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Wilson seating dies the best?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by docsleepy, Apr 15, 2009.

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  1. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    I'm new to reloading but good success so far with Lee equipment for .223 (Savage 12FV). Groups smaller than obtained with Rem Premier Match rounds, at far less cost. (Did a "ladder test" with my new-found skill, also.)

    At the shooting range I visit, the centerfire experts recommended Wilson seating dies, which I note are a bit different than what I'm using (requiring an arbor press). The claim is that they minimize concentricity (sp?) better. These guys are pretty good; their groups are often pretty much one large hole at 100 yards, so I'm listening intently.

    What do the rest of you say? For competitive 223, would Wilson be your recommendation?
     
  2. Afy

    Afy Member

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    Wilson is good. Then again so are Forrestor and Redding competition seaters with the micrometer.
     
  3. nicholst55

    nicholst55 Member

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    The Wilson dies, or other 'hand' dies, will, in theory, load more concentric ammo than ammo loaded on a reloading press. These type dies are how 99% of benchrest shooters load their ammo.

    Will you see the benefit of this in your Savage? Maybe. The only way to tell if you'll see any benefit of this type die is to either buy the equipment and try it, or find someone who owns it and have them load you some ammo.

    I would suggest that if you decide to use this type of seating die, that you also use a Wilson sizing die. The expander plug/decapping stem in your conventional sizing die can induce a great deal of runout, which is what you're trying to eliminate. I would deprime with either a universal decapping die or a hand punch and decapping base.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Wilson dies are very good. So are Niel Jones. Can your equipment take advantage of them? I don't know.

    The Forster and Redding Competition threaded dies are also very good. That may be a good option which will not require an arbor press, but again, I don't know if your equipment can take advantage of it. Your load procedure/brass prep/chamber, etc all have much to do with it.

    The only thing I use hand dies for is my 6PPC Bench gun.
     
  5. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    Thanks, guys, I apprecaite the input, especially the advice about how to integrate such a die into my entire reloading process. The guys that gave me this advice were benchrest folks. I'll consider/compare all the ones you suggested.

    gordon
     
  6. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    The regular Forster Benchrest seating die has the same insides as their (and Redding's) micrometer version, for much less cost. Same consistency and concentricity as the more expensive Ultra version with the micrometer adjustment. Mic seaters are handy for finding the perfect seating depth, but there's little difference once you know what length you need.

    Redding's micrometer head seating die is completely different from their non-mic seaters, which are not as accurate.

    Andy
     
  7. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    BigJake -- are you saying the Forster has the same insides as the Wilson?

    Would the Forster (or any of the others) fit the 7/8-14 threads of the bushings in my Lee challenger press?

    thanks

    gordon
     
  8. nicholst55

    nicholst55 Member

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    The Redding and Forester dies use standard 7/8-14 threads, and will fit in any conventional reloading press like your Lee Challenger. They will not fit in a Dillon SDB press, which is intended to load handgun ammo only, and uses proprietary dies.
     
  9. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    Seating bullets straight, in my opinion, is much misunderstood process by most reloaders. I've used straight-line seaters such as Wilson's hand operated one, RCBS Comp. Seater, Vickerman, Bonanza and a few others borrowed from folks just to check 'em out. They didn't seat bullets any straighter than conventional seating dies. All of 'em have quite a bit of clearance between their neck area and the case neck that's inside them when the bullet's seated.

    Each and every one of them seated bullets very well aligned with case necks. As long as the case neck was well aligned with the case body, one ended up with a a round that well centered its bullet with the bore when the primer got struck by the firing pin. Cases with necks a bit angled (bent?) from the case body axis tended to keep their necks bent the same amount regardless of the seater used.

    So, I've come to the conclusion that if your case sizing die makes their necks straight and not have a lot of grip on the bullet, you could probably use a ball peen hammer to seat bullets very straight indeed. Most conventional dies and their expander balls leave case necks way too tight. Grinding/polishing a .311" expander ball down to .3085" is much better for 30 caliber cases that the standard one that's about .307", but it tends to bend the neck a bit more.

    One can straighten the neck of a loaded round by using a bullet pulling collet sized to fit the loaded round case neck. I've taken factory/arsenal 30 caliber match ammo as well as my hand loads, measured their bullet runout, marked the case at the high point, put the loaded round's neck up into a .338 caliber bullet puller, gently closing the collet then pushing on the marked high point to slightly bend the neck. Remeasuring the rounds and learning how much bending pressure needed for a given runout number let me get ammo that varied up to 6 thousandths run out all down to under 2. Shot much more accurate after doing so.

    There's more things important to accuracy than very straight bullets and case necks. A batch of .308 Win. ammo (200+ thousand rounds) a few of us developed tested some years ago had bullet runout up to a bit over 3 thousandths and charge weight spread around 3/10ths grain. In a standard SAAMI chamber, it shot 20-round groups at 600 yards under 3 inches.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep.

    You can seat a bad bullet straight as a laser in a perfect case, but it won't shoot well.

    Also, you can shoot a great bullet in a great action with a great barrel, and you really have to mess up pretty badly loading it for it not to shoot well to very well.
     
  11. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    Docsleepy,

    Not exactly. The threaded dies are not usually cut to the same tight dimensions that Wilson hand seating dies are. The principle is generally the same: a formed guide sleeve holds the case aligned with the seater plug, and aligns the bullet to the case prior to inserting it into the case neck. Threaded dies rely on the press to align the case with the die, whereas two-part hand dies align the case/die/bullet by themselves.

    I have very little experience with RCBS seating dies, more with Hornady and Forster (both good, but Forster does not make pistol dies). My experience with Lee seating dies has not been good. They do nothing to align the bullet and case mouth. The Lee seater plug is not even caliber-specific, but is shared over a range of cartridge calibers.

    Andy
     
  12. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    BigJakeJ1s states:
    All the Wilson hand seating die's I've used have "chamber" dimensions larger than fired, neck or full-length sized cases. There's some room for the case to slop around inside the die body when a bullet's seated.

    And all the bullets used in them are smaller than the die's bullet guide at the top. But the plunger's center stays well aligned with the bullet guide's center.

    Combined, the case neck will move around inside the chamber neck as the bullet contacts the case mouth and the bullet tips a bit as it gets pushed down into the case neck. Any amount the case neck's bent doesn't change to straight when the bullet's seated as the cartridge brass is too springy to allow this to happen.

    When all's said and done after bullets are seated, they still are at the angle the case neck is with the case body because they're centered in the case neck.

    Measure case neck run out before and after seating bullets with a Wilson hand seater.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    That's a fact. I have done those little experiments way back when. A sizer, whatever kind, that keeps things straight is the foundation for good reloads.

    The Lee seater that comes with the collet neck sizer set actually does a very good job if your cases are straight because the seater stem floats and lets the bullet align its self with the neck.
     
  14. BigJakeJ1s

    BigJakeJ1s Member

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    This has not been my experience. I started out with resized brass that was visually straight (not measured, just rolled on a flat surface), and once seated, was visibly crooked (again, rolled on a flat surface). A bullet that starts out seating crooked will take the thin brass case neck with it. Per Lee's online parts lists, the only difference between their regular and "dead length" seating dies is the die body that does not crimp on the dead length seater. The seating plug and everything else is the same.

    Andy
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Interesting. Worked well for me, and shot great too. If you could see the wobble rolling it on a flat surface, something was really wrong.

    I have to use a Neco gauge to check my runout.

    [​IMG]
     

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  16. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    Hey guys, you are teaching me a LOT! Hornady has a runout measruement system that is supposed to be able to tip the bullet back a bit --but no one has it in stock. I think I'll either get that or one of the others on the market and begin to check the necks before seating, and also check the bullets afterwards.

    I really apprecaite all the input!!! If you have any other ideas, don't hesitate to send more!\


    gordon
     
  17. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    Straight shooting needs straight ammo. I doubt that a factory sporter has yet been made that can tell the difference between ammo made from good, properly matched, conventional dies or Wilson's excellant tools. Both dies and chambers have standard tolerances so getting a good fit, meaning a good match between an individual rifle's chamber AND any individual set of dies is a crap shoot, not a choice of brands.

    All any of us can really do is get a concentricity gage and use it to find if the finished ammo is straight. If it isn't, figger out why. If it's a bad die set (most often due to the sizer) then get another set to try. Keep that up until you reach the average level of concentricity you will settle for.
     
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