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How interchangeable are things like different brand dies and shell holders to an RCBS press, or collets to a trimmer ETC.? Are t

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  • How interchangeable are things like different brand dies and shell holders to an RCBS press, or collets to a trimmer ETC.? Are t

    How interchangeable are things like different brand dies and shell holders to an RCBS press, or collets to a trimmer ETC.? Are there certain do's and dont's to follow when ordering tools? Or maybe just certain brands to stay away from period?

  • #2
    Shell holders and presses of any brand will generally work OK with each other. Trimmer collets are not interchangeable.

    I did have an issue using, as I recall, I Lee shellholder in a Hornady trimmer. The hold through the center through which the case rod passed was too small.

    I have used Lee, Hornady and RCBS dies and shellholders. All work acceptablly. Lee dies don't have a locking ring, but use a friction-fit o-ring set up that works OK, but I prefer a set screw instead. RCBS dies are finished very nicely, which is a cosmetic thing, really.

    I have sat in front of a Lee press before, although I do not own one. It didn't seem quite as solid as my RCBS, but that is the limit of my experience. I've used the same single-stage press for almost 30 years, so any other is probably going to feel "off" for me.

    Same for powder measures: I have a Redding that has been really solid for the last 30 years, and will probably continue to be that was for as long as necessary. Redding stuff is a step up in price, it seems. I tried out a Lee measure once; wasn't a fan.

    Balance scales: Had the cheapest RCBS until my pointer killed it. It worked well. Replaced it with a Hornady, which has worked well for 10 years now. I don;t think it is made anymore with all the digital scales out there. I used a Lee: not a fan of the adjustment setup.

    Kind of sounds like I'm not liking Lee stuff, now that I read this. I guess I would say that you can spend more money and get a little better ergonomics and feel. But then Lee products are supposed to be attractively priced. I have no doubt that you could make just as good of loads with their products as you could with similar brands.

    Probably more information and opinion than you asked for!


    • #3
      Most dies are interchangeable with presses but as Amflyer points out, trimmer components generally are not. Lee collet neck sizing dies are very good. Lee Factory Crimp Dies cannot be beat. I have RCBS and Lee dies and never had an issue with either except Lee's newer dies seem to be a little less polished than before.


      • #4
        What part of Maine did you live in? P-H-W


        • #5
          The second largest lobstering community in the world; Friendship, Maine- population: 1,200. Where did you spend the holidays?


          • #6
            WAM and AM- thank you. Those were just the answers I was looking for. I'm budget shopping but refuse to purchase lesser quality (with-in reason). I'm really not sure on the brass care end of things. Most anything I've done by way of reloading was just that. Reloading. And not to attain accuracy either, but to shoot more with a friend, for cheaper.


            • #7
              I guess I'm partial but I don't use anything but RCBS tools. I have had my RCBS press for over 35 years and it has served me well. I have 34 sets of RCBS dies and they have been fine. I have stuck 2 .223 cases over the past 30 years and one call to RCBS had me a new die, free of charge, in a couple of days. I know I could have bought a stuck case remover , but why ? The people at RCBS are tops at customer service as far as I am concerned. The first case I stuck I called them and the rep I got on the phone talked and talked and was in no hurry to get me off the phone. He asked me about the service my press and all of my other dies and RCBS tools were giving me. The have sent me several decapping rods that I have seemed to break too. In fact when he was talking to me I mentioned I had broken a .270 rod and he said to be sure he would send me 2. I have never dealt with a better company. Every time they send me a rod they send me a pack of decapping pins along too.


              • #8
                Both of my presses are RCBS as are most of my dies, but I have a few sets of Redding dies for a few varmint-busting cartridges, and two sets of Hornady dies, all fit and work properly in the RCBS press, but (whatever the die manufacturer) I must use the RCBS shellholders that are appropriate to the cartridge in RCBS presses.


                • #9
                  Great answers to your questions above. I use mainly RCBS dies and press. I use the very inexpensive Lee case trimmer and priming tool. Not because they are the least expensive but because they work better for me than any other type product. I use the Forrester neck turning tool. You can do without this for a while but will need it by about your fifth reload to maintain accuracy. Best of luck.


                  • #10
                    Bristol Maine. Very nice state. I love it there.


                    • #11
                      p-h-w, I suspect you will get hooked on accuracy in your new home. You have lots of wide open space and will see lots of game that is way out there. The rifles you have been considering and may have purchased by now are all capable of long range accuracy.

                      A good barrel, good chamber alignment and good bedding are the key contributors to accuracy. However, once you have that, building accurate cartridges pays off. Check out for some good articles on case prep and precision loading. It isn't really too difficult.

                      For example, one of my nephews was having trouble with his 25-06. Felt it was a terrible cartridge... he was having trouble hitting an antelope at 200 yards. He stopped over for a look/see and we discovered that although he reloaded for years, he had never trimmed nor neck turned his cases. They chambered hard and couldn't hit a pie plate at 100 yards. We quickly fixed them and he was shocked to see his Savage shooting 1/4 inch groups at 100 yards.


                      • #12
                        Seth- when I was building houses with my father we built several in South Bristol. You were about 15 miles south on the coast as the crow flies from my home town. It takes 45-50 minutes to drive there as its penninsula to penninsula. Did you go to Christmas cove, or the bridge? I bought all my bluefin tuna tackle at Tightlines tackle in Walpole. It's pretty country and I miss the Ocean, but I've got a fever for Wyoming now also.

                        PS- my brother and sister in law live in Damariscotta (sp?).


                        • #13
                          Thank you guys, I'm sorry if I seem repetitive in my questions but you've all been very helpful. I think for the most part I'm going to stick to all RCBS dies and holders. I like the idea of the cheaper Lee case trimmer and primer tool Dakota mentioned and I think I'll try it. I'll have both the Speer and Hornady manuals when they arrive. I'm sure my accessories included with the kit are on the lesser end, but hope that they'll get me started until I can trade up.

                          Dakota- my hope is to attain sub to .75 MOA or better, and complete 500 yard (or less) shots with a bullet with enough shock to bring down elk, or a separate bullet to roll a coyote. I am not the best shot and sure I couldn't compete, but feel that I can make clean kills at those distances. Having always had the desire to reload, it was only exaggerated when I saw the wide open spaces. Were blessed to be where we are and I'm excited to use the awesome surroundings to their potential. I will be using the website you gave me for pointers. Thanks again.


                          • #14
                            p-h-w, RCBS is a one of our best companies and they make top notch tools. You can't go wrong with them. You may have picked this up on a previous post but I've used a variety of "crank" type case trimmers (even the RCBS) and generally got to dislike all of them because the handles bent; especially as the cutter dulled and you had to press harder to cut.

                            I put the Lee trimmer in my drill chuck and zip through cartridges faster than with any others available. Their cutter is great too, lasting for thousands of rounds. Other cutters got dull after a couple hundred cases.

                            For varmints, the Hornady V-Maxs consistently give me .25 MOA across all calibers. For elk, the Barnes 168g with the polymer tip (per WAM and Happy's recommendation) gives my 30-06 .4 MOA groups with Varget. For deer I've consistently achieved best groups with Hornady Interlocks and Sierra Game Kings. I use the SGKs where longer shots will be likely because they group better at 500 yards and expand better at those slower velocities. I don't have a need to shoot at that range too often but on the prairie I like to be prepared just in case.

                            Best of luck!


                            • #15
                              I took the handle off of my RCBS case trimmer and made a rod that I put place of it that I use my battery drill on and I have never looked back. I can trim bunches of cases in no time with very little effort. I have 2 batteries and keep the charger sitting on the shelf plugged up with a charged battery in in all of the time.




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