Here is a way to improve your gun game. If you are an avid hunter or shooter, looking into starting the reloading process might be a good idea for you. Not only will it save you money over time, but your accuracy can also improve. First, you’ll want to invest in a good reloading press. Then you will want to find the best reloading dies for the caliber you use. When you take the reloading process into your own hands, you ensure precise as well as reliable ammunition. And it’s fun!
Many die sets out there can jam or cannot otherwise produce quality shells. Because of this, you must choose a quality die set. In this product review, we have chosen some of the top brands in the industry that we know you will be satisfied with. All these brands are well-known for their experience in providing great products you can depend on.
Check out their prices on Amazon, you won’t be disappointed. This is an affordable way to improve your shooting experience. We will review each of our favorites in some of the most common calibers and why we are so impressed with them. Here we go!
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
5 Best Reloading Dies - Overview
1. Hornady Custom Grade New Dimension 2-Die Set
- Caliber: .224 Valkyrie
Coming from one of the most reputable brands, you know you will get a quality product. Hornady dies are made with great care and quality and are marked by their sturdiness.
If you’ve got some old tools of your father’s or grandfather’s, there is a likely chance they were produced by Hornady. Hornady’s dies are carefully made, which ensures their precision and smooth operation of your reloading process. Why go for low-quality dies which will increase your risk of misses, feeding, and jamming? With Hornady, you won’t have these issues.
And for any avid reloader, this is a great die set for you. The Hornady Custom Grade Reloading Die Set is durable, sure to last you a long time. It is made of heat-treated steel. Since it is well-made, there is not much breakage or wear that occurs during use. And like many competitor’s dies, the hardened steel decap pin won’t crack, break, or bend. These 22/5.56 small base dies will load cartridges that will run through a semi-automatic rifle.
There are 2 dies in this package, the full-length sizer die features an elliptical expander that allows the smooth release from the case neck. This helps prevent neck stretch. The sizer die also has a zip spindle, which has light threads cut on the spindle and spindle collet. You can turn the spindle for minute adjustments like a bushing-type die, but the Sure-Loc will keep the spindle from slipping. Hornady’s compression washer allows for easier tightening of the spindle lock when adjusting. This feature helps avoid damage during reloading.
The other die, the bullet seater die is known for its accuracy and consistency. Seating the bullet is one of the most important steps during the reloading process. And Hornady’s In-Line Bullet Seating System ensures the bullets are properly aligned before they are seated. Just set the depth you want, and all your bullets will be seated exactly according to your specifications. This is due to the floating bullet alignment sleeve and stem which pre-align the bullet and case before seating. This allows you to negate problems of concentricity. A crimp will be applied to secure the bullet inside the case.
The compression washer gives a slight tension that allows you to easily make adjustments while keeping the settings in place.
With this set of dies, you will receive a plastic storage box and two Sure-Loc rings. The shell holder will have to be purchased separately.
The great thing about these dies is that they are well made, widely available, and come at a reasonable price. Custom grade dies from Hornady are available for a broad range of cartridges, from anything like a .17 Hornet through a .500 Nitro Express. You can pair this line of dies with Hornady’s MicroJust seating stem assembly and be assured of the ultimate accuracy of your handloading.
You can also buy Hornady’s Seating Micrometer upgrade to be used for the custom seating die. This will make it easier to seat the bullets at the same depth and allow for more accuracy. It is important to note that other brands’ micrometer seating dies are far more expensive than Hornady’s. Additionally, if you are in the market for custom-made dies, Hornady can make them for you. Hand-crafted and polished dies from Hornady allow for great precision and quality.
2. Lee Deluxe Carbide 4-Die Set
Another well-known name in reloading dies, Lee is a company that has been around for decades. We find this 4-die set to produce extremely accurate ammo for each reload, and we believe it is the best reloading die for 9mm.
The set comes with a full-length sizing die with a decapping unit. This will enable you to resize and reshape your cases, all while eliminating the need to lubricate your cases. As a result, you will pick up a lot more speed during the reloading process. Not only that, but shells coming out of the resizing die are quite accurate. The expanding die helps you expand and belly your case mouth while you charge it with powder. The bullet seating die in this set allows for consistently perfect bullet depth. And finally, the carbide factory crimp die keeps the bullet in place without moving out of the set depth. The spindle assembly has been redesigned to be held in place with the help of a collet.
The 4-die set also comes with some accessories. There is a shell holder, a load data sheet, a powder dipper, as well as the flat 4-die plastic container. This will help make the process of reloading a breeze and makes it easy for beginners. We find this set enables you to crank out 9mm rounds just as quickly as a progressive reloading press.
Though you may not have the match-grade accuracy and shoot sub-MOA groups, you will be cranking them out like your own independent ammunition factory. This set works well with a single-stage press, in which case you may have one die you won’t need. However, if you plan to get another press in the future it may come in handy one day.
3. RCBS .45 ACP Carbide Die Set
- Made of the highest quality materials
Next up, our pick for .45 ACP is this RCBS Carbide Die Set. RCBS is another manufacturer of high quality, reliable products that have been around for years. Their die sets can be on the expensive side but are of top quality. With over 60 years of experience, they have become a top name in the reloading industry. RCBS were the first ones coming out with 3-die sets for reloading straight wall rifle cases as well as pistol cases.
This 3-die set showcases their years of industry know-how. The sizing and expanding (bellying) are done by separate dies. There is a sizer die with a decapping unit that sizes the case and de-primes it. Then the expander die which expands and bellies the case mouth, ensuring the bullet will be able to fit. Then the seater die will roll or taper crimp. There is also a bullet seater plug that will seat and crimp your bullets. Not only are these dies accurate, but they are also quite easy to use and maintain.
One beneficial aspect of carbide dies is that there is no need to lube your cases before reloading. This will save you tons of time if you are a hand loader. You should get through volumes of cases in no time.
We strongly believe this RCBS 3-die set is all you need for your straight-wall pistol case reloading process. As an added benefit, RCBS provides its customers with a limited lifetime warranty. In case anything happens with your dies, they will either repair or replace them. This gives you some comfort that your dies will be around for years to come.
4. Redding Reloading-Deluxe Die Set 308 Winchester
Next, we have Redding’s 3-die set for 308 Winchester rifle cartridges. This company makes all of its products 100% on American soil. And having produced top-notch quality reloading equipment since 1946, they are another big player in the game. Not only are their products innovative, but their top quality has put them at the top of the pack. The reloading dies for .308 Win are machined on Hardinge super precision lathes, which fortifies their strength in holding the tightest tolerances.
We believe this is the best reloading die set for .308 since it produces reliable ammo for a good price. This 3-die set comes with a full-length sizing die, a neck sizing die, and a bullet seating die. The full-length sizing die includes a decapping rod assembly with a neck expander. The expanding die has a neck expanding plug, and the seating die features a crimping ring, as well as a seating ring, both built-in. If you don’t want to use the seating die to crimp, you just need to back out the top part of the die. The combination of the 3 dies ensures consistent ammo that you can rely on for reloading.
These dies are extremely durable because they consist of the finest alloy steels available. All Redding dies are heat-treated in atmospherically controlled furnaces which ensures they will last you a lifetime. These dies run so smoothly, you don’t have to worry about lubrication. And, you will be able to produce ammunition that will fit any standard chamber.
We recommend pairing with a Lee turret press since the threads are the same. It will also work with a Hornady lock and load system. Just set up your press and go; the process is so easy. The dies come with a sturdy box which will keep them safe and easily stored. A spare decapping pin is included. Your purchase comes with a lifetime Redding warranty. Pick up this die set if you want a quality product at a fair price.
5. Lee Precision Reloading 30/06 Ultimate Rifle Die Set
- For Reloading 30/06 Ultimate Rounds
We find the Lee Precision Reloading 30/06 Ultimate Rifle 4-Die Set to be a great overall set for a beginner to even expert reloaders. The heat-treated steel of these dies ensures their durability through thousands of reloading sessions.
In the set, there are 4 dies. The full-length resizing die returns your brass to the original factory design for you to reuse. The Collet Neck sizing die will ensure you get the most accuracy from your brass. Next is the dead length bullet seating die, which is quite easy to adjust and makes the adjustment of the bullet seating foolproof. You will get the perfect seating depth every time. Finally, the factory crimping die produces a secure crimp to your bullet which will make for a dependable and accurate cartridge. This die tightens the neck of the case around the bullet, enabling the bullet to stay secured in place.
No case lube is required for this set of dies. This will save you a bit of time. With this set, you will receive a shell holder, powder measure, and load data for an easy and hassle-free reloading process. Lee Precision Dies comes with a free shell holder that is the same size as the dies. Usually, brands will charge extra for this. The load data is easy to read and use. Beginners will find this information very useful.
One thing that sets Lee dies apart from the rest is how the outer lock ring is held into position. In the past, these rings were kept in place by tapping a set screw into the ringside and then driven into the die thread. Nowadays, Lee uses a simple rubber O-ring which you can easily implement in die threads. You can still move the die with a little force, but it will not wander as you are using it.
Do not be fooled by Lee’s low prices. Their dies are still of great quality and are used by diehard fans for years without problems. You will receive a lifetime warranty with your products, so you will not have to worry if your dies will last the test of time.
For our top pick, we went with the Redding Reloading-Deluxe Die Set 308 Winchester. Though each of these picks is our individual favorite for each cartridge, we thought the Redding dies for the 308 Win came out on top. We chose this set of dies due to Redding’s superior quality as well as their ultimate customer satisfaction. Now get those shells ready, grab your shooting gloves, and get shooting!
Why Buy Reloading Dies?
Getting into the reloading game can seem time-consuming. After all, there are many steps to the process, many factors to consider, and many sets of measurements to come up with. However, when you pick up your first reloading press and dies, you will come to notice that the rewards far outweigh the effort. Some common reasons for buying reloading dies are that they’re economical, your accuracy and performance will increase, commercial ammunition shortages, as well as just a fun hobby to get started on.
We wouldn’t recommend getting into reloading if your gun is collecting dust (pssst… store it in a gun safe). Reloading may not be for the occasional shooter, because it will take some time to recoup the cost. However, if you shoot quite often, you will find yourself noticing the cost-savings you make when you reuse the brass cartridge case or shotgun shell hull, which can be reused many times. Not only is it economical, but you will get the best accuracy out of your shots, due to their consistent trajectories. You can customize your cartridges and shells to your specific firearms. With all these helpful benefits, why not give reloading dies a try?
Bonus tip: If you are a little overwhelmed by the number of choices out there, check out this video explaining the differences in reloading dies!