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Old October 5, 2009, 11:18 AM   #1
ekshuntsdale
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Full length resizing .223 brass

I have access to once-fired .223 & 5.56 brass from controlled training ranges. I have noticed that some of it will not full length re-size such that it will drop into a .223 case length/dimension gauge no matter what brand of die I use; some of these will not chamber in my AR-15 or .223 Remington bolt action. This occurs regardless of the maker of the brass, military or civilian. I think that what is happening is that some of these cases are being "fire-formed" in rifles with slightly larger than normal chambers near the base of the case (in the lower 2 or 3 millimeters), where no die I know of can reach to re-size. I can see where the dies no longer can make contact with the base of the case on such cases. Also, I can just about tell when a case will fit into the gauge when I FL re-size and deprime it - much less pressure than cases which will not drop in no matter what die type I use. Does this seem explanation seem logical? Anything else that might be going on here? Any "fix" for these cases such that I can use them again?
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Old October 5, 2009, 11:20 AM   #2
Farmland
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It sounds like you might want to try a small base 223 die. Usually these solve the problems.

These dies size the body of cases somewhat smaller and set the shoulder back slightly more than a regular full-length sizer die in order to ensure proper functioning in semi-automatic, pump action and lever action rifles.
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Old October 5, 2009, 12:43 PM   #3
QBall45
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Problem likely caused by full auto weapons like the SAW??

Do you know what type weapons are used on the range where ya got the brass from?
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Old October 5, 2009, 01:26 PM   #4
Beltfire
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I have been reloading 223 for 35 years. It amazes me that I still run into issues. After market guns often have small chambers. RecentlyI had loaded some ammo that would fit into my Colt but not into my after market gun. I found that my shell holder was not contacting the bottom of the die due to adjustment and an accumulation of debris on the bottom of the die. I cleaned the die, tightened the adjustment and purchased a case gauge. My sizing die is so old the company has been out of business for ages but when properly set it still sizes just fine.
PS I cannot over state the importance of using a case gage. I have been guessing for years. Get a gage for each caliber.

Last edited by Beltfire; October 5, 2009 at 01:33 PM.
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Old October 5, 2009, 01:34 PM   #5
Beltfire
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I have been reloading 223 for 35 years. It amazes me that I still run into issues. After market guns often have small chambers. RecentlyI had loaded some ammo that would fit into my Colt but not into my after market gun. I found that my shell holder was not contacting the bottom of the die due to adjustment and an accumulation of debris on the bottom of the die. I cleaned the die, tightened the adjustment and purchased a case gauge. My sizing dies is so old the company has been out of business for ages but when properly set it still sizes just fine.
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Old October 5, 2009, 03:22 PM   #6
Longdayjake
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I second the small base die. For semi autos, there is no other option. I have handloaded several thousand with my rcbs small base die from police ranges and all of them have cycled wonderfully.
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Old October 5, 2009, 04:16 PM   #7
Tim R
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Are your dies adjusted to 1/4 to 1/2 addional turn after the shell holder touches the base of the die?

I reload 223 for match tuned AR's. Never needed a small base die. Even once fired from police/military practice ranges.
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Old October 5, 2009, 05:25 PM   #8
steve4102
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Quote:
Are your dies adjusted to 1/4 to 1/2 addional turn after the shell holder touches the base of the die?
Yes, I would like to know this as well. This is the number cause of re sized brass being difficult to chamber.
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Old October 5, 2009, 08:59 PM   #9
rg1
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I've bought brass a few times from sellers advertising "from a police training range". Seems they often use different rifles and in different conditions so you will be getting brass fired in multiple weapons. Some of your problem fitting into your chamber check gauge could be bent, dinged, bent rims of the once fired police range brass. The full-length sized brass would go into a gauge except for the damaged rim from the extractor-ejector. I use a smooth file to remove the bulges, raised cut marks, or to flatten the case head if the rim is bent slightly. Plus I double check that the case has no problems with case stretching and possible separation issues. Check your case rims for damage. I've not seen a .223 case from military or police, or other sources that a full-length die won't adequately size for either AR's or bolt rifles. I've used Hornady, RCBS, or Redding full-length size dies and no problems chambering. I use both Hornady's Headspace gauge set and RCBS Precision Mics for adjusting my sizing die for proper headspace.
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Old October 6, 2009, 08:25 AM   #10
ekshuntsdale
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.223 brass

I have tried Lee, Redding, and RCBS small base dies to try to correct this problem. All the ties are screwed in an additional 1/2 turn such that they make full contact with the base of the shellholder. Still, I run into batches of brass that will not resize such that they will fit into my dimension gauge.
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Old October 6, 2009, 09:11 AM   #11
Jim243
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I think we all have issues on resizing 223 cases, my reloading friends are telling me to check out different case holders and see if I can find ones that are a little shorter so I can get my cases futher into the resizing die, my only concern is that I will be bumping the sholder down too much. But it's worth a try when all else fails.



Good luck
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Old October 6, 2009, 09:55 AM   #12
Unclenick
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Ekshuntsdale,

Are you sure you bought small base dies? I notice you listed a Lee small base die, but AFAIK, they don't catalog one. Just the standard sizing die.

You do best with a very rigid press with the long cases. It is a little like forming a wildcat, and you want to be sure the pressure ring hasn't been so badly stretched that they are in danger of head separation. At that point it might just be as easy to toss those. Annealing the neck and shoulder also can make it easier to set the shoulder back.

Take one of the tough-to-resize cases and find a 0.002" feeler gauge you can slip under the case head in the shell holder to raise it up. You'll have to take the decapper out, since the decapping pin won't go through the feeler gauge. Lube the case and run it all the way up. Count to five to let the metal relax a little, then lower the ram, count to five and rotate the case 180 degrees, then run it back up into the die and count to five again. I can usually get several thousandths of additional shortening that way.

Once the shoulder is where it should be, if the total length of the case is too great, it needs trimming. A case that is extra long after extraction will typically "squirt" up into die neck longer. With those long cases you also need to watch out for premature formation of the "dreaded donut" forming at the inside of the neck where it meets the shoulder. An inside neck reamer is normally used to cut those out.
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Old October 6, 2009, 01:05 PM   #13
plainsman456
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If you have any that won't resize send them to me..If you try a small base die and it still can't chamber, look at the holder.You might have to trim it a little to make it work.Good Luck
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