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3-die or 4-die for new reloader


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I've read several threads discussing the advantage of using seperate seating and crimping dies. I think I understand the issues, including OAL consistancy and bullet setback. I'm a new reloader and would like to ask for advice for my situation from more experienced reloaders.

I have a Dillon RL 550b on the way and have been given a Lee 3-die 9mm die set. It's not a perfect match, but can I use the 3-die set and leave the fourth station empty? If not, can I buy any brand of factory crimp die or do I need to buy a full 4-die set? Or should I instead be thinking of something like the RCBS Lock-Out die for the available station?

I appreciate any advice. I'll be loading 9mm with DP 124gr FMJ bullets and seeking a light range load to begin with. As a new reloader, I'm interested in making safe rounds that I can be proud of. Speed and efficiency can come later.


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I would use your existing seating die in station 3. You should be able to adjust it to seat with no crimp, if its like RCBS die sets. Buy a dillon crimp die from BE to use in station 4. It will give you better finished product. I've been thru this myself with a 550. I wouldn't worry about a lockout die. Always double check everything is adjusted properly and hooked up. You should be good, go slow, minimize distractions ( no tv, phone), visually inspect each case after powder drop.

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