View Full Version : "S" neck bushing dies, versus "S" full length bushing dies???

02-08-2007, 04:47 PM
You guys did a good job explaining the pros and cons of standard dies versus "S" bushing dies for my Tactical 20. I'm going with the "S" bushing dies.

Geeez....but now I'm getting ready to order and am faced with another choice....a full length "S" bushing die or a neck "S" bushing die?

The chamber in my Tact 20 is such that Dave at Pacific says it will be snug, but not require the Lapua case necks to be turned.

So should I order the Type "S" bushing complete neck die set that also comes with a standard full length body die, and regular seater die all for $114? (I figure I can use the standard full length body die to bump the shoulder back.) Or, should I order the two "S" bushing dies seperately at $63.50 and also order a seperate regular seater die for $35.70 ?? (= $163, plus, probably waiting on these special order dies and paying extra shipping charges)

02-08-2007, 05:12 PM
... order the S-type FL die so I could resize the case and bump the shoulder when I wanted to, without over working the neck,

and the S-type Neck die for when I didn't need to bump the shoulder

and the Micrometer Competition seater. If you go to the trouble to order the first two, then not being able to make minute adjustments in the depth of the bullet seating is going to drive you nuts.

A cheaper (?) way to go would be to get the S-type FL die and the Wilson neck and seater dies (add the price of the arbor press).

Another alternative (cheaper) seater die is the Hornady competition with their micrometer head.

I think Todd Kindler at The Woodchuck Den has a "set" that includes all of these as some "savings." (now is that an oxymoron?).

If you are going to use the 20 Tac Dakota/Lapua brass, forget the FL die and order the "bump" die, which is the FL die without the neck. There is a "set" that includes this die with the S-type Neck die and the Comp Seater. This would be the best compromise in this case.


02-08-2007, 07:03 PM
Alex, thanks a bunch for the detailed reply which helped me know what I now need to order.

I see now what you're saying that the "S" bushing FL die is not needed if I order the "S" neck bushing die, along with a seperate "bump" body sizing die. With the "S" bushing neck die, and the seperate "bump" die I can do the same thing but have more control then if I bought a single combination "S" bushing FL die. Yes, I see now too that the Redding bump die and the "S" bushing neck die are available with a standard seater die for a reasonable $114.35 Thanks for pointing that out to me. All this time I read through the Redding print and thought the "bump" die was actually a full length die.

The only thing I don't agree with you, and personally don't see a need for, is the competition seater die. Correct me if I'm overlooking something here, as I really want to make sure I don't order crude stuff that I'll be sorry for later: But, I have used the standard plane Jane RCBS, Harnady, or Lee seater dies all my life, and have always been able to lock the seater stem adjustment where I need it and produce a loaded round with the bullet seated on the finished cartridge that gives me the same uniform reading on my Mitatoyo Caliper every time. I don't understand what you are referring to when you say that you go "nuts" adjusting the bullet depth. Are you simply implying that with the calibrated seater die it's easier to remember what settings a particular bullet was at and to refer to your notes and be able to find these settings a lot quicker in the future? If that's what you mean, then I understand that, and I'll grant you that much.
When I have a pet load that I'm very satisfied with, I personally always save at least one loaded cartridge of it, and simply use it as a model to reset the seater die stem back onto the bullet tip. Does this sound satisfactory to you, or am I still not understanding the virtues of a Redding match seater die? I'm not being wise here, I'm just trying to make sure I'm not missing something, and would appreciate more of your input about it if you see fit.

As far as the Wilson stuff. I wish I would have started with that 30 years ago. But I'm now used to the standard dies, and don't desire to start buying and becoming familiar with a whole new sytem of reloading. I suppose if I were into bench rest competition I'd be more willing.

02-08-2007, 07:30 PM
I personally like the FL bushing die, and adjust the die to size only a portion of the neck if I don't want to bump the shoulder. Properly adjusted the FL die will only just touch the body while sizing 60-70% of the neck. The unsized portion of the neck assures a good straight position when chambered, and in my experience the partially sized part of the neck has plenty of tension to hold the bullet straight. I agree also that a seperate bump die will do the job along with the neck only die. As far as competition seaters go, I do have some, but don't find them to be worth what they cost.


02-08-2007, 08:14 PM
I don't usually have much to say about something like this, but since it involves saving a little $$ and it's something I know a little about...
You only need two dies. A full length typre "S" and a Wison seater. If you plan to do volume shooting (as in colony varmints) you might choose a Redding seater, but I wouldn't bother with the competition top. It is pointless to get two different, rather expensive dies to do the same thing. You might check to see if it is cost effective to get a plain jane full length die and send it to JLC to make it into a type "S" ($40 including return shipping).

I have 100 30BR cases that are fired about twice per month, they are run through a full length type "S" die everytime. I doubt you'll ever fire your cases more than these are fired. No problems with any necks. If you're shooting low volume, high accuracy get the Wilson seater. If it's high volume varmint style get the Redding. Best cost to benefit ratio.


jim saubier
02-08-2007, 08:58 PM
I'm with Rick on this one. The Type S FL die and a Wilson seater is my choice set-up.

02-08-2007, 10:39 PM
... different ideas or things would really be boring!

I've tried it about every way. I don't disagree with "short stroking" the FL die to neck size, but that only works if you have a min spec chamber and don't end up partially resizing the base of the brass. I like the body die/Type S die combo so you don't have to resize the brass until it needs it.

Actually my favorite neck die is the Lee Collet. Not too expensive, either, as they will make you one for 50 bux or so. I've managed to mangle enough of them by being too agressive that I only use them for standard cartridges they are available for.

I've never figured out how to adjust a standard seating die easily to match a "sample." The inexpensive Lee seater makes low runout ammo if you get the one that comes with the Lee Collet neck die. I will admit to terminal laziness, so maybe that's why I favor the micrometer topped dies. You can walk up on the right length easily. Emphasize "terminally lazy!"

Sending the "standard" die off to have it converted is a good way to go, too. I've just never done it.

As for 30 BR brass. From what my cousin tells me, the 30 BR comes close to being the all time easiest round to shoot accurately, clean up after, and has the longest barrel life of any cartridge around. :D Shooting one must be a hoot, but you have to be careful with the 30 BR guys, as they have it so easy they're not in the real world:D [do remember that my tongue is firmly in my cheek - his shoots fantastic and I'm jealous].

Not trying to undermine anyone elses way of doing things. I try to minimize the effort to produce the accurate stuff. Something different seems to work with each caliber. I've managed to shoot bugholes with inexpensive gear, and patterns with expensive stuff, as well as vice-versa. If I wasn't having fun, I'd just go out in the street and play in traffic or something.


I'm all for saving money, just not when it's someone elses. That's not in the true spirit of "Purchasing mentor.":cool:

vmthtr in Green Bay
02-09-2007, 01:34 AM
I'm with Rick on this one. The Type S FL die and a Wilson seater is my choice set-up.

Add another vote here. When I start on a new varmint cartridge, I get the Redding FL "S" die and a wilson seater. I have a nice collection of bushings to boot.


02-09-2007, 02:14 AM
... I've tried it about every way. I don't disagree with "short stroking" the FL die to neck size, but that only works if you have a min spec chamber and don't end up partially resizing the base of the brass. .

Dave Kiff calls the reamer he sold me a "match" reamer that will produce a "snug" chamber with Lapua brass. But it will not require neck turning.

I don't mean to pit you guys against each other, as Alex is being very helpful. But now I'm getting conflicting technical opinion.

Do you guys still think the Redding FL "S" bushing die is still an appropriate tool with the described reamer and the chamber I'll have? (ie; a chamber that doesn't require neck turning) I'm wondering if Grayfox1947 might have a point when he says I might be throwing out $63.50 needlessly if I buy both an "S" Bushing Neck sizer, and a FL "S" bushing sizer. For that matter, if you say it's safe for me to go with the "S" bushing FL sizer, then I probably don't need the body sizer either.

Now you guys already got me looking at a Wilson Arbor press and Wilson seater dies. No argument, confusion, or more questions on that topic. So believe it or not we're making progress.:D

02-09-2007, 02:46 AM
Two schools of thought.

Nice tight chamber so sizing the case with a 1 thou shoulder bump every time ensures nice easy chambering but doesn't overwork the brass. If that is the case get a full length bush die.

The other school of thought is that it is better to neck size only until the cases get a bit to tight to chamber freely, in that case you want a neck die obviously. That is more important of the cases expand a bit to meet the chamber since FL sizing each time will work the brass more than needed and maybe lead to case failure in time.

So far as seaters go, any of the ones with some sort of easy seating depth adjustment like the Redding Competition or the Stainless Wilsons or a standard Wilson with a Sinclair micrometer top is worth having. Once you have on in one calibre you will want more !! I have used Wislons and Redding Comps and Forster Ultra and they are all good and load straight ammo. If you were only buying a Wilson seater and needed an arbor press for one die I wouldn't bother, get the Redding Comp.

Another consideration is do you maybe ever want to load at the range ?? A Wilson seater and neck die (they take the bushes as well) with an arbor press is a lot handier than taking a even a small conventional press to size brass and seat bullets.

Personally I use a Wilson neck and seater set with a Sinclair arbor press and a Redding body die to hit the body only of the cases when they get a bit snug to chamber.

This all of course assumes that you are not in a major hurry to load your ammo because the Wilsons are just a little slower to use than conventional dies and a press, not much in it but it might be an issue if loading hundreds of rounds at a time. In that case a set of the standard dies and a turret progressive press would be the best bet.

No one answer that will satisfy everybody for every situation. I think you are looking for an exact fit answer that may not exist. You need to assess the pros and cons and your needs and budget and make a decision based on that. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat that all end up at the same result.

02-09-2007, 06:29 AM
regarding the "bump die", my Cooper 204 has an oversize chamber (0.382) so I have only been neck sizing, but now I'm onto my 4-5th reload they are getting tight so i need to FL size them. But this is taking them back to 0.376 so its working the brass a fair bit, which could lead to case separation.

I was wondering if the bump die just pushes the shoulder back or does it also resize the base of the case?

ps I've been back to Cooper about the oversize chamber and I can only say..WOW I wish you could get that sort of customer service here in NZ. They acknowleded the prob and said they would normally re-chamber it, but as I was in NZ, they would send me a replacement barrel. Turned up a couple of month later. I just havnt been willing to change it as the oversize chamber shoots 0.3ish any day of the week.



02-09-2007, 02:41 PM
Centerfire what dia. neck is your chamber? mine is .230 the win. and rem. brass works great when formed and sized in the redding S neck die. Bought lapua did the same steps and the lapua brass will chamber but cannot close the bolt. I am wondering if I am going to have to turn necks or do a FL sizeing?

02-09-2007, 03:03 PM
... you've got a heap of dough invested in the rifle already. Don't try to save a few bux by not getting what you WANT for the reloading.

The "match reamer" should produce a chamber on the small size of the SAAMI specs, so full length resizing shouldn't work the brass too much. Dan Pickett at Cooper tells me that they FL resize their brass after each firing. Since they proof target each rifle, and need reasonable brass to get those little bitty groups, I guess it would be foolish of me to say to do anything different. Dan said they shoot it until it splits or gets nasty looking.

Some of my rifles, much like NZV's have large chambers. I made the mistake of having a 17M4 that had a large chamber (that shoot really well) redone. Never shot worth a hoot after that and ended up being rebarrelled. It almost drove Rob Behr nuts trying to get it to shoot right. For those rifles it would seem that neck sizing would be the best idea. Not necessarily so, as I had another rifle with a large chamber that would shoot sub half moa with virgin brass, but absolutely refused to shoot under 4 inches (not point four but a full four) with neck sized brass. That one did respond to rebarrelling nicely. It did seem to shoot FL resized brass fine.

So, we could argue this to death. For now, if I were you and my wallet was a little slim, I'd just buy the Type S FL die. I do think I'd buy the Redding Seating Competition die, or at least the Hornady "Custom" seating die and their micrometer head, but that is really a convenience issue. You might have to get them directly form Hornady. The Hornady FL die tends to work the neck too much, (neck diameter too small that is then pulled open with the expander ball), so I'd avoid it, if possible.

Don't worry about getting advice from all the guys. You're not pitting us against each other, but sparking an interesting discusson. Several years from now you will have settled on your "best way". At that time you should jump in, too, with your opinion. As you get older, the diverging opinions may even "give you a headache", much like it did Kenny.

Remember, opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone has one, and they are all different to some degree.


ray hauver
02-09-2007, 07:52 PM
Well said Alex

02-10-2007, 12:15 AM
I've read of guys having to 'bump' shoudlers, but have never experienced the 'need' myself. This goes for all my match shooting in the .308 and everything else I've ever shot. I wonder if it's a matter of pressure? I always try to obtain the 'best' ballistics, but still have not any need for bumping. I 'partial' FL size every time, but never touch the shoulder. What's with that?

02-10-2007, 01:42 AM
Okee..doe.. kee, I think I'm starting to get a feel for how this all works. I'm under the impression that I just need to buy what I think will give me the most flexability right from the start, so I don't start the reloading and get frustrated that perhaps I'm short handed and didn't buy everythying I should have. I've determined that an "S" bushing neck sizer die is a fine asset, but should be in addition to a shoulder die. I'm back on the same track of thinking I might buy the two "S" bushing dies from the start and have a world of flexability to experiment with for my first few reloads. If I end up using one die more then the other, I can still sleep at night knowing that I might have spent an extra $63. That wouldn't be a biggie. There's always Ebay too if I didn't feel I would use it much.


My barrel hasn't been smithed yet. The rifle's going in next Thursday to the gunsmith. (I gotta drive about 1 1/2 hrs each way, otherwise it would have been done already) But, I verrry slowly and GENTLY twirled the reemer neck cutting edges between the jaws of my caliper to see how much the caliper opens at the widest point during the rotation. The reemer looks like it will be cutting a .233 neck into the barrel.