If you are an avid shooter, eventually, you are going to consider reloading your ammunition. Most of us get to this point and start looking at reloading presses, dies, and accessories.
We argue and justify the need for all this equipment (usually with our significant others) with several valid reasons.
Reloading makes shooting more cost-effective – Who doesn’t want to be budget-conscious?
Reloading your ammunition can save you money once you have invested in the equipment.
- I get better results from custom-loaded ammunition – Most competitive shooters indeed load the ammo they shoot. The ability to create and test your loads with your firearm can give you better accuracy and performance.
- I like the feeling I get when I shoot ammo I have reloaded – There is a lot of satisfaction from shooting ammo you put together. Knowing that the trophy buck or the competition you won results from your efforts can be a huge reward.
So, if you’re in a hurry, I have listed some of the best match grade reloading dies you can get as of today:
The Parts you Need
Whether you are a novice or experienced reloader, understanding the essential components of a reloading system is critical. At a minimum, you need the following items on your reloading bench.
- A reloading press – The variety of presses available is sometimes overwhelming. Most beginners start with a single-stage press. In time, as you become more experienced, you may want to move up to a turret press or even a progressive press that automates some of the reloading processes.
- A Powder Scale – Dialing in the powder throw on your press is a critical function. A good powder scale is essential in setting up your press and then routinely checking the powder throws while reloading. Scales can be manual or digital. The type of scale you choose is a matter of personal preference and your budget.
- Reloading Dies – The heart of any reloading system is the dies used to assemble the reloading components into a shootable round of ammunition. Reloading dies are specific to the caliber of ammo you reload and come in different grades and materials. Choosing the best reloading dies your budget allows the best approach when shopping for reloading dies.
I started my reloading effort many years ago with a Lee single-stage reloading kit.
The kit came with a single-stage Lee press, a manual powder scale, a funnel, and a set of 9mm steel reloading dies.
I reloaded thousands of rounds of practice ammunition with that kit. Kits like this are a great place to start your reloading career.
Picking Reloading Dies – Steel vs Carbide Dies?
Reloading dies come in a variety of different configurations. The first thing to consider is the material used to make your die. There are two choices for most reloaders.
Steel dies will work well. I reloaded thousands of rounds of pistol and rifle ammo over the years using steel dies. In general, steel die sets are cheaper initially than carbide dies. Steel dies wear out quicker than carbide dies as well.
Carbide is a steel alloy. It is harder than common tool steel, making it last longer. The initial cost of carbide reloading dies is also higher due to the extra steps required to machine a carbide die. On the other hand, carbide dies last much longer than steel dies and, in my opinion, are much less prone to getting cases stuck in the die during resizing.
If you can work it into your budget, I advise anyone to reload to invest in carbide dies.
In the long run, a set of premium carbide dies will save you money, effort, and frustration while you are reloading ammunition.
How Were These Die Sets Shortlisted?
I want to clarify that the best die set for one caliber may not be the best manufacturer for another caliber.
Your experience level doesn’t figure much into picking a good set of reloading dies.
A beginner will benefit from purchasing the best dies they can afford to ease use and reliability factors.
Experienced reloaders know what they want and understand the need for high-quality dies, especially if they are shooting for precision in competition or long-range hunting.
Based on my years of experience reloading, these reloading die sets are my recommendations for both entry-level reloaders and experienced shooters who are upgrading their reloading equipment.
To choose the reloading dies on my list, I looked at several factors:
- The materials used to produce the die set
- The quality of the manufacturing, fit and finish
- Features and Options
As you gain experience with different dies and different calibers, you too may find that you have preferences for resizing dies, bullet loading dies, and crimping dies.
It would be best if you weighed these differences in the selection process.
My Picks – The Best Reloading Dies on the Market for both Beginner and Experienced Reloaders
Best 3 Die Reloading Set for the Beginner – RCBS Carbide Die Sets
For the beginning reloader, I don’t think you can do better than RCBS carbide reloading dies.
The quality of the materials used by RCBS to manufacture their die sets is above reproach. The RCBS’s attention to detail is superb. I run RCBS dies on my reloading bench regularly and have very few problems.
RCBS three dies sets are available for a wide range of pistol calibers, including:
- 32 Auto
- .357 Magnum
- .38 Special
- .357 Max
- .40 SW
- 10 mm Auto
- .45 ACP
- .45 GAP
- 9mm Luger
In each three die set from RCBS, you will get the following:
- Carbide sizing die
- An expander die
- A bullet seating die
These die sets from RCBS are complete with the following features:
- Standard 7/8 inch by 24 threads to fit most presses
- Made in America
- Complete instructions
Pros of The RCBS Three Die Sets
- Includes taper and roll crimp dies depending on the cartridge chosen
- Some of the most affordable die sets on the market
- Excellent RCBS warranty and service
Cons of the RCBS Three Die Set
- The bullet seat die may not hold its setting consistently.
Best Two Die Reloading Sets – Hornady Match Grade Dies
Rifle reloading has some differences from pistol caliber reloading.
The most noticeable for most people is that you only need two dies to reload rifle calibers. There are several reasons for this difference.
The most notable is the need to resize the neck on most rifle cartridges.
Many two die sets use a fixed bushing resizing die.
The neck resizing bushing ensures that the tapered shoulder of the rifle cartridge forms properly and that the neck of the cartridge is sized properly for bullet seating.
A changeable resizing bushing that allows you more control of the neck resizing part of the reloading process.
These fine adjustments may seem like overkill, but if precision loading is your goal, these Hornady dies are your ticket to success.
Beginning reloaders won’t be deterred using these dies. However, investing in these match-grade dies is an investment in the future.
- Die Set for the Avid Reloader - hand crafted and polished for an unmatched finish, the Hornady Match...
- Find the Match Grade Bushing Dies You Need - these precision dies give the handloader more control...
- Full Length Sizer Die - features precision-polished elliptical expander to reduce friction and...
As your experience grows, you won’t need to purchase additional dies to get the features you want from your two-die set.
- Available for almost all popular and custom rifle calibers
- Available in two styles: full-length sizing and shoulder bump neck size
- Self-centering spindles to precise neck expansion
- Elliptical expander for easier use
- Replaceable decapping pin
- Knurled toolless spindle lock for quick bushing changes
- Self-centering neck sizing bushing
- Micrometer adjustment on the seating stem
- Compatible with almost all modern reloading presses
- No shell holder included with the reloading die set.
Best Reloading Dies Set for .223 Remington Cartridges – RCBS 11107 .223 Rem/5.56 x 45 SB T/C Die Set
When it comes to reloading rifle ammunition, my reloading bench sees more .223/5.56×45 ammunition than anything else.
A look in my gun safe and a count of the number of rifles chambered for this popular cartridge is the reason.
RCBS dies for the .223 Remington/5.56×45 rounds are my preference. There are several reasons for this choice.
- The RCBS kit includes a tapered crimp die. I like to crimp my .223 Remington ammunition to prevent bullet creep when firing the ammo in semi-automatic rifles with large-capacity magazines. I live in Texas, so our rifles’ magazines follow our cultural heritage, i.e., the bigger, the better.
- I also like the decapping die included with this set. The decapping and neck sizing die features an easily replaceable pin. I resize my .223 brass separately in a single-stage Rockchucker press. .223 brass can be notoriously hard to resize and deprime. The extra leverage I get with the Rockchucker press makes the job much easier.
- The life expectancy of the RCBS dies is exceptional. I have put tens of thousands of rounds through my dies and yet to find any noticeable change in the ammunition they produce.
The fit and finish of the RCS die sets are unmatched.
The design of the taper crimp dies reflects RCBS’s long experience in the reloading business.
You won’t find a crimp and taper die that works smoother and more precisely than this RCBS dies.
- Made of the highest quality materials
- Hunting reloading dies
- Another quality Bushnell product
The Pros of RCBS .223 Dies
- High-quality construction from a well-known and reliable manufacturer
- Suitable for high volume reloading applications
- Easy to change decapping pin
- Using the decapping and sizing die can require some effort, and your cases must be well lubed.
Best .300 Blackout Reloading Dies – Lee Pacesetter 300AAC Blackout Die Set
Like a lot of other rifle shooters, I wanted a suppressed rifle in my gun safe. My choice was to build a rifle chambered for the .300 AAC Blackout round.
There were many reasons I made this choice, but one that factored into the equation more than others was the brass.
The Blackout round is a cut-down .223 Remington case that is neck resized for a .30 caliber bullet. To get the best performance from a suppressed rifle, you need to shoot subsonic ammunition.
The availability of .223 brass and the cost of subsonic factory ammunition made this a no-brainer.
I chose the Lee Pacesetter 300AAC Blackout reloading die set for several reasons.
One is the overall quality of these dies is excellent and produces precise brass
This Lee Pacesetter dies set is a three die kit that includes
- A full length resizing die
- An easily adjustable dead stop bullet seating die
- A factory crimp dies
- A shell holder
- The strength and durability to resize cut down .223 cases and form the neck
These Lee dies have served me well, making thousands of rounds of .300 Blackout ammunition for my suppressed .300 Blackout rifle.
- 300 AAC Blackout Very Limited Production 3-Die Set
- Includes Full Length Sizing Die, Easy Adjust Dead Length Bullet Seating Die, Factory Crimp Die,...
- Made in USA
Pros of Using the Lee Pacesetter .300 Blackout dies Kit
- Well-built and dependable
- Easily neck sizes cut down .223 brass
- These die kits from Lee ft well into almost any budget
- Easily adjustable bullet seating die and crimp die
Cons of the Lee Pacesetter .300 Blackout Kit
- These are not match-grade dies and won’t produce match-grade accuracy. However, very few people shoot the .300 Blackout competitively.
The Ultimate Reloading Die Kits for 6.5 Creedmoor – Redding Type S “ELITE” Bushing Die Set
If you are a serious competitive shooter or demand the best performance and accuracy possible for your hunts, reloading your ammunition is a given.
To achieve the sorts of accuracy sought by some shooters, their ammunition is built to match their rifle. Precision shooting requires precision reloading.
Precision reloading demands precision equipment on your reloading bench.
Redding has many lines of reloading die kits for the most demanding shooters.
The Redding Type S bushing die sets fill the niche for many competitive shooters.
The concept of micrometer adjustable die sets is not new, but Redding has brought the concept to a new level of precision.
Consider the many features you get when you purchase a Redding micrometer adjustable reloading die set.
- Precision control over neck sizing using changeable bushings incremented in .001 of an inch.
- Adjustable decapping rod allows you to select the length of the neck to resize
- Self-centering resizing bushing ensures precise concentricity on the case neck.
- A decapping pin retainer allows neck sizing without using a neck button to allow manual sorting and resizing of cases.
Most competitive long-range shooters will tell you that accuracy starts on the reloading bench. The most expensive gun you can buy or build will not perform to its capabilities if the ammunition you shoot is inferior.
If precision is your goal, you should consider Redding dies.
- Type S-Bushing Full Length Sizing Die
- Competition Seating Die
- Plastic storage box
Redding Type S Die Sets – The Pros
- Match-grade reloading dies or better
- Micrometer adjustable dies for the most precise loads possible
- Lifetime Warranty
- Rugged construction that holds settings and produces precise results with each pull of the lever on your reloading press
The Major Cons with the Redding Type S Dies Set
- Sometimes the price of the Redding die set is 3 or 4 times the cost of any other die set from a competitor.
- More die than most casual reloaders need.
Down Range with Confidence
The object of any reloader is to put the best possible bullet downrange at a reasonable cost.
These goals are all dependent on your expectations. Some shooters reload to save money and allow them to put in range time as inexpensively as possible.
On the other end of the spectrum is the dedicated long-range precision shooter who will spend hours or days perfecting a particular load for their rifle.
In the end, what most reloaders say they enjoy most is the feeling they get as they shoot ammunition they built themselves.
There is nothing quite like watching holes appear in the bullseye and knowing that you created the ammunition.
I hope that this article gives you the information you need to choose the die sets that meet your expectations.
Good shooting and shoot safely.
Last update on 2021-09-22