Good dies for target ammo?


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Southern Raider
December 8, 2007, 12:46 AM
I'm experienced in loading, but my experience is more volume reloading on a Dillon 550B. I want to produce some accurate loads for my Remington 700VS, and will be getting a single stage press for that. Are there any preferences for dies to help me? I plan on neck sizing only and keeping the brass confined to the one rifle.

Are the Redding Competition dies worth the $ in terms of the ammo they produce?

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steve4102
December 8, 2007, 09:47 AM
Neck sizing is only temporary. Depending on the cartridge and pressures you will have to Full Length size sooner or later.
There are lots of good quality competition or benchrest dies out there. It's all up to you as to what you need and want. Do you need a Micrometer Adj Seating die or just a good quality comp or benchrest seater without the Mic?
For neck sizing you can't beat the Lee Collet Die. It is very inexpensive and works exceptionally well. Also no lube required for this die.
For seating I like the Forster Benchrest Seating Dies. Not very expensive and just about the best seater I have used.
For Full length sizing I like the Forster Benchrest FL die. I also really like the Redding Bushing Dies (with expander removed) and the Redding Body Die. The Body Die only sizes the body and not the neck.
One of my favorite combo's is to, neck size with the Lee Collet Die($18), Bump the shoulder back with the Redding Body Die($22) if needed and seat with the Forster Benchrest seater($35). All three of these quality dies for less than a Micro-Seater.

stubbicatt
December 8, 2007, 10:13 AM
Everybody has his experiences and preferences.

When I ask most folks looking at neck dies why they are doing it, typically it is due to the mess associated with lubing for full length resizing, or they think that they will extend case life. Each of these is a legitimate concern, but in my experience full length resizing of bottleneck cases makes for more useable ammunition. If you set up your dies using a RCBS precision mic or similar for a .002" shoulder setback, your cases will last a very long time.

As for lube, I've used just about every brand produced. Each has its drawbacks, including messiness and method of application. Some don't even work consistently enough to be considered. I've stuck more cases using Hornady One Shot than I'd care to recall.

I have found that a mixture of Lee case lube that comes in the toothpaste tube and a 50/50 mixture of tap water and ISO alcohol in about a 5 to 7 to 1 ratio works exceptionally. The lube is spritzed into a gallon freezer bag, a couple of handsful of brass added, the whole thing rolled around for 30 seconds or so, so that the lube gets all over the outsides of the cases and inside the case necks, and then left on a towel to dry for 20 minutes. The lube will NOT stick a case. The insides of the necks are lubed for easy extraction from the die without the dreaded expander ball squeal (which also helps in maintaining concentricity), the cases can be lubed and left without attracting lint or abrasives as it dries completely without any tack. You can choose to shoot the loaded ammo without removing the lube, or you can tumble your cases for 10 minutes to remove all traces of your lube. You can even wipe them down with a moist rag.

If you FL size your cases, you don't have that sinking feeling that happens sometimes when the bolt doesn't want to close on the case that you get with neck sizing. The expense of the unneeded dies is gone. Your accuracy with FL sized brass is typically as good or better than the neck sized cases in a factory chamber.

Some folks like experimentation and I understand that. It is fun to futz around with firearms and see what you can learn. But after 20+ years of this stuff, I've decided to stick with what works and shoot more. :)

YMMV

Walkalong
December 8, 2007, 10:31 AM
The Redding Competition Seater is hard to beat. The Forster Seater is also very, very good.

I have used the Lee Collet die, but have gotten away from it. They do work well, but after many reloadings on the same brass it tends to put 4 lines along the neck where the splits in the collet are, especially if you anneal your brass.

I prefer the Redding bushing type die or the Forster FL sizeing die with it's elevated expander button for sizing. The Redding bushing style gives you more flexability with it's interchangable bushings were the collet die is stuck with one size mandrel, which can be polished down, but that's it.

If you want to get by cheap, the Lee Collet Die set, with it's collet style sizer and it's floating seater stem seater, does work very well. It will take a very good barrel to show the difference between them and a better system.

If you want to step up a bit from there without a lot more expense, get the Forster set.

If you want the best, IMHO, and are willing to pay for it, get the Redding dies.

I have no experience with the RCBS Competition Seater, but would expect that it does a fine job. I never wanted to buy special shellholders to try one.

Best bang for your buck? The Forster set. IMHO. Set the sizer up to just push the shoulder back far enough to chamber easily in your rifle.

USSR
December 8, 2007, 10:48 AM
Are the Redding Competition dies worth the $ in terms of the ammo they produce?

Southern Raider,

Yep! I currently reload for 3 different cartridges for 1,000 yard match competition using the Redding Competition Die Sets.

Don

Southern Raider
December 8, 2007, 12:55 PM
As I said, I'm fairly experienced in reloading, just not for precision work. Some of the comments here caught me a bit by surprise.

I had wanted to neck size mostly because I thought it would make more accurate ammo than repeated full length sizing and would extend the brass life. Are these concerns not as great as I thought? The rifle in question is not a true bench rest rig. I would be using it mostly off a bipod or supported on a pack in the field.

Not lubing would be nice, but not much of a concern to me. I use the Dillon spray lube on my progressive and found it to be very simple and easy.

I rather like the design of the Redding bushing dies with the sliding case support, which should help with concentricity. Are these adjustable in the fashion described to "bump the shoulder"?

Thanks for the help. This is a bit more complicated than I thought...

USSR
December 8, 2007, 01:13 PM
I rather like the design of the Redding bushing dies with the sliding case support, which should help with concentricity. Are these adjustable in the fashion described to "bump the shoulder"?

If you are talking about the Redding Competition Die Set, you will receive 3 dies: a necksizing die; a body die; and a seating die. If you want to just neck size, you will not use the body die, but you will eventually have to use it as your brass gradually lengthens. I started out that way, but now I bump the shoulder back using the body die each time prior to using the neck die. I am essentially FL sizing my brass in two distinct operations. I like the control this gives me. BTW, make sure you get the TiN coated bushings, as they do not require you to lube the necks. Also, I highly recomment you remove the decapping die and expander ball from the sizing die. Pick yourself up a Universal Decapping Die to remove spent primers.

Don

Walkalong
December 8, 2007, 03:17 PM
Another thought. Redding offers Carbide expander balls. They are much better than the stell ones. I have one on my Redding .223 FL sizer. I also have one on my RCBS .222 Sizer. My .222 Mag sizer is a Forster, bought before the Redding Competition dies were ever introduced.

Southern Raider
December 8, 2007, 04:50 PM
USSR,
Thanks for the description of how those dies work. I can see much more clearly the process.

Do you find any use for the Competition Shellholders to control how much you setback the shoulder in conjunction with the body die?

CZ57
December 8, 2007, 04:58 PM
The only dies I have ever seen recommended by Dillon, other than their own, are REDDING.;)

USSR
December 8, 2007, 07:37 PM
Do you find any use for the Competition Shellholders to control how much you setback the shoulder in conjunction with the body die?

Never saw the need for them. You simply screw the die into the press until you have moved the shoulder back enough to just close your bolt on it. Then, set your lock ring. Look for a case that has been fired in another rifle (and won't fit your chamber) to do this on, as a fired case from your rifle will fit from the get go.

Don

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