Lee Carbide dies 357

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mickbr
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Lee Carbide dies 357

#1 Post by mickbr » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:22 am

I've only used regular steel dies for my 357 (lee 3 die set) and was looking to get the 4 die carbide set. Do these really work without lube? Anyones life improved switching to these? I dont load huge volumes but up for making the job easier if its worthwhile.

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#2 Post by GunnyMack » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:29 am

No lube needed with carbide, they do speed up the process.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#3 Post by AmBraCol » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:35 am

The carbide type of dies definitely make reloading straight wall cases easier. I started with a Lee Loader in 38 spl but the fact that it only neck sizes and also requires lube lead me to invest in a Lee Speed Die way back when. That made things much easier. Going to the four die set with a separate seating and crimping die makes for an easier life no doubt.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#4 Post by jnyork » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:44 am

Get 'em. I cant imagine having to lube a bunch of pistol cases now.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#5 Post by J Miller » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:54 am

jnyork wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:44 am
Get 'em. I cant imagine having to lube a bunch of pistol cases now.
Ditto.

I started with a lee loader as well and progressed to regular dies then to carbide dies. The carbide dies are more than worth the added cost. They make loading pistol ammo soooooo much easier.

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#6 Post by piller » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:58 am

I have carbide dies for the pistol cartridges I load for. It is only 6 calibers, but I started with a die set that had to be lubed. After I found a carbide die set for that original caliber, .480 Ruger, there hasn't been anything but carbide dies in my posession for pistol calibers. They save time. After tumbling the brass, wash it and resize and deprime it without need for lube. No need to wash it again to remove the lube. I have never had a carbide die get stuck. I have had non carbide dies get stuck.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#7 Post by earlmck » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:07 pm

My quality of life was greatly improved over 50 years ago with the addition of a Herter's carbide die. I wore that one out (did you know you could even do that?) and have used a Hornady for the last 20 years or so. Can't imagine life without my carbide (or titanium nitride in Hornady's case) size dies for anything straight-wall.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#8 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:58 pm

Never used anything but carbide, since switching from my Lee Loader (mallet-type). Mostly for 44 Mag.

Also checkout the Lee "rifle-type" factory crimp dies - they are great versus the roll-crimpers IMHO.

Note they are a special-order item if the cartridge is a "pistol" one, so the 44 Mag ('pistol') FCD is different than the 44-40 ('rifle') FCD.

I am not a big fan of the 'pistol' type ones, but ordered a set of 'rifle' ones for 357 Mag, 44 Mag, and 45 Colt a few years ago. $25 each I think.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#9 Post by 765x53 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:14 pm

You can buy the carbide sizing die alone, to upgrade your set. https://www.titanreloading.com/lee-prec ... sizing-die
Last edited by 765x53 on Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#10 Post by mikld » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:57 pm

Yep, carbide sizing dies are easier to use and lubing is not necessary. But, with some presses with low leverage and maybe some "fat" cases, lube won't hurt anything. Sometimes when I'm sizing on my old Pacific "C" press I'll lube mebbe one out of five or six cases lightly and that does make sizing even easier, especially 44 Magnum brass...

FWIW, all my Lee Loaders full length size straight walled cases; 38/357, 44 Sp./44 Mag, 45 Colt. My bottle necked Lee Loaders neck size; .223, 30-06. 7.63x54r and 303 British...
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#11 Post by wm » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:00 pm

jnyork wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:44 am
Get 'em. I cant imagine having to lube a bunch of pistol cases now.

What he said.

Wm

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#12 Post by KWK » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:11 pm

I'm extra lazy and don't even properly clean my cases, just wipe them off. The carbide dies handle this fine. I've become so lazy I select chamberings based on whether I can get either a carbide or a Lee Collet die for it.

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#13 Post by BlaineG » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:43 pm

KWK wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:11 pm
I'm extra lazy and don't even properly clean my cases, just wipe them off. The carbide dies handle this fine. I've become so lazy I select chamberings based on whether I can get either a carbide or a Lee Collet die for it.
Mr. Lee himself, in his reloading book, mentions that his carbide dies work better with non-shiney brass.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#14 Post by gundownunder » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:39 pm

I don't use lube normally, but if I'm doing a big batch of nickel cases I will because nickel is tougher than brass. It does make them slip through the die easier, so less strain on my arthritis.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#15 Post by mickbr » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:29 am

Thanks for that folks I am going to get them. Now as to what to do with my old set, sell or keep them as spares...

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#16 Post by wm » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:12 am

Spares …… IMO you won't get enough for them to make it worthwhile selling them and having a back up is generally never a bad idea.

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#17 Post by AmBraCol » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:45 am

wm wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:12 am
Spares …… IMO you won't get enough for them to make it worthwhile selling them and having a back up is generally never a bad idea.

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#18 Post by Larkbill » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:44 am

Just buy the sizing die! And while you're at it buy the .357 Max version. It will work on .38 Spl, >357 Mag and Maximum if you ever decide to mess with that too.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#19 Post by COSteve » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:48 am

I use Lee Deluxe Carbide 4 die sets in all 7 of my straight walled pistol calibers. Don't need any lube in any of them and they've lasted for 10s of thousands of rds.

I also have a Lee carbide resizing die for my 30 Carbine, however, with it's slight taper, lubing the brass like a necked rd makes it much easier to cycle my Dillon 650, even with the roller handle.

In addition, while I use Dillon resizing dies on my other 8 necked rifle calibers because of their carbide resizing ball vs Lee's steel wedge, I still get Lee's Pacesetter die sets for the bullet seater and FC dies as they are hand adjustable vs Dillon's needing a wrench.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#20 Post by Larkbill » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:30 am

I've found that on the .30 Carbine too. Though I use a lanolin lube on every 4th or 5th one but I'm just on a single stage press or at best a Lee Turret.
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#21 Post by Sixgun » Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:36 pm

Carbide dies are great but.......I still give them a light spray...makes it much easier...don't even bother to wipe them off.

The downside of carbide....if your an accuracy nut, take measurements of the finished sized case. Some, especially the 45 Long Colt are worthless as they size them down too much and the loaded round will tilt in the chamber, causing the bullet to enter the rifling crooked...not much, but any amount is too much. Some single actions are chambered "fat" and carbide dies will make a little problem worse. Your call---6
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#22 Post by stretch » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:57 am

Mr. Lee himself, in his reloading book, mentions that his carbide dies work better with non-shiney brass.
And they'll be shinier once they go through the carbide die! 8)

I use carbide dies in all of my pistol and revolver calibers with no trouble.
No lube needed. Clean cases help.

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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#23 Post by Ysabel Kid » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:20 pm

I use Lee Precision carbide dies for all my straight-walled handgun reloading. They work great! :D
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Re: Lee Carbide dies 357

#24 Post by AJMD429 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:45 pm

'Extra' dies can be useful if you have them adjusted for a bullet that you use less often, at least the seating and/or crimping ones. A whole 'set' installed on a turret insert or equivalent can make 'adjusting the dies' a mostly one-time chore; instead you just switch turret inserts, and you're already-adjusted dies are ready to go.
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