A quick question about lee precision dies...?
i'm just getting started in reloading .30-06 and .38, and .357 ammo, and i am looking for general opinion on which dies to get for my lee press. since there are several options to choose from, im a bit confused as to what is the best to get for the first timer. any help would be greatly appreciated.
If I were you I would buy the 30-06 (3 pc die set with Factory crimp)
Now the 38 Special and the 357 Magnum actual inter change, each will load the other,
There is only a .135 ( just so you know 1/8 of an inch is .125 so the 357 mag is just a little longer then the 38 special)length difference between the two.
I would buy the 357 magnum Carbide 3 pc die set and add a 357 Magnum Carbide Factory Crimp die.
And with them you can load 375 magnum and 38 special all so with the same set of dies and it is safe.
You just have to adjust down a little to reload 38 specials and you have a lot of room for that.
DO NOT BUY STEEL DIES FOR PISTOL.
Rifle only comes in Steel so you buy steel and have to use case lube on every case so as not to stick in the steel dies.
Pistol if you buy the carbide dies you don’t have to use any case lube with it and it makes reloading much easer.
If you buy the steel dies in pistol you must case lube each case, or it will stick.
So if I were you I would buy
30-06 3 pc die set with factory crimp
357 Magnum Carbide 3 pc die set and add a 357 Magnum Carbide Factory Crimp Die to that.
The 30-06 factory crimp die is not carbide just steel
But the pistol factory crimp die is carbide.
Now lee die are fine, but I use RCBS and I tried one of lees factory crimp die and liked it so much I bought one for every caliber I reload and that is a lot of calibers.
To try and roll crimp is tough for the beginner but the factory crimp you can fine tune and put as much crimp as you wont or as little as you wont, and never damage a case, with a roll crimp you will destroy cases if you put too much crimp on them with the roll crimp.
These die set I told you about come with the shell holder so you don’t need to buy any.
But did you get your lee Case length Gauge and trimmer for all 3 calibers, this is to cut all cases to true length so you will need a 30-06 and 38 special and 357 magnum this part will not inter change because of length differences.
You only need one trimmer cutting head but 3 different length Gauges.
I believe I cover all I need to cover.
I hope this was of help.
First off I can not agree with B H on this anti lee campaign.
My reloading bench is set up with tools that have proved them self to me, if they don’t there gone.
On my 12 foot reloading bench I have RCBS, Lyman, Forster and Lee.
I started reloading at age 18 and I am pushing 50, I would not even wont to guess how many rounds I have reloaded in that time span or how many bullets I have cast.
But I have never had any trouble in all these years with any of the Lee Dies that I use.
85% of my reloading tools are RCBS, Lyman where as Forster and Lee make up the last 15%.
I don’t use Lee presses because they were not designed for my volume or style of reloading, where as RCBS, Lyman, Forster are up to it.
For just getting started on a budget Lee is fine, later on if you keep reloading up grade as you need.
I will be the first to say lee Case Trimmers, Universal Case Expander Die, Factory Crimp Dies and Collet Neck Sizing Dies are Outstanding Tools that have a place on my reloading Bench.
But stop to consider there are people who thank RCBS is Bad.
Lee will work for the average reloaded.
I personally prefer Natchez Shooting Supplies for all my mail order reloading needs.
I always seem to save money there over all others.
That my opinion
I should mention that breaking the pin was my fault as I later realized I had tried to decap a military brass with a crimped in primer. I checked and I had several others that it had punched out before finally breaking. Check all your brass carefully.
The only thing else Id would get for the 30-06 is a factory crimp die, also Lee. this insures the bullet doesn't seat deeper or come loose in the guns magazine.
D58 is right on the 38 / 357 lee die. They are interchangeable and come with instructions that will advise you how to use that feature, however if you buy the dies that state 357 magnum on the label they can also be used for the 357 max cartridge. Just something to consider.
One great place to purchase all your reloading needs is www.midwayusa.com I have used them for years, they have customer support that know what your buying and can give you help if needed.
I would suggest dies made by RCBS, Hornady, Lyman or Redding in that order. I would not rely on Lee dies. For your pistol cartridges you should spend the extra bucks and buy the carbide dies, the ease in operation is worth the extra price.
When you can, consider purchasing a press from RCBS or Hornady. Historically, Lee presses have been made from white metal and they have a tendency of stretching and breaking, resulting in ammo that is out of tolerance.
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