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  #1  
Old 04-11-2009, 03:06 AM
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Question What are the best dies for reloading .223 rem


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I have a standard rcbs press and would like to be able to load a variety of bullets. Thanks Gentlemen
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2009, 03:30 AM
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are you loading for semi auto, bolt, singleshot? do you want to necksize or full lenghthresize. rcbs is a good choice i believe they have 6 or7 different options to choose from I use there full length dies and partialy neck size with them but i shoot a bolt action savage mod12.
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2009, 06:38 AM
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Your question will bring many subjective answers but the bottom line is all of the die manufacturers produce excellent dies. Most rifle die sets have a full length resizer die which is important should you be shooting a gas operated, semi-auto rifle. For a bolt action, having an optional neck sizing die will increase case life as well as improve accuracy. Any differences between dies are minor and your choice is as good as ours.

As for loading other calibers, you can choose among any of the die manufacturers, almost any dies sold today have standardized threads.
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2009, 11:57 AM
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If you meant you want to reload a variety of bullets in the .223, then all the die sets have adjustable seating dies that accommodate any bullet style or weight. The Lee Deluxe die set has both a full length and a neck-size-only collet die, so you can try both loading methods. It also comes with a shell holder and is, by happy coincidence, among the least expensive sets on the market, so I would start there, myself. If you get into benchrest or match shooting you can always add something like a Redding or Forster competition seater die later.

If you think all your loads will be magazine fed and not singly-loaded neck-sized-only rounds, then you might consider the Lee Pacesetter die set that includes the Factory Crimp die instead of the collet die, which can be helpful for rugged loads or loads that need something to raise their start pressure. The Factory Crimp die is available separately if you want both features available to you.

If you are shooting an AR and using once-fired military brass from a vendor, you may need a small base die for the first round of sizing, though you can usually get away with a standard died after that.

Lots of variables, so we really need to know what kind of gun and what kind of shooting you want to do?
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Last edited by unclenick; 04-13-2009 at 02:15 PM. Reason: typo
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2009, 02:20 AM
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Smile Thanks so much Gentlemen for the information.

Appreciate it !
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2009, 02:21 AM
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Trying to get my girlfriend into shooting. She bought a single shot rifle. Bought a set of lees dies after Unclenicks advice. Hard to get anything to do with this caliber these days. Thanks again Gents...
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2009, 05:05 AM
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Another simple observation, I have both RCBS and Lee dies and find the Lee require more maintenance. The Lee dies that I have rust much easier than do my RCBS dies for some reason when stored under the same conditions and maintained the same.
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Last edited by Stratmeister; 07-20-2009 at 08:01 AM.
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  #8  
Old 07-20-2009, 06:55 AM
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Strat, doesn't everything rust easier in Flordia?

Just kiddin'

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Old 07-20-2009, 07:09 AM
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You got that right! Even my knees...
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  #10  
Old 07-20-2009, 07:39 AM
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The reason for the rust is just that Lee doesn't spend money on final finish. Remove any rust and polish the surfaces with Flitz and the problem will be largely gone. I use a Nylon bristle brush on a Dremel tool to polish inside the threads. Get in the habit of applying a light coat of LPS-2 or Birchwood Casey's Sheath for added rust protection when you lube them. Personally, I clean mine and soak them in Sprinco Plate+ Silver for three days, wipe them dry and reassemble. That establishes puts a permanent lubricating layer that helps them run more smoothly.
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Last edited by unclenick; 07-20-2009 at 07:43 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-20-2009, 07:44 AM
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Lee dies are not nearly as hard as RCBS, for what it's worth. Having modified both on the lathe - the RCBS dies really howl and chatter. Lee dies cut like butter

Both work for me, in the end.
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  #12  
Old 07-20-2009, 09:11 AM
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Noticed that when sawing/grinding down some surplus FL sizing dies to make neck sizing only dies, Mike. Had to knock out the smaller body and shoulder taper inside a couple to accomplish this and noticed the Lee dies cut far easier on the drill press.
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  #13  
Old 07-21-2009, 05:11 AM
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I believe you will find that the Lee dies are simply not cased quit as deeply as others. But, the Lee hard case is fully deep as it need be for preventing excess wear during sizing.

As to "best" of anything, those of us who have played this game long enough to learn much realize there is no "best" of anything. If anything was actually superior to all others, it would dominate the market and the others would be gone. What I may like in one design, others will not. What I don't like, others do. So, which is best, mine or the others?

That said, the design of the Forster FL die, or it's expander actully, is a tad better than others IF it's used correctly. The full chamber, sliding sleeve, straight-line seaters from Forster, and Redding's copy of it, do a better job than others, on average anyway. Lee's Collet Neck sizer does a better job of leaving necks straight than others, if it's used correctly but, again, it requires a bit of mechanical finesse from the user and some don't seem to be able to do that very well.

Last edited by ranger335v; 07-21-2009 at 07:00 PM.
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  #14  
Old 07-22-2009, 09:05 PM
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In .223 Rem, the dies I own are:
1) RCBS small base set
2) RCBS regular set, I have honed the neck out to .246"
3) LEE RGB set
4) Redding FL "S" die, usually with .246" Titanium coated bushing
5) Forster FL die neck honed at the factory to .246".
6) Forster Ultra seater
7) Lee Collet neck die that I polished the collet, collar, and mandrel.
8) Various home made mandrels for straightening necks or cutting donut at base of neck.

I own a .223 reamer with .250 neck and .050" shorter throat.

I own a number of AR15s and have built some 223s on Mausers that shoot well, but my favorite 223 is a stock Ruger #1V.

I have compared all the dies by experimenting with a population of brass that I was shooting and reloading in the same place. I measured concentricity with a Sinclair concentricity gauge. I measured the case shrinkage from firing and growing from sizing with dial calipers. With Quickload software, I know that I was far in excess of the registered SAAMI max average limit of 55,000 psi. It predicts 66,000 psi and the chronograph agrees with the predicted velocity.

I have come to the conclusion that the best combination is:
Lee Collet Die
Forster Ultra seater die
Attached Thumbnails
What are the best dies for reloading .223 rem-lee-collet-die-collet-collar-before-poishing.jpg   What are the best dies for reloading .223 rem-lee-collet-die-collet-collar-after-poishing.jpg  

Last edited by tnekkc; 07-22-2009 at 09:11 PM.
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  #15  
Old 07-23-2009, 06:26 PM
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tnekkc,

Don't you ever need to full length size your brass?

The two pics you posted appear to show a before and after polish job on a Lee collet die. Is that what it is, or is it just a lighting difference?
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  #16  
Old 07-23-2009, 06:35 PM
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You are right about the pics, could be polishing, could be focus.
It is polishing.

Here are the mandrels before and after polish.

I full length re size the brass with a go gauge for the reference.
Then the brass may get dedicated to a single shot or manual feed rifle, that takes only neck sizing from then on.
Attached Thumbnails
What are the best dies for reloading .223 rem-mandre-unpolished-small.jpg   What are the best dies for reloading .223 rem-mandrel-polishedl-small.jpg  
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  #17  
Old 07-24-2009, 06:18 PM
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I guess yawl realise that there is virtually no case-to-mandrel movement while the necks are being squeezed to size in a Lee Collet Die.
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  #18  
Old 07-24-2009, 07:40 PM
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I had a mandrel that wanted to hang up on the case mouth.
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