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Old March 20, 2015, 09:20 PM   #1
345 DeSoto
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What Dies Do I Need To Load .223

I have an awfully large number of once fired Police .223 cases that I'm going to prep and reload...all with crimped primers. I'm building a .223 AR-15 (20" barrel, 1:12 twist)and have NO idea what dies I'll really need. Do I need a Full Length die, a Neck Size die, or both? I want to buy good dies, as I'm going to make good ammo, but I don't need them to be Bench Rest quality. And what else should I have, besides the dies. BTW, I'm not new to reloading...just new to reloading for this round. Thanks, guys...
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Old March 20, 2015, 09:24 PM   #2
W.E.G.
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Full length die is required.

You cannot use a neck sizing die for autoloaders.

Be sure to get a case gage too.
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Old March 20, 2015, 09:40 PM   #3
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Get a full length die set and a swager for those primer pockets.
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Old March 20, 2015, 09:53 PM   #4
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Gotta full length size for an auto......No need for a case gauge IMO.
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Old March 20, 2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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I use a SB die set as well as a wilson case gauge

Last edited by Da Yooper; March 20, 2015 at 10:25 PM.
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Old March 20, 2015, 10:21 PM   #6
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Brass fired in other firearms may need a Small Base Die set. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/621...-223-remington
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Old March 20, 2015, 10:32 PM   #7
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I've got the RCBS 2-die FL set. It works just fine with any make of brass I can find at the range shot by whoever's rifles.

Need a case gage. I've got the Lyman and it works great.

Need something to remove the crimp from the primer pockets. The RCBS or Dillon bench mount tools are nice. I have the RCBS and it's good.

Question for you. Why the 1:12 twist? You're limiting yourself to light bullets. Just curious.
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Old March 20, 2015, 11:04 PM   #8
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I will also second the question of Why a 1-12" twist?. You will be much better off by using a 1-7 / 1-8 / 1-9 twist. A 1-12 twist will limit your bullet choices to 55-60 grain and below. A 1-12 twist will NOT stabilize heavier bullets.

The 1-12 twist was abandoned by our Military in the early 1980's when we changed to the M855 / M856 ammunition and when NATO adopted the 5.56 NATO.
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Old March 20, 2015, 11:27 PM   #9
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Get a full set of dies. After using the full length sizer and if the round is only going to be shot from the same rifle you will only need to do a collet neck sizer after that.
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Old March 20, 2015, 11:27 PM   #10
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I shoot range-scrounged brass out of my AR that has been reloaded using a 2-die RCBS FL die set. It works just fine.

I'd get a case gauge. About 2% of my sized cases don't pass the gauge test. I know this points to a sizing die that likely isn't set up quite correctly. But I'm very glad I have it and will continue to ensure all my sized brass passes the case gauge test.

OR
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Old March 20, 2015, 11:29 PM   #11
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The Dillon Super Swage will make short work of the crimps. RCBS, makes 2 sets of full length dies, one is specific for the AR platform and works great. If it's truely crimped brass, then get a universal decapper, if you encounter a really tough primer, the decapper pin will pop up, not break, reset it and keep going. Changing broke pins every few minutes gets be costly and a PITA.
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Old March 21, 2015, 12:26 AM   #12
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RCBS FL dies and a "Wilson" case gage if you want quality ammo
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Old March 21, 2015, 08:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 243winxb View Post
Brass fired in other firearms may need a Small Base Die set. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/621...-223-remington
I agree.

If you do not have any 223 Remington dies, get a set with a small base sizer.

It does not hurt anything and it is cheap insurance against future potential sizing problems with cases not fired in your rifle.

The RCBS sets are good but most of the major die manufacturers make small base sizing dies for 223 Remingtopn if RCBS is not your flavor of choice.
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Old March 21, 2015, 08:39 AM   #14
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MOXIE and FLIGHT762 - I'm going to use 40grn bullets...
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Old March 21, 2015, 09:21 AM   #15
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A 1:8 or similar will shoot 40gr bullets too.
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Old March 21, 2015, 09:45 AM   #16
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This was quite informative...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZEas38vkKg
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Old March 21, 2015, 10:23 AM   #17
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W.E.G. - Why can't you use a neck sizing die for an auto loader?
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Old March 21, 2015, 11:25 AM   #18
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You should always full length size brass for any auto. The brass needs to be fully resized in order to function properly. A bolt action has more mechanical leverage to force an oversize case into the chamber. An auto doesn't and it will fail to chamber.
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Old March 21, 2015, 11:51 AM   #19
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My useless opinion...

All major DIE makers products will work. If the product was crap, they would have been fixed/dropped or the company would be out of business by now.

Standard versus Small Base.
Small Base dies work the brass more. If your chamber is very tight, you may want to go to SB dies. I load for over 1/2 dozen .223/5.56s and use standard dies. The next barrel/chamber I get may well require SB dies.

Neck only or full length sizing.
Neck only is great, less working of the brass, tighter fit to the chamber... But, eventually the shoulder will need to be set back, just a little. Also, processing brass from several chambers for use in several chambers, kills the viability of using neck only sizing. Auto-loaders seldom like loads that have been neck only sized.

Not mentioned in your OP is case length. I am a stickler about trimming every loading of my brass. Well, for .223/5.56 brass anyway. I also check for web stretching every loading.

And, crimping. I don't/seldom crimp. I also break down a new die to clean it and chuck up the de-priming rod and polish the expanding ball, smoothing the shaft below and above the ball part. Take care to only polish and not remove diameter. Maybe the word burnish would be a better description. The smoother the de-priming rod/ball, the less case is stretched and the longer the case will last. What does this have to do with crimping? No crimp is needed if their is a good hold from the neck to the bullet. Crimping adds more problems than it fixes. (Note, some powders need a stiffer/harder bullet pull to build pressure for a better burn. Then there is bullet walk in big bore revolvers, yes there is a need to crimp some of these.) A crimp only forces the need for a consistent case length and trimming.

Hope this was/is some help. If not, just move on to the next entry.

End point. You can do anything that you can get by with.

Load with care.
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Old March 21, 2015, 10:27 PM   #20
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As already mentioned you have to full length resize your brass for trouble free semi auto ammo. I own three sets of Lee 223 dies and a set of RCBS 223 dies. All of them produce quality, accurate ammo if I take care with the reloading process. Duplicating each step exactly in the loading process through the whole series of rounds is MUCH more important than trying to buy a "better" die set or press IMHO.
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