Lake City and Remington .223 Brass: Same die, different sizing results?


November 17, 2008, 09:02 PM
I'm using a RCBS full length X-die (initial resizing w/the mandrel up) for a bunch of .223 brass. I've been checking my brass with a lyman case gauge. The die is adjusted per the instruction. I also tried turnning the die in another half turn.

Either way, the result is the Remington brass always sitting nice and flush in the case gauge. Lake City, not so much. It's either above the max, at the max, or can be pushed down with a little force, which results in a little snap, which at that point is also near max.

This can't be a shoulder problem since the Remington brass fits the gauge, correct? The sizing die was unchanged.

What's the deal? LC more springy? Thicker web/case head? Has anyone found it necessary to use a Small Base die with LC brass?

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November 17, 2008, 09:37 PM
You are getting different results due to these possibilities:
- Brass differs
- The rim itself has a slight defect or bur. Place the Rem in the case gauge backwards. Note roughly the depth. Do the same with the LC. I find that range pickup will have some cases with imperfections on the rims. Occasionally I find a case that just will not gauge. I don't waste too much time on that one.
- A better lube helped in my experience. (don't know what you are using) Hard to extract case from die deforms rim. Stuck case removes rim.

I have not used small base dies.

November 17, 2008, 09:42 PM
What's the deal? LC more springy?Probably. It definitely makes a difference. The Lake City brass is probably a bit harder and definitely a bit thicker/heavier than the Remington. Is it all once fired? The number of times it's fired makes a difference in how "springy" it is.

All good brass, just different. I always segregate my .223 brass by brand, and by year if Lake City, to help those kinds of things as well as case capacity which will affect charge weight. I will weigh a few samples of different years of LC brass and if they are close to the same I will combine them. I like to keep commercial brass separate from military brass.

As WTNFW stated, a good lube and enough of it is essential to consistent results.

November 17, 2008, 11:23 PM
Use a good case lube,and just enough, That makes a big dif,when I use the one shot, i can feel the cases sticking,NOT stuck, but sticking,,when I use the rcbs, lube,its so slick,
But I too like using the LC brass, good tuff stuff..I keep all brass seperated, by company,and load to that,

November 18, 2008, 12:09 AM
Did you trim the brass first to set the proper length, then fire it, then use the X-Die to size it?

November 18, 2008, 01:00 AM
Brass was once fired and trimmed to spec (for now). Brass was well lubed with Unique and I kept the cam pressure as consistent as possible. I have some lee lube. I'll have to try it. I repeated the sizing on about 8 pieces of brass each, so I don't think it was defects.

I'll sort by year next, weigh a few and see what that looks like.

I made up a few dummies with the most offending LC's. They are a little sticky when I clear them with the charging handle.

As for a small base dies, is that even a consideration? I know they'll squeeze that extra .002-.003, but do they size closer into the case head than regular dies?

November 18, 2008, 02:59 AM
You forgot to lube inside the neck.
LC is harder brass, and when withdrawing the expander, you change the angle of the shoulder,, headspaceing.

November 18, 2008, 12:17 PM
Smoke some of the tight cases with candle soot, or color them with a black magic marker.

Then try them in the case guage or rifle chamber.

Where the color rubs off is what the problem is.

It might be possible the X-die is collapsing the shoulder a minute amount too small to see.

The soot or marker trick will quickly tell you.


November 18, 2008, 12:45 PM
I'll try the marker/soot next.

I was spray lubing the cases. I did a bunch more and hand lubed the necks as well (back to basic). Results are much better. Neck lubing, I think, was one of the issues, but all is not perfect. Here's some nonscientific numbers. They really seem to indicate a brass variance by year for LC. Take a look:

LC 06' --- 25 OK / 15 Bad
LC 07' --- 27 OK / 2 Bad

By "Bad" I mean beyond max by the case gauge.

Didn't have enough 04' and 05' in this batch for a comparison. Also did a bunch more Remington and all were fine.

November 18, 2008, 02:03 PM
Lake city is crimped and needs to be swaged if you over swage the primer pocket it will mess with head space the trick is to swage just enough so the primer goes in with a little effort that way you won’t blow primers at higher pressures .

November 18, 2008, 02:41 PM
Ok, all of this brass was swaged on a Dillon 600. I'll see if adjusting it helps on the 06' stuff.

November 19, 2008, 04:00 AM
I gotta ask,, how does swaging the primer pocket affect headspace?

November 19, 2008, 09:19 AM
I assumed he meant it indirectly; i.e, if you were to over swage, the rim could expand and not allow the brass to seat fully? I'm guessing at this, though. However, I don't think swaging is my problem.

First, thanks for all the responses. I have learned a lot.

I've sorted by year so far and sized a lot more brass. I'm convinced it's LC 06' (and some '05). 03', 04', most of 05', and 07' give me very little problem.

Nearly half of LC 06' will not fit in the case gauge if I turn them around, putting them in rim first. Some of these cases are out of round or have high spots. If I put the case in a caliper, rim first, and spin the case around the needle jumps by as much a .006" relative to the web. The web on every single one of the cases (good or bad) is VERY consistent, which, I think, backs up my wacky rim theory.

Can someone check their own LC 06' for variance in the rims?

Next question, what (if anything) can I do about the rim on what's supposed to be a rimless cartridge?

November 19, 2008, 12:13 PM
Belt Sander? :D


November 19, 2008, 02:46 PM
Awe hell, Maybe I'll just pull my upper off and beat 'em into the chamber with a rock hammer.

November 19, 2008, 03:12 PM
Chuck em in a drill press and dress up the rims with a file the. Since the web is fine, filing some off the rim won't hurt a thing. All my LC brass is much older than 06, or 07 & 08.

November 19, 2008, 03:50 PM
how does swaging the primer pocket affect headspace?I was just thinking that if someone stuck a swager in my primer pocket, my neck and shoulders would surely stretch out at least a few thousandths, if not more. At least enough to mess up my headspace.:p

November 19, 2008, 03:55 PM
Seriously, if you think swaging the pocket is causing problems you can always ream a few dozen to see if it makes any difference. It won't, but you can try it just to prove it to yourself.

Put a few Rem and LC cases in the case gauge before you size them. You may find that the LC cases fire-form larger than the Remington, thus need more work to return them to spec. At least that's my limited experience. What have you found?

November 19, 2008, 04:07 PM
I found the rim problem to be not isolated to 1 brand or lot of brass. I discovered that by just forcing the rim into the case guage the rim gets fixed. This is on a case that shows no visible defect but wont quite guage. That is not what the case guage is for and I don't like to treat precision tools that way. A scrape with a sharp knife on the bump will do it.

I think it stems from 1 or more of the following:
A lube problem - Slight sticking in die (One-Shot wasn't getting it done)
A shell holder problem - Loose, crooked, worn, etc.
Cases being off centered in the die/holder too much. (Just a theory)
A extraction problem on the rifle
A case impact someting (Concrete)
A bolt face defect or (FOD) debris on boltface.

The context of this is more on range pickup. I have had less problems with my brass from my rifle. Same for the lube.

I have less rim problems after changing lubes & checking the shell holder on the 550B more often.

November 19, 2008, 04:09 PM
Chuck em in a drill press and dress up the rims with a file the. Since the web is fine, filing some off the rim won't hurt a thing. All my LC brass is much older than 06, or 07 & 08.
Done that with 45acp brass that had fat out of round rims. After many maximum firing, the brass contacting the bolt face, the rim expands

November 19, 2008, 04:18 PM
I can't see how swaging primer pockets could change headspace.

Both the RCBS and Dillon tools support the case head from the inside with a solid steel rod while the swager does it's work on the crimp.

Neither one can possibly push the shoulder foreward because all that is getting pressure put on it is the primer crimp.

Anyhow, I have swaged thousands of them with the RCBS set-up and never had a headspace problem afterward.


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