Reloading w/ Lee dies.

Reloading w/ Lee dies.

This is a discussion on Reloading w/ Lee dies. within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I have set up and started reloading for .45 ACP using my Dillon 550B and Lee dies. A few observations. Compared to the Dillon dies. ...

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  1. #1
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    Reloading w/ Lee dies.

    I have set up and started reloading for .45 ACP using my Dillon 550B and Lee dies. A few observations. Compared to the Dillon dies.
    1. Dillon bullet seat adjustment is more time consuming / difficult. One needs to adjust the whole die to adjust the bullet seat depth. The Lee in comparison requires only the twist of a knob on top of the die.
    2. The Dillon die seems much more forgiving for bullets canted or off center while entering the seat die. Comparatively , the Lee is extremely sensitive to bullet angle. I believe the Dillon die has a wide mouth to help straighten the bullet as it enters the die.
    Bottom line I find the Dillon dies to make my loading quicker , therefore I can crank out more ammo faster. The Dillon costs more , but is IMO worth it.
    1. the Lee die mouth
    2. Dillon die mouth
    3. Lee top of die (w/ adjusting knob.)
    4. top of Dillon die.
    I imagine the Lee die has a smaller die moth due to it also crimps the case mouth in the same step compared to the Dillon which uses a 4th die..
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  2. #2
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    I find the Dillon dies to make my loading quicker , therefore I can crank out more ammo faster. The Dillon costs more , but is IMO worth it.
    Yep.
    I've been saying the same thing for over 25 years.

    Great pictures btw...
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    Member Array alfack's Avatar
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    Ah, now if Dillon would just make a seating die with and adjustable knob on top. It is kind of a pain to adjust the die when switching between RN and HP, say.

    Loosen collet nut, turn die, tighten collet nut, seat bullet, measure COL. Darn, too far. Put round in puller and try again.

  4. #4
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    Yeah , a adjustable knob would be great. Thanks for the compliment Hotguns, I like my Minolta camera. .
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  5. #5
    Member Array jbailey's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I've been using Lee pistol dies in my Hornady LnL, but use a separate crimp die so that the seater only seats. This saves time in adjustments when changing bullet styles or seating depths. Aside from this, there is the Lee Factory Crimp die, which is handy for correcting the occasional round that won't gauge (if you gauge them or check them in the chamber after loading, you can catch these BEFORE trying to shoot them).

    I've never used Dillon dies, and am sure that they are good quality, but I'm satisfied with the Lees.

    Good shooting,

    Jim
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I use Lee dies for most everything.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    I imagine the Lee die has a smaller die moth due to it also crimps the case mouth in the same step compared to the Dillon which uses a 4th die..
    doesnt lee have both 3 and 4 die sets?
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  8. #8
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    I believe they do. However the cost was the factor trying Lee dies. Obviously the 3 die set is cheaper.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  9. #9
    Member Array mousehunter's Avatar
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    I have been fairly happy with Lee dies - I suspect bullet shape might play into a factor on how forgiving they are. Likewise I use separate seat and crimp dies - which makes adjustment far easier.

    I also use a Lee Loadmaster press. I can easily imagine a machine being more user friendly - but when you develop your zen-like relationship with it, it does a fine job cranking out ammo.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Fries, the Lee 3 die set includes a sizer, expander, and seat/crimp die. The 4 die "deluxe" set includes the above plus the carbide factory crimp die, so you can seat and crimp in separate operations.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    right. thats what i thought.
    so if you like the adjustment on the lee, just get the 4 set.
    i have zero problem with crooked bullets going in with mine
    Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
    (Murder begins where self-defense ends)
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    A lot of people like to bash Lee because of the price and use of plastics. Lee has some excellent designs and ideas that weren't thought of:

    First one to have a powder through expander die. Hornady has now copied them.
    Has a finger knob to adjust seating depth.
    Carbide crimp die that post sizes the loaded cartridge and has finger knob to adjust crimp.
    Collet type neck sizing die.
    Lightweight 6 cavity bullet molds.
    Affordable melting pot that lasts for years.
    Auto indexing turret press.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  13. #13
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    Another Lee user here - and have done for near 3 decades now. Only exceptions have been a set of RCBS dies I got cheap for .455 Webley long ago, and my first set of .303 Brit - also RCBS.

    Now however all dies are Lee and tho I agree there may well be a greater need for care ''offering up'' for bullet seating - it's something I have gotten used to and it presents no problems.

    I still use mostly 3 die sets in turrets but have over time afforded myself the luxury of many extra turrets and some die duplication - all to be able to leave a die set all adjusted for one individual round. No longer change between .357 and 38 spl - two die sets/turrets.

    I use a few factory crimp dies - most notably for roll crimp use on such as .44 mag, 357 and 45-70 - oh and rifle rounds too.

    Taper crimp rounds such as .9mm and .45acp I find I can make work fine within the bullet seat die stage. Metallurgically and in machining terms I reckon Lee still has very good quality and value for money is still very good.

    In the end like with everything - it's what works for the individual and I daresay if I was starting off I might well favor the Dillon stuff as being better - but Lee still does what I need.
    Chris - P95
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Metallurgically and in machining terms I reckon Lee still has very good quality and value for money is still very good.
    Yes. I worked for a steel mill in Green Bay that supplied most of Lee's steel for their parts and dies. I know first hand what materials they start off with because I touched them.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  15. #15
    Member Array remingtondude58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    A lot of people like to bash Lee because of the price and use of plastics. Lee has some excellent designs and ideas that weren't thought of:

    First one to have a powder through expander die. Hornady has now copied them.
    Has a finger knob to adjust seating depth.
    Carbide crimp die that post sizes the loaded cartridge and has finger knob to adjust crimp.
    Collet type neck sizing die.
    Lightweight 6 cavity bullet molds.
    Affordable melting pot that lasts for years.
    Auto indexing turret press.
    plus they come in a fancy box that can hold the whole turret. and come with a shell holder and a powder dipper

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