When you have the best reloading dies at your disposal, reloading successfully is inevitable. An excellent set or collection of dies guarantees reliable extracting, feeding, and shooting. You can even expect maximum precision.
For this reason, dies have the ability to eliminate misses, jams, and shoddy performance.
If you’re an expert in this field, then you know the three most popular reloading dies brands. They are RCBS, Hornady, and Lee. Am I right? But what you probably don’t know is the particular models of these brands that are suitable for your needs and preferences.
In that case, this is where my expertise comes into play. Please keep reading to know more!
- Best Reloading Dies: 10 Top Picks
- 1. Lee Precision Reloading 223 – The Best Reloading Dies for 223 Remington
- 2. RCBS 20515 Carbide Die Set – The Best Reloading Dies for 9mm Luger
- 3. Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set – The Best Competition Reloading Dies
- 4. Lee Precision Reloading 308 – The Best 4-Set Reloading Dies for 308 Winchester
- 5. RCBS FL Die Set – The Best 2-Set Reloading Dies for 308 Winchester
- 6. Lee Precision 45ACP – The Best Reloading Dies for 45 ACP
- 7. RCBS 3-Die Set – The Best Reloading Dies for 45-70 Handgun and Rifle Cartridges
- 8. Lee Precision 300 Aac – The Best Reloading Dies that Work with 300 Blackout
- 9. RCBS 3-Die Carbide Set – The Best Reloading Dies for 357 Mag and 38 Special
- 10. Lee Precision Pacesetter .308 Dies – The Best 3-Set Reloading Dies for 308 Winchester
- Best Reloading Dies Buyer’s Guide
- The Final Recommendation
Best Reloading Dies: 10 Top Picks
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The three giants, RCBS, Hornady, and Lee, produce a broad range of dies. These are crafted for different types of calibers. So finding a set suitable for your requirements can be slightly tricky.
And apart from RCBS, Hornady, and Lee, there are a few other brands as well that manufacture the best reloading dies on the market. So what you see below is a useful overview of what lies ahead.
Number Of Dies
Type Of Cartridge
#1 (Editor choice)
45-70 Handgun or Rifle
357 Mag or 38 Special
1. Lee Precision Reloading 223 – The Best Reloading Dies for 223 Remington
Expect nothing short of maximum versatility when working with any Lee Precision Reloading Dies. And right now I’m specifically talking about the Lee Precision Reloading 223 Remington Ultimate Rifle Die Set.
The kit consists of the useful resizing die that returns brass to factory dimensions. It’s an ideal choice for the purpose of reloading brass that you use in some of the other guns. The next die is the invaluable Collet Neck. And it does an excellent job at helping you achieve accuracy.
The best part about everything so far is that you don’t need any case lube. Plus, the cases of the set last forever.
Another remarkable addition is the seating die. This one offers foolproof seating adjustment for the bullet. In fact, it also has the ability to provide the bullet with an exact seating depth.
Then comes the precious Factory Crimp version die. And what this does is offer secure crimp for bullets. Even without the use of crimp groove. For the most part, this particular die contributes to improving accuracy by delivering a high-start pressure consistently. It even has the capacity to provide Factory-like dependability and accuracy. And this is applicable when working with the finished cartridge.
Additionally, the set comes with load data, powder measure, and shell holder. The famous load data features all the common powder brands that are organized in a logical format.
The Lee Precision Reloading 223 Remington Ultimate Rifle Die Set performs its duties well enough. This kit sizes the brass properly, seats the bullet, and offers a crimp to keep the bullet from moving when working with semi-autos. There’s no other better way to begin reloading!
The lack of ring locks on these dies is a major drawback. This means having to adjust them in the press each time you feed them in. Now that can turn out to be quite a nuisance!
- The Lee Precision Reloading Dies offer easy adjustments.
- They produce consistent reloa
- The rings have no lock.
2. RCBS 20515 Carbide Die Set – The Best Reloading Dies for 9mm Luger
If you’re in the market for high-quality reloading dies, there’s no set that offers such an advantage other than this one here. The RCBS 20515 Carbide Die Set has top-grade construction. You’ll also be quite surprised to find out that nothing beats this particular kit even when it comes to accuracy.
Now you ought to know that RCBS has mastered the art of using 3 dies. This applies to loading handgun rounds and straight-walled type of rifles. The brand’s ring, the handy carbide-sizer one, eliminates the use of case lube during reloading.
The die that I mentioned above resizes the case properly. And that’s because RCBS understands how sensitive repeating and semi-automatic rifles are to the case size. In that sense, all RCBS reloading dies are popular for providing factory standard precision as far as resizing case is concerned.
Moving on, the set’s bullet seating die allows you to work with different types of projectiles. More often than not, projectiles have the same length. However, that tends to vary slightly. This means the plug is suitable for rounds such as wadcutters and self-defense hollow point projectiles.
In all, RCBS is a brand that you can trust if what you’re looking for is high-quality and precision.
The RCBS 20515 Carbide Die Set features excellent dies that are fit for reloading thousands of your cases. This means maximum durability as well, am I right?
These carbide dies offer high performance without having to work with sticky lubricants to resize casing. And that sounds like a huge relief!
But I have only one complaint about the RCBS 20515 Carbide Die Set. The kit’s bullet seating tool requires constant adjustment. So this might cause a certain amount of inconvenience during application.
- The quality of RCBS is top notch.
- The dies are precision-drilled to meet gun mechanism standards.
- You have to keep adjusting the set’s bullet seater die.
RCBS® Reloading Dies
3. Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set – The Best Competition Reloading Dies
Hornady is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to manufacturing premium ammunition. And the Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set is no exception. Each die is designed with care as well as machined. And when dies have such a quality, they have the ability to be as smooth and precise as possible.
With that in mind, you can achieve easier reloading. And here’s something that you might appreciate the most. Hornady dies are the kind suitable for different types of projectiles. This means you can alternate between self-defense and practice ammunition.
The set’s zip spindle tool has a special design. It does a swell job at eliminating slippage. So you can say goodbye to busting a knuckle every time you tighten that spindle lock.
The inclusion of 3 dies means that the third die gives you the opportunity to seat and taper crimp. This way, you don’t require that fourth die when you want to perform the crimping function.
Furthermore, the alignment sleeve and seater body have a new construction. They have been re-modified to make the process of seating and taper crimping possible in a single step.
The use of carbide material offers two major benefits. The first one is that you don’t need case lube during reloading. And the second advantage comes in the form of an extended case life.
As for the kit’s expander die, it performs the duties exceptionally well. The die allows you to reload projectiles quite easily. Plus, it keeps the projectile from forcing into that case.
In all, I consider the Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set to be the most feature-packed option on the list.
Not many reloading dies are convenient to use and assemble at the same time. But that’s not the case with the Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set. This equipment is not only easy to install, but the usability is also quite impressive. And that’s a unique feature given the amount of convenience it brings into action.
At the other end of the spectrum lies a drawback you can’t ignore. The lock on the rings doesn’t function all that well. Instead of locking, what the ring does is make the whole thing slightly stiffer.
- The Hornady tools offer several years of hard use.
- The crimping/seating die works just fine.
- The setting up process is easy.
- The set is stainless steel, thus prone to rusting.
- The ring locks rank low in performance.
Cleaning Reloading Dies
4. Lee Precision Reloading 308 – The Best 4-Set Reloading Dies for 308 Winchester
Lee Precision Reloading is easily the best brand available on the market. The dies that the company manufactures score the highest points in terms of versatility. And the Lee Precision Reloading 308 WIN Ultimate Rifle Die Set is proof of that.
It features a resizing die, collet neck designed sizing die, bullet seater die, and crimp die. Let’s talk about the design and functionality of each tool.
The resizing one has the capacity of returning the fired brass to industry-grade dimensions. Then the set’s collet neck version has a unique design. And it’s this particular die structure that brings tons of accuracy into the picture. What it does is squeeze the case neck against the mandrel. And this, in turn, guarantees minimum run out and solid fit.
Just like the other options on the list, this one too requires no case lube. The dies are responsible for taking brass and encouraging it to last longer. This way, you get your money’s worth, don’t you?
Now let’s highlight the performance of the bullet seating and crimp die. The former delivers foolproof seating adjustment. And the latter secures crimp even without the crimp groove.
Since the Lee Precision Reloading 308 WIN Ultimate Rifle Die Set is a complete package, it comes with additional tools. These include the popular load data, powder measurer, and shell holder.
Lee Precision Reloading is a brand that has been in the game for decades. So you know that this particular set is an ideal choice for bulk handgun and precision shooters. Those who wish to customize and fine-tune their own ammo might understand the importance of the 308 WIN Ultimate Rifle Die Set.
It’s the FLR die of the set that tends to cause many problems. The pin of the die keeps slipping. Thus, rendering the tool useless. And you can only know how to solve the problem if you’re an expert at reloading dies all by yourself.
- The set’s crimp die improves accuracy.
- Its bullet seating tool assures perfect depth each time.
- The FLR die pin is susceptible to slipping.
5. RCBS FL Die Set – The Best 2-Set Reloading Dies for 308 Winchester
Note that the RCBS FL Die Set consists of 2 dies. These are perfect for reloading 308 WIN Mag cartridges. The kit includes a bullet seater and resizing die. Both the tools have high-quality construction. And that comes in the form of rugged, hardened steel.
With such a quality, you can expect nothing short of maximum durability and strength. Each reloading die has a unique structure. It features a huge hex lock for the ring. Such a component is installed to enable easy adjustments. Plus, this makes using the RCBS FL Die Set as convenient as possible.
The ring lock itself is equipped with a set screw. And what it does is allow you to tighten or adjust the die however you like. Such an action goes a long way in preventing slippage.
You will also be relieved to know that the dies are reamed and precision-drilled. These characteristics meet high or specific gun mechanism standards.In all, there’s nothing more you could’ve asked for!
The RCBS FL Die Set has a top quality construction. So you don’t need to worry about durability in this case.
On top of that, every little detail is well taken care of. For example, the hex ring locks that utilize set screws are large in size. And that makes them quite easy and convenient to adjust.
It was difficult for me to list down a major downside for this pick. The performance of the RCBS FL Die Set is up to the mark in all aspects. But only for the sake of providing honest feedback, here’s something you ought to know. For whatever reason, you might have to indulge in re-setting the dies each time you use them.
- Tightening down the dies into position is smooth and quick.
- The load is accurate and exact.
- The RCBS dies require re-setting before every application.
6. Lee Precision 45ACP – The Best Reloading Dies for 45 ACP
Nothing beats the functionality ofLee Precision 45ACP Carbide 4-Die Set for the 45 ACP. The majority of sets within this category offer only 3 dies, but not this one. In the Lee Precision 45ACP Carbide 4-Die Set, you get full-length carbide, bullet seating, and expanding die. The fourth component is the shell holder, which has a universal nature FYI.
The added bonus, that is the fourth die, is the one that performs the crimping function. So it’s only logical to assume that the Lee Precision 45ACP Carbide 4-Die Set is perfect for accuracy.
Other additional features include the load/instructions data and powder dipper. What’s more is that the set comes with a convenient carry case. This makes it easy for you to transport the dies from one spot to another.
Without the shadow of a doubt, this is one of the most popular reloading dies for 45 ACP cartridge pistols.
When testing the Lee Precision 45ACP Carbide Dies, a particular feature caught my attention. The kit’s crimp die allows you to “post size” the cartridge. What such an action does is eliminate the potential bulges that are a part of seating.
Now, this might seem like a tiny step. But it goes a long way in delivering reliable chambering. And this is useful for self-defense purposes or plinking ammo.
What’s disappointing is the physical appearance of the seating and crimp dies. They look like identical twins. So differentiating between the two during application requires a little bit of extra effort.
- The “O” ring holds the lock in place.
- The brand is reliable in terms of quality.
- The set’s crimp die is resized to meet factory specs.
- The seating tool causes lead accumulation.
- Two of the dies look identical.
7. RCBS 3-Die Set – The Best Reloading Dies for 45-70 Handgun and Rifle Cartridges
I would like to begin by stating that the RCBS 3-Die Set has high-quality material construction. All the 3 dies make it possible for you to construct your ammo properly. They do whatever it takes to prevent potential damage to your antiques.
If that wasn’t enough, the manufacturer has provided another huge benefit. RCBS has precision-machined the set to highest standards. And it has done so to ensure superior quality.
The expanding and sizing tasks are performed by two separate dies. And the full-length die is suitable for a bottleneck case. It features vents so as to eliminate case damage.
So if you want to reload bullets as a hobby, I can think of nothing better than the RCBS 3-Die Set.
Did you know that the expansion die of the kit has a superior design? I mean it’s nothing compared to the traditional structure of dies. As a result of which, you get zero case bulges with the RCBS 3-Die Set.
One thing that you might notice when you clean the dies with lube is cartridge denting. The casings end up with excessive lube during sizing. In that case, avoid sending wet casings into the reloading die.
- The quality and performance level are excellent.
- The instructions are clear.
- Cleaning the dies with lube causes cartridge denting.
8. Lee Precision 300 Aac – The Best Reloading Dies that Work with 300 Blackout
If AR rifles are your thing, you might want to buy the Lee Precision 300 Aac Blackout Very Limited Production 3-Die. This particular set is crafted for using 300 Blackout. And that is the most powerful and versatile ammo available in the industry.
When reloading 300 Blackout ammunition, dies like these deliver fantastic accuracy and consistent performance. So it’s time to find out what you get and what you should expect.
The Lee Precision 300 Aac Blackout Very Limited Production 3-Die Set features a sizing die. The tool is responsible for preventing bottleneck damage.
The factory standard crimp die along with the bullet seater also offer high functionality. These have the ability to work in the majority of reloading presses. If your press consists of 7/8 inch sized threads, you’re all set!
Much like the other Lee Precision die sets, this one too includes additional tools. That means you also get load/instructions data, powder dipper, and shell holder.
You can load as many as 500 rounds in different cartridge configurations using these dies without any hindrances. The set’s resizing die, in particular, is useful for eliminating primers of spent cartridge. And achieving something like that with no surprises sounds like a pleasant experience.
The problem is that the set’s seating die doesn’t stay in place. The O-shaped ring offers resistance alright, but it tends to move after only 10 presses. So if that seems like a flaw you can work your way around, you have nothing else to worry about.
- The factory grade crimp die performs exceptionally well.
- The tolerance level of the set is quite high.
- The seating reloading die doesn’t hold in position.
9. RCBS 3-Die Carbide Set – The Best Reloading Dies for 357 Mag and 38 Special
First, let’s discuss the complexity of the RCBS 3-Die Carbide Set. The full-length die is crafted with a bottleneck case. So it goes without saying that the die contains vents to avoid damaging the cases. All the dies of the kit are reamed and precisely drilled to meet the exact gun mechanism standards. And that in itself is a huge bonus point!
The second factor to take into consideration is precision. The best part about the set is that it consists of Group B type reloading dies. These are well-polished and properly hardened to deliver flawless, precise gun reloading.
And now comes the durability factor. Since the RCBS 3-Die Carbide Dies have such a high-quality design, they don’t let you down in that particular aspect. So everything about the set lives up to your expectations.
I would like to highlight an important benefit that you experience with the RCBS 3-Die Carbide Set. When working with these dies, there’s no need for any lubrication. So you don’t have to deal with that aspect if you don’t want to.
Setting up the dies takes a while to get used to. So in that context, the RCBS 3-Die Carbide Set does have a negligible downside. But that’s what the instructions are there for, right?
- RCBS provides top quality equipment.
- The dies deliver consistent results.
- Assembling the dies is slightly difficult.
10. Lee Precision Pacesetter .308 Dies – The Best 3-Set Reloading Dies for 308 Winchester
When using the 308 Winchester Mag rounds, you know you’re dealing with bottleneck cartridges. In that case, you need a full-length die. And an excellent one at that! Keeping this in mind, let me introduce you to the Lee Precision Pacesetter .308 Die Set.
Lee Precision is a brand that knows how to manufacture the best reloading dies in the industry. And sets like these are proof of that.
The factory standard crimp die, to be more specific, is the one that steals all the limelight. Apart from this, there’s the top quality construction that you might find impressive too.
All the Lee Precision die sets available on the consumer market include a hard case for portability. This prevents the possibility of losing these precious dies.
Alongside that, you also get powder dipper and shell holder. The latter has a universal nature, so that’s another piece of good news!
Do you know what the dipper of the Lee Precision Pacesetter .308 Die Set is capable of? It is used for measuring powder. But we all know that, don’t we? And that, in turn, makes the task of measuring starter loads safe and easy. Now, this is highly beneficial if you’ve recently started reloading dies all by yourself.
The set’s resizing die features a decapping rod, right? So the rod that comes with the Lee Precision Pacesetter .308 Die is prone to damage.
- The Lee Precision dies produce accurate rounds.
- They offer a perfect turret fit.
- The quality is high with a low price tag.
- The kit’s resizing die has a decapping rod that tends to break easily.
Best Reloading Dies Buyer’s Guide
Saving ammunition money means reloading bullets on your own. Such a practice has its own set of advantages. It provides you with the opportunity to make precise adjustments to the load. And that, in turn, improves velocity and accuracy.
But this calls for buying the right kind of equipment. Not all dies are created equal now, are they? What I mean to say is that each set is suitable for a certain type of a cartridge. So you need to keep this in mind when buying the best reloading dies.
The top picks in the industry enable consistent feeding and consistent ejecting along with precise shooting. On the contrary, the cheaper quality ones tend to jam up the firearm. So expect nothing but poor performance from such dies.
What are They and How to Use Them?
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When talking about reloading tools, you can’t leave out the discussion of dies. They perform a variety of special functions based on their type. Every single set comes with at least 3-4 dies. And each of these is specifically created to serve a particular purpose. For example, decapping, expanding or resizing the cartridge.
What reloading dies do is provide a solid base, so you can perform all kinds of required tasks. And these are able to carry out such an action because they’re designed to attach to the invaluable reloading press.
It’s the precious resizing die that you use first to achieve the standard size for the cartridge. Following which, you decap the primer and then clean the cartridge before repriming it. The next step involves the use of expanding die. This type of a die expands the cartridge’s mouth, which is responsible for allowing the bullet to fit inside it properly.
Once the bullet conforms correctly, you fill powder in that cartridge with the help of a funnel. Then all that’s left to do is make sure that the bullet fits inside the cartridge by making use of the seating die.
I would also like to add that some people choose to begin by adjusting the cartridge’s shape first. And this they do by working with the extra crimping die. Such a practice ensures a better bullet fit. The thing is when you crimp the cartridge; it produces a more precise round. However, this is not necessary, which means you can stick to the other method that saves time. (How ammunition is made)
Every set is crafted for a particular cartridge caliber. That means you have to buy an individual set for each kind of ammunition that you wish to reload.
It’s only the invaluable decapping die that has a universal nature. What it does is eliminate the blown primer either after or before cartridge resizing. And that’s the best part about decapping dies, isn’t it? They have the ability to work on all types of cartridges.
You’ll also come across sets with resizing dies that perform the task of decapping as well. In fact, some brands make it possible for resizing dies to widen the cartridge mouth. Thus, getting rid of the need to buy an individual expanding die!
Ammo Reloading Basics: Dies
How to Choose the Best Reloading Dies?
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Selecting the right kind of die for your ammo is not a choice but an obligation. You have to make it a point to buy a set that ranks the highest in that particular category. Failing to do so results in making the whole working process complicated and difficult.
A straight case requires a set of 3 dies while a bottleneck case demands the use of 2 dies.
Like I mentioned earlier, not all best reloading dies are created equal, right? That means not all of them are expensive or ranked as competitive. And that’s because only a few brands might have the type of dies you require.
In that sense, some reloaders prefer using different brands when working with a particular caliber. And it goes without saying that you need to have access to necessary tools when reloading ammunition.
At the same time, some reloaders select dies based on the kind of reloading press they’re using. For the most part, reloading press manufacturing brands produce die sets only suitable for presses that are also crafted by them. Due to this reason, it’s necessary that you buy the best reloading dies that guarantee compatibility with your current press.
What Are Dies, How Are They Used & What Are The Differences In Brands?
Factors to Consider in the Best Reloading Dies
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- 1. Brand Matching
When you learn to reload cartridges on your own in order to save dough or just as a pastime, you understand an important fact. You somehow realize that you can use a combination of specific dies manufactured by different companies and sets.
But if you’re a newbie, it’s better to purchase reloading die sets from a single brand. And this should be the same company that designed the press you’re using. However, sometimes that’s not possible. So in such scenarios, what you can do is buy a whole set from just one manufacturer. Don’t mix and match!
Once you understand how compatibility works, you can brand out and explore other options. (10 most common reloading mistakes)
- 2. Number of Dies in a Set
Should I get a 2 die set or a 3 die set? To find the correct answer, first determine what type of reloading die set you need. A set of 2 dies is perfect for a bottleneck case and 3 dies are best for a straight case.
Also, the sets that come with 4 dies include special options such as the bump or hand.
- 3. Existing Press
Compatibility with your current reloading press is a factor that you should never forget to take into account. If the dies you buy are not compatible with that press you’re using, then what’s the point!
And when you’re working on a budget, you can’t afford to make such an expensive mistake.
The Final Recommendation
My Choice: Lee Precision 45 ACP Carbide 4-Die Set
Dies are to the reloading setup what heart is to the human body. So in that context, you have to make it a point to select the right kind of set. When working with the best reloading dies, you achieve accuracy, consistency, and precision. On the other hand, a crappy kit gives rise to ejecting and feeding issues.
So the one model that comes to mind after considering all factors is the Lee Precision 45ACP Carbide 4-Die Set. It offers 4 dies that include the crimping version. So you get the fantastic opportunity to add that perfect finishing touch to your ammo. Even accuracy is a factor that benefits the most when using dies manufactured by Lee Precision.