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I'm just getting started at reloading, and I'm shopping around for things I need. I see that there are steel dies and carbide dies. What's the difference and is there a preference of the two. I just really wanna buy them once. I'm gunna be loading 9mm and .223 rounds. I have a RCBS rock chuckler master kit. Do any name brands work with it? Thanks for any advice. And I see on the dies they say full length and small dies what's the difference in that too? Thanks again.
 

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the vast majority of dies are 7/8-14 thread. Any brand will work in most cases unless you've got a old press or oddball.

Carbide dies are highly recommended for pistol, this way you don't have to lube straight walled cases.

Regardless of die type, you will have to lube rifle brass. Carbide is 10x the price of steel in rifle dies, it's just not worth it unless you have an extremely high volume or just like to waste money. Carbide rifle dies are approx $120 - $140 a set if you can find them, most companies don't even make them.
 

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Definitely get carbide dies for pistol cases. As wooleyworm said, carbide for rifle is just not practical, and you still need to use SOME lube on them.

Small base dies are supposed to resize cases fired in weapons with generous chamber dimensions so that they will fit any type rifle-- autoloader, bolt, whatever. In the real world, I have resized many thousands of military cases fired in machine guns with normal dies, and they all resized satisfactorily and fed in my semiautos. I bought a set of SB dies but have never used them. Unless your rifle has an extremely small chamber, I wouldn't use them. I think they unnecessarily work the brass, thus shortening their useful life.

By the way, I generally reload military rifle cases about 5 times and then scrap them. Some people say they can get a lot more life out of their brass, and they may, but I fire a lot of them in machine guns, which ARE hard on brass, and I've found that 5 reloads is the most I can get withour starting to have some problems with brass. Thus, 5 reloads and into the scrap bucket. I haven't had a case separation or other stoppage in many years. Cheap insurance in my opinion.

Also, a word on dies. I recommend RCBS, just my preference although I do have a fdew Lee dies. Should you buy Lee dies, note that they have a rubber O ring in the lock ring which is *supposed* to keep the lock ring from moving. My experience shows that the rings do move. Bad. You can get around this problem by throwing the rubber O ring away and just tighten the lock ring like any other brand of dies.

Welcome to reloading. Have fun.
 
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