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Thread: LE Wilson hand die

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    LE Wilson hand die

    In a reloading lot at a gun auction among the odds and ends was 3 LE Wilson hand dies, 35 Rem, 250 Savage and 30-30. Any one use these at all ? I know I still have a few Lee loaders that I have had for years and years but admittedly haven't used but I know they do work.

  2. #2
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    W.R.Buchanan's Avatar
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    The LE Wilson Hand Dies are simply really nicely made Lee Loaders. Tools of this type are called "Hand Dies" and are the oldest type of cartridge reloading tool.

    Do use a small Arbor Press or Drill Press to push the cases into the sizing die as they were not meant to be beat on.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
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  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I used the Wilson hand seater dies in various calibers and an arbor press to load long range/ palma ammo. They load very accurate ammo. A small arbor press or old bittle capper work very well for these dies.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I use a Wilson straight line seater with the Sinclair adjustable micrometer top in .22 Hornet & .222 Rem. Have not found a need for arbor press..palm of hand works well for jacket & cast.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have one set that I use with my 6.5-284 match rifle. They produce very straight ammo.

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    I received in a batch of dies from a friend, an LE Wilson chamber-type bullet seater, 22-250. He praised it as great and reading the literature, what came with it and their current instructions, it sounds like a good accurate way to seat bullets, aligning the case and bullet fairly precisely. I am curious, however, about how these compare with the floating bullet sleeves in current Hornady dies, even the Custom grade dies. I have the latter for 22-250 and when I get around to loading some, I want to compare these two seating dies. The older (1988) instructions claim an average runout of 0.0015" for the Wilson seater and an average of 0.003" for "conventional" dies.

    I'm wondering what other's experiences have been.

    Rick
    Quality is like buying oats. If you want nice clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.

  7. #7
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    Quite a few benchrest shooters still use the Wilson hand dies for sizing. Some use the Wilson bullet seating dies, but many use a standard 7/8-14 micrometer seating die.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Mold
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    Precision of seating depth is another question, that I do want to understand and this Wilson die does raise that question, but I will make a separate post to ask it.

    My question here is about lateral runout; how much the the bullet wobbles at the tip, relative to at the base/case mouth, between the Wilson seater and a die with the floating bullet alignment sleeve, like Hornady's. I do not know if any other brands have this feature, but that is irrelevant to me as what I have are Hornadys. I am not a bench rest shooter, at least not yet. My question is more of technical interest.

    Rick
    Quality is like buying oats. If you want nice clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Which Wilson "hand dies"? L.E. Wilson made straight line seaters, neck sizing dies and even full length sizing dies. They are all very precision dies and there are none better. I use a variety of them.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    Which Wilson "hand dies"? L.E. Wilson made straight line seaters, neck sizing dies and even full length sizing dies. They are all very precision dies and there are none better. I use a variety of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by RickKr View Post
    I received in a batch of dies from a friend, an LE Wilson chamber-type bullet seater, 22-250. ...snip...
    Rick
    If you are referring to my question, I stated what I know of the die in my initial question (quoted above). I do not know if it is considered a straight line but it does seem to me to fall into this category, rather than the other two mentioned.

    The die accepts a sized case for seating of a bullet. I do not know if it matters whether it is a full length sized case or just neck sized (but I would expect just neck sized cases should work). It has a "seating stem" that inserts from the top that is precisely the diameter of the bullet, but the 1988 instructions state that bullets should not be inserted from the top, as this causes excessive wear of the plunger bore. Depth of the seated bullet is adjusted by screwing the seating stem further out or in to the seating cap. It seems clear to me that the die is doing nothing but seating the bullet.

    I've attached the PDF of the current Wilson instructions for this die. It should be quite evident what die it is from this PDF.

    Rick
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    Quality is like buying oats. If you want nice clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickKr View Post
    Precision of seating depth is another question, that I do want to understand and this Wilson die does raise that question, but I will make a separate post to ask it.

    My question here is about lateral runout; how much the the bullet wobbles at the tip, relative to at the base/case mouth, between the Wilson seater and a die with the floating bullet alignment sleeve, like Hornady's. I do not know if any other brands have this feature, but that is irrelevant to me as what I have are Hornadys. I am not a bench rest shooter, at least not yet. My question is more of technical interest.

    Rick
    Rick: The Wilson Seating Dies achieve their precision by close tolerance machining. The case mouth is held in position simply because there is no clearance for it to move around in the die body It is a close tolerance chamber. The Seating Stem fits perfectly in the die body because there is only about .001 clearance between it and the hole in the die body which is concentric to the case mouth.

    Typically you set the bullet on the case mouth and then set the die over the top, as it is easier to do it that way than removing the seating stem every time due to it's super close fit. The hole in the stem for the bullet nose is perfectly concentric to the stem itself and by extension to the die body, thus it achieves perfect alignment in the simplest way possible.

    These guys aren't messing around with their tolerances. They actually know what they are doing, and have for along time.

    There is a reason why everybody shooting Bench Rest uses them.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The Wilson dies hold everything in much better alignment do to tighter tolerances and better design. The bullet is held in alignment to the case neck with a section much closer to size and so is the case. This supports accurate seating. My 308 seater the 175s don't fall thru but slowly slide thru from a very light tension in the sides put your thumb over the bottom and the bullet floats. Put your thumb over the bottom with the stem inserted and pull it out you get a Pop sound from the vacuum created these are proper fits and tolerances being held. These fits are less than .001.
    The standard seaters don't support the bullet near as well and depend on the seater stem fit to punch to center. The sliding sleeve seaters are better but there is a stack up of clearance tolerances in them. from die body to sliding sleeve to sleeve to punch and then case to die and bullet to sleeve. The more moving parts the more room for error

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    ...snip...
    The sliding sleeve seaters are better but there is a stack up of clearance tolerances in them. from die body to sliding sleeve to sleeve to punch and then case to die and bullet to sleeve. The more moving parts the more room for error
    Thanks guys. Yes, the stack up of tolerances matters. In addition to the stack up of tolerances with the sliding sleeve, the body and head of the case are NOT held in any kind of alignment. This is left to the shell holder, which necessarily has relatively wide tolerances. With a case inserted into the neck recess, the head of the case was free to wobble 1/8".
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I was curious, though, just how much the tolerances differed and how much the "stack up" totalled. So, I got out my precision gauge pins and my precision digital mics (accuracy 0.0001", resolution 0.00005") and went to work figuring this out.

    Wilson Hand Seater:
    The seater stem and bore were pretty much as stated; my measurements say ≤0.001". The recess into which the case neck fits was 0.257" (0.256"-0.257", with the latter fitting, but it was snug).

    Four 22-250 cases measured an average of 0.256" (0.2556"-0.2568").

    The case head/body fits snugly in the die body and there is no wiggle at all.

    So, 0.001" for the stem and 0.001" for the case neck = 0.002" total clearances for the Wilson seater.

    Hornady sliding bullet sleeve:
    The stem bore is 0.227" (0.226" pin goes easily, 0.227" pin is snug but goes). The stem itself is 0.224" (0.22360"-0.22380"). Clearance of 0.003".

    The sliding sleeve OD is 0.625" (0.62450"-0.3247'). The bore in the die body where the sleeve slides is 0.628" (0.62770-0.62780"). Clearance 0.003".

    The sliding sleeve ID where the case neck fits 0.260" (I seem to have not recorded individual readings, but I used the gauge pins.). Compared with the case necks, 0.256", there is a 0.004" clearance.

    Cumulative clearance is about 0.010" between the seater stem/bullet sleeve/case necks and die body sleeve bore. But, as stated above, with the sliding sleeve die, the case head is not supported at all, except by the shell holder, so that may be where the greatest error occurs, which would be expressed as a tilted case being presented to the base of the bullet, irrespective of all the errors at/near the bullet, but that might be largely mitigated if the shell holder aligns the case head reasonably well.

    I am now satisfied that I understand the difference between the dies/bullet seating systems. The Wilson die is clearly much more precise and I can see why bench rest shooters like them.

    Rick
    Quality is like buying oats. If you want nice clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    If the price was right, I would be a buyer of the 30-30 Wilson seating die.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
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    I remember the benchrest guys would have their barrel makers build them wilson style dies using the same reamer they used on their barrels.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    If you go back into reloading history, you find the two piece seater dies in rifle cartridge sizes by folks like Marlin (Ballard) and one piece like those from Maynard. Pistols weren't neglected... I've used a set from S&W dating from the 1890s to actually load some shootable rounds. Of course these earlier examples lack the precision of the current ones from Wilson et al, but the familial resemblance is unmistakeable.

    Froggie

    PS If anybody here knows where there is a Ballard two piece seating die in 32-40 looking for a home, I'm certified to adopt one!
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I have a few sets, but have no idea what caliber they are for.
    Seems Wilson didn't label them.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I have Wilson dies for my competition pistols. They are much better than any of the other styles I have. The only thing comparable is the Neal products which are designed the same, but made to a set of fired cases from the individual gun. They are an even better quality than the Wilson's, but I don't know if he is still in business. The last time I talked to him was several years ago and he was trying to retire at the time.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Neal Jones is still making hand dies or at least the company is. A single die will cost you $200, a little too steep for me. I just picked up a two die set with micrometer top for $65 in 6.5x55 just to see what they looked like and to see how well they work. They really look great & came in a nice box with all the instructions. Now I just have to load some 6.5x55s and see what runout I get.
    I expect they will be at least as good as my Wilsons because they certainly look to be very high quality.
    Bob
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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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