Latest Reviews


By Craig Maylam

31 January 2024

I'm exploring the Frankford Arsenal Universal Bullet Seating Die today, and I believe you'll want to add this to your reloading bench tools. I personally purchased my set when they first arrived in stock at NIOA early in 2023 and have been using it regularly ever since.

There are two potential types of purchasers for this set:

  1. The reloader who likes to have 'just in case' equipment or is chasing the ultimate in versatility in their kit. 
  2. The significant other looking for a gift for that special cartridge reloader in their life. 

The concept is simple: it's a window-type bullet seater with interchangeable alignment sleeves and seating stems. Window seaters are great if you dislike holding fiddly projectiles above case mouths during bullet seating. Most pinched fingers around the reloading bench occur during bullet seating, a situation all of us can avoid by using window-type seaters.

To use the die set, you fit the alignment sleeve and seating stem in the die body for the calibre you are loading. The die is then screwed into the press like a normal reloading die. Adjusting the die is straightforward, following the excellent directions supplied. Once set up and adjusted, you will be well on your way to pinch-free bullet seating.

Frankford Arsenal has supplied an alignment sleeve for most common bore sizes, which can be set into the common die body. The calibres range from .224 up to and including .338.

I tend to be cautious about new things, so I conducted an assessment of this die set before assembling ammunition for hunting. I'm very particular about getting projectiles seated straight as it is one of the cornerstones of accuracy. I was looking for consistency in runout and seating depth with my testing.

While there are various other straight-line seaters on the market (we also sell the excellent RCBS Match Master dies), most are calibre-specific. You'll need to purchase a new seating die for each cartridge you load, so a kit like this that accommodates all common calibres is an absolute godsend.

The kit comes in an injection-moulded case with comprehensive instructions. The supplied seating stems are machined to not mark the nose of VLD projectiles during seating.

Each alignment sleeve is machined to fit the case neck and the projectile. The projectile is seated by a floating seating stem, and the seating depth is controlled by a micrometer-adjustable cap. Frankford has a clever twist in this die set: the projectile is held in the top chamber of the alignment sleeve by a little pin. The pin stops the projectile from falling out the bottom of the sleeve, a clever innovation.

How do these dies work? 

A case is set into a standard shell holder, and a projectile is dropped into the window (the clever little pin stops the projectile from falling out). The ram of the press is raised fully, and the projectile is seated. The ram is lowered, and the assembled cartridge is removed from the shell holder.

Now, let's put some numbers on how the die set performed. As a background, loaded cartridge runout within 2 thousandths of an inch (0.002”) is more than acceptable. Some factory ammunition I measured shows as much as 5 thousandths of an inch (0.005”), which will still shoot quite well. If you are chasing absolute perfection, then you will have to look at some serious investment in both time and money. The best runout I have ever achieved with any equipment is 0.5 thousandths of an inch (0.0005”), and this reading was obtained with some very expensive and specialised equipment on a fraction of the total loaded rounds.


So, what am I getting for my money?

A set of seating dies that will seat projectiles in most common calibres. The projectiles were seated within acceptable runout and overall length variation tolerances for normal hunting or varmint loads. These loads I assembled are as good as any factory loads I tested.

Check out or order the Frankford Arsenal Universal Bullet Seating Die at your favourite gun shop.


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