RCBS vs. Lee carbide dies

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by fupuk, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. fupuk

    fupuk New Member

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    I just bought a press and everything else needed. And when i went to look at dies the Lee dies were $30 and the RCBS dies were $60. Why such the big jump in price? I bought the Lee die because they were out of .357 mag in RCBS but im wondering what is the "real" difference. Figured i would ask people that use them rather than whats on there websites. Thanks.
     
  2. ryguy00

    ryguy00 New Member

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    I have some sets of rcbs and some sets of lee. The rcbs ones just have a better feel to them. As in, cases go in and out more smoothly and with less effort than the lee. However, i lube all of my cases, even pistol, even with carbide dies. They work much smoother that way. A 15 minute tumble in corncob after theyre loaded removes all of the lube and puts a nice shine on them.

    So differences in die performance: rcbs is nicer.
    Differences in function: none
    Differences in loaded ammunition performance: none
    Differences in price: lee wins

    When used my way, lee dies work just fine. In some instances, theyre preferred
     

  3. redscho

    redscho New Member

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    IMHO
    I think it is a case of name. RCBS has established snob appeal while Lee are used by us commoners in most cases. Same as Colt and S&W vs Ruger. Hope this doesn't ignite a fire storm.
     
  4. genesis

    genesis New Member

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    I've used plenty of Lee dies for over 40 years. Not a thing wrong with them. Just be sure to get the carbide set so you don't have to lube the cases. Now the Lee Turret presses are another matter. Had all kinds of them. They took time, patience and constant adjustment. Now I use the Dillon 550B. What a dream ! ! ! ! !

    Semper Fi

    Don <><
     
  5. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this...

    RCBS sets are nicer, for example I have a gun that shoots 9x19/9x21/9x23.. RCBS was the only company to make a die set that did all 3... Lee did 9x19 and I read you could get away with doing 9x21, but no 9x23...
     
  6. fupuk

    fupuk New Member

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    Thanks for responses, i bought the RCBS rock chucker supreme because ive been doing quite a bit of reading on it, and when i looked at them it felt like it was built well. So the guy at my local gun store got out everything i would need to reload and they have the presses bolted down to the counter so you can see what your buying. I was there for almost two hours with the same guy and he actually let me make my own round. There was no primer and no powder but i liked that he took the time to show me how to set it up and let me make a round. He said the RCBS dies are what he uses but he said the Lee dies are a great choice also. The only thing else i need to get is a bullet puller and a couple more reloading manuals to read and i will be in business.
     
  7. genesis

    genesis New Member

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    Congratulations on your fine purchase and welcome to the wonderfully rewarding world of "hand-loading". You won't save any money, but you'll be able to shoot a heck of a lot more for less money. That alone will improve your marksmanship skills. Go to youtube and do a search on "handloading" and "reloading". You'll find a ton of reloading vids there. Just ask the forum if you have any questions.

    Enjoy the journey, happy shooting, and be safe!

    Semper Fi

    Don <><
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  8. fupuk

    fupuk New Member

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    I didnt get into reloading to really save money but when i buy ammo i usually buy bulk online and it comes out to be around $21 for 50 rounds. If i can make my own for a fraction of the cost plus knowing whats beeing shot through my gun is a plus for me.
     
  9. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    RCBS. For quality, not snob appeal.
     
  10. genesis

    genesis New Member

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    I reclaim and recycle my lead from my shooting range to cast my own bullets. So my only recurring costs are for powder and primers. I can reload any pistol ammo for $2.00 a box. I hand load for 38 special, 357 mag, 44 mag, 40 S&W.

    Don <><
     
  11. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg New Member

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    Nothing wrong with Lee dies they will produce the same shell as an RCBS. The RCBS has a nicer outer finish, to me that's the only difference, I have RCBS, Lee, and Hornady dies. They all do the job, if I buy new I usually look at Lee RGB dies, they are cheapest.
     
  12. 1hole

    1hole New Member

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    "...im wondering what is the "real" difference."

    Valid question. Truth is, ammo is made inside the dies and the 'feel' - nice surface polish, neatly cut knurling, etc - is on the outside. If 'quality' amounts to feel and external apperance any are 'better' than Lee; if 'quality' means how the finished ammo performs there is no average difference between brands. I have dies from all makers and they all work fine but none give the value of Lee's. And Lee has, single handedly, held the 'big' boy's prices down a BUNCH; imagine what they would charge if there was no Lee option!

    RCBS and Dillon offer 'free' lifetime support for most of their products but it isn't 'free' at all, the intial purchaser pays for it up front if he ever needs it or not. Any real manufactoring defect will show up inside a year or two so the value of lifetime support depends on how often the owner busts his tools. In nearly 50 years of loading I've had to replace a half dozen decap pins, one decap rod and a ram/shell holder "C" retainer spring; the costs were quite small so the makers got a LOT of my money for those 'free' parts!
     
  13. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

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    For general reloading Lee dies are just as good as anyone else.I've been using them for over 30yrs.
    I also have dies from RCBS,and Redding.
    For competition use,there are better sizing/seating dies than Lee's,but they sure get pricey.
     
  14. fupuk

    fupuk New Member

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    Im going to look at a melting pot sometime this week. I know i will be casting my own bullets within a year, im just trying to piece everything together and trying to save a little money. I found a Lee meltig pot on craigslist and the guy said he has 10lbs of lead for $40. So i will hopfully have one by wendsday.
     
  15. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    You will be happy with that Rock Chucker. I have one. I have loaded tens of thousands of rounds on mine. Lee dies are as good as anything else. I have dies from just about everybody. Some are a little better than others. But not worth the diference in price. Thats my opinion anyway. Now presses are a different story. I have a Lee Progressive. I have to constantly baby it. You have to watch the powder to make sure it is always working. It will skip primers. Sometimes it even puts them in upside down.
     
  16. fupuk

    fupuk New Member

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    The price really wasnt as bad as i thought it was gonna be. Dont get me wrong it was more than buying online but i had never seen the rock chucker in person and for the info i got from the guy at the gun store plus he said he would help me set it up if i needed it. It was more than worth the extra $30 and im all for supporting locally.
     
  17. gunnut07

    gunnut07 New Member

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    Because RCBS stands behind a QUALITY product. Not some halfassed machined chrome bumper that Lee calls a reloading die. Been to the RCBS factory and they are great people who all love to hunt, shoot fish and take PRIDE in producing the best quality equipment they can.

    FLAME ON.....
     
  18. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Ive got a mix of lee rcbs redding dillon dies. The dies i buy depend on availability. Loading dies are typically a one time purchase. Some differences can be in extras like in the 7.62x54r rcbs dies come with both expanders for 311 and 308 lee only 311. Lee dies are for 7.62x53r rcbs x54r. Slight diff in case mouth belling and requires all brass trimmed to the shorter length.

    When you start looking at rounds like the 458socom neither lee or rcbs offer a good die for that caliber.

    Lee offers a better wider choice in some calibers like the 45-70

    I personally dont really like the lee decapping setup. But thats personal pref. Nor do i like the lee locking rings. They are cheap. I replace the lee rings and the rcbs rings with dillon lock rings so i can just use my dillon wrench on everything. The lee storage boxes i find too fiddly to get open and arent clearly marked so i use a sharpy to label them.

    Honestly you arent going to wear out either lee or rcbs in a lifetime unless your lubing cases with steel shavings. You need to know what your buying and for what purpose before going on a lee vs rcbs rant.
     
  19. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    I have a mix of Lee, Lyman, Hornady and RCBS dies, carbide and steel,
    I do not use the lyman dies any more because the decapping pin is too
    delicate. The rest all work as expected with no issues. Most of my dies
    are Lee. I have carbide set for .45 ACP and .357 Magnum.

    I will agree with JonM the Lee Locking rings are a little cheesy but they
    do work. I am slowly replacing mine with a split ring style like Hornady
    has. I turn my own on my lathe.
     
  20. Gabby

    Gabby New Member

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    I agree with most of what has already been stated. I use RCBS, Hornady, and Lee dies. They all do a fine job. Without a doubt the I can tell the difference in the apparent quality of the brands, but not in the resulting ammo. Recently I did have to replace a set of 9 mm Lee dies as I wore out the carbide sizing die after something like 50,000 rounds. I figure I got my money's worth out of them. I strongly agree with getting the Rockchucker press though. I've been using mine for over40 years and it' s just about broke in now.