Bullet seating is the process of pressing a bullet into a case to the proper depth. “Proper depth” of seating varies depending on your firearm and the type of shooting you will be performing. It is the last and possibly the most important step to make sure that each cartridge will perform consistently on the firing line.
As you become more proficient in reloading, you will fine-tune your own process based on your tools/equipment, the type of shooting you do, the guns you reload and the goals you have for your handloaded ammunition. We suggest that you continue to read, learn and understand various methods so that you can find the system that works best for your needs.
- Determine the Seating Depth and Cartridge Length – Most bullets are seated to a depth so the cartridge will fit into a box magazine. When performing long range competition you may wish to seat bullets out to a longer depth relative to the lands of your rifling.
It is also important to remember that seating depth controls the interior volume of the cartridge case. Hence, seating depth plays a large role on the peak pressure developed when the cartridge is fired.
- Select the Seater Die – Choose the correct die that will help you achieve the best results. Forster Products produces two types of seater dies:
- Bench Rest® Seater Die – Holds the bullet, case and seating stem in perfect alignment when the bullet is seated.
- Ultra™ Micrometer Seater Die – Has an integral micrometer that fine-tunes your precise seating depth. This die also holds the bullet, case and seating stem in perfect alignment when the bullet is seated.
- Seat the Bullet – We suggest you begin with the seating stem backed up slightly in the die, and then continue to adjust the stem downward until the cartridge is slightly longer than your desired length. Use the Datum Dial to measure, then fine-tune, your final adjustment for proper seating depth.
Safety - Please follow all pertinent safety procedures such as wearing safety glasses, being in a well-lit and well-ventilated workspace, and having all reloading tools in top working condition. Also, no flames, sparks or static electricity.
Suggested Further Reading
- Top-Grade Ammo, Glen D. Zediker
- Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges for Rifles and Handguns, Ken Howell
- NRA Firearms Sourcebook: Your Ultimate Guide to Guns, Ballistics, and Shooting, Michael E Bussard and Stanton L. Wormley Jr.
- Reloading Ammunition: The Final Steps, Seating, Crimping and Inspecting, Tom McHale
- Shooter’s Bible Guide to Handloading: a Comprehensive Reference for Responsible and Reliable Reloading, Wayne van Zwoll
- Step-by-Step Reloading: Handling Powder, Roy Hill
Seater DiesThe secret to perfect alignment is holding the bullet, case and seating stem in the same close fitting chamber for the entire seating operation.
Need help picking the right product?
Search by caliber number or name to find the corresponding Forster Products.