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Discussion Starter #1
I use the standard RCBS FL dies to reload 308 Win and 223 Rem and these dies have served me well for many years. I've have occasionally looked at the RCBS competition dies - the port on the seating die interests me, but I could not justify the expense. Midway has them on sale now for $75.00 - still pretty expensive.
Have any of you used these competition dies? If so, is there a good reason to upgrade from the standard dies? I appreciate accuracy in the field and at the range, but I am not a hard core competitive shooter.
Your opinions are appreciated!
 

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I can tell you if you reload 223- 6.5, that RCBS comp die is a must, as that is what I use. I found that I had trouble gettint the bullets centered in the case, on the above mentioned cal's. Drop me a E-mail and I will expand.
Jim
 

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I have never owned any competition dies but seem to remember that they just size the case to a lesser tolerance than the standard dies do to provide a better fit in the chamber??
A revision may also have been made in the competition seating die but there are cheaper devises made to get that bullet centered well without being slightly tipped.
 

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Or just buy plain vanilla off the shelf Hornady New Dimension dies. They come with the same provision for perfect alignment at no extra cost. They also sell a micrometer adjustment stem for them at an extra cost so you can vary your setting depth .001" at a time with ease and duplicate it at any time by recording the setting. I'd rather use Hornady dies than any other.
 

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You posted "they have served me well for years" and "I am not a hard core competition shooter".

Me thinks you answered your own question.

Unless you shoot competitively or have the guns that can, its not likely you will realize any benefits and you'll be out $40.

I think correctly setup standard dies will produce better ammo than incorrectly adjusted comp dies.
 

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Chappy:

Considering the excellent results I get with non-competition dies and how you are not a hard core competitive shooter, it seems like a waste of money to get the competition dies. Even the most dedicated handloading accuracy fiend I know uses Redding dies and an arbor press to make his ammo. If he thought he needed or wanted competition dies, he'd have them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the replies. It's kind of like I figured - competition dies may be great for some, but my money is best spent elsewhere. I have to confess, after using Lee 45 ACP and 38/357 pistol dies with great results, I bought a set of Lee 223 Rem dies. They are much smoother when sizing and do not leave the permanent streaks on the cases that both my 308 and 223 RCBS dies leave. The Lee seater die has an easy adjust knob to change seating depth which is nice, and the crimp die is great - all for less money than the standard RCBS dies. Accuracy is the same in my rifle. If this urge to try something new does not go away soon, I may spend $20.00 and get a set of Lee 308 dies. If nothing else, I'll end up with prettier cases!
 

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I am not telling you that you need Competition dies. There is not much you need. You can load with a Lee kit and make perfectly fine cartridges for 20 bucks. Let me relate my experiences and give you some thing to think about. I do have a 222 Remington set that I have had for years. It came in a nice wood box with 222 burnt into the end and a plastic handled Allen wrench (like a screw driver) to loosen/tighten the die rings with. I rarely use the sizing die any more, but do use the seating die. I use the same seating die for 22 Hornet, 222, 223 and 221 FB. All I need is a long (tall) shell holder for the case that I am seating bullets for. I need 1 to do the 222 family (which came with the set) and I needed 1 for the 22 Hornet. They sure are nice to just drop the bullet in the window and it lines every thing up. It is convenient and I have spread the cost over 4 different cartridges. I bought mine years ago and I gave the princely sum of $45 for them when I could buy a RCBS die set for $17.50. Been there done that. I have also bought Lee deluxe die sets for the 222, 22 Hornet and 223. I would have bought them for the 221 FB, but they do not make them. I tried to buy a custom neck sizer collet die from Lee for the 221 FB, but they sent my money back and said that the cartridge was too short. They make them for the 22 Hornet which is the same length as the 221 FB, but it was too short, go figure. I had to settle for a Redding neck sizer with bushings for the 221. I split the seater plug, trying to cram too much slow burning powder into a case one day. I sent the part back to RCBS and told them what I did, they determined I had a "old" style die. Well ya, I have had it for 25+ years. Did not make any difference...They sent back a new one...no charge. Any way I do have a RCBS Competition set and I like it it a lot, I use it to seat all of my 224 bullets. It is really nice for the short 22 Hornet and 221 FB, I just start the case into the die, when the shuttle starts to rise, I drop in the bullet through the window and seat it. With the micrometer top, I just dial in the preset settings for the bullet/case I am loading for and presto, I have a perfectly seated bullet to the OAL I want. I really get a lot of use out of mine, and it was well worth the money to me. ;D ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That window on the seating die does intrigue me. Midway sells just the competition seater for about $63.00 - ouch! They also sell a RCBS Match seater for about $100.00 - WAY out of my league! Oh well, after years of loading the bullet at the bottom of the die, learning a new trick might take a while, and if I went back to a normal seating die I would be looking for a window. I'll hold off on the fancy dies. If I see someone getting rid of theirs cheap, I'll consider it then.
LaOtto, Your mention of the Lee collet dies got me thinking. I have one of these in my Lee deluxe 223 die set. I have never used it because I load for a bolt gun and an AR and wanted ammo that would work in both and not have to worry about what brass came from which rifle. But I'm going to dig out the collet die and see if the bolt gun shoots better with ammo made with it rather than the FL die. I think I have the instructions somewhere, but do you have any personal tips on how to get the best performance (and avoid most possible problems) with these dies?
Thanks again for all your responses.
 

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L. E. Wilson bullet seating die hasn't been mentioned. No one using a Wilson seating die?
 

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Chappy - As far as reloading equipment/dies are concerned, you have to make up your mind what is going to work for you. No one can tell you that this is best or that is best for you. If you ever decide that you want the Competition seater, you will get spoiled, it such a convenience. Notice that I never said that it makes the most accurate ammo. I think they make good ammo, but there are better choices if you are going for ultimate accuracy. I do not think that very many bench rest shooters use them.

I really like the neck collet dies. The number one thing is you need no lube what so ever. The way the die works, it squeezes the neck back down to size, so no lube is required. Second, it does a decent job of keeping the neck straight. The stem reaches all the way through the case and centers in the flash hole. This keeps it centered in the case so the necks are concentric. Of course if you have cheap cases and the flash holes are off center, then it will cause some case neck run out, but still not a whole lot. I have found that if you stick to good cases, Winchester, Remington and of course Lapua and Norma cases you do not have a lot of problems with off center flash holes. Having a case neck concentric and straight is the key to seating bullets with out or little run out. I have 3 223's. One is a H&R Ultra Varmint and the other two are bolt guns. I keep separate cases for each. I have many plastic boxes and label each one for the rifle it fits in. I have developed different loads for each any way. I then run just their own batch through the tumbler and keep them separated through out the loading process. I then put them back into their respective cases. When I grab a certain rifle, I grab a box of ammo that matches it. I only full length re-size when I have to. By only full length re-sizing I extend the life of the cases and I have more accurate ammo to boot. I really wish I could get a die from Lee for the 221 FB.

victorcharlie - No one has mentioned the L.E. dies, because the question was about RCBS Competition dies. But since you brought it up...The L.E. Wilson dies are by far the Bench rest shooters choice. Second choice is probably the Redding Competition Seating die. But at $80 for the Redding and $80 for the L.E. Wilson Stainless Micro seater they ain't cheap either. With the Wilson you need an arbor press, not a regular die press and is a much slower process, but good however. I do have a Forster Ultra Micrometer seater and I think it makes slightly better ammo than the RCBS. But it is caliber specific and it is not as convenient as the RCBS, you must feed the bullets in from the bottom as conventional dies do. They are in the $57 range.
 
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