Buying used dies?


Active Member
Nov 17, 2011
Cordell & Stillwater OK
Heys folk, I have a quick question. I'm beginning to build up my reloading equipment, and I was wondering what your thoughts are on buying used dies over the web, such as ebay, c-list, forum classifieds, or the growing popular facebook buy& sell pages. The dies I would be looking for are 223, 22-250, 25-06, and 300 win mag.
Thanks for opinions!
Can't go wrong if you stay with a major manufacturer, i.e., RCBS, Redding, Forster, Lee and others. They will replace or repair problem dies.
This it what I found out about dies.The reamer used to cut the size,starts out as the plus tolerance and it's used until it reaches the minus tolerance as it wears down.I had a new die that was on the plus tolerance size that would not resize the brass enough on a tight chambered rifle.I never had a problem using it with other rifles of the same caliber.I was thinking I had a rifle issue and was about ready to take it in to a gunsmith since it was a used rifle with a new barrel.I bought a nice clean old set on Ebay and it sized the brass perfectly for that rifle.So my answer to you question is,a long as they are clean,you should not have a problem with a used set of dies.I've bought several sets on Gunbroker and Ebay without issue,in fact I really prefer the older RCBS dies with the steel allen screw on the aluminum lock ring over the soft brass allen screws the new ones have.
Never had a problem with buying used RCBS dies. Picked up a set for a 22-250 that had a bent decapping assy, one phone call and a new rod with spare pins was in the mail free of charge.
LGS sells used dies for around $15 bucks, usually with the shellholder, i don't see how a guy could go wrong! I look for RCBS sets, any problems and a new one will be on it's way. I have bought many used sets and have yet to find one with a problem, only thing to be sure with is a pistol set, check that they are carbide so you don't have to lube them like the older steel sets, and that the carbide ring is still in them.
Used dies are fine unless they've been physically damaged - and that's hard to do - or rusted, which is easy to do. I've happily purchased quite a few used dies over the years but, considering the modest cost of dies, it hardly seems worthwhile to pay more than 50% of new, delivered, dies. And RCBS certainly doesn't always replace defective used die bodies.

I haven't a clue who or what "LGS" is but most of what I see on eBay these days goes for such high prices that I no longer buy there. Lee's quite excellant new dies with shell holder are rarely much more costly than used dies and new ones quite often end up costing less than used ones!

The personal choice of steel or carbide sizers for pistol rounds isn't as clear as some think, that's why some steel sizers are still around.
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