roll-crimp?) work OK for 10mm?:

Sure, if you don't over crimp with it. Don't think it's a roll crimper anyway but you CAN limit the amount of crimp any die provides. All you really need do is take out the mouth flair anyway.


"--Will it be a major pain to get the crimp adjusted just right so that I still headspace properly but get enough bullet grip to avoid bullet setback?"

Ideally, crimping takes both having the cases the same length, or little variation anyway, AND crimping in a seperate step from seating. But I really doubt you would get much, if any, "set back" even without a crimp. Contrary to popular thought, common auto loaders just don't have that much recoil.

"--Is Lyman's expander really that much better than the other brands' mentioned?"

Yes. As Nick's excellant illustration shows, the 3 step expander IS the ideal way to expand, for both cast AND jacketed, in both handguns and rifles. It's good enough for Redding to have copied it for their pistol dies.


"--Is it worth the extra money to move to Lyman's 4-die carbide set?"

No, not needed. Just add a Lyman M die to your existing die sets and use it instead of your current expander. Unless you must use a powder thru type in a "progressive" press to feed powder. If that's true you won't be able to use other expanders anyway, at least not easily.


"--Will I really get anything more out of these more expensive dies (I'll have to buy a shell-holder, too, since all my Lees come with them so I don't have a set) than I get out of my usual Lee sets?"

No. And shell holders are interchangable by brand anyway.


"--.., is it worth trying the Hornady for a box of bullets?"

No. They will work like your present dies but without the powder funnel feature. That makes for an expensive box of bullets and no net gain with the new dies.
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  #13  
Old 03-19-2009, 03:18 PM
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I agree with Bob the Lee 4 die carbide set is the way to go. I have a 38 spl and a 45LC the seperate crimp die makes it much easyer to get as much crimp as you want.
Paul
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  #14  
Old 03-19-2009, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclenick View Post
An alternative way to go is to buy the Lee dies you usually get and just buy a Lyman M expander die by itself. The Lyman 4-die set has a separate taper crimp die. It isn't part of the seater as the roll crimp usually is. That leads to better accuracy because you aren't pushing the bullet in while digging into the brass. A taper crimp applied while seating creates shaved lead rings you need to remove to keep your throat from packing up.
Lyman's owes ya a commission, I'm ordering the M-die. Great post and pics.
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  #15  
Old 04-13-2009, 10:24 AM
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On my LEE .45 ACP dies there is an expander plug/die that after resizing and priming it bells the mouth just a bit, like the illustration above (albeit not quite as dramatically) and makes the loading of cast or jacketed bullets much better. I have the carbide 3 die set.
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  #16  
Old 04-13-2009, 01:40 PM
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believed nick exaggerated his drawing just a bit to call your attention to the details. You will not want to excessively bell your case mouths as that will lead to cracks and shortened caselife.
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