Setting up Hornady Sizing Die


Active Member
Mar 18, 2009
Oklahoma City
I'm fairly new to reloading. I'm getting ready to start reloading .243 for my Rem. 700 SPS V.

My question is that I see a lot of people setting up there sizing die by raising the ram and turning in the sizing die until it touches the shell holder then lowering the ram and turning in the sizing die another 1/8 to 1/4 turn. I recently took a local NRA certified reloading class and the instructor suggested this method but does not have experience with the Hornady dies I will be using.

In the instructions that come with the Hornady dies it says to screw the die down until it touches the shell holder when the ram is at its highest position without camming over them lower the ram and tighten the lock ring and its set.

Which way do I need to setup my die for proper resizing to insure a safe and accurate headspace?


I set mine up like the instructions just touching. It seems to be working fine so far.

both are about the same because it cant go any farther than the shell holder anyways ;-}
Setting up that way you will be setting the shoulder back to much which will cause case separation. I have sets of redding competition shell holders which come in .002 increments. Most of the cartridges I load for usually I end up with the .004 to .008 giving the minimum shoulder bump.
As a general rule, almost all dies can be set up this way, and it will work, of course... BUT, you will usually decrease brass life, and end up pushing the shoulder back farther than it really needs to go. The best way to set up your full length sizing dies are to set it so that it pushes the shoulder back from 0.001-0.003" from when it was fired (resizing the neck, lightly bumping the shoulder, and minimally sizing the body). The simplest way to accomplish this is to buy something like the Hornady Headspace Gauge set that works with your calipers. Then, you measure a piece of fired brass, resize it, and adjust you die so it sizes it more or less until you reach the point where you are satisfied with it (somewhere between 0.001-0.003" LESS than what it measured after you fired it).

Good luck, hope I didn't confuse you.
"...touches the shell holder then lowering the ram and turning in the sizing die another 1/8 to 1/4 turn."

That method usually allows the user to make ammo that will chamber and go BOOM but such a simplistic rote method of 'adjusting' a sizer is for people who really haven't a clue what they're doing. Every die, shell holder and chamber has a tolerance range so there's no way to predict how to adjust for them even if every press was identically springy ... and they aren't.

Learn how to adjust your bottle neck sizer dies down close to the shell holder and then size a case, chamber it and see if the action will close and lock on it. If not, turn the die down a small amount and repeat until it does. A 'small amount' means just that, maybe 1/16th turn or less. A full turn of a die moves it down almost 72 thou, 1/16th turn moves it about 4 1/2 thou and thats very close to the full min to max range of headspace for most bottle neck cartridges (about 6 thou usually).
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