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Old January 9, 2000, 08:35 AM   #1
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I have been using rcbs regular dies for reloading ruger mkII varmint model in 22-250. Can I expect much accuracy gain with the expensive redding competition dies, with all other parameters remaining the same? I love accuracy and would spend the money if your experience tells me I could get a noticeable gain. Thanks for any advice. bone
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Old January 9, 2000, 01:00 PM   #2
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Redding dies supposedly have a very good reputation, though I have not used them. Have used RCBS dies for years, without problems, so far as I could ever tell.

As for "competition dies", I believe everyone has gotten on that bandwagon, or claims to have done so.

As to"accuracy", what do you mean by the term? How well can you hold? How good is your particular rifle? How good is the ammunition that you are loading, in YOUR rifle. Mechanical gadets are, or can be a lot of fun, helpful, or a waste of money. Don't forget the basics.

When I shot National Match Course competition, using a bolt rifle in 308 and 30-06, different cartridges I know, I loaded, using standard RCBS dies, ammunition that would hold the 10 ring, at 600 yards, iron sights, WHEN I DID MY PART. Using a Bonanza "floating sleeve" seating die, which I later obtained, may have helped some, can't be sure. If "fancier" equipment makes you feel better, more confident, who knows, but what it MIGHT help some.
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Old January 9, 2000, 02:14 PM   #3
Dave Finfrock
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I had (and still have, actually) Redding Competition dies when I reloaded for .264 Winchester magnum. They are simply outstanding dies. More than I can say for the .264. Despite the cartridges EXTREME temperamentality, I was usually able to wring good accuracy out of it. If you can get a .264 to shoot, you're doing something right, and the dies were right. I still have the dies, the .264 is long gone. It would almost be worth the headaches to get another just the use the dies again...
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Old January 9, 2000, 03:51 PM   #4
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Alan and Dave, thanks for the input. Alan, I am certainly no professional, just shoot in my pasture at targets and knock out crows occasionally (there are some across the road hollering now!) The best I am able to get @100yds is 10 bullets all touching but with some vertical stringing. I thought that was good for a novice country boy like myself, but would like to improve. I shoot Varget with Sierra 52BTHP Match and used the stoney point tools for seating depth. I trimmed the cases to recommended length and measure every powder load on the scale and try to be as repeatable as possible. Like a say, just a novice, but trying to improve. The Ruger seems to be capable, I'm not sure about me. Gotta go take a shot at that crow! bone.
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Old January 9, 2000, 04:23 PM   #5
Mal H
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bone, it certainly sounds like you're doing your part. The stringing is probably from the barrel heating up. If you can do it, wait about 10 min. between each shot and see if that helps. But if you're as impatient as I am, that's a hard thing to do.

If you're getting groups where all the holes touch, the redding won't help you very much. But they are a work of art, I just wish I could afford a few, but I always end up with Lee or RCBS and am never dissatisfied with those brands.
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Old January 9, 2000, 11:25 PM   #6
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From what you say, it sounds like you have, at least, a good degree of accuracy, 10 shots all touching impresses me. As to the vertical stringing you mentioned, that could be a bedding problem, or a symptom of barrel heating, as Mal H offered.

Is your Ruger a light or heavy barreled rifle. Has it been glass bedded, and if so, how (pillar bedded??), and was it done right. Check for barrel to stock contact, in the barrel channel.

Sometimes a "free floated" barrel (bedded chamber length) with no stock contact forward of that point will shoot more accurately.

Vertical stringing could be due to variations in powder charge too, though with weighed charges you mentioned, that shouldn't be the problem.

Unfortunately, I'm not really familiar with your caliber, I always shot 30 caliber. Hope the above helps.
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Old January 10, 2000, 12:54 AM   #7
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Bone: I bought a Redding Competition Seater die a couple of years ago for loading match ammo for my AR15's. At the same time, I borrowed a friend's NECO case gauge, which I used to check loaded round runout(or bullet wobble, if you want to call it that). My old RCBS seater was giving me anywhere from .004" to .012" of runout. Just switching to the Redding seater reduced that to an average of under .002". Whether that factor alone makes the Redding dies worth what they cost is up to you. I did find out that the seating stem in the die has a tendacy to pick up moly & wax off my moly'd bullets, which finds its way up into the hole the stem floats in. This will build up after 100 or so rounds are loaded and cause the runout to increase. It's a simple matter to unscrew the top of the die, remove the stem & chamber for cleaning, relube, and reassemble. The seating depth is not affected by this cleaning. Another thing - for our rapid fire 200&300yd ammo, we usually load 68/69 & 75/77gr. bullets, seated to feed through magazines. You can't do this with stick powders without compressing the charge, and my Redding seater didn't tolerate this. Its stem expanded at the bottom of the skirt where it's thinnest, and galled, then seized in the sliding chamber. Redding repaired it at no charge, but advised me the die wasn't suitable for seating on comressed charges. I really like the micrometer adjustment for seating depth, though. You might want to look at Bonanza's Ultra BR seater; it has the mic top also, and costs slightly less than the Redding.
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Old January 10, 2000, 11:54 PM   #8
Art Eatman
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If you can get ten shots all touching, you're in a lot better shape than many folks.

As a generalization, horizontal strings usually are due to a bit of canting of the rifle. Vertical strings are usually due to the forearm-bedding not being quite right, with increasing pressure on the barrel from the stock due to the difference in expansion rates as the barrel heats up.

But nuthin' is "always".

If your first three or first five shots are pretty much in the same hole, think twice before messing with your package. And make any changes very carefully...

As far as gadgets and gear, do you have one of those roller-deals for cartridges, so you can check run-out on the bullet? To see if it's perfectly aligned with the bore? If your bullets are now seated exactly in line with the bore, changing dies won't help.


[This message has been edited by Art Eatman (edited January 10, 2000).]
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Old January 11, 2000, 07:40 PM   #9
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I don't know how to check runout on a bullet. I check it on machines at work with a dial indicator and a mag base. I check it on shafts with a couple of Vee blocks on a granite plate with an indicator on a height stand. I make measurements for a living (metrologist) and can probably devise a method, but what is the normally accepted procedure in reloading? Hate to sound ignorant (I haven't been reloading long), I can shim in the blocks and use a dial, but this does not seem productive. What am I overlooking here? bone
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