Need help buying the 'right stuff'


November 17, 2007, 05:08 PM
I'll get this figured out eventually....

X-Sizer Small Base ( - Is this the only die set I need to load .223 for an AR-15?

The reason I ask is Lee dies come in 3.... RCBS has only 2 dies in the set. What's the difference?

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November 17, 2007, 05:13 PM
Lee includes a factory crimp die. I like using the FCD for AR and AK loads.

November 17, 2007, 05:24 PM
You do not need a small base die to load for an AR-15.
All it will do for you is shorten the life of your brass.

I have been loading GI brass for a Colt AR, a Ruger mini-14, and several other bolt rifles since about 1970 with a standard RCBS die set.
Never had a problem, ever.

And +1 on the Lee FCD. I am now using it on all semi-auto loads with great results.

November 17, 2007, 05:34 PM
I've heard that small base dies help if you're sizing brass that was fired from a machine gun. Not sure how true it is. FWIW, my .223 X-die is a regular die, not a small base.

November 17, 2007, 05:41 PM
So I may be better off going with the Lee set. And then adding the RCBS x-die (non small base) later. So far I haven't found either Lee or the x-die locally, one more place to check tomorrow and then I guess Midway.

November 17, 2007, 05:54 PM
I have used a standard Redding .223 die set to load for a Mini 14 and an AR 15 with no problems. The Lee set should work just fine.

I don't believe in a free lunch. If the X-Die eliminates trimming, I will believe it only when experienced reloaders tell me so. ;)

November 17, 2007, 07:21 PM
I haven't ever loaded .223 or 5.56 but I have loaded some 7.62x51mm military brass.
A couple things I have found:
1. A regular die has always worked fine in terms of getting my loads to chamber smoothly.
2. military brass is hard to size with normal sized dies. I think that with small based dies you would probably give yourself a hernia if you tried to run some of the 7.62 brass I have used in them. I had to add more woodscrews to my reloading bench because it was literally being ripped apart from the stress of sizing them.

If you have any problems sizing your military brass PM me and I'll share what I have learned. I do have couple useful techniques. ;)

November 17, 2007, 09:24 PM
I use the Lee Pacesetter die set for 223. It includes the FL sizer, bullet seater and FCD. I have never had a problem with a round not chambering in my AR.

November 17, 2007, 10:23 PM
The Lee Deluxe set has a full length sizing/decapping die, and a neck sizing/decapping die, plus a dead length bullet seater. the Factory Crimp Die is extra with that set, but I splurged on it - worth it.
I do have to admit I have a few boxes of .223 reloads I haven't had time to test fire, yet.

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