My wife bought me the rockchucker kit for christmas. My wife's awesome! I've wanted to get into reloading for long range shooting and hunting.
My question is, which dies? I ran a search on here yesterday and read a variety of opinions, and a lot of information I know little about. I live in Utah, so I went to Sportsmans to ask Good Grouper. He wasn't in. Richard (I understand he's a long range shooter too) recomended the basic Redding dies. I asked a few questions about run out,neck sizing, and competition dies (From the posts I had read on here, I had Reddings competion neck sizing dies in mind). Richard thought I could do as well with the basic dies.
The conflict, as usual, stems from the prices. I would love to buy dies for 25 bucks each. I don't, however want to spend money on something I'll outgrow quickly, or that won't do the things I want.
Well here is my experience.
I use some lee dies which are very inexpensive and like them a lot. Best I can tell they load just as good if not better ammo as the higher priced RCBS dies.
I also use some Redding and Forester Dies for my ( self proclaimed ) precision #1 quality reach out and touch em ammo. The Reddings and Foresters are much higher priced but for the 1K plus shooting near zero runout is a must which may be harder to obtain with cheaper dies. If you take time and set the cheaper ones up the best you can they will not produce excessive runout.
The Redding comp dies and others with the floating alignment sleeve will do the most to eliminate runout since things are nearly perfectly aligned with each other but the initial cost turns some beginners away from them.
It boils down to how far you want to shoot and how much your willing to invest. If your planning on stretching things out in the future past 1k I would look real hard at the higher priced Redding Comps or other high quality set Like forester.
Just mt .02
Guns and ammo, what more do we need?
I recommend getting the redding competition dies off the start. I too started with the rock chucker and standard redding dies. I graduated to competition dies and immediately decreased my group size, even at shorter ranges. Bottom line, I didn't save any money by buying two sets of dies for the same rifle.
Would you mind explaining some of the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of dies. I know I'm asking for a lot of info. What better place to ask?
I absolutely intend to stretch to 1000, or however far things'll stretch. My goals at the moment are education, load development, and shooting 500+ before spring. After reading on this forum for a while and watching a few videos, I was eager to try long range shooting and hunting.
I started by shooting at increasing distances to develop drop charts for the (factory)load my rig shoots best (5/8 @ 100). My first surprise was how much the wind pushed bullets.
Next I looked up published velocity and bc for my round, and put them in a ballistics program. Off to the field I go. Set up a target at 500, dialed the elevation, and let a couple go. Hmm, No spotter and no glass, Where did they go?
Drive to the target for a look. 2 holes, two inches apart, five inches right of center. Holy [censored]! Put out some milk jugs! Back at 500 yards, boom-splash, boom-splash!
Then I backed up to seven hundred, dialed the listed elevation and let a couple go. They weren't on the target. So I went back to 500, thinking to work my way back. I turned back down to 500. Three shots later, no hits ???
So I moved up to 100, turned the scope back to zero, and let 3 go. Nice pretty group, 2 inches high and 3 inches right. What the??
One new scope later I'm ready to try again. But...archery season. Two bulls this year(six points- 280 & 260), one at say a loong 11 feet! The other at thirty yards. I can see parallels between archery and long range rifle.
Anyway that's my experience so far. Thanks for the help.
Grit, The main advantage of the comp dies is that they are very precise and using the floating seating stems allows them to keep everything centered (a must). For the dollars starting up, you could use the Lee collet dies. You could luck out and get perfect ammo. BUT, if you only want to do it once, go for the Redding benchrest dies. When folks like Sinclair recommend them, it says it all. The bushing type sizer dies keep everything concentric, and then the comp seater dies keep the bullet STRAIGHT. If you want to get serious, get a RCBS or Sinclair concentricity gauge with a dial readout. Then, you can check your ammo to tell what is really happening. Of course for all this to work, you need a chamber on center, etc. Everything you're working for is to get and keep your bullet dead center to enter the throat. Max accuracy is thus achieved. Good luck. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]
Go with the redding, they are pretty user friendly and will produce real nice results. Whatever you do, do not get lulled into buying Hornady dies. The price is right, the ergonomics are there, but boy will end up buying a different brand, quick. Every hornady sizing die I have ever had has eaten brass. Go with the redding.