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  #1  
Old 03-11-2012, 09:55 AM
WhyteP38 WhyteP38 is offline
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Full Length Resizing (.223) Questions




I'm a first-time reloader of .223, and I have some questions about full length resizing that I couldn't find through the Search feature.

I have some once-fired Guat 5.56 and Winchester .223 brass (fired it myself). I also have a Lyman case gauge for .223. I case gauge all my ammo before using it, so my factory-loaded Guat and Winchester case gauged correctly before I shot it.

Yesterday, I installed my Lee full length resizer for .223 Remington into my turret (Lee Classic Turret press). I raised the ram, turned the die in until it touched the shell holder, lowered the ram, turned the die in 1/4 turn, and tightened it (per instructions). I then ran some of my brass through the resizer and case gauged it. None of them gauged correctly. The rim was above the upper step. I repeated the process several times, turning the die in incrementally until I had turned it in a full 2 turns. No change at all.

So my first question is: What am I doing wrong? I raise the ram until the die touches the shell holder, and I'm turning in the die, but there isn't even the slightest change.

My second question is: How does a resizer actually work? How does turning the die change anything? I would think that once the die touches the shell holder, that's pretty much it. I don't see how the position of the die changes that. But it must, somehow, because that's what the instructions say happens.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2012, 10:25 AM
Bullitt2075 Bullitt2075 is offline
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The reason why you lower the ram after the die hits the shell holder and then turn the die more, per instructions, is to take up any slack or flex in the resizing of the brass. Turning it any further will only decrease the amount of travel of the press. This will not knock back the shoulder of the round to head space the brass. It sounds like you might need a collet neck sizing die.

Brass grows in bottle neck cases and shrinks in straight walled cases when fired. When you resize the brass you are working it causing the case to grow. Sometimes you need to knock back the neck with the collet die.

With that said I really only need to collet size my .308 brass. Usually full length sizing is all thats needed with 223.
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2012, 11:28 AM
WhyteP38 WhyteP38 is offline
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Thanks, Bullitt2075.

I'm wondering whether I might be better off getting the RCBS Small Base Sizer Die. The folks at Lee recommended against the collet die due to my use of .223 in an AR.
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2012, 12:12 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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The Lee collet neck sizing die will not bump the shoulder back. Get that one off the list.



First:
Take those sized cases and try them in your chamber. No powder or bullet, just drop them in the chamber and close the bolt carrier assembly by hand (with the upper removed from the lower). If it closes with a nice 'snick' and opens again, then you have sized correctly. You might even be able to back off the sizing die. Why do I suggest this first? Because Lyman 223 Rem case gauges have been reported to be defective. You would not be the first, my friend. It is worth using the rifle chamber to check.


Second:
It is possible that your die is cut too long, it is possible that the deck on your shellholder is cut too high. Turning the die down 2 full turns after contact is just about all the good it will do. Before concluding that the equipment is bad, go through the setup one more time and be extra careful to make sure. If you can determine for certain that the die or shellholder are incorrect, you can buy new ones or machine a bit off those tools. But I wouldn't jump to that yet.


Third:
Are you lubricating the case properly, including inside the neck? If not properly lubricated, the case gets stretched when you pull it out of the die. Sounds crazy, but I've done it before personally. I don't know what kind of case lube you use, but make absolutely certain that the case body is lubricated (not the neck or shoulder, just the body). And use a dry lube or a wax lube inside the case neck. Don't use gummy lube, but wax like Imperial or Lee works great and won't contaminate the powder. Or dry lube like powdered graphite or micah (the white micah is my choice, being an old timer).


Fourth:
It is possible that your chamber is long or short on headspace. But if factory ammo plunked into the case gauge and fired in the chamber, I doubt this would be the highest probability. If your chamber is short, that's when the Small Base die is the right tool. But if your chamber is not short, the SB die would waste your money.
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2012, 12:18 PM
Keith_J Keith_J is offline
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Are you lubing the inside of the necks? If not, the expander can pull the neck out, creating the illusion the shoulder has not been set back.

Quick check, remove the decapping-expanding stem, full length size a case and check it in the die.

If you use Lee resizing lube, you only need to lube the inside neck of every 10th round as a deposit of this lube will accumulate above the expander button, forming a uniform lubrication deposit for the rest.
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2012, 12:37 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Quote:
I raise the ram until the die touches the shell holder
Just to be clear, you raise the ram all the way first. Then you screw the die down till it touches.

I just want to be sure, your wording in the 4th paragraph is ambiguous. No big deal.

By the way, I'm sure you understand how it all works. There are no mysteries. The case is tapered, so tightening the die is squeezing the brass down a little bit extra. Bullitt is right, the extra 1/4 turn takes out the slack, etc. And especially for certain presses that go 'over center' that is important. I don't believe Lee presses go over center, but several others do. Nevertheless, they all size tighter when you adjust the die tighter, although by 2 full turns after contact you have tightened it all the way for sure.
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2012, 02:03 PM
BruceM BruceM is offline
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Either your sizing die is incorrectly cut or there is a problem with your shell holder. Is it a Lee? If no, get the correct Lee shell holder & see if your problem goes away. If both the die and shell holder are Lee and the sizing die is adjusted correctly, send the die, shell holder and a resized case which does not gage to Lee for evaluation and repair.

You should not need a small base sizing die for an AR.

As mentioned earlier. if a factory round gages correctly, in all likelihood, there is a problem with the sizing die, shell holder or both.

Bruce
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  #8  
Old 03-11-2012, 02:31 PM
WhyteP38 WhyteP38 is offline
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Good questions and inputs. Thanks.

To clarify, I should have written, "I raise the ram and screw in the die until the die touches the shell holder." Sorry about that.

I am lubing inside the neck with graphite. As for the outside, I lubed the neck and shoulder, but now I see that I'm just supposed to lube the walls of the case. I'll try that.

The shell holder and die are both Lee. I figured it was best to stick with one brand as much as possible to avoid different tolerances from different makers.

Is the problem with Lyman case gauges recent, or is it long-standing? I've had the gauge for about 6 years and have used it to gauge every round I've ever fired.

One other thing: Before resizing, my brass stops in the gauge with 0.28 of the head (including the rim) sticking out. After resizing, the case drops in except for the rim, which is what is what sticks out long enough to be above the upper step. I can see where the die resized the case all but the last 0.1025 inch (according to my calipers). Makes me wonder if there's an obstruction in the body of the die.
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  #9  
Old 03-11-2012, 02:58 PM
WhyteP38 WhyteP38 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith_J View Post
Are you lubing the inside of the necks? If not, the expander can pull the neck out, creating the illusion the shoulder has not been set back.

Quick check, remove the decapping-expanding stem, full length size a case and check it in the die.

If you use Lee resizing lube, you only need to lube the inside neck of every 10th round as a deposit of this lube will accumulate above the expander button, forming a uniform lubrication deposit for the rest.
Tried resizing without the decapper-expanding stem, and it worked!

So now I'm guessing my problem is either how I'm lubing the inside of the neck, or something is amiss with the decapper-expanding stem.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2012, 03:40 PM
WalterGC WalterGC is offline
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Don't know if this is germane or not, but sure might be...when I was loading with a Toadmaster, I loaded a lot of .223s before I broke down and bought a Wilson case gage. I wasn't having any function trouble with my AR, but bought the gage anywho. To my surprise, it was impossible to sufficiently bump the shoulder of my .223s, due to the crappy design of the Lee shellplate, and that was whether or not I was using a Lee sizing die.

I'm guessing you've just run into "crappy Lee design syndrome."
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  #11  
Old 03-11-2012, 06:01 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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You removed the decapping pin and it worked...

... maybe because you had the decapping pin set too low. It was hitting the bottom of the case and stopping it, so you really were NOT sizing all the way down.

Set the pin really high so it doesn't even pop the spent primer. Then lower it a tiny bit at a time until it barely pops the primer. Readjust your dies and try that.

Let's see if that works, before we say that the equipment was faulty.
Not the case gauge, not the die, not the holder.
(Note: That Lyman problem appears to be fairly recent.)



When Walter mentions Wilson case gauge, that would be L. E. Wilson Inc. Not the same as Wilson Combat that makes 1911 pistols. The L. E. Wilson company makes absolutely excellent tools. Gauges, trimmers, neck bushings, chamfer tool. All good stuff, every one.
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  #12  
Old 03-12-2012, 02:16 AM
Tonimus Tonimus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyteP38 View Post
Tried resizing without the decapper-expanding stem, and it worked!

So now I'm guessing my problem is either how I'm lubing the inside of the neck, or something is amiss with the decapper-expanding stem.
Either you're stretching the case or Nick A said, the pin is set too low. Install the die in your press, raise the ram all the way, and set the decapping pin just low enough where it sits past where the bottom of the case is.
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  #13  
Old 03-12-2012, 06:50 PM
WhyteP38 WhyteP38 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonimus View Post
Either you're stretching the case or Nick A said, the pin is set too low. Install the die in your press, raise the ram all the way, and set the decapping pin just low enough where it sits past where the bottom of the case is.
Okay, did that. The resized case now fits better into the gauge, but the rim still sits a little above the upper step. About 1/4 the thickness of the rim.
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  #14  
Old 03-12-2012, 07:32 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
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Set the decapping pin higher, lube properly including neck, then resize and see if that case drops all the way. Tonimus method is a rule-of-thumb but your pin may be shorter than expected. Read my suggestion about starting the pin TOO high where it won't decap, then dropping it down incrementally until you can decap without bottoming.

And where is your sizing die set now? Just touching shellholder, or still screwed down tight?

And if you're really close but the rim is still out of the gauge just slightly, check it in the chamber of the gun as I suggested way back up there at Post #4. Maybe you don't need to go any farther.
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  #15  
Old 03-12-2012, 08:03 PM
herd48 herd48 is offline
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I use a Wilson case gauge for 223. Some rims after only one loading will distort so that the rim doers not sit flush in the Wilson gauge. But fits my ARs perfectly. ARs and AR loads are hard on case rims.
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Last edited by herd48; 03-12-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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  #16  
Old 03-15-2012, 07:00 PM
WhyteP38 WhyteP38 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick A View Post
And if you're really close but the rim is still out of the gauge just slightly, check it in the chamber of the gun as I suggested way back up there at Post #4. Maybe you don't need to go any farther.
Did that, and it chambers just like one of my factory rounds. Looks like I'm good to go.

Thanks, everyone.
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  #17  
Old 03-15-2012, 09:48 PM
SRRC SRRC is offline
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hmmmmmmm........ check the length of the resized case.......naw doesn`t matter
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  #18  
Old 03-16-2012, 05:08 PM
TheWall TheWall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyteP38 View Post
Good questions and inputs. Thanks.

To clarify, I should have written, "I raise the ram and screw in the die until the die touches the shell holder." Sorry about that.

I am lubing inside the neck with graphite. As for the outside, I lubed the neck and shoulder, but now I see that I'm just supposed to lube the walls of the case. I'll try that.

The shell holder and die are both Lee. I figured it was best to stick with one brand as much as possible to avoid different tolerances from different makers.

Is the problem with Lyman case gauges recent, or is it long-standing? I've had the gauge for about 6 years and have used it to gauge every round I've ever fired.

One other thing: Before resizing, my brass stops in the gauge with 0.28 of the head (including the rim) sticking out. After resizing, the case drops in except for the rim, which is what is what sticks out long enough to be above the upper step. I can see where the die resized the case all but the last 0.1025 inch (according to my calipers). Makes me wonder if there's an obstruction in the body of the die.
Check the die and make sure it's not loaded with old grease and dirt. You did say this was used equipment right?
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  #19  
Old 03-17-2012, 09:00 PM
WhyteP38 WhyteP38 is offline
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Actually, it's new. But I took it apart and cleaned it, just in case (no pun intended).
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