Excessive bullet runout


Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2006
Rhode Island
Hi Guys,
I've been reloading 25-06 ammo (used, borrowed dies) and I am not satisfied with the results. 2+" @ 100 yds (known good loads in several rifles). Factory Remington 120 PSP print 1-1/4" @ 200 yds. Eliminating the rifle or the loose nut behind the bolt...LOL.

I checked the bullet runout and it was .020".....way too much in my opinion. Any recommendations on a new set of dies? Preferences?

Redding Competition, RCBS, and Hornady New Dimension dies are on my short list.

Thanks for your help, Tom
Did you say, .020" run out? That sounds more like a measuring error, or else you've got a serious problem in your set-up somewhere.

As far as the dies on your list, gotta go with the Reddings. First class all the way.

How are you measuring your run-out? What type of fixture, and do you have a standard that you've used to verify the set up of the tool itself?

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
Yes it is .020".....it is a visable (crooked) bullet seating. Sinclair runout gage is being used, checking bullet at case mouth. Loaded round is laid in the blocks and the dial indicator is zero'd after slight contact with bullet. Double checked myself and rolled the loaded rounds on a 12" square mirror laid on my loading bench. Same result....obviously crooked.

My 308 Winchester loads average .002" from the same press. Hence the reasoning of a bad set of dies.

Thanks again, Tom
Simple answer is to get a Lee Collet Neck Sizer and a Redding Body Sizer.

When the case is fired in your chamber, the case comes out with very little runout because chambers are very concentric or very close to it. The Lee Collet Neck Sizer has a floating mandrel which will not push that concentric fire formed neck out of line. It has collets that squeeze the neck onto that floating mandrel. Also has the added benefit of not needing any lube in the neck.

When it is time to push the shoulder back, the Redding Body Die will do that after you have sized the neck with the Lee Collet. It will size the case body and push the shoulder back without touching the neck.

Lee Collets are cheap and you can buy the set of Lee Collet/Redding Body at about the same money as a FL die and much cheaper than Competition dies, especially bushing dies. I chase runout for awhile and it taught me a lot. However in retrospect, the Lee Collet solved 90% of the problem without further solutions necessary.
But not 'Known good loads' in YOUR gun. You gotta stop expecting something for shortcuts, and work up a load like everyone else.
I don't believe your runout numbers either..

+1 with doing workup loads for your gun. Have you adjusted these dies to your press, or just borrowed and screwed them in? What kind of dies are they?
A few questions:

Have you tested the sized cases for RO before after resizing? If not, do so, both with and without the expander in place. No seater can make straight ammo if the necks are cocked out of line. The Lee collet neck die makes the straightest possible necks for factory rifles

The Lee collet die also tends to make for less "bullet tension" and that allows bulelts to enter the necks under less prssure so they will seat straigther.

You say RO is .020". Is that a range or are all all of them that bad? If not, what's the full range of RO, min to max? That's so bad it suggests you have some cases with badly non-concentric inner and outer diameters. No die will fix that either.

Do you have a case neck turner? If so, you can do a LOT for RO just by shaving a bit of the worst parts off the outer surface.

Have you asked to borrow dies from someone else to compare how another set may work with your brass? Asking for suggestions of what to try allows us to plug our favorites but it really doesn't mean anything. All of our die makers do good work and all of them turn out a few turkeys. Fact is, on average, there is as much variation between individual dies of the same maker as there is between makers. Brand or price tells us only the brand and price. The only way to KNOW what any given die will do is to use ita and test the results on a concentricity gage!

The double exception to that rule on dies, again on average, are the BR/Competition dies from Forster and Redding.

Forster has perhaps the better size dies because of the way their expander button works, and that works better only if it's adjusted properly.

The unique straight line, full case holding sleeves used by those makers seaters are the same so there is no advantage between them for that.

NO other brand of (non-custom made) "competition" dies are worthy of the name, regardless of price. IMHO. And from testing a lot of dies.
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0.020" is a LOT of runout. As has been suggested, check neck runout on some fired cases that have not been resized to see if the chamber is cut cattywompus to the bore. If the fired case necks are good, then your reloading equipment is causing the runout, and you can continue to check the case neck after each step of the reloading process and should be able to figure out which step/die is causing the excessive runout.

Forster makes good dies at a pretty fair price. Redding makes good dies and gets a pretty good price for them.
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+1 with doing workup loads for your gun. Have you adjusted these dies to your press, or just borrowed and screwed them in? What kind of dies are they?

+2. Re-check your set-up, develop the safe and most accurate load for your rifle only, and have fun with it.

Happy safe reloading and shooting. Good luck!

Thanks for the clarification here. Since you've got other ammo that's showing more normal amounts of run out, I'll buy the notion that there's something wrong with this particular die set up. Not to say it's a problem with the die, but at least something to look at. Dies can be set up in ways that will result in some wild run out, and that'd be the first thing I'd check. Your numbers just sort of surprised me. At .020", the tips of those rounds had to be wobbling like Ted Kennedy leaving the pub after a hard night. Assuming that there is an alignment problem with the die itself (dubious, but possible) then a replacement die should solve everything.

Had you squared up the dies when you first set the press up? Got to start someplace, and that'd be the first place I'd look.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
Problem solved. I borrowed a set of RCBS 25-06 dies off a co-worker and loaded a few test rounds with no powder....Viola !! Runout was .0025". Now I know for certain it was the dies. New Redding Competition Dies and seater are on the way.

Thanks to all for your responses, Tom
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