Quality Seating Die Performance

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deeangeo

Well-Known Member
I have been wondering if there's any significant difference between the RCBS Competition Seating Die, a Forster 'Ultra' Competition Die & a standard Hornady seating die (with the sliding collet).

I have the RCBS, but wonder if a change to the Forster might be beneficial in terms of minimising run-out. A dealer I spoke to recently said there wasn't any need to spend such money on the expensive dies, - the Hornady dies would be more than satisfactory.

​Who thinks what please? ATB
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I think it's a crap shoot.
I hate Hornady anything with regard to loading dies so I'm prejudiced already. How much run out are you experiencing? I bought one of those silly Hornady Run Out gages (now gathering dust on the shelf) and found that my Forster Competition Seater had as much run out as a set of Lee standard dies in 308... both of which was less than needed "correcting" according to Hornady.

I thiunk there are some other factors that influence seating. Too tight a shell holder fit can mess up seating, for sure, but also, a seater stem that is not matched to the bullet. In these days of VLD bullets with really pointy noses you need to make sure that the seater has a long enough taper to accommodate it.

I have found that gently flaring case mouths just enough to get the parallel sides of the bullet to enter the case mouth aids greatly in run out. This is most evident in cases with thin necks like Hornet. You can see the lack of a bulge in the case neck. I shot some .223 at the range yesterday and a friend had some handloads he'd made with Winchester 46 grain HP Flat base bullets. You could see a faint bulge on one side of the neck from seating misalignment. I was shooting the same bullet from my .222 earlier that day using the flared mouth technique and saw none of that, and my groups were half the size of his.** All this FWIW, of course.~Muir

**And I was using a handgun!
 
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deeangeo

Well-Known Member
Interesting Muir. I only shoot .25-06 & have the bullet (Nosler 110gn AB) seated at COL of 3.393". Run-out is usually around .0015" but can be as much as .007".
Since discovering this I have changed my case resizing (set-up) & bullet seating technique somewhat, so am sure from the range results run-out is more under control now. However, you've mentioned before the benefit of using the Lee expander die which I have & am awaiting the factory crimp die.

I'm not going to buy a concentricity guage to measure every round I make, nor re-make those rounds I may find (if I had a guage) to have excessive run-out. I'd just like to know I have done everything possible to ensure as much 1st time correctly made rounds as I can. ATB
 

The Burpster

Well-Known Member
I have the competition dies of which you speak and they are Extremely consistant. I like consistant when reloading. :D

RCBS dies are generally good and I have no issue with them but will not waste my money on hornady stuff again, as I was advised when I started loading that was all i needed. Soon found out how to remove stuck cases, and how badly some of them were finished inside.

Within months started upgrading to Redding and Forster..... If your reloading is functional then cheap dies will do. IMHO if you are reloading for accuracy then they are not.
 
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Muir

Well-Known Member
Interesting Muir. I only shoot .25-06 & have the bullet (Nosler 110gn AB) seated at COL of 3.393". Run-out is usually around .0015" but can be as much as .007".
Since discovering this I have changed my case resizing (set-up) & bullet seating technique somewhat, so am sure from the range results run-out is more under control now. However, you've mentioned before the benefit of using the Lee expander die which I have & am awaiting the factory crimp die.

I'm not going to buy a concentricity guage to measure every round I make, nor re-make those rounds I may find (if I had a guage) to have excessive run-out. I'd just like to know I have done everything possible to ensure as much 1st time correctly made rounds as I can. ATB

Sometimes it just is what it is. Excessive run out is not a pretty thing but often in a standard chamber and fired across open ground with all the environmental influences,it doesn't show up on paper. A buddy was sorting some factory ammo for his Rem 700, .338 Lapua one night and a few cartridges fell over and rolled on his counter. He noticed a visible wobble in some rounds so he segregated them figuring that they wouldn't shoot. At 500M however, he couldn't tell the difference on paper.(He is a fine marksman) I meant to ask: How is your grouping?

Were it me, I would check the bullet fit in the seater stem. It's a place to start before you pull out the cheque book. Good luck nailing down the gremlins! ~Muir
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I have the competition dies of which you speak and they are Extremely consistant. I like consistant when reloading. :D

RCBS dies are generally good and I have no issue with them but will not waste my money on hornady stuff again, as I was advised when I started loading that was all i needed. Soon found out how to remove stuck cases, and how badly some of them were finished inside.

Within months started upgrading to Redding and Forster..... If your reloading is functional then cheap dies will do. IMHO if you are reloading for accuracy then they are not.

It has been my experience that you can't buy accuracy. The difference between a $24.95 set of Lee dies and a $34 set of RCBS dies is up to the loader and "Match Grade" dies are nothing special used with a standard, factory chamber.

Dies make a real difference when made specifically to match the chamber of the gun the cartridges are to be fired in. A generic die set made in one part of the world, and a rifle made in another part of the world: It is a lucky thing that they are well mated. Unless you have a grossly out of spec or defective die set, most die sets do the same work. It's usually up to the loader to extract the accuracy from the equipment. JMO, of course. ~Muir
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
Sometimes it just is what it is. Excessive run out is not a pretty thing but often in a standard chamber and fired across open ground with all the environmental influences,it doesn't show up on paper. A buddy was sorting some factory ammo for his Rem 700, .338 Lapua one night and a few cartridges fell over and rolled on his counter. He noticed a visible wobble in some rounds so he segregated them figuring that they wouldn't shoot. At 500M however, he couldn't tell the difference on paper.(He is a fine marksman) I meant to ask: How is your grouping?

Were it me, I would check the bullet fit in the seater stem. It's a place to start before you pull out the cheque book. Good luck nailing down the gremlins! ~Muir

My groups are usually fine...if I don't wobble, at around 1/4" MOA @ 100yds.....but then I'd get a flyer or perhaps two.
Since I changed my re-sizing die set up & seating technique, these have reduced. MV is fairly consistent with about avg 38-50fps ES. Probably the two Lee expander/Factory crimp dies will help a little too.

I do wonder about changing the RCBS comp seater for the Forster Ultra die though.
The thrust of this is really to almost eliminate excessive run-out for all practical purposes. Cheers
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I do wonder about changing the RCBS comp seater for the Forster Ultra die though.
The thrust of this is really to almost eliminate excessive run-out for all practical purposes. Cheers

There's one way to find out, I guess! Too bad because .0015" runout is excellent; about as good as it gets and well under the .003" limits Hornady advises. If you could get rid of the clinker you'd be really in clover.

My Lee 6.5x55 seater will hold .001 to .002" provided I do my prep as described. This afternoon I re-read the 1960's vintage loading book in which I found the reference to flaring the case mouth "...for finest accuracy in a varmint rifle." Other than stating it to provide more accurate seating there was no elaboration as to where the guy came up with the idea or who recommended it to him. What ever drove him to do it I don't know. I never heard of it before I started doing it -other than a function of loading handgun (or other straight walled cartridges) and cast rifle bullets- so it is a technique that got lost in the shuffle of the 1960's reloading development boom.

My Forster competition seaters will hold 1.5 thou as will an old, odd ball custom (?) seater I have that looks like a prototype of the Ultra Die. Got it many decades ago with a set of sleeves for different calibers and it works well. I'm sure the Ultra will work, also. Let us know how it falls together for you.~Muir
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
Mostly Muir, my reloads have in the past been 'averagely' fine. Better than factory ammo. but with 'regular' flyers. Not so many regulars as to shake confidence in the load, but enough to make me wonder 'why'. Some weeks ago a friend who has a concentricity guage checked out some of my rounds and we discovered around 5% of the box exceeded the .002" recommendation - by a large margin.

So the project arose to look into how I set up my re-sizing die in the press, then adjusting the de-cap rod, finally looking at my bullet seating method and changing that.

Since making these changes, there's no doubt run-out on my reloads has improved, but prior to any of this, utilising the Lee expander (It's really a case mouth flaring die, not to be confused with the expander ball on a de-capping rod) & factory crimp dies had been discussed on this forum. The virtues of using these two dies extolled by yourself & others - I'm now awaiting arrival of the factory crimp die to find the additional value of including the two additional operations with my reloads.

I don't know anyone with a Forster 'Ultra' Comp. die in .25-06, so I'd have to buy one and as you know they're not cheap. Would it anyway perform better than my RCBS Comp. seater....while there is no doubt the Forster is a good die, why might I find it better than what I have?
Do you currently or have you used the RCBS Comp. seater dies & if so, in what way would you compare them with the Forster? Where would you believe are the differences in the two dies, that may make one die better than the other?

Earlier in this thread The Burpster agrees the RCBS product is good & consistent, but then says he 'upgraded' to Redding & Forster.....but not why he did so, or if the outcome improved. ATB
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member


chist I would be happy with any of those with iron sights!!
DSCN6951.JPG
 
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charadam

Well-Known Member
Some years back I started with the Lee Factory Crimp die, using it lightly and without reference to cannelure grooves in jacketed bullets.

In .22/250 which is the only round I was developing at the time I noticed a trend towards higher velocity of around 80fps with no reduction of group size. This was in a Parker Hale 1200 with the hammer forged and ball-burnished barrel.

In a moment of inspiration I started crimping, revolving the case in the die by about a 1/3 turn and re-crimping.

I got the same increase in V, but combined with a reduction of group size of around 35%.

The extra crimp stage might have reduced bullet runout but this is not something I can say with certainty.
 
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Muir

Well-Known Member
Some years back I started with the Lee Factory Crimp die, using it lightly and without reference to cannelure grooves in jacketed bullets.

In .22/250 which is the only round I was developing at the time I noticed a trend towards higher velocity of around 80fps with no reduction of group size. This was in a Parker Hale 1200 with the hammer forged and ball-burnished barrel.

In a moment of inspiration I started crimping, revolving the case in the die by about a 1/3 turn and re-crimping.

I got the same increase in V, but combined with a reduction of group size of around 35%.

The extra crimp stage might have reduced bullet runout but this is not something I can say with certainty.

I have some good substantiating evidence that it did. I have never tested run out pre and post crimp but I do crimp loads and accuracy increase is usually noticable. A friend of mine however, and a fine reloader and shooter mentioned earlier, did test for run out and found a reduction in run out on crimped rounds. I trust him but I didn't see it for myself.~Muir
 

charadam

Well-Known Member
Interesting and FWIW I have continued to twist and recrimp with all my loads ever since.

I have no empirical data however.

As I am presently working up a new 6.5x55 for a new rifle load it will cost nothing to try it out.

​Watch this space!
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
Interesting and FWIW I have continued to twist and recrimp with all my loads ever since.

I have no empirical data however.

As I am presently working up a new 6.5x55 for a new rifle load it will cost nothing to try it out.

​Watch this space!

I crimp my 6.5x55 loads with really good results. My most recent loads with 120 grain BTHPs are in the .3's with a crimped round. No, no cannelure in that bullet.~Muir
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
Some years back I started with the Lee Factory Crimp die, using it lightly and without reference to cannelure grooves in jacketed bullets.

In .22/250 which is the only round I was developing at the time I noticed a trend towards higher velocity of around 80fps with no reduction of group size. This was in a Parker Hale 1200 with the hammer forged and ball-burnished barrel.

In a moment of inspiration I started crimping, revolving the case in the die by about a 1/3 turn and re-crimping.

I got the same increase in V, but combined with a reduction of group size of around 35%.

The extra crimp stage might have reduced bullet runout but this is not something I can say with certainty.

This is an aspect that has been discussed with Muir, Nutty & others in a previous thread. I have the Lee expander (Case flaring) die and am currently awaiting arrival of the Lee Factory crimp die. Utilising these additional operations may well make a big contribution and I'll let you guys know that in due course. I'm encouraged by what you've said already. I feel sure they will lend an element of 'consistency'....we shall see. ATB
 
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