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.223 Rifle Die Question

 
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2013, 07:56 PM
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Re: .223 Rifle Die Question

I really don't think you are going to need a small base die. Your existing dies should be fine. I have compared some dimensions between once fired brass, new brass, and brass resized with a Redding full length die. The Redding die does not size it down quite as far as the new brass was, but smaller than the once fired brass. It should chamber and extract fine.

Many people think the small base dies are not necessary. And I very confident the overwhelming majority of semi-auto shooters are not using them. And small base dies shorten brass life by working the brass more.

Phil
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2013, 07:49 AM
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Re: .223 Rifle Die Question

S/B dies may not be necessary in most ARs, but they're never a bad idea, and don't hurt a thing. They also add a little extra insurance in both chambering and, (and something most reladers aren't aware of) ease of extraction. I'd suggest you pick up a chamber gage or a bump gage to set your shoulder set back, as this is the real culprit in shortening brass life. ARs (and any other semiauto) needs ammo that has a bit more clearance than bolt guns, so you'll want to set the shoulders back by at least .002"-.003" for proper functioning.

F/L sizing dies will generally work in ARs, especially if they run on the tight side of spec (as Reddings tend to do). The one thing to avoid here is N/S dies. Never, for any reason, ever. Nothing but serious trouble down that road.
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  #10  
Old 05-01-2013, 12:23 PM
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Re: .223 Rifle Die Question

I have the necessary gauges and set the shoulder back about .003" - .004" for now, taking the average of ten or more cases, and then adjusting the die to give a head-to-shoulder distance that is .003" - .004" less.

I prefer not to use the small based die as they work the brass more. RCBS says their S/B dies shrink the entire case by another .002" vs the standard F/L die.

Neck sizing dies are coming for my 223 bolt action, but I am well aware they have no place in a semi.

Phil
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  #11  
Old 05-01-2013, 01:43 PM
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Re: .223 Rifle Die Question

Phil,

Post was intended for the OP, but it sounds like you're pretty well set up too. No need to worry about excessive working of the brass with the S/B dies, as cases don't wear out in the body from radial expansion. So long as you've got the bump gages and aren't setting the shoulders back, you'll find there's very little (if any) difference in case life between the two. Far more likely to lose the case necks to cracking, unless you're using a bushing die and an expander chosen to give minimal contact on its passage through the neck.

Not sure why you want to go with the N/S die for the bolt gun, but if you haven't picked it up yet, I'd say save the money and just use the F/L die you already have on hand. No advantage to N/S, and there's tons of reasons not to. Just a suggestion.
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  #12  
Old 05-01-2013, 08:12 PM
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Re: .223 Rifle Die Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Thomas View Post
Phil,

Post was intended for the OP, but it sounds like you're pretty well set up too. No need to worry about excessive working of the brass with the S/B dies, as cases don't wear out in the body from radial expansion. So long as you've got the bump gages and aren't setting the shoulders back, you'll find there's very little (if any) difference in case life between the two. Far more likely to lose the case necks to cracking, unless you're using a bushing die and an expander chosen to give minimal contact on its passage through the neck.

Not sure why you want to go with the N/S die for the bolt gun, but if you haven't picked it up yet, I'd say save the money and just use the F/L die you already have on hand. No advantage to N/S, and there's tons of reasons not to. Just a suggestion.
Sorry, just completely missed that you were responding to the OP.

I am setting the shoulders back a few thou for the AR-15.

I was looking at the neck sizing die because of the working of the brass with the Redding F/L die. Fired cases from my AR show a .254" neck. Resizing with the Redding die (w/o expander), pushes it way down to .239". Once the expander is pulled through, it is about .248". That is a lot of brass being pushed around.

I don't know what the fired neck size will be in my bolt action since I don't have it back from the gunsmith yet (never fired). I know the neck dies can lead to doughnut formations, but would like to hear other drawbacks.

My other alternative is to fire some rounds out of the bolt gun, and then have Forster hone a F/L die for me that pushes the neck back down just the right amount. That service was $10 and may still be. The reduced neck manipulation vs the Redding die should help neck life, don't you think?

Given I just ordered and received 100 brand new cases of Lapua Match 223 Remington brass, I want it to last as long as possible. Just finding this stuff makes me feel pretty good!

Phil
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  #13  
Old 05-01-2013, 11:25 PM
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Re: .223 Rifle Die Question

Phil3,

You're on the right track, and you've already nailed the major culprit for damaging brass; overworking the neck. Common feature of standard dies, since they have to be able to resize virtually any brass it may be used with. The way they do this, is to over do it with the die, and then open it back up with the expander ball. This is the greatest problem to overcome to extend brass life. The bushing system, or a honed die is how you do it. I like the bushings, since they give you more flexibility, which is useful if you have a variety of cases to deal with. I do use the expander, but I like the carbide ones that Redding offers. I choose a bushing size that allows the expander to just barely kiss the case neck as it comes back through. You should barely feel it (but you should feel it if you're paying attention) as it goes through the neck. Just enough to make sure that the neck I.D. has been properly sized, but not working the brass any more than needed.

Neck sizing as been around for quite some time, and I think more handloaders are starting to appreciate the problems with this method. It is usually credited with giving better accuracy than F/L sizing. It doesn't. F/L sizing generally results in better accuracy, which is one o the reasons it's used for most accuracy QC testing in bullet manufacturers (all that I'm aware of, anyway), and the vast majority of competitive shooters in a host of different disciplines. The notion that it gives better case life, is also based on the F/L dies being set up incorrectly, and bumping the shoulders back too far. Keep the setback to a minimum, and F/L sized brass will last just as long as N/S brass but without the problems. The chambering issue is the one bugaboo that causes me to be so leery of N/S as a general rule. After a number of firings, at some point you'll wind up with cartridges that won't chamber, Even after one or two firings, you'll begin to feel resistance when closing the bolt. This will worsen until you reach the point of not being able to close the bolt. This, according to Murphy, will always be at the worst possible moment. For these reasons, and several others, I just make it a general rule to recommend against N/S, and go with F/L sizing using properly adjusted dies. It'll make your life easier, I promise.
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  #14  
Old 05-05-2013, 06:06 PM
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Re: .223 Rifle Die Question

Kevin,

You give me too much credit. I think I was F/L confusing bushing dies with neck ONLY sizing dies. I realize this after reading your last message and your use of bushing dies. My plan with my bolt action rifle is to use a F/L bushing die (or a Forster die honed to size), so the case body is sized as always and the neck sized to a minimal degree. I understand the bushings can lead to the formation of a doughnut ring inside the neck around the case body/shoulder juncture. This can be removed with a reamer, but if the bullet doesn't seat too far down, I don't expect it to interfere with anything.

Am I still on the right track?

Phil
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