Need recommendation...


Don't Tread On Me
October 19, 2006, 12:17 PM
I'm looking for a quality, yet affordable <$40 .223 seating die. Preferably one that is well suited at seating 75-77gr BTHP style bullets.

Currently, I have a Lee die and I get between 0.020-0.025 difference in seating depth with it. I'm guessing that the seating plug just isn't ideal for the heavier bullets or this style of bullet profile. The resize and crimp dies are great though.

0.020 difference seems really excessive to me. I know it costs a lot of money to get a match-grade seating die that will get you within a thousandth...however, I wouldn't mind being as much as .005 off. Is that unreasonable?

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October 19, 2006, 01:24 PM
That seems like a lot of variation on those. I use a Lee seater myself in .223 and have never had that much of a problem with the heavy bullets. I confess, I haven't been looking for bug-hole groups with it, but I used to be able to shoot 1-MOA out past 300 with ammo loaded with the Lees. (Little out of practice, but I'm sure I can get back to that level easily.)

Also check your bullets. The match hollowpoints have awful variation in the tips, IMO. If you're measuring off of that point, that would account for much of the problem. You really need a comparator to measure off of the ogive of the bullet for this. (Obviously, loading mag-fed rounds for say an AR-15, they HAVE to be a certain OAL, but for single loading they only have to stay off of the lands.)

And what kind of accuracy do you get out of the loads already?

October 19, 2006, 02:04 PM
Under $40? The basic Redding and RCBS seaters work ok. But for under $40, the Hornady seating die is your best bet. It has the same style sleeve used by the Redding competition die to guide and keep the bullet straight during the seating process.

For .223, I use a Redding Competition Seating die (with micrometer). Specifically to load Sierra 77 and 80 Match Kings. I have a regular RCBS seater for basic use (right now it's set for 69gr Sierra Match Kings).

BTW: When measuring consistency of seating depth, you need to use a bullet comparator so you can measure off the ogive and not the tip. As wanderinwalker stated, OTM (Open Tip Match) bullets like the Sierra Match Kings are very inconsistent with regards to the tip formation. Of course, you can use a meplat trimmer to get them all consistent, which is a good idea when seating 77gr SMKs to mag length in AR-15s.

October 19, 2006, 03:47 PM
I agree with ocabj, the Hornady seating die is a really good choice for a seating die under 40 bucks. It'll get you close without the micrometer attachment and if you need closer, just get the micrometer and unless you're shooting benchrest, you'll be "there.'

If you're shooting benchrest, then you're probably looking at Redding or Wilson dies.


October 19, 2006, 06:07 PM
How are you measuring the COL? With a comparator, or with micrometer gauge, base to tip of bullet?

If it is the latter, you could be measuring the difference in the bullet tip deformation around the hollowpoint (which varies more in some instances), not the true seating depth. If this is the circumstance, you don’t need a new die, just a comparator.

October 19, 2006, 07:15 PM
check out hte LE Wilson hand dies at or

October 19, 2006, 09:48 PM
The best die under $40 I have found is the Hornady. If you are measuring OAL and not using a comparator 20 thou is about as good as it will get...........

Don't Tread On Me
October 20, 2006, 02:51 AM
When I measure bullets from the box of 75gr Hornady, they vary from tip of bullet to base of bullet by .004 at most using calipers.

That doesn't account for .025 of error in seating I've been experiencing. I don't think it's the bullets. I'd be happy with .005 error. But .025 seems excessive to me. If 2.250 is min OAL, I wouldn't want to be 2.225.

Comparator looks like a good thing to have. I will look into a set. Seems like the only way to really get real seating depth measurements.

I thought that the seating plug in the die might be too shallow for this style of bullet and maybe the tip was bottoming out, but it's not that. I'm going to take a closer look at the machining of the seater when I get the chance. It looks like there are grooves in there from what I can tell.

Seems that the Hornady dies are my best bet for value/quality according to your well appreciated advice. Thanks guys. I'll post if I figure out what is wrong with this die.

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