May 16th, 2018

The Honed-Neck FL Sizing Die Option — Alternative to Bushings

Custom honed FL dies non-bushing die Forster

Tired of messing around with neck bushings? Is there a simpler (and potentially better) solution for controlling case neck tension? Yes there is — the precision honed non-bushing die.

You can purchase a Forster non-bushing Full-length sizing die for many popular cartridge types for under $50.00. Then you can send that die to Forster, and Forster will custom-hone the neck for a nominal $12 fee plus return shipping*. When done right, the honed FL die can load ultra-straight ammo with the precise next tension you prefer for your brass and bullet choice.

Alternative to Bushings — Honed Full-Length dies
Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die — so long as the neck tension is correct. But many FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively. Forster offers a simple, inexpensive solution — honing the neck diameter to whatever size you want*.

If you purchase a Forster non-bushing, full-length sizing die, Forster will hone the neck dimension to your specs for $12.00 extra (plus shipping). This way you can have a FL die that provides the right amount of tension for your particular load. (The max amount of diameter change Forster can do is about .008″) Forster dies are relatively inexpensive so you can afford to have a couple of FL dies with necks honed to different diameters — such as 0.266″ and 0.267″ for a no-turn 6mmBR. The die itself is fairly inexpensive — currently Precision Reloading charges $41.49 for a Forster 6mmBR FL sizing die (Forster Part #018121).


Forster FL dies, necks honed to .265″, .266″, and .267″.

Steve Rasmussen of IowaHighPower.com gave this a try. In fact, he had three dies made — each with a different neck dimension. Here’s his report: “My original Forster 6BR FL die sized the necks down a lot [to about 0.260″]. I sent my die in and asked if they could supply two more FL dies (for three total) to have the necks honed to 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.” In addition to the purchase cost of two more FL-sizing dies, Steve paid $36 ($12 per die) for the three dies to be honed.

Steve’s honed dies produced very straight loaded ammo:
“Brass springback after sizing is running 1 to 1.3 thousandths. My loaded rounds are running 0.2697-0.2699 using [older Gold Box Lapua brass]. So far the dies are working well. I sized 80 cases with the 0.266″ necked die. The shoulder is running 0.4582″ and 0.300″ up from the base is 0.4684". I spun 20 of ‘em and 16 had a runout of one thousandth (0.001) and the other 4 at 1.5 thousandths (0.0015).”

*Here is Forster’s description of its Die Honing Service:

We custom hone the inside neck diameter by using a diamond stoning process. We enlarge the inside diameter to your specification to prevent over-sizing of the case neck due to thick neck walls. You may require this service for multiple reasons: 1) If you use some brands of brass cases which have thicker neck walls. 2) If you do not intend to outside neck turn case necks that have thickened after repeated firings. Please specify desired inside neck diameter. Note: 1) No more than .008″ stock removal from your existing die neck diameter is possible. 2) Honing is done in increments of one half thousandth of an inch (.0005″), meaning that your specified inside diameter must be either.XXX0″ or .XXX5″. FEES: $12.00 plus actual return shipping cost & insurance Please allow 1-3 weeks.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
February 12th, 2018

How to Properly Clean Your Reloading Dies

Hornady Die cleaning

After purchasing a new set of dies from Forster, Hornady, Redding, or Whidden Gunworks, you’ll want to disassemble the dies, inspect then, and then remove the internal grease and/or waxy coatings placed on the dies by the manufacturer. Here are two video that show how to de-grease and clean dies as they come “out of the box” from the manufacturer. In the first video, from Creedmoor Sports, Bill Gravatt shows various methods for cleaning dies both when new and after they have accumulated carbon and lube after use. This video is definitely worth watching. In the second video, a Hornady technician shows the method for degreasing dies before first use. A convenient aerosol spray cleaner is used in the video. You an also use a liquid solvent with soft nylon brush, and cotton patches. NOTE: After cleaning you may want to apply a light grease to the external threads of your dies.

Creedmoor Sports Die Cleaning Video with Bill Gravatt

Hornady Video Showing Aerosol Cleaner

Clean Your Sizing Dies and Body Dies Regularly
These same techniques work for cleaning dies after they have been used for reloading. Many otherwise smart hand-loaders forget to clean the inside of their dies, allowing old case lube, gunk, carbon residue, and other contaminants to build up inside the die. You should clean your dies fairly often, particularly if you do not tumble or ultrasound your cases between loadings. It is most important to keep full-length sizing and body dies clean. These dies accumulate lube and carbon residue quickly.

Permalink - Videos, Reloading 2 Comments »
August 27th, 2017

Controlling Grip on Bullet — Why Bushing Size is Only One Factor

case neck bushing reloading die tension bullet release

Many novice hand-loaders believe that neck bushing Inside Diameter (ID) size is the only important factor in neck tension. In fact, many different things will influence the grip on your bullet and its ability to release from the case neck. To learn the ins and outs of neck tension, take some time and read this article carefully.

Neck Tension (i.e. Grip on Bullets) Is a Complex Phenomenon
While we certainly have considerable control over neck tension by using tighter or looser bushings (with smaller or bigger Inside Diameters), bushing size is only one factor at work. It’s important to understand the multiple factors that can increase or decrease the resistance to bullet release. Think in terms of overall brass-on-bullet “grip” instead of just bushing size (or the internal neck diameter in non-bushing FL dies).

Bullet grip is affected by many things, such as:

1. Neck-wall thickness.
2. Amount of bullet bearing surface (shank) in the neck.
3. Surface condition inside of neck (residual carbon can act as a lubricant; ultrasonic cleaning makes necks “grabby”).
4. Length of neck (e.g. 6mmBR neck vs. 6mm Dasher).
5. Whether or not the bullets have an anti-friction coating.
6.The springiness of the brass (which is related to degree of work-hardening; number of firings etc.)
7. The bullet jacket material.
8. The outside diameter of the bullet and whether it has a pressure ridge.
9. Time duration between bullet seating and firing (necks can stiffen with time).
10. How often the brass is annealed.
11. Amount (length) of neck sized (e.g. you can size only half the neck).
12. Interior diameter of bushing, or neck section of non-bushing die.

— and there are others…

One needs to understand that bushing size isn’t the beginning and end of neck tension questions, because, even if bushing size is held constant, the amount of bullet “grip” can change dramatically as the condition of your brass changes. Bullet “grip” can also change if you alter your seating depth, and it can even change if you ultrasonically clean your cases.

Redding neck bushingsIn our Shooters’ Forum a reader recently asked: “How much neck tension should I use?” This prompted a Forum discussion in which other Forum members recommended a specific number based on their experience, such as .001″, .002″, or .003″. These numbers, as commonly used, correspond to the difference between case-neck OD after sizing and the neck OD of a loaded round, with bullet in place. In other words, the numbers refer to the nominal amount of interference fit (after sizing).

While these commonly-used “tension numbers” (of .001″, .002″ etc.) can be useful as starting points, neck tension is actually a fairly complex subject. The actual amount of “grip” on the bullet is a function of many factors, of which neck-OD reduction during sizing is just one. Understanding these many factors will help you maintain consistent neck tension as your brass “evolves” over the course of multiple reloadings.

Seating Depth Changes Can Increase or Decrease Grip on Bullet
You can do this simple experiment. Seat a boat-tail bullet in your sized neck with .150″ of bearing surface (shank) in the neck. Now remove the bullet with an impact hammer. Next, take another identical bullet and seat it with .300″ of bearing surface in another sized case (same bushing size/same nominal tension). You’ll find the deeper-seated bullet is gripped much harder.

PPC lapua brassNeck-Wall Thickness is Important Too
I have also found that thinner necks, particularly the very thin necks used by many PPC shooters, require more sizing to give equivalent “grip”. Again, do your own experiment. Seat a bullet in a case turned to .008″ neckwall thickness and sized down .003″. Now compare that to a case with .014″ neckwall thickness and sized down .0015″. You may find that the bullet in the thin necks actually pulls out easier, though it supposedly has more “neck tension”, if one were to consider bushing size alone.

In practical terms, because thick necks are less elastic than very thin necks, when you turn necks you may need to run tighter bushings to maintain the same amount of actual grip on the bullets (as compared to no-turn brass). Consequently, I suspect the guys using .0015″ “tension” on no-turn brass may be a lot closer to the guys using .003″ “tension” on turned necks than either group may realize.

Toward a Better Definition of Neck Tension
As a convenient short-cut, we tend to describe neck tension by bushing size alone. When a guy says, “I run .002 neck tension”, that normally means he is using a die/bushing that sizes the necks .002″ smaller than a loaded round. Well we know something about his post-sizing neck OD, but do we really have a reliable idea about how much force is required to release his bullets? Maybe not… This use of the term “neck tension” when we are really only describing the amount of neck diameter reduction with a die/bushing is really kind of incomplete.

My point here is that it is overly simplistic to ask, “should I load with .001 tension or .003?” In reality, an .001″ reduction (after springback) on a thick neck might provide MORE “grip” on a deep-seated bullet than an .003″ reduction on a very thin-walled neck holding a bullet with minimal bearing surface in the neck. Bushing ID is something we can easily measure and verify. We use bushing size as a descriptor of neck tension because it is convenient and because the other important factors are hard to quantify. But those factors shouldn’t be ignored if you want to maintain consistent neck tension for optimal accuracy.

Consistency and accuracy — that’s really what this all about isn’t it? We want to find the best neck tension for accuracy, and then maintain that amount of grip-on-bullet over time. To do that you need to look not only at your bushing size, but also at how your brass has changed (work-hardened) with time, and whether other variables (such as the amount of carbon in the neck) have changed. Ultimately, optimal neck tension must be ascertained experimentally. You have to go out and test empirically to see what works, in YOUR rifle, with YOUR bullets and YOUR brass. And you may have to change the nominal tension setting (i.e. bushing size) as your brass work-hardens or IF YOU CHANGE SEATING DEPTHS.

Remember that bushing size alone does not tell us all we need to know about the neck’s true “holding power” on a bullet, or the energy required for bullet release. True bullet grip is a more complicated phenomenon, one that is affected by numerous factors, some of which are very hard to quantify.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
March 23rd, 2017

PMA Micro-Die Adjuster — Try One And You’ll Be Spoiled

PMA Tool Micro Die Adjuster .001 Shoulder Bump full length sizing lift shim

Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly and easily adjust shoulder bump during the full-length sizing process, without struggling to move die lock-rings by trial and error (or fiddle with shims). Well you can. The PMA Micro Die Adjuster is a brilliant little device that replaces the lock ring on your FL sizing die. It allows you to move the die up and down in precise, tiny increments. The tool has .001″ index marks, but you can easily set your die between the marks to achieve .0005″ (half-thousandth) adjustments.

The affordable PMA Micro Die Adjuster is offered in two versions, an upgraded model with a handy thumb screw for $69.95 (photo above), as well as the original with set screw for $65.95 (photo below).

PMA Tool Micro Die Adjuster .001 Shoulder Bump full length sizing lift shim

To see how the PMA Micro-Die Adjuster works, watch this video by our friend Boyd Allen:

Many of our Forum members now use the PMA Micro Die Adjuster, and they give this specialty tool high praise. Here are actual reviews by Forum members and other verified tool buyers. Read more comments in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

PMA Micro Die Adjuster User Reviews

“No more ‘close enough’ for headspace[.] With this tool set-up it’s easy to put headspace exactly where you want it, then repeat it exactly for subsequent batches for the same cartridge.” — JohnF

“I have four of these Micro Adjuster rings and all I can say is that it works and it is repeatable. I bump my brass .0005″-.001″ and this die lock ring will do it without issue.” — TrapperT

“I size brass for four different 6.5×47 rifles (chambered with three different reamers) using a single die, set in the PMA Adjuster. I have to say… I should have bought one sooner. Adjusting it is very quick and repeatable to well under .001.” — /VH

“I’ve been using PMA’s lock ring for some time now and find it to be very easy to adjust to within .0005″ on a single piece of brass. Very quick to do as well. One thing I have found is that if you still need that half-thou adjustment I will run the brass once more at the same setting before I make that .0005″ adjustment and 50 percent of the time that does the trick. The marked increments are in .001″ scale so if you go half way in between there’s your half-thousandth.

PMA Micro-Adjuster vs. Shims

Many hand-loaders have abandoned shims after trying the PMA Micro Die Adjuster:

“Shims [require] you to completely remove the die. That gets old rather quickly after having used the PMA adjustable lock ring.” — Patch 700

“Great product. Shims used to drive me crazy, put a .002 in and get .0035 of change. With this if you want .0015 set it and that’s what you get.” — John B

“I like mine — adjustments are easy and it will adjust very fine. I used to use .001″ shims. Now can adjust my bump as fine as I want.” — Joe139

PMA Micro die adjusterProduct Description from PMA Tool
The PMA Tool Micro Die Adjuster (MDA) replaces your existing lock ring and can be used with nearly any 7/8-14 full length sizing die. We successfully used this tool with sizing dies from Redding, RCBS, Hornady, Lee, Harrells Precision and those made from Newlon Precision die blanks. It allows you to easily make adjustments to your “shoulder bump” as fine as .0005″. The engraved marks on the MDA are equal to approximately .001 inches (true adjustment .000992″) of adjustment to the shoulder bump. Splitting the engraved marks is therefore approximately equal to .0005″. The design of the MDA does not allow it to work with the Forster Co-Ax press. Some custom dies for very short cartridges may require the use of an extended shellholder. Micro Die Adjuster shown in use installed on Custom Newlon/Scott 6mm PPC Die and Harrells Precision Compact Press.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
April 25th, 2016

Reloading Tip: Set Your Decapping Rod Insertion Depth Correctly

One of our Forum members complained that he wasn’t able to set his primers flush to the rim. He tried a variety of primer tools, yet no matter what he used, the primers still didn’t seat deep enough. He measured his primers, and they were the right thickness, but it seemed like his primer pockets just weren’t deep enough. He was mystified as to the cause of the problem.

Well, our friend Boyd Allen diagnosed the problem. It was the decapping rod. If the rod is adjusted too low (screwed in too far), the base of the full-diameter rod shaft (just above the pin) will contact the inside of the case. That shaft is steel whereas your case is brass, a softer, weaker metal. So, when you run the case up into the die, the shaft can actually stretch the base of the primer pocket outward. Most presses have enough leverage to do this. If you bell the base of the primer pocket outwards, you’ve essentially ruined your case, and there is no way a primer can seat correctly.

The fix is simple. Just make sure to adjust the decapping rod so that the base of the rod shaft does NOT bottom out on the inside of the case. The pin only needs to extend through the flash hole far enough to knock the primer out. The photo shows a Lyman Universal decapping die. But the same thing can happen with any die that has a decapping rod, such as bushing neck-sizing dies, and full-length sizing dies.

Universal decapping die

Whenever you use a die with a decapping pin for the first time, OR when you move the die to a different press, make sure to check the decapping rod length. And it’s a good idea, with full-length sizing dies, to always re-check the height setting when changing presses.

Lee Universal Decapping Die on SALE for $9.89
Speaking of decapping tools, MidwayUSA has the Lee Universal Decapping Die on sale this month (June, 2010), for just $9.89 (item 136543). There are many situations when you may want to remove primers from fired brass as a separate operation (prior to case sizing). For example, if your rifle brass is dirty, you may want to de-cap before sizing. Or, if you load on a progressive press, things will run much more smoothly if you decap you brass first, in a separate operation. The Lee Universal Decapping Die will work with cartridges from 17 Fireball all the way up to 45-70. However, NOTE that the decapping pin supplied with this Lee die is TOO LARGE for LAPUA 6.5×47, 6BR, 220 Russian, and Norma 6 PPC flash holes. Because the pin diameter is too large for these brass types, you must either turn down the pin, or decap with a different tool for cases with .059″ flash-holes. Otherwise, the Lee Decapping Die works well and it’s a bargain.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 8 Comments »
July 15th, 2015

NEW Lyman Ammo Checker Multi-Caliber Case Gauges

Accurateshooter.com Lyman case gauge Ammo Checker CNC Reloading

Here’s a handy new item, particularly if you load large quantities of bulk ammo for a variety of firearms. Lyman’s new Ammo Checkers check the diameters of reloaded rounds and factory ammo, so you can quickly confirm that your ammo fits a standard chamber. Just drop your loaded rounds in the Ammo Checker, and if the round fits into the gauge, it will fit in the gun’s chamber.

Lyman Ammo Checkers are multi-caliber — each orange block checks six or eight different cartridge types, with each caliber/cartridge name engraved on the gauge. Ammo Checkers are machined to SAAMI minimum chamber dimensions from solid blocks of 6061 T6 aluminum. Ammo Checkers are available in three versions covering most common handgun and rifle calibers:

Handgun Ammo Checker (#7833000) MSRP: $29.95
Fits: 380 Auto, 9mm Luger, 38 Super, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, 38/357, 44 Spl/Mag, and 45 Colt

Small Rifle Ammo Checker (#7832321) MSRP: $39.95
Fits: .204 Ruger, 22 Hornet, .223 Rem, 22-250, 300 AAC Blackout, 7.62×39

Large Rifle Ammo Checker (#7833002) MSRP: $39.95
Fits: .243 Win, .270 Win, 30-30 Win, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 WSM

Why Use a Case Gauge?
We find that case gauges like the Lyman Ammo Checker are particularly useful for handgun reloaders using progressive presses. The chambers of many popular semi-auto pistols are partly unsupported. This allows the case to swell in the bottom quarter. The case may not be sized adequately by your sizing die, which can lead to misfeeds or malfunctions.

Additionally, if you have loaded a large quantity of ammo for a semi-auto rifle such as an AR15, it’s not a bad idea to check your cartridges before you load them into your magazines. All you need is one mis-sized round to cause a stoppage. That will ruin your day if you are competing in a Service Rifle match or 3-Gun event.

Permalink Handguns, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 30th, 2013

RCBS Summit Press Works Great in the Shop and in the Field

Gear Review by Mark LaFevers
RCBS Summit Press accurateshooter.comWith its innovative “moving die/static cartridge” design, the new RCBS Summit Press definitely demonstrates “out of the box” thinking. Unlike other presses, the case does not move. Rather, the reloading die comes down to the case. We are happy to report that this unique “upside-down” reloading press works great.

We have tested the new RCBS Summit Press in the workshop and in the field. We’ve now loaded hundreds of rounds with the press. It is smooth, solid, and easy to use. The spent primer ejection/capture system works great (our testers preferred the Summit’s simple, foolproof primer capture to the Rockchucker’s capture system). Most importantly, the Summit produces very straight ammo that gave excellent results on the target in actual matches.

We compared ammo loaded with the Summit with ammo loaded on an RCBS Rockchucker press. The Summit gave up nothing to the bigger press. Cartridge base-to-ogive measurements of Summit-loaded ammo were just as tight as with ammo loaded on the Rockchucker. Run-out, measured with a concentricity gauge, was the same or better (about .002 or less on bullet nose). Most importantly, the Summit loads accurate ammo. In fact, at one match, scores shot with Summit-loaded .284 Win ammo were actually better than scores shot (in the same gun) with ammo loaded on a Rockchucker:

Rockchucker .284 Win Loads (Day 1): 188-2X
Summit .284 Win Loads (Day 2): 192-5X

Despite its small footprint, the Summit is very stable — it doesn’t tip, wobble, or rock. The two front mounting bolts hold it firmly in place — the Summit doesn’t need a rear anchor. This, combined with the fact that the Summit has no overhang, makes the new press ideal for a mobile application. For field use (at the range), our tester Mark LaFevers mounted the Summit press on a small platform secured to his trailer hitch (on top of a steel post). This set-up worked great, as you can see in the video below:

Watch Reloading (Sizing/Decapping, Expanding, Bullet Seating) with Summit Press

Photo shows Redding Micrometer Seating Die and .284 Win Cartridge
RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers accurateshooter.com

Mark tells us: “I think the Summit press worked out sweet mounted on the hitch pedestal. The receiver hitch pedestal I made will switch tools between a heavy barrel vise I made and the Summit press. Instead of securing the pedestal with a standard 5/8″ hitch pin, I drilled and tapped for 1/2″-13 bolt to draw the insert up tight against the receiver, eliminating wobble. For charging rounds, I bought 150 plastic test tubes with caps and racks so I can avoid weighing powder charges in the field, unless I want to make changes on the fly.”

RCBS Summit Press accurateshooter.comThe new Summit Press features a rugged cast-iron frame with all-steel linkages. The press is very strong with minimal flex and slop. This allows you to “bump” your case shoulders and seat bullets with great precision and repeatability. The handle can be switched from right to left side (good for southpaws), and the open-front design provides good access, facilitating quick die changes*. The 4.5-inch opening allows you to work with tall cases. Beneath the shell-holder is a spent primer catcher (not shown in photos). The new Summit press has a beefy 2-inch diameter ram, with compound linkages for plenty of leverage. A zerk fitting is included for easy lubrication. The press will accept larger bushings for oversize 1-inch dies.

Summit Press Retails for $207.94
The new Summit Press (RCBS item #09290) lists for $269.95. However, Midsouth Shooters Supply offers the Summit Press for $207.94. An optional short handle from RCBS costs $15.27 at Midsouth ($19.95 MSRP).

RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers accurateshooter.com

*To permit his dies to be swapped from Rockchucker to Summit (and back again), with no locking ring adjustments, Mark LaFevers fabricated a new shell-holder base which positions the shell-holder .088″ higher relative to the Summit’s die port. This keeps Summit-mounted dies in the same position relative to the shell-holder as dies mounted in a Rockchucker. So, Mark can swap dies from his Rockchucker to his Summit and maintain exact COAL (when seating) and correct shoulder bump (when sizing). While Mark’s custom shell-holder base lets him swap dies quickly from one press to another, this is NOT a necessary modification. Most folks will simply re-set the locking rings.
Permalink - Videos, New Product 3 Comments »
February 1st, 2013

NEW Sizing Dies and Micrometer Seaters from Whidden Gunworks

There is a new player in the field of elite die-makers: Whidden Gunworks. John Whidden’s Georgia-based company is producing outstanding full-length sizing dies and micrometer-top seater dies for 7/8-14 thread presses. The dies look great, work great, and produce very straight and accurate ammo. The Whidden dies are finished beautifully inside and out. They are priced competitively and they are available for popular “extreme accuracy” cartridges such as the 6PPC, 6mmBR, 6mmBRX, 6 Dasher, 6XC, 6.5×47, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .308 Win (and more). If you are looking for a die set for your new precision rifle, you should definitely check out the Whidden dies. Two-die set, FL Sizer and Micrometer-top Seater, costs $184.99. Sizer die alone is $74.99, while Seater die alone is $109.99.

Many of our Forum members have started using Whidden dies — and they are reporting very positive results. I personally own and use a set of Whidden dies, and I am very, very impressed with them. Here’s my report:


Editor’s Report on Whidden Dies
AccurateShooter.com good gearI have a set of Whidden Gunworks dies for my personal 6BRDX (a chambering similar to 6 Dasher but with longer neck). The dies are excellent and they produce very straight ammo. My loaded rounds (made with a Whidden bushing-type FL sizer and Whidden micrometer-top seater) are showing less than .0015″ run-out measured on the bullet, with the majority closer to .001″ run-out. (This is with Lapua Scenar L bullets, which have great jacket uniformity and concentricity.)

One thing I immediately noticed about the Whidden seater die is that there is a very close correspondence between the seater “hash marks” and true changes in seating depth. By this I mean when you dial a value change of 10 on the micrometer scale, you get very close to a .010″ change in seating depth. It is not perfect, but it is definitely more precise than most other micrometer-top seater dies I’ve used (both hand dies and 7/8-14 thread screw-in types).

Whidden diesCartridges loaded with my Whidden sizer and seater dies have proved very accurate. My 6BRDX is shooting in the mid-ones for five shots at 100 yards. I also have a micrometer-top Wilson inline seater die that was custom-bored with my chamber reamer. As far as I can tell, the ammo loaded with the screw-in Whidden seater is every bit as accurate as rounds loaded with the Wilson die using an arbor press. Additionally, with the Whidden micrometer die, I can hold extremely tight tolerances on base-to-bullet-ogive lengths.

In the past, with my 6mmBR, I favored an inline die because I thought it offered better control over seating depth. But given how well the Whidden seater works, I’m not sure I’d gain anything with my Wilson hand die. At least when used with a quality Harrell’s benchrest press, the Whidden seater gives up little or nothing to the hand die, and that’s big news in my experience.

Whidden Gunworks die

You will like the look and feel of these Whidden dies. The finish inside and out is very, very good — the dies have a quality feel and run very smoothly. Both the sizer and seater have a fluted section — this offers a better “grip” when you’re screwing in the dies. The outside of the seater has a smooth, gloss-anodized finish — it exudes quality. The markings on the seater’s micrometer ring are crisp and very legible, with large, high-contrast white-on-black lines and numbers.

One other very cool feature of the Whidden sizing dies is that custom-sized tapered expanders will soon be offered. Whidden plans to offer expanders in .0005″ (one-half thousandth) increments. This is great if you have, say, a .265 bushing and a .266 bushing but you want just a little less neck tension than the .265 offers. With the tapered expander, I can use a 0.265 bushing followed by an 0.2655 expander — allowing more precise control of neck “grip”.


Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die Seater

Whidden Die Features

  • Die Dimensions well-matched to PT&G reamers used for match chambers.
  • Sizing dies spec’d for easy chambering and extraction without overworking brass.
  • All sizers include shoulder datum collar to measure shoulder “bump” and headspace.
  • Neck bushing or no-neck bushing configurations.
  • Bushing dies use standard Redding/Wilson type bushings.
  • Neck diameter of non-bushing FL sizers can be set to customer specification.
  • Extended threads on short cartridge sizer dies such as BRs.
  • Coming soon: custom expander balls (in half-thousandth increments) to adjust neck tension and provide minimum working of the case neck.
  • Seater: Floating sleeve on micrometer seater enhances concentricity of loaded rounds.
  • Seater: Large, high-contrast markings for easy adjustment.

Custom Dies for Wildcats or Your Cartridge

  • Custom-made for your wildcat or standard cartridge.
  • Can work from fired brass or a chamber drawing to match your chamber exactly.
  • Neck-bushing die, or no-bushing die with neck diameter bored to customer specification.

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die SeaterAvailable Die Sets
Here is the current caliber list. Micrometer seaters are available in all calibers listed below except 22BR and 22 BRX.

Full-Length Sizer with Bushings
22 BR (No Seater Die)
22 BRX (No Seater Die)
6mm PPC
6mm BR
6mm BRDX
6mm BRX
6mm Dasher
6mm SLR
6mm XC
6×47 Lapua
.243 Win
6.5×47 Lapua
.260 Rem
6.5-284
.284 Win
7mm Shehane
.308 Win
.338 Edge

Full-Length Sizer (Non-Bushing)
22 BR
6MM BR
.243 Win
6×47 Lapua
.260 Rem
6.5 Creedmoor
6.5×47 Lapua
.308 Win

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die Seater

John Whidden Talks about Sizers, Seaters, and Expanders

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die SeaterThere are two sides to our die business. First we are stocking dies in many calibers that are of interest to those who visit this website (such as the 6PPC, 6mm Dasher, 6.5×47 Lapua, .260 Rem, 7mm Shehane, .308 Winchester). These dies are a good fit to the “match chamber” reamers and very few people with these calibers should have to have “Pure Custom” dies made. We have both sizers and micrometer-top seaters ready to go for the many cartridge types listed above. The sizer dies will include a shoulder datum collar that makes it easy to measure shoulder “bump” during the full-length sizing process. This is important to control headspace precisely.

On the “Pure Custom” side, we have a huge amount of flexibility. We can make one-of-a-kind sizers and seaters for wildcats in a short period of time and at an excellent price. We can work with the customer to make full-length sizers, neck sizers, shoulder bump dies, small base dies, or most anything else they can need. We can of course provide micrometer-top seaters for these cartridges as well. We can make non-bushing sizers with specific neck inside diameters tailored to customer specifications.

We will also be offering custom-sized expanders. These expanders will fit our dies as well as Redding dies. Our tapered expanders will be available in .0005” (one-half thousandth) increments for the common calibers. In our shop we have had excellent results using expanders in the dies as long as the expanders provided the correct amount of neck tension and didn’t overwork the brass. Expanders have gotten a bad reputation in recent years but we find them to be excellent tools when the same precision is applied to their use that careful handloaders apply to the rest of their process. Expanders can be most valuable for those who choose not to neck-turn their brass (because the expander pushes neckwall variations to the outside).

One last thing — many gunsmiths with their own wildcats (or “specialty” chambers) have asked us to provide dies for their customers. We gladly do batches of custom dies and encourage gunsmiths to contact us. — John Whidden

For more information visit WhiddenGunworks.com or call (229) 686-1911.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 7 Comments »
April 13th, 2012

PT&G Special on FL Re-Size Reamer and Die Body Blank Kit

PT&G Pacific ToolPacific Tool & Gauge is now offering a Full-Length Re-Size Reamer and Die Blank Kit for $107.50. Yep, you read that right — you get a solid pilot (HSS) reamer AND the die body blank for $107.50, total. The reamer can be a standard-spec chambering or you can send in a file or print to have the FL re-size reamer match your current chambering. Some folks have wondered: “Can’t I just make a sizing die using my chambering reamer?” The answer is no. A resize die needs to be smaller than your actual chamber so that it can down-size the brass to ensure proper feeding and extraction. This kit from PT&G is a great way to get a custom sizing die for an affordable price. NOTE: You must still get a competent gunsmith to run the FL re-size reamer into the die body blank to create the finished die.

Pacific Tool Resizing Die Reamer Kit blank

The resizing die kit (item N3861330) contains: One (1) Solid Pilot (HSS) Re-Size Reamer (excludes 50 BMG & Canon Type Reamers); and One (1) Caliber-Specific Die Blank. NOTE: This offer excludes 50 BMG and canon-type reamers.

PT&G 10% Discount for Owners of Stiller Actions
Here’s a great deal if you own a Predator, Tac30/300 or other Rem-clone type action from Stiller’s Precision Firearms. Last week, PT&G announced that it will give a 10% Discount on Remington-type PT&G parts used with compatible Stiller Actions. To qualify for the 10% discount, customers must provide proof that they own, or have purchased a Stiller Action for which there are compatible parts from Pacific Tool & Gauge. Please contact the PT&G sales staff for more information. Send email to pacpes [at] medford.net or call (541) 826-5808.

PT&G 10% discount stiller actions

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Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals 3 Comments »