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Old January 10, 2013, 08:12 PM   #1
WWWJD
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Reloading for 5.56/.223.... die recommendations anyone?

Hey y'all,
Been reloading for my .308 for almost a year now. LOVE IT. I'd like to put my Lee Turret to work on some .223 whenever stuff calms down. I'm gonna use the down time hopefully to get what I need together for this. For my .308, I settled on best practice being:

1) Partial Body/Shoulder Bump with the bottom half of a Forster Precision Bushing Bump Die

2) Decap and neck size with the Lee Collet Die

3) Trim/chamfer if necessary

4) Prime, Fill (with Autodisk, then scale for top off), then seat with a Redding Seater Die.

An odd mix of dies but my results are consistent, my groups rock, and I'm happy with it.

For the AR, I realize that full length sizing is a requirement; Therein lies the question. I think... I want to get:

1) A body die
2) The Lee Collet die
3) A seating/crimper die
4) Case trimmer

Any thoughts good or bad? There's an RCBS chargemaster in the plan as well; with the .308 I've learned that the Autodisk and I love/hate stick powder.
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Old January 10, 2013, 10:19 PM   #2
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For the volumes most AR shooters spray I'd simply stick with a common FL die, they are pretty good you know?
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Old January 11, 2013, 01:44 AM   #3
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Dillon.. Hands down the best! They stand behind their product 150%. You wont be dissapointed. Good Luck.

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Old January 11, 2013, 02:22 AM   #4
mohr308
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I use the RCBS AR series 2 die set, don't forget the Wilson case gage! You'll be be glad your bought it. The RCBS is a little tighter then a standard .223 die, is your AR chambered for the 5.56?
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Old January 11, 2013, 01:25 PM   #5
Bart B.
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One decent full length sizing die is all one needs to size fired cases. Use one that has bushings to make the neck size just right, decaps cases, doesn't have a neck-bending expander ball and you'll get the best accuracy and case life possible. That's what Sierra Bullets does and I doubt anyone shoots their stuff more accurate than they do.
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Old January 11, 2013, 03:55 PM   #6
m&p45acp10+1
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The collet die would be a waste with an AR. Full Length sizing is required. Avoid crimping if you can as well. Other than that you will need to trim the cases. I use a Lee Trimmer. I can do a lot of cases with it, and I use my drill with it.
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Old January 11, 2013, 06:31 PM   #7
WWWJD
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Quote:
Bart B: Use one that has bushings to make the neck size just right
One of the reasons I got away from the Forster bushing neck sizing operation was that as the cases aged, the neck tension became inconsistent (brass flow thickening the brass at the neck). Could feel it in the press and measure it with the calipers. That's why I went back to the Lee Collet. I'm not expecting these cases to last forever being mixed bag... but.. I'd like them to go at least 4 or 5 loadings before I buy new brass.

Quote:
m&p45acp10+1: The collet die would be a waste with an AR
Not suggesting that I neck size only. Was saying that for concentricity and consistent neck tension, the Lee Collet works best on my .308. Is there some other reason you say it's a waste of time or was it a misunderstanding?

It's a rather accurate 20" Varmint Upper; shot 1 moa with factory stuff this weekend. Would like to repeat or improve upon if at all possible. There shall be no spraying.
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Old January 12, 2013, 07:24 AM   #8
Bart B.
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WWWJD, if your Forster bushing type neck sizing die caused case neck thickening in only a few reloads on a given case, I think there's something amiss in the die or how it's set in the press.

I mention this 'cause some folks have been using full length sizing dies without expander balls but proper size neck diameters on .308 Win. cases for decades getting dozens of reloads per case. And no case neck thickening or other causes of different amounts of case neck tension on bullets as they're seated.

Regarding best concentricity of case necks and bullets relative to the case, no sizing die puts the case neck, and therefore the bullet, best centered on a bottleneck case shoulder better than a full length bushing type sizing die that sets the fired case shoulder back 1 or 2 thousandths. Such dies keep the case neck concentric with the case shoulder while the neck's sized down; dies that only touch the neck when sizing it and the case shoulder and body aren't kept in line with the neck axis end up pushing the neck off center on the case shoulder.

It's the bottleneck case shoulder that centers the front of the round (and the bullet) in the chamber when the round fires, not the case body as the case body's typically not touching any part of the chamber (except one point at its pressure ring at the back end) when the round fires. If such dies didn't do this, then the benchresters would not have pretty much given up on neck only sizing and moved to full length bushing dies some years ago. While their smallest groups didn't get any smaller, their largest ones did shrink in size.
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Last edited by Bart B.; January 12, 2013 at 07:35 AM.
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Old January 14, 2013, 09:27 AM   #9
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Seems to me like a lot of extra work, but OP, you can try it out and if it works for you that's great. Anymore, I just use an RCBS X die for bottleneck cases. No more trimming, and the cases last a long time. Set them up for the shoulder setback you desire, and enjoy.

Years past I would anneal on the 5th firing. Simply heat up the old bullet caster and hold the case heads, dunk them in the molten lead to a point just past the shoulder, and once my fingers begin to get hot, drop them in a 5 gallon pail of water on the floor beneath the bench.

If I start with good quality cases, I can make 100 Lapua brass last for many, many firings, so long as I don't use max loads. Some of my cases I can hardly read the headstamps anymore. But the primer pockets are still beautiful.
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Old January 14, 2013, 04:18 PM   #10
Nathan
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At the end of the day, I'd bet std Hornady dies make as good of ammo as any other for a normal AR.

I had Forster and it was good, but not the best for progressive and wanted to FL size long for good running in an AR.
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Old January 14, 2013, 07:05 PM   #11
m&p45acp10+1
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If you are loading for an AR then you will need to Full Length Resize every round. If you have full length sized the round, there is no need to neck size, the case, and mouth have been sized. It is a wasted step as far as I know.

I shoot a bolt action. I neck size for the one, and only rifle the loads will be shot out of. I load a few to shoot out of AR rifles that belong to friends. I Full length resize for those. They shoot more accurately than we can milk them for.
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:32 PM   #12
Bart B.
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WWWJD, some years ago a friend and I each shot one .308 Win. case a lot of times to see how many full length sizings it would take. I got 47 times and he got 57; that's when we both ran out of test powder. Both of used maximum loads. The dies were standard .308 Win. RCBS ones that I had lapped their necks out to about 2 thousandths smaller than a loaded round's neck diameter. We both used metered charges of IMR4895 under Sierra bullets; he used 168's and I used 165's.

His ammo was fired from a machine rested rifle at 100 yards; all 57 rounds went into 3/10ths inch center to center. My ammo was shot by a friend from benchtop holding it to his shoulder; all 47 went into 3/4ths inch through a chronograph showing a muzzle velocity spread of 30 fps or thereabouts.

In both tests, the case shortened about 2 thousandths when fired then lengthened a bit more than 2 thousandths. We trimmed our case about every 10 shots back to 2.000".
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Old January 14, 2013, 08:53 PM   #13
WWWJD
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Thanks guys. Appreciate the feedback. Now.... Where to find dies...


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Old January 14, 2013, 10:40 PM   #14
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I am a cheapskate and my hand loaded ammo would never be called, "match" or anything close to it, but I'm happy with the results I get using my Lee .223 dies.
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