223 dies for precision & crimp discussions – from various forums
I've recently started reloading .223 ammo for the best accuracy possible, and it's becoming an obsession. I currently have Lee dies, and I'll continue to use those on my Turret press to load plinking ammo, but I want to get a single stage press and some high quality dies for loading precision .223 rounds.
What dies would you guys recommend? I guess I just need a good full length sizer and a competition style bullet seater, either from Redding or Forster? I don't know what crimp would do to accuracy, but I've crimped all the .223 rounds I've made so far just because I've been told it's a good idea to crimp rounds meant for use in an AR.
I use and love Redding dies... That said, I use Lee collet dies when I'm neck sizing as I get better accuracy with them. I still Use Redding for seating and FL.
I have a Forster benchrest seater for my .223 loads , all I have ever used for my .223. Many very accurate loads produced using this seating die.
For full length I have a Redding standard die with a carbide neck insert.
Quote: I use Lee collet dies when I'm neck sizing as I get better accuracy with them
A few years back I decided to try out the Lee Collet , I figured for money , about 17 bucks - why not? Some of the most accurate loads I have ever fired were neck sized by the Collet die.
Yeah I was already leaning heavily toward the Forster seater with the micrometer. The neck sizing die isn't an option, however, since these rounds are for use in an AR.
I have been using the RCBS Competition FL die set for my .223 AR-15. I have had great results with it, consistently placing in the top 3 in my last few matches. The micrometer bullet seating die is great and easy to use.
If you are going to be loading for an AR There is no die that can compete with the Forster FL sizer The expander ball is set near the neck rather than below near the decapping pin.
For a good explanation of the advantages of this see the Forster site.
If you are going to spend the money on a precision die, then do not negate it by buying a "C" or "O" press. You'll want a press that floats the case.
Forster and Corbin presses do this.
+1 for Forster.
I have sets of the Redding and the Forster. Both are great. But the Forster is less expensive.
I too think the Forster dies are about the best you can get. That said, if you have a Lee collet die and want to use it for your AR it will work great, just follow it up with a Redding Body die. The Lee die will give you the most concentric brass you can get and the Body die will size the case body, bump the shoulder back without affecting the neck. If you don't want to do the two step sizing, get the Forster.
Redding Type S FL Die with bushing appropriate for your brass. This allows you have control over the neck tension. You need the bushings for your brass being used. An alternative is to get a Redding FL Sizer Die with carbide expander ball
Redding Competition Seater die, or Forster Ultra Seater Each of them are great, the Redding will not work in the Forster Coax Press as it sits too high. They work well if you are loading VLD type bullets for single loading.
Cannelure. Yes if it's defensive ammo with out a question I'd crimp and use a cannelure bullet . I've seen and had My own noncannelure bullets back up into the case on many occasions and causing a compressed charge situation and if I didn't down load My plinking rounds it could have been ugly. My old M4 will feed on just about anything that will fit the mag. But if your in tune w/ your gun, you can feel when it doesn't feed or cycle right. And yes SKYUGO is right Lee makes a factory crimp die witch can be bought separate or in the 3 piece deluxe rifle die set. That will lessen the chance of n/c bullets sliding back into the case. Patriot.
+1 on the Lee Factory Crimp Die.
Just be careful to not go too far! Run a couple case through your process without primer/powder then take them apart.
Be sure the FCD is not going deep into the bullet. I had this with some of my loads, plain 55 gr FMJ w/cannelure. When I backed the crimp off a bit this load came down in group size to nearly that of my 69 gr SMK at 200 yards.
I haven't ever had a need to crimp.223 but as long as you don’t crimp too much it wont hurt anything.
The theory of the standard die is that the fired case will more closely conform to the chamber and thus accuracy will be improved; with the small base dies it's that the shell can "self center" if given a little room and that will lead to improved accuracy. Depending on your rifles particular chamber, either may be the way to go.
Standard reloading dies resize the cases to somewhat larger than "SAMMI" minimum diameter. Small base dies set the resizing to near minimum SAMMI diameter. Either can be tried in semi-autos; consider trying small base sizing if either the feeding or ejection is unreliable, or the accuracy with the standard die set is bad.
To avoid excess case growth with either, keep headspace to a safe minimum (never zero) for a semi-auto. Particularly if you just screw a small base die down to the shellholder every time the trimming will be mandatory with every reloading and the cases won't last. Buy some kind of instrument for checking headspace (RCBS Precision Mic or Stoney Point or ?) and use that to get the actual headspace your die is producing.
If you're not pulling batches of bullets, a pair of end-cutter pliers with padding around the bullet works very well. Put the loaded cartridge into the press's shellholder, and extend the ram and cartridge through the die-hole. Place the pliers on the bullet and lower the ram.