Lee die question.

This is a discussion on Lee die question. within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; So I recently purchased a lee single stage press for reloading 45, 357/38 and mostly 9mm.... If I order the deluxe 4 die set from ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array jabraun98's Avatar
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    Lee die question.

    So I recently purchased a lee single stage press for reloading 45, 357/38 and mostly 9mm.... If I order the deluxe 4 die set from lee will it provide me with everything required to prep and seat the bullet and all the works. Like deprime, and such. Could I just get a rundown on the basics of dies.
    Thanks a lot everyone! It means a lot!
    Jabraun

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  3. #2
    Member Array the6shooter's Avatar
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    the answer to this question is, YES
    You just need the die sets for each caliber you wish to load with.
    There is a guzillon youtube vids on this. and you get to watch them in action.

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    Member Array BamaT's Avatar
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    The standard 3 die set is all you need to de-prime, re-size, flare case mouths, seat and crimp bullets. They also include a shell holder.

    IMHO you don't need the 4 die set that includes a factory crimp die. I've always used the standard crimp/bullet seating die for crimping, and never had a single problem with 9mm or 45 ACP. I put just enough crimp with the regular crimp die to straighten up the brass so it is not flared out any, and maybe tighten the case to the bullet slightly without rolling the crimp. Don't roll crimp any of the semi-auto rounds you mentioned. With revolver loads, you want a roll crimp, which is provided by the regular crimp die.

    Make sure you get carbide dies for any straight-walled cases (all those you mentioned) which eliminates the need for lubing cases. Carbide is a huge plus.

    FWIW, I use Lee dies almost exclusively. Hope this helps.
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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    A basic rundown on dies .......

    Get a reloading manual, read it, read it again, read the directions that come with the dies, follow the directions while setting up the dies.

    No kidding, I had someone swear they were following the directions for a set of dies, but kept crushing the shoulder. I had them bring in their dies and read through the directions with them while setting them up - no crushed shoulders. Go figure.

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    I think the only major question is about a 4th die.

    First die decaps (removes the spent primer) and re-sizes the case. Second die expands the case mouth and with a progressive press, charges the case with powder. The third die seats the bullet to the correct depth AND applies the appropriate crimp. This is the debatable part.

    Autoloading pistols typically require a taper crimp, whereas most revolvers require ammo to have a roll crimp. (Refer to a handloading handbook if you don't understand the difference.) Some difficulty arises when one die is called upon to seat the bullet to the proper depth as well as apply enough crimp for the specific application. I found my Hornady dies too finicky to do both for .45 ACP, so I got a Lee 'Factory Crimp' die and now the third die is only responsible for seating the bullet. For .38 Special. the combined seating/crimping die is working out OK so far.

    Since you have a single stage press, I suggest working with the third die to get the adjustments in spec. If you can't make it work, then spring for the appropriate FC die.
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    OP, you'll find many who feel you must use 4 dies, seating and crimping separately. You don't need 4 dies. Getting the 3rd die to seat/crimp properly is only a matter of taking the time to set it up properly. I've used the factory crimp die and found it works well--at correcting some mistakes I'd made with ill-adjusted dies. I've loaded pistol and revolver rounds of various calibers without the FCD and they've all worked fine. Besides, it adds one more stroke to the reloading process, which is slow enough already with a single-stage press.

    Make sure you spend a few extra bucks and get carbide dies. Lubing cases is a pain, and carbide dies will save you that trouble.

    Enjoy!
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    Member Array noylj's Avatar
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    One answer to the question is buy at least "ABCs of Reloading" and a reloading manual (say, Richard Lee's #2) and read.
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    Distinguished Member Array BlueNinjaGo's Avatar
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    If you happen to find any 4 die sets of .45ACP in stock anywhere online, shoot me over a PM! I can't find any in stock anywhere.

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    Senior Member Array FLSlim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedrgr21 View Post
    A basic rundown on dies .......

    Get a reloading manual, read it, read it again, read the directions that come with the dies, follow the directions while setting up the dies.

    No kidding, I had someone swear they were following the directions for a set of dies, but kept crushing the shoulder. I had them bring in their dies and read through the directions with them while setting them up - no crushed shoulders. Go figure.
    Absolutely!
    A 3-die set should do you but if you decide otherwise, you can always buy the crimp die separately.
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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    You can use a 3 die set like a 4 die set by backing off the crimp die when seating bullets. Then back off the seater when crimping. I have never had a 4 die set and I am not implying it is just as good or better, cause I don't know. But it does work. I have seldom felt the need to crimp and seat in separate steps.
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    I reload all the calibers you listed and I use nothing but Lee 3 die carbide steel sets. My reloads shoot and cycle fine. You can get the factory crimp die, but it's a waste of money...IMHO. good luck and enjoy your new hobby
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    Member Array Deerhunter28's Avatar
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    I use the Lee 4 die set for 45 ACP.
    It works great.
    It may work just as good with 3 dies?
    Idk just followed the instructions and the 4 die set has done fine.




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    Member Array Hook686's Avatar
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    As you can see there are several different opinions. Keep in mind they are just that, opinions. I also load .357 magnum, 9mm, plus .44 magnum and .30 M1 Carbine. Some folks are happy and content with the three die set. I use four dies. I like the Lee Carbide Crimp Die and do support the use of the carbide dies. Can you live without the Crimp Die ? Yup. Then one might ask, can you live without women ? Again yup, but life sure is more enjoyable with them.

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    Member Array noylj's Avatar
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    The best answer should be:
    Buy and read couple of manuals. Buy "ABCs of Reloading" or "Handloading for Handgunners." Read the instructions that come with the dies.
    Case prep for straightwall pistol cartridges is pretty much wipe off the case exterior of dirt and start loading. That will get you 99.9% of the way to great ammo for straightwall cases. Any further case "prep" is really so you feel better about your ammunition.
    Now, learn the meaning of the terms in the following so you understand the answer:
    For cases that head space on the case mouth, you want a taper crimp. The Lee FCD gives you a taper crimp as good as any other crimp die. However, if you are loading bullets that are more than 0.002" larger than nominal bullet diameter, it can and will swage the bullet down and you will get terrible accuracy and, with a lead bullet, leading in the barrel. Thus, if you are ONLY ever going to use jacketed bullets, the Lee FCD is fine. I prefer to use a Lee taper crimp die as I prefer to separate seating from crimping and I use a LOT of lead bullets and, in 9x19, I often use 0.357" jacketed bullets, so the FCD is not an option.
    For cases that take a roll crimp (headspace on the case shoulder, rim or belt), I either don't flare/bell the case and don't crimp or I use a Redding Profile Crimp die.
    Thus, I buy the Lee 3-die set and a taper crimp for most pistol cartridges. However, like a lot of things, there is an additional reason to buy a Lee FCD that might mean buying the 4-die set and a taper crimp die — you use the FCD as part of the Bulge Buster kit (particularly for .40S&W and range pick-up brass).
    How is that for an answer? Clear?

  16. #15
    New Member Array ammomaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabraun98 View Post
    So I recently purchased a lee single stage press for reloading 45, 357/38 and mostly 9mm.... If I order the deluxe 4 die set from lee will it provide me with everything required to prep and seat the bullet and all the works. Like deprime, and such. Could I just get a rundown on the basics of dies.
    Thanks a lot everyone! It means a lot!
    Jabraun

    The 4 die set gives you the full length and de-primer die, powder charge die, bullet seating die and crimp die. Those are really the only dies you will need. As I saw stated in another reply. Follow the direction when setting up the dies. One common mistake that a lot of people make is setting up the powder charge die. If you find that you are shaving into the bullet when you go to seat it and damage both the bullet and case then yo need to set your powder charge die a little deeper to put a slightly larger bevel on the mouth of the case to except the bullet easier. My neighbor ran into that issue and came over to ask me about it. He was using a progressive press. Once we readjusted his powder charge die it worked like a champ. The lee website has a lot of ho to videos for setting up your dies and getting all the timing adjusted in progressive presses. Worth a watch. Just google Lee reloading equipment

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