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Total newbie question - reloading dies

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by TQuigg, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    I've been thinking about getting into reloading lately. As a result, a co-worker gave me his entire set up (RCBS single stage press, dies, scales, etc). He has not used it in years, and just wanted it out of the house. Nice friend, eh? Have a LOT of learning to do. I'm watching reloading videos, reading books (ABC's of Reloading) etc.

    Question: Are reloading dies "universal"? That is to say, can I use Lee Precision dies or Hornady dies in a RCBS press, and vice versa? If so, are adapter bushings needed?

    Thanks for your time
    Tim Quigg
     
  2. sellersm

    sellersm disciplinare

    453
    1
    May 28, 2009
    CO
    For them most part, yes, they're interchangeable. Most dies are the same size when you're talking about common SS type presses (not bench-rest type or other 'exotic' types).
     


  3. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Thanks much.
     
  4. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

    3,600
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    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Nice friend! I could use a few more like that! sellersm covered your question pretty well. One thing to consider is that if you are loading for pistol cartridges, carbide dies are highly preferable no matter the brand.

    Welcome to reloading. Good call on consulting loading manuals. You might also pick up Speer #14. It has a pretty easy to follow set of instructions for reloading. It has separate instructions for pistol and rifle loading which is nice. Case prep for straight wall vs. bottleneck is a bit different. Speer spells that out pretty well in my opinion.
     
  5. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Thank you for the reply. I will see if I can scare up a copy of Speer #14. Thanks for the tip! Indeed, a good friend. I've worked with this gentleman for over 30 years. He was my FTO (Field Training Officer) when I first came on the force. He gave me a RCBS Partner press, scales, powder measure, case reamer, primer/feeder, loading blocks, and carbide dies for .270, 30-06, 308, and some others. So I will try to find carbide dies for 9mm and .45 ACP and I should be set (sans components, powder, primers). Lee carbide dies seem to be a good value for the money, and in some cases are nearly half the price of RCBS dies. Yet I still have a LOT of research, study and reading to do before I get anywhere near trying to start loading anything however. Don't want to leave anything to chance. Talking to other reloaders both here and locally to get instruction in safe reloading techniques. So many books and videos out there!

    Again, my thanks to those of you who have responded. Making me feel a bit more at ease about opening the door to what appears is going to be a rewarding side hobby to sport shooting.
     
  6. unclebob

    unclebob

    7,375
    352
    Oct 14, 2000
    Mary Esther FL
    :welcome:

    Start with loading your pistol rounds first.
     
  7. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Unfortunately, I'm only a hand gunner, and have no use for any of the rifle dies. I guess I could always use them as barter for the dies I need on the Internet :whistling:
     
  8. 454

    454 Original 454 Millennium Member

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    Nov 25, 1999
    SE USA
    Are they carbide dies? if they are you scored. Even straight pistol cases need to be lubed when using non-carbide dies.
     
  9. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Yes, they are all RCBS carbide dies. There are seven sets of various rifle caliber dies, none of which I will be able to use, as I am more of a "pistolero". I already have a source to trade them off for carbide pistol dies that I am interested in. :cool:
     
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    4,301
    46
    Jul 10, 2001
    Alabama
    I never saw an RCBS carbide die for a bottleneck rifle caliber and feel that you may have misunderstood or been mislead.
    If I am wrong, Dillon charges over $100 for carbide rifle sizing dies alone, so don't sell or trade them cheap.
     
  11. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    Quite possible, as I am a total newbie to the reloading game. The boxes are rather old. I will have to look at the labels on the boxes again when I have the opportunity. The other concern I have with these is that I am the third party to own these sets. How do I know that the correct dies are in the correct boxes? :dunno:
     
  12. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    And yet another newbie question.... in instructional videos, I often see reloaders wearing rubber gloves, particularly during the priming process. Should I be doing this as well? Is it to keep your hands clean, reduce the potential of static electricity, absorption of toxins through the skin, all of the above?
     
  13. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
    268
    Oct 19, 2011
    For RCBS dies, at least, they are all marked on the top of the die.

    Richard
     
  14. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
    268
    Oct 19, 2011
    I suppose they are concerned about the lead styphnate in the primers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_styphnate

    You can certainly absorb lead through your fingers while using a solvent on a patch to clean your firearm.

    Lead bullets are another exposure.

    Most of all, the dust from dumping the tumbler into the media separator will be loaded with lead styphnate from the primers. Wear a respirator - that's my new process.

    There was a long thread about lead in the blood stream a couple of weeks ago. I got checked and my lead level is 9 whereas Kaiser Permanente wants to see < 4.6. The national average is around 3.2. These numbers are off the top of my head. Read the thread.

    There may also be a YouTube requirement that certain practices be shown. Apparently, any gun handling videos must show the gun clear. You see it for every demonstration with the occassional comment re: a YouTube requirement.

    Richard
     
  15. 454

    454 Original 454 Millennium Member

    207
    0
    Nov 25, 1999
    SE USA
    Rubber gloves are to keep body oils from touching the primers. Oil in the fingers might deactivate them. A well known trick to disable old ammo is to soak in in oil. One of the several reasons better ammo has sealed primers. I seal my hunting and long-storage ammo.

    If you load cast bullets, I'd wear gloves. I personally do not, so I do not bother with gloves. I do not handle primers with bare hands.

    PS carbide dies are actually are steel dies with carbide insert, so you'll see a thin shiny ring on the open part of the sizing die. Be careful, carbide is fairly fragile and can chip if you hit it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  16. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
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    Oct 19, 2011
    Why bother? A set of Lee carbide pistol dies (3 die set) is only $27
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/661032/lee-carbide-3-die-set-45-acp

    Plus you need a taper crimp die for $12
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/244052/lee-taper-crimp-die-45-acp

    You will notice, if you look around, I did NOT link the Lee 4 die pistol set. It includes the Factory Crimp Die (FCD) and that die is not highly regarded around here. In fact, it is the target of considerable derision. Just search this forum for FCD to see the kind of abuse this die gets. OTOH, the FCD is often a good choice for crimping something like .223.

    But you do need a taper crimp die for all straight wall pistol cases such as .45 ACP, .45 GAP, 9mm, .40 S&W and I use it for .38 Special when I load 148 gr HBWC. If you bell the case to seat the bullet, you need a taper crimp die to set it back.

    Now, others will tell you that you can straighten out the case mouth with the bullet seating die. That is probably true but the adjustment is pretty difficult because the ridge in the seating die is much more abrupt than the taper in a taper crimp die. After all, it was designed to roll a very short crimp into the bullet cannelure. If the seating die approach was truly useful, they never would have invented a taper crimp die.

    Richard
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  17. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    Aug 17, 2012
    None of the RCBS dies are marked as being "carbide" nor are the boxes, so I assume they are not. Interesting, one of the set's given to me is a two die set made by Herter's for the 7mm Remington. The price tag on the box (rather old) is from the Herter's store in Waseca, MN with a price of $4.70!
     
  18. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
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    Oct 19, 2011
    If they are rifle dies, they won't be carbide unless they are VERY special and expensive - like the Dillon dies ($120-$150/set):

    http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/co...rbide_Rifle_Dies__Individual___Three_Die_Sets_

    These dies are very expensive considering that a regular 2 die rifle set is only $30:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/440502/rcbs-2-die-set-223-remington

    Since the dies don't cost much NIB, they just aren't worth much for resale either. Hang on to them, this shooting thing tends to grow. You may find that 7mm Mag is a very nice cartridge out to several hundred yards.

    Richard
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  19. TQuigg

    TQuigg

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    0
    Aug 17, 2012
    Thanks much everyone for the responses and guidance. I still have a lot of reading, study, videos to go over before I feel comfortable setting stuff up to create my first run of ammunition in 9mm and .45 ACP. But I will keep you all posted as to my progress when the time comes.
     
  20. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

    8,033
    268
    Oct 19, 2011
    This reloading stuff ain't brain surgery! There are only a few basic steps:
    1. Clean the brass
    2. Decap and resize
    3. Prime
    4. Add powder - and VERIFY!
    5. Seat bullet
    6. Taper crimp
    Read Zombie Steve's "Reloading 101" sticky at the top of this forum. He covers the material very well.

    http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1343188

    For the first evolution, consider using a jacketed bullet of the exact type you can find in your reloading manual. Pick a powder of a slower burn rate (stay away from FAST powders) like Unique or something similar, the load data for which is shown in your manual. Begin with the starting charge from the manual and load 5 or 10. Go shoot 'em. If they don't cycle the gun, you will need to increase the load. So, add 0.2 gr or so and try again. I rarely go beyond mid range and I try very hard to stay away from the max load. If you absolutely have to get more velocity, pick a different powder.

    http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html

    Get a copy of Speer #14 and you will be well on your way. Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading 8th Ed is another good book. Both discuss procedures and both have a ton of reloading data. I think I would start with Speer...

    Richard