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Old January 30, 2013, 10:28 AM   #1
JRLSH
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Question on small base die

Ok, after having the discussion on why you need small base dies for .223 instead of FL dies(for AR's) I am opting on getting the small base dies for my AR. ( I already have RCBS FL .223 dies). My question is this: Since I already have the FL and seater dies from RCBS, if I buy a Redding small base FL sizing die(alone), can I just use the seater die from RCBS or do I have to have both Redding dies? Midway sells the Redding die as a single piece and not in a set. I would like to have the set but I cannot find them. What is the concensus? Is it possible to utilize the 2 different sets without problems? Or should I just stick with Redding as a set when I find them? Thanks all.
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:37 AM   #2
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If your normal FL dies resize enough to let the brass chamber easily in your rifle, you don't need Small Base dies. If you have a factory chamber, this is most likely the case.

You don't need to buy another seater die, the RCBS is just fine.

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Old January 30, 2013, 10:44 AM   #3
JRLSH
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Small base

Jimro, yes, its factory chamber, but have been told by other reloaders that when shooting for semi auto AR you must use small base dies. That's the only reason I was going to replace my FL RCBS dies. I have not used them yet so they are still brand new. Should I try to use them or just get the small base dies instead?
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Old January 30, 2013, 11:01 AM   #4
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I have reloaded thousands of .223 Rem for my AR using the RCBS standard FL die set. Never had a problem. Of Course, my AR is a cheap DPMS with a reall sloppy chamber. (you hear that alot from the guys with real nice-$$$- guns) The gun is so cheap and the chamber is so sloppy, that I can only get 0.5 moa groups at 100 yards!

I think spending extra money on fancy dies isn't worth it if you are just shooting varmints and such or unless you run into a specific problem with your specific gun. I leave those SB dies and competition dies to the profesionals that have already spent way more money on their gun than I ever will.

Just my ranting.
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Old January 30, 2013, 11:18 AM   #5
JRLSH
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dies

So, you guys don't have any problems using the non-small base dies and still getting your AR's to shoot cartridges? I had a reloader tell me flat out that using RCBS FL dies would not allow the cartridges to chamber in my rifle unless I used the small base dies. If you configure the FL dies correctly, I don't see the problem in getting them to shoot in any gun. Am I wrong?
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Old January 30, 2013, 11:33 AM   #6
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You are correct. FL dies will be fine for your AR.
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Old January 30, 2013, 12:05 PM   #7
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bunk!

Quote:
dies
So, you guys don't have any problems using the non-small base dies and still getting your AR's to shoot cartridges? I had a reloader tell me flat out that using RCBS FL dies would not allow the cartridges to chamber in my rifle unless I used the small base dies. If you configure the FL dies correctly, I don't see the problem in getting them to shoot in any gun. Am I wrong?
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Do you believe everything you hear? You'd be a sucker for every infomercial on TV! A house full of miracle gadgets.

No small base dies are needed for factory ammo that has been fired in your chamber,PERIOD! In SOME rare cases where the brass has been fired in machine guns, the bases of the brass has been over expanded. Why? Because the NG's have sloppy chambers to insure they don't jam when they get hot. Then, if you have a tight chambered barrel, you could need the SB die.

I got some "once fired" .223 brass, that HAD been MG fired. I used my standard Lee .223 full-length dies to size them. They sized noticeably harder than "normal" brass, and had crimped primer pockets.
They were also very long, some had to be trimmed 30 thou.

All we can tell you is try it and see. As long as you are setting the shoulder back far enough to allow the bolt to close, fully chambering the loaded round, you should have no problem using the standard FL die set.
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Old January 30, 2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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I have small base dies, I have RCBS BAR die sets, I can measure the diameter of a tapper, not a problem but distinguishing the difference between a case that has been sized with a small base die and a full length sizer die is not easy, then again, it goes back to “Who can measure the dimensions of a chamber?” I have blind end hole micrometers, I have blind hole transfers (calipers-inside and outside), old, very old, some made before 1900, nice to have, not necessary.

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Old January 30, 2013, 12:42 PM   #9
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this post interests me as I've been asked by my Son to reload for "his" and a few other close friends to reload their brass for their AR's.

my understanding is that the small base dies will bring the brass to " spec" which would allow it to be fired from "any" weapon without problems chambering (sp)

I see where if your only using it in your own gun it would not matter.

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Old January 30, 2013, 12:46 PM   #10
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Matt,

A FL die still brings the brass into spec for any standard AR chambers. As snuffy said, unless you purchased brass fired from a machine gun, or your specific AR is very tight, the FL die will work fine. If you don't believe it, load some up with a FL die and try it. It will work.
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Old January 30, 2013, 12:59 PM   #11
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this is where I was going.

"Notes:
Small Base Full Length Sizer dies squeeze the brass down to minimal SAAMI specifications. This ensures reliable feeding in semi-automatic firearms."

that's all.
in my case a small base sounds like the path to go.

and yes I see where it might not make a diff for a single gun.

Matt.
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Old January 30, 2013, 01:20 PM   #12
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Unless you're one of those risk takers we see on the "funniest home movies" shows, you should NOT load any shells for anyone other than yourself. Lawyers love to sue people for darn near anything. Suppose one of your son's buddies hurts himself or someone else with one of your reloads?

You won't hear the siren, or see flashing lights, but the ambulance chaser will be there with a lawsuit just the same.

In order to make loads for someone else, you need a type 6 FFL, then you need a bunch of VERY expensive liability insurance just for those lawyers when,(not if), they show up. Then keep tax records of state sales tax you HAVE to charge.

Not selling them? You'll still get sued!

So you're an inexperienced reloader, and you are going to be loading for others? I've been loading for over 50 years, I give none of my reloads to anybody. If they want reloads, I show them how to do it on my own equipment. If they catch on quickly, and I see they have the aptitude, IMAY let them load some on my own equipment. Just a few boxes, then they can get their own stuff.
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Old January 30, 2013, 03:50 PM   #13
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Small Base Dies

If you ask one of the more honest tech support guys at any of the top line die manufacturers, he will tell you that Small Base dies are not necessary when resizing brass fired in a Semi Auto [B][U]which will then be used or might be used in a bolt action or single shot weapon.[U][B] Take a few rounds, run them thru your FL sizing die, seat a bullet,- NOTE: NO PRIMER OR POWDER - and then see if they will chamber properly. If they will cycle from clip to chamber manually, there is no need for a SB set. If not, they get only the SB sizing die, nothing else is needed.

Good luck,

Rick
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:10 PM   #14
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I recently purchased the 'standard' RCBS FL sizing die and loaded 100 .223 rounds using brass fired from _my_ Stag Arms Model 2. These rounds will not chamber in my Stag Arms AR. I subsequently measured and compared the rounds I reloaded to my 'normal' PPU 5.56 rounds and I found that the rounds I reloaded are within the SAAMI specs, but the factory PPU rounds are well under SAAMI spec in regard to case and neck diameter. I'm now trying to find/order a small/AR sizing die.

YMMV.
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
...These rounds will not chamber in my Stag Arms AR....
Out of curiosity, is the reason they won't chamber a problem w/ the cartridge base diameter,
or the fact that the case headspace dimension was left too long? (Small base won't help you on that)

i.e., was the sizer die set up ~ 1/8th turn beyond shell-holder contact, ...so as to slightly "cam over"
on the ram stroke?
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:40 PM   #16
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Redding Small Base Body Dies were designed to full length resize the case body and bump the shoulder without disturbing the case neck.


well this is the internet after all.....
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:50 PM   #17
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You got good advice to use small base dies. The same people who never have experienced extraction problems in AR’s are always giving out the same bad advice to use standard dies in gas guns. Kick enough 223 cases out of AR15’s running the line in Highpower matches and it becomes apparent that small base sizing is a good thing.

You want your cases to be as close as possible to factory dimensions. You should always set up your dies, small base or otherwise, with cartridge headspace gages. Bump the shoulder back about 0.003 or just size to gage minimum.

This document is worth looking at. Understanding Extractor Lift in the M16 Family of Weapons http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2003smallarms/din.ppt If you notice the Army lubricated their cases to reduce breech friction and improve extraction. When they put a ding in the case it would not extract.

You really do not want an interference fit on your case, you want factory clearances.

Mike Venturino is a gun writer who for decades has been claiming you don’t need to use small base dies. Then, in the July 2012 Guns Magazine, he is testing a M1a and AR10 and both of the rifles are jamming with his reloads. The rounds were so tight that he could not get the bolts in battery to shoot them out and he could not manually extract them. He resorted to beating the bolts open with scrap lumber. Ha, Ha. Even Gunwriters have to eat crow at some point.

Here are some threads where people have had problems with standard based sized cases.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...mall+base+dies

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...small+base+223

As for the seating die, use any, they are all good. Just don't crimp.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Ok, after having the discussion on why you need small base dies for .223 instead of FL dies(for AR's) I am opting on getting the small base dies for my AR.
I don't know anybody with a stock barreled AR that needs to use a small base dies. You would be money ahead to take the dies you already have and prove it to yourself.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:09 PM   #19
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Slamfire,

Your knowledge and advice are very much appriciated. I think those of us who were advocating the use of the OP's FL die, were doing so because for the majority of us, the FL die has been used without problem. I know it has worked for myself. I think we were only trying to reasure the OP that, as long as the ammo produced from his FL die worked in his gun, he didn't need to spend the $ for an additional SB die.

For those that do "run the line" in HighPower matches, maybe a SB die should be considdered, but for the majority of us that reload because we love to do it and we love to shoot AR's a few weekends every month, I don't think we are "required" to use/purchase the SB die.

Thanks again for your knowledgeable input. I personally enjoy it and learn from it.

Regards.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
If your normal FL dies resize enough to let the brass chamber easily in your rifle, you don't need Small Base dies. If you have a factory chamber, this is most likely the case.

You don't need to buy another seater die, the RCBS is just fine.

Jimro
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:23 PM   #21
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Slamfire,

If a regular FL die works in the OPs rifle, what benefit does he gain from the extra .001 sizing?

Jimro
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:39 PM   #22
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"Conventional wisdom" is a way to sound really knowlegeable without really thinking. Why would anyone believe gun makers would deliberately choose to produce a commercial rifle that needed special ammo to function normally?

Factory rifles, including autos, get chambered with standard reamers. Standard dies size for standard chambers. Those who have installed custom barrels with tight chambers MIGHT need SB dies. Otherwise, standard chamber fit is usually sufficently sloppy that any chambering problems is probably due to incorrect use of standard dies.
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Old January 30, 2013, 07:55 PM   #23
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You might want small-base dies in the following circumstances:

1. You want your large stash of reloads to work for sure in any AR you might ever own or shoot, not just the one you have now. The same reason factory ammo is more reliable than reloads in all guns in good condition. Factory ammo cartridge bases are smaller still....except wolf, and some blue box Federals....you know the quality stuff.

2. You own an AR, that is designed for commercial (.308, .223) rather than military, and it's designed with a tight chamber where accuracy is first and reliability is second. Varmint or hunting guns come to mind. My Remington R25 .308 is an example....hell it won't dependably shoot Wolf or even Federal Blue Box. But it runs most factory, (exceptions noted above), and my small-base sized reloads like water running downhill.

If you happen to use Dillon bottleneck sizers, you already have small-based dies...they don't make any other kind. I've documented that on this forum before, from Dillon. Go ahead, ask them. Why do you suppose they do that? I'm guessing its to prevent Dillon sizers from causing heartburn in their customers and their customer service reps.

Talking about "conventional wisdom" that isn't: Insinuating that all folks who happen to have AR's that don't feed conventional FL sized reloads well are stupid and can't set sizer dies correctly is flat uncalled for. Once you set the die to cam-over as per most instruction sheets....which is about as hard as buttering bread, tell me, what magic do you have to make bases smaller, so they will chamber without a hammer.

I had one guy on another forum say to grind off your shell plate a little. That's a great idea....then you can bump the shoulder back even further, when a conventional sizer, cammed over, usually bumps it back too much already. Your gauges say you're bumping too much? ...get a small-base and back it out a hair.

Then there's the magazine writer "gurus" who insist small-based sizers work the brass too much. Think a .001 or .002" squeeze at the base is worse than bumping the shoulder back .005" when its not necessary? Sure it is. Besides, the havoc the AR action does to brass will make it unusable long before squeezing the base will.

To the O.P.: The new "AR" die sets from RCBS also have another ace, besides the sizers that make your reloads as reliable as factory........You get a taper-crimp seater.....which is, my friend, a good thing.
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Old January 30, 2013, 07:58 PM   #24
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Quote:
Slamfire,

If a regular FL die works in the OPs rifle, what benefit does he gain from the extra .001 sizing?

Jimro
Just give it time. Someday in the future he will use range pickup brass or brass shot in one of his other rifles, or some loads were a little hot and he was unable to size them down, and then the problem will surface.

Might as well ask, how and why are factory cartridges the dimensions they are?

Might have something to do case clearance after firing.

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Old January 30, 2013, 08:09 PM   #25
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post #17, 23, 24 .....great info thanks, as "they" answered the question on whether you should use a small base for you AR platform or semi auto.

Matt.
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