Custom die maker? Recommendations?

Oct 21, 2012
213
24
18
32
Two Harbors, MN
#1
These will be my first custom dies.
Got the reamer print. Reamer getting made.

What's the process you guys use to get the dies?
Who do you recommend?
Cost?
Bushing dies?

Etc etc. Fill me in. Thanks!
 
Dec 20, 2008
510
2
18
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SE, LA
#2
Read whiddens instructions, they want 2-3 pieces of 3 times fired brass from the rifle

The other school of thought is to have your smith make the dies with your reamer at same time of completing your rifle, you supply blank dies with your other components

Your biggest decision will be neck clearance or how tight you want it, hunting vs bench rest
 
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arm017

Sergeant
Jun 5, 2017
480
154
43
Texas
#3
Read whiddens instructions, they want 2-3 pieces of 3 times fired brass from the rifle

The other school of thought is to have your smith make the dies with your reamer at same time of completing your rifle, you supply blank dies with your other components

Your biggest decision will be neck clearance or how tight you want it, hunting vs bench rest
You would need a separate sizing reamer and a sizing blank for the gunsmith. You can use your own chamber reamer on a seating die.
 

Strykervet

Resident Phoenix Eye and Dim Mak Instructor
Jun 5, 2011
3,104
1,266
113
42
Pierce County, WA
#5
These will be my first custom dies.
Got the reamer print. Reamer getting made.

What's the process you guys use to get the dies?
Who do you recommend?
Cost?
Bushing dies?

Etc etc. Fill me in. Thanks!

Some custom dies can be had through Forster, Redding, etc. They just charge a little more. For truly custom shit that can't be bought elsewhere, Whidden is who I'd recommend. Tried CH4D, got ripped off in the long run. No CS, warranty, lie, theft of funds, etc. And blamed me for it all.

Call Whidden and ask to speak to Wiley, he's the custom die shop manager. If you talk to anyone else, you'll probably just be wasting time. Trust me. I just bought a trim die from them day before yesterday. For most stuff, they like a reamer print but they can make some stuff using fired and/or new brass. It'll all show on the screen when you click on order now under custom dies.

Most people don't have a reamer print. So you're GTG there. You can get custom dies made exactly for THAT rifle and they prefer to work off the print. They can also work off your brass but I guess that's less desirable than the reamer print.

I didn't have a reamer print, never heard of one until they asked to be honest, but talked to Wiley and informed him I needed a basic Dillon trim die in 6.5G, he said to buy it online and include the order number with the brass and mail it to him. Because I need a more basic SAAMI spec trim die since it'll be used in two rifles, I sent him two new and two fired cases. So just waiting on my trim die now. Amazing Dillon makes a 6.5C but NOT a 6.5G trim die... Go figure.

WHATEVER YOU DO, STAY AWAY FROM CH4D!
 
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Sep 6, 2006
2,442
629
113
Southern California
#6
First stop for me would be Neil Jones. He wants some 2x fired brass ideally, but will do it off a print too. His dies are clever in that the neck sizing bushing (comes with two bushings) incorporate the shoulder. The large micrometer on the top of the die controls shoulder bump only. You basically run the die down to the shellholder, which sizes the body perfectly, then you adjust the micrometer for shoulder bump. The neck portion of the bushings are honed to -.001 and -.002 below loaded neck diameter. About $200. These work fantastic. With quality brass like Lapua and some annealing to keep the necks from splitting with age, brass life is exceptional.

Harrell’s also makes a semi custom sizer. You send them fired brass, and they choose one of their existing pattern that best fit.

Whidden makes nice stuff, but the hit and miss quality is a bummer. I love mine, but lots of reports on here of crap too.
 

steve123

Lt. Colonel
Mar 16, 2008
7,743
483
83
Flagstaff, AZ
#7
Just in case you are considering Warner dies...

First off the quality of these dies are truly exceptional.

But take note that Warner will not make dies less than .243/6mm in caliber. Wish I had realized this when I ordered mine.

Yes, Whidden dies are a hit and miss situation in getting dimensions correct. On my 6.5 saum there is hardly any sizing at the web and with my 5mmFBI, they didn't get the neck sizing correct. I sent in three cases, fired 3 times (only neck sized), for both, for them to work off of.

My Whidden 6mmFatRat and 20x47L dies are correct.
 
Likes: mattwaage1
Oct 21, 2012
213
24
18
32
Two Harbors, MN
#8
First stop for me would be Neil Jones. He wants some 2x fired brass ideally, but will do it off a print too. His dies are clever in that the neck sizing bushing (comes with two bushings) incorporate the shoulder. The large micrometer on the top of the die controls shoulder bump only. You basically run the die down to the shellholder, which sizes the body perfectly, then you adjust the micrometer for shoulder bump. The neck portion of the bushings are honed to -.001 and -.002 below loaded neck diameter. About $200. These work fantastic. With quality brass like Lapua and some annealing to keep the necks from splitting with age, brass life is exceptional.

Harrell’s also makes a semi custom sizer. You send them fired brass, and they choose one of their existing pattern that best fit.

Whidden makes nice stuff, but the hit and miss quality is a bummer. I love mine, but lots of reports on here of crap too.
Edited: nevermind I found his website. These were his full length dies you were describing?




These dies sound really nice. Do you have any more contact info?
 
Last edited:
Oct 21, 2012
213
24
18
32
Two Harbors, MN
#9
The round will be a 30-338 Norma with a 33° shoulder for an axmc.

So I won't be doing any fancy benchrest stuff or anything.

It's pretty much a standard ptg 300 Norma improved but with a bit less body taper and a 33 degree shoulder.
The body taper allows fireform with either 300 Norma or 338 Norma brass.

I've got some Norma brass I will use for now but when it's gone I'll be replacing it with lapua. Bought all this expensive brass about a month before lapua announced they we're making it 🙄 so being able to change neck tension with bushings will probably be important between the two make of brass.
 

arm017

Sergeant
Jun 5, 2017
480
154
43
Texas
#10
The round will be a 30-338 Norma with a 33° shoulder for an axmc.

So I won't be doing any fancy benchrest stuff or anything.

It's pretty much a standard ptg 300 Norma improved but with a bit less body taper and a 33 degree shoulder.
The body taper allows fireform with either 300 Norma or 338 Norma brass.

I've got some Norma brass I will use for now but when it's gone I'll be replacing it with lapua. Bought all this expensive brass about a month before lapua announced they we're making it 🙄 so being able to change neck tension with bushings will probably be important between the two make of brass.
Yep that's why I asked what caliber- as a lot of options depend on what you are wanting.
Harrells semi custom wouldn't be applicable as they are only in more midsize calibers
Warner tool is expensive.
Whidden has the QC reputation.

Neil Jones looks promising. vs. having the reamer manufacturer make a matching sizing reamer and using a newlon blank or similar.
 
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Oct 21, 2012
213
24
18
32
Two Harbors, MN
#12
Thanks for the input fellas. I'll check with Neil Jones here in a few and see if he will work just off the reamer print.
If things don't pan out I'll give whidden a call. I like the sound of Neil's dies though. They sound very handy.

I am moving and such and having the barrels done now but won't have then until March at the soonest when I land at my new home, but would like the dies ready to go by then since I assume there is a lead time of a month at least.
But if not, I'll fire form a few and wait 😂