Re: Redding competition bushing die set
Sounds as though you've latched on to some benchrest techniques for a factory hunting rifle. It beats watching American Idol, but you shouldn't really expect it to turn the gun into a competitive rig. Several posts here have mentioned the neck tension issue, and I concur. Personally, I avoid using expander balls in many cases, and virtually always set the neck tension up to where the expander ball's passage (if I absolutely have to use one) creates no more than a barely perceptable kiss during its trip back out of the neck. Polishing the factory ball is a good thing, as is their optional carbide expander ball kit. If you have to "pop" it back out, you're overworking the brass. To that end, yes, I absolutely LOVE Redding's bushing dies. Personally, I prefer the Type "S" dies. They're a bit less expensive, and I didn't see any real advantage (for my own reloading, anyway) to the Competition Bushing dies. Different story for their Competition seting die, and I use them religiously. The goal here, throughout all of these steps, is concentricity. Straight ammo is the first step to straight shooting ammo, if you get my drift. I'd suggest that you invest in a concentricity gage (Sinclair makes a nice one, as does RCBS and several others) and focus your reloading efforts on making the straightest ammo you possibly can as a starting point, and then refine the process from there. Optimum seating depths, optimum powder charge weights and type, and then (at last) you might start dabbling with some of the more esoteric benchrest techniques. I think you'll probably see your best results if you follow this course, rather than immediately diving into neck-turning and that sort of thing.
Hope this helps,