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Bonanza .223 Bench Rest Seating Die

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by RVTECH, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Anyone have any experience with one of these? I will be starting to reload .223 (again) since I will be picking up my new (slightly used) H & R Handi-Rifle next week. Anyway a couple years ago I acquired one of these die sets in a pile of reloading stuff I bought and have decided to try it out. I really like how it will align the bullet and hold it nearly perfectly through seating as opposed to standard non-supported seating dies. Anyway if anybody has used one of these and has any input or hints please advise. Thanks.
     
  2. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    Bonanza and Forster are pretty much one and the same, though there may have been a few design changes over the years....Seater Dies..

    I use both the Forster standard BR seater and the micrometer seater for various cartridges. I think the micrometer is a post name change design. I like the results I get with both. I also use their FL and body/neck bushing dies and am happy with them as well. I use some of the Redding competition dies as well and I cannot say that they build better ammo than my Forster dies--different cartridges and applications though.
     
  3. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Great dies. Equal to the Redding competition dies at a better price. If you have a way to measure run out, you will see that they will load extremely straight rounds provided you use good brass.
     
  4. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Did someone say Bonanza?
    [video=youtube;mjdRgBAY278]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjdRgBAY278[/video]
     
  5. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Not just "pretty much the same", Forster just bought up the Bonanza patents and continued making them.

    They're great dies and have been imitated by others with varying success.

    The absolutely straightest finished rounds I get are from my Forster BR Seater die w/o micrometer stem.

    The fact that the case and bullet are both aligned with each others center-lines prior to being mated makes a big difference. This type of die doesn't allow a bullet to be started into the case crooked and doesn't rely on die to shell holder alignment to maintain accuracy. The two "chambers" do the job.
     
  6. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I used mine for the first time last night. Truly a superior seating die - I could 'feel' the bullet seat much smoother. I wish I had discovered them sooner - or should I say tried it sooner. Now I want one for each of my other rifle calibers!
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    A die that comes pretty close is the Hornady Custom Grade New Dimension Seater Die. Same principle but no spring and only the shoulder of he case is supported. Still produces some nice straight cartridges and a "set" is available for less than the price of a single Forster die.
     
  8. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Yep - the Forster dies are spendy but there are a few on Ebay, unfortunately non in the calibers I need so I'll just keep watching for them.
     
  9. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    Pretty much the same

    Since there have been some design and material changes since Forster bought up the Bonanza patents, to say they are the same is incorrect and may lead some folks to purchase older dies thinking they will be getting the same die marketed by Forster today. There are many differences in some of the products and some differences in nearly all, if not all of them.
     
  10. RugerFan

    RugerFan Washougal Member

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    The bonanza dies seem harder to use. I keep crushing the necks down on all my .308 cases. I have had to stop using them. Hopefully yours come with some type of instructions, mine didn't and I can't figure them out
     
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you may be screwing the die body into the press too far. I'd take a sized case, put it in the shell holder and raise the ram to the top of it's travel. Screw int he die body until it stops against the case and then back off one turn. then adjust the "stem" for proper seating depth/OAL.

    The bushing that holds the case is only supposed to locate the case so it's inline with the other "chamber" that holds the bullet. No crimping done by this die.
     
  12. RugerFan

    RugerFan Washougal Member

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    Deadshot2, I'm having the trouble in the resizing process. I tried resizing about 5 cases and every one smashed the neck down. Any ideas? It is a bonanza full length die
     
  13. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    The de-priming rod/expander ball need to be properly adjusted for depth. I believe the instructions call for the rod to be adjusted so the de-priming pin protrudes from the end of the die about 3/16" to start. To adjust mine I often just run the case into the die and then screw the rod in until it bottoms out. Then I unscrew it a couple of turns. This makes sure that the neck is fully clear of the neck portion of the die before trying to remove the expander. Also insures that the ball is well clear of he case neck when the case is being inserted into the die. There's not enough room for case and ball in the neck sizing portion of the die at the same time.

    Might also help to give the die a good cleaning with brake cleaner and q-tips. Then lube the die itself with your favorite lube. For example, Hornady instructs that the user spray the inside of the die with One-Shot after a thorough cleaning. I have used a q-tip with Hornady Unique on it and smeared the inner surfaces of the die with it after cleaning. Not a ton of lube, just enough to lightly coat the surface for the first few cases. This could also be done with Imperial Sizing Wax.

    Lastly, check the expander ball. Often they are not "Ball Shaped" but more spherical. If the latter, the narrow end should enter the case first in order to avoid catching the lip.

    Try sizing a case about 1/2 inch at a time, removing and checking after each added increment. That will reveal the part of the die that's causing the problem if the above doesn't solve the issue.
     
  14. lcb97269

    lcb97269 Milwaukie, OR Life Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Sounds like it could be one of several problems. First make sure the expander rod is not bent. The ball might be too big or not have enough taper at the bottom. Brass might need lube on inside of the neck.

    The only Bonanza dies I have owned were for neck sizing 7mm BR brass because I was trying to go cheap and I wasn't please as the die scored the outside of the necks when it was new. Went to a Redding and never looked back.
     
  15. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    As per the above. It seems like the Bonanza sizer dies work best when backed off slightly from the shell holder and not bottoming out. Also make sure the expander rod is set to 'Just deprime the case' (according to the instructions I have from Bonanza) and no lower as previously mentioned and the expander ball is tight at the top of the stem.
     
  16. RugerFan

    RugerFan Washougal Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys. I have never taken the dies apart. I should have checked all that stuff when I bought them and not assumed the old owner had them set right. When I get home on Monday I will check everything and try backing the die out another turn or two. I hope it works.. I only have three pieces of .308 left, I smashed the rest. lol
     
  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    The Die body should be screwed in enough to push the shoulder back for the desired headspace. The de-priming rod should be screwed in far enough to de-prime and put the expander ball far enough into the case so the neck sizing area and the ball never contact the case at the same time.

    Take a case and lube it. Screw the de-priming rod/expander ball assy down so the de-priming pin extends from the bottom of the die about 1/4" or so. Run the case into the die, carefully paying attention to any increase in force that would indicate that the expander ball has "bottomed out". Check to see if the bottom of the die is in contact with the shell holder. If not, unscrew the de-priming rod a turn or two while the case is still in the die. Press on the lever and see if you can get the shell holder to touch the bottom of the die. At this point I would then screw the de-priming rod into the die until it bottoms out and then unscrew it 3-4 full turns. This will insure that the ball won't bottom out in cases with thicker webs and also insure that the ball is well away from the sizing area of the die body.

    Absent any written instructions this might be your best option.