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Discussion Starter #1
I've got all the components I need to start loading for my .22-250 again, but I will be replacing my press and dies. I used to load for the same rifle when it had the original barrel about 17 years ago. I had Pac-Nor install a new barrel in 2002 and I have about 100 factory rounds through it. The barrel is a Pac-Nor, 24", #5 Sporter contour, 1:12 twist, 3-groove, Stainless Steel Super Match.

17 years ago, I had planned on buying a Redding Competition seater die. I'm still considering it, but am also thinking I should get the Competion neck sizer die as well. Although, I've heard good things about the Lee collet sizing die too. I guess I'll need the Redding body die since I'm sure I'll suffer hard bolt lift after a few reloadings of the case.

This is not a benchrest rifle. It is a rifle used for varmints & predators and some minimal paper punching. I'm just trying to get the most accuracy I can. I guess I'll more than likely need to start neck turning too.

Suggestions?


Roy
 

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Look at the RCBS comp seating die. You load the bullet in the side of the die, this ensures perfect seating. I have it for .224,.243, and 6.5, larger bullets are easy to seat at least for me.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I always over research everything. I'm wondering if a Type S Full Length sizing die with the Competition Shell Holders is the way to go, along with a Lee Collet neck sizing die. Perhaps skipping the Lee Collet neck sizing die all together would be the best. Barely bumping back the shoulder to just fit the chamber sounds like the hot setup. It would guarantee easy chambering rounds and keep from over working the brass.

My main conern is concentricity of the sized brass and of the bullet seated brass.
 

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Neck turning

Is your chamber a tight neck chamber? Unless you have some really awful brass you may not be able to notice any improvment in accuracy neck turning the brass. If you start with good brass like Lapua, neck turning may be a waste of your time. But if you are like me, I enjoy time at my reloading bench and like to be sure that I have the best ammo available. I have run factory brass through my neck turner just to take the high spots off. I could not see any improvement on paper but in my mind I knew I had done everything possible to produce the best reloads.
The Redding dies are great. And the idea of just bumping the shoulder back enough for easy bolt closure is a good idea. Bump it just enough to feel the bolt close on the round. I bought a Lee collet die years ago. I used it a little and put it away. The Redding dies will make the collet die unnecesary. The competition seating die is expensive. The regular seating die once set and locked in place will work just as well. The compettion seating die makes it easier to change seating depth compared to a regular die. That said I have three of the compettion seaters, they are a cool fun tool to use.
Enjoy the .22-250 rifle and load development. Keep us informed how it works out. Good luck. Jim
 

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If you start with good brass like Lapua, neck turning may be a waste of your time.
That's one major failing of the .22-250 - no Lapua brass available in that caliber. A major oversight on Lapua's part, IMHO. :(
 

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Eliminate the variables!!

You're on the right track - that is uniformity, w/ regard to seating, and concentricity is important...make that very important. Now, what dies to use to get there?

First off is ability to measure!. A bullet (seating) comparator and one of the runout tools; RCBS' Case Master (I like), Sinclair, and others make tools for that purpose, will allow you to evaluate the results of your equipment and efforts. My point being; if you're worried about seating depth and concentricity, you first will need to be able to measure it! Armed with the measurement tooling, you can be your own judge of what works and how well. However, I can say my runout measuring tools collect a lot of dust, once I discovered the "secret" to eliminating runout.

To answer your question, I'll boil down 44 years of handloading for everything from hunting ammo to competition BR stuff.

Accuracy axiom: Eliminate the variables! And, since we're just talking about dies, the two "biggies" controlled (to some extent) by dies is runout and seating depth.)

Runout: Less is better. And, although your asking about dies, much depends on case selection and preparation where runout is concerned. (I'll come back to that later)

Competition shooters want "zero" runout, or at least runout low in the .0000's as possible. Cases themselves aside for now, that kind of runout is often achieved by reaming out a die blank using the same reamer that was used to cut the barrel chamber to form a "bump" neck sizing die, as well as the seating die. (A "bump" die is a combination (bushing) neck sizing and case FL die that sizes the case and neck precisely neck and pushes the shoulder back for uniform case length.) Although the bump die is often threaded in a 7/8" press, the seating die is usually worked using an arbor press, or even a piece of wood to seat the bullets by hand. With proper case selection and preparation, the results using custom dies is well down the .0000s, but be prepared to pay upwards of $250+ ea. for the bump and the seater dies.

Anything less than the custom dies described, and runout suffers as a consequence. However, soooo many other things in the "system" i.e., the barrel, the chambering, the action, the bedding, the sights, the stock, and the shooter, have to be equally "perfect" to appreciate going to the extent of custom dies. In other words, in a situation where you can take sighter shots to check the POI for the conditions, and then move back to a target where .001" can make the difference between winning an loosing, then custom dies might be a consideration. (Not to say matches haven't been won with off the shelf dies...cuz often that has been the case too!)

How good runout has to be depends on the accuracy you're looking for and the range and conditions typically encountered. If you're Randy Dawson or Doc Stone shooting PDs from 900 to 1300+ yards, your requirements are in order of .0000s. For PDs off a bipod at 500 yards, I find the benefits of smaller runout becomes obscured somewhere below .003". Which brings us to case preparation...

For everything but extreme accuracy, neck wall thickness variations below .002 is a good starting point. Lapua (at times) can be depended upon to provide cases in most BR calibers that are well under .002 neck wall variation. With tolerances that close, some shooters have their custom barrels reamed to within .002 or .003 of Lapua's (loaded) neck diameter and skip further case prep (discussed next).

To be sure the hole is in the middle of the neck the case may require neck turning; the process of chucking up the case and sliding the neck over a mandrel and applying a cutting tool to the outside of the neck as the case is rotated over the mandrel - thus establishing a uniform thickness and concentricity.

Neck turning is essential to minimizing runout, but once the case neck is turned, runout of the fired case becomes the province of the dies and the case itself.

Essential to minimizing runout after the case neck has been turned goes back again to the case wall thickness uniformity and the type of sizing die used. Ergo, if the case wall is thinner on one side than the other, the thinner side is weakest and using the wrong die can result in the neck axis tipping to/from the weak side as the case is worked - thus upsetting runout.:eek:

In particular, the "expander" type sizing die that squeezes the neck down beyond minimum ID and then uses an expander "ball" pulled through the neck to stretch the neck out to proper ID will most certainly cause the neck axis to tip. Lubrication on the inside of the neck and or using dies with a long tapered expander mandrel will minimize the effects of one side of the case being thinner...But, only to an extent.

The two dies that avoid the expander issue are the collet dies and the bushing dies.

The collet dies require no lubing, and arguably apply little or none of the "push/pull" force on the shoulder of the case that results in the neck tipping toward/from the weaker (thinner) side of the case. However, even the collet die will not fix a neck wall thickness variation problem. And, if there is a gripe about the collet dies, it would be the relative effort it takes to setting the die up. This is somewhat minimized when the necks are all turned to uniform thickness and neck tension adjustments need not be changed.

The bushing dies are the most popular by far for a couple reasons: Ease of setting neck ID (via uniform OD) and length of the neck sizing.

Getting the right size is as easy as dropping in the appropriate bushing, setting the depth - usually taking less than a minute, start to finish. As for the distortion resulting from the "push-pull" on the neck, the force itself is but a tiny fraction of the forces exerted by the "expander" type dies. Even better results can be had if the cases with more than .002 runout (measured before neck turning) are culled ahead of time.

Neck tension is controlled by how tightly the case grips the bullet, and by how much of the neck is gripping the bullet. Changing bushing sizes is a snap, as is fine tuning the tension by setting the resizing length i.e., setting the die to resize a desired amount of the neck.

So, after 44 years of reloading, here is what I have gravitated to, as far as dies go...

Nothing but custom dies for competition BR and long range shooting. These consist of a bump/sizing die in a 7/8" press, and a custom coaxial chamber die for bullet seating. However, I will admit that it is possible to get runout under .001 using the dies listed (below).

For everything else, except maybe big game rifles -

I use the Redding "S" type neck bushing dies in conjunction with neck turned cases.

I quit "wasting money" with body dies, and went to the Redding "S" type FL die and just set it to "bump" the shoulder about .001 (on varmint calibers). (An argument could be made to forgo the neck sizing dies all together in favor having the FL die honed to compress the case the same .001 - essentially making a dedicated "bump" die and be done with it!)

As for seating dies, I went to the Wilson chamber dies, going forward. (BTW, If you give Wilson a sampling of some fired cases, they can hone one of their dies to provide a custom die fit for the all important seating operation (all important as anything as far as runout goes).)

However, I did try the sliding chamber precision seating dies, including the Redding comp seating die. But, far as they go, I found the Forster Ultra Seater die to be much better: It moves .025" per revolution vs. .050" for the Redding, and the turret is twice as big giving approx 1/8" per .001 change vs. about a mm for the same change on the Redding. Oh, and did I mention the Forster costs about 2/3 as much?

In the end, I find that culling cases with initial neck wall thickness greater than .002 (before turning them) and the combination of the Redding "S" type bushing dies and the Wilson seater dies to give me runout easily at .001 or under; waaay more than needed to hit a PD at an approximated range estimate in estimated wind and angle conditions!;)

There are other mouse traps out there, and your mileage may vary! But, if you want to discuss any of this stuff in more detail, I'll expound in more detail, if you can stand my rambling...:rolleyes:

P.
 

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Paul

Great post. A wealth of useable info. Thanks
 

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Wow... I'm going to save that one. I might have to refer back to it several times to glean all the information included in there! :D

So Paul, just to compare all of that to what I know... Compared to what you are using, what differences could I expect using say a standard set of .22-250 RCBS dies on Winchester brass?

Do you think neck turning is a requirement to best accuracy?
 

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Lemme just say this...

So Paul, just to compare all of that to what I know... Compared to what you are using, what differences could I expect using say a standard set of .22-250 RCBS dies on Winchester brass?

Do you think neck turning is a requirement to best accuracy?
Neck turning provides concentricity which is necessary to minimizing runout, and accuracy will never be harmed by concentricity. Neck turning is a key to competition grade accuracy, but just as important is the rest of the details, e.g., the quality and condition of the barrel, the fit of the chamber, the sights, bedding, etc, etc. Neck turning for zero runout will buy little in a poor barrel.

Like I mentioned, there is a direct relationship to group size and runout. With standard RCBS dies I experienced runout ranging out to .008 and more. However, neck wall thickness variations did not make up for all that runout! Careful measurement showed the deviation generally followed along a line drawn between the thin spot and the case centerline: the shoulder of the cases were favoring the thin spots on the case as result of the push/pull forces invoked by the sizing operation, primarily, and a smaller amount turned out to be slop in the case to seating die fit.

After switching to neck turning and bushing dies, and culling cases with more than .002 neck wall thickness, runout shrank to around .0015, give or take, and the Wilson seater brought runout down a little more.

After switching to neck turning, fliers became a rare occurrence. Overall accuracy was up significantly enough that one of my brothers remarked about my kill ratio on PDs especially over 400 yards compared to their best efforts (w/ factory reloads).

I don't know if I answered your question, but considering the 22-250 was used for a time by BR competitors, it is a caliber that could benefit with some precision loading - including, perhaps, neck turned cases especially when domestic brass is to be used!

Hope this helped.

P.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Paul Workman, please free to continue "rambling". I always welcome more knowledge.

I am thinking of just going with the Type S Full Length Sizing Die, along with the Competition Seating Die. I'll certainly need to give the Forster Seating Die a look though. I do want to go with the same setup for my 30-06 which will be used only for hunting. Sure, there will be paper punching, but just enough for practice and proving my ballistics tables.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Paul Workman - Please go into detail why the .025" movement of the Forster seating die is better than the .050" movement of the Redding seating die. What do you mean by turret in your description of the two dies? Please list pros & cons of each die. I appreciate your information.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Paul Workman, I now know what you meant when you referring the .025 vs .050 per revolution. I didn't realize the revolution of the turret. Yes, I can see how twice as fine on the thread pitch is desireable.

It looks like a Forster Ultra Micrometer Seater Die and a Redding Type S FL Die is in order for my .22-250. Heck, I guess that exact same setup would be good for my 30-06 too.

Thanks for the advice.
 
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