Total newbie question - reloading dies [Archive] - Glock Talk

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TQuigg
08-20-2012, 14:43
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

sellersm
08-20-2012, 15:25
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).

TQuigg
08-20-2012, 17:38
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).

Thanks much.

Taterhead
08-20-2012, 22:06
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.

TQuigg
08-21-2012, 08:46
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.

unclebob
08-21-2012, 09:47
:welcome:

Start with loading your pistol rounds first.

TQuigg
08-21-2012, 10:18
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:

454
08-21-2012, 19:32
Are they carbide dies? if they are you scored. Even straight pistol cases need to be lubed when using non-carbide dies.

TQuigg
08-22-2012, 07:49
Are they carbide dies? if they are you scored. Even straight pistol cases need to be lubed when using non-carbide dies.

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:

Jim Watson
08-22-2012, 08:07
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.

TQuigg
08-22-2012, 09:38
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.

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:

TQuigg
08-22-2012, 09:40
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?

F106 Fan
08-22-2012, 09:46
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:

For RCBS dies, at least, they are all marked on the top of the die.

Richard

F106 Fan
08-22-2012, 09:54
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?

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

454
08-22-2012, 09:58
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?
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.

F106 Fan
08-22-2012, 10:05
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:

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

TQuigg
08-22-2012, 10:38
For RCBS dies, at least, they are all marked on the top of the die.

Richard

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!

F106 Fan
08-22-2012, 10:54
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!

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/#/content/p/9/pid/24498/catid/4/Dillon_Carbide_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

TQuigg
08-22-2012, 11:33
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.

F106 Fan
08-22-2012, 12:31
This reloading stuff ain't brain surgery! There are only a few basic steps:

Clean the brass
Decap and resize
Prime
Add powder - and VERIFY!
Seat bullet
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

454
08-22-2012, 21:34
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.
For real fun try Blue Dot. It is slower burning (great for 357 mag). My G22 was almost as loud as my Raging bull with it. Muzzle blast was close to 8"-12".

Unique is good, but really dirty burning. I've had good experience with Universal Clays.

You will use less of fast burning powders, like Bullseye, but you run a higher chance of double-charging with them. Best scenario--raptured case and blown out mag.

Chris Brines
08-23-2012, 20:28
I just started as well. I loaded up a few hundred 38 specials and 100 357 mags the other day. I took my time with it, and went VERY slowly. Just being extra cautious.

abq87120
08-29-2012, 21:26
It's my (noobie) understanding that all Lee dies are carbide. I bought five sets and paid somewhere near $30 for each. No complaints.

Dan in ABQ

unclebob
08-30-2012, 08:56
It's my (noobie) understanding that all Lee dies are carbide. I bought five sets and paid somewhere near $30 for each. No complaints.

Dan in ABQ

They also make dies without the carbide.