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lee full length sizer in .223 question

 
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  #1  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:24 PM
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lee full length sizer in .223 question

Hey you guys that are using the full length sizer for .223 does your die go all the way to the bottom of the brass. This may sound dumb but I followed the directions for setting up the die and my die stops about 1/4" from the bottom of the case causing my brass not to load. In another thread we discussed the use of the RCBS small base die but wondering if I am set up wrong?

thanks
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2014, 05:55 PM
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Re: lee full length sizer in .223 question

Not sure I understand what you mean but Lee's FL dies are like all other FL dis so far as set-up goes. No FL die goes "to the base", they all stop 1/8" (.125") off the base so there's room for the shell holder.

No die "instructions" can do more than get us in the ball park; correctly adjusing an FL requires tweaking (ditto seaters). Die and shell holders are tightly machined but they all have slight manufactoring tolerances. Chambers do too so getting the best cartridge-to-chamber fit has to be done carefully by trial and error, not by following a formula.

That said, the best common starting place will have the bottom of the sizing die screwed down to contact the fully raised shell holder plus an additional 1/4 turn to compensate for press deflection under load. If you really have a 1/4" gap between your die and shell holder with the ram full up you clearly don't have the die screwed down far enough.

If you actually do have the die screwed in correctly and it gets really difficult to push the case in further then you don't have enough case lube applied, especially on the lower, thicker part where it's hard to resize. Use any commercial case sizing lube and follow the maker's instructions, all should go well.
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Old 01-12-2014, 07:06 PM
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Re: lee full length sizer in .223 question

Thanks
Ok I'm here and it's there but I am sure I set up the die the way the instructions said. Like you say I thought it said so that the shell holder touched the die plus a quarter turn. I may not be pulling down hard enough on the handle to force the die down far enough. I will have to check. I do know my die is not sizing to the bottom of the case for sure. It's about .002 to .003 larger at the base than factory rounds. I can see where the die stops. This,of course is causing cycling problems in my ar.
So the die is supposed to touch the shell holder with the case in the shell holder.
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2014, 08:52 PM
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Re: lee full length sizer in .223 question

AR's with match chambers require a RCBS or Lyman Small Base Die. I don't use anything else in a self-loader or lever action. You should feel the press handle lever over center with the die screwed in. Check a sized case by dropping it into the chamber and, with the upper receiver off the lower and hand held, push the bolt carrier home over the empty sized case and feel for resistance. It should easily snap over the extractor groove.

Auto's need more sizing period. Always use a Small Base Die.

KB
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2014, 09:27 PM
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Re: lee full length sizer in .223 question

yeah that was the question. I was talking to a guy that said the lee die should work if I pulled the die all the way down. I can't test it now but I am sure i did it right. My cases are hard as the devil to get out if I try to clear the chamber. In fact I was afraid I would get one stuck in there permanently. It would shoot them out but not easy at all by hand. Yeah I gotta get the small base sizer.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2014, 10:12 PM
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Re: lee full length sizer in .223 question

"So the die is supposed to touch the shell holder with the case in the shell holder."

Yes. It hardly matters how the die is set without a case in it.

If you're having a difficult time extracting cases you almost certainly aren't applying sufficent lube to the lower case. Lube a case properly and size it to the limit of ram travel. Check under the bottom of the die when the case is fully inserted and the press is under full compression. If there's a visable gap between the die and shell holder, slightly turn the die down and try again until the gap is closed.

AR chambers aren't unique, they're cut with the same reamers used on other rifles and very few actually require a SB sizer. Clean your chamber, a lot of small base dies are sold to people with dirty AR chambers.

Now that I think I understand what you're talking about with "the die isn't going down" the last 1/4", it's normal. That last bit of case is the solid head and it doesn't normally expand, you should never see any die rub there.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2014, 10:24 PM
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Re: lee full length sizer in .223 question

That is all WRONG, You don't set up a die that way .
The die shoudl be set according to how the case chambers back into the gun .
So start with a hard chambering case where the bolt will not close .
Clean and lubricate the case .
Screw the die down a bit at a time while sizing the case in and out .
Try the case back in the gun and you will see the bolt start to close more and more.
Once the bolt is close to closing with no resistance only screw the die down by 1/16 of a turn at a time . Eventually the bolt will close with very faint resistance and that is about right for a bolt action . If an auto go 1/16 of a turn more and lock up the die. Chambering a case for fit in an auto can be more difficult and a body die is better for that as you can set it with a new unfired case if you want .
Below is the approximate amount the die will move when rotating a 7/8 x 14 thread . You can see how a quarter turn is a very large movement .

Turns 1/16 = .0045 . 1/8 = .0089 . 1/4 = .0178

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