Like many others, I have been loading handgun ammo for awhile (about a year, but a lot of reloads, all without a problem). So now I want to reload 223 for an AR platform and I'm confused. My current handgun setup consists of 4 dies:
Case resizer / deprimer
Bullet seating die
I bought a set of Lee Pacesetter dies, but also bought a set of deluxe rifle dies after I read "no lube" needed with the deluxe set. Not a total waste of $$ on the Pacesetter dies, since it comes with the crimp die which apparently the deluxe set doesn't come with and the crimp die is about half the cost of the set if bought alone.
So, with that little bit of history, here's my question:
The deluxe set comes with two types of resizing dies, a full length sizing die, and a collet neck sizing die. Which one should I be using for general plinking purposes? What's the difference between the two?
Also, if it matters, I am using 55gr soft point Wincherster bullets with a cannalure.
Thanks, everyone for taking the time here.
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November 23, 2008, 01:16 PM
The deluxe set comes with two types of resizing dies, a full length sizing die, and a collet neck sizing die.
You will want to full length size for your AR. The collet die is more for bolt guns and only sizes the neck.
I personally would lube any rifle cases before resizing, carbide dies or not. Getting one stuck really disrupts your flow.
November 23, 2008, 02:23 PM
Now, I truly wish Lee would clarify their marketing statements on the Deluxe die set with the Collet neck-sizing die.
They claim that it doesn't need lube, but I think they mean it doesn't need lube when you use the Collet die for neck sizing, given the unique collet action. But in many calibers the full-length die in the Deluxe set is not carbide, and requires lube. The FL die that came with my .30-06 set is not carbide.
As you know, a carbide die is a standard steel die with a carbide insert, and you can see it pressed into the bottom of the die. Look at your Lee die set and see if the full-length sizing die has a carbide insert pressed into place. If so, try it without lube and see if a case gets stuck or not. You may decide to use lube anyway.
Try your Collet die in your AR rifle, but as mentioned above it probably won't work. Most autoloaders need a fully sized body so the cartridge will feed into the chamber smoothly enough to lock the bolt. The camming action of a manual bolt provides much more force than the recoil spring of an autoloader.
November 23, 2008, 02:28 PM
The only carbide bottle-neck dies I am aware of is made by Dillon in .223 & .308 only.
They cost $110+ for just the sizing die.
Lee bottle-neck .223 dies are most certainly not carbide.
You may not need to use lube with the collet neck sizing die. I don't know.
I do know you most certainly will need to use lube with the steel FL die.
November 23, 2008, 03:01 PM
Which one should I be using for general plinking purposes? What's the difference between the two?
The full lenght sizing die is used for auto rifles.This die will size the neck and body of the brass, along with pushing back the shoulder.The expander button will open up the inside of the neck to the correct diameter. Lube is used on the outside of the body and inside the neck using standard dies (non-carbide). The collet neck sizing die will only size the neck down enough to hold the bullet. It does not touch the body. It is used for bolt action rifles. bullets with a cannalure A cannalure is for crimping. The brass is roll crimped in to the cannalure. Some crimp some dont. Your choice, But if you crimp, all brass must be trimmed to the exact same length. I never crimp, never found crimping to be needed. IMO Here is a link of interest. http://www.6mmbr.com/223Rem.html
November 23, 2008, 03:15 PM
Try your Collet die in your AR rifle, but as mentioned above it probably won't work It may work for 1 or 2 loadings, then full length resizing is needed. Depends on chamber size, pressure of the load, fit to the magazines. Neck sizing is NOT RECOMMENDED
November 23, 2008, 03:31 PM
I progressively reload for AR 5.56.
My set up (in a Lee Loadmaster) is :
Station 1: Redding type S neck sizer and de-cap
Station 2: Redding body die and prime
Station 3: Powder (Lee PPM)
Station 4: Bullet seat (Lee)
Station 5: Crimp (FCD) if desired
Cases fed into station 1 have been length checked, trimmed if required, neck chamfered and lubed.
The bushing in the neck sizer die is 3 thou smaller then the neck diameter of a loaded round (I don't crimp). This gives a very tight neck fit. For this reason I only use Boat Tail bullets so I don't shave jacket material while seating..
The body die is set such that the sized brass correctly fits into a Lyman case gauge. That's kinda important for the AR, but also makes sure that the brass is only sized the minimum amount.
I find that this set up give me very concentric bullet to case fit which gives good accuracy.. The loaded rounds that come out the other side are then tumbled in corn cob media to get rid of the lube.
You will need the FL sizing die and you will have to lube the cases. I use the Pacesetter set on a Lee classic turret. If you are loading on a turret press then you will need to add the rifle charging die and the double disk kit for the powder measure.
November 23, 2008, 04:37 PM
If memory serves me (and it usually doesn't), Lee's theory is to full length size... if the case was not shot in your gun. If the case came out of your gun, the the brass was sized to your chamber in firing, and all that's needed on subsequent loadings is the collet die.
I use a collet die to size the neck then push in a FMJBT with no crimp all without issues. But I probably only reload 500 or so .223 per year.
Since the collet die squeezes inwardly on just the neck of the case, lube would only clog the collet. No lube has worked fine for me, and that's coming from a guy that lubes every case even when sizing with carbide.
November 23, 2008, 05:13 PM
>Lee's theory is to full length size... if the case was not shot in your gun.
>If the case came out of your gun, the the brass was sized to your chamber in firing,
>and all that's needed on subsequent loadings is the collet die.
That's all true for a bolt action. Semis are a different animal to reload for. The size of the brass will depend on when extraction took place. It's always a good idea to full length size brass for a semi/full auto. But, you don't have to squish it right down. Just size it so that fits correctly into a case gauge, and no more.. I get at least 6 reloads from my 556 cases.
November 23, 2008, 05:39 PM
The size of the brass will depend on when extraction took place.Extraction has to take place after the bullet has left the barrel, pressure has dropped off, and the case has shrunk back down enough to be yanked out of the chamber.
No brass expansion can take place after extraction begins, or the case would still be stuck tightly to the chamber walls, and the extractor would just tear the rim off the case.
The only exception would be with an unlocked blow-back operated action, in which case, the empty is partially blown out of the chamber by the pressure alone.
Still, that point is well beyond when maximum chamber pressure has dropped off.
November 23, 2008, 05:42 PM
No lube is for neck sizer ONLY. MUST lube when using full length die ...
Now, I truly wish Lee would clarify their marketing statements..........They claim that it doesn't need lube, but I think they mean it doesn't need lube when you use the Collet die for neck sizing, given the unique collet action.Yep. The collet die obviously needs no lube, but the others do. Not necessarily clear to new reloaders though.
I used a Lee collet die for .222 Mag for a while. It worked very well. I switched to a set of Forster dies though.
November 23, 2008, 06:09 PM
Yes, it is VERY misleading, as This is on the back of that same piece of paper... As I fell for the " No Lube " presentation also. I figured it out AFTER they arrived.