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rferguson61 04-07-2012 03:08 PM

So im looking at getting dies for my new .380 and I noticed that Lee dies are almost half the price of RCBS dies.

I also heard about a die that the set tool makes sure that the bullet is pressed in straight whereas with the RCBS if you set it in crooked it will press it crooked. But the person I was taking to didn't remember which brand they were that did that.

mountainman13 04-07-2012 03:10 PM

You may want to look into whether reloading .380 is cost efficient.
Lee dies are fine.

blucoondawg 04-07-2012 03:22 PM

Lee dies work fine, I use them for rifle all the time, but for pistol I prefer carbide or Hornady titanium nitrides, they cost more but they work good and I don't use lube with them. I believe the Hornady nitrides may be the ones your buddy is talking about with the bullet seating. Whats a box of 380s going for now at the store? I know I haven't bought any in awhile because they were expensive so I tend not to shoot the 380 much. They are definitely worth loading if the price is still up there.

1hole 04-07-2012 03:47 PM

Straight seating demands the bullets be given a good start into the case mouth; Lyman developed their excellant "M" expanders with a two-step body and flare that helps good starting. In fact, it's so good that Redding copied it and, I think, RCBS too. Other than that, Lee's dies load ammo as well as any others and the average difference in accuracy with a .380 would be so small as to make no effective difference. The only non-carbide/nitride handgun dies made to day are the RCBS' Cowboy dies, IIRC, so that's not an issue.

fmj 04-07-2012 04:54 PM

Never had an issue with my Lee Carbide Dies. All i ever do is set the bullet on the case mouth, sometimes crooked and they always seat fine.

I see NO reason to buy the higher priced dies when Lees work just as well for half the $$

Axxe55 04-07-2012 05:27 PM

i have many sets of older RCBS dies and when i add a new caliber, i usually buy the Lee's. after comparison, the Lee's work just as well as the RCBS's, but are just a little easier to set up. i have Lee pistol dies and RCBS pistol dies, and i can't see any difference in the finished ammo.

rferguson61 04-07-2012 06:32 PM

Thanks for the help guys!


Originally Posted by mountainman13
You may want to look into whether reloading .380 is cost efficient.

Yeah its cost effective. 50 rounds is $18 for the cheapos.

noylj 04-08-2012 12:12 AM

.380 ammunition has been hard to find and will generally run at least $0.40/round.
You can get 95gn FMJ bullets for $389/4500 from Montana Gold, or $0.086/bullet.
Cases should be free--you have saved your cases, right?
Primers are about $28/1000, or $0.028/primer--and, boy, does that hurt.
Powder: take a simple load of 3.0gn 231/HP38 for the 95gn bullet. HP-38 is running about $16.00/lb. 7000gn/lb means a 3.0gn charge is 0.0004286lbs, or over 2300 rounds/lb of powder, for a maximum cost, if you don't spill a lot of powder, of $0.007/round.
Total component cost: 12 cents/round.
Next, let's consider cast lead bullets...

Lee dies will do EVERYTHING you want. Unless you have a target grade gun that can keep 5 shots in less then 1" at 50 yards--and I haven't seen the .380 Auto yet that can come close--any special target-grade dies would be a waste of money (if they aren't to begin with). If you shoot lead bullets, you may want to get a Lee taper crimp die rather than the Lee factory crimp die that can swage over-sized lead bullets down in diameter.
PS: that was a hint above. Order a LARGE quantity of known excellent bullets so you can save on the per bullet cost and have enough for the future. Even if you buy too many, it's not that hard to re-sell them.

Staestc 04-08-2012 12:44 PM


Originally Posted by noylj (Post 764735)
Total component cost: 12 cents/round.
Next, let's consider cast lead bullets...

And then let's consider casting lead bullets! :D

BlueTurf 04-08-2012 04:24 PM


Originally Posted by mountainman13 (Post 764388)
You may want to look into whether reloading .380 is cost efficient.
Lee dies are fine.

+1 on that.

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