What dies does everyone use, and why?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by MSLRHunter, Jan 29, 2010.

Help Support Long Range Hunting by donating:

  1. MSLRHunter

    MSLRHunter Well-Known Member

    Oct 3, 2009
    I am considering upgrading dies from my standard RCBS full length sizer and seater. Just curious what dies everyone uses and why you like them. I guess my next step up would be to a Redding comp seater and neck sizer. I load for a 300 Win mag, a 7mm Rem mag.
  2. johnnyk

    johnnyk Well-Known Member

    Dec 24, 2001
    I started out 25 yrs ago using RCBS, at that time they were pretty much the only game in town. I swore off RCBS a few years back because of the inconsistency with their seating die. It probably could have all been corrected with a diffferently designed seating stem. Didn't know or realize that at the time.
    I have used a couple/three Lee's and one Lyman. They're good as RCBS, but I took a liking to the Hornady CGND Dies approx. 10 yrs ago and have pretty much converted over. I can't find any flaw with them other than the price continually goes up. That's everything though.
    With LR precision shooting, the consistency in reloads is one factor you can influence. Primers, the powder charge, the case, bullet and seating depth all matter. The top fuel dragsters don't run on Regular Unleaded and the fuel to air mixture is critical to performance, ditto for reloads.
    Get the best dies you can afford, learn how to adjust them properly for your needs and don't look back. JMO. JohnnyK.
  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    For many years I used the RCBS dies and press (Rock Chucker) an was very happy.

    Once more brands became available I tried most of them . some were good and some
    were not.

    I still have all of my original RCBS dies and where I needed a "Special" die for something
    I bought more expensive ones.

    So For normal reloading I still rely on my RCBS and the Hornady New dimension and for special
    purpose Like the wild cats I use the Redding because of the features and the fact that they
    were the only ones to make those Wildcat Dies.

    RCBS and Hornady make excellent dies and there is no reason to change unless you are
    not happy with them or you have a set that does not work well.

    All die makers screw up every now and then and make a bad set, so buy what you want
    and keep the old dies. (You may find that they are just as good as the high dollar ones.

    For standard SAAMI cartriges sometimes simple is better, But for the experienced hand
    loader a more adjustable die may improve performance.

  4. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    I have almost completely made the switch from RCBS to Redding S type bushing dies. I like the FULL competition set best as it not only comes with a Micrometer comp seater but a Micrometer comp neck die and a seperate body die. What I have found important about the Comp neck die is, It too uses a retracting sleve to capture the entire case and square it to the die before doing any sizing of the neck. The standard "S" FL bushing die does not. This combined with good consistant brass and a regular annealing of the necks has made it possible for me to hold total runout down to .001" or less. That is checked at the O give of the bullet.

    Another good thing about the bushing die is the tunability of neck tension and the fact that you do not over work the brass with excessive sizing.

    One other thing, I have recently been working with a 7mm-300 win. I already had the 300 win dies, so with a simple bushing change I can use the 300 win dies fo both. And with the stepping down of bushings it is simple to take 300 win brass to 7mm-300 in a very consistant manner.

    I have compared them to RCBS, Lee collet, std Hordadays, and std reddings.

    My opinion is they are worth every penny. Once you learn to use them you will not want to mess with anything else.

    PS, I LOVE my new Redding T-7 Turret press too. With extra turrets at $60 ea. I don't see my self going through the time taking process of squaring and setting dies up again.

    Jeff gun)gun)
  5. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2007
    Standard cartridges- (no LR)- Hornady custom or Forester BR

    LR- Forester Bonanaza BR seater and either the Forester or Redding bushing dies.

    IF there is a Redding body bump die made, I like to send it to Jim Carstenson at JLC precision and have him convert it to a FL bushing die that is custom honed for that particular chamber. Cost is $27 for the body die and about $77-80 for the custom conversion and turn around is 2 weeks.

    Wildcats- Neil Jones custom dies if the smith does not have a matching resize reamer.

  6. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2003
    Wilson blanks cut with my reamers for NS/Seating.
    Redding body dies worked over by JLC for sizing/bump(like BH).

    My whole theme is minimum sizing, minimum runout, and endless brass life.
  7. moombaskier

    moombaskier Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    I use only Forster full length and their regular seater dies. I set up the fl die to just barely bump the shouders back about .001". I handload for 7mm Rem. Mag , 243Win, and 7mm-08. I NEVER have more than .0015 runout at the ogive, mostly 0. Once the seater dies are set I don't have to adjust them untill I get a new lot of bullets. All my buddies that had RCBS dies had >.004" runout before they switched.
  8. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    No dies can compensate for inconsistant case necks or poor work methods.

    I've used and measured both the ammo and accuracy from a lot of dies from all makers but Dillon. On average, I see NO difference between any brand and others, there's as much difference between dies of the same brand as between brands. Fact is, they are all quite good - on average!

    That said, Forster BR and Redding Comp. dies, the seaters anyway, do show a small improvement over others but that isn't so consistant as to be automatic. I prefer the Forsters because of their unique "adjustable" expander buttons which can leave slightly straighter necks IF they are adjusted correctly.

    And Lee's (collet) neck die is likely the best of its type on the market if it's used properly.

    Nothing's much good if it's poorly used! :D
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  9. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2008
  10. stanimals2

    stanimals2 Member

    Mar 7, 2009
    I have converted everything over to Hornady new deminsion dies for ease of use and consistancy. I do not shoot comp. so I do not use the high end comp. dies, the Hornady,s work great for me.
  11. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2003
    Boomtube is right.
    Dies do not make good brass. It's either good or it isn't.

    The best dies compliment the chamber. Unfortunately this is an abstract.
    So pretty much every die today will leave your ammo correct, or every die(except custom) will seemingly create a nightmare.

    The worst die condition I have ever found myself in, was with the most expensive die set. The Tubbs 6XC set(marketed as a ferrari). Had me cursing our cosmic balance, when 10min into use it ripped a rim off one of them very rare cases at the time.
    Alot of money burnt with further testing brought the obvious to light: My T2K chamber didn't perfectly match the cartridge spec. It wasn't an unusual problem at all, the die was fine, but I did have to get JLC to make me another.
    So given my luck, I find it cheaper and easier to just go custom with everything.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010