Help needed with die selection

Mc Fraser

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Jul 23, 2018
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Calgary, AB
Hello everyone,
I need new dies for my custom 300 PRC on Defiance anti action. Let's leave the cost aspect out of this conversation and focus on technical and performance factors to achieve the best results at 1000 yds.

I will be using a coax press and I am searching for the best dies and I also need help understanding how some dies work.

If I understand correctly there are two major ways to size your brass, bump the shoulder or FL resizing. I read enough to understand that its an ongoing battle regarding which method yields the best results. In both cases, neck tension makes a difference.
My questions are:
1. With a co ax press can you use a FL die but chose how far down I want the neck bumped?
2. How far down does a FL die goes? I had a 300 win mag and always had issues because the dies won't touch far enough.
3. Would custom dies fix all the above?
My understanding with custom dies is that they are manufactured based on 3 fired cases. That doesn't make sense to me (I'm sure I'm missing something); my assumption is that the OD is measured in multiple spots and the smallest OD-x thou is picked for the ID of the die. That is somehow ok, but how do you know the length? Most cases don't stretch all the way from one firing. Would be better to use an imprint of the chamber, or just send the barrel? I'm trying to understand what advantage custom dies bring to the table and the only one that I see is the custom ID.

I know that Forster and Redding make good dies, I don't doubt that; personally I had really bad results and terrible customer support experience with Redding, good results with Forster and unbelievable results with RCBS.
 

milo-2

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Gillette, Wy
I like Whidden sizers, and Redding comp seaters. Doubt you can go wrong with a custom die though.
The answer to 1 is, get the tools to measure your bump, need with any die, custom or off the shelf.
2. Most likely be fine, belted cases are a whole other beast.
 

nksmfamjp

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Jan 5, 2004
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673
I’ve had a lot of different die sets. The only ones I consistently had issues with were RCBS.

I strongly prefer Forster dies. If I were looking for best performance, it would be Forster die honed out to match consistent brass like Lapua or Peterson.

Unfortunately, my best accuracy rifle is a 300 WSM and I can only buy Win brass which I prep the heck out of including neck turning. Then I have to use a Redding type S bushing die to size the necks Because they are 0.013” thick after I get them all +/- 0.0005”! Crap brass.

Next step would be neck sizing, but Im not sure how that would be different than my just enough FL sizing. I FL size just enough that I get consistent low force bolt closure. Fired -0.001”.

i like the Forster chamber type seater. I hear the Redding is good/better, but I’m guessing it is about the same.

i have a Whidden bushing die set also. I’m really not impressed by the aluminum seater die body. The machining on both Whidden dies look maybe a half step below Redding/Forster. That said, you cannot see good machining and I haven’t used them enough to see results.
 
Last edited:

nksmfamjp

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Jan 5, 2004
Messages
673
My questions are:
1. With a co ax press can you use a FL die but chose how far down I want the neck bumped?
2. How far down does a FL die goes? I had a 300 win mag and always had issues because the dies won't touch far enough.
3. Would custom dies fix all the above?
1) 80% to all the way, but with minimal shoulder bump, IMO. You will get lots of opinions
2) All the way, but some guns are known to be oversized at the end of the chamber. Nothing except that special collet body sizer can work that area.
3) No to #2, Maybe to #1. Depends on your brass.
 

nt7332

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Nov 24, 2016
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Rio Rancho NM
Sir, all that you are looking for can be done with a set of Redding or Forster dies. The term bumping shoulder is in fact FL resizing, however controlling the amount u choose to setback the shoulder while doing so. The directions with dies are horrible and if u follow typically u will get way more brass worked than you need. I run a coax and have never had any problems with space or lack of to adjust dies. While there are many gadgets to help with this endeavor nothing can beat the way a piece of brass that has been fireformed in the chamber feels. Using the die for to adjust amount of engagement to the shoulder lets you tailor bolt firmness to your personal liking. I like to get a piece of brass that will not chamber and adjust my die to that. Lots of ways to skin a cat sir.
 

Mc Fraser

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Jul 23, 2018
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294
Location
Calgary, AB
Sir, all that you are looking for can be done with a set of Redding or Forster dies. The term bumping shoulder is in fact FL resizing, however controlling the amount u choose to setback the shoulder while doing so. The directions with dies are horrible and if u follow typically u will get way more brass worked than you need. I run a coax and have never had any problems with space or lack of to adjust dies. While there are many gadgets to help with this endeavor nothing can beat the way a piece of brass that has been fireformed in the chamber feels. Using the die for to adjust amount of engagement to the shoulder lets you tailor bolt firmness to your personal liking. I like to get a piece of brass that will not chamber and adjust my die to that. Lots of ways to skin a cat sir.
Which dies would you recommend?
That's what I'm thinking to start with for my reloading process.
 

L.Sherm

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Jul 26, 2017
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If you go the mandrel route give Kenny Porter a call in Texas and get his mandrel die and mandrels.
The mandrels are 8.00 a piece so after the initial die cost its very affordable.
 

Beluebow

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Dec 6, 2004
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Ar.
A custom resize die based off your fired brass is going to achieve the best results, regardless if it's a full length die or a full length bushing die.....I use both with great results... I would also recommend a Wilson seating die cut with your chamber reamer.
 

30BR

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Feb 9, 2013
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Get Wilson Full length dies and an arbor press from 21st Century reloading.
 

redneckdan

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Aug 2, 2007
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MN Iron Range
Best results I have had with off the shelf dies are a redding body die, lee collet neck die and a forester seating die.
 

Calvin45

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Apr 13, 2019
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567
Location
Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada
I don’t have much experience with lots of brands, but as another has said the only one I have a beef with is RCBS. The depriming pins seem to break if you look at them funny and for whatever reason (metallurgy?) I have had way more stuck cases in RCBS dies than any other. I honestly prefer lee over RCBS at this point, and while they’re not pricey and you can tell why, my current accuracy load in my .300 win mag is put together with the cheapest lee dies money can buy and prints repeatable “ragged hole” groups at 100 so take that for whatever its worth.
 

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