Talk me out of buying a small base sizing die


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SWThomas
December 9, 2013, 05:38 PM
So I'm getting my feet wet loading 308 for my AR-10. I posted a thread a week or so ago and a member mentioned using a small based sizing die. I'm currently using Dillon dies and have loaded 50 rounds with them. All rounds fired perfectly in my AR-10. But the comment about the die got me worried that I may be doing something wrong. What would be the benefit of switching to a small based sizing die, and what problems could arise if I don't?

Do any of you guys use regular dies to size 308 for an AR-10, and if so, have you experienced any problems?

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cfullgraf
December 9, 2013, 05:57 PM
Dillon claims their resizing dies are made to minimum dimensions. Some folks even call them "small base".

For cases fired in your rifle, regular sizing dies should work just fine.

But, if you buy once fired cases, they may have been fired in a machine gun and your die may not resize them enough to chamber. Just be aware and do some checking after buy some once fired cases.

Hope this helps.

Grumulkin
December 9, 2013, 07:00 PM
I used to think the small based die thing was a bunch of baloney. I had loaded for a couple of semiautos in 308 Winchester with no problems using a regular die. Then came an M1 Garand that, until I switched to a small base die, had multiple closed bolt slam fires. The day came that I switched 308 Winchester dies (new but regular dies) and the semiauto that had functioned fine with the older dies had multiple episodes of failure to feed and failure to cycle until I bumped the shoulders back a little.

In conclusion, I think many get by with regular dies in reloading for semiautos but exceptions occur. If your gun functions well with brass sized with your die/shell holder combination I would continue doing what you're doing.

Rule3
December 9, 2013, 07:22 PM
This may help:


http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2013/09/intro-to-full-length-dies-neck-sizing-dies-and-small-base-dies/

SWThomas
December 9, 2013, 07:39 PM
....................

rcmodel
December 9, 2013, 07:51 PM
Talk me out of buying a small base sizing die O.K..

Don't buy a small base sizing die.

I have been reloading .223 for AR-15's, mini-14's, and Remington and CZ-527 bolt-actions since 1970.

With a standard RCBS sizing die.

You DO NOT need a Sm. base die unless your standard FL die will not resize cases so they will chamber again.

And it sounds like your Dillon die is doing just that perfectly fine!

rc

USSR
December 9, 2013, 07:59 PM
Right now I'm chasing the accuracy goal with my GAP-10 but I will be having a precision bolt gun built soon. Here goes...

- Turning case necks

- Using bench rest primers VS standard primers

- Using competition seating dies over standard dies

- Crimping and not crimping

- Loading to be just off the lands or kissing the lands

- Uniforming primer pockets

- Deburring flash holes

- Bumping shoulders VS resizing to factory specs

Okay, here goes.

- Turning case necks: Don't waste your time - buy Lapua brass.

- Using bench rest primers VS standard primers: Buy the Russian primers (Tula/Wolf) - very low ES/SD numbers and much cheaper.

- Using competition seating dies over standard dies: I use a competition seating die - makes for much easier adjustments for bullet seating depth.

- Crimping and not crimping: NEVER CRIMP BULLETS THAT DON'T HAVE A CANNELURE - and you will be using match bullets that don't have a cannelure.

- Loading to be just off the lands or kissing the lands: Either be more than .010" into the lands or more than .010" off the lands. Match bullets come off of different machines and the ogive location will vary by up to .010".

- Uniforming primer pockets: I do it - doesn't take much time.

- Deburring flash holes: I do it - doesn't take much time.

- Bumping shoulders VS resizing to factory specs: I use a combination of a body die which bumps the shoulder back and resizes the case body, and a bushing neck sizer die.

Hope that helps.

Don

27hand
December 9, 2013, 10:20 PM
It's been close to 30 years since I started reloading 30-06 for my Rem pump 760 but I seem to remember reading that sm base dies should be used for this rifle.

I never had anything but small base dies so don't know if anything else would work.

GW Staar
December 9, 2013, 11:57 PM
O.K..

Don't buy a small base sizing die.

I have been reloading .223 for AR-15's, mini-14's, and Remington and CZ-527 bolt-actions since 1970.

With a standard RCBS sizing die.

You DO NOT need a Sm. base die unless your standard FL die will not resize cases so they will chamber again.

And it sounds like your Dillon die is doing just that perfectly fine!

rc

That's because ALL Dillon sizers for bottleneck cartridges are small-based dies. Go ahead, ask them.

To the O.P.: It's true that regular (non-small-based) dies sometimes work fine in the rifle you have and if that's true in yours, no need for an RCBS small-based die (or Dillon sizer), unless ...... 1. You plan to build up a stash of handloads for the future, to work in any AR rifle you could possibly own, find, or steal in the years to come ..... or 2. You want handloads as predictable and dependable as factory. Keep in mind that most factory loads are sized smaller at the base than even small-based dies.

That said, reliability (and safety) of your handloads depends on other factors too. Brass quality (always a factor with used brass), headspacing that allows bolts (in all guns you may shoot) to close and lock reliably every time, yet not over-stretch cases, and of course being able to load a safe, dependable, powder charge, repeatably.

And don't believe the myth that squeezing the base circumference by another .001" is harder on brass as pushing a shoulder back .004" or more.

gamestalker
December 10, 2013, 12:45 AM
If your firearm is not having any problems chambering the cartridges with the current dies your using, then I don't believe there is a need for a SB die. From what I understand, SB dies are only needed when you are encountering chambering issues due to the bottom portion of the brass needing to be sized down slightly smaller.

I currently load without them, and I haven't had any issues. But again, every firearm is different, some benefit from them, some don't.

GS

blarby
December 10, 2013, 12:45 AM
You DO NOT need a Sm. base die unless your standard FL die will not resize cases so they will chamber again.

Gospel.

That's because ALL Dillon sizers for bottleneck cartridges are small-based dies. Go ahead, ask them.

Also true.

Asked and answered ?

GLOOB
December 10, 2013, 02:01 AM
I suggest you buy a small base die if your chamber is tight. If it's not, then don't.

But either way, I suggest you put any new pickups of unknown origin into a case gauge, BEFORE you size them. A case gauge measures the shoulder, not the case body. If the case is too big to fit at all, it's not going to size right, so chuck it. It should be pretty close, even if it's unsized.

ArchAngelCD
December 10, 2013, 04:03 AM
I think this falls under the heading of: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Like said above, your Dillon dies seem to be working just fine so buying small base dies isn't necessary.

3GunEric
December 10, 2013, 05:08 AM
Use small base if you are having problems. I have been loading 20+ years for auto loading rifles, many calibers w/Dillon dies- no problems. Don't anticipate issues where none exist.

jmorris
December 10, 2013, 09:15 AM
I don't use small base dies. If my rifles won't run on ammunition resized to factory dimentions that fit my case gauge, then I fix the rifle.

I don't need a gun that won't run on factory ammo and needs special undersized rounds to work.

Laphroaig
December 10, 2013, 07:10 PM
Everything I own works fine with regular dies, except the Model of 1917 I bought last summer. It must have been chambered with a worn reamer or something because the chamber is tight. Its killin' me to buy that die for a gun I'll probably not shoot that often. A buddy is sizing some brass with his SB die and I'll probably try neck sizing for future reloads before I take the plunge.

Laphroaig

119er
December 10, 2013, 09:19 PM
I'm getting bulk milsurp once fired 5.56 cases sized to minimum on a case gauge with no problems in a Redding standard F/L die. If I have one that is really hard to resize I make sure to pull it out of the plate and check it in the case gauge.

GW Staar
December 11, 2013, 12:30 AM
I don't use small base dies. If my rifles won't run on ammunition resized to factory dimentions that fit my case gauge, then I fix the rifle.

I don't need a gun that won't run on factory ammo and needs special undersized rounds to work.

Who does? But we're not talking about sizing less than factory dimensions. Stock sizers currently made by RCBS or Dillon or anyone else, regular or small-based, certainly don't.

Factory ammo is smaller in circumference near the base than that resized with either regular dies or small-base dies.

Put another way.....to make ammunition resized to factory dimensions near the base of the cartridge, you really would have to have special dies built that size smaller than either small-based or regular dies do.

Regular dies may make you ammo that fits your case gauge, but they are still bigger around near the base than factory.

For example: I just grabbed 2 cartridges and 1 fired case of Remington Core-Lokt .308 (1 new factory cartridge, 1 case fired out of my Remington R25, and one cartridge resized with an RCBS small-base sizer). I measured the circumference of each case .300" from the case head. Results below:

New factory cartridge measured .464"
Fired factory case measured .469",
The small-base resized cartridge measured .466"

So....if you want to resize back to factory you need dies that size .002 smaller than small-based dies!

The difference between small-based sized and regular sized is typically only .001"....rarely .002", but that .001" is enough to increase the number guns that reliably shoot reloads to very near the 100% goal. Regular dies don't.

The only rifles that need "fixing" are those with out of spec chambers. Chambers cut closer to the minimum specs, but yet are still within spec, are done to increase accuracy. The Remington R25 I have (DPMS made) is extremely accurate for a factory rifle....but it won't shoot Wolf Ammo reliably, let alone reloads sized with regular sizers. I'm not about to "fix" a rifle that shoots sub MOA using good factory ammo, or small-base sized reloads.

GW Staar
December 11, 2013, 12:57 AM
Gospel.

That's because ALL Dillon sizers for bottleneck cartridges are small-based dies. Go ahead, ask them.
Also true.

Asked and answered ?

Yes.

http://www.dillonprecision.com/Dillon_223_rem_sizing_die-98-14-311.htm

savanahsdad
December 11, 2013, 02:17 AM
ok,, like others have said , it sounds like you don't need them , some more food for thought ..IF you did need them , in order for a small base die to do it's job you have to run your case all they way in them , witch bumps your shoulder back to minimum, working your base more than it may need to be , shorting brass life, and giving you more head space than you my want, I'm a firm believer in working my brass as little as possible , it will last longer and shoot tighter groups,

cfullgraf
December 11, 2013, 06:00 AM
IF you did need them , in order for a small base die to do it's job you have to run your case all they way in them , witch bumps your shoulder back to minimum, working your base more than it may need to be , shorting brass life, and giving you more head space than you my want,

If you did need small base dies to get the case to chamber, case life becomes irrelevant. If you cannot chamber the case because it is not sized enough, what good is it?

My experience with 223 Remington, which I exclusively resize in small base dies, is my case life is still the same. Maybe I shorten the life of the base of the case, but I scrap the case before that happens for other reasons.

Case gauges for bottle neck rifle cases such as those offered by Dillon and Wilson do not measure the diameter of the body. They are cut generously in that dimension. Check the manufacturers' information. Therefore, they are not an indicator that one needs small base dies. They are not chamber gauges.

The vast majority of folks do not need small base dies for their semi-auto rifles. But, of those folks, many take the stand that "I do not need a small base resizing die with my rifle, never have, so nobody needs them" and will not recognize that a small percentage of guns under certain circumstances benefit from small base sizing of cases.

jmorris
December 11, 2013, 09:15 AM
Put another way.....to make ammunition resized to factory dimensions near the base of the cartridge, you really would have to have special dies built that size smaller than either small-based or regular dies do.

Roll or push through sizers are what you need if you are trying to resize the rim or very bottom of the case. No size die can fix what it can't touch.

savanahsdad
December 11, 2013, 10:30 AM
Roll or push through sizers are what you need if you are trying to resize the rim or very bottom of the case. No size die can fix what it can't touch.
if you needed to resize the rim I would think the primers would be falling out at that point ,

lets make this simple .. if you need them , get them , if you don't , then don't, however if you get a round stuck in your AR ....... well lets just say that's when the fun starts !! trust me ..... you can also do as I did and have a 3rd die in your set that only sizes the web down to what it needs to be

jmorris
December 11, 2013, 06:03 PM
if you needed to resize the rim I would think the primers would be falling out at that point

Machine guns with loose chambers can let a case expand that would normally be trash but can be fixed with a machine that can fix the base. There are many ways for the rim to get dinged up that can be ironed out with the machines I am talking about.

GW Staar
December 12, 2013, 11:10 AM
ok,, like others have said , it sounds like you don't need them , some more food for thought ..IF you did need them , in order for a small base die to do it's job you have to run your case all they way in them , witch bumps your shoulder back to minimum, working your base more than it may need to be , shorting brass life, and giving you more head space than you my want, I'm a firm believer in working my brass as little as possible , it will last longer and shoot tighter groups,

No, it's the other way around. To make a regular die work you often have to push the die in all the way in, plus a quarter turn. Backing them out to bump the shoulder less leaves the case even bigger around, and increases the chance for hard bolt closure. (that's one of the reasons besides squibs and dbl loads, where "reloads" got a bad name.)

On the other hand if you have a small-base die, you start out smaller, so if you need to bump the shoulder less you can and still have the base area small enough to close nearly all bolts safely into battery. I'm pretty sure Dillon figured that out a long time ago, and thus cut all their sizers smaller to work in all rifles not just bolt actions....with a minimum of case working.

If RCBS can be faulted in this area, its because they chose to make small-based dies, (including the newest latest whiz bang AR die sets including taper crimpers (also a good idea)), separately, as a marketing decision to sell more dies. And why not? You can size minimally if you have a rifle that allows it. So then you can have separate dies for bolt action hunters , and AR's.....or you can buy one, a small-based die and get by pretty fair with either.

I still maintain, that the best reason to use small-based dies is if you want to load a storage room full of ammo, and want to end up with ammo that will shoot in any gun of that caliber, NOT just the gun you had when you reloaded it.....that got stolen or traded!;) (the only other way to be sure, is to save your pennies and fill it with factory).

Think about it....the two most serious reasons a smart buyer chooses NOT to buy reloads at a gun show (or an estate sale): 1. No first hand knowledge of the type and amount of propellant in each case. and 2. No first hand knowledge that it will load in your rifle....even if the seller assures you the regular sizers were set to "cam over!"

Roll or push through sizers are what you need if you are trying to resize the rim or very bottom of the case. No size die can fix what it can't touch.

Of course, but neither small-based sizers nor regular sizers size that low. The "base" they are referring to is the base of the die where sizing actually starts, not the case, not the shell holder, but the bottom of the sizer .

The damaged machine gun brass you are referring to is best bought cheap enough to recycle.......or not at all.....of course unless you are jmorris with the tools and skill to machine it back.:)

fguffey
December 13, 2013, 10:01 AM
Turn the die in 1/4 (.017") turn after contact with the shell holder? And still, no ones measures to determines if the die made down to the shell holder when the ram is raised. Then there is turning the die down an additional 1/4 turn or .035 and still no contact between the shell holder and die.

I went to help a friend, I raised the ram, I adjusted the die to the shell holder, no luck, I lowered the die two full turns, the gap between the bottom of the die and top of the shell holder was .017 on an AMMO MASTER press.
I made a comparator to measure new, unfired factor arsenal made ammo with his fired and sized cases, he did not like the results. He would not consider the case had more resistance to sizing than his press could overcome.

He had no interest in improving on the Imperial sizing wax or the Dillon in the can or bottle.

F. Guffey

Swampman
December 14, 2013, 03:53 AM
Talk me out of buying a small base sizing die
OK, let me try.

From the Dillon website:

"All Dillon rifle dies are small-based, with a carbide expander ball."

See it for yourself here:
http://m.dillonprecision.com/mcontent/p/98/catid/14/artid/311

I submit that if you're not talked out of buying a new set of small base dies at this point, you should really consider buying some of the special vintage air that I have for sale, we deliver it fresh daily via the wind and the price is very reasonable, now, exactly how MUCH money do you have... :evil:

hentown
December 14, 2013, 08:25 AM
I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds for ARs. Never had a jam yet. Can't imagine why you'd need a small base die, unless your AR is jamming, due to improperly-sized brass.

savanahsdad
December 14, 2013, 09:39 PM
ok.. maybe I should have picked different words in post #20,

dose your ammo work in your rifle, after you size and load it up ? if yes then . no you don't need small base dies , the point I was trying to make was if your ammo fits and works in your gun and you went and got smaller/tighter dies , your ammo would fit looser , stretching more when fired and squeezed back more than needed when reloaded "working the brass"



and I guess we would need to witch one you fall under

RELOADER = someone that loads up a bunch of reloads to shoot in a bunch of guns ,

or..

HANDLOADER = someone that handloads for one gun with the goal of making the best ammo he can, that fits that one gun the best the Handloader can


I'm a reloader for 9mm and a Handloader for all other cals...




.

cfullgraf
December 14, 2013, 10:27 PM
Can't imagine why you'd need a small base die,

I could not imagine it either until I got two 223 Remington ARs that would not accept cases fired in other rifles and then resized in a standard resize die.

There must be some need if Redding, RCBS and especially Dillon offer small base resizing dies.

savanahsdad
December 15, 2013, 02:39 PM
No, it's the other way around. To make a regular die work you often have to push the die in all the way in, plus a quarter turn. Backing them out to bump the shoulder less leaves the case even bigger around, and increases the chance for hard bolt closure. (that's one of the reasons besides squibs and dbl loads, where "reloads" got a bad name.)

On the other hand if you have a small-base die, you start out smaller, so if you need to bump the shoulder less you can and still have the base area small enough to close nearly all bolts safely into battery. I'm pretty sure Dillon figured that out a long time ago, and thus cut all their sizers smaller to work in all rifles not just bolt actions....with a minimum of case working.

If RCBS can be faulted in this area, its because they chose to make small-based dies, (including the newest latest whiz bang AR die sets including taper crimpers (also a good idea)), separately, as a marketing decision to sell more dies. And why not? You can size minimally if you have a rifle that allows it. So then you can have separate dies for bolt action hunters , and AR's.....or you can buy one, a small-based die and get by pretty fair with either.

I still maintain, that the best reason to use small-based dies is if you want to load a storage room full of ammo, and want to end up with ammo that will shoot in any gun of that caliber, NOT just the gun you had when you reloaded it.....that got stolen or traded!;) (the only other way to be sure, is to save your pennies and fill it with factory).

Think about it....the two most serious reasons a smart buyer chooses NOT to buy reloads at a gun show (or an estate sale): 1. No first hand knowledge of the type and amount of propellant in each case. and 2. No first hand knowledge that it will load in your rifle....even if the seller assures you the regular sizers were set to "cam over!"



Of course, but neither small-based sizers nor regular sizers size that low. The "base" they are referring to is the base of the die where sizing actually starts, not the case, not the shell holder, but the bottom of the sizer .

The damaged machine gun brass you are referring to is best bought cheap enough to recycle.......or not at all.....of course unless you are jmorris with the tools and skill to machine it back.:)
first off I have never pushed a "DIE IN".. the case goes in the die . (maybe a mis type on your part) and all the way in is all the way in ,another 1/4 turn will not make the case go more than all the way in , it may even keep my Pacific from camming over ,, and to get the full use out of small base dies you need to run the case all the way in .and push the shoulder back. if you were trying to point out that you can use a small base die the same way as a FLD , you are right , but if you back it off you will no longer be seizing the base all the way . so yes you could use a small base die for all your loading , but why?..

as for over working the brass .. click on the link on post #4

and this is the first time I've heard "pushing the shoulder back makes the case bigger around " ? my Redding and Lee dies support the case full length that's is why there called FLD's (there is some pictures of this on the above link as well.)

reloads at gun shows , not here , you need a manufacture license to sell reloads , it's the law, and our gun shows are all on the up and up , at least any I have gone to.

GW Staar
December 16, 2013, 12:28 AM
first off I have never pushed a "DIE IN".. the case goes in the die . (maybe a mis type on your part) and all the way in is all the way in ,another 1/4 turn will not make the case go more than all the way in , it may even keep my Pacific from camming over ,, and to get the full use out of small base dies you need to run the case all the way in .and push the shoulder back. if you were trying to point out that you can use a small base die the same way as a FLD , you are right , but if you back it off you will no longer be seizing the base all the way . so yes you could use a small base die for all your loading , but why?..

Okay you got me on two typos and maybe the second should have been reworded as well, sigh, never said I was perfect. ....die should have read case....and 1/4 turn should have read 1/4" turn....which is just enough past touching the shellholder to the die to allow my Rock Chucker to cam over. Cam-over insures "all the way in" even for your Pacific.

as for over working the brass .. click on the link on post #4

Okay, clicked on it! it says "the downside is case life is really shortened especially compared to brass used in only one bolt action rifle, because the brass is worked more."

Well that's not a surprise. They are comparing apples and oranges...brass sized in a small-based die is usually for AR's or lever actions, not brass neck-sized and shot out of a single bolt action.

The extraction process out of an AR does more damage to brass (hurting brass life) than squeezing the area above the base a whole extra .001"....and a shooter isn't going to reload for an AR with a neck sizer. And the "hair" that the shoulder is bumped....???? As compared to what....regular dies often bump the shoulders too much.....further than .004" sometimes even .007" If a small based die bumps a "hair" maybe that hair is .004"....they didn't say. Neck sizing for a bolt gun for competition, isn't going to bump much at all........we wouldn't want to try that in an Semi, would we.

Again quoting from your quote: "The upside is you get precision handloads that should work flawlessly in your semiautomatic." That sounds like an endorsement to me. ;)



and this is the first time I've heard "pushing the shoulder back makes the case bigger around " ?

Well you still haven't heard it.....I actually said, "Backing them out to bump the shoulder less leaves the case even bigger around, and increases the chance for hard bolt closure."


my Redding and Lee dies support the case full length that's is why there called FLD's (there is some pictures of this on the above link as well.)

Yes and so do RCBS regular and small-based dies, but people back them out a little (yes away from the shell holder) to bump the shoulders less....and when they do so they don't size as small at the base area.....same goes with your Reddings and Lees.

Backing off a die a few thousandths to bump the shoulder LESS will size the base less on any regular sizer or small based sizer.....but the .001" difference will most likely still exist between regular and small based sized brass.

reloads at gun shows , not here , you need a manufacture license to sell reloads , it's the law, and our gun shows are all on the up and up , at least any I have gone to.

Surely I'm not the only one who's seen reloads for sale at a gun show. Maybe they've closed the dangerous practice....good....but I've been going to gun shows for 40 years.

Hey, I'm not trying to do anything here more than point out that small-based dies have been misunderstood, and really have a legitimate purpose. That purpose is producing reliable ammo for semi-autos that can be shot in any gun chambered for that caliber......and that's only true with one other type of ammo.....factory.

savanahsdad
December 16, 2013, 01:37 AM
^^^^ there we go, now we seem to agree , and where you said leaves them bigger , I thought you meant makes them bigger , lol my bad !
and I never said small base dies didn't have a place , the first time I heard of them was years ago for Remington auto loaders in 243win and then in more resent years with AR10's and with some match grade barrels , much like neck only dies or shell holders of different heights , a tight die like Dillon or loose die like Lee, they all have there place , I do disagree with loading for a bunch of rifles as you said , I like to load for one gun , I have four 270win's and ammo for each, but that's like my Ford and your Dodge ,they both get us to the range ,

where you said with small base dies you can load for all your guns , I was thinking AR, plus a bolt ,a pump, ect , I know guys with a 308 AR10 and a 308 bolt guns , my only 308 is a brake action , so that may not work, but for the guy with a few AR's in the same cal, I'd agree with you , as for the OP sounds like the Dillon dies will/are working and if that is your only 308 AR I see no reason to change things

as a side note : for my AR15 in 25WSSM I made a small base only die , adds a step, but sizes all the way down to the shell holder and never touches the shoulder , I'll post a thread in the near future with the why and how , only on my 4th reload so far so good ,

.

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