One of the great things about reloading ammunition is the wide variety of tools, equipment, components, cartridges, and firearms that you get to work with. Just when you think you’ve tried everything, you learn of a new powder, cartridge (Ex: 22 Nosler, sounds interesting!), press, rifle, or bullet. That’s what makes shooting and reloading a “lifetime hobby” – there’s always something new to learn or experiment with. In this post, I’m going to cover the RCBS Full-Length Competition Die set, which has some features I hadn’t tried prior to putting together this story.
As you saw in the video, this die set (See the full selection of related dies HERE at Midsouth Shooters Supply) works really well, and has some nice features.
I really like the way this full-length sizer works. With Imperial Case Sizing Wax, sizing was smooth and efficient. I had no issues dialing in the .001″ of shoulder bump that I had decided on for use in my Ruger Precision Rifle (thanks to my L.E. Wilson case gage and depth micrometer!). The elevated expander ball is also a nice touch- I do like the fact that the neck expansion action is more towards the middle of the stroke rather than just off the lower end of ram travel. I’m also continuing to love the MEC Marksman single-stage press– it’s got the smoothest ram travel of any press I’ve tried!
Here’s an up-close view showing the elevated expander ball (note the smooth finish on it: important for good results):
Competition Windowed Seating Die
The seating die is great for three reasons:
- The sleeve ensures optimal alignment between the case and bullet (I measured +/1 .0005″ runout).
- The window enables easy fumble-free bullet placement, even for flat base bullets.
- The micrometer makes seating depth adjustment easy and deterministic.
Here’s a view up close showing the seating die in action while seating a bullet:
You can see here how the case pushes the sleeve upward while the bullet is seated by the seating stem.
Overall, I’m really glad I got this die set for .243 Winchester. I can’t wait to see how these rounds will perform, and how the IMR 4166 powder will group with the Ruger Precision Rifle. It’s all part of the never-ending fun associated with having your own “ballistics lab” (reloading room).
Anyone else out there using this die set? Would love to hear your experiences!
2 thoughts on “RCBS Full-Length Competition Die Set in .243 Winchester”
Gavin, have you experienced any problems with runout after using these dies? I ordered them based on your review then I started reading a number of forum posts indicating people have had issues with runout. One YouTube reviewer suggested switching out the lock ring for a Lee lock ring to solve the problem.
I have had problems with the RCBS Competition Seating Die. I think that the problem is caused by the lack of restrain of the case body during the seating process. Both Forester and Redding utilize a sleeve that is machined for a snug fit of the case prior to initiating the seating the bullet which travels through the same sleeve. The sleeve thus provides support (movement restraint to both the case and the bullet) through out the seating process.
Note – if you like the RCBS Comp Die, you only need one micrometer (die body) section as both the seat plug and the sliding neck section are available separately and are easily changed out to accommodate all calibers. Call Huntington Die Specialties, Orville, CA to get the parts.