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Another question regarding neck sizing dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Funshooter45, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Well-Known Member

    There is another thread dealing specifically with bushing type neck dies but I have a question about the other more traditional type necking dies. To begin with, I am completely sold on the Lee collet neck sizing design. I have them for 22-250, 243, and 308 cases. I like them so much that I am about to order the Lee collet neck sizer for 7 mm mag. However, Lee doesn't make them for my .270 WSM or .325 WSM.

    For neck sizing only, I see that Hornady, Redding, RCBS, and Forster all make neck sizers for the .270 WSM. The prices are all fairly close to the same. Redding also makes the bushing type neck sizer for that case but it costs quite a bit more and the reviews I read here are not all that favorable.

    My question then is there any real difference between the design of those neck sizing dies mentioned above?
  2. flashhole

    flashhole Well-Known Member

    No not really, the finish may be better on one when compared to the others but they work the same. Some folks will hone the ID of the neck die to get them to the exact neck diameter they need without having to pull an expander ball through the neck. Does the same thing as the Redding S Bushing Dies without the bushing but these are the same folks that neck turn all their brass.
  3. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    There are some who attest to this brand, or that brand being more precision, but my only experience has been with RCBS standard neck sizing dies.
    I don't shoot competitively, but I do get really serious about my grouping, and as much, extremely maticulous about my hand loading process. In this respect, I have found the RCBS neck dies to be an extremely high quality product, in my discriminating opinion. I don't load for a bunch of cartridges, but the one's I do load for are high velocity type, with potential to produce very tight groups, and the 7mm RM is one of my favorite rounds to work with.

    Initially I started using neck dies as a means of increasing brass life, and have indeed found that to be one of the significant benefits. But after having fire formed my brass to the degree I could experience the full potential of their accuracy potential, I am forever dedicated to their need in my bottle neck processing tools. Brass life has gone from 5-7 cycles with a conventional FL die, to 12-15 cycles using the neck dies. I was especially pleased to see my 7 mag brass lasting this long. And I think it's important to point out that I don't ever load powder puff loads, and that probably 99% of my loads utilize at the very least a maximum powder charge of slow burning powder's. In this regard, I would think a person loading dowm from these higher pressure loads will likely see a noticable increase in brass life. I'll never know on a first hand basis though.

    And performance regarding accuracy is significantly better if everything else in the process is accomplished with as much precision, and attention to detail as possible. Even the best reloading tools won't produce exceptional performance, if all the other pertinent details are not performed to an exceptional precision degree.

    And one more thing. Neck sizing dies are not a recomended sizing method for AL actions, and may just cause undesireable performance issues.
  4. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    A LOT of us have failed to find any accuracy or case life advantage to neck sizing if it's done with common neck dies but the Lee collet neck die sure helps both.

    I've rarely had cases fail due to body splits. It's much more common for necks to split first and it matters not if they were sized and expanded in an FL or neck die. Lee's collet die doesn't work the necks more than is absolutely required.

    One of the reasons we don't get the best accuracy with any common dies is due to the expander ball dragging the sized necks out of line and inducing bullet runout, and that doesn't matter if it happens in an FL or conventional neck die. Lee's collet has no expander so the necks are only limited by the quality they were manufactored to.

    Many people agonize over which seating die is 'best'. But the seater really doesn't matter much if the case necks aren't straight!
  5. bigedp51

    bigedp51 member


    ranger335v hit the nail on the head, in my 1973 Speer reloading manual there is a section on "Reloading for bench rest accuracy". The article states more "inaccurate" ammunition is reloaded because the neck of the case is pulled off center by the expander button than any other reason.

    The bushing dies the big boys use are in conjunction with turned necks and the removal of the expander button for neck tension. Meaning straight aligned necks not pulled off center by the expander button.

    The Lee Collet die has a self centering floating mandrel and the collet compresses the neck of the case around the floating mandrel. Nothing is pulled, pushed or moved off center during the resizing operation.

    (think of it as a Lee Loader on steroids and no rubber hammer)



    Watch the YouTube video below.


    More info, rubber o-rings and standard reloading dies.
    (NOTE: a rubber o-ring under the decaping rod locking nut will also help center the sizing button)

    O-Rings on Dies May Reduce Run-Out
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  6. flashhole

    flashhole Well-Known Member

    You don't have to suffer misaligned necks with conventional expander ball type neck dies. I get good results by ensuring the inside of the necks are clean (brushed while chucked up in a drill) and paying attention to the die alignment to the ram and shell holder. I like the slight movement provided by the Lee O-ring die rings and the Lee Classic Turret Press has some float that is self aligning. A bit of lube on the inside of the clean neck reduces friction quite a bit and you can get the carbide expander balls that eliminate the need for lube. Details, the devil is in the details but it is not hard to get very low runout with conventional dies.
  7. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I'm in total agreement with Flashhole as to easily preventing distortion by allowing for some free float and making sure all is clean and properely lubed. Though I completely understand the bushing die and it's advantages, before anyone was manufacturing bushing dies the Big Boys were accomplishing this task without them.

    And it isn't impossible to lightly hone or lap polish an expander button if it is pulling to hard. I'm not knocking the bushing dies, they're great. I'm just allowing the OP to understand that big bucks aren't an absolute necessity to make precision reloads of exceptional quality with a $25 RCBS neck die.

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