Ponsness Warren Bullet Seating Die
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- Last updated: 24/01/2018
When it comes to the bullet seating stage of the reloading process, things can get a bit fiddly. One method is to place bullets into the cases while they are stood in a reloading tray, wedging the bullets in as straight as possible, and then transferring each one to the press without the bullet falling out or knocking other bullets off their cases in the process. Another option, is to hold the bullet with two fingers over the case mouth as far as you can on its way into the die. The bullets can get cockeyed and also the occasional trapped finger is inevitable with this method.
The Ponsness Warren option offers a ‘windowed’ bullet seating die, which allows you to introduce the bullet into the die, between the case mouth and the seating pin, through an opening in the side of the die body. The bullet automatically falls into the top of the inner sleeve of the die and this lines-up perfectly, with the case mouth introduced into the bottom of the same sleeve when the press is cycled. No trapped fingers and no dropped bullets!
Ponsness Warren are a relatively new name here in the UK, having been introduced by Henry Kranks in 2015. Manufacturing what appear to be the heaviest reloading presses on the market, they are obviously very much about the engineering side of the reloading business. The seating die is itself very heavy for its size and the quality and finish is of a very high standard. All of the parts work smoothly with deeply cut threads and a quality blued finish; this is as bit of kit obviously intended to give many years of service. It also has a standard thread compatible with RCBS and Lee presses and the locking ring on the body of the die incorporates a grub screw to lock it firmly in place once the die is set up in the press. The die comes in a simple plastic bag, with no fancy plastic storage box or accessories, and the instructions are a very basic, photocopied sheet. So, every penny of what you are spending is going on the die itself and not on unnecessary add-ons. With regards to the instructions, it is worth noting that they are not very good, but the die is very easy to install and use without reference to them.
The seating die is purchased complete with both large and small seating pins and the only additional purchase necessary is a calibre specific bullet retaining sleeve. This is fitted by simply removing the adjusting screw from the top of the die and dropping it in. Once in place, the sleeve is a very precise fit in the die body with no movement or rattle, a necessary quality if the bullet is going to enter the case mouth straight and true. Bullet seating depth is easily adjusted by screwing the seating pin in or out and there is a locking nut to secure it in place once correctly adjusted.
Swapping between calibres simply requires the removing the adjusting screw from the top of the die, taking the bullet sleeve out and replacing it with the new calibre. Bullet seating then requires resetting to the required depth and this is most easily achieved by having a dummy round of the required calibre and length to hand, which is used as a template to set the die up again.
In use, the die works really well, the bullet is simply dropped into the opening and when the press is cycled the case rises to meet it in the sleeve where the seating pin drives it home. The bullet cannot simply fall through the sleeve due to a tiny steel ball held in place with a spring within the sleeve. As the bullet does not need to be placed precisely (that being done by the die) the reloading process is sped up considerably. Fitted on a Lee 4 stage turret press, between the powder measure and the factory crimp die, this item produced good quality reloads with a consistent Cartridge Overall Length (COL) and absolutely no problems with bullets being dropped or misaligned.
This is a very useful item, which speeds up the reloading process without compromising the quality of the loads produced. It is extremely well made, and although it is not cheap, it represents good value for money. The option to purchase separate bullet sleeves, rather than having to buy a complete die for each calibre you shoot, makes this particularly good value for anyone that reloads more than one calibre. This is the only die that I use that isn’t from one of the bigger manufacturers, it is just that good!
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