Today I took all my loaded rounds out to the bench and put up all new targets. It was a cool day with little wind, and thankfully the barrel cooled quickly. I cleaned the bore prior to shooting and after every 10 rounds (not counting the fouler fired after each cleaning. I used the usual patches and a stiff plastic bore brush from Sinclair, and cleaning was done with Butch's Bore Shine and was done to approximately the same level of cleaning each time. I slowly fired 5 rounds, let the barrel cool to ambient temperature each time, fired 5 more and then cleaned. I fired all the partial resized cases first, followed by the neck sized cases, then the FL sized cases, and then shot the FL sized cases that were not sorted in any way, were unprepped and had random headstamps (Win, Hornady, Remington). All shooting was done on my 100 yard range and from my sturdy shooting bench. Front and rear bags were used.
Note that I don't yet have the Redding FL bushing die, and I finally decided that I needed to also look at the Lee Collet Neck Sizing Die, so I ordered one of those too. It'll be at least a week before I have them and can load up and shoot more ammo.
And thank goodness for the low recoil 223, and again...I love that Timney trigger.
The results were:
Worst - Partial Resizing. Maybe with tapered cases I'd have had better results, but this case isn't tapered enough. The 'all of the bullets group' that BartB suggested showed a group of 1 1/4 inches by 1 1/2 inches. Just an overall loose group with little to recommend it. Since I shot this group first, I was thinking that maybe my memory of this load shooting pretty good was not a sober memory. But, I checked my notes and the previous good groups had been neck sized.
Slightly better - Neck Sizing. This gave a group of 1 inch by 3/4 inch. One flyer kept it from being 3/4 by 3/4, and half of the bullets were in one ragged and elongated hole.
Slightly better - FL Sizing. This gave a round group of 3/4 inches center to center, and there was maybe 1/4 of the bullets sharing holes with other bullets. It was a better looking group than the neck sized group.
And the random headstamp unprepped cases, shot a group of 1 inch by 1 1/2 inches, with the long measurement being horizontal. That was better than I actually expected, and doesn't include one called flyer. If included, that would have made the group 1 inch by 1.75 inches.
I'm thinking, based on what I saw today, that BartB's suggestion on using the Redding FL bushing die is probably the way to go. But, there's a chance that the Lee Collet Neck Die could do as well. I'm very interested in what I'll find from that comparison.
Maybe these experienced long range competition guys really know what they are talking about.
I thought I knew what I was talking about, but now I'm questioning those old assumptions of mine. It's a learning experience and I hope this has been of interest to you so far. More data to follow.
And the caveat...this is just me and my gun and my bench and my reloading practices. I think this info should apply to most of us, but that's just an opinion and not necessarily a fact. And, just to say it, my rifle shoots the Nosler 40 gr BT a good bit better than it does the 65 grain GK, but I had started this with the Sierra GK and had a bunch of ammo loaded, so I continued with that bullet. This is about a comparison of resizing methods and not about the absolute smallest group I can shoot with this rifle.