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Newbie with FL vs. SB die questions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by CJK8, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. CJK8

    CJK8 Well-Known Member

    I am getting ready to start reloading. I am completely new to this. I have talked to a few guys and and am a little confused on dies. I have a remington 700 in .223 and a mini 14. For the remington, one guy told me all I need is a neck sizer as long as I shoot the same brass out of my remi. He said I don't need a full length die. Is that correct and how many times should I be able to use the brass? He recommende winchester brass. For the mini, he said I would need the small base die. Is that right? What I am a little confused about is what does FL die do that a short based die doesn't? Should I get a FL die and need it for the remi? Thanks.
  2. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    FL die for sizing factory new unloaded brass (many of which will also need trimming). You'd be surprised how much variance there is in what should be identical cases. Same for range pickup or any other brass fired in someone else's gun.

    You can probably get the best results by simply neck sizing after you've fired them, but only if they're for sure going back through the same gun. If fired in one and planned for the other, FL size again. If you're not sure which gun they'll go through, FL.

    Can't address the small base die question. Might have something to do with the Mini-14 being rated for both .223 and 5.56mm.

    As for how many times you can use brass, it depends on load pressures, extent of resizing, and original quality of the case. When a case shows any of the signs of fatigue (do a search for these), scrap it.
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    He is right on your 700. You can neck size only for a bolt gun if you want to. For a factory bolt gun for hunting I partial FL size to assure function and increase case life.

    For the Mini 14 you definitely don't need the small base die. They have generous chambers. Get a FL die and size to fit a case gauge, or just screw the sizer all the way down, and hope the makers got everything right, which they usually do.
  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    I have read that Wincherster 223 Remington is some of the best brass to use. It is what I use for my service rifle match loads and it works. It does not mean there are not better cases out there.

    I also use Lake City and Remington as well for general loads.

    Generally speaking you do not need small base dies for 223 Remington semi auto rifles if they have a standard chamber, as opposed to a tight match chamber, particularly if the cases were originally fired in that particular rifle.

    Sometimes, with cases fired in another rifle, standard full length dies will not size the case sufficiently for use in a semi-auto. This is especially true if you buy once fired military brass fired in weapons unknown.

    If you already have a standard full length die, I would not rush out and buy a small base die until you identify the need. If you do use range pick up brass or buy once fired, I would check to make sure the brass will chamber in your Mini 14 before loading it.

    But, it does not hurt to use a small base die except that It may shorten case life a little. Chances are you will not see a difference as something else on the case will fail first.

    Small base dies size the base of the case a smidge smaller standard full length dies.
  5. CJK8

    CJK8 Well-Known Member

    Generally speaking, if I only neck size, will I get at least five shots per case? What do you mean by partial FL size and how does that increase function and life? Is there an accuracy downside to small base vs FL? Thanks.
  6. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    For your bolt gun, neck sizing will extend case life a lot. Usually many more than five shots. Frequently, I will take cases shot in my AR-15s that I consider almost to their life limit then load them for a bolt rifle. I neck size them for the bolt gun and get many, many more shots out of them.

    Partial full length resizing is just like what it says. The die is backed off a little to get the neck sized but the body is not fully resized. Like neck sizing, the cases have to be used in the rifle they were originally fired in after their last full length sizing.

    You will not see any difference in accuracy in your Mini 14 between full length sized or small base sized cases.

    Some serious target or bench rest shooters might.
  7. fguffey

    fguffey Well-Known Member

    As you have suggested, there is full length sizing and neck sizing with nothing in between, when I am sizing cases for the perfect chamber (go gage length) I have 6 options .000, .001, .002, .003, .004 and .005, with a given, a minimum length case (full length sized) is .000 and the chamber is .005 meaning the chamber length from the bolt face to it's shoulder is .005 longer than a full length/minimum length case when measured from the head of the case to it's shoulder.

    My full length sizer dies are versatile full length sizer dies, when sizing cases for the 30/06 I can size cases that are .017 thousands shorter than a go-gage chamber, with the same die I can size cases to infinity or a more practical .016 thousands longer from the head of the case to it's shoulder than a go-gage length chamber......016 thousands is .002 longer than a field/reject gage when measured from the head of the gage to the shoulder.

    Get a feeler gage, the companion tool to the press, Redding calls it a thickness gage, With the feeler gage I can do anything the Redding Competition shell holder can do + 30 options the competition gages does not offer.

    F. Guffey
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  8. CJK8

    CJK8 Well-Known Member

    My shooting is only from the bench and for accuracy. If I am understanding this correctly, out of the bolt, I can get just as good accuracy and accomplish the same thing with a partial full length resizing as opposed to just neck sizing. As an added bonus, the partial full length sizing will give me more shots with the same brass than if I only did neck sizing. Is that right? If that is all correct, how many more shots on average are we talking? Thanks.
  9. popper

    popper Well-Known Member

    The difference between my Hornady standard 308 win and RCBS AR 308 win die is 0.001. I use the standard dies for everything but crimp, AR has a TAPER vs ROLL crimp. I'm using flat based bullets so I flare the mouth a tad to make seating better, then crimp to remove the flare. I'm doing the same thing for 243, 308 ME and 30-30, which all have roll crimp die. I just KISS the mouth to leave a shiny ring. The roll crimp step on the 308 win die is too sharp and didn't work too well, so I got the AR die. You can probably use the standard die.
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    It is full length sizing, but only bumping the shoulder back .001 to .003 instead of .005 to .006, or even more, when FL sizing to fit a gauge, and especially if you just screw the die down to hit the shell holder/plate.

    It sizes the body, but not quite as much, and it fully sizes the neck, it just bumps the shoulder back a minimum amount.

    I get 8 to 10 firings on .223 in my AR sizing to fit a case gauge. You should be able get that or more neck sizing for your bolt gun. Eventually the brass will get hard to chamber neck sizing only, and you will need a body die or FL sizer to get it to chamber easily again.

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  11. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    You can neck size for your bolt action, if you are NOT hunting with it.
    However, even so, after about 3 or 4 loadings, you will have to full-length size your brass.
    Read your manuals and follow their guidelines. Don't put too much credence in what someone tells you.
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Not even us. :)
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question. The short answer is "It depends."

    Case life in your bolt rifle, especially if you neck size or partial full length size will be longer than in your Mini 14. Whether it is 2 times or 4 times or "x" times depends.

    The less the brass is worked the longer it lasts. Mild loads and neck sizing work the brass less. Using bushing style dies instead of conventional sizing dies works the neck less as you are not reducing the size of the neck then expanding it back out.

    My AR-15s consume cases in 5 or 6 loadings. At or soon after that point, they are no longer serviceable. While I do not shoot my bolt 223 Remington near as much as the ARs, I have yet to "wear" out a case fired repeatably in the bolt rifle. I shoot mid range loads in all my 223 Remington rifles. If I want to go faster, I will get a rifle chambered for something different.

    Hope this helps answer your question.
  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

  15. CJK8

    CJK8 Well-Known Member

    Correct me if I am wrong. I don't need a small base die for the Mini. A FL die will work.

    For the bolt, I can experiemnet with just neck sizing, partial FL, or complete FL.

    Bottom line, the dies I should purchase are FL. If I want to get a neck sizing die for he bolt, then I can do that too. Any of that wrong? I was panning on RCBS dies. That ok?
  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yes on all counts, and RCBS makes great stuff.
  17. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

    Huh?! That means that I've killed a hell of a lot of deer the wrong way.
  18. CJK8

    CJK8 Well-Known Member

    I think I miread this. I first read it to say that a partial FL will increase case life over just neck sizing. I think you mean that partial FL size increase life over complete FL size but not increase life over neck sizeing only. Do I have that right? Thanks.
  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yes, it increases case life a little over full length sizing.
  20. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member

    Now you got it. The less you work the brass, the longer it will last. Just remember, neck sized brass only works in the gun that it was fired in previously.

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