Newbie Question

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Trek Jeff, Nov 23, 2008.

  1. Trek Jeff

    Trek Jeff New Member

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    I'm considering the Lee Anniversary Kit. I hope to reload .44 mags and 30-06.

    The description of the kits states that it has everything but dies. When I looked up dies, it gave me a number of different choices. I've heard great things about Lee products and would like to ensure I order everything I need to get started from the start. these rounds will be used for hunting if that makes a difference.

    So my question is, do I need the three piece die set or will the "factory crimp" model suit my needs?

    Thanks again, I have been lurking and reading up on things here for a while and have gotten tons of infor, enough to be damngerous...:D
  2. militant5

    militant5 New Member

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    If I was you I would spend every thing on that gun that i could those things are cherry dude. So yes definitely go for the the die set brother.
  3. Trek Jeff

    Trek Jeff New Member

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    Not sure if I was clear in my question...it happens.

    Do I need more than one die to reload? Or is there a number of steps in reloading a round that require some one to require three dies? I understand that I'll need different dies for different calibers.
  4. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    Before you get into this any farther get at least two manuals and read at least one cover to cover, your questions are covered in detail within their pages. Sorry to be so blunt but they are the FIRST STEP in reloading - Manuals are NEVER ommitted in any reloaders arsenal!
  5. Trek Jeff

    Trek Jeff New Member

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    No need to apologize for being "blunt" I appreciate the advice. Manuals and a video are on the list as well....just trying to get a heads up. The description of the die makes it sound like a do it all as compared to the three die set.

    So is this in fact a do it all die, or do I need to get a three die set? Trying to factor things into the budget for Chritmas Shopping
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Trek Jeff:

    Just to be clear I am NOT a fan of Lee stuff because you get what you pay for. In Lee's case that is not much. But I will answer your question.

    Die sets for pistol cartridges require three dies to do three operations to the brass. The first step is to resize the case and knock out the old primer. Some presses are set up to size on the down stroke and seat a new primer on the up stroke. If you lack that feature then you need a primer seating hand tool. The second die bells the mouth of the case to accept a bullet without shearing off a sliver of the bullet. Some die sets allow you to add the powder through this die or you can do it in a seperate step with other tools. The third die seats the bullet. That die can be adjusted so as to also crimp the case to the bullet or not.

    Die sets for rifle cartridges require two dies. The first die sizes the brass and deprimes the brass. The first stage can also seat the new primer if the press is so designed. Belling of the case mouth is not required for rifle brass as the bullets have a rounded end that do the "belling" operation automatically. The last stage seats the bullet and can be adjusted to crimp the case to the bullet if desired. An additional die can be used to install a special crimp to the case, called a "Factory Crimp" by Lee. In general, most center fire rifle cartridges, that go in bolt guns or that are stored vertically stacked in the gun's magazine, don't require any crimp at all. Guns that are tube fed, heavy recoilers, or semi-auto usually require that the case be crimped. The Lee Factory Crimp dies are excellent (one of the few Lee products I like) but may wear poorly eventually and require "fixing".

    For pistol sizing dies most all new die sets are Carbide dies or some other process done to them so that you do not have to use sizing lube on them. Rifle dies require sizing lube to be used during sizing or the brass case will freeze into the die and be nearly impossible to get out. So use lube with rifle dies and none with Carbide pistol dies.

    Does that get it? Hope so, but you could have gotten this info from reloading manuals. I would like to impress on you how very important it is to get thoroughly edcated on relaoding BEFORE you buy anything. Read and re-read the manual(s) until you completely understand the process. If you go into reloading with no real knoweldge you may hurt your gun, yourself, and/or others. Safety first!

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    +1 to every piece of advice LD offered, EXCEPT, to quality of LEE dies, in my experience they are superior to most commercial dies out there. they are easier to adjust and set up, they come with a shellholder, a powder dipper, and reloading data. I believe you just pay more when you buy RCBS, REDDING, or LYMAN. Note i did not include Hornady. They are just as easy to adjust, and probably a little more precise, so in my opinion you actually do get more from them even though they do command nearly double the price. I use LEE dies exclusively. Thier Scales, powder measures, and priming tools are a bit lacking, though they will get you by, they still suck. Lyman has by far the best scales and powder measures. and RCBS has by far the best priming tools and case preparation tools, while lyman runs a close second. In my opinion at least...
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    JLA:

    My experience with dies differs from yours.

    I reload for over 30 different calibers in both pistol and rifle. I started out with Lee dies originally for the few cartridges I reloaded for at the time. I have tired all the others' die sets at one time or another and the only dies that rusted after many years of use and storage were the Lee dies. Both their factory crimp dies and their Collet neck sizing dies suffer galling from the high pressure sliding nature of the design and the wrong choice of materials in their productization by Lee. As with all the Lee products the choice of materials used in their construction is not the best. The opposite can be said of Forester, Redding, Hornady and RCBS.

    But that is just my experiences and I understand your experiences may have differed.

    LDBennett
  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Trek Jeff:

    I forgot to mention one other aspect of reloading rifle cartridges in selection of die sets.

    There are two styles of sizing dies for rifle cartridges: Those that resize the entire case from the rim to the neck, completely; Those that only size the neck of the case.

    In general you should full length resize everything to start with. Later you can take the option to only neck size the cases when you have a thorough understanding of the consequences of neck sizing only. When you neck size only, that brass MAY only fit into the gun it came out of as the brass body of the case has stretched to the chamber of only that gun. Every gun varies in its chamber size details and once fired brass will only fit back into the gun it came from, in most cases. So by not sizing the body of the case the case now fits more precisely into the chamber and may give you better accuracy.

    There are several kinds of neck sizing dies available. You can choose to back the full length sizing die out of the press so the die only touches the neck. You can buy neck sizing only dies that are ground away internally so that the body does not get touched by the die. And finally, Lee makes a unique die that sizes the neck only by squeezing the neck onto a perfectly sized round bar using a collet.

    LDBennett
  10. Trek Jeff

    Trek Jeff New Member

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    Thanks to all!

    Thanks goes out to those who responded. I did so some serious web searching last night and can now see how some got a chuckle out of my question as well as those that showed concern and recommended the manuals. I ordered the ABC's of Reloading and one from Hornady. As far as the quality of equipment, getting started money is on a budget and if Lee isn't the best long line equipment, I hope it does well for the hobbiest as I don't see myself reloading mass amounts. As a matter of fact, in th elong run I may save money buying factory ammo, but I just want to give it a try. I'll start with the inexpensive items/brands then if I get the virus, I'll upgrade down the line. I was considering the following setups to get started;

    Lee Breech Lock Challenger Package, or the Anniversary Package, just not sure which would be better suited (Midway seems to have the best prices I can find..any advice would be great as well)
    The die sets for the .44 have me wondering. I've learned that carbide allows for easy case removal/seperation from the die assembly. Reading on here I see that some people recommend crimping magnum loads seperatly with the a rolling final crimp? I still need to read on the details of that...so I see that Lee offers a 4 die set..I'll go with that. For rifle the Lee Deluxe Rifle Sizing Die addresses the issues regarding case length.

    Varied opinions and sources discuss a cartrige trimmer and bur remover...when if doubt, err to caution, so I'll get a set of those, already have the calipers for total length.

    If anyone sees anything that a newbee missed, feel free to chime in. With what I listed I'm sure the manuals will also let me know what else I'll need. I'll buy the powder, brass, bullets and primers after I read through things..I hate buying stuff that I don't need.
    Through my web browsing I found out in less than a few hours how little I know about reloading. I had no clue on the number of different powers (fast/slow burners) and that not all .44 rounds take 20gn of the same powder...this is truly a hobby not to take lightly on the education level.

    Through my searching I think I'm sold on the 2400 powder for my 44 rounds only if I can figure out what the safe load would be for my S&W 629. I'm not too worried about my Ruger Carbine, but I do know that care must be taken when running hot loads through the S&W as compared to a Redhawk/Blackhawk....so much to learn.

    I also see that the odds of using the same powder for my .44 and 30-06 may just be a dream. But being analytical I figured that one pound of powder of any type will load quite a few boxes of brass.

    I look forward to becoming a part of this group, a taker at first, then have the knowledge to pass along down the line..thanks again!!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  11. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    The others have already covered the basics pretty well.

    On your original question about the factory sizing die vs. 2 or 3 piece die sets. Were you looking at purchasing just the Lee factory crimp die (only one die)? You'll still need a resizing and bullet seating die. Most seating dies also have the ability to do a crimp on the seated bullet during the seating operation so the factory crimp die can be skipped over if you're just starting out.

    As far as the brand name on what you choose...yeah, that's always an ongoing debate on which "color" is better. My experience has been that they all work fine...but the old saw of you get what you pay for still applies to reloading equipment as well. Lee presses and dies are good stuff for low-volume use.

    On case trimming...
    For a low starting budget and if you only reload a few calibers, check out the Lee hand trimmer system. This is a single cutter head that has an interchangeable "pilot" for each cartridge that is preset to the standard "trim-to" length for that particular cartridge.
    You'll need a deburring tool to break the sharp edge of the case after you've trimmed it too. Check out those manuals when you get em...both the Hornady and the Lee manual go through the case prep procedure very nicely.

    Between the .44mag and .30-06 there probably won't be a common powder that'll work in both. Two very different cartridges there. If you can settle on one powder for each cartrdige you're lucky...I use several different powders in most every cartridge I reload for, depending on bullet weight. You might get lucky and find a good general use powder for a cartridge, but if you really starting tweaking the loads for max accuracy out of your own guns then that powder locker might fill up with different bottles pretty quickly. :D That's part of the fun...playing around to find the best load for your own firearms.

    Welcome aboard!
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
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