Shell Holders

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by 76Highboy, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I was at Cabela's on Sunday and I heard something that has been on my mind since then.

    I overheard the Hornady rep tell some customers that Hornady has the best shell holders in the business. I know since he is a rep that he is going to support his brand, however the 3 guys he was talking to whole heartedly agreed. I have never given it much thought until I heard their comments of support towards him.

    The shell holders I have are either Lee or RCBS. Many of my shell holders are decades old and many are duplicates because I picked them up cheap at garage sales or gun shows. All of them perform great for the job intended and I have never given it a second thought because they do the job just fine. So I guess my question is, are Hornady's shell holders the best? If not, who's is the best? Also, are shell holders as a whole held to better tolerances today than shell holders of past decades?

    I am curious as to what the majority has to say.

    Thanks,
    Jim
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I dunno. i use Lee shellholders and they work great. Its a fricken shell holder, it holds a shell. How special can it be??
  3. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    That's what I've thought all week JLA. To be honest with you, the rep tried to tell me that Hornady was better than Lee when it came to dies. He had his Hornady dies open, so I popped open some Lee dies. We went back and fourth and after we got done he actually said that he did not know that the Lee's were that good. He didn't even know they used a 0-ring for the nut lock. I was amazed that I knew more about the Lee die then he did (not really though). I have a lot of Hornady dies and they are great. But don't start knocking my Lee dies because for the money spent, you can't beat them.

    Upon that thought, I heard him make the shell holder statement to these guys as I was leaving and I just shook my head. However when they were agreeing I just kept itching my head all week thinking,,,, Am I missing something here.

    I agree with you JLA. It's just a shell holder.
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    he was a salesman and nothing more. I find most salesmen dont know anything about the products they claim thiers is better than, in fact i find they rarely know much at all about the products they sell. They only repeat whats written in sales brochures with charisma. I kinda dislike salesmen, im smart enough to decide for myself whats good and suits my purposes, and id wager most others are too. Only reason why sales folk exist is because some folks are accustomed to having all their thinkin and deciding done for them.
  5. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Josh on this one.

    Sure they were sucking up to the Hornady rep. Probably hoping to get some freebies off him
  6. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    You will laugh at this, but I am a salesman. However, I agree with you which is why if a salesman is going to sell me, he'd better be good. I am a successful salesman because I know my product and I believe in my product. You can tell when a salesperson knows his product.

    Also, my Lee factory crimp dies are the bomb. Have you or any body tried the Hornady crimp dies. They are not as caliber specific as the Lee. One die will fit several. I am a pro Lee person but I think I am going to try the Hornady so I can just get a hands on.

    What you think.
  7. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Ya, he offered me a Hornady sticker but I didn't really want one so he put it back on the shelf. After I educated him on the Lee dies he quit talking to me and casually left. I wasn't rude, in fact I was really nice. I think he just realized I wasn't dumb.
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Thats ok Jim. In a way, I am also a salesman. I have to keep customers convinced their septics need to be pumped and when im not in the honey wagon im at home fixing guns for my own customers, who I also have to keep convinced their guns need fixin. Salesfolk are a necessary evil. I suppose what i dislike is the ones that just repeat what they read in thier companys sales brochures. Real salesmen are well versed in both the products they sell and the ones they intend to outsale.
  9. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    That is why I use Grandpas Plumbing, and other small based businesses. They won't try and sell me the farm. They just fix the problem.
  10. cycloneman

    cycloneman Active Member

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    Most of me lee eq is 30 years old. I buy lee and only lee cause that is what i started out with. I have no problems.
  11. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

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    Now wait a minute Jim. When I was a lad, we called that the outhouse.
    What we need to do is, introduce you to the wonderful world of indoor plumbing. Now luckily you've come to the right man. For an unbelievably low price we can set you up with a deluxe one piece tub/shower fixture, a state of the art eco flush commode and your choice of vanity or pedestal sink. All fixtures come with top of the line chrome plated plastic hardware for years of corrosion resistance. Included with this package is new tile and paint. All this for a price so low, you'll think I paid you.
    What do say, should I draw up a contract? :D
  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Unless LEE has upped their quality and manufacturing processes in the last 10 years, simply looking into the working part of the sizing die and comparing the machining there between say RCBS and LEE will convince you that LEE is NOT the same quality as RCBS. I have a few Hornady dies but have never done the comparison with them.

    Do LEE dies usually do the job? Yes! Do I buy them? NO, unless forced to because no one else covers the particular caliber I want. Do I replace the old LEE dies I have used for 20 years? Yes, over time.

    My first choice in dies is RCBS but I will buy Forester, Redding, Lyman or Hornady. I won't pay the exorbadant price for Dillon dies as they offer nothing special for me. RCBS is the best die for the least money. I also don't buy Harbor Freight tools.

    LDBennett
  13. Zhurh

    Zhurh Active Member

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    LD, I have an assortment of RCBS, Forester, and Redding shell holders that I have accumulated with new calibers. Usually, I'll just look down list in Midway or Sinclair or whatever catalog to see what number they use or cross to for each caliber. My novice observation is that some shell holders have more play than others; though it might not be critical, you got to wonder? So, I have thought about buying competition shell holders or at least a standardized set from one company. How about your opinion? Is it just a waste of money or worth the bucks?
  14. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    My situation is much different from those that do not use a Dillon for reloading. My shell holder attaches to the rotating table, and is a plate which includes four stations. My only use for regular shell holders is for my bullet puller tool (actually a die) which I use once every few years. I have whatever shell holders came with the dies I bought through the years. All are thrown into a common box and I believe none have any identifying marks other than a number(??). None seem any better than any other (Even LEE shell holders are OK by me).

    But for those of you that use the provided shell holders I would think some looseness is necessary to allow the case to self align during sizing and bullet seating. Some guns are hard on the rim and leave a burr from extraction and/or ejection that a tight shell holder might not accommodate. The precision needs only be vertically, I would think, and as long as the shell holder seats well in the press and allow the case to seat correctly in itself, that should be sufficient. They of course must keep the case in alignment with the die in use so the case does not get damaged by the process at hand.

    This thread has to do with a blowhard Hornady salesman that has no idea how his or his competitors die sets work. Sales people in general only know what they have to know (but there are exception!). In all my years of going to gun stores I'd say more than 50% of the behind the counter people are full of BS and few really know the products they sell. I think it unconscionable that Hornady would allow a sales person into the field who did not know reloading inside and out and the competitors' products. But I don't get to choose their employees. They do. It might say something about Hornady and their products (??).

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  15. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    What the heck? Grandpa painted the out house with 3 year old paint back in the 70's and it was the best that money could buy from the salvation army. Also, where do the chrome plated parts go? Is that what hooks onto the cows collar. I think they call those bells? Am I right howlnmad?
  16. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    Remember salespeople are hired to sell their company's products. It really doesn't matter if they know their competition inside and out or not, a long as they can close the sale on THEIR product. That's their job. Most salespeople know their competition but not all. The best ones do.

    BTW I use a variety of dies and shellholders but I generally prefer RCBS for everything. I do have a number of Dillon presses, trimmers, and swagers but most of the other equipment is green. Really, a die is a die is a die.
  17. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Guest

    I got sent some Lee shell holders and OMG THEY SUCK they are the worst shell holder I have ever had the missfortune of seeing and using.

    I started using the lee shell holders on my 308 win with LC brass. 75% of the cases wouldn't fit. I was tossing them in a bucket when I hit one. Then I tried one for my 6.5x57mm. That brass was near 90% fail rate that brass was 7x57mm Winchester brass. I tried one more time with my 223 using Winchester and R-P brass (I use win in my remmy 700 and R-P in my AR). These are a fail rate of aprox 65%.

    After this I was WTF there is no way in the world all this brass is bad.

    So I dialed up midwayusa.com and ordered a RCBS shell holder for both cases and low and behold 100% of my brass fit in my RCBS shell holders.

    That coupled with a hand primer that broke in half after priming 3 cases (YES I SAID 3 that is not a typo), a press that snapped in half on my brother while he was loading 222 rem. I now refuse to allow anything Lee to enter my reloading room. In my eyes they are junk and the customer service is cruddy at best.

    I called on the hand primer and they said I was abusing it. When you could clearly see there was a defect in the casting. After that I threw all the Lee junk in the trash and said good riddance to rubbish.

    Don't flame me as I don't care if your lee press has been running for 300 years of has loaded 9 trillion rounds. I don't like their products or their service. I therefor push people away from their products.
  18. bntyhntr6975

    bntyhntr6975 Member

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    Perty much. Although, not all brands of shellholders are interchangeable with other brands of equipment.
  19. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I am the kind of person that likes to try everything an I like to compare. A die is a die for the job intended. However, I do have my preferences. I will state my opinions about the lee, the Hornady, and the RCBS.

    Sizer and decapper die. The Hornady and the Lee both allow for the decapper to break free if the decapper is over stressed. Also, I like the ease of using two wrenches to loosen the decapper pin as opposed to a wrench and a screw driver on the RCBS dies. Also, I have found that you really only need one wrench to loosen and tighten the decapper collet and then you can just adjust the decapper pin with the other hand. It's just quick and to the point. My lee and Hornady have tighter tolerances. Nickel plated brass runs easier in my RCBS, but they are very tight in the Hornady and Lee. So, when reloading a genuine "Brass" case, my tolerances are tighter for a better resize. Lee can make a die specifically for nickel plated brass to keep the tolerances for any caliber.

    Expander die. The Hornady and Lee are quicker for set up. One wrench for both and the RCBS take two wrench's.

    Seating die. My Hornady is the best because they have a floating inline sleeve that helps with bullet run-out. This enables the reloader to be able to, not have to hold the bullet all the way up until it enters the neck of the case. Instead, you can let the brass go and the sleeve aligns the bullet correcting any misalignment caused by a canted bullet. I like the rubber o-ring for tightening the seaster adjustment. It is quick, and it is more accurate than using the wrenches. I am also going the get the universal micrometer style seater adjustment. It takes the place of the factory seater adjustment and it is nice because if your cartridge measures .001" too long, you simply adjust the micrometer that amount and you are done.

    I like the fact tha Hornady's set screws are not into the threads, and then even better is the Lee. They use o-rings which I am a fan of for ease of adjustments, and I also like the fact that Lee uses a six locking nut. I like them so much that I use them on my Hornady dies. They are user friendly.

    Then of coures when it comes to a factory crimp die the Lee is awesome, although I am going to try the Hornady and see which one is the best.

    My experience with RCBS, Lee, and Hornady is that they are all customer oriented and compete for the business. Machining and fit on all are tight. RCBS makes a great die, but I prefer Hornady and Lee. One negative to Le is they are short and just barely fit my Hornady press with maybe a haly thread width to spare.

    As far as the Hornady rep, I know their game. But after hearing what I heard I just had to ask. So, upon me being curious I stopped off and saw a friend today who has it all. He said the Hornady is the better one. It is because of the wider mouth on the shell holder and it makes it a quicker exchange of the brass with less hang up. Also the machining is better making it smoother.

    There you go, that is what I found out. I will be buying a shell holder in 4 and will let everyone know what I find.

    Thanks for all the good input guys.
    Jim
  20. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    LD, were talkin about shellholders... And salesmen. :D
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