Reloading dies for pistol cartridges- how many?

Jul 28, 2005
Feedback: 6 / 0 / 0
I've had the opportunity to use a single stage RCBS set up in which we used the following:

Sizer and Decapper Die
Primer (Handheld installation tool, not in press)
Belling Die ( I think we did this after new primers, might have been before)
Powder Loader (no die)
Bullet Seating Die
Taper Crimp Die (Not sure if this was part of bullet seating die??)

So there were 3 or 4 dies we used and separate steps for pimers and powder- however most die sets come in three- which doesn't make sense unless the seating and crimping was the same die.. I can't remember.

I believe the Dillon 550B and some other progressive setups seem to have 4 stations where station one does sizing, decapping and capping all in one step, station 2 does powder and belling of the case, station 3 does seating of the bullet and station 4 does the taper crimp. I think Dillon recommends separating the seating and crimping steps.

Is this typical for other vendors as well? Is it ok to do bullet seating AND taper crimping as a single step? Am I missing something here?
You have the right order but if you buy a 550 Dillon and Redding have die sts with out the expander die RCBS might but I'm not sure. I seat then crimp in a seprerate operation the only exception is when I load for 45 Schofield RCBS has seating and crimp in one die
Tried using 45 Colt dies but ran out of adjustment because of the shorter Schofield case
Schofield is to 45 Colt as 38 spl is to 357 mag
Lee pistol die sets come in three and four die variations. The dies are:

1. Decapping & resizing
2. Expander (bells mouth open). This die also can be used with an automated powder measure to drop powder through the die during the expanding stage.
3. Bullet seating, with optional crimp.
4. Factory Crimp Die. (optional fourth die in four die sets)

There is also a Universal Charging/Rifle Charging die that works with the powder measure just like the expander die, but for rifle cases.

Last edited:
my friend has a set of Lee dies and he can't seat certain bullet shape with them.
Personally I'm not a fan of Lee dies too much plastic.
my friend has a set of Lee dies and he can't seat certain bullet shape with them.
Personally I'm not a fan of Lee dies too much plastic.

Lee dies have no plastic in them, other than a rubber o-ring in the locking nut.

Lee does make other products from plastics. Sometimes plastic is used as a "wear" part, which is designed to wear or break, protecting the rest of the assembly (the autoindex gear on the turret press comes to mind). Other plastic parts are used for non-stress bearing products (such as the powder measure)

a post I made earlier didn't post The Lee die set my buddy owns is quite old the seater plug is plastic I think he bought one of the first sets on the market
Top Bottom