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Old January 16, 2006, 07:04 PM   #1
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30-06 Dies

I've been reloading .38/.357, .44 Mag and .45acp for almost a year now, and I want to start loading 30-06 for my Springfield '03-A3. I was looking over the dies at Midway, and I noticed several different kinds of RCBS dies and was curious what advice you all might give me. I see that here's the small base type, the X-dies, the plain set, competition, and possibly one or two others even. I understand the small base dies resize the case a little smaller for use in semi-autos to enhance feeding. Since I'm going to be reloading for the '03-A3 I'm assuming I can overlook those. The X-dies appear to help reduce or eliminate brass lengthening. That would seem to be pretty convenient if they work as advertised. I'm leaning toward the X-dies, but what would you all suggest?

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Old January 16, 2006, 08:49 PM   #2
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I really like the Redding Competition series dies, it is my opinion that you would have to spend a LOT more money to get any better dies. I hear good things about the RCBS Competition dies too, but haven't used them.

If you want accurate ammo for an accurate rifle look to the competition dies from good companies. If you just want good ammo for a good rifle then the basic dies from RCBS, Lee, Hornady and many more will work just fine.
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Old January 16, 2006, 09:36 PM   #3
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I've been using the Redding sets that include both the full-length and neck-sizing dies. Neck sizing will keep the brass stretching down. One doesn't usually need to full-length size brass after each firing in a bolt-action rifle. If you're going to use the ammo in more than one rifle, full-length sizing is better.

RCBS and Hornady die sets have also worked well for me. I've used some Lee dies for pistol cartridges.
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Old January 17, 2006, 03:05 AM   #4
T. O'Heir
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Plain RCBS FL dies will work just fine for either a semi-auto or a bolt action. Everything else is just marketing. You just adjust the sizing die for neck sizing only. Semi-autos require full length resizing every time. Your '03 can be loaded with neck sized only if you use the brass in it and it alone. Change rifles and you'll have to FL resize before you work up the load for the second rifle. Same brass in my '03A4 and Garand. FL resize and it's no big deal. Milsurps tend to multiply.
The dies have nothing to do with case lengthening. The load and to some extent the chamber does. A hot load will lessen cases life and a generous chamber will cause the case to lengthen. No big deal really. You should be checking case length every time anyway. If the case is within spec, don't worry about it.
My '03A4 likes 168 grain match bullets with IMR4064. IMR4064 seems to be more consistent than IMR4895.
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Old January 17, 2006, 09:57 AM   #5
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I used RCBS standard full length dies for reloading for a Rem 725 and they worked fine. But when my friend went to use those same rounds in a Springfield, they would not chamber. I purchased RCBS small base dies and after pulling the cartridges apart, I used that same exact brass and bullets and they worked then. Quantrill
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Old January 17, 2006, 11:05 AM   #6
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Mike, save your money and get a set of Deluxe Lee dies, the set that has a FL sizer, seater, collet neck sizer, and shell holder. You don't have a match chamber in an 03 if it's original 'as issued'. I've been using this set up for years with no problems. Cases have been fired many times and trimmed only at great intervals, if at all. To that end, at best most 03s are 2 MOA with issue sights and that's all the were ever intended to be. That doesn't mean you can't get them shooting really good, they're just not meant to be something that they are not. If you want consistent sub MOA and spend lots of money, you'll need a different rifle. That said, I have a scoped 03A3 sporter that will do consistent sub MOA, but it's bedded and had a Timney trigger. Action and bbl are original. I also have an older set of RCBS dies and a Redding neck sizer. All money spent thinking it would be 'mo betta'. It's not. The Lee Deluxe set is the best value. You didn't mention anything about brass. If you have been saving your brass fired in that rifle all you need to do is neck size, check for length, trim if needed, load and go on. Just one man's opinion, but I've been messing around with 03 for awhile. Put your savings into primer, powder, and bullet. sundog
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Old January 18, 2006, 01:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the insight! I ended up going with the Lee deluxe set. It was about $30 at Midway.

My 03A3 is a sporterized version that was built by my grandfather for my dad around 1961 or '62, and my dad gave it to me last year. My dad told me that at the height of his shooting days in the mid 60s he could get a single ragged hole with a 5 shot group at 100 yards which he could cover with a nickel with this rifle.

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Old January 22, 2006, 02:36 PM   #8
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I like RCBS and Redding also makes good dies. I have others including Lee. It would depend on what you are going to do. I bought the Lee RGB die in .30-30 for $13 so I could load something besides round nose. And no, I'm not putting them in a Winchester tube fed rifle. Then I have competition dies in 6.5-55 Swede for a target M96. But for just reloading I use RCBS. I had a .223 die that was scratching cases and they replaced it free of charge. So for the most part it's a Ford ver Chevy thing.
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