.223 Reloading NewBie


June 15, 2011, 10:38 AM
Greetings to All;

I'm still new to the entire reloading venue. Up until now I have only reloaded for my 9mm, only about 2000 rounds so far. I feel pretty confident with my 9mm reloads. But now, I am going into new territory: .223 :confused:

So, I have my Hornady Lock-n-Load Press set with the de-priming / re-sizing die in station one, collet sizing die in station number two, powder in station three, Hornady powder cop in station 4 and bullet seating in number five. I think that this is all correct, (so far).

With this said here is my delima: After I have deprimed the cases, resized and cleaned the case, I find myself confused now.... Why? We'll when I reload my 9mm I have a die that opens up the brass just enough so I can place the bullet on top of the brass for easy seating. But with the .223 brass, this doesn't seem to be the case.

So, what am I missing? Do I need to get another die for expanding the case ? I am sure it's a small thing I am missing but all of my research has failed to uncover the answer.

Thanks for any help.
Seattle Area

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June 15, 2011, 11:04 AM
Bottle neck cartridges do not get expanded. Your reloading manual should discuss the differences between loading for bottle neck and strait wall/tapered wall cartridges.

I don't know anything about the LNL, but w/ a dillon progressive, the powder drop stem bells the case on a strait wall cartridge and when loading bottle neck, the stem is ajusted high enough to not damage the case neck.

I've heard of people neck sizing after full-length, but I don't see the purpose.

June 15, 2011, 11:42 AM

No belling done on bottle-neck rifle calibers using jacketed bullets.
Your collet sizing die should have a mandrel that prevents undersizing the neck.

Just seat the bullets.
It helps to chamfer the case necks if you are loading flat base bullets.
But it's a good idea even when using boat-tails.


June 15, 2011, 12:21 PM
Why are you using both the Full Length Sizing/ Depriming Die and the collet sizing die at the same time. Usually, one or the other is used, not both. Full Length size for once fired brass that wasn't fired in your rifle and the collet die for neck sizing only of brass you have fired in your rifle.

Nothing bad is happening other than unnecessary working of the case neck which could lead to premature failure but just wondering why you're using both dies when one is all that is necessary.

June 15, 2011, 02:19 PM
I'm using a seperate collet sizing die that came with the Lee Die set for .223. So, this is not needed? As initially stated, I am new to .223 reloading.


June 15, 2011, 02:27 PM
No, you don't use both sizing dies at the same time.

For an AR-15 or other auto-loader, you should use the regular FL sizing die to insure proper functioning.

The collet neck sizing die is for bolt-actions that can use neck-sized cases. If it chambers tight, you can just crank harder on the bolt handle.

As for seating, just set the bullet on the top of the case and run it up in the seating die.
That will center it and start it in the case, and then finish seating it straight.


June 15, 2011, 02:35 PM
No neck expander for 223. Just what everyone else is saying just make sure that they will load smoothly for an AR but if for a bolt then it can just be different for every gun. Test fit and adjust if you need then test fit again. Find what works for your rifle. A micrometer is a must have also.

June 15, 2011, 02:45 PM
No neck expander for 223.
Actually, there is a neck expander button on the depriming stem in a FL sizing die.

What you don't have is an expand & bell stem in a third die like for handgun & straight wall rifle calibers.


June 15, 2011, 02:58 PM

One more piece of advice, more inaccurate ammunition is reloaded because the expander button is off center than any other reason. If you put a small o-ring under the locking nut the expander button will be able the float. Or do not tighten the lock nut until the expander button has just started to enter the neck and then gently tighten the lock nut.

The reason the Lee Collet die is noted for accuracy is because the mandrel floats and can not pull the neck off center with the axis of the bore.

From Speer reloading manual #9
Modern Benchrest Reloading Techniques




June 15, 2011, 04:03 PM
I appreciate all of the good information here.

Thank You

June 15, 2011, 04:05 PM
As stated by others, the full length sizing die sizes both the body and neck of the brass, and expands the neck as the brass is withdrawn from the die. The collet die sizes only the neck by compressing the neck brass against a mandrel to establish the required neck diameter/tension. No need to use both and no need to further expand the neck for bullet seating.
The bullet seating die is similar to a pistol die, in that it can be adjusted to seat and crimp. Here is where folks disagree some on the need to crimp rifle rounds. Especially in 223, you might try Not crimping and see if you get any bullet setback in the rifle. I never have and have not crimped in nearly 40 years of rifle loading for bolt guns and semi-autos. Many folks do crimp and have good success, but if you bulge the shoulder during crimping, you will not be a happy camper until you figure it out.
Good luck with your new experience in loading!

November 15, 2011, 05:03 PM
I ..

November 15, 2011, 08:14 PM
So, what am I missing?

Not sure what type of bullet you are using but a boat tail bullet can be your friend when it comes to seating. Flat base bullets are a PITA for me.

sean eady
November 15, 2011, 08:18 PM
Didn't see any mention of trimming the cases. Make sure you trim after re sizing.

November 15, 2011, 08:25 PM
And make sure you chamfer & debur after trimming!! :D


Hondo 60
November 16, 2011, 09:55 PM
After resizing/depriming, you need to make sure that all your brass is the same length.
The "Trim to" length for 223 is 1.750.

I usually let my brass go if it's 1.755 or shorter.
As rcmodel said: make sure you chamfer & debur after trimming!!

Then it doesn't matter if you use boattail or flat based bullets
Although BT are always easier to seat

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