Good sets of dies are attached to the best brand names—names like Lee, Hornady, and RCBS. These three companies produce some of the best dies and are expansive enough as companies to produce a wide variety of dies for different calibers. When you are investing in a reloading set up it is generally advised to choose one brand and trust it.
Below we give an overview of the best reloading dies on the market. Check it out!
Lee Precision Reloading Die
- LEE PRECISION 90963 9-mm Carbide 4-Die Set Luger (Grey)
- Price: $100.62
- Price as of 09/28/2020 08:40 PDT(more info)
Lee Precision Reloading dies are one of the older brands of reloading equipment. Most reloaders will have probably started with a Lee single stage reloading press. Lee reloading dies are available in almost any caliber imaginable. You can find dies for handgun (in the link above) and rifle calibers of all kinds (in the link here). This includes dies for the ultra-modern .300 blackout and dies for rounds like the .45-70 that are over a century old.
The full length resizing die is capable of taking fired brass and returning it to industry standard dimensions. The collet neck sizing die is specifically designed to provide the greatest accuracy possible. The collet neck sizer squeezes the neck of the case against the precision mandrel. This guarantees a solid fit, with minimal run out. This set of dies does not require case lube. These collet dies are able to take brass and make it last ten times longer. This will allows the kit to pay for itself over a short period of time.
Lee Precision dies typically have two different options when purchasing. You can save a few dollars and buy the basic dies with case and that’s all. You can also spend just a little bit more and get a complete reloading kit. The complete kit dies come complete with shell holder, powder measurer, dies, and Lee load data that allows you to copy the loads of most popular commercial loads.
The Lee precision die sets are an excellent option for the precision shooter, the bulk handgun shooters, or the shooter looking to customize and tune his own ammo. Lee Precision dies come backed by Lee’s famous warranty, and the knowledge you are reloading with a company that has been producing reloading equipment for decades. Any list of the best reloading dies that doesn’t have the word “Lee” on it is missing the point.
RCBS Carbide Dies
RCBS mastered the use of 3 dies for the loading of straight-walled rifle and handgun rounds. Their use of the carbide-sizer ring eliminates the need to use case lube while reloading. The RCBS kits are not the cheapest kits, but are some of the highest quality. For those looking to maximize efficiency the RCBS dies would be a good place to start. The link above goes to .45 ACP’s, but if you want all of the die calibers, here they are.
The die kit comes with three separate tools. The first is the carbide sizer die, which will resize the case to ensure it’s the proper size for reloading. After all, semi-automatic and repeating rifles are sensitive to case size. You may be able to squeak by with a revolver, but an auto or repeater has some strict demands. These weapons are much more sensitive to feeding, and this is where proper sizing is critical. The RCBS dies are well known for being precise when it comes to resizing case to factory standards.
The bullet seating plug makes it easy to properly seat a variety of different projectiles. Typically projectiles are the same overall length, but can vary slightly. Rounds like wadcutters vary quite a bit, the same goes for hollow point self-defense projectiles. In calibers like .300 Blackout, you may have options for longer, heavier projectiles, or shorter light projectiles. You want to ensure they are all seated correctly.
The RCBS is also an excellent kit to load big-bore revolvers, wonder 9 automatics, or modern sporting rifles. You aren’t limited when it comes to their sets. Hands down, they’re among the best reloading dies for accuracy.
- Hornady 546527 DIESET 3 38-357-357 MAX Pistol Custom Grade Three-Die Set (.357)
- Price: $48.99
- Price as of 09/28/2020 08:40 PDT(more info)
Hornady is well known as a premium ammunition manufacturer that produces one load or another is nearly every modern caliber. Hornady has extended into the reloading market and it’s a natural extension of what they can do. Hornady reloading supplies are designed to work with Hornady reloading equipment. Hornady dies are crafted with care and machined to be as precise and smooth as possible. This ensure easier reloading and makes the entire operation a little smoother. The Hornady dies are designed to load a variety of different projectile types, so you can alternate between practice ammunition and self-defense loads. (The link above’s for .38 Special/.357 Magnums; here is a link to the rest of the calibers.)
The Hornady pistol dies include the new zip spindle design, which Hornady uses extensively with their kits. This zip spindle design makes the entire reloading process a bit more stable. The zip spindle design completely eliminates slippage. If you’ve ever busted a knuckle when tightening the spindle lock you’ll appreciate the design.
Hornady makes a total of 5 different dies: the full-length sizing die, the standard seating die, the taper crimp seating die, the standard expanding die, and the straight wall sizing die. Clearly different calibers will need different dies based on their overall design. You won’t get all five dies for one caliber. If you’ve looked at the 5.56mm and compared it to the .45-70, it’s easy to see design differences.
The set is made of carbide so case lube is not required when reloading; this also extends case life. The expander die makes it easy to reload projectiles into the case, and mitigates forcing the projectile into the case. Hornady dies are quite versatile and they are expensive, but they offer a lot of features that make reloading so much more enjoyable. They’re easily among the best reloading dies on the market.
Die (and Not in a Bad Way)
When you consider your reloading setup the dies are easily considered the heart of the system. With this in mind you have to choose the right dies for you. Good dies make all the difference when it comes to precision, consistency, and accuracy. A crappy set of dies can make rounds imprecise, cause feeding issues, and ejecting issues. Good luck!
Owner of Reloaderaddict.com, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.