Redding - Hornady die comparison

Ray B

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Following a recent discussion of reloading dies, I sought to compare a set of Redding and Hornady dies, both in 404 Jeffery size. I determined three levels of comparison- general design, measurements, and potential accuracy. I used 3 new cases for each set. Norma cases were fired in the same rifle with the same moderate load. Both sizer dies are of the expander button style, however the first sizing was done without the button to check the reduction in diameter accomplished by the die. While one die of a brand is not a significant sample, the Redding die reduced the neck a few 1/10,000th more than the Hornady. The cases were sized again with the button in place. The second sizing showed virtually no difference in finished case dimensions of the neck thickness, inside and outside diameter and web diameter. A point of interest with the Redding die is that the expander button may be removed through the top of the die while on the Hornady it must be inserted through the bottom. I don't have the means to measure the portion of the die that sizes the neck, but it seems that it should be within the case diameter of the button. To be larger would indicate insufficient sizing, But as the finished cases show, both necks were reduced to inside diameter .420 so it isn't an issue. The expander on the Hornady is football shaped with only a slight ring of final dimension. It allows for shaping irregular necks while having sufficient width to size the neck. The Redding has a squared type button that has a reduced diameter for entering the case then a full diameter sizing portion with about 1/4" bearing surface.

The Redding dies are of the traditional design: die is machined out to case dimensions then a threaded hole where a rod containing either the expander button or seater fitting is inserted. the Hornady dies contain several parts, The decap/expander has a rod similar to traditional, but rather than threading into the die body, there is a compression fitting that connects the two. the threads on the rod are quite flattened. The compression plug is tightened until the beveled portion of the fitting contacts a shoulder in the die, forcing it in, tight against the rod. The contact on the rod was minimal and very little force on the rod would cause it to skip a thread as the rod pushed up. I suppose this is a nice feature if the loader is using cases where the decap pin may be hitting the case web, as it would prevent breaking the pin. But I do prefer the more solid arrangement.

The Hornady seating die appears to be a cross between a traditional design and the in-line style of some benchrest dies. My guess is that the body of the die is similar in dimension to several cases. The insert is what would determine the cartridge. The cartridge and bullet would be inserted into the sleeve, then pushed into the die until the bullet contact the top fitting and is pushed into the case, the design is very modular.

Both sets of dies are made with precision and I haven't had a chance to load, shoot, repeat the cases sufficient to reach a valid conclusion regarding die and case longevity and potential accuracy of loadings. Both sets are expander button dies rather than the bushing style, so extreme accuracy is not an expectation, but one doesn't generally need a 1/4 minute load with the 404 Jeffery, so they are both likely acceptable on that measure.
So review the photos and decide for yourself if you think the Reddings are worth considerably more than the Hornadys.

DSC_0940A.jpg
DSC_0943A.jpg
DSC_0946A.jpg
 
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CBH Australia

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My first set were RCBS in .222, then Redding in .308 and the bloke selling at the gun show assured me they are the best etc etc. yes they are good dies. I particularly like Redding shell holders as they are knurled offering grip when switching the mounts out.

I like the lock inputs on Hornady, the depriming Rod is is posititively secure with less pressure simply by design. There die boxes stack well and are hinged not just hinging on the plastic. I think the oval expander makes sense.

I have bought both brands since, partly availability and pricing.

I have on order some Redding, a rifle club store had these t a good price it seems to be their preferred brand. I spoke on the phone and the fella said Redding are the most common with loaders on their range. He also stated a lot are using Redding bushing dies . One I guess they work and 2 if the store are stocking them it makes sense.

It sounds like the tolerances on the sets are good and even similar.
I think there will be many variables that affect accuracy and dies are one part of the equation.
Many people are happy with Lee dies and load accurate ammo.
 

John Tanuwidjaja

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I always prefer Redding when I can get them and there was a time when the premium for Redding dies was not as high as they are now. I now prefer to resize (FL) removing the expander then in a separate step run the die again with expander in. Runout is reduced dramatically. Whether it matters for hunting ammo - possibly not but makes me feel I've done the best I can. That's are lot more convenient to do with the Redding style spindle (& RCBS) rather than the Hornady zip spindle die. But have quite a few Hornady dies too and never had an issue either and produces good ammo.
 

C.W. Richter

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Redding and RCBS. Have had failures using Hdy dies. Cadillac/Hyundai.
 

mdwest

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I think there will be many variables that affect accuracy and dies are one part of the equation.
Many people are happy with Lee dies and load accurate ammo.

I know a lot of guys get wrapped up in "accuracy".. and for a BR shooter or a serious long range shooter, I can understand why paying significantly more, for only a tiny bit more precision might be of interest...

But...

For hunting ammo.. even ammo intended to be shot at 400-500 yards.. a true long range hunting shot..

My experience has been that pretty much any set of dies will get the job done to standard as long as quality components are used and the person doing the loading pays attention and is precise in his actions..

I've got Lee, Hornady, RCBS, and Redding dies at the reloading bench... I pretty much buy whatever is available and reasonably priced at the time I am looking to make a purchase.. I have no brand loyalty at all..

All of my hunting rifles will shoot sub MOA with hand loads.. a couple of them will shoot an easy sub .5 MOA..

Long ago, when I was a fairly regular "precision" and "long range" shooter (worked as a "sniper" on a major metro area SWAT team.. and did a lot of competition and just "fun" shooting at 600-1000 yard ranges).. I loaded a ton of .308 "match" ammo that performed on par with Lake City Match and Federal Gold Medal Match... using Lee dies..

I dont know that better than .5 MOA out of a hunting rifle.. or better than LCM or GMM performance for most shooters is really necessary.. or that most shooters can shoot as well as their rifles/ammo at that point..

So why spend a ton more for "better" dies?
 

Ray B

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With regard to obtaining accuracy and brass longevity the choice isn't between this brand or that, It's between sizing button vs bushing dies and clearly if the loader wants to go to the trouble of getting the neck diameter uniform and using the appropriate bushing, superior loads can be obtained.
 

bruce moulds

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bushing dies can certainly improve case life by reducing the ammount of sizing.
however they are not a universal elixir.
best benefit of bushing dies comes with neckturned cases.
this because you size without an expander, and internal neck dimensions are the same.
with unturned cases, internal necks vary with neck thickness, causing differing neck tension.
the other potential with bushing dies is the stack effect of machining error, both in making the bushings and where they seat causing runout.
if luck would allow, the best is to have a std fls die made to max spec, and a chamber in the rifle made to min spec., but this is not a likely scenario.
how you set up dies in the press can have a big effect on accuracy, whatever die you use.
bruce.
 

Ridgewalker

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I’ve had more problems with Hornady dies than any other brand I’ve used...RCBS, C&H, Redding, Forrester and even Lee. I also don’t care for the floating bullet seater. It’s probably just me doing something wrong, but I’ll only buy Hornady if I cannot find something else.
 

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