Which Micrometer Seater Die?

One1Bravo

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  • Jul 13, 2012
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    I usually use Whidden and like them well enough, but occasionally they are not consistent with the seating depth. Just wondering what everyone else uses and if it'd be worth trying something different. Forster and Redding seem to be the two major players. SAC has their universal die but I'm not looking to go that route just yet. If anyone has any experience with the Mighty Armory Gold sizing dies I'm considering trying those also.
     

    CK1.0

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    I use/recommend the Forster, the Redding is great as well and works similarly, but the Forster is a little simpler and has a better lock ring.

    I do not recommend the Mighty Armory sizing dies for bolt guns. Wayne does the semi-auto/progressive thing pretty well, but bolt guns and loading for precision is a different thing.
     

    MinnesotaMulisha

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  • Jul 30, 2013
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    I’ve got an RCBS and a Forster.
    I like the Forster more than the RCBS because the gradations are farther apart making it easier to achieve your desired seating depth, and they are easier to see. I’m 40, and have great eye sight, but the gradations on the RCBS are so close together they are almost touching, making it more difficult to read.
     

    6.5SH

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    I use/recommend the Forster, the Redding is great as well and works similarly, but the Forster is a little simpler and has a better lock ring.

    I do not recommend the Mighty Armory sizing dies for bolt guns. Wayne does the semi-auto/progressive thing pretty well, but bolt guns and loading for precision is a different thing.
    What's the issue with the MA dies in bolt guns?
     

    mtang45

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    I highly recommend L.E. Wilson micrometer seaters. I've tried Redding, Forster, Hornady and RCBS. The L.E. Wilsons are superior for controlling seating depth and run out.
     
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    BuildingConceptsllc

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    I highly recommend L.E. Wilson micrometer seaters. I've tried Redding, Forster, Hornady and RCBS. The L.E. Wilsons are superior for controlling seating depth and run out.
    I was just looking for a thread on this very thing. I'm not so happy with my Hornady. I was wondering if it was the bullet or the die that was giving me inconsistent results. Its not a lot but I hate to be doing all this other crap for precision that we all do, then give up a few thou here and there on my seating....

    I have a Redding for my 308 and it's easy to use and set but I'm going to look into the L.E Wilson micro now for 6.5cm and 6mm cm.
     
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    MinnesotaMulisha

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  • Jul 30, 2013
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    I’ve got an RCBS and a Forster.
    I like the Forster more than the RCBS because the gradations are farther apart making it easier to achieve your desired seating depth, and they are easier to see. I’m 40, and have great eye sight, but the gradations on the RCBS are so close together they are almost touching, making it more difficult to read.
    Edit. I’ve also got a Hornady. I like it more than the RCBS but it also has gradations that are relatively close together, but it seems consistent when seating Matchkings. I haven loaded any VLD type bullets with it so no experience needing a different stem.
     

    GhostFace

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    I’ve been using Redding and Forester since I started reloading and I have no complaints. Both have produced great ammo for me.
     

    rustyinbend

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    This thread caused me to look at the Short Action Customs universal seating die. I like my Redding Competition Seating Dies, but the SAC looks really interesting. Anybody that owns one care to detail pro's, con's, and real-world use experiences?
     

    Wizard1183

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    I use/recommend the Forster, the Redding is great as well and works similarly, but the Forster is a little simpler and has a better lock ring.

    I do not recommend the Mighty Armory sizing dies for bolt guns. Wayne does the semi-auto/progressive thing pretty well, but bolt guns and loading for precision is a different thing.
    Can you explain why MA FLS die isn’t good for bolt?
     

    BuildingConceptsllc

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    This thread caused me to look at the Short Action Customs universal seating die. I like my Redding Competition Seating Dies, but the SAC looks really interesting. Anybody that owns one care to detail pro's, con's, and real-world use experiences?
    Yeah I'd love to see a good review of it to see if that would really work for everything. I'd get it instead of separate micro seating dies if it works well.
     

    Wizard1183

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    I have Forster Ulta seating die with Mic. However my issue with it is that for some reason it’s very inconsistent. I can’t set and forget. Haven’t annealed yet but it’s as much .007 difference

    I think I read here about spring being too long or cases not annealed, diff spring back?
     

    nn8734

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    I have Forster Ulta seating die with Mic. However my issue with it is that for some reason it’s very inconsistent. I can’t set and forget. Haven’t annealed yet but it’s as much .007 difference

    I think I read here about spring being too long or cases not annealed, diff spring back?
    Could be a number of things, including springback. Do you ogive-sort your bullets? Also depending on bullet type, jump length and engagement distance to target, a .007” spread may or may not matter.

    I also use Forster Ultramicreter seaters for most of my loads also and occasionally see a similar variance but it hasn’t proven to be material.
     

    Wizard1183

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    Could be a number of things, including springback. Do you ogive-sort your bullets? Also depending on bullet type, jump length and engagement distance to target, a .007” spread may or may not matter.

    I also use Forster Ultramicreter seaters for most of my loads also and occasionally see a similar variance but it hasn’t proven to be material.
    No I’ve never ogive sorted them. I figured I’d seat all to 1.627” but it seems like I have to set the micrometer in increment until I get it down to that or some will be .005 too short. I know SMK meplate are inconsistent. I figured ogive would be pretty consistent but I’ll check

    I do make sure all cases are same length at shoulder beforehand
     

    NiteQwill

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    Get the Short Action Customs one. It's a real work of art and excellent repeatability. Additionally, you actually end up saving money since you can use it across several calibers. I have sold all my seating dies since.
     

    TheOfficeT-Rex

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    This thread caused me to look at the Short Action Customs universal seating die. I like my Redding Competition Seating Dies, but the SAC looks really interesting. Anybody that owns one care to detail pro's, con's, and real-world use experiences?

    I have one - I ordered before there were two seating stem options, so I'm not sure which I have, but I will say the stem works really well. I primarily use it to load 6mm variants, but I've also used it for 6,5, and I never get the bullet ring (or even the bullet coke bottle crush) issues that I have had with other seating dies/stems. Switching between 6BRA and 6 or 6,5CM was as easy as popping the micrometer off, and removing the ball bearing spacer. I don't measure run out, but CBTO is very consistent, measuring +/- 1k for me.

    The only con I can think of, is to make sure the bullet goes straight up into the die - if it's leaning a bit off center, it will catch, and not self center like some of the sliding chamber type dies.

    IMHO, it's a no brainer for anyone running a single stage press with multiple calibers... but I also like the MA sizing dies, even for bolt guns 🤷‍♂️
     

    nn8734

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    No I’ve never ogive sorted them. I figured I’d seat all to 1.627” but it seems like I have to set the micrometer in increment until I get it down to that or some will be .005 too short. I know SMK meplate are inconsistent. I figured ogive would be pretty consistent but I’ll check

    I do make sure all cases are same length at shoulder beforehand
    How far are you jumping?
     

    Wizard1183

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    How far are you jumping?
    Semi auto. Mag length.

    I took a case and sized .001” increments til that bolt closed which was 1.631” using hornady comparator. Subtracted .004” so 1.627” FLS
     

    nn8734

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    Semi auto. Mag length.

    I took a case and sized .001” increments til that bolt closed which was 1.631” using hornady comparator. Subtracted .004” so 1.627” FLS
    That’s fine, i also size my mk11’s LC LR brass to 1.627” via the Hornady comparator.

    .005” bullet seating variance wont make any difference at all. Each time I load a bunch of rounds (100-200), ill check the first 10 for CBTO and as long as its where it needs to be (2.150 +- .004”) using 175smks, i dont bother checking the rest. I use the forster ultramicrometer seater for that rifle.
     

    CK1.0

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    Can you explain why MA FLS die isn’t good for bolt?

    I don’t want to bad mouth anybody, but I can share my experience with one of their sizing dies…

    I was unable to get any shoulder bump at all out of one of their “.005 HS” dies in 6CM. After speaking with them at length about it, it became clear that they did not really have much experience with loading for bolt guns, nor a solid grasp on the how and why of bumping a shoulder back when loading for precision, or even a clear understanding of what “cam over” actually means.

    In the end the only way to get my desired .002” shoulder bump was to either skim/face the bottom/mouth of the die (which requires machining), or the shell holder by over .020”.

    I chose to modify/face the shell holder, but, without access to the proper machines I had to do it “caveman-style” with sandpaper on a flat hard surface (their suggestion).

    Well, turned out the face of the shell holder came out a few degrees off from perfectly flat… which I discovered only after I had ruined ~300 pieces of brass that when stood on their case heads did not stand straight up and leaned over slightly. Not awesome.

    Then there’s the fact that their “mandrel” isn’t a mandrel at all, and that if one’s Loctite doesn’t hold when using the stem’s cap instead of a decapping pin, it can unscrew and fuck up one’s cases that way.

    The moral of the story here is: buying a normal, proven sizing die that just needs to be backed off a bit is a lot simpler and works just fine without any unwanted surprises.
     

    nn8734

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    I don’t want to bad mouth anybody, but I can only share my experience with one of their sizing dies…

    I was unable to get any shoulder bump at all out of one of their “.005 HS” dies in 6CM. Then, after speaking with them at length, it became clear that they did not really have much experience with loading for bolt guns, nor a solid grasp on the how and why of bumping a shoulder back when loading for precision, or even a clear understanding of what “cam over” actually means.

    In the end the only way to get my desired .002” shoulder bump was to either skim/face the bottom/mouth of the die (which requires machining), or the shell holder by over .020”.

    I chose to modify/face the shell holder, but, without access to the proper machines I had to do it “caveman-style” with sandpaper on a flat hard surface (their suggestion).
    Well, turned out the face of the shell holder came out a few degrees off from perfectly flat… which I discovered only after I had ruined ~300 pieces of brass that when stood on their case heads did not stand straight up and leaned over slightly. Not awesome.

    Then there’s the fact that their “mandrel” isn’t a mandrel at all, and that if one’s Loctite doesn’t hold when using the stem’s cap instead of a decapping pin, it can unscrew and fuck up one’s cases that way.

    The moral of the story here is: buying a normal, proven sizing die that just needs to be backed off a bit is a lot simpler and works just fine without any unwanted surprises.
    Had the same problem with a 6.5CM die. Sent it back to Wayne so he could shave .003” off the die. It worked but i found that my RCBS 6.5 die would give me a more consistent shoulder bump anyway so the MA die is now just a back up.
     
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    FLIGHT762

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    I have a 223 M/A die that worked perfectly on day one. Bought a 308 die. It wouldn't bump shoulders down to SAAMI minimum.

    Sent the die back, Wayne skimmed .008" off of the die. Works perfectly now.

    The only issue with the 308 die is the neck in the die is honed out so it will not properly size down thin necked brass enough the hold a bullet like the older Winchester and Hornady brass, which I have a large supply of. Works fine with any of the newer, thicker necked brass.
     

    Im2bent

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    I have a 223 M/A die that worked perfectly on day one. Bought a 308 die. It wouldn't bump shoulders down to SAAMI minimum.

    Sent the die back, Wayne skimmed .008" off of the die. Works perfectly now.

    The only issue with the 308 die is the neck in the die is honed out so it will not properly size down thin necked brass enough the hold a bullet like the older Winchester and Hornady brass, which I have a large supply of. Works fine with any of the newer, thicker necked brass.
    So you are bumping to saami min irrespective of what your chamber dictates?
     

    CK1.0

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    Wayne/MA are good peeps, don't get me wrong... I just get the impression he's an expert machinist/novice precision/bolt-gun reloader.

    I actually think he's got the right idea making FL dies that don't squeeze the shit out of case necks unnecessarily, and he's definitely onto something with trying to incorporate a mandrel more so than an expander and we spoke about that at length. He's just got to find some time to get a bolt gun, go shoot some long range, and really get in the swing of loading for it is all. He maybe just needs to burn out a barrel or two, and he'll figure out everything he needs to know.

    I get it... I loaded tens of thousands of rounds on progressives before I started loading for precision on a single-stage: it's a different thing. He puts a lot of emphasis on the decapping feature of his dies (because that's what kind of put him on the map) and sizing all the way down the case as far as possible; both desirable traits/features for progressive reloading... but which sort of don't mean dick to us when loading for bolt guns. Most of us deprime/decap our bolt-gun stuff separately, as its own step, and we're not trying to take the bulge out of cases leftover from another MF's gun; we're not doing thousands of range pick-up brass or whatever...

    He has his shit together for progressive applications for sure (especially automated), his stuff is as good or better than anything else in that realm.
     
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    FLIGHT762

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    So you are bumping to saami min irrespective of what your chamber dictates?
    No. I reload for 8 308 / 7.62 NATO rifles. From 2- M1-A's, FAL, HK-91, SR-25, GAP-10 and two bolt guns. I use the Redding Competition shell holders to adjust to what ever shoulder bump I want for a particular Rifle.

    I do want to get back to near SAAMI minimum (1.630") for the gas guns. The M/A308 die wouldn't do it. Got it fixed. Works fine now.
     
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    Gungnir388

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    @TheOfficeT-Rex If I am not mistaken, email SAC explaining you have an early version and they will send out the other seating stem and a ball bearing. I cannot remember where I saw it but mark responded in a forum telling the customer to do that. I have the SAC seater die and love it. How I set up the die is I screw the die in and make sure I have positive contact with the press ram. I use easy pressure on the handle and seat till I make that positive contact with the die. Very consistent seating depths. The markings are precise. I am seating some rounds tomorrow and will try to make a video if people are interested.
     
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    TheOfficeT-Rex

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    @TheOfficeT-Rex If I am not mistaken, email SAC explaining you have an early version and they will send out the other seating stem and a ball bearing. I cannot remember where I saw it but mark responded in a forum telling the customer to do that.
    I don’t really have a need to, whichever stem I have has been a fantastic fit for the bullets I’ve tried, although it’sa good PSA in case someone else needs it.

    I also got sent two ball bearings with my die, Mark must have known my bench was in disarray when I ordered 😂
     
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