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Micrometer Seating Die / Competition Dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Lovesbeer99, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Lovesbeer99

    Lovesbeer99 Well-Known Member

    I've been using the Lee RGB dies for .223 for years and I think I'm ready to upgrade to some fancy seating dies with the micrometer adjustment. I don't have a problem with the standard dies but I figure if all the bench rest guys are using them there must be a purpose.

    Any feedback on the RCBS, Redding or Forster? Or do you think I'm just wasting my money?

    FYI - I do have a match grade .223 AR I use in Service Rifle. I'm classified as Expert but I'll be in Master soon.
  2. P-32

    P-32 Well-Known Member

    Congrats Beer! I use a Forster Ultra seating die for the 223 and 30-06. Some one might come along and suggest the The Redding seating die which is simular to the Forester. I use the Redding for 308 and it is a fine seating die.

    The problem with the Redding is well documented among the High Power shooters. The Redding will not stand up to over a period of time to compressed loads. If you are shooting 69 and 77 gr. bullets using the popular powders and seating to fit the mag, you are loading compressed loads.

    On the other hand the Forester is built like a tank and is my choice for trouble free seating. Heck. I even have the Forester with out the micro top for 30-30. Long story.
  3. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    I like the micrometer seating dies in cartridges where I change bullets frequently, like different loads for different rifles. The micrometer makes it easier to reset the die.

    For cartridges where I don't change bullets, I still use the non-micrometer dies, even my service rifle loads (I shoot one bullet in reduce course matches only). I rarely reset the seater stem once I find the sweet spot.

    Using the same seating technique, I really don't see any improvement in bullet run out between the two types of dies. I have learned of some things I can do to change my technique which is supposed to reduce run out.
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator


    Hard to beat the Forster or Redding micrometer seaters. The Forster is as good as it gets, and is cheaper.

    The Lee collet die and dead length seater do a mighty fine job of loading straight ammo, but Lee does not offer the micrometer option. No reason they couldn't though.

    The micrometer top does nothing to help seat the bullet straight, but it is so handy for dialing back to a certain bullet.
  5. b78-22250

    b78-22250 Active Member

    I like my wilson hand dies with the micrometer top. Not real fast but I don't think they have any rivals in the accuracy department.JMOP.
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    Are you gentlemen saying i would see no improvement in accuracy, when compared to my standard RCBS seating dies?? :confused:
  7. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "I don't have a problem with the standard dies but I figure if all the bench rest guys are using them there must be a purpose."

    Winning BR guys don't use threaded dies and presses, that label is just hype. But, the Forster's and Redding's copies are unique in that they have a spring-loaded full fitting chamber that fully contains the case and bullet in line before seating starts. That virtually duplicates the 'straight line' (Wilson type) searters BR shooters do use so the label does have a bit of justification.

    RCBS's (and Hornady) costly seaters only have a very short, gravitey fed (sloppy fitted) alignment sleeve that ONLY holds the bullet and neck, not the full case, so they aren't as dependable as the other two.

    Fact is, common seaters are usually pretty good and, if the tolerances all work right, any of them can load about as well as a much more costly seater. So the question of getting a new seater help you make better ammo depends a lot on how well your current seater is doing. No seater can make straight ammo with bent case necks and that's the biggest cause of runout. Second greatest producer of runout is probably excessive "bullet tension" (undersized fit actually) that pushes the bullet out of alignment during seating; all we need is a neck about ONE thousanth smaller than the bullet, not the three or four thou a lot of loaders seem to seek!

    The costly micrometer seating heads are user convienences only, they can't add anything to the ammo. If you want them, pay for and enjoy them. I have a couple but quit buying them (Forsters) because I'm going to set my seating depth with my dial caliper and bullet comparitor anyway.
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I am saying the micrometer part has nothing to do with seating the bullet straight. The Forster without the micrometer top seats the bullet exactly like it does with the micrometer top on it. The Redding would to if they made it that way.

    Many used threaded custom made bushing type sizers made with reamers that were used for their chambers.

    I used one to size with a small press like Sinclair sells for that, and used a hand die with an arbor press to seat bullets.

  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I agree a straight-line seating die might or might not help.
    But a micrometer seating stem will not.

    But if you are not making crooked ammo now with your RCBS die, a straight-line die can't improve that.

    Try rolling some loads on a flat surface like a mirror.
    If you can see any bullet tip wobble or run-out, you have crooked ammo.

    But that could also be caused by crooked brass.
    Neck expanding can pull the neck off to one side.
    Especially if your brass has non-uniform neck wall thickness?
    A seating die with minimum tolerances (like a straight-line die) could also push the case to one side when the bullet is seated if the case neck wall thickness varies from one side to the other 2 or 3 thousandths.

    And a competition straight-line seater can't fix that.

  10. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    My standard RCBS seating die seems to be doing a good job by looking at group size. Guess i will stick with it. Might be worth the $$ if i could always shoot 1" groups at 300 yds, not just 50% of the time. :D
  11. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    "A seating die with minimum tolerances (like a straight-line die) could also push the case to one side when the bullet is seated if the case neck wall thickness varies from one side to the other 2 or 3 thousandths. -- And a competition straight-line seater can't fix that."

    Very true.

    Excessive neck turning to obtain a consistant neck thickness can make an already sloppy neck-to-chamber fit worse but light skimming of most necks can help get the inside and outside of the necks better oriented.

    Good seaters are an aid but they can't work magic on bad necks. The cases, plus the sizer-expander tools and the users methods must also be good to obtain low runout...which IS what you're driving at! ;)

    It's my understanding that the BR competition boys limit the use of threaded custom size dies and the little alum alloy bodied RCBS "Partner" press (often with a loosely fitted ram) to do FL sizing or shoulder bumps but that has long been true. I think they still use unthreaded Wilson dies and arbor presses for neck sizing and seating. ??
  12. Historian

    Historian Well-Known Member

    +1 for Forster Competition seater. Using it gave a measured improvement to my groups.

  13. Lovesbeer99

    Lovesbeer99 Well-Known Member

    I ordered the Forster Bench Rest Die set. The one where the seater has the micrometer adjustment. I can't imagine it will hurt.

    After I've loaded a few and evaluate the results I'll start looking into concentricity tools and such. Seams expensive though so I hope its worth the effort.
  14. kelbro

    kelbro Well-Known Member

    I tested several bullet types in 223AI and 308 using both a Redding Competition seaters and a Lee Dead Length (no crimp) seaters. Measured hundreds of rounds. The OALs were consistent in both. The runout was the same in the 308 and better with the Lee in the 223AI.

    The good thing was that the Reddings hold their value pretty well :). After seeing the results, I sold them off for right at what I paid for them.

    FWIW, I am not a big Lee fan. Those particular dies and the Lee collet dies were my first Lee dies and my attitude towards Lee changed a little after using them. All of my other dies are Redding, RCBS, Dillon, and Hornady.

    Good luck.
  15. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I like the micrometer, I can write down my OAL for each application, a time saver and dead on.

    The colar that drops down deffinitely helps with bullet alignment. I noticed the difference on the first bullet I seated with that RCBS comp. die. The collars on my RCBS comp. dies drop down completely over the edge of the outer shoulder, not just the neck. The collar secures a good portion of the cartridge to just below the shoulder, which contributes greatly to bullet alignment.
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Check concentricity of the sized cases before loading. It does no good just to measure the finished product. You must have straight cases first.
  17. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Well-Known Member

    I love my Redding seaters, I believe they do make a difference in less runout. Only problem is it took me about 20 years to realize/learn that you can zero the micrometer to your favorite length! In the past, I've always written down the measurement on my data. DOH!

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