Newbie - Which die setup for my needs?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by blacktails, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. blacktails

    blacktails Well-Known Member

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    Hi there. I'm new to the forum and also new to reloading, and I'm looking for some help. I've been busy :D buying the equipment I'll need, and now I need to order my dies, but even after reading TONS of posts here and elsewhere, I don't know what dies or combination of dies would be best for me.

    First, I'll be loading for deer and black bear hunting with my .25-06 & .30-06, and for lots of range time with these as I just like to shoot for fun, with my top priority being on accuracy (and now ammo cost savings). I don't mind paying the money for quality gear that works and lasts. For a press, I've bought a Forster Co-Ax, and am leaning towards using either Forster Ultra or Redding Competiton dies, or a combination of brands, depending on the advice I hope to get here. Basically, would it be best to get a 2-die (FL sizer & seater) or 3-die (FL sizer, seater, neck sizer) setup, and do I need a crimping die (Lee FCD) or not? Which brands and models? Posts I've read seem to indicate people go either way. Some examples I've seen mentioned are:

    Forster Ulta Micrometer Seating die
    Forster BR FL Sizing die

    Redding Competition seating die
    Redding Body die
    Lee Collet Neck Sizing die

    Possibly add a Lee Factory Crimp Die. What else????????

    So, what kind of die setup do you think would work best for my needs, and should get? Thanks.
     
  2. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    I personally like the redding competition dies. I use the type-S bushing dies, because I like to be able to tweak everything. I like to be able to size 2/3's of the neck and still push the shoulder back. With the Bushing dies you can do that in a single operation. That said, you don't really need the bushing dies, and very accurate reloads can be made with any quality die.

    But. The Forster dies are probably just as good. I actually have a Forster ultra seating die, and its a great die- very accurate. The Redding competition seaters are very accurate as well.

    So, pick one and it will work fine.

    You don't normally need a crimp die, unless you are reloading round nose bullets in a tubular magazine.

    One tip though, get you a can of Imperial sizing wax (might as well order a couple). As its hands down the best way to lubricate bottleneck cartridges I've found. A can will last a LOOOOONG time.

    AJ
     

  3. blacktails

    blacktails Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, the Imperial Sizing Wax is on my list of items still to get. What about the types of dies I'll need? FL sizer? Neck sizer? Both of them? Redding Body Die instead of the FL sizing die? If a neck sizer, Lee Collet or stick with the brand of my other dies? So many choices.........
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Your list is good and will make you good accurate ammo except do as AJ says and scrap the crimp die.

    Get a runout gauge. You will have to have it to determine when you have gotten everything right.
     
  5. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    When I buy dies, I get a Redding Type-S full length die. I get 3 bushings, the one that's .028", .029" and .030" larger than the bullet I'm shooting. So as an example, for your 30-06, your caliber is .308, so I'd get a .336, .337, .338 size steel bushings. I use the .337 with Norma brass. That way you can play with the seating tension a thousandth each way. Of course really thick or really thin brass will mean getting another bushing. Also, get the little $3 bushing holder case, it will hold something like a dozen bushings.

    I also get the Redding shell holder and the competition shell holder kit. Makes small resizing changes really easy.

    Then I'd get a Redding Competition Micrometer seating die. Its overkill, but hey they work. I'd get me half dozen of the Lyman split lock rings (since Redding's lock rings will score your threads, just throw them in the trash and replace them right off the bat with the Lyman lock rings), they are around $4 each.

    As was said above, get some calipers and some stoney point gauges and you are good to go.

    HTH,

    AJ
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2007
  6. blacktails

    blacktails Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply, BuffaloBob. The Sinclair Concentricity Gauge is also on my list of items still to get. But what about the types of dies I need? Which ones should do you recommend that I get for sizing cases?
     
  7. 30-06 boy

    30-06 boy Well-Known Member

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    i've had redding comp dies.very good dies and good results.but for the money the lee collet dies work just as well in my opinion for neck sizing.the redding bushing die can use different size bushings to fit your personal neck tensioni use the 3 die lee set of collet,fl,and seater die.throw the lee seater die as far as you can throw it.get yourself a forster or a redding comp seater die with the sliding case guide in it.my .02 cents worth.jason


    lee 3 pc set around $30,forster comp seater, $50,redding dies bushing die,comp seater,body fl die)i think are around $180 plus the bushings you need.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2007
  8. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    BT

    AJ knows what he is talking about.

    It doesn't matter to me, being as you are not going to go wrong which ever way you go. Even I can make consistent 0.002 runout bullets with any combination you have listed.
     
  9. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    That is so very funny and so very true.
     
  10. Winchester 69

    Winchester 69 Well-Known Member

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    I will reiterate what AJ told you: Full Length Bushing Sizing Die, Redding Type S. You do not need or want a neck sizing die for hunting. Crimping is not needed or desirable.

    You can get the Redding die set with the FL bushing die and micrometer seater. You can get a Forster seater without the micrometer feature for a little less that is of comparable quality and design to the Redding seater. You will be making excellent ammmo if your brass is good quality.
     
  11. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I use a neck sizing die for some rifles for hunting. It is just fine as long as you have a body die and know when to use it.

    Nothing wrong with going with a full lenght die and adjusting it carefully to just get you back to a real nice chamber fit. It can produce very good results too. But you want to be careful not to squish things too much with the full length die (or the body die for that matter) and get the case loose and sloppy in the chamber.
     
  12. blacktails

    blacktails Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all of the input. Just goes to show that there are different ways to get the same results. Now that I know what combinations of dies will get the job done, I just need to make up my mind and place an order. Thanks.
     
  13. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    For quite awhile I used Redding Comp neck size die sets for all of my hunting rifles. As a previous poster said, you just need to know when to use the body die.

    Recently, I decided that the Redding S type bushing dies w/ comp seater die may be an even better (and cheaper) way to go for a hunting rifle. I just ordered 2 sets from Rool-Your-Own on this forum. Price was good and delivery was fast enough.

    It is my intention to just push the shoulders back about .001" each time I resize while still having full control over the neck sizing operation. I have read that many benchrest shooters are using this approach with great success.

    I'd also like to emphasize that the micrometer adjustable seating dies are worth their weight in gold. I would not by another set of dies from any manufacturer without them.