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Recommendation For .223 / 5.56 Die

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by carbine85, Sep 30, 2012.

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  1. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    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.
     
  2. Yotecallr

    Yotecallr Member

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    Buy a Dillon die.
     
  3. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    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
     
  4. capreppy

    capreppy Member

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    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.
     
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  6. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    I like the RCBS small base dies, especially for an auto loader.
     
  7. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    What makes the Redding the better choice?
     
  8. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    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
     
  9. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    I can't complain about the RCBS. They have served me well and the customer service is great.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  11. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    RCBS is my choice. Just bought a 2nd set after honing out my old FL dies neck.
     
  12. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    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.
     
  13. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    I like Lee for 223, cuz of the frequency of crimped pockets. The Lee decapping pin doesn't mind the abuse.
     
  14. lightman

    lightman Member

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    They are all good.After 27yrs,why not RCBS again? Why are you replacing it,most never wear out a die? Lightman
     
  15. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    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.
     
  16. helotaxi

    helotaxi Member

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    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.
     
  17. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    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.
     
  18. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
  19. joed

    joed Member

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    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.
     
  20. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    In order of preference: Dillon, Redding, RCBS, Lee. Steer clear of Hornady dies -- the "zip spindle" is too easily bent.
     
  21. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    I don't much like Hornady rifle dies but I have no issues with their pistol dies.
     
  22. Shmackey

    Shmackey Member

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    Indeed, Hornady pistol dies are the best I've used. But I use Redding for rifle.
     
  23. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    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.
     
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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.
     
  25. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    If you got 27 years of use out of RCBS, why change?
     
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