Pros: Made in USA, Guaranteed, Accurate
Hornady 243 Winchester Full Length Reloading Dies
When you have decided to reload your own ammunition you’ve taken responsibility to make your shooting more affordable and tailor ammunition to your specific rifle to obtain the best accuracy as each gun has its own quirks.
The 243 Winchester is a modern cartridge with a broad range of uses ranging from target and varmint shooting, through small and medium large game like whitetail deer. It can be reloaded with 80 – 85 grain bullets all the way up through 100 and 120 grain bullets with the heaviest weight suitable for the heavier game like whitetail or black bear. The 243 is derived from the 308 Winchester simply by necking down the case neck from 7.62mm to 6mm or .243 in decimal terms. These chamberings are second generation centerfire cartridges, derived from the earlier 30/06 and its derivatives like 35 Whelen, 280 Rem, and 270 Winchester. The .308 derivatives are a half inch shorter and hit just as hard as the longer 30/06 derivatives. They also typically shoot just as accurately and sometimes even better so there are really no drawbacks.
In terms of reasons to reload, consider that firing a cartridge only consumes certain components leaving the brass cartridge case perfectly re-usable even though many shooters discard them. To a thrifty minded person, that is just throwing away money as the brass cases cost at least half the price of a box of ammunition - so why throw them away? Reloading allows you to claim that savings and shoot even more for basically less money as each cartridge can be reloaded quite a number of times. In other words a box of reloads costs less than half the price of a box of factory ammo so you can shoot more often for the same money you were going to spend anyway.
There is plenty of information on reloading ammunition available in books and of course Internet research can help but a good reloading manual that you can refer to constantly is essential for reference.
Relying on memory is dangerous and I use a mainstream manual from one of the names in the reloading business like Lyman, RCBS, Hornady, or Sierra. The powder manufacturers like Winchester, DuPont, Accurate, and Hodgdon also provide reloading manuals based on their proprietary components free for the asking so please do. I prefer the Lyman manual as it covers all aspects of reloading without keeping things to their proprietary components like most of the others do.
The manual is a recipe book that covers the various combinations of projectile weight and type and amount of powder to propel it accurately and safely from your firearm to its intended target.
Once you've decided you want to reload, you have to count the cost. How much stuff do you need to actually produce your own ammo? That will be revealed by your research and is not the purpose of this article, however there is a certain amount of investment in equipment required to start making your own ammunition. Once you have the manual, press, scale, and components, you need dies for each caliber you intend to reload. That's what this article is really about.
The dies here are by Hornady, a USA company which makes very precise tools for reloading. These particular dies are to reload 243 Winchester center fire rifle cartridges typically used either for target, varmint, or deer hunting. Varmints are small pests like gophers and crows that are fair game for shooting year round. Deer and black bear are the traditional big game of the fall hunting season.
The 243 is usually fired from bolt action scoped rifles like my Steyr Mannlicher Model M so reloading needs to be put the ammo back into the same form was in originally so it will operate through the rifle just like new ammo will. That means it needs full length resizing which is the job of the first die of the two die set here. The first die decaps the cartridge case and squeezes it back down to original size, after which you can check the case for proper length, trim if necessary, and recap it with a new primer - one of the components you've bought.
Next, you weigh or measure the amount of powder specified in the recipe you are following, which you looked up in the manual. That powder, weighed on a scale should be transferred into the primed case and then the bullet is seated using the second die of the two die set. You have just produced a single cartridge that should be as accurate and similarly powerful to the factory round.
The Hornady Two Die Rifle Set contains the two dies necessary to reload a bottleneck rifle cartridge of the specified caliber. It does not include the press or the shell holder that holds the cartridge case in the press to be manipulated in the reloading process. Resizing cases also takes Case Lube, so you’ll need a tube of that also.
I have had very good results with Hornady Reloading dies both for bottleneck rifle cartridges and handgun cartridges which require a three die set.
Hornady reloading tools have a limited lifetime warranty that provides repair or replacement of equipment deemed defective in materials or workmanship if returned to the factory in Grand Island Nebraska. I've not had to use the warranty but it seems like a useful feature. The tools are extremely well finished and accurately machined. I recommend Hornady dies and wish you good luck as you use them to reload your own ammunition.