Re: Looking to Start Reloading
Old time reloaders clearly have their favorites. I bought a Lyman 9mm Luger TC set last year and the sizer would not reduce the cases enough to retain the bullets, you could seat them with finger pressure. Lyman offered to replace the die at no cost but I bought an RCBS set instead. The Lyman sizer works as a final sizing die. My 9mm sets are used as follows: RCBS sizer, Lyman "M" neck expander, Lyman seater, RCBS seater without seating stem set as tapered crimp only, faulty Lyman sizer as final sizing die. The beauty of this set up is I don't change any settings on the dies except seating depth and nose punch shape, just screw the right die into the press and go. I would've done it this way to start but the faulty die just pushed it ahead. I am thrilled with the outcome!
My first die set bought way back in 1971 was a Lyman TC 357Mag. Literally 100k (not a typo) rounds with that set and they are flawless. So do I change because Lyman screwed up the 9mm? No because Manufactures screw up and the good ones fix it.
I have Lee die sets in combination with other manufactures and most of their stuff is as good or better, they just don't do ANY spit and polish. Lee's collet neck sizer is the best neck sizer period! Same with their factory crimp dies.
Just bought my first Hornaday die set in 375 Ruger and the quality is commendable. they use the same style of sliding collar seating die that the best of them do. Would I buy another set? You bet! I would like one of their seaters for every rifle caliber I own.
I suppose my ideal set would look like this: 1) universal decapper, 2) RCBS full length small base sizer (with NO neck expander) followed by using the Lee collet neck sizer exclusively after fire - forming in rifle calibers or Redding Dual - Ring carbide in pistol calibers, 3) Lyman "M" neck expander in all calibers, 4) Redding or Hornaday sliding collar bullet seater, 5) Lee Factory Crimp die as needed.
Does that seem strange? It's not. Those are the best attributes I have found in those dies. But it is minutia in the long run. Buy a good set of dies and spend as much as you need for the quality level you want. You can add capability over time.
Just to throw another rock; there is a big difference in powder measures. Belding & Mull is the best with Redding a good second.