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Thread: Steel bullet dies?

  1. #1
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    Steel bullet dies?

    After seeing Al's post of his bullet testing, I was wondering what the major disadvantages of steel dies are. I'm wanting to get into making my own bullets for my 30BR and am debating between 7ogive or 10ogive using a 1" jacket.

    So what I'm wondering is will a steel die make as good of a bullet as a carbide? How well would they last for someone who is only making their own bullets. I only shoot local club matches and most are shooting 115 Bergers with 2 shooting BiBs which are hard to get here in Canada.

    Is the extra cost of the carbide worth it for someone who will only make less than probably 5000 a year?

  2. #2
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    You can make a lot of bullets with steel dies. I started with a 6MM set Ferris made. To wear out carbide dies takes numbers around a million or more. Steel maybe a 100,000 but that's just a guess on my part as I moved on to carbide. Cleanliness is critical with steel dies.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Tooley View Post
    You can make a lot of bullets with steel dies. I started with a 6MM set Ferris made. To wear out carbide dies takes numbers around a million or more. Steel maybe a 100,000 but that's just a guess on my part as I moved on to carbide. Cleanliness is critical with steel dies.
    Dave, thatís about what I have heard. Some say hat the Eubers made up to 3 million on that famous 6 mm die of theirs.
    I remember talking to Allie at Phoenix a few years before he past away, and he said he still shot hem but could not sell them because the shank had finally got too much over .243.

    Keeping tool Steel dies in good shape is predicated on keeping everything squeaky clean. Dust mixed with Lanolin is grinding compound. Tool steel is simply that much softer than carbide.

    Just curious, what is the RC hardness of tool steel dies. My guess would be around 53/55 RC.
    Last edited by jackie schmidt; 05-04-2022 at 04:23 PM.

  4. #4
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    62 -65 rc

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo.ulrich View Post
    62 -65 rc
    What is your honest opinion on steel dies? I know you have a great reputation for your carbide dies.

    Also any opinion on 7 ogive vs 10 ogive?

  6. #6
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    My 2-cents? Go with the 7 ogive. They're a lot easier to tune compared to the 10's.

    -Lee
    www.singleactions.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Martin View Post
    My 2-cents? Go with the 7 ogive. They're a lot easier to tune compared to the 10's.

    -Lee
    www.singleactions.com

    ^^^^^^^
    The distance you shoot a 30 BR at means using the most accurate bullet/Barrel/powder combo as possible.

    Day in and day out thatís a relative straight shank bullet at 7 to 8 ogive out of a 1-17 or 1-18 twist barrel.

    Like Lee said, easy tunable, and very winnable.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackie schmidt View Post
    ^^^^^^^
    The distance you shoot a 30 BR at means using the most accurate bullet/Barrel/powder combo as possible.

    Day in and day out thatís a relative straight shank bullet at 7 to 8 ogive out of a 1-17 or 1-18 twist barrel.

    Like Lee said, easy tunable, and very winnable.
    Anyone notice much difference with a 7 ogive in a .925" jacket vs the 1" jacket?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrxR View Post
    Anyone notice much difference with a 7 ogive in a .925" jacket vs the 1" jacket?
    Like many things, you'll get different opinions on this but I've made a few and have shot tons of different 30 cal bullets. There are lots of good ones but if I were gonna tool back up for them, I'd gear around a 8-9 ogive bullet on a .925 jacket. Again, just my 2 cents but that's what I'd do. Doesn't mean whatever you do won't work, too.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo.ulrich View Post
    62 -65 rc
    George, I did not realize they were that hard. That is right up there with most High Speed Steels.

  11. #11
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    Agreed on the cleanliness. I keep the core seating punches in plastic lab tubes with screw on tops, the punch holders are in heavy duty zip lock plastic bags and everything is kept in a food grade plastic container that seals tightly. The point up punch is capped with a heavy rubber cap until it's in the press and ready to go to work. For cleaning the inside of the dies, medical grade, lint free, cotton swabs sticks work well. Cheap Big Box store 'Q Tips' leave all sorts of lint and trash behind.

    I guess we all have our little quirks when it comes to bullet making. For example, I warm the core seater and point dies up before using them....probably makes zero difference, in reality.

    Randy makes me face Southeasterly toward Madrid, Iowa and turn counter clockwise three times, clockwise five times and make the sign of the cross while listening to Merle Haggard. I just couldn't abide the Merle Haggard ingredient of the potion so I substitute stuff a little more appropriate to my personality. Forgive me Randy for I have sinned.

    These are some good ones to seat cores to:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISveIzgq_kQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZR3-H8xq5w

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVzvoPP6M50

  12. #12
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    I donít even have to open those links; itís all Metal Attic

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackie schmidt View Post
    Dave, thatís about what I have heard. Some say hat the Eubers made up to 3 million on that famous 6 mm die of theirs.
    I remember talking to Allie at Phoenix a few years before he past away, and he said he still shot hem but could not sell them because the shank had finally got too much over .243.

    Keeping tool Steel dies in good shape is predicated on keeping everything squeaky clean. Dust mixed with Lanolin is grinding compound. Tool steel is simply that much softer than carbide.

    Just curious, what is the RC hardness of tool steel dies. My guess would be around 53/55 RC.
    I know Jef Fowler had over a million on his carbide 6MM dies. They were getting a bit fat and fish mouthed.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Martin View Post
    My 2-cents? Go with the 7 ogive. They're a lot easier to tune compared to the 10's.

    -Lee
    www.singleactions.com
    As a maker/supplier of both 7 & 10 ogive thirty caliber bullets, and one who, at registered BR tournaments, has managed, to consistently win/place/show at every level, using the ten ogive thirty caliber bullets, I am always amazed to hear this - would I leave home with what I believed was less than - or, at least, equal to - the best?

    Any of the mentioned ogive configurations are quite tunable.
    I rarely leave home without the 118Gr.-10 ogive . . . I have yet to own a barrel which did/does not shoot both 7 & 10 ogive equally well, and tune quite readily. Me'plat (knock-out pin) diameter affects BC to a much greater degree than nose radius.

    That said, comparing nose profiles/weights won't get one far, there isn't enough BC difference to produce a noticeable/measurable difference in wind-drift - not unless one is capable of doping fractions of MPH in wind velocity/vector! Edges are CRUEL - on a given day, working only for the individual who makes the fewest mistakes - the winner . . . RG
    Last edited by R.G. Robinett; 05-06-2022 at 03:49 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.G. Robinett View Post
    As a maker/supplier of both 7 & 10 ogive thirty caliber bullets, and one who, at registered BR tournaments, has managed, to consistently win/place/show at every level, using the ten ogive thirty caliber bullets, I am always amazed to hear this - would I leave home with what I believed was less than the best?

    Any of the mentioned ogive configurations are quite tunable.
    I rarely leave home without the 118Gr.-10 ogive . . . I have yet to own a barrel which did/does not shoot both 7 & 10 ogive equally well, and tune quite readily. Me'plat (knock-out pin) diameter affect BC to a much greater degree than nose radius.

    That said, comparing nose profiles/weights won't get one far, there isn't enough BC difference to produce a noticeable/measurable difference in wind-drift - not unless one is capable of doping fractions of MPH in wind velocity/vector! Edges are CRUEL - on a given day, working only for the individual who makes the fewest mistakes - the winner . .RG
    Randy, back before I started making my own 30ís, when I did quite well with yours, I always seemed to shoot the best Aggs with your 112 on the .925.

    But then I think about the lesson you gave us in Greeley Colorado a few years back, andÖÖÖ
    Last edited by jackie schmidt; 05-05-2022 at 10:03 PM.

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