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Thread: Seating Die Conversion to Precision, is it possible ??

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Seating Die Conversion to Precision, is it possible ??

    I recently had the plug on my RCBS seating die fail,

    and am tired of the "Non-Precision," method of adjusting the depth

    Does anyone know if I can get just the seater plug, in a Micrometer version
    and repair this RCBS seater die, to become a Precision Seater ??

    I have tried to get RCBS to answer this, they just said, send it in,...not really a "Yes,"
    and I don't really want to mail it in, and wait on a mystery

    and Yes, in response to my broken die, they did immediately toss a new "Regular," Seating Plug in the mail, No Charge
    with not even a question as to how mine failed
    I really like that response

    but searching around online, (seems I've seen just that conversion somewhere, can't find it now)
    save me another "Waiting to talk to RCBS guys," phone call
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Redding has them, for 1/2X20 threads. Not sure if they will cross to RCBS:

    http://redding-reloading.com/online-...-standard-dies

    Looking at the RCBS Gold Medal Dies, they come with a micrometer adjustment, you should be able to order a replacement part for it.
    Last edited by calm seas; 02-12-2013 at 13:29. Reason: typo

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I use Redding dies....just off the top of my head I believe the internals of the die body are different between regular and precision. A quick look at the cutaway views in the catalog will answer your question, KR. I suspect, regardless of brand, the answer will be 'no'.
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    Any threaded device is a micrometer of sorts but they are not marked. On a 20 thread per inchyou divide 20 into 1000 which gives you .050 per revolution. Now all you have to do is mark the circumfrence in 50 equal parts and you have a micrometer seating die good to .001".

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    Okay, but as I understand this, you mean mark the adjustment screw on top,... in 50 increments ?

    I'm just tiring of making the little bump adjustment, tightening the set nut, and the end result not being very exact
    that's why I'm thinking Micrometer adjuster on top, as the "Cat's Meow"

    Am I missing it there, waste of money ?

    It also seems my seating "Precision," is not so good with the standard RCBS seating die,....like there's potential for
    several .001's variance, until I've done sooo many adjustments, to get it exact
    that may be why my last one gave out,

    it broke, probably from overtightening..., ykno that last little oomph, on the wrench tightening the set nut,
    it eventually, after some 2000 rounds of use, broke the seating plug, down inside the die

    So, after all that, I'll probably just buy a Redding Precision Seating Die,..be done with it

    but I was curious if there was an easy and less expensive way to go change the RCBS die, that I already own

    thanks everyone for the advice
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    What cartridge is this for KR?
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    Hokay, K R:

    Here's what I commed up with.

    I'm thinkin that what you mean by "precision" is "competition" and from a parts download, I see that there are more different parts on the competition seater die, with the micrometer markings on two different parts.

    Nope, then it pears thet yew can't just be using a new different seating stem. You could get the competition/micrometer seating die.

    If I misunderstand, I beg your pardon.

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    yes, you're right on there Smitty, so many different terms for it all, I couldn't even be sure what I was seeing online
    (thanks for that research, wouldn't have thought of that)

    I'll be ordering a Redding Competition Micrometer Seating die,....soon

    I think that is where I got the idea, somehow mixing the terminology up, thought RCBS had advertised something like that
    or maybe someone else had ?? Who knows what I saw, that looked like that ??

    Anyway, I think I'll just repair the Seating die I have with the new Plug RCBS has sent,
    then see if some new guy needs something like that

    It's for my .270wsm Taiga
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    It's for my .270wsm Taiga
    Roger. I was going to offer to send you a spare set, but I don't have any .270. I don't have any micrometer seaters either, but sure do like Redding dies in general. You're gonna love that comp seater I bet.
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    KR You could modify your seater stem to be a micrometer but it might not be worth the effort unless you have some machine tools ( lathe and or mill) and just want to do it yourself. How you could do it would be to make a disk about 1" in dia. 1/4" thick, drill and tap it for the seater screw. Put it in a dividing head or mark your lathe chuck in 50 divisions and chuck it so you can scribe 50 divisions on the disk then drill and tap through the side for a set screw to affix to the seating screw. Then place a magnet with a pointer attached to the top of your press for a reference point. This would be some work but once you had the marked disk you could switch it from one die set to another very quickly. I wish you hadn't brought this up cause now I'm going to have to make one just cause I can.

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    KR, one thing to check is to make sure you sort your bullets. After running into the same issue of seating variance and tinkering with my press and dies, I figured out that even premium bullets will vary by up to .003 or .004, get a bullet comparator that measures off the ogive and sort your bullets and see if that helps. I run micrometer dies for all the calibers I load for and even with my Redding Competition dies I was chasing OAL until I figured out that my bullets were slightly different.

    Variance in OAL will often show up at the range when you get 2 rounds touching then you get a flyer.

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    I don't believe you can convert a standard rcbs seater to use a micrometer head as the rcbs die uses a 1/4-20 threaded rod for the seater stem. Redding uses a larger dia seater and I believe can be converted. That said, there is more to a precision seater than the micromter head. The precision seaters use a floating sleeve to align the bullet with the case as the bullet is seated.
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    Wow, This is turning into one Fine, and Informative Thread,...Thanks everyone,...

    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Roger. I was going to offer to send you a spare set, but I don't have any .270. I don't have any micrometer seaters either, but sure do like Redding dies in general. You're gonna love that comp seater I bet.
    Thanks Taiga, I believe I will,...


    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    KR You could modify your seater stem to be a micrometer but it might not be worth the effort unless you have some machine tools ( lathe and or mill) and just want to do it yourself. How you could do it would be to make a disk about 1" in dia. 1/4" thick, drill and tap it for the seater screw. Put it in a dividing head or mark your lathe chuck in 50 divisions and chuck it so you can scribe 50 divisions on the disk then drill and tap through the side for a set screw to affix to the seating screw. Then place a magnet with a pointer attached to the top of your press for a reference point. This would be some work but once you had the marked disk you could switch it from one die set to another very quickly. I wish you hadn't brought this up cause now I'm going to have to make one just cause I can.
    That's some amazing Figurin' goin' on there,...I hope you do,...just cause you can,...post pics maybe of the progress
    ha ha, now the pressure's on,...
    If I had the tools, that kind of thing would be a worthy project,...sounds like you do,...would love to see it,...
    sorry for the extra temptation (grin)

    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    KR, one thing to check is to make sure you sort your bullets. After running into the same issue of seating variance and tinkering with my press and dies, I figured out that even premium bullets will vary by up to .003 or .004, get a bullet comparator that measures off the ogive and sort your bullets and see if that helps. I run micrometer dies for all the calibers I load for and even with my Redding Competition dies I was chasing OAL until I figured out that my bullets were slightly different.

    Variance in OAL will often show up at the range when you get 2 rounds touching then you get a flyer.

    Steve
    Thanks Steve, that is something I should put more effort into, the Comparator angle, I have those tools, and have looked at that some,
    was going to mention that earlier
    sorting the bullets, will be my next interesting project

    have you seen a much difference between the higher end bullet manufacturers and the regular guys ??

    That might be enough of a reason to stick with the Noslers and others
    I like to shoot enough that I have been leaning toward the box of 100, versus box of 50, for the similar price

    I heartily feel the difference in Higher End Brass is well worth the expense,...especially after measuring, weighing and such
    feels like using Rem, or Fed brass now, is a distinct disadvantage,...
    well beyond "Minute of Buck," I know,...but,...
    a Large portion of the fun in it all, is about precision in the end for me,...the Flyer deal,...just about ruins my day out there

    I was going to start a thread on that very question, after my last range session, where I was shooting nicely, but had a few times
    where one just took off a bit, and ruined the fun of measuring groups at home later

    "Why do the Fly, now and then,..??" may be a thread for the near future,...so much to learn
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    I have found bullet variance in every manufacturer that I have measured. A comparator like this one is cheap. I was getting a variance from one round to the next and once I measured and sorted my bullets it went away. My groups also tightened up. Think about it,, if you seated a bullet and measure OAL and then seat another that has a shorter distance base to ogive, you will get a different OAL. I now sort and then seat all of one group, then adjust my seater and seat the next group all to the same OAL.

    I'm not talking a a drastic difference but enough that I had to keep adjusting the die to get the same OAL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I have found bullet variance in every manufacturer that I have measured. A comparator like this one is cheap. I was getting a variance from one round to the next and once I measured and sorted my bullets it went away. My groups also tightened up. Think about it,, if you seated a bullet and measure OAL and then seat another that has a shorter distance base to ogive, you will get a different OAL. I now sort and then seat all of one group, then adjust my seater and seat the next group all to the same OAL.

    I'm not talking a a drastic difference but enough that I had to keep adjusting the die to get the same OAL.

    http://www.sinclairintl.com/reloadin...prod34262.aspx
    +1 Whether it makes much difference with the typical load, in the typical gun, operated by the typical shooter, can be the subject of some debate. That aside, if a person is concerned about consistently controlling ogive to lands distance to within a gnats whisker, then case base to ogive must be the frame of reference, not OAL. Even then there are a myriad other variables at play effecting ballistics. I've found the same variability as Steve. Certainly it's an unavoidable function of machine tolerances. How much sleep one is inclined to lose over such things is a purely personal choice, I think. Regardless, Redding dies are really nice to work with IMHO. Someday maybe I'll get some of the micrometer dies too. Right now, I'm happy enough with the standard seaters. As long as I'm singing the praises of Redding dies, I may as well put in a plug for the profile crimp die. For anyone loading heavy revolver rounds requiring a quality crimp, it's the cats meow.
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    Converting a 1/4 x 20 rod to a mic is as simple as attaching a thimble to the top end of the rod that is graduated in 50 lines around the edge and then setting up a stationary pointer close to the thimble. Now I guess I'm going to have to make one.

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    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-modifications

    Above is a link to a post I made some years ago about the conversion I did on my Redding die. I am not sure it will do you much good with the smaller stem on the RCBS dies, but it may give some ideas. All work was done with files and other common tools. I was not looking for precision so much as the ability to quickly and easily switch bullet types and reset overall length repeatably. So far I have found the time spent on the modification well worth it and to have no down side.

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    KR,
    I was in Great Northern Guns in ANC yesterday, and saw an RCBS mic seater (no die) for $42. I am not sure if it will fit a standard seater die. I imagine a call to them would clear the waters, if you are interested.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	68295Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	68296Here is a couple of pics of a die I just adapted to a mic type adjustment. It was pretty simple. The lines on top of the thimble are not quite .001 but more like .0011 but mostly it gives you reference point and can be moved up or down in even increments. Anyway there it is.

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    In 2010, I purchased the Redding Competition Die Set for .223, which included the precision micrometer bullet seating die. I have found that COAL (cartridge overall length, as measured from case base to bullet tip) varies wildly, depending on the consistency of the projectiles in question. That said, I also discovered that cartridges that might have a .010" difference in their COAL would only have a .001 or .002" difference when measuring final OAL with a comparator. This told me that the press and the die were doing their jobs, but the projectiles themselves were to blame.

    So, what does that mean? Well, it means that the shape of the projectile, from base to tip, is a little different; that the curvature between them is the difference. In real-world settings, the difference this makes on your group size is probably insignificant when compared to other variables. The biggest problem encountered is when loading for a magazine-fed rifle, such as the AR-15. The COAL for these rifles is limited by the magazine, and any cartridge made even .003" too long can (and does) cause problems.

    So, how to avoid those problems?

    Two choices, really; which you use will depend on your level of OCD, and how close to 'match-ready' you are going for.

    Match-Ready:
    First, start with quality projectiles. Not all bullets are made equally. Nosler & Sierra make excellent projectiles, with Hornady following in a close third, based on my own experience. With that extra money (usually) comes a more consistent bullet. The next step is to purchase, and use, a bullet comparator. Grab 10 projectiles, and start measuring. You will likely find that the majority of your projectiles will measure at one length, and then there will be 1 or two outliers. Start grouping them, based on how closely they match, and how tight you want your tolerances to be. For instance, if you want match-grade, you'll find a common measurement, and sort out any projectiles that don't measure exactly the same. Or, you could accept a .001" deviation, or a .002" deviation. Where you set the bar is up to you. As you are sorting them out, you might find that 60% land at .734", 30% land at .736", and the other 10% are all over the place. (measurements given for illustrative purposes only) If a .002" variance is okay with you, then 90% of your projectiles can be loaded exactly the same, with a 10% cull rate. If not, if you are looking for the most exacting standards, then you've either got a 40% cull rate, or you've got two different loads- one load that covers 60% of your projectiles, and another load that only covers 30%...

    Non-match grade rounds:
    Okay, so you aren't loading for match-grade accuracy, and you can't stomach the idea of paying what Sierra wants for their bullets, so you bought 5,000 bulk projectiles for $150 from some 3rd world country. You just want them to fit your rifle, and go bang every time. Nothing wrong with that! You're still going to face the hard limit of the magazine length. So here's what you do: grab 10-15 projectiles, and adjust your bullet seating die so that the first projectile gets seated to magazine length- now, seat all the other projectiles, without adjusting the seating die. Afterward, measure the COAL of all cases. If any are too long, make minor adjustments and re-seat (can only be done if you are not crimping with your seating die) until the longest projectile is now loading to magazine length. Voila! No more culls, no more hangups in the magazine. Consider this, though: some of your final loaded rounds are going to have the projectile stuffed into the case a little deeper than the others. If you use this method, DO NOT charge your cases with the maximum powder charge, as you could very well end up with a serious over-pressure situation (unlikely, but possible, so worth mentioning). Your seating die is now ready to run through that bulk batch of projectiles, without being adjusted again. You won't have match grade ammo, but you'll have ammo that runs through your magazine, and should be consistent enough to use for all but the longest shots.

    The biggest benefit to the micrometer setting on the bullet seater, comes when switching bullet weights. For instance, I once made 3k 75gr BTHP's, then began a run of 2k 69gr BTHP's- before adjusting my bullet seating die, I wrote down the setting I had used for the 75gr bullets. Once I was done loading the 69gr projectiles, I could simply and quickly adjust my seater die back to the setting I had used for the 75gr projectiles, and vice versa... I would recommend the micrometer-type seating dies for anyone who loads multiple bullet weights in the same caliber- it is a REAL time saver!

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