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223 AR Resizing Brass Question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Sommerled, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Sommerled

    Sommerled Well-Known Member

    While reading a reloading manual the following caught my eye. I've reloaded many thousands of rounds for my AR's from once fired milsurp LC brass using a Redding Small base die and they have functioned well. Now my brass supply will be processed for a third loading. Is the following statement as quoted from the manual true? That is news to me! I tried to find the reference and which manual it was in but could not relocate it.

    "Once you've resized brass with a small base die you don't have to use a small base die for resizing again, it overworks the brass."

    Should I just use a regular FL die?

    Any thoughts or comments?


  2. Bullet

    Bullet Well-Known Member

  3. jwr747

    jwr747 Well-Known Member

    for the most part,small base dies are use to bring brass shot in MG's back to size. once resized and shot in "normal" weapons,regular dies work.though I've always used regular dies. jwr
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    There is no need for a sm. base die at all unless you have a very tight "Match" spec chamber.

    I have loaded for AR's since 1970, using GI range brass pick-up, and standard RCBS dies.

    A 5.56mm chamber is already on the loose side, and I suspect .223 dies are made a frog-hair tighter then most other calibers already, because they know most of the ammo will be shot in semi-autos.

  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    I am amazed that any reloading manual would state such a thing. Brass is operating above its yeild strength, the side walls stretch out to fill the chamber. That movement is independant of the sizing die.

    As for overworking the brass, if you do not set up your sizing die with a cartridge headspace gage, then you will set the shoulder too far back with a small base die. You cannot set up those things with the standard rubbish advice sent out with dies: "touch the shell holder and give a quarter turn". In fact, you should not set up a standard sizing die that way either.

    If I can get small base dies, I use them. In any caliber I can get them. Which to date are .223, 308 and 30-06.

    I think I have some .223 brass, sized about ten times. No problems. I took a set of 308 cases, fired in a M1a, 22 reloads. Mostly sized with small base dies. I had body splits, neck splits, but no problems due to small base dies.

    If you are running a gas gun, you want the brass to below the chamber size. Just read about all the fun people are having with steel cased ammo. Obviously the ammo is a little oversized for their chambers, and the guys with AR's are experiencing tolerance stackup, and having cases stuck in the chambers. Before and after firing.

    You can call RCBS and they will tell you a small base die sizes the head .002" more than their standard die. Unless you are shooting your stuff in a musket with a Zeppelin sized chamber, that is not going to oversize brass.
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Me too.
  7. ClarkEMyers

    ClarkEMyers Well-Known Member

    Let your rifle tell you.

    Let your rifle tell you.

    Redding - and RCBS - and others - will sell a variety of gages to measure lots of dimensions of the brass - RCBS mic is good and so is the Case Master to do more. FREX could fire a case and necksize only and fire it again say a total of 3 times as Redding suggests to get pretty fair idea of your rifle's chamber. Then small base size or not as indicated by results from measuring the sized cases. Myself I've got a Redding small base die and an RCBS small base set in .223 to go with my bushing dies and bumping dies and micrometer seating dies but I suspect I could do a lot of shooting with just a standard set of dies from anybody.

    My own practice is pretty much to small base size mixed brass out of the bucket then after it's been fired in my own chamber and is to be reloaded for the same chamber standard dies or perhaps bushing dies pretty much do the job.

    If I were taking a course from Pat Rogers or some such I just might small base size any and all loads going to school with me but that's unlikely to happen compared to shooting ground squirrels one at a time. Still there's a reason tywrap rods are such a popular accessory for 5.56 chambers.
  8. Sport45

    Sport45 Well-Known Member

    Gat a case gauge to check your sizing. They don't cost much and it's much more convienent to find the case is sized properly before you finish loading it and it sticks in your chamber. I use Lee RGB full length dies and they work fine for my White Oak upper.
  9. Sommerled

    Sommerled Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies. It still inspires me that the "brotherhood of handloaders" shares and cares.

  10. kelbro

    kelbro Well-Known Member

    I get 10 sizings out of most brands of brass (with good primer pockets) using .223 SB dies. Never had an issue. I don't know how many they will really go since I anneal them at 5 and toss them at 10.

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