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Humbarger
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Posted: 8/13/2012 10:16:28 AM
How many folks use small base sizer dies rather than standard sizer dies to reload for their AR15s?
dryflash3
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Posted: 8/13/2012 10:43:32 AM
I use a correctly adjusted FL die.
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Gik-tal
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Posted: 8/13/2012 10:43:38 AM
I do, I like to go with reliablilty,
Alpha82
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Posted: 8/13/2012 10:53:17 AM
Originally Posted By dryflash3:
I use a correctly adjusted FL die.


This, no issues, thousands of rounds, several rifles.
KAZ22
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Posted: 8/13/2012 11:13:25 AM
I have both SB and regular and no one in our group has an AR that requires the SB. SB overworks the brass with nothing gained. I recommend regular Redding and also buy the carbide sizing button to go with the die so that no inside the neck lube is required. Regards
CCW
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Posted: 8/13/2012 12:21:16 PM
[Last Edit: 8/13/2012 11:58:21 PM by CCW]
Standard RCBS dies turn out a case that is good for bolt actions but marginal for reliability with autoloaders. SB RCBS dies reduce the body diameter of the case another .001 to .002 on the diameter compared to the RCBS standard sizing dies.

The AR (.223) RCBS die set contains a taper crimper and a SB FL die. The taper crimp allows one to crimp the neck to the bullet, even with smooth bullets and no cannelure or crimp groove. This is the set I would recommend for reloading .223 for autoloaders like the AR series for reliability.

If you are trying to get 15X reloads out of your AR brass, then the standard FL might be a better choice, with some added risk of FTF.

Check the brass body diameter of your favorite factory ammunition and get an idea of the brass body diameter used for maximum feed reliability.

Some sizer dies from other vendors are already set at SB dimensions but are not advertised as such.
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Minuteman419
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Posted: 8/13/2012 12:26:56 PM
37 years of pulling handle, never used a small base die.

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ChrisGarrett
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Posted: 8/13/2012 12:45:47 PM
I picked up a Redding 223 Rem small base body die a couple of years back for really cheap. I figured what could it hurt? Well, it didn't hurt anything, but the very first fired case I picked up after using it, I could see soot all over the case body...same with the rest of the 50ct box. Way past the necks, way past the shoulders, a good third to a half down the body.

That's just pressure that's not forcing the bullet down the bore.

They work, or this one does at least, I'll grant them that. At Christmas, I bought their standard 223 Rem body die, so if anybody needs a nice...

Chris
ArmyOrdGuy
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Posted: 8/13/2012 2:02:32 PM
I've used RCBS standard size dies (.223 Rem and .308 Win) since the mid '70s and never had a problem. All shooting was in AR15, M1A, or .308 M1 Rifles. This was enough shooting to wear out a couple of dozen barrels.
apierce918
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Posted: 8/13/2012 2:30:39 PM
I do because my wife bought me the dies as a gift and just told the guy .223 for his AR and that's what he handed her. I haven't gone through my brass enough to know how long or short it lasts, seems I always get new once fired coming through from somebody.
usmcscout
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Posted: 8/13/2012 3:01:46 PM
Originally Posted By Gik-tal:
I do, I like to go with reliablilty,


+1
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Husky629
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Posted: 8/13/2012 3:20:50 PM
I use a standard FL die. I am curious about those who use the small base dies for added reliability, have you ever had a rifle that would function better with small base dies vs. full length?
Humbarger
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Posted: 8/13/2012 3:32:57 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I have always used SB dies in my M1A in matches, and my FAL with no problems what so ever.
Motor1
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Posted: 8/13/2012 3:37:40 PM
I see them as a "use if needed" item. For those who use them for "reliability" I can understand that especially if you have a few AR's and don't have "pet" loads for each. My only experience actually using a SB dia was in .308 Win. This was actually by accident. My friend ordered a full length die set and it came with a SB die in it instead of the regular full length die. The only reason we found out was he started to get case head separations as early as on the 3rd or forth reloading. This is less than half the life as usual.
Every time you push a case up into a full length die you roll a wave of brass towards the base. When this wave rolls over the transition from case body to web (where the head starts) it thins that area. this is why brass grows in length. A small base die makes this (the base) even smaller thus accelerating the thinning above the web.
Also a possible decrease in accuracy may accompany the looser fit of SB sized ammo.
bigedp51
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Posted: 8/13/2012 4:18:01 PM
[Last Edit: 8/13/2012 4:21:44 PM by bigedp51]
Humbarger

Measure the base diameter of military and commercial cartridge cases you plan to reload. The majority of American made cartridge cases run to the small side of minimum base diameter manufacturing tolerances. Meaning in 45 years of reloading I have never had to use any small base dies for any reason and a small base die when used can shorten case life greatly if you have a normal size chamber.

At Accurateshooter.com a poster was asking why his fired and resized Winchester cases looked different than his Lapua cases. SAAMI manufacturing tolerances for base diameter for his .308 Winchester are .4703 maximum to .4623 minimum and the reference base diameter of the chamber opening is .4738.

The base diameter of his Winchester cases were .463 and new Lapua brass measures .469.

WHY would you need small base dies when the Winchester cartridge case is already .010 smaller than the chamber opening?

Someone told my uncle he needed small base dies for his Remington 760 Game Master pump, and he kept complaining to me about case head separations with his reloaded ammunition. I told my uncle to get rid of his small base dies and get a standard set of reloading dies and "STOP" over resizing his brass.

If a cartridge case will chamber reliably after resizing with standard resizing dies you "DO NOT" need small base dies. Variables do exist between chambers, the base diameter of the cartridge case and your resizing dies, BUT very few people actually do need a small base resizing die. A standard full length resizing die is designed to return your fired cartridge cases to "minimum" case dimensions.


And military chambers run on the large side in diameter and length (headspace) and using a small base die would be like parking a VW Beetle in a blimp hangar.
goldeneye
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Posted: 8/13/2012 7:18:25 PM
I use Dillon 223 die, but I hear they are small base. I don't know for sure.
ShannonD
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Posted: 8/13/2012 9:51:32 PM
This is a touchy subject for sure, I personally use RCBS Small base dies, but before the forum goes nuts I would like to agree with any number of the posts above that if you do not need them don't use them. I disagree with some that say that Small base dies over work the brass. I have .223 cases with 4 firings on them and I trust them to be reloaded again and again. Now, in my above disclaimer I said if you don't need them dont use them, so then why do I use them? In my situation as I have said in another post it simply boiled down to me picking up a lot of range brass that a normal full length sizer die could not get to the base on. What rifle these people were firing it in I don't know but, I tried a friends normal set of RCBS dies and I also bought a Lee full length set. Keep in mind that I have been loading for well over 20 years and I never ever in all of my thousands of rounds loaded, never needed a Small base set. I know how to adjust a die too, If you are going to be buying your own new ammo and reloading the very brass that was fired in YOUR OWN CHAMBER then there is absolutely no need for a Small base set. As for range brass fired in Bubbas worn out chamber well, that's up to you.

Shannon
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Posted: 8/13/2012 11:00:55 PM
Originally Posted By Alpha82:
Originally Posted By dryflash3:
I use a correctly adjusted FL die.


This, no issues, thousands of rounds, several rifles.


+1
Motor1
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Posted: 8/14/2012 8:05:30 AM
Originally Posted By ShannonD:
This is a touchy subject for sure, I personally use RCBS Small base dies, but before the forum goes nuts I would like to agree with any number of the posts above that if you do not need them don't use them. I disagree with some that say that Small base dies over work the brass. I have .223 cases with 4 firings on them and I trust them to be reloaded again and again. Now, in my above disclaimer I said if you don't need them don't use them, so then why do I use them? In my situation as I have said in another post it simply boiled down to me picking up a lot of range brass that a normal full length sizer die could not get to the base on. What rifle these people were firing it in I don't know but, I tried a friends normal set of RCBS dies and I also bought a Lee full length set. Keep in mind that I have been loading for well over 20 years and I never ever in all of my thousands of rounds loaded, never needed a Small base set. I know how to adjust a die too, If you are going to be buying your own new ammo and reloading the very brass that was fired in YOUR OWN CHAMBER then there is absolutely no need for a Small base set. As for range brass fired in Bubba's worn out chamber well, that's up to you.

Shannon


I can't and won't argue with your reasoning but I currently have about 40 pounds of .223 & 5.56 brass that I either picked up at the range or had given to me by somebody and all of it has been "processed" by me using a standard Lee full length die. So far I have had ZERO failures due to case sizing. I don't think that is just good luck.
BTW: 4 cycles is not much but don't be surprised if by the 5th or 6th sizing you start to see the line of death. How often do you have to trim your brass? Every time you trim remember where that length came from.

ShannonD
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Posted: 8/14/2012 8:38:11 AM
Originally Posted By Motor1:
Originally Posted By ShannonD:
This is a touchy subject for sure, I personally use RCBS Small base dies, but before the forum goes nuts I would like to agree with any number of the posts above that if you do not need them don't use them. I disagree with some that say that Small base dies over work the brass. I have .223 cases with 4 firings on them and I trust them to be reloaded again and again. Now, in my above disclaimer I said if you don't need them don't use them, so then why do I use them? In my situation as I have said in another post it simply boiled down to me picking up a lot of range brass that a normal full length sizer die could not get to the base on. What rifle these people were firing it in I don't know but, I tried a friends normal set of RCBS dies and I also bought a Lee full length set. Keep in mind that I have been loading for well over 20 years and I never ever in all of my thousands of rounds loaded, never needed a Small base set. I know how to adjust a die too, If you are going to be buying your own new ammo and reloading the very brass that was fired in YOUR OWN CHAMBER then there is absolutely no need for a Small base set. As for range brass fired in Bubba's worn out chamber well, that's up to you.

Shannon


I can't and won't argue with your reasoning but I currently have about 40 pounds of .223 & 5.56 brass that I either picked up at the range or had given to me by somebody and all of it has been "processed" by me using a standard Lee full length die. So far I have had ZERO failures due to case sizing. I don't think that is just good luck.
BTW: 4 cycles is not much but don't be surprised if by the 5th or 6th sizing you start to see the line of death. How often do you have to trim your brass? Every time you trim remember where that length came from.



Don't disagree with you and won't argue either, I do notice that it is mostly foreign headstamps that cause my issues, mostly will almost always be military something or other. It's no secret I think that my Smiths chamber may be a little tighter. And so using that situation I use Small base dies for this gun only. As for trimming I do it every time though with my load I don't think I'm killing the brass either. Never needed small base in my life, for my gun though I do use them.

Shannon
Motor1
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Posted: 8/14/2012 9:06:16 AM
Originally Posted By Shannon:
Originally Posted By Motor1:
Originally Posted By Shannon:
This is a touchy subject for sure, I personally use RCBS Small base dies, but before the forum goes nuts I would like to agree with any number of the posts above that if you do not need them don't use them. I disagree with some that say that Small base dies over work the brass. I have .223 cases with 4 firings on them and I trust them to be reloaded again and again. Now, in my above disclaimer I said if you don't need them don't use them, so then why do I use them? In my situation as I have said in another post it simply boiled down to me picking up a lot of range brass that a normal full length sizer die could not get to the base on. What rifle these people were firing it in I don't know but, I tried a friends normal set of RCBS dies and I also bought a Lee full length set. Keep in mind that I have been loading for well over 20 years and I never ever in all of my thousands of rounds loaded, never needed a Small base set. I know how to adjust a die too, If you are going to be buying your own new ammo and reloading the very brass that was fired in YOUR OWN CHAMBER then there is absolutely no need for a Small base set. As for range brass fired in Bubba's worn out chamber well, that's up to you.

Shannon


I can't and won't argue with your reasoning but I currently have about 40 pounds of .223 & 5.56 brass that I either picked up at the range or had given to me by somebody and all of it has been "processed" by me using a standard Lee full length die. So far I have had ZERO failures due to case sizing. I don't think that is just good luck.
BTW: 4 cycles is not much but don't be surprised if by the 5th or 6th sizing you start to see the line of death. How often do you have to trim your brass? Every time you trim remember where that length came from.



Don't disagree with you and won't argue either, I do notice that it is mostly foreign headstamps that cause my issues, mostly will almost always be military something or other. It's no secret I think that my Smiths chamber may be a little tighter. And so using that situation I use Small base dies for this gun only. As for trimming I do it every time though with my load I don't think I'm killing the brass either. Never needed small base in my life, for my gun though I do use them.

Shannon


Shannon,
This trimming you mention "every time" is not normal unless you only trim to max. If you are trimming to "trim length" (I think most publications has it at 1.750") and after sizing it is beyond the 1.760" max (I hope I'm remembering this correctly) then you are on the fast road to case failure. I can get 2 to 3 re-sizing's before needing to trim again. The brass you are trimming off of the length is coming from the case body just above the web. This is why most here are not recommending the small base die when it's not needed. As you say, if you have a rifle with a tight chamber then you really are not working the brass much more than normal but the need to trim is an indicator. You just can't keep trimming away brass. Every time you trim the case body is getting thinner.
ShannonD
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Posted: 8/14/2012 10:15:38 AM
[Last Edit: 8/14/2012 10:28:10 AM by ShannonD]
Motor1, I trim because I want consistent case length for bullet seating and for a consistent crimp. It matters not if I trim the hell out of a case and always go to max trim length. The fact is this: the web of the case thins every time we fire and size, regardless of what I trim away at the neck. True, I could leave it there, but the case still gets longer and thinner no matter if the neck is trimmed or not.
I should note that I am sizing and trimming to max length only.
Shannon

Ps you are correct @ 1.760 max case length.
cb4017
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Posted: 8/14/2012 10:45:41 AM
I've used standard RCBS FL dies in .223 and .308 to load for numerous semi-autos since the late 70s. In .223 guns were various manufacture AR-15s and several Ruger Mini-14s. .308 guns were M1A, HK91 and AR10s. Never had a problem. YMMV.
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Motor1
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Posted: 8/14/2012 4:22:32 PM
[Last Edit: 8/14/2012 4:26:51 PM by Motor1]
Originally Posted By ShannonD:
Motor1, I trim because I want consistent case length for bullet seating and for a consistent crimp. It matters not if I trim the hell out of a case and always go to max trim length. The fact is this: the web of the case thins every time we fire and size, regardless of what I trim away at the neck. True, I could leave it there, but the case still gets longer and thinner no matter if the neck is trimmed or not.
I should note that I am sizing and trimming to max length only.
Shannon

Ps you are correct @ 1.760 max case length.


I guess I should have made it more clear. It's the amount of growth, in case length, per sizing that I was referring to. If your case length goes from 1.750" to 1.760" or more in one use than that is more than normal and you will see a shorter case life accordingly. 2 to 3 sizings between trimming would be about .003" to .005" for me. My Lee trimmer cuts mine to 1.745" and I don't crimp.

ShannonD
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Posted: 8/14/2012 7:18:56 PM
Originally Posted By Motor1:
Originally Posted By ShannonD:
Motor1, I trim because I want consistent case length for bullet seating and for a consistent crimp. It matters not if I trim the hell out of a case and always go to max trim length. The fact is this: the web of the case thins every time we fire and size, regardless of what I trim away at the neck. True, I could leave it there, but the case still gets longer and thinner no matter if the neck is trimmed or not.
I should note that I am sizing and trimming to max length only.
Shannon

Ps you are correct @ 1.760 max case length.


I guess I should have made it more clear. It's the amount of growth, in case length, per sizing that I was referring to. If your case length goes from 1.750" to 1.760" or more in one use than that is more than normal and you will see a shorter case life accordingly. 2 to 3 sizings between trimming would be about .003" to .005" for me. My Lee trimmer cuts mine to 1.745" and I don't crimp.


Gotcha mate and will throw in a good ole fashion agree with you clause I've found that proper lubing of the case and inside of the neck help a hell of a lot when it comes to Small base. My growth is really no more than .006 with these dies and in most higher quality casings runs at the realm you describe. As I recall it worked the brass just a bit more without lubing the inside of the neck though. Obviously hotter loads play there part too. Question: what Lee trimmer are you using?

Shannon
Motor1
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Posted: 8/15/2012 7:30:49 AM
Shannon,
I use the Lee cutter with length rod and their shell holder/stop or what ever they call it. There was another thread in the past week that discussed trimmers and several guys that use the Lee posted their results and they did vary a lot. It seems that with repeated use or maybe switching from rod to rod that the cutter can dig into the rod some and thus will trim shorter. That shortcoming aside (pun intended) it has to be the most accurate as in repeatable results trimming system dollar for dollar that there is.
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