Pistol Dies - Reloading
Pistol dies are available in two types, steel and carbide. While some reloaders will still use steel dies, carbide dies are used to a much greater extent because of ease and cost. There are two basic dies needed in both types to complete the reloading process, the resizing/decapping and the seating/crimping die.
Steel pistol dies are basically a thing of the past since the invention of carbide dies. They are generally harder to find and will require the use of case lube to prevent stuck cases. There are still steel pistol dies manufactured for cartridges like the .357 Sig and 7.62x25 Tokarev, both bottleneck (Fig. 1) cartridges.
Carbide dies utilize a ring of carbide, a very hard material with a very low coefficient of friction, at the base of the die. This type of die does not require case lube, which saves time and money, but some reloaders may still use a small amount to extend die life. Carbide dies will usually be restricted to straight wall (Fig. 2) pistol calibers, although some custom dies can be found for bottleneck calibers.
The resizing/decapping die resizes the case back to factory specs and will be the only die with the carbide ring in it. This die will also remove the spent primer from the case. The seating/crimping die will seat the new bullet in the case and if desired, will crimp the mouth of the case around the bullet for positive bullet hold. Crimping is typically used in magnum cartridges to prevent bullet movement during heavy recoil.
Pistol dies are typically sold in sets. Many will include a third die, the expander die. This die will flare the mouth of the case for easier bullet insertion. Some will hold a powder measure and dispense a powder charge when the case is run through it.
Reloading Basics - Getting Started - Click Here
Reloading Presses - Click Here
Reloading - Case Preparation - Click Here
Pistol Dies - Click Here
Rifle Dies - Click Here
Powder Measures and Scales - Click Here
Reloading Quick Reference - Click Here