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Custom Dies

 
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  #1  
Old 07-24-2008, 02:30 PM
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Custom Dies

I thought I would raise this topic to get some opinions on it. And I am no expert on the subject but will share what I have learned.

On another forum, someone recommended that I consder getting custom dies and bullet seater for best accuracy.

I called the die maker in PA that he recommended and talked with this guy and plan to get custom dies for my rifles.

Here are some of the benefits...

A custum die will form your brass basically to the shape of your particular chamber and align it concentrically with your throat and bore. This will allign your bullet a little better and more consistantly than standard dies resulting in a little better accuracy.

With custom dies, your resizing process will alwyas be the same...FL sizing. A lot of guys like to neck size only so they get fired formed cases that fit the chamber. But, with neck sizing only, you still have to occasionally FL size because the cases eventually get too tight for the chamber. So, you end up with a different size case and capacity after FL sizing. If you FL size with standard sized dies all the time you will end up with a *loose* fitting case in your chamber as I believe that most standard dies will form to just slightly less than SAAMI specs and most production chambers are probably bored to slightly greater than SAAMI specs.

An additional benefit is that custom sized brass does not get stressed as much in the sizing process and has a much longer reloading life. If my memory serves me well...I believe he said I could expect over 30 cycles with good brass. That in itself would go a long way in getting back the cost of custom dies especially if you use an expensive proprietory type brass like Dakota. A sizing die and bullet seater would run me about $350.

The way I see it, custom dies provide greater precision and consistency and I believe the key concept in reloading for accuracy is precision and consistency. And I think we would all agree accuracy is critical in LR shooting and hunting.

Are custom dies worth it?

Thoughts?

Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 07-24-2008 at 06:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2008, 03:33 PM
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I currently use only custom dies.
To me, nothing else even makes sense.

I also hold the reamers for each cartridge.
These are used to cut the dies, gizzies, and produce same chambers in my barrels.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:51 PM
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"ditto"
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  #4  
Old 07-24-2008, 04:34 PM
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Who does the custom dies?

So, if I had Kirby build a rifle for me, could he do the custom dies? If the guy who does the rifle doesn't do the dies, what makes anyone else's custom?

Is the reason you hold the reamer so that the next barrel you put on will match the dies from your last barrel?

Another current post is recommending Redding full length sizing dies with bushings. Is this possible with custom dies?

Any other insight greatly appreciated!!
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  #5  
Old 07-24-2008, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varminator 911 View Post
So, if I had Kirby build a rifle for me, could he do the custom dies? If the guy who does the rifle doesn't do the dies, what makes anyone else's custom?

Is the reason you hold the reamer so that the next barrel you put on will match the dies from your last barrel?

Another current post is recommending Redding full length sizing dies with bushings. Is this possible with custom dies?

Any other insight greatly appreciated!!
I'm not under the impression that Kirby does custom dies but you will have to confirm that with him.

I have heard that Redding makes custom dies and they are probably good dies but not sure if they are as good as some who specialize in it.

The guy in PA is Neil Jones and I have heard good things about his dies and bullet seater.

Neil Jones Custom Products

He and another gunsmith I know believe his bullet seater is better than Redding's competition seater. Seaters are also important for aligning the bullet in line with the chamber and bore. A really good seater will have no runout and make the seating process smooth and easy. This also can affect accuracy.
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2008, 05:14 PM
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The rifle builder may be able to make or modify dies. Maybe not.

I've had neck/seating/body dies made by a riflebuilder who finished my barrels. In that case, I had provided die blanks, and a full reamer set, including rough/finish, and a sizing reamer all of my design. This worked out perfect for me. Probably lucky, as it was my first and boldest shot at it.

For several other guns, I've sent fired brass off to JLC Precision. Jim makes dies for a living and knows all the tricks. He provides a bushing neck sizing-body die. He can polish one out, or use your finish reamer.
Not sure how exactly he does this, but I haven't had a single problem.
For these guns, I've been using stock Wilson seating dies.

So to answer your questions;
- JLC makes a die like the Redding FL bushing die, and can make them using YOUR fired brass. So that's custom without your barrels or reamers in hand.
There are other diemakers who do this as well.
- I hold my reamers because I want EVERYTHING the same for the life of the gun. Reamers are built to my drawings and I can set sizing perfect because I always hold all brass in-hand before ordering reamers.. I have barrels finished in pairs, so that my eventual swap will not set me back.
For one gun I had BAT make me a dummy action of my design, so that I could get new barrels finished without taking the gun out of service. Bruce loved it. Rev2 is in the works now.
I'd love to see other smiths make dummy actions, along with HS gizzies, when finishing barrels.

Last edited by Mikecr; 07-24-2008 at 05:23 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07-24-2008, 05:59 PM
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Thank You!!

Thanks guys, that's a big big help!! I'm going to be ready to take the plunge soon and get that really long range shooter. Figuring out how to make accurate ammo is a huge part of what I need to feel confident about my first long range build!!
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