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Ok folks I am new to reloading and recently acquired 95% of the items I need to start reloading, really the only thing I NEED are dies. For the price point Lee dies will probably be used. For loading 9mm will I be better off using the 3 Die Set or 4? If it makes any difference I will be using coated lead SWC bullets initially. After that I may switch to either Berrys or Hornady HAPS and XTP's. But with the prices available on Coated lead it will probably be 124 or 147gr RN lead and XTP's for defensive loads.
 

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IMHO there's plus's to using a 4 die set, especially on a progressive where there really is no downside (extra work).

A big plus is the ability to adjust my neck tension independently of my OAL or vs versa. With a standard 3 die, when I've adjusted my tension, I've also got to adjust my OAL seating. Another plus is when reloading the newer coated bullets as they recommend a separate seating and crimping operation, due to the potential of scraping the coating when doing both in the same step. Personally I haven't seen a big increase or decrease in accuracy from either method/die set.

Chuck
 

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I like having a separate crimping die.
Of course, there's some guys who don't crimp at all for semis and just remove the bell if they've added any.
We recently had a member here who was having a problem with an all in one seating flaring die and went to a separate crimp die.
I imagine it's whatever you get used to. All four stations on my Dillon 550 are in use between dies and powder. Sometimes it would be nice to have that extra station for a bullet puller or whatnot, but I'm fine without.
 

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For semi-auto rounds I prefer the 4 die sets since the seat/crimp die is usually a roll crimp and I prefer a taper crimp.
 

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I am that person PA was talking about lol. Get the 4 die set! The 3 die set was giving me all kinds of fits. On rimmed cases with a role crimp I still use my 3 die set without issue. O and make dang sure you get the taper crimp. Not the role crimp. They sell both.
 

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All I use is a single-stage press so I don't want a separate step for seating and then crimping. On a turret or progressive I might do so, but "properly" setting up a seat/crimp die has never been a problem for me.
 

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I am a fan of the Lee FCD myself.
I find it handy to fix mistakes I'm too lazy to correct. Really hard on lead bullets though.
 

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Chuck R gave a good reply. I've used both and never had and issue with 3 die sets but have mostly gone to a separate crimp die because of the versatility (at this point, I think I'm only using a 3 die for 38 sp and 357 loading).
 
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