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Old May 14, 2002, 11:57 AM   #1
Join Date: September 28, 2001
Location: Greer, SC
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.223 dies

I have been reloading pistol ammunition, 9mm & .40 S&W, using Hornaday and Lee dies. I am planning to start reloading .223 rifle ammunition. What is the best manufacturer of dies to use? The ammunition will be for target usage out to 200 yards and will be reloaded using a single stage press.
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Old May 14, 2002, 02:28 PM   #2
Steve Smith
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Everyone will have their favorite. You don't say whether its for an AR or a bolt gun. If for a semi-automatic, you need to full-length size.

My suggestion is a Redding "S" type bushing die with the proper bushing for your brass and a Forster Ultra seating die.

Disclaimer: I shoot Highpower and shoota .223 at 600 yards.
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Old May 14, 2002, 03:17 PM   #3
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Since you asked for the "best", I would concur with Steve that Redding makes the best dies.
I use a mixture of Lee and Redding dies. Lee dies provide the best value for a poor reloader,IMHO.
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Old May 14, 2002, 04:05 PM   #4
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When I first started reloading, I chose Lee dies simply based on price. I didn't have alot of money, and they were the cheapest. I had good results with Lee dies and don't really have a lot of negative things to say about them. As my reloading bench expanded, I tried pretty much all the major brands of dies just to see what each had to offer. After having owned and used all the different dies that I was aware of, one brand in my mind stands head and shoulders above the rest. Redding.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
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Old May 14, 2002, 04:53 PM   #5
Jerry Stordahl
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Location: Halstad, MN USA
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JW: The best......Redding Competition Die set......but the set will lighten your wallet about $115 plus bushings are extra. I use a .244 titanium coated bushing. These are about $10. What makes these dies special? The micrometer adjustment and the sliding alignment sleeve. The sleeve really reduces the runout and makes bullet seating as perfect as you can get. The least expensive place I have found to purchase is
Good luck....I started out with RCBS full and neck sizing dies, but I too wanted the "best" I paid.
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Old May 14, 2002, 06:01 PM   #6
Steve Smith
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If you need to make compressed load cartridges, the Redding seater can cause runout because it may flair. The Forster Ultra operates the same way but appears to be more resilient to this. So far I don't know of anyone who's had a flairing problem. That's the reason that I went with the Forster seater rather than the Redding. An added benefit is that the Froster is about $10 cheaper.
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Old May 15, 2002, 10:26 AM   #7
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If your shooting the 223 through an auto, you will need small base dies. Been using RCBS for years with little or no problem
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Old May 17, 2002, 03:51 PM   #8
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My first choice is Redding of mid 20 some calibers I reload most of my dies are Redding with a few RCBS.

I've been reloading since the early 70's. Concering the small base dies for an auto. Some say function is better? Never used them myself and have reloaded and shot 1000's of rounds through my Colt SP1 using the regular full length type and never have had a malfunction. With these dies I can get 1/4 groups out of a Rem. 700 Varmint rifle. I just rec'd my neck sizing die for the 223 to see if I can close up the 1/4" groups.

Something to remember is these dies will last a life time so spending a few more dollar upfront will pay for itself.

I purchase most of my dies mail order from Lock, Stock and Barrel. The have fast service plenty of stock items and pricing is right. 223 Rem. Redding die FL die set is $27.50

My choice of manufactures is in order, Redding, RCBS and Hornady. I've heard nothing but good reports concerning Forster but have never tried them.

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Old May 22, 2002, 09:33 AM   #9
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Except for semi-auto use get a set of Lee collet dies. No lube necessary and they load outstanding ammo. One of the best investments in reloading gear I've ever made.

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