Whidden Dies.... Your opinions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by SidecarFlip, Aug 31, 2015.

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  1. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    I'm curious. I have pirchased and are using 2 differerent calibers of John Whidden sizing dies.


    308 Whidden FL busing custom made to my once fired case
    308 Whidden FL bushing standard bushing die
    30 caliber WM die custom made to my once fired case

    I like his dies, especially the full floating expander/decapping stem. I don't like his lock rings, I think they suck, in fact they all went bye-bye, replaced with Hornady Rings.

    It's a bit of a wait for the custom machined dies and they all are expensive, but you always pay for quality IMO.

    I make my own bushings btw and seat with an RCBS Comp front load seater with custom machined seater stems....

    Your opinions would be appreciated as I'm considering selling off my Redding die sets and going all Whidden..... Got a few more calibers to go.....
  2. Dgd6mm

    Dgd6mm Well-Known Member

    Jul 14, 2008
    I read a lot over on 6br that they are well liked. I have bought a set of Widden 6br dies and have not used them yet. What is it about the locking ring that you are unsatisfied with?
  3. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    Everyone has their favorites, Some like Lee (I don't), some like Redding (they are okay) and some like Hornday...my favorite. RCBS lock rings plain suck. They have the flats for a wrench but RCBS uses a brass socket head screw that jams into the die threads (bad idea right off) and it's weak. I've split more than one attempting to lock their rings.

    The Hornady lock ring has a robust socket head capscrew to secure it and I can slip an open end wrench over it to lock my die down.

    With the Whidden lock ring, you cannot use a wrench to lock it, you must use the die head itself, which is no biggie but it's an odd size.

    I tend to replace everything with Hornady lock rings but just my preference.

    Once I get my bump set, they never get loosened again anyway.

    One thing I noticed and something I copied because it was easy is that is John uses a double 'O' ring on his custom built dies to float the stem. The stock dies have one 'O' ring. I just went into my 'O' ring assortment and doubles the 'O' rings. One on the stem between the bushing stop and the fixing knob (which is there on both the custom dies and the stock dies and one between the fixing knob and the top lock ring (thats not there on the stock dies).

    That allows the stem to float but still locates the bushing securely. That equates to very concentric necks. It's really a great idea and can be employed on any die from any manufacturer, bushing or not.

    I've spent plenty of time and did a lot of cussing, trying to center the expander balls on my other dies (like RCBS for instance). Add an 'O' ring and the stem floats so if it's a bit offcenter when you size, the stem will self center as the expander ball enters the case mouth. (Thanks John.....)

    Might not sound like much, but errors in loading compound themselves and result in less bug holes....

    Most times, my expander ball is removed from the stem, no point in working the brass expanding it and then constricting it in the bushing, cases are expensive, especially Lapua so I like to get as much mileage as possible. I'll start seperating the belt on the 300 WM before the cases show any neck issues, same with the 308 flavor.

    My loaded cases typically runout less than 0.001 checked on the Hornady (PT&G) concentricity jig and thats at any jump not just with the pill way into the neck.

    Kind of a long explaination but I thought you might want to know....