Recommendation For .223 / 5.56 Die


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carbine85
September 30, 2012, 09:31 AM
Looks like I need to replace my 27+ year old RCB resizing die. In your opinion who's making the best dies. I use the dies for everything from mil surp brass to commercial brass.

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Yotecallr
September 30, 2012, 09:33 AM
Buy a Dillon die.

LUCKYDAWG13
September 30, 2012, 09:54 AM
i have dies made by lee RCBS Hornady & Redding
hands down get the Redding out of the 4 that i have
i think they are best

capreppy
September 30, 2012, 10:02 AM
I was able to get a National Match set on FS forums. I love it. I am building a bolt action in 223 and thinking about adding a Commpetition Neck Sizer down the road. The competition bullet sweater is great.

cfullgraf
September 30, 2012, 10:10 AM
Any die from the mainstream die manufacturers will serve you well. Each has its own little features that distinguish theirs from the others.

Frequently, my choice is based on what is in stock and available at the time I purchase.

KansasSasquatch
September 30, 2012, 10:12 AM
I like the RCBS small base dies, especially for an auto loader.

carbine85
September 30, 2012, 10:40 AM
i have dies made by lee RCBS Hornady & Redding
hands down get the Redding out of the 4 that i have
i think they are best
What makes the Redding the better choice?

LUCKYDAWG13
September 30, 2012, 02:31 PM
on my Hornady die set the Alignment sleeve sticks a lot
on the Lee die set the locking ring well they suck they need a set screw
on the RCBS there not that bad at all
they all work i just think the Redding dies are better made

carbine85
September 30, 2012, 02:43 PM
I can't complain about the RCBS. They have served me well and the customer service is great.

rcmodel
September 30, 2012, 03:47 PM
The new RCBS AR series would be my choice if I was buying dies again.

http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/ar_dies.asp

rc

243winxb
September 30, 2012, 04:23 PM
RCBS is my choice. Just bought a 2nd set after honing out my old FL dies neck.

Hondo 60
September 30, 2012, 05:23 PM
I've found no reason to buy the expensive dies.

You ammo will never know if paid $100 or you paid $30.
Lee dies, while inexpensive make ammo just as well as RCBS/Redding/Dillon/Lyman etc, etc

I have 12 sets of dies.
3 are NOT Lee, so I do have experience with the expensive dies.

GLOOB
September 30, 2012, 06:06 PM
I like Lee for 223, cuz of the frequency of crimped pockets. The Lee decapping pin doesn't mind the abuse.

lightman
September 30, 2012, 07:18 PM
They are all good.After 27yrs,why not RCBS again? Why are you replacing it,most never wear out a die? Lightman

carbine85
September 30, 2012, 07:39 PM
They are all good.After 27yrs,why not RCBS again? Why are you replacing it,most never wear out a die? Lightman
I have 2 rifles with tight chambers. The base of the die is showing wear and I have some feed problems. I'll bet this die has at least 15K of brass through it.

helotaxi
September 30, 2012, 08:05 PM
I'll bet this die has at least 15K of brass through it.That's a good start. Not nearly enough to wear a die appreciably and certainly not enough to wear one out unless you make a habit of sizing filthy brass.

I don't particularly like the Lee die because of the "feature" that allows the decapping rod to slip. I've never broken a decapping pin on any other .223 die and that slipping rod (usually on PMC brass) is just annoying.

I've never had cases stick like they did with the Lyman .223 die I had. Neither type nor application method for lube seemed to matter. It's in a land fill somewhere now.

The FL die that I use now is a Forster. The expander button sits up high, meaning that on the down-stroke, the neck of the case is still being held in alignment by the neck of the die when the expander starts into the neck. Keeps the neck straight. Even with that, I run all my .223 (and most every other rifle cartridge that I load progressively) through a Lee collet neck sizing die. Makes the neck tension very consistent and all but completely eliminates runout.

KansasSasquatch
September 30, 2012, 08:20 PM
If your rifles have right chambers I will suggest the RCBS Small Base set again. Plus the pins on them are very easy to change and only cost about $3 for a 5 pack. I personally keep a pack of pins and an rod as both parts are cheap and easy to replace. The die won't work properly without them so it's nice to have spares on hand, even though hey aren't likely to break if used properly.

GLOOB
October 1, 2012, 05:05 AM
I don't particularly like the Lee die because of the "feature" that allows the decapping rod to slip. I've never broken a decapping pin on any other .223 die and that slipping rod (usually on PMC brass) is just annoying.
I love this feature. And Lee decapping pins and spindles are a wider and stronger than most. Of course, if you have never broken a pin, I can see why you wouldn't care. I can tell you it doesn't take much to break a Hornady pin. By the time you realize something's amiss, the decapping pin is broken and the spindle is bent. This could be due to a small stone covering the flash hole which pushes the pin off axis, a badly misplaced flash hole, a European case with smaller flash hole, or maybe even a Berdan primed case that snuck into your pile. The slipping pin was how I discovered that 9mm DAG cases have a small flashhole. Much less annoying that bending a spindle or breaking a pin. And I've stuck two cases in my Lee 223 die and hammered both out by the spindle, and the spindle/pin survived, straight and true. The one time it took full force blows with a 3 pound sledge hammer with the die supported by the ring between two blocks of hardwood over concrete. I was prepared to break the die and buy a new one, let alone buy a new spindle. But I'm still using the darn thing. In fact, this should be capitalized on. Lee should make the spindle a little longer, so you can hammer out a stuck case just by loosening the collet instead of completely removing it. This would keep the spindle centered while you're smacking it.

If the pin is slipping on normal cases like PMC, you should be able to tighten the collet enough to fix this, after quickly and easily tapping the spindle back down with a hammer.

joed
October 1, 2012, 06:02 AM
Lots of choices, most all being good. My experience has been mostly with RCBS, I swore by their dies for 30 years.

But, I've had trouble with their decapping pins breaking when used on progressive presses. The .223 dies I got have something going on too, I can't get anything I reload to work in an auto. RCBS was always good about replacing the pins and I bet if I figured out what's going on with the .223 die they'd stand behind it too. But I grew tired of calling for decapping pins or other parts.

About 5 years ago I tried Dillon dies. After the first set I haven't looked back. I have started replacing every sizing die I have with Dillon. Another good choice is Redding as someone above suggested.

One of the benefits of the Dillon dies is you won't break decapping pins. On my 9mm die when I get a berdan primed case the pin just retracts without breaking.

Hypnogator
October 1, 2012, 10:46 AM
In order of preference: Dillon, Redding, RCBS, Lee. Steer clear of Hornady dies -- the "zip spindle" is too easily bent.

KansasSasquatch
October 1, 2012, 12:14 PM
I don't much like Hornady rifle dies but I have no issues with their pistol dies.

Shmackey
October 1, 2012, 12:18 PM
I don't much like Hornady rifle dies but I have no issues with their pistol dies.
Indeed, Hornady pistol dies are the best I've used. But I use Redding for rifle.

ranger335v
October 1, 2012, 12:41 PM
I have some 50+ die sets for 30+ calibers in an assortment of all current brands (except Dillon) and some that are no longer available. I've measured and shot the output of all of the sizers and haven't found any consistant dimensional advantage to any of them. They're all made to SAAMI standards and that's range, not a specific point. Anything inside the range is fully as 'precise' as anything else so there's a much variation within a brand as there is between brands, within the tolerance range what we actually get with a new die is pure luck.

Steel sizers are case hardened to last for 100K to 200K, sizing 15K is meaningless; it's much more likely you need a small base sizer.

ArchAngelCD
October 1, 2012, 01:12 PM
I have a lot of dies, most are Lee with a set of Hornady and a few RCBS die sets thrown in. I can not see any quality of ammo differences between the 3 company's dies. I, like many others don't like the locking ring on the Lee dies but it doesn't matter for me with handgun dies because I use a turret press for handgun ammo and once they are on the turret i rarely move them. The RCBS and Hornady dies seem to be made better than the Lee dies but like I said, the ammo produced seems to be the same. The one set of Hornady dies I do have are for the 45-70 (bought used at a very low price) and they make great ammo and are very smooth. I just might like them better than the Lee dies but I won't spend the money to buy them new.

Sniper66
October 1, 2012, 01:24 PM
If you got 27 years of use out of RCBS, why change?

zxcvbob
October 1, 2012, 01:26 PM
I bought a set of Lee RGB dies (less than $20 for the set. I didn't need a shellholder) and have been perfectly happy with them, like all Lee dies.

I am thinking about getting a small-base die to use with range picked-up brass to see if that helps because every once in a while they don't want to eject (new Mini-14.) 100% reliability is more important than long brass life -- but I can probably switch back to the Lee die after they've been fired in my gun once.

hentown
October 1, 2012, 02:54 PM
I use the RCBS X die for bulk .223 reloading for my ARs. However, I will admit that my Dillon 650 runs smoother and I have fewer problems with a regular old Lee steel sizing die. I don't use/have never seen a need for small base dies.

The only Redding dies I own are for .40 Super, and I'd have to agree that the Redding dies are probably slicker than the other dies that I use. They're not so much "slicker," however, that I'd swap out my Lee dies for Redding.

GLOOB
October 1, 2012, 04:05 PM
I am thinking about getting a small-base die to use with range picked-up brass to see if that helps because every once in a while they don't want to eject (new Mini-14.) 100% reliability is more important than long brass life -- but I can probably switch back to the Lee die after they've been fired in my gun once.

If it's reliability you're after, you ought to just toss the problem cases. Small base dies are good if your chamber is cut too tight and you're using it for just your own brass. Or to get a little more life out of your own brass that has started to not size all the way. But if you're stuffing oversized range pickups through it just to get it to fit a normal chamber, then you're going to get more case head separations. These could have been fired out of a sloppy big chamber, and they could separate on the first reloading. Case head separations = jams, so brass life and reliability go hand in hand.

If you picked it up or otherwise acquired it history unknown, and it doesn't fit a chamber gauge after sizing, toss.

I made the mistake of annealing the shoulder and resizing these problem cases when I got my first batch of brass. They passed the paperclip test, so I figured they'd be fine. I got a bunch of casehead separations on my first two reloadings, and I figured the whole batch was probably just tired. Well, the separations are becoming less frequent the more I reload this batch. I haven't had any on the third round of reloading; I have a hunch the initially oversized ones are mostly weeded out, now. I was getting ready to scrap the whole lot and replace with once-fired. But now that I'm starting to see neck cracks and no longer seeing case head separations, I'm going to continue using these cases to see what pans out. Neck cracks, I like. No jam, just don't reload.

cfullgraf
October 1, 2012, 04:29 PM
But if you're stuffing oversized range pickups through it just to get it to fit a normal chamber, then you're going to get more case head separations. These could have been fired out of a sloppy big chamber, and they could separate on the first reloading. Case head separations = jams, so brass life and reliability go hand in hand.



If small base dies are adjusted correctly, it is the range pick cases that were the cause of head separations. They were well on the way of head separating before being run through the small base die.

This is one reason I leave range brass lie unless I see the fellow shooting it and I know it is good stuff. Not worth the head aches.

If I only had one semi-auto 223 Remington rifle, I would probably use standard resizing dies. Since I have several semi-auto 223 Remington rifles with a variety of chambers from a variety of barrel makers, I use a small base resizing die. I have no interest in segregating cartridges by rifles. (My service rifle match rifle is the sole exception, but it uses a different load anyway).

helotaxi
October 1, 2012, 07:34 PM
If the pin is slipping on normal cases like PMC, you should be able to tighten the collet enough to fix this, after quickly and easily tapping the spindle back down with a hammer.

I actually had the collet for the spindle tightened with a large wrench. It had trouble with only PMC brass. Regardless of how tight the collet was, the spindle would get pushed up through it. I kept a hammer next to the the press and a good whack not only put the spindle back where it belonged but would also break the sealant on the primer that was the problem in the first place.

On the other hand last week I was loading .45 Auto and didn't realize that one of the cases had a 9mm case stuck in it until I felt a little more resistance than normal. When it was all said and done the RCBS decapping pin had punched through the 9mm primer, pushed its anvil through the flash hole on the 45 case and decapped it. No stress on the spindle or pin at all.

I clean brass before it gets near my dies. If I'm not sure whether a case is Berdan or Boxer primed it either gets closely examined with a flashlight or, in the case of .223 and 9mm, left at the range. Brass is cheap. Work stoppage for a broken pin that is entirely my fault isn't. The only decapping pin problem I've had was with a piece with such a small flash hole that it actually pulled the pin out of a Lee collet neck die. I'd loaded 160rds in that session using prepped brass so I didn't notice that the pin was missing until I was done. Ended up pulling every bullet in that batch without finding the missing pin. Wasn't until I went to load them again that I found it.

oneounceload
October 1, 2012, 07:44 PM
Call RCBS - the dies are guaranteed for life - most likely they will replace it if it is worn out somehow. I have RCBS dies that are 35 years old and still work just like new

greyling22
October 1, 2012, 07:52 PM
I, like gloob, like lee for the mostly unbreakable decapping pin when removing stuck cases, however, I have a couple of tight chambers and the lee doesn't size them down quite enough. That could be a machining tolerance that was only on one run of dies for all I know though.

tryshoot
October 1, 2012, 07:55 PM
I have LEE and RCBS dies in 10 cals. I like the lee dies better. Esp. in pistol calibers.

Baryngyl
October 6, 2012, 05:48 AM
I, like gloob, like lee for the mostly unbreakable decapping pin when removing stuck cases, however, I have a couple of tight chambers and the lee doesn't size them down quite enough. That could be a machining tolerance that was only on one run of dies for all I know though.
I just bought a new LEE 223 die set and 1,500 once fired 223 cases (mixed Mil/Com), while decapping the 1,500 cases I ended up breaking 2 of the mostly unbreakable decapping pin when I ran into berdan primed cases, I wish they had just slid up. Maybe I should have them set a bit looser.
LEE did replace both decapping pins free of charge but I did end up having to wait a few days for them to get to me before I could continue sizing cases.

Michael Grace

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