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Discussion Starter #1
Until last month, all my reloading was done in the 60's, 70's and 80's. I just got geared up again, but I've added a couple of new calibers and didn't have dies for them. Most of my old dies are RCBS and others are Lyman. Recently I bought a set of Lee Deluxe dies for the .40 S&W. They're kind of different, but so far no problems. My son bought me a set of 9mm Lee dies for Christmas. The paper in the box says Deluxe Die set, but it is a 3 instead of 4 die set. Somehow I think they got marked wrong or something. I assumed it has a carbide resizer, but something isn't right. It takes more effort to resize a puny little 9mm case than it does any of my other calibers. (.44 Mag, .357 Mag, .41 Mag, .45 Colt, .45 ACP, .32 H&R, .38 Spec, .40 S&W) I'm afraid if I continue to use it I'll have a stuck case. I tried using just a little case lube and they run through pretty slick. What's the deal? Do they even make pistol dies any more that aren't carbide and why should I have to lube the cases if it is? Anyway, I got hot and ordered a Lyman 4 die set.
 

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Maybe my luck runs strange but the only sizer dies I ever had problems with were Lee. It's not unusual to see Lee sizers too loose or too tight. I have yet to have a problem with other manufacturers. I use Dillon pistol dies in my RL550 press and a mix of RCBS, Hornady, Lyman, and Redding in my Rockchucker press. All my pistol dies are carbide and I never use case lube on any of them. At last count, I had about 40 sets of rifle and pistol dies, none of which are Lee.

Yes, Lee still makes standard steel dies. You can easily tell a carbide sizer die by looking at the mouth. If it is carbide, you will see an insert. If they are standard steel, they are all one piece. The 3 die set uses the same die for a bullet seater and crimp. The 4 die set comes with seperate crimp and seater dies. Both are available in steel or carbide.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Strangely enough, these do have an insert. They must be way too tight because they take a tremendous effort to run the case in the die and also to remove it. Glad I ordered the Lymans. I've had good luck with both them and RCBS. I like the 4 die sets even though it does add an extra step. Thanks for your reply!
Tom
 

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I hate it when people bash a certain product. No doubt, there are thousands of perfectly happy reloaders out there with Lee equipment. My post was not intended to bash Lee, just relating some of my recent personal experience. I hope I didn't offend anyone.

I load a lot of ammo and when I do the math, an expensive press, dies, scale, etc, will make almost no difference in the "cost per round" when amortized over many years of service. As such, I usually buy the higher end equipment.

Yes, four die sets are the way to go for pistol reloading. I've always found seating the bullet and crimping at the same time doesn't produce as high of quality as seating and crimping in separate dies. Before I bought Dillon equipment, I had some 3-die sets for my Rockchucker. I would back the seater/crimp die out and screw the seater stem in so it would only seat the bullet on the first pass. I would then back the seater stem out and screw the die in to get the crimp as good as possible, then make another pass. I still have some of those die sets but haven't used them for years.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree...I can't really bash Lee dies, because my 40 S&W set works fine. They were about 1/2 the price of other brand dies. I figured if they didn't work out they were more or less disposable. In fact, I really like the factory crimp die. I have some other odds and ends that are Lee brand and they work fine. In the future though, I'm going to stick with the Lyman and RCBS. It's just a matter of preference. I haven't tried Hornady dies...I didn't care for Pacific, but since Hornady bought them, it looks like they have made a lot of improvements.
 

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Both a friend and I find the 9mm dies too tight and have to use a liitle lube on the shells. I thought this was common and don't have a problem with it.
 

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rman, have you miked the inside of the die yet?

I'm using Dillon dies for 9mm and they work fine. I looked on the bench and I've got dies from RCBS, Dillon, Hornady, Pacific, C&H, Lyman, Redding and Bonanza. I've had 2 sets of Lee dies and neither set worked out for me.
 

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i also have lee dies in 9x19 and they are tight, i spray a bit of lube into my box of brass and just go to it.

i never though about checking the insert to see if it was to small.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
quote:Originally posted by 2400

rman, have you miked the inside of the die yet?

I'm using Dillon dies for 9mm and they work fine. I looked on the bench and I've got dies from RCBS, Dillon, Hornady, Pacific, C&H, Lyman, Redding and Bonanza. I've had 2 sets of Lee dies and neither set worked out for me.
I haven't tried miking it yet. I'll back the decapper stem out tonight and see what I come up with. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I got my Lyman dies in the mail today. I'll give them a try this weekend and see how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ran 50 cases through the Lyman resizer today...smooth as glass with no lube. I also like the expander much better because it doesn't 'bump' when the case comes back out. I'm sure that is a good idea if you are powder charging through the expander stem. I don't and I don't like it. Everything on my bench shakes and it's pretty solid. I haven't seated and crimped any bullets yet, but so far I like this die set MUCH better.
 

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Glad those Lyman dies are sizing right for you. It's nice when things work the way you expect them to!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks! It really is nice. I guess you get what you pay for. I've always liked RCBS and Lyman dies. It seems like every brand has features that I like. Makes you wish you could combine all the good things into one. I had some Pacific dies once and didn't like them because they had such coarse threads on the decapping rod. It was hard go get them to align correctly with the flash hole. But I really liked the way the locking rings were made. The set screw pulled the split rings together instead of digging into the threads. About the only bad thing I found on RCBS dies was the locking ring. Lymans were better because the set screw had a plastic tip. I like the factory crimp die on the Lee Deluxe sets, but I'm not crazy about the rest of the set.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Over the weekend I decided to play around with the die sets again. I guess when you get old you forget hard-learned lessons. I didn't clean the dies before I started loading. I took the decapper stem out of the Lee resizing die and cleaned the die body thoroughly. I did the same thing with the Lyman set. The Lee die was full of black crud...lots of it. The Lyman wasn't bad. I then resized, decapped and expanded 25 W-W cases with each die set. This made a major difference. The Lyman resizer still takes a little less effort, but not that much. I miked the cases at the case mouth, the middle of the case and just in front of the extractor groove. The dimensions are identical from both die sets at each end. The Lee resizer reduces the case diameter a bit more in the middle of the case. This kind of leads me to believe that the carbide insert has less built-in taper than the Lyman. The Lee die is leaving scratches on the case. I probably should send them back to Cabelas, but the set was a Christmas gift, and I hate to fool with it. I may just write Lee and ask them to replace the sizer. The gist of the whole thing is, either set is serviceable now.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wrong again! After I charged the cases with powder, seated and crimped the bullets the rounds I finished on the Lee dies are not so hot. I have a Dillon case guage and about five of them wouldn't go in the gauge. After I ran them through the Lyman taper crimp die, most of them went in fine. Something is really weird with these dies. If I mike the cases they don't seem to be any different from those completely loaded with Lyman dies. It is almost like the Lees are throwing the case out of round or something. Some rounds from the Lees drop right in the gage, others will if they are rotated some, and a few won't go in at all. I think they are going in the trash.
 

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I've had 2 sets of Lee dies over the years and neither of them worked well for me.
 

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Hey guys, I gotta tell you this.

I know a guy on gun message boards who goes by 9x19. When I first saw this post, I thought “I didn’t even know he was sick!”

I did some checking and 9x19 is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
quote:Originally posted by bunzo351

Hey guys, I gotta tell you this.

I know a guy on gun message boards who goes by 9x19. When I first saw this post, I thought “I didn’t even know he was sick!”

I did some checking and 9x19 is fine.
Sorry about that bunzo! Yeah, I've seen 9 x 19 around also. Next time I'll say 9mm Luger and save you from a heart attack.
 

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It didn’t take long to figure out what the thread was about after I started reading, but I thought as long as the thread is winding down, ya’ll might see some humor in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I sent a email to Lee explaining the mixup with the dies and the problems I am having. I received a reply yesterday advising me to send them back along with an explanation of why I'm returning them. They are going to replace them! That's darn good customer service.:D
 
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