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Lyman, Redding, & RCBS .40 Die Saga


EdHorton

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I have been using Lyman .40/10mm carbide dies on my single stage since I started reloading for it. I picked them for no other reason than that's what the local shop had on the shelf. For some reason I always thought I wanted Redding or RCBS dies instead, even though I never had a problem. I guess the orange box of the Lyman didn't match or something. Well I picked up a set of RCBS dies a week ago, and as luck would have it, later that night found a used redding set on a local classifieds page, along with a bunch of 40 and 10mm brass. Now I had all three. I was so happy I put the Lyman set up for sale that night and planned testing the RCBS and the Redding to see which one I liked best. Shortly after, I got a message from a local guy wanting to meet and pick them up in a day or two, awesome!

Well, I sure was disappointed in my tests on a pile of once fired brass. The Redding looked like I was putting a rim above the rimless .40, it was sizing so tight. I found a thread on here about that problem and Redding saying you should move the die up until that didn't happen. BS Redding! That only moved the "rim" up, and only went away when the bottom 1/3 wasn't sized. As far as looks went, as long as I didn't pay attention to the "rim" the cases looked awesome, but when I measured them, they were several thousandths small. On to the RCBS. It was the opposite. It didn't seem like it was sizing at all, you could visually see the slight bulge in the rear half of the case, almost like a slight hourglass. I mocked up some rounds, and my KKM barrel wasn't happy, they seemed tighter than I would want. I figured they may work, or I could get a GRx and fix that problem, but who knows. Funny thing, I could drop a case sized in the Redding sizer into the RCBS sizer and pull it out easily. It was actually hard for me to accept I was wasting my time and should've stayed with what worked.

Luckily for me, the prospective buyer backed out and didn't want my Lyman set, he said he found an RCBS set instead. Well after all that, I still have an random orange case sticking out of my stacks of grey and green. Lesson learned.

Anyone have similar experiences with .40 dies? My impressions were if you had a tight/match chamber and only used your (un-bulged) brass the Reddings would work. If you had a Loose chamber and didn't use badly bulged brass the RCBSs would be fine.

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I've used Dillon, Lee (FCD and U-Die), Redding, and RCBS dies for 40.

Long story short:

Redding carbide die is garbage. Let me repeat. Garbage. It is undersized and straight walled (0.415 ID all the way through the carbide ring), with an aggressive radius at the bottom and does leave belts at the bottom of sized brass. You are correct in Redding insisting on only sizing half the case. Complete Garbage - stay away.

RCBS carbide die is garbage. Let me repeat. Garbage. It is OVERSIZED and straight walled (0.421 ID all the way through). This die does not size cases sufficiently to provide adequate neck tension and it resulted in bullets jumping out of brass in the mag then jamming in the rifling when cycled. Then bullets would simply pull out of the brass when extracting loaded rounds. Even worse than Redding.

Lee FCD is the exact same dimension internally as the RCBS die, but it is not a resizing die, simply a push through sizing die (base sizing only, meant to be followed by a true resizing die) or a loaded round resizing die meant to pass the bullet and brass together all the way down to the base.

Lee U-Die is TIGHT, but well designed. It is tapered from about 0.419 at the bottom (base of the case) to 0.412 at the top (case mouth). This is the best die you can buy for reloading 40. Use an expanding die or powder through expander to bell the brass prior to seating bullets.

Dillon die is second only to the Lee U-Die in design. It is 0.416 at the top and about 0.421 at the bottom. This die will not belt the bottom of most range brass and will provide adequate neck tension. If you had to choose between this and the U-Die, I'd take the U-Die but you may still end up with a belted case or two with the U-Die.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really like the design of the Redding dual-ring, but unless I come across a used one for a good price, I'll use my $115 elsewhere.

I just got a Dillon Square Deal, and I'm hoping the SDB .40 sizer is the same ID as their standard version. If I go to a 550, I'll probably use the Dillon, and the Lee as a second choice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I will lay it out for you as it was explained to me. Lee Udie for sizing, Dillon flare and powder drop, Hornady seating die with the sleeve that aligns the bullets and Lee factory crimp die.

I am so grateful for this information I received here on Benos. Yes it costs a little more to assemble the die set versus buying all from one manufacturer, but you will not be disappointed. Ammo that fits a tight match chamber every time and never needs gauged from the get go. Color me happy. I have sets for 9, 40 and 45 and do not regret a thing.

I have experience with sets from RCBS and Lyman, nothing on the Redding front. Both were adequate for making ammo for factory guns, but did not want to make good ammo for tight match chambers.

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