MemberMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I had some questions on what dies I should purchase for reloading. I was first looking at getting the Hornady custom grade full length sizing die set. After talking to someone who has done quite a bit of reloading, they mentioned it is best to get short base dies for reloading for the AR platform.
Are the small base dies necessary? Just extra assurance feeding is reliable in AR platform? If the SB are sizing a few thousands smaller than full length, does this effect lifespan of brass?
Off topic: Is there any ranking of the die brands on quality? (Redding, RCBS, Hornady, Lee, etc.)
Thanks for the help!
Trick-Ad-3669GuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
Small base dies. That’s what they are called.
You need that if your weapon has a tight chamber or your reloading brass that has been shot in machine gun.
It best that you buy case of ammo, shoot it, and reload that brass from your gun.
Definitely buy a case gauge to check as you load.
OGIVEGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I load for my ARs with a standard RCBS two-die set. Works well for me.
AUrugbyGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I use small base dies, doesn’t hurt anything
ZombieAttorneyGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
full length sizing works fine for me. If you have issues switch to small base.
StepVanityGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I no longer shoot anything in .223 Remington, but I still reload it occasionally. I have the Hornady dies. I didn’t look for Hornady dies specifically, but I must say, I do like the alignment collet on the seater die, especially with the tiny .224″ bullets.
A small base isn’t really necessary unless you have a tight chamber and SAAMI spec rounds don’t chamber well. It is essential to full length resize for an auto-loader and get your shoulder area down to proper diameter (neck sizing alone may result in stuck cases in some firearms, as the shoulder may be too large, if not f-l resized).
I made this mistake when some of my bolt rifle loads (neck-sized only) were commingled with f-l resized rounds meant for an AR. The over-sized, neck-sized round bound up solid in the AR chamber as the shoulder area diameter was oversized by about .005″ (inclined plane principle).
Oversized cases will drop into a Wilson HS Case Gauge, as advertised, but that doesn’t mean the brass is properly sized. These gauges check shoulder position not diameters.
Generally speaking, the more you work the brass, the sooner it will work harden and fail.
I have many Lee dies and they work just fine. S/H being included makes them an even better deal. Brand preference is subjective. Do you like hex nuts over round knurled lock nuts? Hex screws over slotted or O-rings. Rebuildable decap stems over one piece? Multiple top punches? Shims for ease of caliber change (.38 Spl./.357 Mag., .40S&W/10mm Auto, .44 Spl./.44 Mag.)?, etc…
irishreliefGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I have a bunch of ancient Lee presses and dies. Love them.
theratspatootieGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I had been reloading for some time with Hornady New Dimension dies for my M&P15 but that same ammo wouldn’t chamber reliably in a newer PSA 11.5″ pistol. Small base dies fixed it so I load for both now with them.
MacHeadSKGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I use Redding, Lee went back to box (although I like them for pistols). Regular full length for sizing into both ARs, no problems.
Small base is really needed for very tight chambers, typically on custom cut precision barrel chambers.
If you have mass produced AR, their tolerances are so high you will not even have to trim your cases. Sizing and for first time shot also swaging is enough.
Informal-Board-6372GuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I have 7 5.56 barrels and only one has to use the small base die
Just depends on your headspace and chamber
tlheinzGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
Thanks all for your input!
fatguywithagunGuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I bought a Lee 2 die set and used it for a while, but about 20% of my loads were a bit sticky while manually cycling them. I got a small base die from redding to do the first process on range pickups, and then I use the lee dies on subsequent loads…it’s working great for me now
MGT01GuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
Hornady and Redding are my favorite dies.
Small base dies are great. You’ll eventually run into military brass or MG brass, and the SB dies will help chamber your rounds.
SpiritedVoice7777GuestMay 19, 2021 at 11:07 am
I use the Hornadys, no issues.