Neck Size vs Full length size


Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2003
:D Stir, stir, stir

I full length size but I have neck sizing dies for everything I load as well.

I was just wondering why "you" full length or neck size. What are the perceived benefits for either method and why is the other method less desirable?

Play nice
for me I neck size from the start.unless the brass has been from another rifel.even run new brass in the neck sizer.the only time I full lenght is when the brass doesn't chamber as easy as it should.and with my 223 I have yet full lengthed it.and I load it hot.guess I have been lucky or something.and all of my dies are Lee dies.after getting the hang of the collet die and learning what to do to improve it.I love the collet die.would not change it for the world.but hey this is an opinion of mine so take it with a grain of salt.
I FL everything or at least use a body bump die every time. However, I only bump .001 to just chamber. My hunting guns might get .0015 or so.

Limits case expansion and work hardening from allowing a case to widely expand and then sizing it down.

I try to use custom dies or at least dies custom honed by Jim Carstenson at JLC Precision for all my serious LR guns. I get minimal sizing due to custom fit vs "factory" dies which oversize in many instances especially if you follow the directions to set them up that come with them. It will work, but not conducive to accuracy or long brass life.

FL size is widely used in the short range BR game now by well over 50% of the shooters vs NS only (recent poll results on BR Central) and almost always in the LR BR game so IMO that clearly settles the accuracy issue as to which one is better for the utomost accuracy, otherwise they would all be using collet dies or only NS dies, which they are not normally. Still a lot of SR BR guys using NS only but with custom fitted dies also.

I should have mentioned that I back the FL sizing die out until the shoulder is bumped back .002. If I went by the book it's more like .012... that won't do.
The straightest and most consistent your cases ever are, is as pulled smoking from the chamber.
Anything you do to them from that point changes this, so it is best to do as little as possible. It is rarely good to FL size cases with factory dies, -until you have no choice. .
Ideally you wouldn't have to touch formed cases with a die to reload them, and still have easy bolt closure. This would certainly produce very straight ammo.
But your particular chamber, cartridge, and load drives this.

I use JLC bushing/bump dies for several guns, but I don't compete. I just want straight brass that lasts. If I were shooting a 6PPC, 30BR, or a 6.5UnderPowered as fast as I could between conditions, and at extreme pressures, then I might FL size everytime.. I don't know.

With my cartridges I partial NS, and see no reason for tension beyond the seated bullet bearing. I bump shoulders as needed, that's it.
My ammo is very straight, lasts a long time.

My setup in 223 is the simplest/least expensive. Here I use a Redding body die for slight bumping about every 5th reload. Wilson neck & seater dies, and I run a Sinclair carbide mandrel through each neck prior to seating.
Such an easy cartridge
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