Congratulations! You’ve discovered the cost-effective process of reloading ammo! (Well, or you’re looking to expand equipment/knowledge/whatever). You may already know what a reloading press is and its general function — to manually produce your own ammo from used casings rather than buy ’em from the store.
Most reloading presses require a powder scale, a dial caliper, a tumbler for cleaning your brass, and a high-quality reloading die set. This article is all about the best reloading dies money can buy.
A set of 2 dies is minimum — one resizes/deprimes the ammo, and one crimps it. Anything beyond a set of 2 dies is icing on top of the cake.
Regardless of your current knowledge, Gun University ensures you have all the tools needed to make the most informed decision possible — including convenient links to buy on Amazon and other places.
List of Best Reloading Dies
Top Reloading Dies
Best Reloading Die Rundown
- Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Sets
- RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set
- Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set
- Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set
- Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set
- Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set
Best Reloading Die Sets: Individual Reviews
Now that we’ve had an overview look at our list, let us take the time to review each Reloading Die Set individually. This section will look at each specific entry.
Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Set Review
What are the best reloading dies on the market? Redding produces the best reloading die sets on the market. Known for their precisely-made, high-quality tools, Redding has produced a set of bushing dies that outshine the quality of any competitor.
The Redding Type S Match bushing full die set hand-polished die set comes with 2 dies:
- Type S full-length bushing die
- Competition-level seating die
The interchangeable bushings it comes with allows for any desired adjustments to the sizing or tension.
Redding also offers a full-length sizing die. But if you’re specifically looking for a full-length sizing die, I recommend Forster.
Who makes the best reloading dies? Redding makes the best reloading dies, even though they’re more expensive. However, I don’t recommend competition-level dies unless you’re actually entering competitions. Otherwise, it’s unnecessary.
Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Set Pros and Cons
- 2 Dies – Comes with 2 sets of bushing dies
- Um… – Can’t really think of any tbh
Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Set Deals
RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set Review
Another 2-die set from another reputable company, this full-length neck bushing set from RCBS includes one sizing die and one seater die. With the use of a self-centering interchangeable neck bushing, overworking brass cases can be reduced.
The additions in this RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading die set to increase the lifespan and accuracy of your ammo casing. Go with this RCBS die-set, and you’ll understand why they are the leading manufacturer of reloading equipment for semi-automatic rifles and pistols.
RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set Pros and Cons
- Quality – Widely considered to be the best one RCBS (or anyone) makes
- Expensive – Much higher priced than some competitors
RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set Deals
Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set Review
Used as rifle dies, this custom-grade 3-die set contains everything you need for the entire crimping process. Being the only set on this list to be made from titanium nitride, the Hornady Series II Taper Crimp die set is sure to last longer than others.
Hornady’s Blackout Custom Grade 2-die set is also worth looking into if you don’t need all 3 dies.
Are Hornady dies good? Yes, Hornady dies are good because of their proven reliability and their solid reputation that they were able to build for a reason.
Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set Pros and Cons
- Split locking rings- Not imperative but very convenient
- A little rough – Some users find it necessary to polish the stem and collar
Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set Deals
Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set Review
This hardened-steel 3-die set includes more than just the dies. You also get a universal shell holder and powder dipper. Both of these items can cost more than $35 if purchased separately.
Possibly the best value on this list, this Lee Precision 38-55 3-die set shows that they are determined to produce quality tools at an affordable price.
It’s worth noting that I’ve heard friends and colleagues decry Lee Precision’s collet dies. If you’re going for a collet die, I suggest Redding.
Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set Pros and Cons
- Full set – Includes universal shell holder and powder dipper
- Sizing – Some users report the 38-55 is actually 375 WIN
Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set Deals
Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set Review
The Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3-die set is one of the best bottleneck rifle die sets on the market. With the addition of the neck sizing die, Lyman has removed problems with overworking the casing. This increases the longevity of your rifle rounds.
With a new carbide expander assembly and free-floating carbide sizing button, manual lubrication is no longer needed. Lyman shows us once again that they can produce tools with as much durability as anyone in the industry.
Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set Pros and Cons
- Pro –
- Pro –
- Con –
- Con –
Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set Deals
Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set Review
A modified version of the most popular three die set on the market, Lee Precision adds in their carbide factory crimp die to complete the set. This set is sure to put a smile on any owner of a handgun.
Being the only 4-die set on this list, the Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4-die set includes:
You may have noticed this die set doesn’t include lock rings or neck sizing. Still, it’s a great product.
Lee Precision, the only brand with two spots on this list, claims: “No other die set at any price will produce more reliable or accurate ammo.” Although Lee usually focuses more on budget than the highest quality, their reloading dies are pretty darn good.
Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set Pros and Cons
- Pro –
- Sometimes sticky – Complaints of stuck cases even with lube
Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set Deals
How To Reload Ammo
Reloading your own ammo is a time-consuming yet rewarding habit that boasts numerous benefits.
For certain presses, reloading a single round of ammunition may require multiple steps, many adjustments, and numerous types of dies and other components. For other presses, one pull of the lever is all you need.
There are 3 main types of presses:
- Single-stage press
- Progressive press
- Turret press
These presses each have their own pros and cons. Each ranges in difficulty of use. Let’s cover all 3 really quickly.
Best Single Stage Reloading Press is an excellent read if you want to know more.
If you’re looking for speed and high volume (not so much perfect precision), read our article on the Best Progressive Reloading Presses.
Unlike competitors, our Best Turret Press article covers the highest quality turret reloading presses without any other type creeping in.
What is a reloading die?
What is a reloading die? A reloading die is a critical component of a reloading press intended for the uncapping, resizing, bullet seating, and/or crimping of the casing. You need different dies for each action. Good reloading press kits usually include 3-4 dies in a set.
The quality of your reloading dies can make or break the quality of rounds you are producing. This can directly affect your safety at the gun range.
Pro tip: Don’t put too little powder in your casing when you reload ammo. Not enough powder may mean a bullet stuck in the chamber, which could lead to an exploding firearm.
Benefits of Reloading Dies
The benefits of reloading dies, a necessary part of the reloading process:
What reloading dies should I buy? 4 Questions To Ask Yourself
The type of reloading die set you should buy depends on the calibers of rounds you plan on utilizing these sets for.
Before deciding upon a type of die set, ask yourself 4 questions:
1. “What caliber of ammo do I plan on reloading?”
Each die set is only for the intended caliber. You might want to start with your most commonly used ammo and see if you want to expand to your other calibers needed. Check and make sure that your press can accommodate a larger, long range caliber before purchasing a desired die set.
Simple 2-die sets usually contain a full length sizing die and seating die. The 3- and 4-die sets obviously contain extra components that help with powder and crimping.
2. “What are the different types of dies?”
Not all dies are universal. You need to figure out which types of dies you need. Make sure the die set you select will manufacture the proper ammunition for your specific cartridges.
Here are the different dies you may receive in a die set:
- removes the old primer and reshapes the case into its desired caliber
- trimming the casings is important for reloading rifle or high-caliber rounds, less often for pistol rounds
- accurately aligns and securely seats the bullet within its casing — also called a bullet seater die, this can make adjustments to the nearest micrometer with the addition of a seating stem
- common for handgun ammo, adds reinforced strength to the case neck of your rounds
- resizes the mouth of your casing, allowing for the seating process to occur — an expander die only necessary when using a progressive reloader with an auto-indexing feature
3. “Which reloading dies are interchangeable?”
All reloading dies generally have the same size thread. Therefore, you can use them in various brands of different reloading presses. But it is always wise to check thread dimensions.
The exception to this is with some of the older model presses. As long as the diameter of the threads is compatible with your press, then you’re safe.
4. “Which die material is best for me?”
Die sets generally come in steel or carbide. Although steel dies are cheaper, you can get more than 18 times the amount of uses from carbide dies.
You get what you pay for.
Looking for more firearm info?
Hopefully, our list helped you make an informed, confident decision about what you’re investing in. You must do your own research before making a large purchase like this, especially one that can dictate your safety at the range.
Also, if you haven’t reloaded before, we highly recommend reading a reloading manual to fully understand the time-consuming but money-saving process.
Completely new to guns? Here is a great place to start that covers the basics.
If you are not new to guns, and simply want to know more about which firearm to purchase, you can always count on our trustworthy recommendations for firearms themselves as well! Here’s rifles and here’s how to buy a gun online.
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