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Old July 8, 2001, 08:55 PM   #1
MIKE14
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Reloading for AR15's

Traded for a short barreled AR-15 last week. I hope to install a 20 inch A-2 upper in the near future. With this 11.5 inch w/ 5.5 inch flash hider [soldered on] I know I will not see any great accuracy. I think I need a fast burning load for this short barrel. I believe the upper is from M&A parts I don't think it is chrome lined. I am wondering if a set of small base dies would be in order for this carbine. Any of you AR junkies have any input on these issues?
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Old July 8, 2001, 09:59 PM   #2
John Marshall
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Mike:

Yes, the small base dies should be used as they should with any ammunition intended to be used in semi-auto rifles/carbines.
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Old July 8, 2001, 10:10 PM   #3
dick w. holliday
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i now have 5 ARs and have had many in the past and have never owned a set of small base dies..Don't think you need them...Dick
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Old July 9, 2001, 05:08 PM   #4
MIKE14
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Okay we have one for and one against the small base dies. hmmmmmm Dick are all of your AR's GI chrome milspec barrels? One other thing comes to mind when I traded for this carbine the guy threw in an A2 buttstock I swapped the three position colapsable carbine stock for the A2 stock. The recoil buffer with the A2 stock is much larger than the one with the carbine stock. Do you guys think I should put the carbine buffer in the A2 stock to help cycling [do to the short barrel]. I had some problems with my M1A and my reloads and a small base die set solved the failure to extract problems I was having. Also any pet loads that work well in the CAR-15? Thanks for the replies!
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Old July 9, 2001, 05:24 PM   #5
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I don't use small base dies, don't think you'll need them unless reloading brass that has been fired in a M249 SAW. I would look at loads using powders like W748, AA2015, maybe N133 or N135. I use W748 for my prarie dog loads using 50gn V-maxes, 27.0 of W748, WSR primer 2.260 OAL. Semper Fidelis...Ken M
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Old July 9, 2001, 08:14 PM   #6
maxwayne
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I have the small base dies as they were a gift. I have used them for years to load for Mini-14 and AR. Rounds have always worked fine.
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Old July 9, 2001, 11:59 PM   #7
Good Guy
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I never used small base dies for the AR or M1A. No problems at all. I hear some say the small base dies "work" the brass too much.
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Old July 10, 2001, 08:52 AM   #8
LIProgun
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I started reloading for a Mini-14 around 1984 using RCBS small-base dies. Around a year ago I switched to an RCBS X-Die because I HATE TRIMMING BRASS!

So far I haven't seen any signs from Mini-14 and AR chambers, and a Dillon case gauge, that the X-die insufficiently resizes the brass as compared to the small base die.

BTW, did I mention I hate trimming brass?
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Old July 10, 2001, 09:58 AM   #9
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I've never used small base dies, and have never had feed reliability problems in my AR. I have a chromed chamber in my Colt.
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Old July 10, 2001, 11:47 AM   #10
Steve Smith
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I only have one AR, my Highpower rifle. I'm using a Redding bushing type full length die and I have no troubles with chambering and extracting. None of my HP buddies, nor Redding advised the use of small base dies..they all said that if I were using them, then I had other problems...as in a too-tight chamber. This is with a Wylde chamber, basically a compromise between a mil-spec and a real match chamber. With a MATCH chamber (very rare in an AR, no matter what they say) then small base dies may be necessary, but I doubt it.
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Old July 10, 2001, 08:08 PM   #11
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Hmm. What most have said (before this thread) was to use neck sizing for bolt guns (once the brass was fireformed to your chamber), and use full-length sizing for all semi-autos, e.g., AR15. I thought full length sizing dies and small-base dies were the same thing, so those using full length resizing are using small base dies. Any corrections here?
 
Old July 10, 2001, 08:48 PM   #12
Steve Smith
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There are two types of full length sizers. One is commonly referred to as a "Full length sizer" and the otehr is referred to as a "Small Base sizer." The small base, is, guess what...smaller.

I'll bet we're all using full length size dies (I know a few guys that just use neck dies for their AR's, but they're rare) but only one guy, John Marshall, is using a small base. IMHO, I think he's working his brass more than he needs to.

As you go along, you may even want to set your die so that it works the brass the least. You'll be setting it to be just a tiny bit smaller than the max headspace measurement...but that's a different thread.
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Old July 11, 2001, 06:32 AM   #13
MIKE14
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Okay the small base dies are not necessary. I should put this part in the rifles forum but anyway does any of you think that by swapping the CAR-15 tube stock and recoil buffer for the A2 stock and buffer has made it harder to cycle the bolt in this short of barrel? The A2 buffer is larger and heavier.
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Old July 11, 2001, 10:48 AM   #14
LIProgun
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I'm not completely sure what Steve Smith means by "I'll bet we're all using full length size dies ... but only one guy, John Marshall, is using a small base."

Just to be clear, the first RCBS die I used until a year or so ago was indeed a small base die. The sizing die itself says "SB" on the top, the label says "small base" and IIRC the end label on the box is even a different color than RCBS "FL" (full-length) rifle dies.

Of course, I am not disputing that small base dies do full-length resize cases, as opposed to neck sizing. I just want to make clear that my die is really a "small base" die.
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Old July 11, 2001, 11:21 AM   #15
Steve Smith
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LIProgun, What I'm saying is, there is a difference between a FL die and a SB die. I'm also saying that most AR shooters are using FL dies, unless they ran into a problem with a very tight chamber and HAD to go to the SB die. To go with a SB die right off the bat, skipping the FL die is jumping the gun, because the SB die works the brass more. Most folks with properly adjusted FL dies can get 10-12 reloads...I think that brass being sized in a SB die will give out much earlier than that.

If you're wondering whether I meant that a SB wasn't a FL, no. A SB die is a type of FL die, but not the only type. You can buy both regular FL dies and SB type FL dies.

I'm just trying to say that SB dies are rarely necessary. When I said, "I'll bet we're all using full length size dies ... but only one guy, John Marshall, is using a small base." Obviously, you do to.

What I meant was, myself, dick w. holliday, Good Guy, and Poodleshooter are probably all using FL dies, but not SB dies. Now, they'll probably all hang me because I'm putting words in their mouth, but I'll say it again...most AR-15 shooters use a regular FL die, not SB dies. Some use neck dies.
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Old July 11, 2001, 03:53 PM   #16
Good Guy
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Quote:
What I meant was, myself, dick w. holliday, Good Guy, and Poodleshooter are probably all using FL dies, but not SB dies.
Correct! I also presumed that everyone was discussing FL vs FLSB dies.

Nobody is going to hang you here at TFL steve. We use the firing squad.
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Old July 11, 2001, 04:35 PM   #17
Steve Smith
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Believe me, I've faced a firing squad many times here...mostly because I didn't explain every detail about what I'm talking about. I take too much for granted, sometimes.
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Old July 11, 2001, 04:41 PM   #18
Willy
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On the stock and buffer question. I don't think you are going to have a problem . The shorter buffer is not there to change the timing on the rifle. The shorter buffer is necessary because the collapsed 3 position stock can't physically fit the larger solid stock buffer.

Did you get two springs? I will have to check but I thought that the springs were different between the two. Maybe not.

The 11.5" barrel and 5.5" should give you good combat accuracy.
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Old July 11, 2001, 06:58 PM   #19
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Let me chime in on this small base die thing. I was having a devil of a time with my AR a little while ago. After replacing the mil-spec barrel with a "match" grade it simply would not eat anything that I reloaded. It chambered new ammo without a problem. I use both Lee and RCBS full length dies. The reloaded round would hang up in the chamber. (never fired one because of this problem. Didn't want to find out what would happen the hard way). I emailed RCBS, Lee and Hornady and asked to what tolerance their respective dies were made to. RCBS and Hornady both said that they make their sizing dies to SAAMI average and Lee said that thiers were SAAMI max. All three specs are fine for bolt guns or mil-spec. For a tight "match" barrel, you need a die that will go to SAAMI minimum. RCBS was the only one that told me what that meant to them. A small base sizing die is made .002 to .003 smaller than the standard sizing die. Ihave since switched to the small base sizing dies and all my problems went away. Say what you will, but small base dies fixed my problems.
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Old July 11, 2001, 11:11 PM   #20
Steve Smith
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Stuckatwork, I have no doubt that small base dies fixed your problem; however, most of us dont' need them. Most AR barrels are just not that tight, and even though conventional wisdom says, "don't struggle, go directly to the SB die," that's not the best wast to do it. If the rifle will accept cases sized in a regular FL die, then it'll work the brass less.

Interestingly, this same topic has been going on over at ar15.com, and there's a trend developing. Every person over there who has said, "I had to switch to SB dies to get them to chamber" was invariably using RCBS FL dies. Not a soul was using another brand. Now you say the same thing. Hmm....
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Old July 12, 2001, 02:32 AM   #21
George Helser
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I have an AR15 SP1 bought in 1972. Have fired about 5000 reloads through it. These were sized with an RCBS FL die set with 100% chambering & extracting reliability. I also have an RCBS small base die set but after a few rounds I stopped using the dies because the cases seemed undersized for the AR15 chamber. Want my SB die set?

Regards,
George
In sunny Arizona
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Old July 12, 2001, 06:21 AM   #22
MIKE14
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George I'd like to have that set of small base dies. e-mail me and let me know how much you want for them. I think they will help with this short barrel. Hopefuly when I can get the 20" A2 upper that I realy want I wont need them. untill then the S,B, dies will make this CAR-15 run more reliably. Thanks
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Old July 12, 2001, 09:27 AM   #23
LIProgun
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Steve, thanks for the clafirications. When you say, "To go with a SB die right off the bat, skipping the FL die is jumping the gun..." I have to agree. When I started reloading, the advice I was given by the gunshop gurus was that I needed small base dies to reload for an autoloader. As I have since learned, the guy behind the counter of the local gun shop is not necessarily the best source of technical information.

My subsequent experience loading .223 over the last 17 years or so is that I never really needed a SB die, and probably lost a lot of brass life doing so.
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Old July 13, 2001, 09:21 PM   #24
rinoray
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Dumb question!

Have a dillon 550 and jusr started on the AR path.
Are dillon rifle dies small base? These are the 3 die set $49.99. Anything wrong with them?
Thanks!
AR15 Newbie
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Old July 14, 2001, 02:11 PM   #25
Steve Smith
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Dillon dies are not SB to my knowledge. Call then and ask...1-800-762-3845.

Is that correct? I did it from memory.
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