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  1. #11
    Gun Wizard
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    I use Lee dies on my 444 as well as other calibers with perfect results. I also use the Lee factory crimp dies. They work great!

  2. #12
    Super Moderator
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    I use a lot of lee Dies, never had any issues. My favorite 444 dies are the Hornady, better seating die with Cast bullets.
    Love the Lee Factory Crimp dies, use them for everything that I load for.

    Their are only two kinds of people, those who own a 444 and those who wish they owned one, and yes folks, denial is bliss!

    Not much has really changed in the world in 2000 years, Christians are still being thrown to the Lions! and Satan's tool of Deception is still working like a charm, from the time of Adam and Eve, to today!

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  3. #13
    jgt
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    For my 444 I use Lee and RCBS. I also use a Lee factory crimp die.
    rob42049, gunscrewguy and Pereira like this.

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  5. #14
    Gun Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by dumbear View Post
    Dose anyone use the Lee dies to load their 444. The're cheaper but are they any good.
    Your second question is the critical one.
    In my opinion, they are not any good.
    They work, if they aren't screwed up right out of the box. But they aren't any good.

    Let me preface the rest of my response with a question and my opinion of the correct answer: What brand of reloading products has the most after-market upgrades, improvements, and replacement parts (made from other materials) available?
    The answer is Lee. ...Because, in my opinion, they (when made properly) meet only minimum requirements, if that, to get the job done. It isn't because they're popular, it's because they NEED the upgrades and improvements in order to be usable, reliable tools.


    As for dies, in particular:

    The o-ring-"stabilized" aluminum seating adjuster (hereafter referred to as a "stem"), with no other means of locking, like to walk during use. That's dumb and annoying. The alloy is also too soft. I've seen at least half a dozen seating dies with the threads stripped off of the seating stem, right out of the box. I witnessed my brother pop the threads off of the seating stem in his brand new 9mm seating die with the very first bullet that he attempted to seat. Get it started. Minor adjustment. Minor adjustment. Seating stem pops...
    And, if you have a cartridge bullet combination known for extremely difficult seating (like .458 SOCOM virgin Starline brass with Hornady 325 gr FTXs), the seating stem threads - even if cut well and in good condition - may get stripped just by trying to seat a bullet.

    Die finish is extremely variable and generally poor. Aside from (many) other issues, I've gotten three sizing dies that were clearly bored with broken tooling. They could not be used to size cases and never should have left the factory. Worst part about that?... One of them was a warranty replacement for a die bored with broken tooling, and came directly from Lee. Never should have made it off the production line, let alone out of the factory, and they shipped a die with pieces of a broken cutter inside it as a warranty replacement!

    But, of course, those bad dies above - that, again, never should have left the factory - could only be replace if I paid out of my own pocket, to ship their GARBAGE back to them.

    Lee does not harden their dies. This means accelerated wear should be expected, and deformation during use is possible (stretching, bulging, thread deformation, etc.). Drop one with 'thin' walls - such as .444 Marlin, .475 Linebaugh, .500 S&W - on a hard surface and you can actually dent the die so that it's out of round. (Another one witnessed first-hand that still surprised me.)
    If you're a crazy person like me, however, and like to color outside the lines, this can be seen as a good thing. Unhardened dies are much easier to modify. (Such as taking less than a minute to cut the bottom off of a dented .500 S&W die, in order to use it with a modified plug for one step in forming .475 Tremor.)

    Powder-through-expander, anyone? Annoying "ka-clunk; ka-clunk" aside... Lee claims that the rough finish on the expander is for 'smoothing' the inside of the case neck and cleaning carbon residue, in order to improve neck tension and reduce bullet run-out. In reality, it saves them machine time and money during production, slowly shaves the brass, thins the neck walls, and eats away at cases that would otherwise last nearly forever. Weak crimps and neck splits will arise long before they do with other brands of dies. (Costing you in the long run.)

    Factory crimp die?
    Oh Lordy! That's a 12 page treatise that I won't get into here. The handgun cartridge version is inapplicable here, so we'll just ignore that one. Shortest version I can break it down to for the collet (rifle) version: Yes, they work. No, they're not good. Yes, they let you crimp bullets that don't have a cannelure. No, they don't increase accuracy OR help with uniforming chamber starting pressure (very much the opposite, on both counts -- I have tested the former, many others have tested one or both).


    I have Lee dies. I use Lee dies.
    But they're crap, when compared to brands that actually care about their customers, use appropriate materials, understand how a warranty should work, and employ SOME level of quality control.
    The only Lee dies that are generally okay and worth buying are the collet neck sizing dies. But they aren't needed for .444 Marlin...


    Best bang for your buck, for .444 Marlin: Hornady.
    Best dies, with higher cost, for .444 Marlin: CH4D.
    Vooch likes this.
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  6. #15
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    I agree to disagree, the collet LFCD has proven to me to add in accuracy to any cartridge I’ve loaded for. I believe in them so much I modify Dies to use for cartridges they don’t make dies for. I would quit Handloading if I had to give up my LFCD’s. I suppose if you under crimp/ over crimp they may be a problem. Factory ammo crimps!
    Vooch, rob42049, Boris and 6 others like this.

    Their are only two kinds of people, those who own a 444 and those who wish they owned one, and yes folks, denial is bliss!

    Not much has really changed in the world in 2000 years, Christians are still being thrown to the Lions! and Satan's tool of Deception is still working like a charm, from the time of Adam and Eve, to today!

    Charter Member #3 Team 444
    Member # 379 Team 1894
    Member # 1053 Team 30-30
    Member # 338 Team 39

  7. #16
    Wrangler
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    Did remember a quirk about my Hornady die set. The seating stem occasionally drops out of the die and will stick onto FTX type bullets. I've replaced the retainer spring and it made no difference. One of these days I'll see if cutting the stop step a little deeper (with a taper on the start so it can still slide up) so that the pin has more 90 degree surface area to grab to see if that helps stop it from popping out or not. Only happens with my 444 set so far and not with my other hornady sets but I've only got a half dozen of them compared to about two dozen Lee sets. Besides decapping pins I don't ever remember breaking or stripping out any parts on them.
    Boris, rob42049, Starrbow and 1 others like this.
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  8. #17
    Gunfighter
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    You'll be happy with the Lee dies for your T4. Also, purchase the Lee factory crimp as well.

  9. #18
    Gun Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moleman View Post
    Did remember a quirk about my Hornady die set. The seating stem occasionally drops out of the die and will stick onto FTX type bullets. I've replaced the retainer spring and it made no difference. One of these days I'll see if cutting the stop step a little deeper (with a taper on the start so it can still slide up) so that the pin has more 90 degree surface area to grab to see if that helps stop it from popping out or not. Only happens with my 444 set so far and not with my other hornady sets but I've only got a half dozen of them compared to about two dozen Lee sets. Besides decapping pins I don't ever remember breaking or stripping out any parts on them.
    Sounds like a collar with the wrong geometry.
    Like many reloaders, my assortment of dies has changed over the years - constantly growing, but also dies and die sets coming and going.
    I currently have about 15-18 sets of Hornady dies, with 5-6 sets that have gone on to other reloaders, and have only ever had the sliding collar come out once - when the retaining clip's little point was too short.
    The die bodies are all machined the same internally, other than length (I think there are just three lengths...?). So, all of the sliding collars have the same external dimensions, as well.

    Call Hornady and tell them about the problem. They'll probably send a new collar without hesitation.
    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your rusted masses yearning to live again,
    The wretched refuse of your humid closet.
    Send me the partless, broken-stocked,
    The Marlins in need of new life...

  10. #19
    Sidewinder
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    a lee classic cast press with 444 marlin lee pacesetter 3-dies set(with lfcd) and a lyman rifle neck expanding m die for me.
    Starrbow, Pereira and rob42049 like this.



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  11. #20
    Wrangler
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    I use Lee for most of my die sets. .444 included. No complaints.
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