Redding competition bushing die set

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by eric2381, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. eric2381

    eric2381 Well-Known Member

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    Hello. Recently I bought a new rifle. A Sako 85 in 300 Win mag. It shoots great with my hand loads, but I am trying to get the most out of it I can.

    Would a good set of Redding dies help me out? I'm partial full length sizing with my RCBS set right now. I would like to be neck sizing, but instead of putting money into neck sizing die, I thought maybe I would go whole horse and get the best.

    Any help is appreciated, Thanks, Eric
     
  2. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    I load 27 calibers, for both hunting and competition. I have five sets of Redding Competition bushing dies. They are necessary for competition reloading where squeezing the last tenth from group size is important. I don't feel they are needed for hunting rifles. If your rifle shoots great with handloads now, why buy competition dies?




     

  3. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Gene. You may be able to reduce groups another tenth with comp dies but it's not guaranteed. And, even if it works, to what advantage is that tiny improvement, at what cost?
     
  4. eric2381

    eric2381 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your honest answers guys.

    The brass I'm using is Norma. I uniformed and prepped the primer pockets and flash holes. It's trimmed to length, deburred and chamferred.

    I measured a fired piece of brass- 0.338"
    Loaded shell- 0.332


    Does that mean I have 3 thou clearance? I know that the brass has some spring in it, but this is the closest way I can measure. Brass has not been neck turned.

    I'm asking this because if the factory neck isn't too badly oversize, the good die set may be beneficial, right???


    I understand that I don't need 1/4" groups for hunting, but I'm also trying to work on my reloading tecniques. The quest for more accuracy can bend a guy over a barrel most times.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  5. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    IMHO the competition die set will give you minimal benefits for a factory rifle. One would be the ability to play with neck tension on the bullets, another would be if you intend to turn your necks. I turned my 22-250 necks on about 150 cases and I don't think I will ever do it again. Lots of guys say that neck turning is for tight neck chambers mainly and I'm inclined to agree with them. IMHO keep a close eye on the number of shots fired in each case and keep them sorted closely. Consider annealing brass after a few firings and forget about the competition die sets for now. They are expensive, but I would also polish the expander ball on your RCBS! They can be rough!
     
  6. eric2381

    eric2381 Well-Known Member

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    Polishing the ball would give me a bit more neck tension as well, Right??
     
  7. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    it would. Consistency is the name of the game. The largest benefit of polishing the ball is to have less impact on the neck runout. A rough ball will be more likely to put uneven pressure on the neck when extracting the case from the die. Take some super fine wire mesh or 1000 grit sand paper and insert to expander ball plug into a drill. run the drill w/ one hand while applying the sand paper/wire mesh to the expander ball just to shine it up. you aren't looking to grind the ball down as much as you are trying to polish it.
     
  8. eric2381

    eric2381 Well-Known Member

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    You bet, I'll do that.



    Anymore comments on the Redding set?
     
  9. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "I'm asking this because if the factory neck isn't too badly oversize, the good die set may be beneficial, right???"

    Part of what I meant is that you may already have a good die set and no other die will improve on that. No dies are magic, no matter how much we spend on them. If your present dies do a good job that's all you gonna get! But Reddings are pretty and that micrometer head does make small seating changes easier.


    "Polishing the ball would give me a bit more neck tension as well, Right??"

    Sorta, in a way. But, is that good? If you reduce the diameter of the expander it will sure make the neck smaller but that ain't really a good thing! Actually, the less we work necks the better chance they have of being straight. Part of that includes how much we have to re-expand it with the base of a bullet when seating. Light seating is good enough but heavy seating pressure is quite likely to distort necks. The factories usually do a good job with expanders, I believe willy-nilly "polishing" them is a greatly over-rated "fix" for anything!
     
  10. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    I guess that just goes to show that there is plenty of room for gray area. I'm not saying that you should grind down your expander ball, rather polish it to reduce the friction that it has on the inside of the case neck.
     
  11. Winchester 69

    Winchester 69 Well-Known Member

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    If you want to improve the run-out of your loads, use a sleeved seating die, like Redding's Competition or Forster's.

    To extend brass life, use a sizing routine that doesn't include an expanding button.
    .
     
  12. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    Eric - .003" clearance each side is fine.

    Britz - I skim turn my 22-250's and other varmint brass, after 2 or 3 reloads. Just take off about .0005", enough to make them uniform all around, and that is enough. Annealing is to return brass to its pliable form; do this about every 5 - 8 reloads.
     
  13. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Eric,

    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,

    Kevin
     
  14. eric2381

    eric2381 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks alot for the help. I've been away for a bit, and just checked back in.


    I hate watching American Idol. I'd rather be doing something else. But, I'm not trying to turn my hunting rifle into a bench gun. I paid good money for the rifle I'm shooting, and I just want to get the most out of it that I can.


    A concentricity guage is high on the list of things to get. With that I can check to see what works, and what doesn't work.



    Thanks again, Eric