"Bench Rest" die set


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jk2008
March 11, 2012, 08:42 PM
What are "bench rest" dies?

I've seen auctions on ebay for "bench rest" dies made by Forster and Bonanza. The dies appear to be standard 7/8x14 dies (not hand dies that would require an arbor press), so I suspect that calling them "bench rest" dies is merely a marketing ploy, but I thought it worthwhile to ask.

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Walkalong
March 11, 2012, 09:18 PM
Forster dies are top notch. Most Bench Rest shooters use hand dies made by Wilson or Niel Jones and arbor presses to seat bullets, so yes, "Bench Rest" is a bit of a market ploy, used by many companies.

Of the threaded dies, the Redding Competition dies and the Forster "bench rest" dies are the best.

ranger335v
March 12, 2012, 10:05 PM
"Forster and Bonanza. The dies appear to be standard 7/8x14 dies (not hand dies that would require an arbor press), so I suspect that calling them "bench rest" dies is merely a marketing ploy,.."

You got it. Forster bought Bonanza long ago so they are the same, but putting a "BR" or "Competition" label on any threaded dies is meaningless. Forster and Redding do have some similarities in straight-line seater design to serious BR dies. The other pretenders so labled are so far out of the BR/Comp league it's laffable.

Nomad
March 12, 2012, 10:57 PM
Walkalong pretty much said it. During the years I shot NBRSA I and everyone that shot on the circut that I knew used Wilson straight line seaters and if you neck sized, their neck sizer with an arbor press. The dies labeled as "benchrest" for a standard press are made to closer tolerances and if I didn't use Wison dies for my varmit or very accurate hunting rifle I would use "benchrest" dies for a standard single stage press. IMO they are a notch above standard production dies.

sugarmaker
March 13, 2012, 12:22 PM
"BR" on forster / redding dies is mostly about the seating die. Forster BR seaters have a well fitted sleeved seater and no crimp, so you can bottom out on the shell holder (or shell plate on a progressive). this will create a dead length chamber and, esp. on a progressive, this helps as frame flex is removed. Not to re-start the cam-over thread but a little care and common sense and you won't damage your dies this way. I measured runout on various .223 seaters (Lee, rcbs (i think...) and forster BR, BR was the best, lee the worst. "BR" fl sizers do not impress me as much, I don't see where there could be a meaningful advantage as most FL sizers are pretty good to start with.

ranger335v
March 13, 2012, 07:00 PM
"I measured runout on various .223 seaters (Lee, rcbs (i think...) and forster BR, BR was the best, lee the worst."

I have to ask, were the components and techniques used for the ammo of your Lee-RCBS-Forster seater test otherwise identical? I've found as much average variation between all brands of dies, both sizers and seaters, to be within normal SAAMI tolerances and that's actually pretty good.

The primary difference I've found with runout from Forster/Redding seaters are due to the design of the full lenght sleeve that aligns case and bullet before seating begins rather than "tighter tolerances." In fact, ALL of the tolerances are a range of a few thousanths, it's never a specific point, so I don't know if the term "tighter" applies; what whould the makers aim for; do we want dies to be on the large side or the small side? Given that chambers have similar tolerance range, I suppose most of us would benefit from a small chamber and large dies to assure a closer match; going the other way would only make the ammo fit sloppier.

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