It’s always exciting to try new products- the latest such product I’ve been working with is the L.E. Wilson Full-Length Bushing-Type Sizing Die. It all started when I asked Daniel Reichert (president at L.E. Wilson) about gear for the Ruger Precision Rifle I have in .243 Winchester. Daniel thought- why not try out the new Bushing-Type sizing die from L.E. Wilson? He was just about to get the first few off the production line, and he made me up one in .243 Winchester just for this project. I couldn’t wait!
The next time I drove out to the Ultimate Reloader Outpost, I decided to swing by L.E. Wilson headquarters which is just 4 miles away! It was great to catch up with Daniel, and to hold one of the first L.E. Wilson Full-Length Bushing-Type sizing dies in my hands!
Here’s a video showing an overview of this new die from L.E. Wilson, and demonstrating setup and depth validation on the Hornady Lock-N-Load Iron single-stage reloading press:
That gives you a pretty good picture of this new product from L.E. Wilson.
Here’s what’s included with each die:
In this picture you see:
- Die body
- Assembly: Seating adjustment plug, lock ring, decapping rod, lock nut
- Spare decapping rod
- Spare lock ring lock screw and plug
- Allen key for adjusting lock ring lock screw
- Lock ring assembly
What’s interesting about this die is that it’s made from stainless steel- so you don’t have to worry about corrosion, and it’s more wear-resistant. The stainless construction, the craftsmanship, and the spares included make this a “Lifetime Tool”.
Calculating Required Bushing Size
The reason to have a bushing-type sizing die is primarily so that you can precisely control neck tension for the combination of the brass and bullets you are using for a particular cartridge/caliber. You’ll need to know the exact bullet diameter for the projectiles being used, plus the case neck wall thickness for the brass you are using.
Here’s what you’ll need to measure:
- Case neckwall thickness (using a ball micrometer or calipers) – record this value after taking several readings on several pieces of brass you’ll be loading
- Bullet diameter (typically you can use the stated diameter on the box, but measuring won’t hurt) – record this value
Here’s the formula for calculating the proper bushing diameter: (see video for more detail)
Bullet Diameter + 2 x Case Wall Thickness – .002″ interference fit – .001″ spring back on case neck = Bushing Diameter
Using the example shown in the video, that’s:
.243″ + 2 X .015″ – .002″ -.001″ = 0.270″ Bushing Diameter
Die Setup and Adjustment
Setting up and adjusting the die is simple and straightforward. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the process I show in the video:
- Calculate the bushing size needed (see above) – order/purchase if needed
- Remove the decapping rod and adjustment plug
- Insert the sizing bushing (with numbers facing you after it drops in) – see note below on flipping the bushing
- Insert the decapping rod and plug, (L.E. Wilson suggests backing off .002″ – .003″) then hand tighten lock ring
- Verify the decapping rod protrusion (from bottom of die) – adjust if needed as shown in video
- With shell holder installed in press, screw the die down until it comes in contact with the shellholder (ram at top of stroke)
- Adjust seating depth based on headspace gage measurements or case gage + depth micrometer validation (latter method is shown in video)
*Note that since there’s a 3-degree taper inside the bushing, if you flip the bushing over (numbers towards inside of die) you can get a firmer grip on the bullet with the same bushing size.
Now that I have the L.E. Wilson Full-Length Bushing-Type sizing die setup and dialed in for the Hornady .243 Winchester brass I’ll be loading, it’s time to load some ammo for my Ruger Precision Rifle in .243 Winchester. I’ll show that in upcoming posts, so make sure you’re subscribed! For more information about sizing die setup check out the blog post I published covering the L.E. Wilson Case Gage and Case Gage Depth Micrometer together.