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I now have a third set of dies for the 45-70. I won't detail why right now but, anyway, I thought I'd post a comparison for those wh might be shopping for certain features.

The dies I have are some older - 20ish years old Lymans, a newer, maybe five years old set of RCBS, and a recent new, threaded spindle, Hornady New Dimension set.

Some features:



The expander plugs are one of the significant differences. I don't know if the Hornady die comes apart. I haven't messed with trying but it is shown in the background on the left. The RCBS plug stem (back) opens the case without flaring, while the Lyman (M) has a two step stem. The first step opens the case but not enough to slide a bullet inside. The second step flares.



A comparison of the cases. It's hard to see a difference but both the Hornady and the Lyman seem to work in a similar fashion. The case needs to be run into the plug far enough to flare adequately to start a bullet. L-R: RCBS, Hornady, Lyman



The differences are easier to see here. These cast bullets are set in the cases to start. L-R: RCBS, Hornady, Lyman. The RCBS die can be adjusted to start a bullet at any of many depths where it slides in without any pressure. It doesn't flare the case at all.





Here are a variety of different cartridges in their finished form built using the various respective dies. They are made with moderate, non-compressed charges. You can see slight differences between them but nothing really major in terms of overall function.



Compressed loads are where the seating dies really make a difference. The bullet is a Sierra 300 HP. L-R: Hornady, RCBS, Lyman. The Hornady seating die does not touch the bullet nose. The RCBS die cam with a RN type seating plug similar to Lyman's. After blunting some of the Barnes semi-spitzers earlier this winter, I gave RCBS a call. They sent out (free) two new plugs to try. The one plug has a fairly deep cavity which doesn't deform a bullet much even in compression. The Lyman die has the typical RN plug and really deforms the bullet nose under compression as it doesn't fit well. I would imagine Lyman might have a plug better suited to seating the more common flat and tapered noses of many current bullets.

Overall, I like the way the RCBS dies treat the case in preparation for seating the bullets. Hornady makes a seating die better designed for dealing with a variety of bullet nose shapes.
 

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Great stuff Golsovia. thanks for the information. Life is good, BestLever
 

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Very informative post. The quality photos add a lot. I've been using the RCBS dies. Mostly I use FNSP Hornady or Remington bullets, so I haven't had much of a problem with the nose deforming while seating.

Thanks for the very useful post! Guy
 
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