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Old 12-30-2019, 10:52 PM
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Default Full length sizing vs necksizing .223

Since I only have one rifle that uses a .223 round is there any reason I shouldn't just use a neck sizer? The only range brass I collect is my own. According to the Lee catalog doing it that way will make the cases last longer and no lube is required. So what's the downside?
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:33 PM
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If your rifle is a bolt action, you're go to go with the neck die. If you're shooting an AR 15 or any semi auto, you'll need to use a full length die. Its a good idea to check the overall length of your brass and trim if needed.
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:52 AM
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Neck sizing only is fine if using your fired cases in the same rifle every time, and that rifle is either a bolt action or single-shot rifle. Semi-autos and some others (such as slide actions) are far less forgiving in finished cartridge dimensions. Many self-feeders will require "small base" sizing dies to fully resize cases to minimum dimensions in order to function properly.

While most modern rifle manufacturers adhere to SAAMI standard specifications, and finished chamber dimensions are probably far more uniform now than at any time in history, it remains true that each and every chamber (and every other part of every rifle) will vary, hopefully within the normal range of manufacturing tolerances.

Top-of-the-line competition bench-rest shooters may have die sets specifically made for each specific rifle, using either fired cases as a manufacturing guide or doing chamber casts to assure the closest possible match in die sets. The rest of us use standard dies, which will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and from one production run to another production run, and adapt our loading procedures to achieve the best possible results for our applications.

I remember a hunting partner years ago, way up in the mountains in the middle of elk season, discovering that his very carefully prepared (neck-sized) handloads would not chamber in his rifle. Fortunately, others in our party were using the same caliber so we could lend him some ammo. Otherwise he would have had a very disappointing hunting experience.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:18 AM
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If you're only shooting one bolt-action, then neck-sizing will do just fine. Eventually, however, you will have to full-length size. Another option would be a shoulder-bump die, but frankly, if you could use one, you'd probably already have one!

Personally, I have obtained excellent results with both neck-sizing and FL-sizing.

Are you concerned primarily with extending brass life, obtaining accuracy, or not having to fully lube cases?

As an aside, I still lube cases that I neck-size.

Last edited by Wise_A; 12-31-2019 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 12-31-2019, 09:36 AM
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I’m sure that there are a lot of folks out there who will disagree with me but....I used to neck size thinking that accuracy would be better. I’ve found over the last few years that FL sizing is more consistent. In my rifles anyway FL sizing every time makes my round more consistent and gives me better accuracy. If you’re looking to extend brass life you can either neck size or anneal every other firing(that’s my procedure anyway). If you’re shooting semi auto you’ll have to FL size.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for the replies. The rifle I use these rounds in is an AR15, so based on your advice I will go with FL sizing. I'm just getting started in reloading and gathering as much information as I can. I was mainly looking at neck sizing as a way to extend the life of my brass.

The Lee advertising makes it sound like you can get away with neck sizing as long as you are firing the rounds in the same rifle every time even if it's an auto loader, but I thought that sounded too good to be true, which is why I asked the question here.

Quote:
anneal every other firing
Could you tell me what method you use? It seems there are differing opinions on the best way to do this. Does this guy's method make sense? It seems simple enough.

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Old 12-31-2019, 10:44 AM
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Actually yes it is that simple. Just a propane torch and some water to cool it. There are machines out there but me personally Iím not about to spend $250-300 on one.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:45 AM
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AR15 , then you want to full length size them .
Some rifles with tight chambers not only require full length sizing but also benefit from the use of a small base resizing die .
Semi-auto's have needs that bolt actions do not require .
Try a standard resizing die first...small base dies are "usually " not required but are available if needed .
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:56 PM
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Annealing. For me the key is to keep it moving. I use a cheap battery operated drill motor, a 1/4" socket adapter and a 1/4x1/2" deep socket. Put the case in the socket and you have a heat sink that prevents the heat from traveling to far towards the base. When you get a uniform color change invert the drill and dump the case in a 5 gallon bucket of water.
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
Annealing. For me the key is to keep it moving. I use a cheap battery operated drill motor, a 1/4" socket adapter and a 1/4x1/2" deep socket. Put the case in the socket and you have a heat sink that prevents the heat from traveling to far towards the base. When you get a uniform color change invert the drill and dump the case in a 5 gallon bucket of water.
I like that idea! I donít hold the case bare handed so Iíve been using one of the wifeís pot holder gloves lol. I guess she can have it back now.
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmb617 View Post
Since I only have one rifle that uses a .223 round is there any reason I shouldn't just use a neck sizer? The only range brass I collect is my own. According to the Lee catalog doing it that way will make the cases last longer and no lube is required. So what's the downside?
223 brass is cheap. That's a reason not to neck size.
Are you shooting for extreme accuracy? If not, I wouldn't do it.
I partial-size for extreme accuracy. But I also index for extreme accuracy. In order to partial size I back the size die off about 2/3 of a turn.

Indexing is a whole 'nother thing but it makes a lot of difference. I do it for match quality ammo. I make a mark on the case, then that mark is consistently lined up during all reloading and firing operations. I mark my molds and sort by cavity and index during bullet processing operations and seating. Pretty anal but it works. In fact, that's my secret to high quality cast bullet ammo.

Last edited by max503; 12-31-2019 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:57 PM
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I have one bolt action .223, one 14-inch Contender in .223 and three AR’s in 5.56.

The bolt gun is my hunting rifle for a prairie dog trip once each year. I only shoot it in prep for this trip and on it. All of it’s ammo is neck-sized and relegated to only that rifle.

For the Contender, all ammo is FL sized.

For the AR’s, all the ammo is purchased in bulk. While I love loading my own, FL sizing and trimming is a-ok for the first two but for high volume bang bang bang AR’s, I would hate life with all that labor.

For my hunting rifle, I get fantastic accuracy with my neck-only sized rounds and I can skip lubing and skip the labor associated with FL sizing AND my brass, formed to that rifle, lasts a long time.
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Old 12-31-2019, 03:41 PM
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You've pretty much gotten the answer but I'll jump in anyway. Only bolt or single shots can be neck sized and the best way is to fire form the brass in what ever gun they're used for. It doesn't work in semi-autos they won't feed. Semi-autos can be difficult to reload for sometimes, I once had a M1A that even a full length sizer didn't work and I had to buy small base dies to get it to feed.
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Old 12-31-2019, 04:48 PM
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OP: Now that you're committed to FL sizing for your AR, one way to extend the life of your brass is to limit the shoulder bump-back to 0.003" or 0.004".

That limits the case's expansion and extends brass life.
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:56 PM
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Below, advice by two people who shoot for Team Lapua USA.

And in a AR15 rifle the resized case body diameter should be .003 to .005 smaller in diameter than its fired diameter. This allows the case to spring back from the chamber walls and extract reliably.

Click on the image below to enlarge.



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Old 01-01-2020, 01:23 PM
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Neck sizing will work for a while................

but over time the case will "Move" and the shoulder will need to be set back
to where the bolt will close without more force each time the case is loaded.

The bolt should close with just one finger, not the whole hand !!
Have fun.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:31 PM
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RE: annealing cartridge cases. Here is the method I have used for over 30 years:

1. shallow metal pan with tap water to a level that allows standing cases on their case heads with about 1/2 the length (mouth end) exposed.

2. handheld propane torch applied to case mouths and shoulder areas until they display a dull reddish glow, then tip them over into the water to fully quench.

This provides a positive heat sink around the case head and web areas and a very quick quenching action while the metal is at optimum temp for annealing. I usually do about 20 cases at a time using a small steel baking pan about 2" deep, 8" X 8" or so. After each batch the water is noticeably warmer so I change to cool water prior to the next batch. Each batch takes about 5 minutes.

Effectiveness? You tell me. I have a lot of FA-35 Match .30-06 cases, now 84 years old, which I used for six full-power loads and then switched over to use for mid-power cast bullet loads, and those have been reloaded 52 times. That batch, by the way, started out with corrosive primers so I cleaned them in hot soapy water after firing the original factory loads. No residual effects of the old mercuric priming compound noted.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy52 View Post
You've pretty much gotten the answer but I'll jump in anyway. Only bolt or single shots can be neck sized and the best way is to fire form the brass in what ever gun they're used for. It doesn't work in semi-autos they won't feed. Semi-autos can be difficult to reload for sometimes, I once had a M1A that even a full length sizer didn't work and I had to buy small base dies to get it to feed.
So many people parrot the same bs over and over again - and nobody questions it.
So let me say this: You DO NOT NEED TO FULL-LENGTH RESIZE FOR YOUR AR. Your AR should have no problems chambering it's own brass: if it does then you've got a problem.
But, read up on out of battery fires first and decide how much you care.

Last edited by dla; 01-01-2020 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Brain fluff
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:17 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful replies as I'm new at reloading and trying to learn as much as possible.

I started my first run of 223's today and did the FL resizing which went pretty fast and lubing wasn't a problem at all. I'll continue doing them that way instead of trying any shortcuts.

I'm gathering information on the annealing process for future use and have seen several mentions of the method described in post #17 above. That seems simple and cheap so I think I'll give it a try.
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:40 PM
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Nobody's gonna tell me neck sizing doesn't work for my 22 Hornet. My Hornet case bodies developed longitudinal splits after being full length sized just few times. That problem went away when I started neck sizing.

I don't know about AR's because I don't have one.
I've never had a longitudinal split on a 223 case.

I've been loading Hornets for 40 years. I get fine accuracy, my cases last longer, and I've never had problems neck sizing Hornets.
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