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View Full Version : What is Best Die Set for .30-06


Nicky Fingers
04-23-2011, 12:01 AM
Hello guys,
entering the reloading realm. Have a RCBS Rock chucker. Plan on reloading
.30-06 and 7.62x51 for the M1 and M1A.

What is better RCBS or Dillon die sets? What are the pros/cons
RCBS offers:
1. standard 2 die set $40
2. competitition 2 die set for about $100. Both appear to be (non carbide).

Dillon offers:
1. standard 3 die set (includes a crimper) for $65 (non carbide)
2. in .308 carbide 3 die set for $150

Estimate annual usage to be about 1K rounds.
Is carbide worth the money?
do I need a third die for crimping as how Dillon offers (just one more step, like to avoid if not needed).

Thanks for all the help.

gpgofast
04-23-2011, 12:22 AM
Carbide RIFLE dies are for high volume reloaders. You will gain nothing by spending the extra cash, you will still need to lube cases to resize.

I personally prefer Redding Dies. I currently do NOT own any Dillon dies, but RCBS dies in my opinion have lowered their quality control in the last decade. The last RCBS neck sizing die was finished very poorly and scratched the necks of the cases I was resizing. A competition die set for Semi Auto rifles has diminishing returns. Stick to standard dies. You may want to consider "small base" dies, although I have had ZERO problems with standard dies in both my Garands and M1A.

I do NOT crimp either 30-06 or .308 for my rifles.

GP

ceresco
04-23-2011, 12:29 AM
IMO, Redding dies are the best. Virtually any dies will work fine. Buy the Lee RGB set for about $10. Later, you can form your own opinions. Good Shooting.......

Kirk in AL
04-23-2011, 03:42 AM
I first used the Lee dies. They are equal in quality of ammo produced to any other maker & are considerably cheaper. Later, I switched to the RCBS X-die sizer simply because it greatly reduced the amount of case trimming I had to do. I recommend the RCBS X-dies over any others because of the labor they save. You do not need a Small Base die with the Garand. I still use the Lee Factory Crimp die - there is no better crimper at any price.

HughUno
04-23-2011, 05:44 AM
I have a large mix of die sets, rifle and pistol, including RCBS,Redding, Lee, and Hornaday. They all make excelllent ammo. Because you are lubing rifle cases, ANY decent quality rifle die set will last FOREVER when properly used. If you simply think you want "the best" money notwithstanding, you are simply paying for better FINISHING, not really for any increased accuracy. Having said all this, the "quality" of Redding die sets is very nice, as is the Hornaday dies I have. The New Dimension dies by Hornaday are excellent inside and out and not expensive.

I also use and recommend the Lee "Factory Crimp" dies for rifle ammo and for making auto-pistol ammo EXCEPT that for rifle "crimping" the FCD has NOTHING to do with any need to "hold" the bullet. I remove the de-primer/neck swager in all my rifle dies anyway, so neck tension is NOT a problem. In rifles, when I use the FCD (very very modestly) it's about seeking less bullet run-out and increased uniformity of bullet "tension." In pistols, I am only using the Carbide FCD to iron out the SHAPE of the FINISHED round to ensure proper feeding (esp when using cast-lead bullets which can often make a little case hulge). In other words, the pistol Lee FCDies are final "sizers." I don't add any "crimp" whatsoever when I use them.

I would also add that I doubt you could wear out ANY rifle die set in your lifetime and it would be awful hard to wear out even a carbide pistol die set except that in larger pistol calibers like .44 mag and .45 colt (not acp) and larger stuff (and yes using CARBIDE dies), I still lube every 7th or 8th brass to speed things along and reduce wear on the die. This additional lubing is completely unnecessary for stuff like .38/.357, 9mm, .45 acp, etc.

milboltnut
04-23-2011, 05:46 AM
whatever one you want.

Depends on how much you're at the range. Dillion progressive is the way to go for alot of shooting. And a single stage for casual shooting with any die company.

GarandGrabber
04-23-2011, 06:39 AM
As mentioned above..Any will work fine. For Milsurp stuff Lee RBG dies are a value. A rifle has to be capable of the kind of accuracy advantage that comp dies would offer before I would spend that money.

milboltnut
04-23-2011, 06:45 AM
As mentioned above..Any will work fine. For Milsurp stuff Lee RBG dies are a value. A rifle has to be capable of the kind of accuracy advantage that comp dies would offer before I would spend that money.

Unless the rifle is scoped then you would be wasting your time with comp dies.

GarandGrabber
04-23-2011, 07:55 AM
I first used the Lee dies. They are equal in quality of ammo produced to any other maker & are considerably cheaper. Later, I switched to the RCBS X-die sizer simply because it greatly reduced the amount of case trimming I had to do. I recommend the RCBS X-dies over any others because of the labor they save. You do not need a Small Base die with the Garand. I still use the Lee Factory Crimp die - there is no better crimper at any price.

No need to crimp .30-06

8milimeter
04-23-2011, 08:26 AM
I started out with Lee dies, but was not happy with the concentricity I was getting with a standard seating die. I switched to the forester benchrest seating die that has the bullet alignment sleave. It definately improved the quality of my reloads.

Just My $.02

Mark H
04-23-2011, 08:26 AM
I have found over the years, working in a mom and pop sports shop, that Hornady dies seem to have a tolerance range toward the small side. They're not quite small base, but small standard, ranging to large small base size.

When a customer would have issues with a RCBS or Redding resized case, an exchange to Hornady would get rid of functioning problems. (Yup, in the old days, a store would work to keep a customer happy, not look at a policy booklet.)

I NEVER had a customer with functioning problems in a semi-auto, when he used Hornady dies.

In a bolt gun, every makers die seemed to work. Personally, I use a Hornady die set whenever I'm loading for a semi-auto.

Mark

aka108
04-23-2011, 09:08 AM
I never have had a problem with any Lee dies. Lee most likely is the largest manufacturer of dies and is therefore able to market them at lesser cost than smaller firms.

milboltnut
04-23-2011, 10:04 AM
I never have had a problem with any Lee dies. Lee most likely is the largest manufacturer of dies and is therefore able to market them at lesser cost than smaller firms.

No, Lee makes cheaper products. Quality is a problem.

GarandGrabber
04-23-2011, 11:06 AM
Never had problems with Lee dies..maybe just lucky? My .30-06 set has probably loaded 15K rounds in the 20 years I've had them...:)

GarandGrabber
04-23-2011, 11:10 AM
I have found over the years, working in a mom and pop sports shop, that Hornady dies seem to have a tolerance range toward the small side. They're not quite small base, but small standard, ranging to large small base size.

When a customer would have issues with a RCBS or Redding resized case, an exchange to Hornady would get rid of functioning problems. (Yup, in the old days, a store would work to keep a customer happy, not look at a policy booklet.)

I NEVER had a customer with functioning problems in a semi-auto, when he used Hornady dies.

In a bolt gun, every makers die seemed to work. Personally, I use a Hornady die set whenever I'm loading for a semi-auto.

Mark

Unless you have a brand new barrel (chamber) Garands tend to have a sightly sloppy chamber as a general rule. Hence being able to funtion in mud and crud. The only issue I've ever had with needing to size slightly smaller was with a brand new M1A whose problem disappeared after 500 round break in time. JMHO

Nicky Fingers
04-23-2011, 02:40 PM
Thanks for opinions...some of you had stronger recommendations than others, sounds like all brands will work just fine and not make much difference for either M1 and M1A reloading.

One more question, are milititary primers ex. CCI 34 necessary over std commercial primer ex. CCI 250 Mag Rifle primer?

GarandGrabber
04-23-2011, 03:29 PM
Thanks for opinions...some of you had stronger recommendations than others, sounds like all brands will work just fine and not make much difference for either M1 and M1A reloading.

One more question, are milititary primers ex. CCI 34 necessary over std commercial primer ex. CCI 250 Mag Rifle primer?

No...Same basic primer. Even mag primers not needed unless u load ball powder

milboltnut
04-23-2011, 03:49 PM
Magnum primers are not needed for ball powder. Mag primers are needed for Mag cartridges or very cold weather for standard cartridges.

pmclaine
04-23-2011, 05:20 PM
My Dillon is on order after two years of studying/saving.

The Redding dies seem to be the cream of the crop according to those that have used many different dies. I was most interested in the three die National Match set - includes the competition seater, FL sizing die and taper crimp. Check Sinclair part number RD39111.

I decided on the Dillon dies for a few reasons

a. If I have a problem with the machine it cant be attributed to the dies. Dillon built the dies and machine its a matched set.

b. They Dillons seem to work well for those that use them. Of course they are guaranteed for life but so is just about every other makers dies. What I dont see is owners of other presses going out of their way to buy Dillon dies so I'm not sure what can be derived from that.

c. The Dillon cleaning feature that allows you to remove the die inserts with the removal of a spring clip yet still allows you to keep the body set to your preference seems to be a great convenience when it comes to maintenance/cleaning.

There is the opinion of one that has never reloaded yet but has been reading a lot (hopefully the right stuff).

GarandGrabber
04-24-2011, 06:10 AM
Magnum primers are not needed for ball powder. Mag primers are needed for Mag cartridges or very cold weather for standard cartridges.
Come to Michigan and tell me you don't need Mag Primers for Ball Powder. I have seen hang fires in upper 30's and lower 40's

Rainier42
04-24-2011, 08:12 PM
For 30-06 and .308 I've been using RCBS X-dies. Very happy with them so far.

sunray
04-24-2011, 09:00 PM
"...Stick to standard dies..." Yep. As long as the sizer die is a full length die and you use enough lube(back and forth once or twice on a lube pad is plenty), you'll be fine. Same shell holder for both cartridges.
You don't need a 'competition' die set either.

BobN54
04-25-2011, 10:32 PM
I started with Lee dies. They are adequate for plinking ammo, but imho they are not delivering consistent enough results for match ammo...or maybe it's my skill level. In any case, I've recently purchased the RCBS X-die resizing die and the Forster benchrest bullet seating die. These dies are significantly better machined than the Lee dies, again imho.

Finch
04-26-2011, 07:45 AM
I have the RCBS competion dies for .223 and I'll have a set for 30-06 when the brown truck comes tomorrow.

While I've just started reloading I like the comp dies they are easy to use.

I do swap the lock rings with hornady lock rings because stripping the stupid brass thread lock on the RCBS dies is anoying

gpgofast
04-26-2011, 09:10 AM
As a follow up, this week I've replaced my set of RCBS dies for 9mm with my first Dillon Die set. I was having issues with the RCBS dies adequately sizing the brass SMALL enough to function properly in all of my firearms, primarily my full Auto Uzi. The Dillon dies work REALLY well in my Dillon 550b progressive press, definitely better than any of my RCBS dies and perhaps better than my sets of Redding "Pro" dies that I use for some of my other pistol cartridges. Both the Redding "Progressive" and Dillon dies are designed for progressive presses. They have a separate seating AND crimp die, not done in the same die, there is no "Belling Die" as this is done with the powder measure and they have a large bell opening to facilitate smoother operation of the press. I do NOT load any rifle cartridges on a progressive press other than .223. All of my rifle loading is done on an RCBS press.

86SVO351
04-26-2011, 03:07 PM
I have Dillon Dies for 30 06, 308, and 223. The 308 and 223 are carbide, and all are excellent. Pricey, but excellent. Bruce J.

Wrenchhead
04-26-2011, 05:21 PM
I have purchased all my dies on ebay. You can get an RCBS for about $15 for 3006 or even cheaper as they come up for auction frequently. I have mostly RCBS, and a Herters for my 6.5x50 JAP. Never had a problem with any of them. And you can get them for about 60% of retail cost. Just look for sellers with good positive feedback.

Wrench

Finch
04-26-2011, 05:36 PM
I have purchased all my dies on ebay. You can get an RCBS for about $15 for 3006 or even cheaper as they come up for auction frequently. I have mostly RCBS, and a Herters for my 6.5x50 JAP. Never had a problem with any of them. And you can get them for about 60% of retail cost. Just look for sellers with good positive feedback.

Wrench

thats not a bad idea at least RCBS (i assume the others too) will generally cover anything thats broken on their stuff (bent deprimers)

dnmccoy
05-04-2011, 12:44 PM
+ 1 for lee dies

Mtnshooter
05-06-2011, 09:25 PM
I first started out with Lee dies. As my shooting ability increased, I needed better quality handloads.
I soon discovered my Lee press and dies were not up to the task. I bought a RCBS press and Redding dies for .223 . I use Hornady dies for .30-06. I am satisfied with the quality of the Hornady dies for CMP matches, but if I were to shoot .30-06 at longer ranges I would get a redding seater die. In my opinion, Lee dies are for the beginer who is more worried about being thrifty than producing quality ammo.

Blacktail 8541
05-07-2011, 01:13 AM
Best is useally influenced by personal bias. They all work well with some have a couple more features that some find useful. Carbide rifle dies still require lube to be used.

Dillon dies are designed to be used with progressive press as a design feature but can still be used with single stage presses.

RCBS dies are an industry standard.

Redding dies tend to be a little more expensive but have a better finish on average.

Lots of people like Lee. I do not. except for their factory crimp die.