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  1. #1
    Plinker

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    Talking Upgraded from Lee to Dillon dies

    I got started in reloading over 15 years ago, using used Lee equipment, including dies. Even though I've upgraded the press to a Hornady LNL with case feeder, I stuck with the original dies that I had. I've loaded umteen thousand 9mm bullets in that time with pretty good results, but lately have noticed having issues with the brass trying to stick in the Lee depriming/sizing die. Also, I have to watch the seater die as it will knock the bullet over if it is crooked when entering. I finally took the plunge and upgraded the dies to Dillon dies.

    I quickly setup the dies and gave them a workout making up 500 147gn cartridges. What a difference! It doesn't seem like much but the chamfer on the depriming die allows the cases to enter that station much easier. The seating die has a very wide funnel that easily straightened out anything going in. Every thing just feels much smoother.

    My biggest issue is I have about 5 other calibers I load for and my pocket book is going to really squeal for me to upgrade all those as well!

    --Rick

  2. #2
    Sharpshooter

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    You get what you pay for, Dillon makes some fine products, but some other die makes produce some fine dies.
    About everyone starts with common/low cost, some progress faster than others and/or just try new things.

  3. #3
    Marksman

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    Thats funny! I started with Dillon and now I'm converting all my CAS calibers to use the Lee Factory Crimp dies. I cast my own bullets and they iron out the occassional fat one. The Dillon die works great for commercial cast or jacketed bullets though.

  4. #4
    Sharpshooter

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    Like a blind pig, Lee found an acorn a few times, the collet crimp die is most certainly one of those.
    On the stuff I crimp, I use a Lee collet die.

    The basic 3 hole & 4 hole tool head presses (Lee calls them 'Turret', but it's a tool head press) are another acorn.
    These are crazy fast for case & tear down tools, a tool head taking a hot 2 seconds to swap out.
    I buy up the first generation of each when I see them for cheap, a near perfect companion for a high volume progressive press.
    They do OK on loading also (but the auto indexing version I don't much care for...).

    Lee makes low budget case & bullet feeding tubes that work on other machines (Like Dillon), but I wouldn't call them exceptional by any standard.
    Good for guys cranking out a days shooting ammo with minimum fuss on a progressive.

    When I use a bullet feeder, load all primer tubes in advance, lube all cases in advance, and leave a funnel in the powder bin for extra powder capacity, I can reach 1,000 rounds an hour, and with the Lee tool head press right there, no 'Mystery Rounds' on the bench, taking down quality control culls is a snap...


  5. #5
    Master Hohn's Avatar

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    Lee has worked fine for my 9mm and .223 loads, but i'll probably use a honed Forster for 6.5CM.

    I do prefer the better finish of the Forsters.

  6. #6
    Expert ru44mag's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post
    Like a blind pig, Lee found an acorn a few times, the collet crimp die is most certainly one of those.
    On the stuff I crimp, I use a Lee collet die.

    The basic 3 hole & 4 hole tool head presses (Lee calls them 'Turret', but it's a tool head press) are another acorn.
    These are crazy fast for case & tear down tools, a tool head taking a hot 2 seconds to swap out.
    I buy up the first generation of each when I see them for cheap, a near perfect companion for a high volume progressive press.
    They do OK on loading also (but the auto indexing version I don't much care for...).

    Lee makes low budget case & bullet feeding tubes that work on other machines (Like Dillon), but I wouldn't call them exceptional by any standard.
    Good for guys cranking out a days shooting ammo with minimum fuss on a progressive.

    When I use a bullet feeder, load all primer tubes in advance, lube all cases in advance, and leave a funnel in the powder bin for extra powder capacity, I can reach 1,000 rounds an hour, and with the Lee tool head press right there, no 'Mystery Rounds' on the bench, taking down quality control culls is a snap...


    1000 rounds per hour!!! WOW!!!

    If I told you how many I can load in an hour you would

  7. #7
    Sharpshooter

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    I wouldn't laugh...
    I started on a Herters angle press that grandpa had, changing dies for each step of the process. We had hand presses too.
    Until I had room (16 years in the Marines) I used a hand loader since it would fit in a gear bag.
    .
    I won't spend money on something that won't serve me, a 'Hobby' has to produce something.
    I traded around for bench presses, did work for them, etc.
    i got a Lee 'Turret' press and couldn't believe how much faster it was since I could rotate the tool head & complete a round.
    I thought I was in tall cotton!
    Not crazy accurate, but good enough to partner with a Rock Chucker single and Lee used all common case holders & dies, so no retool/proprietary dies.
    .
    I got some stinkers, Lee Load Masters caused the most time & trouble.
    If I never have to deal with a Load Master again it will be too soon...
    .
    My wife got tired of never seeing me and hearing cussing from the shop and bought me a Dillon XL650, one of the LMs got beat off the bench with a hammer...
    The Dillon worked better out of he box untuned than the LMs ever ran.
    Tuned it rarely misses a beat.
    I hear guys talk about Lee and others running 'Flawlessly' and I know it's not true, everything glitches- fact of life.
    Dillon does run smoother & longer than any press I've pulled the handle on, but nothing is perfect.
    .
    When I got into volume brass resizing, I bought a Camdex machine.
    It will run 3,300 an hour, with very few glitches.
    Starting cost is around $28,000 so it better run long & smooth!
    A Camdex loader will start about $54,000 ready to run, so no I don't own or load ammo on a Camdex.
    .
    I can actually do most anything on a $2,000 Dillon super 1050, but you have to throw about another $1,000 or more at a drive for commercial production.
    A Super 1050 is an excellent loading machine, even for heavy rifle calibers,
    but extra tool heads cost $200 for quicker caliber changes so it's not cheap by any means.
    .
    My bench rifles still get ammo made on a 40-45 year old Rock Chucker, its dead repeatable accurate.
    The Lee 'Turret' is about 40 years old, and still works fine as the companion tool press to my XL650 for tooling/teardown press.
    Still stupid fast to change tool heads & case holders, and all the common dies/tools work.

    The point is, don't throw the baby out with the bath water...
    If it works well, then it's good to go.
    I don't care about 'Color'/brand, if it works- it works.

    Some things 'Work', but other things 'Feel' better (ergonomics),
    which is why I build benchs and stuff that 'Fits Me'.
    My bad back/shoulder require me to sit down,
    so I started from scratch with my big butt in a comfortable chair and went from there.
    My old RCBS powder thrower got a custom stand and some custom loading blocks made the process much easier from a fat guy chair...

    There are as many ways to do the same thing as there are reloaders.
    A less expensive press and good dies is an economical way to get good rounds, doesn't matter the 'Color',
    The only ones that aggravate me are the 'Fan Boys' of a specific brand.
    Not every maker has the hot ticket for the ammo YOU want to make, so I have ZERO issues with mix-n-match if it produces what YOU want.

  8. #8
    Sharpshooter bgcatty's Avatar

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    Everyone finds their own way and what works for them in reloading. Probably countless members here started out with Lee dies and changed or stayed with Lee dies. To each his own is the norm in reloading. Peace. Out.
    If you always do what you've always done you will only get what you've always gotten.

  9. #9
    hps
    hps is offline
    Expert hps's Avatar

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    45 and 9mm,, Lee has worked for yrs!! LOTS OF 45 ammo LOTS!!! NO ISSUES at all!! They stand behind their product and so will I.
    I bought a used 550 for a good price. Its still sitting thr. I keep telling myself to set it up but I've used this turrent press for so long w/ZERO ISSUES!!

  10. #10
    Sharpshooter

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    Quote Originally Posted by hps View Post
    45 and 9mm,, Lee has worked for yrs!! LOTS OF 45 ammo LOTS!!! NO ISSUES at all!! They stand behind their product and so will I.
    I bought a used 550 for a good price. Its still sitting thr. I keep telling myself to set it up but I've used this turrent press for so long w/ZERO ISSUES!!
    Dirt simple (Keep It Stupid Simple) works well for me in a lot of things,
    But the volume simply got to be too much for a single or tool head, so off to self indexing progressive with case & bullet feeders.

    When I talk about old Jeeps or old tractors I get the same looks from those respective 'Power Everything' groups.
    Old tractors & Jeeps have the same qualities in common,
    Often over built for the basic use, stupid simple to work on, operate as designed without frills...
    Old Jeeps & Tractors are the same as 'Rock Chuckers', if you break one to the point of uselessness then you were doing something wrong!

    If it still works for you, then it's exactly what you need.

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