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Old October 11, 2017, 07:29 PM   #1
fpchief
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Resizing a complete cartridge

Before anyone throws rocks at me, let me explain. I reloaded a bunch (1000's) ..223 for a non-colt AR. Having acquired a couple new Colt AR's i am having a few issues with them getting stuck in the chamber. Did my research and discovered the need for a small base die. Works great and no more issues.

The question is can those many many rounds i have loaded using the standard die be resized safely? Of course taking out the decapper, etc. I really hate having two different sizes of .223 that if SHTF, can not be mixed up or it can give that colt a stoppage.

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Old October 11, 2017, 07:41 PM   #2
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And is there any way not to mess with the neck? All i want to do is press the case some near the bottom.

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Old October 11, 2017, 08:28 PM   #3
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Small based dies are almost never needed loading for AR's. Most issues are with headspace and not pushing the shoulder back enough. I highly recommend Hornady's Headspace Gauge Set which works with your calipers. Without a headspace gauge you never know if you're sizing enough to avoid problems like you have. No way I know to size loaded cases. You need to pull the bullets, dump the powder, and like you mentioned remove the decapping pin. Resize the cases and use a gauge to measure the shoulders. I would recommend either Hornady's or RCBS's collet bullet puller that works in your press. Easy to pull a lot of bullets fast without damaging them. Not too expensive for the collet bullet pulling die and the Hornady Headspace gauge set. Just measure the shoulders of cases fired in your rifles, screw the sizing die in until it pushes the shoulders back 3-4 thousandths and chambering issues should go away. I suspect your cases are failing because of the shoulders too long?
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Old October 11, 2017, 08:36 PM   #4
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Possibly you could use the Redding Body Die. I have no experience with it at all. It is supposed to size the body of the case and push shoulders back but not do any sizing on the neck?? Don't know if it'd work on loaded rounds or not but a call to Redding should answer that question.
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...dding-body-die
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Old October 11, 2017, 08:39 PM   #5
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I’ve never sized loaded rounds before, but if you properly lube the cases and go slow you might be ok to use a Redding small base body die. This die is used to size the body as well as set the shoulder back without disturbing the neck, this type of die is usually used in conjunction with neck sizing wether it be collet or mandrel.




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Old October 11, 2017, 08:41 PM   #6
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"And is there any way not to mess with the neck? All i want to do is press the case some near the bottom. "
Yes there is: 6 x 45 mm small base sizer. BUT keep in mind you're chambering a live round in the sizer die. If it happens to ignite( by some super unlikely case), stuff is going to come apart in your face. I've tried it a few times but just can't feel good about putting myself in this situation.
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Old October 11, 2017, 09:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
The question is can those many many rounds i have loaded using the standard die be resized safely? Of course taking out the decapper, etc.
I believe most sizing/decapping dies with the decapping rod removed will still seat the bullet way deeper than you want. If you go the Redding body die route, I would use it in the normal sizing/decapping slot so there is nothing below the primer to accidentally set it off. I would also use lots of lube. You don’t want a live round stuck in the die. Those are really difficult to chamber.

Or you could just take the easy route and only shoot those rounds in the AR that they fit and size future rounds to fit all your ARs.
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Old October 11, 2017, 09:41 PM   #8
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Guys those are some awesome posts. I really appreciate it. Going to do some safe experimenting and will post what i come up with!

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Old October 11, 2017, 10:03 PM   #9
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by any chance did you crimp ?
and if so, did you do it in one step?
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Old October 11, 2017, 10:10 PM   #10
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Pulling the bullets first might be a lot safer. But with that much work, I don't know.
I think I would just keep them separate. In 223 556 that is not unheard of. I can load to longer COAL in one rifle, and do. But those rounds will not chamber in another rifle with a tighter chamber. You need two guns anyway: one for each hand.

SHTF is not a concern where I live. Which is not Las Vegas.
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Old October 11, 2017, 10:45 PM   #11
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Use the body die as mentioned in earlier posts and lube the crap out of the case first below the shoulder.

Stick a loaded round in a die and it is more excitement than you bargained for.

No way can you use your FL die. The case neck won't fit in it with a bullet sitting up front. You would be attempting to swage the bullet plus size the neck. Ruination all over the place.
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Old October 12, 2017, 01:24 AM   #12
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Possibly you could use the Redding Body Die.
I don't know anything about this die, so I would recommend some research before buying one. Also compare the cost of the die (assuming it would work) with the "cost" of your time pulling the bullets, and then sizing the cases in your SB dies.

This should be a one time thing, so even pulling a thousand bullets might be cheaper than buying a die, that might, or might not solve your problem.

Absolutely DO NOT try to resize loaded ammo in a regular (or SB) sizer die.

The die neck is TOO SMALL, and if you force a bullet into it, its almost guaranteed to get stuck, no matter how much lube you use. ALSO, even if it does "work" you have sized the bullet down too much for an accurate fit in the bore and lead does not "spring back" to the degree brass does.

bad idea, all around.

I'd say "bite the bullet" meaning pull the bullets from the "bad" rounds (and you know you don't have to do thousands all at the same time) size the brass, TRY the cases in the rifle, and if good, reload them.

Are all the "bad" rounds loaded with the same powder? Same amount?? IF so, no problem, but if not, that makes it a little more complex, reusing the powder, you'll need to keep different powders separated if that's the case.

Simplest and easiest is as already mentioned, just shoot them up, over time, (how ever long that takes) in the rifle(s) they work in, and then reload them sized for all the rifles you intend to use.
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Old October 12, 2017, 02:37 AM   #13
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Simplest and easiest is as already mentioned, just shoot them up, over time, (how ever long that takes) in the rifle(s) they work in, and then reload them sized for all the rifles you intend to use.
I've got to admit that seems like it would be the simplest and easiest solution.

However, let me put my 'Captain Obvious' hat on and say if you've got thousands of these then a collet bullet puller might be the way to go if you want to break them down.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/68...-bullet-puller

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/12...r-224-diameter

My trusty, simple, cheap kinetic bullet puller has served me well for quite some time but my arm visibly flinches at the thought of having to use it for hundreds of rounds let alone thousands.

Good luck.
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Old October 12, 2017, 11:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
fpchief wrote:
The question is can those many many rounds i have loaded using the standard die be resized safely?
No.

You can remove the decapper/expander stem from your sizing die, lube up the loaded rounds and run them through the die without any problems, but when the neck is resized, the bullet is going to be swaged to a new (smaller) diameter so you will no longer have adequate neck tension to keep it from setting back into the case - and that is a safety issue.

The "by the book" solution is to pull the bullets, resize the cases and then re-seat the pulled bullets. A collet style bullet puller from RCBS, Hornaday or the other makers is inexpensive and effective.

The "easier" solution is to just shoot up the ammunition.

And review what rg1 said about making sure your dies are properly adjusted in post #3. I have loaded 223 for 38 years for five different rifles (two Mini-14, two ARs, one Savage Axis) and have never used a small base die.
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Old October 12, 2017, 12:02 PM   #15
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"...hate having two different sizes..." You have multiple rifles in the same cartridge. Requires FL resizing every time no matter what else you do. And AR's sometimes just require the SB sizer.
However, you cannot resize loaded ammo. No room in any sizer die for a bullet.
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Old October 12, 2017, 01:01 PM   #16
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However, you cannot resize loaded ammo. No room in any sizer die for a bullet.
And then there is the neck, the sizing die reduces the diameter of the neck when the ram goes up and the sizing plug increases the inside diameter of the neck when the ram is lowered; but we all know the primer punch/sizer ball must be removed. I have sized the shoulder/case body without sizing the neck before we ran out of names for different dies. There was the 8mm06 for the 30/06, the 338/06 for the 8mm/06 and the 30/06 for the 270W etc.

Quote:
And is there any way not to mess with the neck? All I want to do is press the case some near the bottom.
Again, there has to be something reloaders do not understand about sizing the case
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Old October 12, 2017, 01:45 PM   #17
Don Fischer
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Is he really wanting to re-size loaded rounds? Only one time I have a loaded round in a die and that's the bullet seat die. If your really gonna try to re-size the case's, pull the bullet's. And it probably is a shoulder rubbing, you are not gonna fix that without pulling bullet's. Think about it. You'd have to pull the re-sizing assembly out of the die. Then you'd have to get the case with a bullet in it all the way in and that would take the neck down smaller than the bullet, Even if it would go! If you could some way do it, the bullet would be re-size and be under under size for the rifle! Take a beating and pull the bullet's!
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Old October 12, 2017, 01:48 PM   #18
Don Fischer
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Originally Posted by rg1 View Post
Small based dies are almost never needed loading for AR's. Most issues are with headspace and not pushing the shoulder back enough. I highly recommend Hornady's Headspace Gauge Set which works with your calipers. Without a headspace gauge you never know if you're sizing enough to avoid problems like you have. No way I know to size loaded cases. You need to pull the bullets, dump the powder, and like you mentioned remove the decapping pin. Resize the cases and use a gauge to measure the shoulders. I would recommend either Hornady's or RCBS's collet bullet puller that works in your press. Easy to pull a lot of bullets fast without damaging them. Not too expensive for the collet bullet pulling die and the Hornady Headspace gauge set. Just measure the shoulders of cases fired in your rifles, screw the sizing die in until it pushes the shoulders back 3-4 thousandths and chambering issues should go away. I suspect your cases are failing because of the shoulders too long?
Have to ask. How do you use a Hornady Headspace Gauge in a semi auto rifle? I've never used one.
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Old October 12, 2017, 03:13 PM   #19
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Have to ask. How do you use a Hornady Headspace Gauge in a semi auto rifle? I've never used one.
You don't use it in any rifle. You're thinking of the Hornady OAL Gauge. They make a straight one for bolt guns and ARs and a curved one for semi-autos which don't have a rear opening in the receiver.
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Old October 12, 2017, 06:18 PM   #20
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Good grief! I've used a Redding Body Die to slightly resize loaded ammo. I have a 223 and had loaded hundreds of rounds for it. Then I decided to have it rebarreled, and the new custom chamber was too tight for the loaded rounds. I started pulling bullets, and a couple of hundred rounds later I figured there had to be a better way. I asked around on another forum and it was suggested to me that I could use the Body Die. Well, I didn't have a Body Die, but I did have a Redding Type S Bushing Die. I removed the primer punch and the neck sizing bushing, effectively turning it into a Body Die, and proceeded to safely resize 200+ rounds of ammo. And I have since done the same thing with a true Body Die on some 260 Remington reloads that needed the shoulder bumped back just a teeny bit.

Yes! You can safely resize (except for the neck) loaded ammo. As for whether or not you feel comfortable doing it, that's up to you.
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Old October 12, 2017, 08:54 PM   #21
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One good video, there are others, showing how the Hornady Headspace Gauge set works with your calipers. Very good tool and works with most all rifle calibers. Measure the shoulders on factory rounds, measure a case fired in your rifle, and adjust your sizing die to push shoulders back for a semi-auto at 3-4 thousandths and a bolt rifle up to 2 thousandths.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-UrMTyJ1_E
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Old October 12, 2017, 09:53 PM   #22
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When I first started loading for my AR, I loaded up a thousand rounds using CCI small rifle primers. Being new to AR's I had never heard of a slam fire, and got worried that I had used the wrong primers. So I got a Hornady collet bullet puller and went to town. Didn't take very long at all and had them all pulled down. Then I picked up some Tula primers for AR's and after depriming all the brass I reloaded them no problem. I wound up reusing the CCI small rifle primers in my .357 mag and not a single misfire. Of course since then have talked to several people who have used the CCI small rifle primers in thousands of rounds without a single slam fire. Oh well, I got 12000 of the Tula's from a friend for $150.00 so not too bad after all.
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Old October 12, 2017, 10:20 PM   #23
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I personally would not resize a loaded round. Not even in a body die.

Just shoot 'em up in the rifle they fit and get a small base die for next time around.
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Old October 13, 2017, 01:17 AM   #24
Brian Pfleuger
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I have resized loaded ammo in a couple of different cartridges by using a Redding Body die. It’s the only die I use for all my cartridges, besides a Lee Collet neck die.

Here’s the thing. It *should* be perfectly safe. The only reason that round should go off is if something hits the primer, and pretty damn hard. Squishing the case in a die will have no effect on the primer whatsoever.

However, and it’s a big however, you have to realize that if that round DOES go BOOM! while it’s up in that die, what you essentially have is a very short barreled rifle that’s going to fire that bullet into whatever is above your press and likely blow that die into pieces of shrapnel. I could be wrong about blowing up the die. Pressure will be (relatively) limited and the press is also there to help hold it together, but... still...

Is there any reason that should happen? No.
Have I ever heard of it happening? No.
Does it stop me from resizing ammo? No.
But damn, that would suck.

Your choice.
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Old October 13, 2017, 09:27 AM   #25
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Brian- My thoughts exactly. If your press is in the basement, make sure there are no people, animals or gas lines upwards in the line of fire.

No manufacturer of anything is going to say it is ok. OP, so forget that route. Should something happen? no. Could it happen? Possibly. I understand the reluctance in tossing the whole batch, but safety first.
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