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I obtained a set of .357 mag steel rcbs dies as part of a box of stuff, most of which I can use. Already have a few sets of carbide resizing dies in this caliber. Any advantage to using steel or are they just a pia to lube before sizing?


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I would call luring the cases a PIA but it is a couple extra steps and some time that are unnecessary with carbide dies. I use steel dies for 32 S&W as they came with the gun and I load so little of it that it is not worth the cost of buying carbide dies. If I had to do a lot more than a couple hundred rounds every year or two then I might reconsider.

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Steel dies work the brass less and if the bullet doesn't fit the throat or center in the throat, steel dies can center the cartridge better if adjusted correctly, just as they would in a rifle chamber.

In tapered cartridges like the 45 Colt, this is especially true.



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I have an old RCBS steel die set for 357mag. I like the bullet seating die, but don't actually use the sizing die.

Last edited by Earlyagain; 09/16/22.
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The first thing I would do is buy a carbide sizer die. I am not going to lube all my pistol brass. Big PITA

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Thanks for the replies everybody. I seem to recall this discussed before. Maybe steel resizer dies are not as tight as carbide resizer dies. I'll resize some cases in each and see if I can measure a difference. May come in handy if one gun has bigger diameter chambers vs another.


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A carbide die reduces brass based on the carbide collar at the bottom of the die. Case measurements are all reduced in accordance with the diameter of the carbide ring and spring back.

Steel dies re-size the brass based on nominal specifications of the entire case, just like re-sizing or partial re-sizing a 223, 308, 30-06 or a 45/70.

Ease of reloading isn't often synonymous with accuracy; in both cases a bullet that seats in the throat and fits its diameter closely, the difference is often moot. If not, steel die-re sized cases can be made more concentric and be made to fit a variety of guns when carbide sized cases don't.

Steel dies also work the brass less. This also includes the belling of the case mouth, which is usually what constitutes culling in most handgun brass.

If you own one handgun chambered in that one chambering, it might not make sense. If you own 4 44 Mags and one is a Desert Eagle, having only a carbide die may not produce "one size fits all" ammo, if it does it won't shoot as well as a minimally sized case as can be tailored with a steel die and (gasp) lube you need to make buckets full of .223's...



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Good points. I never thought of it that way, having for the most part always loaded handgun ammo with "quantity with acceptable accuracy" in mind. To take it a step further, I'm exploring a facet that I've never done before: pistol cartridge in a long barreled single shot rifle with a desire for accuracy as well as killing power. To whit, .357 Maximum in a Martini Cadet. I'm wondering now if I would be doing myself a favor by scrounging up a .38/.357 steel sizing die to augment the carbide die I use to load "lesser" cartridges? Do the old steel dies have enough length to accommodate the Maximum case which wasn't around yet when steel dies were all we had?


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They won't be long enough to re-size the pressure ring, if that's an issue, but a carbide die definitely over works the Maximum case.

PS-Stay away from Redding FL steel handgun dies. I've a few sets and for whatever reason are not finished or polished in the top half of the die.



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Because lubing and wiping it off is a pita, I've gone to carbide sizing dies for all of my handgun reloading: 9 mm, .38/.357, .44 Spl/Mag, and .45 acp. All produce ammo that is more accurate than I can hold off hand.

For the same lube reasoning, I've gone to Collet neck sizing for most of my rifle cartridges: .223, .22-250, .308 Win, 7 RM, and .300 Wby. Again all are producing moa ammo.


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for revolver loading, I use the carbide dies. They have worked fine.


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If necessary, a steel resizer will size closer to the extraction groove/rim.


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Applying lube to one case at a time is slow, so spray some lanolin and alcohol lube on a tub full of brass, done. Check you tube for recipes.

It works well on a tub of 223 brass too.


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I have carbide dies for my straight wall cartridges.


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I load mucho pistol ammo

Never would not use a carbide die.....just to easy using it w/o lube

My favorite die system for hand guns.....

Lee 4 piece set....the #4 factory crimp die works wonders

Ammo will feed flawlessly in any semi pistol

Although...I've replaced the Lee expander die in all sets

Lyman builds a 'M' series die...$26

Expands & bells in two separate stages....try one......

https://www.lymanproducts.com/pistol-neck-expanding-m-dies


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I use the Redding dual carbide for the 357, and like the results. Soon I will start loading 41 mag., but Redding doesn't make the dual carbide for it. I found and old steel RCBS that I hope will give the same results.


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Around 1994 I bought a Redding titanium carbide die set for 38/ 357. The titanium sizer is by far the slickest die I’ve ever used. It is much smoother than any other carbide die I’ve used.


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