In this review, we’ll take a look Hornady’s “Custom Grade New Dimension” pistol dies. In particular, I’ll use a set of revolver dies (44 special/magnum) for this review.
Overall Score: 4.5/5
- – A very complete set, with accessories and replacement parts, allen wrench
- – Great features, Excellent quality
- – Comes in a nice stackable cases
- – Rubber washer on seating die deforms (too squishy)
- – No 4 die set available (for automatics, separate taper crimp die)
There’s no question: Hornady makes a great set of pistol dies. Each set comes in a rugged plastic box that is stackable. The boxes are nice, but the dies sometimes sit a bit wonky in the holders (a nit pick…).
Here’s what you get with each set:
- – Sizing/Decapping die
- – Expander die
- – Seating/Crimping die
- – Plastic storage box
- – Extra seating plug (come with flat point and round nose style plugs)
- – Extra “C” snap ring (retains sliding bullet guide and seating plug)
- – Allen wrench
- – Instructions
Each die comes with a nice locking ring so that you can retain your height setting when removing from a press or lock-n-load bushing.
What you get with each pistol die set (Lock-N-Load bushings shown not included):
So let’s take a look at the individual dies included in this set.
Sizing die, view 1
Sizing die view 2
The sizing die features a titanium nitride coated sizing ring. This prevents the die from wearing out even when you’re not using lubrication, and helps to prevent cases from sticking. (I use lube most of the time anyways as it makes the press run smoother) These dies also feature the “Zip Spindle” system for adjusting and retaining your decapping pin height setting. This system works really well compared to some of the other systems I’ve used. The sizing ring does a great job of sizing the cases. Where some brands of sizing die have not sized down enough in my experience, the Hornady sizing dies always size to a proper diameter.
Overall score for sizing/decapping die, 5/5
The Hornady expander die is simple and straightforward, and has worked well for me. It has the same standard features as the rest of the dies (corrosion resistant coating, lock ring).
Overall score for this expander die, 5/5
Bullet Seating / Crimp Die
The bullet seating and crimp die has some unique features. One of these features is a sliding guide for the bullet. This guide contacts the bullet before seating begins. This helps to align the bullet, and helps to prevent the bullet from tipping. You can also change the seating plug (comes with both a flat point and round nose style seating plugs) in just a few seconds! One complaint I do have is the rubber washer between the lock ring for the seater and the die body. It’s much too squishy, so you are left with a mushy feel when you compress it, and it deforms easily. Perhaps I’ll experiment on my metal lathe with some delrin plastic to see if that works better.
Seating / Crimp die view 1
Seating / Crimp die view 2
Overall score for this expander die, 4/5
Value for the money:
Overall, this is a great set of dies. Retailing at $57.07, the basic set is a bit spendy, but looking online today, I saw them on sale for a bit over $35. Factor in the free bullet deal, and then you’re talking about a great value. Based on the average street price of $40 or so, I’d call these a good deal, so the score here is 4/5.
Summing it all up:
The Hornady “Custom Grade New Dimension” pistol dies are top quality, and offer some great features. I’ve reloaded 1000’s of pistol rounds in 9mm, 38 special, 357 magnum, 44 magnum, and 45acp with these die sets. I would like to see Hornady offer a 4 die pistol set (with taper crimp die), and have a bit of trouble with the rubber washer on the bullet seating die, but those are really nit-picks in the grand scheme of things. The split lock rings work great, and the extra parts and tools are very handy. If you do buy a taper crimp die, there’s room in the box for it (I have one for 45acp). These dies are also covered by a lifetime warrantee. Currently, there’s a free bullet promotion where you can get 100 Hornady XTP bullets with each set of dies (that’s about a $20 value), that definately sweetens the deal! For more details see www.hornady.com.