Reloading dies are perhaps the most critical tooling component involved in the loading of precision ammunition. Reloading dies have a huge effect on brass concentricity, case sizing dimensions and consistency, bullet seating depth, and bullet runout. So when you chose reloading dies for your rifle, you need to ensure you are getting the quality and features that will enable your rifle to perform at its best! FORSTER is dedicated to rifle shooters that demand the highest level of precision in their long-range shooting. Their rifle reloading dies certainly reflect this, and this post will give you an overview of the dies that FORSTER offers, as well as some details about how they are setup and used. This post is a part of a series focused on precision reloading of 6.5 Creedmoor, and if you haven’t already read it, I would suggest starting with the FORSTER Co-Ax press overview video and post.
FORSTER Sizing Dies
FORSTER offers sizing dies that will take care of pretty much any precision rifle reloading scenario including:
FORSTER Full-Length Benchrest Sizer Dies
FORSTER full-length benchrest dies offer a high level of precision, excellent interior surface finish, and unique features. Some of these unique features include an elevated exapander ball (ensures concentric neck expansion), and a vent hole which allows air to escape from the die chamber while sizing a case.
This image (courtesy FORSTER Products) shows the internals of the die, and some of the unique features:
In these cutaways, you can see how the elevated expander ball is in close proximity to the neck sizing portion of the die chamber. That’s what enables the neck expansion to be “perfectly centered” while the neck expansion is started. If your case necks aren’t concentric with the case body, your bullet won’t engage the rifling straight, and that means a “flier” at your target. This die feature will help to prevent that!
As mentioned in the video, FORSTER can hone the interior of your dies for a perfect fit. From the FORSTER website: (2017 pricing which is subject to change)
CUSTOM NECK HONING OF FORSTER FULL LENGTH SIZING OR NECK SIZING DIE
We custom hone the inside neck diameter by using a diamond stoning process. We enlarge the inside diameter to your specification to prevent over-sizing of the case neck due to thick neck walls. You may require this service for multiple reasons: 1) If you use some brands of brass cases which have thicker neck walls. 2) If you do not intend to outside neck turn case necks that have thickened after repeated firings. Please specify desired inside neck diameter. Note: 1) No more than .008″ stock removal from your existing die neck diameter is possible. 2) Honing is done in increments of one half thousandth of an inch (.0005″), meaning that your specified inside diameter must be either.XXX0″ or .XXX5″.
$12.00 plus actual return shipping cost & insurance Please allow 1-3 weeks.
*Note: correction to description in video, instead of sending fired brass, you simply specify the inside neck diameter as noted above
FORSTER Bushing-Bump Benchrest Sizer Dies
The bushing bump die offers pretty much full flexibility in precision sizing without sizing the base of the case. This is accomplished by two mechanisms:
- Bushing inserts are used to control neck sizing
- The height of the die is adjusted in order to “bump” the shoulder of the case to precise values (.0005″, .001″, .0015″, etc). Shoulder bump is a function of brass hardness, brass dimensions, and die position (as well as other factors)
I plan to show this die in use in the future, so please stay tuned!
FORSTER Neck-Only Sizer Dies
The neck-only sizer die offers fixed neck sizing, and does not bump the shoulder like the bushing-bump sizer die.
More information: FORSTER page
FORSTER Seating Dies
FORSTER seating dies are designed to offer both easy setup as well as precise bullet seating. The two key factors: consistent bullet seating depth and bullet concentricity (lack of runout) are both controlled with a high degree of precision.
This die employs a sliding alignment collar which holds the case (all of the case body) in close alignment with the bullet before and during the entire bullet seating process. The tolerances between the sliding collar and the die body are tight- and that’s a critical component of ensuring optimal between bullet and case. If you are a patent nerd like I am, you’ll enjoy reading the related patent, and examining the diagram from this patent: (click/tap to enlarge)
FORSTER offers their benchrest seating dies with or without the micrometer head, and whether or not you need the micrometer head depends on your usage scenario. If you are “setting and forgetting” bullet seating depth for a pet load, you don’t need the micrometer (although it’s still nice to have). If you are like me and are constantly trying new bullets and varying bullet seating depth, the micrometer is AWESOME. Setting up this die is super simple:
- Insert the die into your press (will work in pretty much any press that uses standard 7/8×14 threading)
- Screw the die down until the sliding collar “bottoms out”
- Screw the die up one turn (counter clockwise) – this prevents the collar from bottoming out while seating bullets- super important!
- Adjust seating depth with the depth adjustment (knurled top post or micrometer depending on which die you have)
There’s a reason why FORSTER dies are so popular in precision shooting circles- they work really well, and are a great value for the cost. Any seasoned long-range rifle shooter will tell you that quality equipment is cheap compared to wasted time, effort, and components spent “chasing the wind” because of quality problems. Precision rifle shooting requires total control over many different factors, and your reloading dies are a critical part of that equation.
If you are looking for a quality set of dies for a demanding rifle reloading scenario, please give FORSTER a try! Stay tuned for more exciting 6.5 Creedmoor content as we work with these FORSTER products and put them to the test!