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Starting loading .223 die recommendations?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by LRS_Ranger, Sep 25, 2010.

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  1. LRS_Ranger

    LRS_Ranger Member

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    I've been teaching myself reloading, and so far I've gotten pretty good at .45ACP and 45-70. I would like to start loading .223 and .308. Seeing as how I go through .223 quite a bit faster, I would like to start with that.

    Should I go with basic RCBS dies, or should I go with something like the Redding type S. What is the difference between 2 and 3 die sets? For .308, I will be wanting to squeeze out every bit of accuracy I can; for .223 I want reasonably accurate ammo for my AR. If I am using mixed brass would I want to go for the RCBS with an expander ball? Could I run into issues with the bushing-type dies with different brass thicknesses? If you have a few pointers on what I might want to look into for .308 that would be really cool too. Pardon my newbie questions, and thanks very much!
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    For an AR-15, you want a standard 2-die FL die set.
    Not Small Base dies, not collet neck-sizing dies, etc.

    In fact, that is what I would suggest for your .308 too.

    Contrary to internet lore, a standard FL die set will produce ammo more accurate then most rifles, or many rifle shooters.

    Once you learn how to load good ammo with standard FL dies is the time to start playing with collet neck sizing dies, with all the attendant neck thickness problems.

    But even then, collet neck sizing is not gonna get-R-done for a semi-auto rifle.

    rc
     
  3. Muttt

    Muttt Member

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    +1 ....... what RC said.
     
  4. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    I'd go with standard Redding two sets for both calibers. Redding dies are the finest on the market and will be a lifetime investment.
     
  5. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    Ditto for RC.

    Redding makes the prettiest dies available. They really don't work any better than others tho, nor are their internal tolerances any better on average than any others. For lifetime investments, my 45 year old Lyman and Herter's dies (the "Lee" of the 60s) still work quite well, seems dies just don't wear out.
     
  6. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    For 223 autoloader, suggest the RSBS Competition (2-die) set.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=305950

    You need to FL resize (or carefully 0.002" 'bump' size confirmed w/ a good headspace guage), so the sizer/expander combo is all but required.

    The sleeved/micrometer seater is a godsend for low-runout/precision OAL adjustment between different bullets.
     
  7. sig2009

    sig2009 Member

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    RCBS X-Dies. Once full length sized and trimmed you never have to trim them again.
     
  8. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I've been using an ordinary 2 die set from Lee for a few years now and have been getting excellent accuracy. If I had to do it over or if something goes wrong with the Lee's I would go with RCBS.
     
  9. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    I've used Lee dies for a while now & am getting very good results. I guess if you want to pay more then that's your decision.

    With Lee dies the difference between the 2 & 3 die sets is, the third die is a factory crimp die. Some will say you don't need to crimp. I have a copy of The Gun Digest Book of The AR15 & the writer Patrick Sweeney recommends crimping if the bullet has a cannelure.
     
  10. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    If you consume 223 like most shooters, then this is excellent advice, especially if you use a progressive press.
     
  11. LRS_Ranger

    LRS_Ranger Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys.. one other question, I know what FL sizing is, so why would you bump size, and under what conditions. Is that just to push the shoulder back and leave the case body alone? What would you use to do that? I have a copy of "precision shooting reloading guide" in the mail, are there any other books y'all could recommend? Thanks again...
     
  12. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    This is strictly my experience. I was trying to control excessive run-out in my .223 ammo. By excessive I mean +.008. I saw the RCBS precision window type seating die, so I ordered one. NO IMPROVEMENT! It was no better than the lee or Hornady seaters. Besides that special shell holder needed is a joke.

    I then looked at redding and forster micrometer seaters. A search on the AR forum told me they're basically the same in performance, but forster was less $$$$. The forester seater produces ammo with no MORE than .002 run-out, and often .000. Oh yeah, this was while using lapua brass and nosler 69 match bullets.

    Any of the regular FL dies sets will produce good standard, non-match ammo. And no, you don't have to crimp .223 ammo, IF you have good neck tension.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Thats all well and good, but a lot of it will apply more to bolt-action target & varmint rifles.

    For your AR-15, you should be more concerned with ammo that feeds, fires, and function freely then ultimate bench-rest accuracy with "shoulder bumped" cases that won't chamber reliably in a semi-auto.

    A bolt-action has enough camming power to stuff about any degree of case tightness in the chamber if you crank on the handle hard enough.
    An AR-15 doesn't, and won't.

    rc
     
  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "The sleeved/micrometer (RCBS Comp) seater is a godsend for low-runout/precision OAL adjustment between different bullets."

    The costly RCBS seater is convient to put bullets with and any micrometer head makes achieving a given OAL easy for those who have problems doing that with conventional seaters. But, "low-runout" compaired to any conventional seaters? Not on average; the short sliding sleeve is much too loosely fitted to accomplish that.
     
  15. ol' scratch

    ol' scratch Member

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    Hornady Custom Grade Dimension 2 die set

    I use a two die set for my M1 Garand (30-06) and AR-15 by Hornady. Both sets are very good quality and produce very good ammo. I broke the spindle in my sizing/depriming die once and Hornady sent me three replacement spindles in three days time. Hornady has great customer service and their equipment is top notch.
     
  16. LRS_Ranger

    LRS_Ranger Member

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    I'm getting the precision book because that's my ultimate goal. I started with 45 ACP and 45-70 because I wanted to learn how to make ammo that went bang. Now that I have that down, I want to work on learning how to reload for accuracy. I don't have a precision gun in .223, but I do in .308, and I am hoping to start learning some of the skills and techniques with the cheaper .223 before I go to buying top notch expensive components.
     
  17. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

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    That sounds like a good plan to me. Ain't loading fun!

    ST

    :)
     
  18. Historian

    Historian Member

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    I haven't read through all these posts to see if anyone has recommended it but the greatest improvement in accuracy that I have acheived with my .223 reloads has been the result of using the Forster competition seating die. It's pricey but IMO worth every penny.

    Historian
    _______________________
    "A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely undo the liberties of America than the whole force of a common enemy."

    Samuel Adams
     
  19. zeke

    zeke Member

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    Depends on where your "mixed" 223 brass came from. Off the ground, mil surplus or factory new rounds only fired in your rifle? Recently sized over 2000 mixed 223 brass accumulated over the years from various sources, then had to buy a small base die and resize them again to ensure reliable feeding beacause some of the brass lower dia was too wide. This was huge PITA. Was reloading for an Ar-15.

    Good bullets and a Redding competition bullet seater help considerably in making accurate rounds. Competition dies can be used to seat bullets in cases that did not have the necks expanded after sizing.

    Also depends on what type of 308 you are feeding, and where ya got that brass. There is a large difference in various 308 brass neck thickness. Think Winchester thin, Federal thick. The redding neck die with different sized bushings can help in maintaing a tight interference fit, which is useful for semi-autos or helping consitent "burn" of the powder.
     
  20. lamazza

    lamazza Member

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    I've been using Lee FL die sets for both for many years to my satisfaction.
     
  21. wolfe

    wolfe Member

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    Hey I found this and read through because I am in about the same boat. Buying a AR-15 in the next couple of months and thought I would get some ammo loaded up when I get it home.

    1. I assume that it is mandatory to lubricate all rifle brass since there are no carbide dies.

    2. I have been using Lee for pistol loades the 4 die carbide sets do I need the 2 or 3 die set for .223.

    3. i use a lee classic turret. Do I needs the rifle powder flow thru die?
     
  22. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    #1 All rifle dies need lubing carbide or not ...yes there are carbide rifle dies.

    #2 go back to the top and reread from post #2 down... post #2 takes care of it though.

    #3 Lee users will be along to help with this...
     
  23. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    I have only started loading for the .223 with Lee stuff so take what I say as a newbe.
     
  24. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "1. I assume that it is mandatory to lubricate all rifle brass since there are no carbide dies."

    Dillon has some very costly carbide dies for the .308 and .223 but they still require case lube.


    "I have the Lee carbide dies but you still need to lube them."

    Lee doesn't make carbide rifle dies.


    "Should I go with basic RCBS dies,"

    Unless your AR has a custom barrel, using "premium" dies of any type is pointless. On average, conventional dies (of any brand) are actually quite good. On average, there is as much variation between individual dies of rhe same brand as there is between brands.


    "or should I go with something like the Redding type S"

    Unless you're using carefully selected and matched cases, bushing dies of any kind will be less useful than a conventional die set.
     
  25. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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