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Do Wilson Hand Dies Wear Out?

I have a set of Wilson bushing style .222 dies. In the past, they always gave me great results in regard to loaded cartridge bullet runout, like .001" or so. Now I struggle with them. I have a lot of loaded cartridges in the .002" - .004" range, occasionally better, occasionally worse.

I have loaded maybe 2000 rounds with these dies. I am thinking of switching to Lee Collet dies.

This is all fed to a .222 benchrest rifle. I need good runouts!

Comments

  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 31,137 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Your dies are not worn out. You won't live long enough to wear them out. Something else is in the equation, seating technique, sizing die issues, bent decapping rod, under sized expander ball, brass neck thickness inconsistencies, dirt in the shell holder, rim thickness changes there are a million things.

    If you want to spend the $$ get a Redding Match seating die but if it worked in the past it should be working now..
  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,599
    edited November -1
    If you are talking about Wilson inline neck sizing/body die then I would say you won't wear them out, just as bpost said. There should be no shell holder or expander ball to worry about.

    However, the one thing I see people doing the most is not checking their neck thickness as they go along firing their brass. This needs to be checked as even the act of firing and re-firing cartridges does sometimes lead to brass movement causing off-center brass necks. Of course, having oil building up and hardening in the die can do it as well. Clean the die to start with, with a good solvent.

    The reason I see brass going off center in a neck die is mostly from brass inconsistency. If it's still doing it, try some new brass and see what happens.
  • dcs shootersdcs shooters Member Posts: 10,969
    edited November -1
    Get the new issue of Guns Magazine. It has a very good article about neck thickness and run out.
  • mrbrucemrbruce Member Posts: 3,374
    edited November -1
    You will wear the seater stem hole out if you put the bullet in the die that way, and that will surely cause runout..
  • MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    Thanks guys. I am running Lapua brass, neck thickness is sorted to less than .001" variation with a Starret tubing mic.

    I do not remove the seater to insert a bullet. I place the bullet on the case neck and set the die assembly over the case / bullet.

    I'm really stumped. I have even checked the bushings for concentricity.

    Maybe I will buy a new set & try them.
  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,599
    edited November -1
    Something to consider here. when was the last time you annealed the brass? Sometimes when brass work hardens it gets 'springy' All your measurements come out where they are supposed to be at individual points but as you are seeing the runout is growing. It might be due to the tension within the brass itself.

    You might try annealing, then full length resizing. Using a quality die, of course.
  • MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    What about the Lee collet dies? Any of you benchrest shooters play with them? What kind of runout numbers do they yield?

    Sandwarrior, I could try annealing, but I am having the same runouts with virgin brass or 5x fired.
  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,599
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by MG1890
    What about the Lee collet dies? Any of you benchrest shooters play with them? What kind of runout numbers do they yield?

    Sandwarrior, I could try annealing, but I am having the same runouts with virgin brass or 5x fired.


    I tried the Lee Collet dies on a few calibers and they work pretty good. Not good enough IMO to be winning at benchrest, but for those of us punching steel, they work.

    From what you are describing, (same runout on virgin brass) you need to see if there is anything in the die, the bushing, or between the die and bushing.

    You might try a different brand of brass and see if that is doing it. If the virgin stuff wasn't already.

    You might also have a good hard look at your run-out measuring. There may be something there as well.
  • MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    So.... I bought a set of Lee Collet Dies to try out. Loaded runouts are in the .001" to .005" range, with the majority being .002" to .004".

    I am now sorting by runout. .002" to .0025" goes on record targets, everything else is sighters.

    Just what is the latest die setup among the benchrest crowd??
  • zimmdenzimmden Member Posts: 238 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    MG, Measure runout on case neck of virgin brass, once fired brass, sized brass and finally on loaded brass. Do you have a good inside chamfer on neck? Do you neck turn? How much tension is on bullet after sizing? If you are seating into a neck that is more than .002 smaller than bullet dia. of .224, you may be distorting neck while seating. These checks should isolate the problem.
  • MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    Zimm, with the Wilson dies I was running .001" to .002" neck tension on a no turn (.254") chamber. The Lapua brass is very consistently .012" to .013" neck wall. This is more wall than I run with turned necks, am beginning to wonder if the thickness is part of the problem.

    Cases, fired, sized, whatever, show no measurable runout. I will try a VLD chamfer.. maybe this will help.

    I do believe that the problem is in the seating operation.
  • MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    Just thought I would reply my results with the Lee Collet dies. 1st, I learned that leaning on the press handle (Rockchucker) like an ape tends to stick the collet in the die, causing the case neck to pull off. Also tends to distort the case neck. It doesn't take much force to resize the neck, and runouts are better with less force. 2nd, rotating the cartridge at least 4 or 5 times as the bullet is being seated helps the runouts. I am now getting consistent .003" or less runout, with the majority .002" or less. I do not like the standard lock ring on the seating die, as whenever you remove the die from the press you lose the seating depth setting. Think I will put a traditional set screw lock ring on the seating die.
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