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New to Reloading; Talk to me about dies.

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Ronin Tech, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. Ronin Tech

    Ronin Tech Snohomish Member

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    looking at .223 "sets"

    I'm looking for a middle of the road option here, the dies range everywhere from $30~$200.

    this is the set that i am getting ready to pull the trigger on

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/326499/redding-premium-series-deluxe-3-die-set-223-remington

    I'm wondering if it is overkill, just right or not enough for my needs and what i am wanting.

    I'm coming from the mindset of buy once cry once and that the vast majority of my .223 shooting is just plinking, more or less confined to me running around a field trying to be "tactical" like an idiot, on the the other hand i would like the ability to turn out some decent ammo in the rare instance that i do some shooting from a bench, i really don't need sub-moa match grade ammo in this caliber, but being able to do something somewhat close would be nice on occasion, when i say bench shooting I'm talking about taking a 4" gong and simply moving it out to a distance that becomes hard to hit for me personally from a bench with a bipod... I'm really not into punching paper with the rests and bags and all of that, reasonable/practical accuracy is enough for me out the .223...

    what's a good all around die set that's easy to run but can be fiddled with to turn out some pretty decent stuff if needed?

    i have a L&L AP and a LEE classic, so 5 stations +1 if that matters to the conversation, i understand this is an awkward question, I'm hoping to have a conversation to get a better understanding of the nitty gritty of it all, i fail to see the difference in the die sets once you get past the materials like carbide or not and the micometers and such... where's the value to performace curve at in the .223 die market?

    thanks!






     
  2. fxdc

    fxdc Da Valley USPSA, SPEED STEEL, IDPA, 3 GUN

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    Dilion carbide 160.00
    Still need to lube brass per dillon

    Or black box rcbs with taper crimp die included , still need to lube brass 49.00
     
  3. oli700

    oli700 Rogue Valley Well-Known Member

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    full length RCBS will be all you need by reading your wishes......50 bucks

    the one you posted is more or less a benchrest comp die.....and the guy that gave a review on it lol....from 1/4 moa to 1/8 moa with his bushmaster ar using 62gr....all because of this die lol....
     
    Ronin Tech likes this.
  4. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    If you get those Redding dies you certainly won't be crying about wishing you had got a better quality set. I'm no benchrest shooter and am currently running iron sites on my AR so I got a Hornady set on sale for $30 and am happy with it.

    Reading between the lines, if you are loading for an AR then the neck sizing die will be useless to you. My suggestion would be to get the Redding 2-die set for $47 which will turn out competition quality ammo. Then later on if you have money to burn and want the speed and convenience of a micrometer then get the $110 seater die on its own.
     
  5. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    If firing from a semi auto, get a full length die set. If shooting from a bolt gun, get a neck sizer.

    Precision, not accuracy, is not so much dependant on how you push the bullet into the case, so most standard dies will get you good ammo. I really like the hornady seating dies due to the bullet guide they have built in.

    If you want more precision, RCBS makes precision seating dies with adjustable dials to precisely seat bullets to an exact repeatable depth.

    Crimp isn't too important on bolt guns, but a decent crimp helps semi autos. I prefer the Lee factory crimp die.

    Hope that helps a bit!
     
  6. fxdc

    fxdc Da Valley USPSA, SPEED STEEL, IDPA, 3 GUN

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    I agree on the bolt neck sizing deal.

    FL set is also good on bolts.

    If you don't wanna crimp up to you....

    But at the least on an semi auto use a SMALL BASE DIE SET.

    And if ya get the blk box set look inside you will see the Small base (SB) marked sizer, and you will also get a TC taper crimp die .

    Done deal.
     
    Ronin Tech likes this.
  7. Ronin Tech

    Ronin Tech Snohomish Member

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    yeah i was checking out the dillion dies, everyone agrees they are good stuff, my issue was is i don't know how much i am paying for the dillion name there, how is a $160 redding die set compare against the dillion set for $160? thinking about materials, features and quality control sort of comparison.

    yeah, i thought that was pretty funny as well, maybe he was just having a good day, far to many variables to pin the increased gains on the dies alone...

    yep, this ammo will be used on the AR platform, i've listened to you and started looking at other sets that don't include the necking die, i don't own a single bolt gun in this caliber, so your right completely useless.


    this is a point for bother for me, I've read countless opinons on the small base dies and keep coming up with different answers as what is correct, i have a case trimmer and typically trim all of my brass to size anyways, would i be able to skip this step if i went small base? and i keep hearing everyone going on about working the brass to hard, how real of a concern is that?

    i like your thinking, just need to be sure it's going to work me and how i work, so far.

    maybe i should explain my process?

    i take my range brass and tumble, then i go over to the lee classic and decap, then measure, trim, chamfer,decrimp primer, then sonic clean, then on to the L&L AP, where i have 4 open stations with powder drop taking one of the 5 spots for dies..load, light tumble and then i'm done.

    given how i work, i should have spot open for crimp and would like to go that route since i'm a little haphazard in the way i sling my ammo around in cases and such

    if you see where i can eliminate some work with my die choice or maybe just a flawed process
    to start with, I'd apprentice pointers, i've been working in a vacuum for little over a month now so believe me, thoughts and ideas are welcome.
     
  8. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    In my opinion small base is needed if you are having issues feeding full length resized reloads. If not, I don't see the need to squeeze the brass the extra small amount that that die does. I have used RCBS, Hornady, as well as Dillon dies in 223. I own too many. When I 1st started I wold small base resize everything 223/556 for my AR. Up until I tried running FL resized through it. Then I didn't see the true benefit. I have till this day ran my FL sized stuff through any AR that would not eat it.

    Resizing does not eliminate having to trim. In fact you should actually trim after resizing as the case length can change after sizing. Trimming beforehand is fine, but you could find some after sizing over OAL.

    Another issue I found from SB sizing was when I bought some mil surp once fired lake city brass. I would find myself in need of a stuck case removal tool a handful too many times...

    I also load my "plinkin 223" on a Hornady L&L as I am not too overly concerned by a few getting + or - a grain difference in powder charges, but I resize all the cases 1st on a single stage press. So its prime, powder, seat, crimp. with an open spot. I tried sizing at the same time, but found it to be a PITA. That and by running the above process I could clean the cases of lube prior to powder charge.

    Crimping is not too overly needed if the cases neck is sized correctly and is in good shape. However the violent action of a semi auto can be known to throw the bullet forward more out of the COL. Not too much we are talking thousandths, but it can happen. So I choose to crimp for that reason on my semi auto loads.

    This is my methods and my opinions on the matter, so please don't take any of it too seriously. Reloading is a learning process, much of it just has to come with doing it...
     
    Ronin Tech likes this.
  9. Steve M

    Steve M Beaverton, OR Well-Known Member

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    As far as small base dies, the idea is to help ensure easy chambering since you don't have a lot of force available to cram the cartridge into the chamber. I've got standard .223 and .308 Hornady dies and no problems in my AR and M1A. However, a reliable source suggests using small base dies in the M1A as it can increase accuracy in rifles with slightly oval chambers. I don't know if that bit applies to the AR or not.

    I would suggest seperating your plinking and high precision reloading tooling and components. Any die will give you good accuracy and people using RCBS and Lee equipment can smack a beer can 1200+ yards away. Get a standard FL resize die for plinking and and use stuff like neck bushing dies for high accuracy target work. The weakest link in my target loads is my ability to shoot them well so that that is my focus for now.
     
    Ronin Tech likes this.
  10. Ronin Tech

    Ronin Tech Snohomish Member

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    no worries, i see what you are saying about the steps and the order in which you do things, like i said, i'm somewhat new to this so trying various methods and orders is something I'm definitely open to trying and listening to.

    i more or less came to the same conclusion about small base dies from my reading but since i lack the actual experience here I'm still open to being convinced small base dies are the way to go.

    all of my AR's are 5.56 chambered except for one .223 wylde that typically gets fed "good" stuff, i may want to reload for the .223 wylde in the future but am more concerned about producing for the other dozen rifles in 5.56 as they get shot the most.
     
  11. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    The throat differences in 223 vs 556 should only affect your reloading if you want to squeeze precision out of them. The difference is in the freebore throat, portion of chamber where bullet hangs out past the chamber. The 556 freebore is slightly longer, a few thousandths, the angle is different, as well as the free travel length. The case portion of the chamber however is identical. The Wylde chambering takes the two freebore numbers and angles and sort of meets in the middle.

    So in other words without a bullet seating depth tool to determine the proper COL needed to reduce your freebore travel, I wouldn't really worry about it. Stick to the books COL and you should be OK.

    Once you get to the level of reloading to eliminate freebore travel, and you find yourself turning your case necks, you will likely not be using a semi auto.
     
  12. fxdc

    fxdc Da Valley USPSA, SPEED STEEL, IDPA, 3 GUN

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    Get ya some of this... LOL

    Sm base set is 41 bks

    20160120_152114.jpg

    20160120_152114.jpg
     
  13. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    A heck of a lot of people are very happy using Lee dies.
     
  14. fxdc

    fxdc Da Valley USPSA, SPEED STEEL, IDPA, 3 GUN

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    Don't take it personally , I do own their universal decaping die it's the toughest one out there.
     
  15. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    "Personally", I wish they made it micrometer adjustable though.
    lol
     
  16. Darkker

    Darkker Mesa, Wa Active Member

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    At this point in my life the only dies I will use are Lee.
    Nothing against the others, except RCBS, their interior finish isn't good. Otherwise If I don't botch the wind calls in this country, my rifles are MOA at 1700 yards. So Obviously my Lee dies aren't the "issue" with groupings out there.
     
  17. Gonzales

    Gonzales Albany, OR Member

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    I have more dies in .223 than anything. May I suggest you go for something like the following.

    Sizing die: Redding or Forster.
    I like both of these dies. Redding offers a carbide expanding button and a tapered button. Forester has a better design though. Vent hole and better placement of expander. Both are good dies. Expanders can be removed for the diehard reloaders. But we are talking bulk AR loading here. :D

    Seating: Forester Ultra micrometer
    You want to get a micrometer style seating die. There are as many bullet types as there are people on this planet. It is nice to be able to record the bullet seating depth from the die with your load data. I stock a minimum of 4 bullet types. Each requires a different setting on the seating die. I use both Redding and Forster seating dies though.

    Crimp: Lee factory crimp.
    These dies are loved and hated by many. Just don't over crimp!
    Start with a kiss. Over crimping with this die will damage your brass.

    Range Brass prep:
    Lee universal decapping die with decapper ground to a taper. Helps when you are moving fast. Those mouths are small.
    Lyman M die. Can be used to help get D mouth brass back to a round'ish shape. Still not sure it is worth it.
    Optional: Lee sizer set to only partialy size range brass. Can be used instead of the M die. Your main die will do the final sizing / bump the shoulder back.
     
  18. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    Save your money and get the cheap RCBS dies. Set them up so the FL sizing die cams over and see if they will cycle in your AR. You may not need the small base die but you could get stuck buying one. Avoid neck sizing dies even in bolt guns.
     
  19. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion small base and ultra-small base sizing dies are only needed for high pressure rifle cartridges fired in springy actions like the old Savage levers and the like. The AR is like a modern artillery piece in its lockup and is not "springy" in the least.
     
  20. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I have the regular Dillon steel dies that cost around $70. I load for 6 different rifles in .223 and don't have problems with any of them. I don't change anything for a specific gun, they all run ammo from the same setup. I'm personally partial to Dillon dies when they have the caliber I want, otherwise it's mostly RCBS