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  1. #1

    Reloading 223 for ar platform

    Searched a few threads for the answer to this and am still not sure the best route to go
    I am new to reloading and am not sure which die set to get for reloading 223 for my ar's. Should i go with the short base dies or would just a regular 2 or 3 die set with fl sizer be fine. I will be starting with new brass and then eventually reloading it and some other various brass but all will be from my personal ar's. I've been pouring over article after article and still am not sure which way to go. Figured best to ask the guru's here. Thanks in advance
    P.S. will basically be just plinking ammo im making and i have no bolt guns I'd be using it in

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Right after the "at"
    Regular Dies are fine. Small base is not needed unless you KNOW it is small chamber (ie: you made it that way).

    Get a Redding or Forster 2-die FL Sizer set. Forster's sizing button is better, but Redding has carbide floating buttons available. If you want best accuracy, get one or the other's Benchrest seaters...they are legitimately better on target.

    If a little cheaper is in mind, then go with Hornady New Dimension, which are by all accounts great dies for the money.

    Even with plinking ammo, I don't think any other dies are in contention for my money except $$$ customs.


    ETA: Crimps are unnecessary unless...well, I don't know what. If you are running 0.003"-0.004" neck tension like most FL dies will produce, in the AR, it just doesn't move the dern bullet around in recoil. Mayyyybe if I were going to full-auto...

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info. I'll have to look into the Redding and Forrester die sets. So far been looking at Lee and Hornaday. Leaning towards the Hornaday as of now

  4. #4
    IMHO not you aren't going to get Lee dies to save money, then just get Redding and save time wondering what to get.
    AMERICA - Clinging to our GUNS and RELIGION since 1776.

    NRA Certified Instructor - Rifle, Pistol

  5. #5
    If you just want plinking ammo Hornady or Lee are fine. Heck, I produce very accurate loads with Lee and Hornady dies. IMO, since you are doing it for cost savings and not shooting sub moa matches, go with the Lee dies. They work fine.

  6. #6
    Expert turnerdye1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Yup if its just plinking get the Lee's. I've loaded probably 8k of 55gr FMJ with Lee dies and they shoot 2 moa or better. They are nothing fancy and they get the job done. Personally unless you're trying for super match loads, which would require a match barrel and bolt, Lee dies will work for you. I used them when loading 69gr Sierra's and got 1 moa pretty easily

  7. #7
    Thanks guys. I think ill probably just get the Lees. I was more worried about if the short based dies were needed for reliability in the semi auto platform. Definitely will not be making 1000's of rounds, just wanting to get my feet wet in the reloading world. Im sure someday as time becomes more available i may change my direction, but think this will suffice for the time being

  8. #8
    Grandmaster sgreen3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    All I have are Lee die sets and anyone that's came over to the house here and seen some of the groups I've personally shot can vouch that they produce some very accurate loads. As far as your first set IMO get the Lee die set with the factory crimp die. If its going in a semi-auto I factory crimp, is it truly needed. Maybe not, but I error on the side of caution and have never had an issue as long as I've been loading my own.
    A reporter interviewing a Marine Sniper asked, " What do you feel when you have to shoot a terrorist"? The Marine shrugged his shoulders and replied "Recoil"

  9. #9
    Sharpshooter Boiled Owl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Newton Co. !
    When I started with 223 I used Hornady dies. I must have gotten a very tight die as I would stick cases at an alarmingly high rate.

    Switched to a LEE standard 223 die. I like their decapping pin design's ability to loosen and drive out a stuck case. Now I don't hardly stick cases with the LEES.

    I've sized since 2013 with this 223 LEE die but switched to a Forster seater about 3 years ago. (Load around 1500-2000 rounds per year, shooting NRA, CMP across the course)

    I recently bought a set of LEE 308 dies to load for a tight chambered M1A match rifle and was unable to get them size down enough. I ended up with a small base redding die.

    I've also started using Whidden dies for 308 long range rifle. Their quality is top notch. Whidden, prefers to load his ammo with his standard "non neck bushing" die, and sells a set of different size expander balls to achieve proper neck tension.

    Regarding the factory crimp die, I quit using it. With proper neck tension it's unnecessary. BUT, I'm running all one headstamp brass for consistency.
    EvilBlackGun: We are not slop-trough pigs on public dole of confiscated money.

  10. #10
    Since it hasn't be stated get a reloading manual if you don't have one already.

    “Son, when the Marine Corps wants you to have a wife, you will be issued one.” -Chesty Puller

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