Advice on Redding Dies

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Sandman, Apr 12, 2004.

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  1. Sandman

    Sandman Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    This is my first post. Been reading for about 6 months. Great website!! I found this website from an article that Ian wrote about long range hunting. Thanks Ian!!

    I have been using a Lyman F/L die and want to start neck sizing. I don't understand the difference between the Redding "Competition Bushing Neck die" vs the "Type S Neck Bushing die".

    Also, my avg. smallest neck on my .308 loads measures .337". The Sinclair catalog indicates I should I get a bushing that is .001" smaller. Read several posts that suggests getting a .336, .337, and .338". How will I know which one to actually use?

  2. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    Welcome aboard. What's the fired diameter and loaded diameter of your cases measure? Are you sigle feeding rounds, or feeding from the magazine? This is what you need to know to get the correct bushing(s). Redding's recommendation could be a little more precise than just saying a bushing .001 smaller, close but it really depends on the neck clearance you run.

    Press fit - The amount of bullet to case press fit will need to be greater if feeding from the magazine verses single feeding them. Measure the diameter of the neck on a sized case, record it, then measure the diameter after seating the specific bullet you'll be shooting, record that. Now subtract the sized case diameter from the diameter of the one with the bullet seated in it for the amount of press fit, or neck tension amount.

    I like .001" or less for single loaded ammo, about .002, maybe .0025-.003 if needed to keep bullets from seating deeper in the case upon recoil when down in the magazine... I don't like any more neck tension than necessary.

    The Redding Competition die has a guide sleeve, which keeps the case perfectly aligned as the bullet is being seated, which minimizes bullet runout, nearly as well as an inline seater like Wilson makes. The Redding S die takes the bushings but, has no guide sleeve.

    I'd suggest using a Redding S type "FL" die over either of them though, just to keep runout from ever developing like it can with neck sizing. The S type die uses the neck bushing, so you still have control over the neck tension you need without resorting to an expander ball.
  3. Sandman

    Sandman Member

    Nov 17, 2003

    Thanks for your advice on the F/L die. This is a hunting rifle (Robar SR-60 in .308)and I feed from the mag. With my current reloading equipment and procedure, I am currently producing an average group size of .5125" based on 18 different 3 shot groups at 100 yds. I would like to achieve a little better. My reloads with bullet measure .337". I measured about 10 resized empty brass and the measurement ranged from .336" to .337" depending on which side I measured. In other words, the dial would move from .337 to .336 if I kept turning the case. So, to get the press fit you desire, which size bushing(s) would you get?

    BTY, I have enjoyed your posts. I use to live down the road from you in Eagle River and I miss Alaska. Spent every minute of the 3 years I lived there hunting and fishing. In fact, it was about a 425-450 yard shot on a dall sheep in the Alaska range that really got me interested in learning more about shooting long range. The follow-up on that ram just about killed me!!!

  4. JustC

    JustC Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2002
    Brent,..if you want to size only the neck and not the body, would you go about making sure the FL die only sizes the minimum portion needed, do you set them up?
  5. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2001

    There's many of time I wished I lived in Eagle River too, as most of my work has always been there in Anchorage. Stopped by there and had a cold one with my buddie Charlie on my way home last night. I'm pretty used to the 40 mile commute by now though, and it's warmer in the Knik River valley 10 miles east of Palmer. It's a cold windy SOB right there in the Palmer Wasilla area.

    I'm guessing you have a tighter neck chamber than factory, but I need the diameter from fired (unsized) cases to really determine how much a specific size bushing will "actually" bring down the neck diameter, which in turn determines the amount of press fit.

    The amount of neck sizing is really determined by the differential in diameters of the fired case being sized and the bushing size. The angle that the case mouth enters the bushing determines how closely it fits and follows up into the bushing the rest of the way, i.e. super loose, loose, perfect, tight, or super tight.

    Example - If the case neck is .344 diameter after firing and you try and size it down with a .335 bushing, the neck enters the bushing at a sharper angle than it would say, a .339 bushing, and will literally overshoot the bushing ID and end up smaller than the .335 diameter which is expected. In this case, you probably would see the neck be sized down to somewhere about .333, not .335.

    On the other hand, if you ran that .344 neck up into a .343 bushing it will follow it so closely that it's super tight on the bushing, then the brass springs back and you end up with the same .344 you started with, again not what you expected.

    There's two things you need to account for when using bushings on brass, spring back and the amount you're trying to size it back down by (the angle it enters the bushing).

    If the entry angle is great (loose chamber neck), it will overshoot the bushing ID and end up smaller, plain and simple.

    If the entry angle is very small (tight neck chamber, .002 total clearance), spring back of the brass causes the neck to end up larger than the bushing ID when withdrawn.

    Here's my latest example that might help to illistrate this better.
    My chamber's neck is .335 on my 30-338 Lapua Imp, necks on the fired brass come out at .335 diameter.

    Firings 1-4

    A .334 bushing yields no downsizing.
    A .333 bushing yields about .3345 necks.
    A .332 bushing yields about .3333 necks
    A .331 bushing yields about .3320 necks
    A .330 bushing yields about .3308 necks

    Firings 5-6 (necks harder now)

    A .331 bushing yields about .3329 necks
    A .330 bushing yields about .3319 necks

    I turn the necks down to .1235, so I end up with nearly .001 tension on the new brass using the .331 bushing. Loaded rounds are about .333, for about .002 total clearance. After firing about 4 times, not including the initial case forming, the necks harden up enough that neck tension is practically nothing on the 5th loading, so I drop to the .330 bushing, even though annealing is truely in order. Annealing should really be done after a firing or two at most just to maintain a consistant neck tension with the .331 bushing.

    I hope that's not too confusing, but your neck diameter of the fired cases is what will really tell you what bushing to start off with.

    If you're getting variations in neck diameter from .336 - .337, I suggest they could be cleaned up with turning to eliminate that. Without running an expander through brass with uneven neck thickness, this will immediately translate to uneven neck tension, and possibly irratic behavior in groups, i.e. fliers.

    It sounds like you already have a nice baseline to evaluate further changes. I found this one rifle did not like .002 neck tension at all, groups increased by more than 50% immediately, right back to normal with .001 tension.

    I'd shoot for .002 tension and see if bullets seat deeper on recoil and only go with more if they require it, less if not, just to test it anyway, .001 may still be enough. It takes about 75-85 lbs of seating force with .001 press fit on the 30 cal with fairly new brass, but drops to 20 lbs force or less as necks harden up. Experiment a bit and you'll see what works, and what it likes and it does not.

    Just C,

    You can remove the bushing on the FL bushing die to size the case and bump the shoulder, or buy a body die Redding sells.

    I set mine up with a Stoney Point headspace gauge on the caliper, just measures base to shoulder is all. I measure the length to the midpoint on the shoulder on a well formed case (from a good hot load), which happens to be 2.260 on the 30-338LI. Then I incrementally move the die down until the shoulder sizes back .001 - .002 where closing the bolt on it when chambered still has slight resistance on it indicating it's still tight on the shoulder at some point on it, which keeps the neck centered with the bore best it can. A "very" small adjustment on the die each time is all that's needed, go too much and you'll have to start over with another case to get it set up. Don't forget to lube and clean the case each time though.

    Once you play with it a while sizing a neck without a supported case body, or sizing a case body without sizing a supported neck, you'll see how runout in the neck goes to hell in short order. It may take a firing/sizing cycle or two to get bad, but that's why I FL size and bagged the neck sizing all together. You still have to keep the shoulder bumped back anyway to keep the bolt closing acceptably, usually every other firing in my experience. Runout was the only reason I stopped though, it's just uncontrolable without FL sizing.

    If you're only wanting to size the diameter of the body at both ends and not bump the shoulder, which is what you may be wanting to know, I'm not sure but, you want to measure the length to the shoulder if you keep the die up a tad... it will lengthen the shoulder as it squeezes the body down in my experience. In most cases, the case becomes way too tight to chamber after it is sized this way... check it "before" and after in the chamber as well as measuring the length.

    If you don't have the Stoney Point tool for checking the relative base to shoulder length, just use an empty pistol case that fits to the midpoint on the shoulder and measure from casehead to casehead to monitor shoulder bump compared to the length of the baseline formed case. A 44 Mag case works well slipped over the Ultra mag shoulder, a 475 Linebaugh/480 Ruger case on the big Lapua case but, the only one that works well for the 308 is a 41 Mag or 375 case.

    Sorry for the long post! Hope that helps though. [​IMG]