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RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? #15663406 01/16/21
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Folically_Challenged Offline OP
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Note: Regular seating - not crimping.

I've got some RCBS die sets with instructions that say to raise the ram all the way up with a primed & charged case, then screw the seating die down 'til it makes contact with the case mouth, and finally screw it out one full turn before securing the lock ring around the body die.

However, I was reading the instructions for the .223 RCBS set this am, and they claim, "... place the sized, primed, and powder-charged case in the Shell Holder and run it to the top of the press stroke. Then screw the Seater Die into the press until you feel it touch the mouth of the case. Back up the Die 1/8 of a turn (never more) and set the large lock ring."

The only difference I can see is that the .223 set has the knurled circular lock rings where the set screw pulls the ring tight around the die body, whereas the others have the hex lock rings with the brass set screws that press against the die threads.

I'm revisiting my entire reloading process to try to figure out where I'm introducing runout. I don't think its in the resizing part, since the neck rounout seems to be mostly .001 or less after this step. Could it be that by always screwing the seating die out a full turn, the bullets are being set cattywhompus into the necks?

What sayeth the Peanut Gallery?

FC


Originally Posted by Victor Davis Hanson
Voters in 2016 bristled at redistribution, open borders, bigger government, and higher taxes, but progressives are now promising those voters even more of what they didn’t want.
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Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15663599 01/16/21
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I've pretty much phased out RCBS dies from my collection, we'll skip that for now...but an eighth of a turn on a 7/8"x14 die thread amounts to around .009" linear travel. In my humble world, any die that won't seat straight backed off .009" has got other dimensional problems. Sincerely, one peanut in the gallery.


Well this is a fine pickle we're in, should'a listened to Joe McCarthy and George Orwell I guess.
Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15663747 01/16/21
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Don’t understand the charged and primed part, but here is my procedure

Raise the ram with case, screw down the die till it touches the case mouth then back off 1/2 turn. This will give plenty of space between the case mouth and crimp ring as the brass grows while still allowing full travel of the seater plug.
The instructions are very generic.



Swifty
Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15663795 01/16/21
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Review fully your process for seating bullets..I mean you, not the equipment.
Why do you think it`s the equipment?
Set the die up using a dummy round, not one charged..as I`m sure you do. Also mentioned, the instructions are a guide, so the case is not inadvertently crimped cause it`s long...not trimed.

Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15664733 01/16/21
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This section of peanut gallery says......

Recent vintage RCBS dies--last decade or so--are a whole lot better than previous decades. Of course there's always exceptions. The "trick" I used in the past is to keep the seater high in the die as possible, along the same lines as the sizing die and the expander ball. In other words set the die as close or as far away from ram with the ram all the way up as possible and still seat the bullet to desired depth without crimping.

I realize it's only you're money and the times ain't great for finding new equipment but a sliding column seater die like the Forster makes life easier, or at least it did for me.


Casey

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Having said that, MAGA.
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Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15664752 01/16/21
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Put empty case in shell holder. Run ram all the way up. Screw die down until it makes contact with the case mouth. Back die off your desired amount. Set lock ring.

Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15665301 01/16/21
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I'm a Forster seater guy myself, but I've been known to slum RCBS. The problem with all the ideas so far it that backing off the RCBS to prevent crimping does nothing to square up the die. You want the case/die/seating stem to be co-linear. The problem is that the case isn't really supported by the sides of the seating side, so there is slop. I like the square up this type of die with a flat washer, then set the lock ring.

Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: MuskegMan] #15665398 01/16/21
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Originally Posted by pathfinder76
Put empty case in shell holder. Run ram all the way up. Screw die down until it makes contact with the case mouth. Back die off your desired amount. Set lock ring.


The OP's question IS, "what should his 'desired amount' be?" not how to set it. He knows that.

Originally Posted by MuskegMan

I'm a Forster seater guy myself, but I've been known to slum RCBS. The problem with all the ideas so far it that backing off the RCBS to prevent crimping does nothing to square up the die. You want the case/die/seating stem to be co-linear. The problem is that the case isn't really supported by the sides of the seating side, so there is slop. I like the square up this type of die with a flat washer, then set the lock ring.


That's a good suggestion to use a washer to press the die up hard into the threads before tightening down the lock ring. Here's a question - once you set and lock the ring the first time that way, can you just leave it locked and screw the dies out when done, and back in when ready to seat bullets again, without repeating the washer procedure, or must it be done every time?
I would also recommend the Hornady style lock rings. You can get them in six-packs to retrofit your dies.

Cheers,
Rex

Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: TRexF16] #15665483 01/16/21
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Originally Posted by TRexF16


That's a good suggestion to use a washer to press the die up hard into the threads before tightening down the lock ring. Here's a question - once you set and lock the ring the first time that way, can you just leave it locked and screw the dies out when done, and back in when ready to seat bullets again, without repeating the washer procedure, or must it be done every time?


Cheers,
Rex


It's not a "must be done every time" type of thing. That said, I'm not a lock ring "set-and-forget" type guy. I paintakingly adjust dies every time I use them . . .

Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15665523 01/16/21
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With good presses and dies I haven't found much need to "square up" seating dies with various lock-ring-techniques.The catch, of course, is finding which presses and dies are "good."

Yes, RCBS made some poor dies in years past, but I haven't had any difficulty getting their recent seating dies to seat bullets straight--unless, of couse, the seater plug fits the bullet's ogive well..

In my experience seating bullets straight depends far more on uniform brass (especially neck-thickness), resizing that results in the neck aligned with the case body, and a seating die that keeps the bullet aligned as it's seated, with with plug shape, a bullet-alignment cylinder, or both.


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Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15665614 01/16/21
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folically C: I too have experienced, 2 I believe, old 70s vintage RCBS dies that apparently were just incapable of producing straight ammo. In one case, they did an exchange for a new one and the new one was MUCH better. Actually I've had problems both in the sizing and seating re: concentricity. I think most common wisdom has been that most concentricity issues are from sizing, but my experience is with both. With the last go-round, it was with seating, and that was using a Forstner bench rest seater, BUT, after a bunch of trying different things, it ended up being with the brass. New starline brass came out just fine.

Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15665667 01/16/21
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The OP wants to seat the bullets without crimping and will the bullet be straight since he said also said he was getting runout. I tend to agree with Mule Deer if he is getting run out, it probably isn't caused by the seating die. It's how the brass was processed and does the brass have variations in it that are causing the run out. Wall thickness and brass length, those kind of things. The OP doesn't say if it is commercial brass or military brass and did he trim it for length ?

Yes, it could be a die that is "loose" but even if the die is loose, if the bullet is pushed straight down runout should be minimal because the die captures the nose of the bullet. That leaves the brass case itself as a variable.

kwg


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Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: ruffedgrouse] #15665861 01/16/21
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Originally Posted by ruffedgrouse
folically C: I too have experienced, 2 I believe, old 70s vintage RCBS dies that apparently were just incapable of producing straight ammo. In one case, they did an exchange for a new one and the new one was MUCH better. Actually I've had problems both in the sizing and seating re: concentricity. I think most common wisdom has been that most concentricity issues are from sizing, but my experience is with both. With the last go-round, it was with seating, and that was using a Forstner bench rest seater, BUT, after a bunch of trying different things, it ended up being with the brass. New starline brass came out just fine.


Good observations.

I have mentioned this before, both here and in my books, but there was a period in the 1970s when RCBS made sizing dies for cartridges on the same basic case by first reaming the body of the die, then separately reaming the neck portion. As a result, dies for the .25-06, .270, .30-06, .338-06 and .35 Whelen (or anything else based on the '06 case) could have a neck misaligned with the body.

If so, it was IMPOSSIBLE to resize cases so the neck/bullet was aligned with the case body, even if you "squared" the sizing die with the press, or used really uniform brass. I know this partly through a gunsmith well-known for making "accuracy" rifles, and partly through testing a couple of sets of RCBS dies I bought during the 70s--one for the .358 Winchester purchased in a local store, the other a "custom" set of .338-06 dies ordered directly from RCBS when I was in college--which cost almost as much as my tuition for that semester. Eventually acquired a concentricty gauge, and found EVERY case sized in those dies had a neck out of line with body.

RCBS apparently abandoned that practice sometime in the 1980s. Haven't encountered that problem since then..


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John Steinbeck
Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15666022 01/16/21
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Following this since I just started acquiring tools and components about 2 months ago including four sets of RCBS dies, only one of which was purchased new. I'm not sure the OP's question has been answered directly.

Also wondering if there's a way to date die sets. Two of mine came from a relative who acquired them used 20 years ago but never took up handloading. I have no idea how old they are so this info has me second guessing them.

I'll edit this; I guess his question about run out was addressed but not the differences in the directions from RCBS. What gives with that?

Last edited by Bry; 01/16/21.
Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Bry] #15666035 01/16/21
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RCBS used to stamp dies with the year of manufacture, but quit a long time ago.


“Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans.”
John Steinbeck
Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Mule Deer] #15666043 01/16/21
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Originally Posted by Mule Deer
RCBS used to stamp dies with the year of manufacture, but quit a long time ago.


Thanks MD, I'll give them a closer look over.

Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Bry] #15666410 01/16/21
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Look on the top surface of the die. If dated it will be there.


Bear

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Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15666492 01/16/21
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If I remember, RCBS stopped stamping the year of manufacture on top of the die sometime in the mid 90’s.


Casey

Not being married to any particular political party sure makes it a lot easier to look at the world more objectively...
Having said that, MAGA.
Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: TRexF16] #15667565 01/17/21
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Originally Posted by TRexF16
Originally Posted by pathfinder76
Put empty case in shell holder. Run ram all the way up. Screw die down until it makes contact with the case mouth. Back die off your desired amount. Set lock ring.


The OP's question IS, "what should his 'desired amount' be?" not how to set it.


Yup - that was my question.

I played with the sizing die a bunch last night: how to secure it, how to tighten the expander rod, floating the shell holder with a rubber o-ring instead of the metal clip, all kinds of stuff. So far, the best results seem to be sizing first, then expanding in a separate step with the expander/decapping rod locked (not floating). Shell holder secured with the clip seemed to work better than the o-ring, too.

Then again, the brass in question is FC .223, purchased as factory rounds, not range droppings. It's been trimmed/annealed as needed, & generally shoots really well once I correct for runout. I've noticed trouble priming these cases in the past, & found that it might be due to crimped primers from the factory. I attempted to ream the pockets with the mouth chamfering tool last night, so we'll find out today if that was just [urinating] away so much time + effort in a lost cause.

Who knows, I might actually get around to charging the cases with powder & seating bullets today.

FC


Originally Posted by Victor Davis Hanson
Voters in 2016 bristled at redistribution, open borders, bigger government, and higher taxes, but progressives are now promising those voters even more of what they didn’t want.
Re: RCBS Seating Dies: How Far Out to Set Them? [Re: Folically_Challenged] #15668249 01/17/21
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Originally Posted by Folically_Challenged
Originally Posted by TRexF16
Originally Posted by pathfinder76
Put empty case in shell holder. Run ram all the way up. Screw die down until it makes contact with the case mouth. Back die off your desired amount. Set lock ring.


The OP's question IS, "what should his 'desired amount' be?" not how to set it.


Yup - that was my question.
FC



I'm still not seeing where that was answered either.

So I checked my RCBS dies, 5 sets total but one of which I don't have a rifle chambered for. None of them have a date stamp, three are marked on the top of the die and two are marked in the middle of the die body, including the one new set bought in December. The new set has the instruction sheet but only one of the used sets still had it in the box. The printing layout is different but both say to back the die out one full turn after contact. I also have a instructional DVD from RCBS that concurs. None of my sets are for .223 so I'll be following the instructions I have.




Edit to add; Forgot to mention this earlier but one set of my dies also has the knurled lock ring with the tightening screw as mentioned in the OP, whereas the rest have the standard hex nut lock ring with a set screw. I didn't get that set new so have no idea if the lock ring is original or a replacement.

Last edited by Bry; 01/17/21.

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