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Thread: Match dies vs standard dies

  1. #1

    Match dies vs standard dies

    Looking for input on match vs standard reloading dies. Is it worth the extra money to get a set of the match dies? Specifically looking at the redding dies with the micrometer adjustments. The theory sounds like they would be better but wondering from anyone who has used them, are they worth the cost difference.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy nueces5's Avatar
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    I tell you my experience, I used a neck size of lee and a seater / crimp of pacific for my 308
    With the idea of having the micrometer seater, I bought the redding national match set
    I found that the alignment of my bullet was much more precise with this system, I think I improved my accuracy a lot, and I recommend it

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I like the competition seaters from Redding and Forster. I can take or leave the micrometer top.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I would recommend the competition seaters from Redding and Forster also.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub

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    I really like the improvement from switching to Redding dies with the micrometers for seating and crimping my .357's. I can't see spending the extra money for my 9MM & 45 ACP. As you can see, my shell shuckers don't get much respect when compared to my revolvers.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    I like the competition seaters from Redding and Forster. I can take or leave the micrometer top.
    Ditto. The micromoter seating stems, they only make it easier to change seating depth, they don't do a thing to improve accuracy.

    Are they "worth it" depends on what you do and how you do it now. How much improvement you might see depends on your loading skills. If you're getting 2" groups now they aren't likely to suddenly become 1/2". And they are unlikely to do anything if your present dies closely match your rifle's needs.

    So, are they worth it? I love 'em but they are costly. I only get Redding/Bonanza/Forster dies if I'm already getting consistent (not occasional) sub one inch groups.

    All of our die makers follow SAAMI specifications and that's a range, not a specific point. If any maker was statistically "better/more accurate" than the others they would be advertized as such; no one makes any such claims.

    That said, Redding/Forster seaters do tend to load bullets straighter than others because of their unique full-length "straight-line" cartridge sleeve but even they have tolerances. And bad (factory case) necks can make straight seating impossible even with those great designs.

    Generally speaking, careful case selection and processing and component (bullet) selection and methodical load development do more for my accuracy than the dies I use. Meaning, yeah, die's matter but accuracy isn't automatic. Accuracy can't be bought in a box and common dies generally allow for quite good accuracy from factory rifles.

    My "run-out" gage shows I get the lowest average bullet tilt with selected and lightly neck turned brass sized in a Redding body die followed by a Lee collect neck die and loaded with either one of the full sleeve seater dies.
    Last edited by 1hole; 01-10-2020 at 09:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have used "std" dies with good results but set up is trickier at times. Match grade dies are better but still have wiggle room built into them. A true custom set of dies made to 3-5 fired cases from your rifle are best. I prefer the redding neck bushing dies for sizing, they set up well and allow for small adjustments in neck tension. The Match seater with it does good with standard size bullets ( not sure on over sized cast). Brass life seems longer also as your not sizing small and opening up with an exepander

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    If you have the instruments to measure case shoulder height and neck runout, and you are not satisfied with the results of these measurements with your current dies, yes, they are worth it.

    If you compare accuracy results without managing these variables, it is unlikely you will see the value of competition dies.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    A micrometer die makes it easy to adjust with precision and if you are always changing things might be worth it to you.

    I built a little fixture that lets me adjust most any die with precision, not just bullet seat and it cost less to build than the added price for a micrometer adjustment on top of a single seat die.



    That said the Forster seat die is a fantastic design, why Redding copied it, I can just buy two regular ones for different calibers vs one with the micrometer head for one caliber.
    Last edited by jmorris; 01-11-2020 at 11:52 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmorris View Post
    ...snip...
    I built a little fixture that lets me adjust most any die with precision, not just bullet seat and it cost less to build than the added price for a micrometer adjustment on top of a single seat die.
    ...snip...
    That is very cool and very simple and easy to make, yet so useful. I was going to get some micrometer stops, but wondered how it matters once you get a die set and like it there, particularly if one wanted/needed to move the micrometer to other dies. Your device solves that nicely and perhaps even better than micrometer stops.

    Do you ever have to change the indicator such that previous readings on a die have lost their reference to previous settings (or to a theoretical zero)? I wonder about having a zeroing standard to reset the indicator. Do you log/record settings for dies so that you can return to specific settings that you found worked well?

    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.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    Ditto. The micromoter seating stems, they only make it easier to change seating depth, they don't do a thing to improve accuracy.

    Are they "worth it" depends on what you do and how you do it now. How much improvement you might see depends on your loading skills. If you're getting 2" groups now they aren't likely to suddenly become 1/2". And they are unlikely to do anything if your present dies closely match your rifle's needs.

    So, are they worth it? I love 'em but they are costly. I only get Redding/Bonanza/Forster dies if I'm already getting consistent (not occasional) sub one inch groups.

    All of our die makers follow SAAMI specifications and that's a range, not a specific point. If any maker was statistically "better/more accurate" than the others they would be advertized as such; no one makes any such claims.

    That said, Redding/Forster seaters do tend to load bullets straighter than others because of their unique full-length "straight-line" cartridge sleeve but even they have tolerances. And bad (factory case) necks can make straight seating impossible even with those great designs.

    Generally speaking, careful case selection and processing and component (bullet) selection and methodical load development do more for my accuracy than the dies I use. Meaning, yeah, die's matter but accuracy isn't automatic. Accuracy can't be bought in a box and common dies generally allow for quite good accuracy from factory rifles.

    My "run-out" gage shows I get the lowest average bullet tilt with selected and lightly neck turned brass sized in a Redding body die followed by a Lee collect neck die and loaded with either one of the full sleeve seater dies.
    /\ THIS

    When loading handgun ammunition, my goal is good ammunition coupled with volume of production.
    When loading rifle ammunition the goal moves to achieving the best accuracy.
    I'm with this contributor in terms of a fondness for Redding and Forster equipment. I have honed my skills over the years and to me, their equipment is worth the cost but not due to the micrometer adjustment feature. The overall quality of Redding gear and the fact that their seater dies do tend to result in far less run out, is noticeable.

    The micrometer adjustment is nice when you are tweaking the settings but once you get everything where you want it, it just sits there for the next 20 years.

    Over many years I have learned what is important and what is not. I can make very consistent (read that as accurate) cartridges and sometimes that requires high dollar gear and sometimes you just need attention to detail.

    Spend your money & time where it helps you and save your money & time when you can. There are some techniques & gear that will make your groups smaller and there are some techniques & gear that will just waste your time and make your wallet lighter.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    I wonder about having a zeroing standard to reset the indicator. Do you log/record settings for dies so that you can return to specific settings that you found worked well?
    No need to log or keep records, just start longer than your goal. Cycle the press and measure the result, then drop the indicator on the die, adjust it accordingly and your done.

  13. #13
    Thanks for all the advice, sounds like the competition seater is liked. Any input on the competition neck sizing die? Seems like the same concept as the seater. I do not currently reload for this gun/caliber so I have no loading results to compare. Looking to get a set of dies for this caliber and just trying to decide which I should get. I've always used standard dies, but this is a 222Rem and was thinking it might be a good caliber to try the competition dies on.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkenhunter50 View Post
    Any input on the competition neck sizing die?
    Yeah. If you mean the expensive dies that use precise diameter neck bushings, they would be great if your case necks were all exactly the same thickness and truly coaxial; sadly, not many are.

    I can't justify buying premium cases. For my best quality ammo I have very good results obtaining straight necks/straight bullets when using Lee's Collet Neck Sizers and Forster/Bonanza/Redding comp seaters on lightly neck turned common factory cases. Anytime I want to FL size I use anyone's body sizer in addition to the Lee neck die.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
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    For those who don't have a dial indicator setup for precise bullet height a set of competition dies works great. I dialed in a 22-250 as a matter of fact two Remington's to the point of covering a 5 shot group at 100 yards with a quarter which I felt was not to bad. The error is probably mine. I was impressed and purchased a second set of comp dies in 308.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Drew P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJEagle View Post
    I really like the improvement from switching to Redding dies with the micrometers for seating and crimping my .357's. I can't see spending the extra money for my 9MM & 45 ACP. As you can see, my shell shuckers don't get much respect when compared to my revolvers.
    as it should be.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

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
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check