6 Best Reloading Dies [What to Look For & Avoid in 2024] By: Tom Moore

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Congratulations on discovering the cost-effective process of reloading ammo! Whether you’re expanding your equipment or knowledge, you’re in the right place. Reloading presses let you manually produce your own ammo from used casings, saving money compared to buying new rounds.

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Most presses require a few essential tools: a powder scale, a dial caliper, a tumbler for cleaning brass, and, most importantly, a high-quality reloading die set. This article focuses on the best reloading dies money can buy.

A basic die set includes at least two dies: one for resizing and depriming, and one for crimping. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

Regardless of your experience level, Gun University ensures you have all the information needed to make an informed decision, with convenient links to buy on Amazon and other retailers.

In this article, we’ll dive into the top 6 reloading dies that will best fit your needs.

Best reloading dies

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.

As a seasoned shooter who regularly participates in NRL22 and IPSC, I’ve had the opportunity to use a wide variety of reloading dies, which has given me a good understanding of what makes a quality die. In compiling this article, I drew on my own experiences and also sought the advice of expert shooters who have a deep understanding of reloading dies. Their insights helped me curate a list of the best reloading dies available.

I understand that choosing a reloading die is a personal decision, and what works for me may not be the perfect fit for you. Everyone has their unique preferences. That’s why, even though I’ve ranked these dies from 1 to 6, I’ve ensured that the selection caters to a diverse range of needs. I’ve also included a buyer’s guide to assist you in knowing what to look for when you’re in the market for a reloading die. So, let’s dive in!

Top Reloading Dies

1.

Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Sets

Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Sets
  • Uses interchangeable sizing bushings to control neck size and tension
  • Bushings available in hardened steel and with a titanium nitride coating
On Amazon
2.

RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set

RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set
  • Possibly the finest reloading dies built by RCBS
  • Sizer die uses a self-centering changeable neck bushing, allowing for accurate tension on the casing
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3.

Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set

Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set
  • Made from titanium nitride, rather than steel or carbide
  • Does not require lube because of the carbide expander button
On Amazon
4.

Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set

Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set
  • Includes built-in stuck-case remover
  • Comes with powder dipper and universal shell holder
On Amazon
5.

Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set

Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set
  • Includes Deluxe Carbide Expander Assembly and decapping pin
  • Does not require inside-neck lube, thanks to the neck-expanding button
On Amazon
6.

Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set

Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set
  • Includes free powder measurer and load data sheet
  • Separates the seating and crimping operation, allowing for simpler adjustments
On Amazon
  1. Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Sets
  2. RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set
  3. Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set
  4. Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set
  5. Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set
  6. Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set

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_best-reloading-dies

Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Sets

A set that uses interchangeable-size bushings, with some available in hardened steel with a Ti nitride coating.

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Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Set Review

Redding produces the best reloading die sets on the market. Known for their precisely-made, high-quality tools, the Redding dies include 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:

  1. Type S full-length bushing die
  2. 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

  • On Amazon

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  • RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set_best-reloading-dies

RCBS Gold Medal Match Reloading Die Set

It’s said this is the finest reloading die built by RCBS – and that is saying something.

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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

  • At Palmetto State Armory

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[THREE]

Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set_best-reloading-dies

Hornady Series II Taper Crimp Die Set

The Series II Taper Crimp set is made from Ti nitride, not steel or carbide, and it doesn’t require lube.

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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

  • On Amazon

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  • Gun.Deals

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[FOUR]

Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set_best-reloading-dies

Lee Precision 38-55 3 Die Set

The 38-55 includes a built-in stuck case remover, a powder dipper, and a universal shell holder.

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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

  • On Amazon

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  • Gun.Deals

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[FIVE]

Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set_best-reloading-dies

Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set

This die set includes a carbide expander assembly and decapping pin, and it doesn’t require inside-neck lube.

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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 SetPros and Cons

  • Pro –
  • Pro –
  • Con –
  • Con –

Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set Deals

  • On Amazon

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  • Gun.Deals

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[SIX]

Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set_best-reloading-dies

Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set

A die set that separates the seating and crimping operation, allowing for more straightforward adjustment(s).

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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

  • Sometimes sticky – Complaints of stuck cases even with lube

Lee Precision Deluxe Pistol 4 Die Set Deals

  • On Amazon

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  • Gun.Deals

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Reloading your own ammo can save you money and give you more control over the quality of your rounds. Choosing the right reloading dies is essential to ensure your ammo is reliable and accurate. Here’s a guide to help you pick the best reloading dies.

I’ll also cover how to reload your ammo after discussing the key factors to consider when buying reloading dies.

Factors to Consider When Buying Reloading Dies

Caliber of Ammo: First, make sure the die set matches the caliber of ammo you’re reloading. Each caliber needs a specific die set, and using the wrong one can mess up your rounds or even be dangerous. If you reload multiple calibers, you’ll need a separate die set for each one to keep things accurate and safe.

Types of Dies: Different dies do different things. Full-length sizing dies resize the entire case to factory specs, which is great for semi-automatic rifles. Neck sizing dies only resize the neck, extending the life of your brass, making them ideal for bolt-action rifles. Bullet seating dies ensure the bullet is set at the right depth, while crimp dies secure the bullet in place. Taper crimp dies gently taper the case mouth to hold the bullet without damage. Knowing what each die does helps you pick the right set for your needs.

Material: The material of the dies affects how they perform and how long they last. Carbide dies are tough and don’t need lubrication, perfect for pistol calibers. Steel dies are cheaper but need lubrication to keep cases from sticking. Titanium nitride dies are very durable and smooth to use but can be pricey. Choose the material based on how often you reload and what kind of ammo you’re working with.

Brand Reputation: Stick with well-known brands like Redding, RCBS, Hornady, Lee Precision, and Lyman. These brands have good reputations for making reliable and high-quality reloading equipment. Investing in a trusted brand means you’re more likely to get a product that works well and lasts a long time.

Included Accessories: Some die sets come with extra tools like powder dippers, shell holders, or bushings. These extras can make reloading easier and save you money since you won’t have to buy them separately. Look for die sets that offer these additional tools to get more value for your money.

Ease of Use: Easy-to-use dies can make reloading a lot more enjoyable. Look for features like split locking rings or self-centering bushings, which make setup and adjustments simpler. User-friendly dies can save you time and effort, letting you focus on making great 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:

  1. Single-stage press
  2. Progressive press
  3. Turret press

These presses each have their own pros and cons. Each ranges in difficulty of use. Let’s cover all 3 really quickly.

Single-Stage Press

Best Single Stage Reloading Press is an excellent read if you want to know more.

Progressive Press

If you’re looking for speed and high volume (not so much perfect precision), read our article on the Best Progressive Reloading Presses.

Turret Press

Unlike competitors, our Best Turret Press article covers the highest quality turret reloading presses without any other type creeping in.

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.

How do I adjust neck tension with reloading dies?

To adjust neck tension, you can use a sizing die with interchangeable neck bushings, like the Redding Type S Match Bushing Full Die Set. By swapping out the bushing size, you control how tight the neck holds the bullet. This way, you get a secure fit without overworking the brass, keeping your cases in good shape longer.

How does a bullet seating die differ from other dies?

A bullet seating die is all about getting the bullet to sit just right in the casing. It makes sure the bullet is positioned at the perfect depth, which is key for consistent performance and accuracy. Other dies might resize the case or crimp it, but the seating die is focused on depth.

Are carbide dies better than steel dies?

Carbide dies are generally better for reloading pistol calibers because they’re tougher and don’t need lubrication. This makes the reloading process simpler and cleaner. However, they are more expensive than steel dies. Steel dies are cheaper but you’ll need to use lube to keep the cases from sticking during resizing.

Who makes the best reloading dies?

Redding is known for making the best reloading dies out there, but they do come at a higher price. If you’re not competing, you might not need the top-of-the-line competition dies. For most people, other brands like RCBS, Hornady, and Lee Precision offer great quality at a more reasonable cost.