die adjustment

porthos

Member
die i read on this site about how to tweak reloading dies for proper sizing alignment and seating. if so, where is it?
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
hmm not sure.
you might be thinking about the 45 acp thread where we went over some of the setup details and modifications etc.
if you just ask what you want to know we can all give you our methods for various cartridges.
 

porthos

Member
no i wasn't thinking about the 45 acp thread. i was thinking about the article in the latest Handloader magazine, but, using getting older as a excuse, i forgot where i read it just last week. a pretty good article about setting up dies for more concentricity. (handloader #321 Aug. 2019)
 

358156 hp

Well-Known Member
Getting older ain't for sissies. My best success for die alignment has always come from setting each die up individually, and using the shell holder on the ram, along with a small steel plate to square the die to the top of the shell holder. That doesn't help much with lateral die alignment, and I hate relying on slop in the shell holder to allow the case to "float" to the die center. Then the expander/decapping stem needs to be aligned to the case mouth as possible. Usually, the best you can do is get the stem tolerably straight. For bottleneck cases, the neck expander is usually the common culprit for neck runout. As far as that goes, the expander is a major culprit for crooked seating in straightwall cases as well. We've had a couple of discussions about M Dies and Dillon powder funnel shortcomings.

Since we already have a thread started, it's be a shame if we didn't wring this topic out a bit.
 

462

California's Central Coast Amid The Insanity
Recently, I got a super-duper deal on a Redding Deluxe die set, for the Swede, and immediately noticed that the expander balls are as concentric to the die bodies as my eyes can detect, and very much unlike the usual and fiddly off-centeredness of RCBS dies. Additionally, the neck sizer die squeezes to a uniform .6225", which gives the .0015" neck tension I like for jacketed bullets.

They're my second set of Redding dies (have yet to use the .40 S&W set) and I'm quite impressed with their overall quality.
 

porthos

Member
one thing that i've done for a long time is; i never tighten the die. i tighten it to just touch the press, then crack it loose just enough to let it wobble slightly. the tape duck tape across the lock ring onto the press. this keeps the die from turning. and my thoughts are that the brass centers itself in the die. i als suspect that if you deprime before sizing,and remove the depriming pin; then crack the expander ball housing, that too should let the expander ball center itself. any thoughts on this?
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Put an O-ring under the lock ring. Now the die can float a bit yet be tightened down.
 
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KeithB

Resident Half Fast Machinist
Aah, the old question of whether it is best to try and let things float and self-align, or lock things up so rigidly that everything must conform or change somehow. Think about all the discussion of line-boring various single action revolvers vs having enough float to let the bullet help line things up. Seems like as long as everything is tight and straight then the big boomers are capable of excellent accuracy. Trouble is most AFFORDABLE production revolvers aren't built that way and to those tolerances so you have to depend on the second option.

When I see a turret press I see a lot of places where tolerance stack up and other dimensional and geometric issues could be present just like I see those problems in a revolver.

Isn't there a single stage press that just has a slot to put the die in? Doesn't that self-align?
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
I think you are talking about the Forster Co-Ax. They have an excellent reputation for making very straight ammo.
 
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KeithB

Resident Half Fast Machinist
Yep that's it. I've seen lots of industrial equipment - presses and punches and shears - and for all of that to be rigid enough to resist the forces exerted on it when punching and shearing the frames are a whole lot heavier than anything you're going to bolt to your bench top. I know that any equipment I've ever had to design for parts handling always has some type of self-alignment capability.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I put Lee lock rings on everything and o-rings on anything that threads into the top. RCBS dies are terrible about either coming loose without you realizing it and backing off or finger tight on the top plugs requires two pipe wrenches to break them loose. The only lock ring set screw that's worth a damn is the Forster split ring. Lee makes one similar in the interrupted-thread inserts, and I think there's at least one other brand with the same style.