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Ammo and Reloading Factory Ammunition, Reloading, Components, Load Data and more.

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  #1  
Old 02-27-2009, 11:51 AM
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Default Randall's "match ammo is too expensive" list.

I wrote this for the precision rifle forum, but it's probably worth posting here too.

It's inevitable that new precision rifle shooters will want to start reloading soon after they get into our sport.

I have worked up two lists, one high-end and one low-end.
This is the complete setup of tools you would need to reload match grade 308 ammo at a significant savings over purchasing federal or black hills match ammo.

It's quite common to see match grade ammo selling for $1.50 a round.
It's also quite common to be able to reload your own for less than $0.50 a round.
That's $1 a round savings.
It's quite easy to pay off the reloading equipment when you are saving $1 a round.

All of this is from Midway, but better pricing is probably available on some items if you shop around.
Even better deals can be had by purchasing good used equipment or watching ebay.

First, the good stuff:

Lyman "49th Edition Reloading Handbook" Reloading Manual Softcover 19.99
Product #: 217655

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Press 122.99
Product #: 513567

Redding Competition Shellholder Set #1 (308 Winchester) 42.99
Product #: 525874

Redding Type S Match Bushing 2-Die Set 308 Winchester 129.99
Product #: 271533

RCBS Precision Mic 308 Winchester $39.99
Product #: 574297

Imperial Case Sizing Wax 2 oz 6.49
Product #: 519525

Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler Master Kit 73.99
Product #: 414369

Possum Hollow Kwick Case Trimmer 308 Winchester 20.49
Product #: 155172

Smith & Wesson Dial Caliper 4" Stainless Steel $19.99
Product #: 119190

Possum Hollow Chamfer and Deburring Tool Power Adapter 9.99
Product #: 295771

L.E. Wilson Chamfer and Deburring Tool 13.49
Product #: 789334

RCBS Hand Priming Tool $36.49
Product #: 329291

RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Powder Scale and Dispenser Combo 110 Volt 319.99
Product #: 772151

Lyman Electronic Scale Powder Funnel Pan 6.09
Product #: 118739

Grand total of about $860 plus shipping.

You don't have to buy top-end equipment to make good ammo.
The equipment below will still make good ammo, it will just take more time to get it done.


Now, the economy stuff:

Lyman "49th Edition Reloading Handbook" Reloading Manual Softcover 19.99
Product #: 217655

Lee Challenger Breech Lock Single Stage Press Kit $104.99
Product #: 121744

Kit Includes:
Lee Challenger Reloading Press
Lee Auto Prime.
Lee Auto Prime Shellholder Set of 11.
Lee Cutter and Lock Stud.
Lee Perfect Powder Measure.
Lee Chamfer Tool.
Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner
Lee Safety Powder Scale.
Lee Powder funnel.
2 oz Tube Lee Resizing Case Lube.

Redding Type S Match Bushing 2-Die Set 308 Winchester $129.99
Product #: 271533

RCBS Shellholder #3 (308 Winchester) $6.89
Product #: 326468

Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler Master Kit 73.99
Product #: 414369

RCBS Powder Trickler $13.49
Product #: 317787

Lee Case Length Gage and Shellholder 308 Winchester $4.49
Product #: 271467

Smith & Wesson Dial Caliper 4" Stainless Steel $19.99
Product #: 119190

Hornady Lock-N-Load Headspace Gage / Comparator $29.99
Product #: 479704

Grand total of about $400 plus shipping.

I have a very strong opinion that the very best quality dies are a strict requirement to make the very best quality ammo.
That's why you see those expensive dies in both lists.

In addition to each of these lists, you will need a neck sizing bushing.
The size can't be determined until you figure out what brass you will be using.
These bushings run around $10-$15.
Then you need powder, primers, brass and bullets.
Start saving ALL your brass NOW, even if you don't think reloading is for you.
As you progress in your shooting addiction, reloading is just part of the game.
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Last edited by ar15barrels; 04-12-2010 at 7:51 AM..
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  #2  
Old 02-27-2009, 12:09 PM
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should be sticky
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  #3  
Old 02-27-2009, 12:13 PM
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Good list.

I don't agree with your viewpoint on dies. I've owned Pacific, Herters, Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Redding, Dillon, and Lyman. In all that, maybe two sets have been high end flavors. With one exception, all have been able to deliver at least the same level as factory match. I do like a micrometer on top of the seating die though, because it makes setting up faster.

I prefer a decent beam scale to any electronic one. I've use the Lee Safety Scale and would recommend staying away from it.

Buy good match bullets if you expect match accuracy. Always buy components in bulk.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30Cal View Post
I don't agree with your viewpoint on dies. I've owned Pacific, Herters, Lee, RCBS, Hornady, Redding, Dillon, and Lyman. In all that, maybe two sets have been high end flavors. With one exception, all have been able to deliver at least the same level as factory match. I do like a micrometer on top of the seating die though, because it makes setting up faster.
Like I said, this was written for the precision rifle crowd.
We are trying to exceed "factory match" accuracy as much as we can.
Standard dies are certainly capable of making great ammo, but for the utmost precision, it's hard to beat a straight-line seater like benchresters use.
That's why I recommended the high-end dies.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:23 PM
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Default nice overview

I've considered reloading myself, have you crunched the numbers to see how many rounds it would take being made before the set pays for itself?

Can those dies also be used in a turret press?
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  #6  
Old 02-27-2009, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyphr02 View Post
I've considered reloading myself, have you crunched the numbers to see how many rounds it would take being made before the set pays for itself?

Can those dies also be used in a turret press?
At $1 a round savings, it's easy to see how many rounds it takes to pay off the equipment.
The savings is even more per round if you participate in group buys and buy in larger quantities.

With some small exceptions, reloading dies and presses are all 7/8-14 thread.
You can interchange almost any brand of dies into almost any press.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyphr02 View Post
I've considered reloading myself, have you crunched the numbers to see how many rounds it would take being made before the set pays for itself?

Can those dies also be used in a turret press?
Well like Randall said (and is 100% true) you will save about $1 per round. Over the past 7 months I have fired over 1000 rounds so thats about $1000 saved. I reload on a really cheap press (from a lee anniversary kit) with standard rcbs dies and I am doing quite well in the accuracy department. Therefore I have paid for my equipment many times over in a ver short amount of time. I do however shoot more than the average plinker.

Nice write up by the way Randall.
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Old 02-27-2009, 5:45 PM
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**** that manual trimming / deburring ****... dump all that manual stuff

add a Giraurd to the good stuff...

Nitride Bushings

Tumber w/ Media

Redding Competition Bullet Seater

Also going to need Hornady OAL Guage and Modified Case

Hornady Bullet Comparator Body / Inserts

Hornady Headspace guage bushings / Comparator
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Old 02-27-2009, 6:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 4thSeal View Post
Tumber w/ Media

Redding Competition Bullet Seater

Also going to need Hornady OAL Guage and Modified Case

Hornady Bullet Comparator Body / Inserts

Hornady Headspace guage bushings / Comparator
It's a beginners kit, that's why there's no giraud.
The list has a power trimmer with the addition of a hand drill.

As for everything else you listed, it's all covered in both lists, thanks for actually reading the post.
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Old 02-27-2009, 8:47 PM
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Thank you Randall, very helpful
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Old 03-01-2009, 3:11 PM
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FYI the

Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler Master Kit 73.99
Product #: 414369

is a total piece of crap. Burned the motor in less than 40 hours of usage with 2 hour each tumble.
The bucket sifter throws media outside because it does not come with a lid.
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Old 03-03-2009, 9:21 PM
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Thanks for the post! I'm buying most of the stuff you put on the list... actually pretty much all of the stuff on the budget list minus the dies and tumbler. I just want to try it out with some cheap dies, and get the expensive ones if/when I get addicted, and I dont shoot enough rounds a month (yet) where cleaning the brass by hand wouldn't be faster than having a tumbler. Again, thanks for the list. I'll post how my loads come out.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamster View Post
Thanks for the post! I'm buying most of the stuff you put on the list... actually pretty much all of the stuff on the budget list minus the dies and tumbler. I just want to try it out with some cheap dies, and get the expensive ones if/when I get addicted, and I dont shoot enough rounds a month (yet) where cleaning the brass by hand wouldn't be faster than having a tumbler. Again, thanks for the list. I'll post how my loads come out.
Don't go too cheap on the dies.
I would recommend you get RCBS or basic redding 2 die set.
Either should be able to be obtained for around $30 new or $20 used.
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Old 03-04-2009, 2:43 PM
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www.bivwak.com this site needs to be checked occasionally for Nosler .308 & .223 custom competition hpbt bullets going up for bid !

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Old 03-04-2009, 10:40 PM
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Randall, any reason why you picked the Redding over the Forster dies?
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:10 PM
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Speaking of Forster, is it worth buying their Micrometer seater die vs their Benchrest seater if only planning on reloading a single load?
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usdmgtr View Post
Randall, any reason why you picked the Redding over the Forster dies?
The redding dies have nicer machining that I appreciate.
I also believe the redding design is superior.
I bend more decapping stems in forester dies than redding.
In fact, I've never bent a redding decapping stem at all.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linus View Post
Speaking of Forster, is it worth buying their Micrometer seater die vs their Benchrest seater if only planning on reloading a single load?
Nope.
The important parts of the die are the same.
The micrometer head is only a convenience item.
The seater threads are 32 threads per inch so the seating length changes 0.031" per turn of the seating stem.
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Old 03-05-2009, 9:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
Nope.
The important parts of the die are the same.
The micrometer head is only a convenience item.
The seater threads are 32 threads per inch so the seating length changes 0.031" per turn of the seating stem.
Thanks Randall, you just saved me a few bucks.
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Old 03-05-2009, 6:25 PM
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Randall what do you think about this scale powder funnel pan. I really like mine. Works extremely well with the Charge Master 1500

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=755866
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Old 03-05-2009, 6:41 PM
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Randall what do you think about this scale powder funnel pan. I really like mine. Works extremely well with the Charge Master 1500

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=755866
I think it's 80 cents more expensive than the Lyman that I use.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=118739

The only issue I ran into was that it does not weigh enough.
The chargemaster seems to want you to remove and replace at least 100gr of weight from the scale before it starts dispensing the next charge while running in "auto" mode.

I epoxied a washer to the bottom of my lyman scale pan and it works great.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:44 PM
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I had a question about the Redding dies.

The Redding Type S Match Bushing 2-Die Set 308 Winchester cost 129.99

While the Redding Full Length Sizer Die 308 Winchester cost $26.99 and the Redding Competition Seater Die 308 Winchester cost $79.19
with a combined cost of 106.18.

What makes the Type S match dies better than the other combo?
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Old 03-16-2009, 8:19 AM
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Quote:
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What makes the Type S match dies better than the other combo?
http://www.redding-reloading.com/pag...shseatdie.html

The Type S dies take neck sizing bushings which come in 0.001" steps so you can choose the minimum amount of neck sizing necessary.
You also have the ability to adjust how much of the neck length you size.
Partially sizing the neck and leaving 25% un-sized will force the cartridge to center within the chamber, therefore holding the bullet in better alignment for it's trip down the barrel.

Standard dies size the neck down smaller than necessary and then expand it back out.
This shortens case life and does not make ammo quite as accurate.
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Old 03-16-2009, 9:07 AM
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so for .223 whats the range of busings? .200 - what? any examples?
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Old 03-16-2009, 9:17 AM
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Quote:
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so for .223 whats the range of busings? .200 - what? any examples?
.244 to 0.248

Just measure a loaded round using the exact brass you intend to reload and subtract 0.003"
Different brands of brass have different neck thicknesses.
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Old 03-18-2009, 9:58 AM
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Hi Randall. In the other sticky thread entitled "Reloading 101", you were recommending the Dillon 650. However, you make no mention of that here in this thread. Is that because this thread is geared towards beginners?

If a person were to start out with a 650, what individual components would you recommend? I'm thinking of getting one, and outside of the press I have no idea what to buy. Thanks.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:20 AM
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Hey Randall,

Thanks for all of the advice, I'm in the process of researching reloading and finding bits for my first reloading bench (already bought/read the Lyman manual). It seems like finding the right dies may be an issue and the Redding dies you recommend are out of stock everywhere. My question is, would these RCBS dies be just as good or better for $20 more?

RCBS Gold Medal Match Series Bushing 2-Die Set 308 Winchester
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=964245

Too much for a beginner? Frankly I'd be thrilled with equaling factory match ammo as I'm interested in reloading for economy for the most part.

Thanks for any guidance.
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:29 AM
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Try here https://www.eabco.com/redding03.html
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timberwolf View Post
I saw that page, but it doesn't seem like any of the product descriptions match what Randall recommended. I'm still a newb so I don't want to assume that "competition" is the same as "match".

Are "722-771 C-I Type S Full Length Bushing Die $50" and "722-551 C-I Competition Seating Die $96" the same as what comes in the two piece match set from the list?

While I'm asking silly questions, what makes one shellholder better than another? $6 vs $40 seems like it had better be pretty important
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Old 03-18-2009, 1:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socalgunrunner View Post
Hi Randall. In the other sticky thread entitled "Reloading 101", you were recommending the Dillon 650. However, you make no mention of that here in this thread. Is that because this thread is geared towards beginners?
This thread is geared very specifically towards someone wanting to load match grade ammo for a bolt gun in relatively small quantities. I would have to make a whole different list/thread for someone wanting to load pistol cartridges or blaster grade rifle ammo.
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Old 03-18-2009, 1:39 PM
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My question is, would these RCBS dies be just as good or better for $20 more?
I have never used those dies so I can't render an informed opinion.
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Old 03-18-2009, 1:40 PM
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Are "722-771 C-I Type S Full Length Bushing Die $50" and "722-551 C-I Competition Seating Die $96" the same as what comes in the two piece match set from the list?
Yes.
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Old 03-23-2009, 2:03 PM
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Midway has "Redding Type S Match Bushing 2-Die Set 308 Winchester" in stock now by the way. Just ordered mine along w/a tumbler. Collecting bits as they come available while I hunt for primers
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:28 AM
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Does anyone know where I can get some 9mm NATO rounds?
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:12 PM
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Does anyone know where I can get some 9mm NATO rounds?
I'm thinking that you might be asking in the wrong thread.
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Old 03-25-2009, 8:50 PM
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I ordered the 308 and 223 s dies, birthday discount woohoo!! 115$ instead of 130.

i also got the 244 245 bushings, and for the 308 i only got 1, the rest were sold out.
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Old 03-25-2009, 8:55 PM
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I ordered the 308 and 223 s dies, birthday discount woohoo!! 115$ instead of 130.

i also got the 244 245 bushings, and for the 308 i only got 1, the rest were sold out.
B-Day discount! Where? & How?
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Old 03-25-2009, 8:57 PM
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B-Day discount! Where? & How?
Midway gives a birthday discount.
They email it to you before your birthday.
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Old 03-26-2009, 2:16 PM
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So, how important is the Hornady L'N'L Headspace Gauge? I should start getting stuff in on Monday but I can't seem to find this in stock anywhere.

Can I get started without it assuming that I'm hitting my case and overall lengths using once fired brass? I'll be using the Redding FL bushing dies as you recommended.
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Old 03-26-2009, 9:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Gruber View Post
So, how important is the Hornady L'N'L Headspace Gauge? I should start getting stuff in on Monday but I can't seem to find this in stock anywhere.

Can I get started without it assuming that I'm hitting my case and overall lengths using once fired brass? I'll be using the Redding FL bushing dies as you recommended.
I've used the Stoney Point (now Hornady) headspace gauge and have run into a problem with it. This gauge uses aluminum bushings that have a specific diameter hole reamed in them that corresponds to the headspace datum line on the particular cartridge (for .308 Win it is 0.400"). The problem I've had is that the aluminum is soft enough that the edge on the bushing gets rounded quite easily, adding an error of 0.003" to 0.005" to the headspace reading. That's a lot of error when measuring headspace. I currently use a Redding Instant Indicator/Comparator unit (it gives good numbers, but needs to be set up in my press), but I'm thinking of trying out the Sinclair bump gauge. It is similar to the Hornady, but it uses stainless steel inserts that are actually cut to match the shoulder angle (no sharp edge to round off). Since I haven't tried it yet, I can't recommend it, but the design concept seems sound......
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