August 4th, 2017

How to Reload With Hand Dies and Arbor Press

arbor press hand die

Creedmoor Sports has released a series of helpful “how-to” videos in its new InfoZone web page. In the latest InfoZone video Bill Gravatt shows how to seat bullets using L.E. Wilson Hand Dies and an Arbor Press. The basic process is simple, particularly with a micrometer-top seating die. That makes it easy to adjust and set seating depth. Before you start seating bullets, you want to adjust the height of the arbor so the stroke is appropriate to the height of your die.

Bill Gravatt Shows How to Use Hand Seating Dies — Creedmoor INFOZONE

ARBOR PRESS TECHNIQUE: When using an arbor press, smooth is good. You don’t want to slam the handle down quickly. Try to repeat the same motion each time. You can also experiment by seating the bullet part way, then rotate the cartridge (in the die) and do the final seating with a second stroke. If your arbor press has a force gauge, note both the max value of the gauge needle and how it moves as you seat the bullet. If the needle spikes too rapidly, or bounces back and forth irregularly, set that cartridge aside and/or mark it. You could have neck tension issue with that case or some other fault. You might even have a bad bullet. That’s rare, but can happen. The key to success is moving the press arm in a smooth motion every time, maintaining the same down-pressure with each cartridge.

Here Bill Gravatt Offers a Simple Tip for Adjusting Wilson Seating Dies

One of our Forum readers asked “How can I get a custom in-line seater for my new rifle?”. First, we would say that, if you are not shooting an unusual Wildcat, check first to see if L.E. Wilson makes a stainless Micrometer Seater Die for your rifle. These dies are a joy to use, and we’ve found the fit to be exceptionally good with many calibers. Typically priced from $90-$100, Wilson stainless micrometer-top seaters are available for dozens of cartridge types: .204 Ruger, 20 BR, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 22 PPC, 22 BR, .22-250, .223 WSSM, 6 PPC, 6mmBR, 6XC, 243 Win, .243 WSSM, 25 WSSM, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5-284, 26 Nosler, .270 WSM, 7mm-08, .284 Win, 28 Nosler, 7mm RUM, 30 BR, 30 IHMSA, .308 Win, .300 WinMag, .338 Edge (and MORE).

If you do want a custom seater die, the process is relatively simple. Purchase a die blank from Wilson and have your gunsmith run the chambering reamer in. Forum member Gunamonth explains: “I start with a Wilson seating die blank. They’re available from Sinclair and other vendors. Just run the reamer in. For some of my rifles, where I wanted the stainless die with the micrometer adjustment, I bought a smaller die and had the smith ream it with the chamber reamer. That’s how I had my 6 Dasher and 6mm AI seaters made. With the Dasher I stared with a 6mmBR Micrometer die.”

Wilson inline seater die and blank

SEATER STEM TIP: If, on your seated bullets, you are seeing a sharp line around the jacket near the ogive, you may want to smooth out the leading edge of the Wilson seater stem (see above left). Do this by putting a little lapping compound on one bullet and manually spin this around in the stem. Without much effort you’ll have a smooth bullet/stem interface.

Micrometer Top Add-on
We really like micrometer tops on a seating die. But what if Wilson doesn’t make a micrometer top seater for your chambering? Don’t despair, Sinclair Int’l sells a $39.99 micrometer top that can be added to Wilson standard seaters or to a custom seater die made from a Wilson die blank.

Wilson inline seater die and blank

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