Lee Ultimate rifle die set

KSB209

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Just curious if this set is any good? It seems inexpensive for a 4 piece die set. I hate to say I judge things based on price but I do think you get what you pay for. What is the difference between a $50 die set (Lee ultimate rifle dies) and a $200+ die set that only has resized and seating dies?

I can understand if it is quality of material used but is there something more?
 

QuietTexan

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There are significant design differences between the FL sizing die in a Lee set and the sizing options from Redding/ Whidden/ Forster, etc. Mainly the Lee set doesn't have a bushing option, but even then the high dollar sizing dies are going to be cut more precisely, with better finish, and have more options in terms of what you can get the internal dimensions cut to. The seating die is also fairly different in that it obviously lacks a micrometer stem adjustment, and also doesn't have a sliding body insert so alignment in the seating process isn't as precise. The collet neck sizer also has some interesting utilizations, but without a body die in the set you have to use the FL sizing die eventually so it's not a perfect solution to working necks less.

The FCD die is unique, invaluable, and I have one in most calibers I load for. ButterBean has a set of instructions on how to use it as a tuning step in the loading process.

Lee makes less expensive stuff. It's fine, it works, it makes loaded rounds. But you're asking what's the difference between a Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty by saying they're all trucks. They're built for different things, the question is do you need what the more expensive ones offer you? If you need to pull a 20,000# gooseneck the Ranger is going to tick you off and ultimately not be functional for you. If you're loading mixed headstamp pickup brass using a powder drop and Core Lokts it's not going to matter what die you use; the consistency of the die isn't the limiting factor in the quality of your load. If you use a Prometheus to put a charge into annealed Lapua cases and seat pointed Bergers over it all you don't want a poorly cut die to be what ****es away all the effort and cost you put in to get to that point.

Do you want to make some handloads to go pop a whitetail under a feeder at 50 yards with a 270? Or do you want to make first round hits at 1,500 yards? It's a spectrum, so pick where you fall along it.
 

KSB209

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I’m not a 1000 yard guy by a long shot. I just want to start loading my own. I’m more of a hunter that wants a new hobby (reloading). I also want to load Hammer bullets for hunting and a long shot for me is 300-400 yards.
 

Hespco

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I have Lee brand dies for several cals. 24, 6.5 , 270 ,7mm . 30 cal. They all use the Lee collet neck sizer, which is in the Ultimate set you mention. It turns out extremely accurate loads with common hunting bullets. Sierra, Hornady , Nosler, etc. No problem with well under 1" groups. Some running 1/2" & under. I have checked the run out on rounds neck sized with the Lee collet die & it is almost nothing. I have other more expensive dies , but they do not load ammo for me that is one bit more accurate than ammo loaded with the Lee . For your hunting ammo Lee will absolutely please you.
 

whirlwindjml

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Rathdrum Idaho
I would buy that set and then but a body die separate to bump the shoulder back.

Basically you would only collet neck size, bump the shoulder and use the lee seat die.
That's worked great for me for decades.
 

QuietTexan

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What press and scale are you using? If you're new, those will likely cost you more and be more important in the long run.
 

KSB209

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Have access to RCBS. I haven’t bought my own yet. Scale is just a digital scale. In the next few months I plan on buying my own equipment. Not sure what I am going to get yet. Availability will probably dictate what I buy when I am ready
 

P7M13

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There are significant design differences between the FL sizing die in a Lee set and the sizing options from Redding/ Whidden/ Forster, etc. Mainly the Lee set doesn't have a bushing option, but even then the high dollar sizing dies are going to be cut more precisely, with better finish, and have more options in terms of what you can get the internal dimensions cut to. The seating die is also fairly different in that it obviously lacks a micrometer stem adjustment, and also doesn't have a sliding body insert so alignment in the seating process isn't as precise. The collet neck sizer also has some interesting utilizations, but without a body die in the set you have to use the FL sizing die eventually so it's not a perfect solution to working necks less.

The FCD die is unique, invaluable, and I have one in most calibers I load for. ButterBean has a set of instructions on how to use it as a tuning step in the loading process.

Lee makes less expensive stuff. It's fine, it works, it makes loaded rounds. But you're asking what's the difference between a Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty by saying they're all trucks. They're built for different things, the question is do you need what the more expensive ones offer you? If you need to pull a 20,000# gooseneck the Ranger is going to tick you off and ultimately not be functional for you. If you're loading mixed headstamp pickup brass using a powder drop and Core Lokts it's not going to matter what die you use; the consistency of the die isn't the limiting factor in the quality of your load. If you use a Prometheus to put a charge into annealed Lapua cases and seat pointed Bergers over it all you don't want a poorly cut die to be what ****es away all the effort and cost you put in to get to that point.

Do you want to make some handloads to go pop a whitetail under a feeder at 50 yards with a 270? Or do you want to make first round hits at 1,500 yards? It's a spectrum, so pick where you fall along it.
Well stated.
 

QuietTexan

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Have access to RCBS. I haven’t bought my own yet. Scale is just a digital scale. In the next few months I plan on buying my own equipment. Not sure what I am going to get yet. Availability will probably dictate what I buy when I am ready
Setting goals is going to help you a lot with your choices. I set out initially to make basic hunting rounds, and did that successfully for years with a hand press, some cheap dies, and a pocket scale that ran off AA batteries. But then I got access to 1000+ yard range and decided I wanted to change over to long range, so I went through and started upgrading everything in phases and ended up with a lot of duplicates (I now have 4+ die sets for some chamberings). I was fine with that because it's been a ten year process, and I upgraded rifles and optics as part of it so the reloading tools were (relatively) less expensive parts of the process. I would just hate to see someone start out wanting to play the long range game and get frustrated because the tool they bought since it was available just isn't up to what they want to do, when they should have held out a bit longer and spent the money later on something better long term.

I don't dislike Lee products at all (I own bunch of them), but with companies like Forster selling higher end products for very reasonable prices it makes sense to me to start off better some times.
 

KSB209

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I agree and I don’t mind spending extra dollars on quality components. I’m not rich but a couple hundred bucks here and there isn’t going to break the bank. To be honest I don’t k ow what is good and not. Im sort of judging that on the cost of the pieces I am trying to find and that isn’t always a good idea. The lack of availability right now sucks but it is what it is. I’ll probably be happy with just about anything right now because I don’t know any better. I do like the idea of the foster micrometer seating die even though at this point the functionality of what it can do is probably beyond my knowledge. As far as sizing brass does a $150 die have that much more advantage then a $50 die? If it does will I see it shooting targets and game at 300-400 yards? I figure I can get an inexpensive setup now and practice and then figure out what I need, want to use, or don’t need.
So far I am just reading A LOT, learning the vocabulary, and trying to find the pieces I need.
 

whirlwindjml

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The lee collet die squares the neck against a mandrel. It does so without over working the neck. If you were going to use a cheaper non bushing die the lee collet is what I would use. As mentioned though. At some point the body will stretch and need squeezed. Hence a body die.

A general cheap full length sizer will give lots of neck tension with no way to control it. So I don't use those for what I do.

I use lee collet and reding bushing dies. I have a little of everything. Oh and the micro seating die is a convenient thing but not necessarily a need. It make for faster length changes less trial and error adjustment.
 

Ga6570

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Jan 20, 2019
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SW Montana - Bozeman Area
Just curious if this set is any good? It seems inexpensive for a 4 piece die set. I hate to say I judge things based on price but I do think you get what you pay for. What is the difference between a $50 die set (Lee ultimate rifle dies) and a $200+ die set that only has resized and seating dies?

I can understand if it is quality of material used but is there something more?

you can be more than happy with this Lee die set. I’ve used Lee dies for near 20 years and have great success and accuracy with them.

You’ll notice on their website they tell stories of accuracy and have some pro shooters winning titles and setting records using their dies.

I’ve loaded thousands of rounds with Lee dies and have zero complaints. Purchase and use them with confidence. Following their instructions will make your dies last and work as you desire.
 
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