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Adjusting Lee Sizing Die

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Do I need to scrap my processed brass?

 

I’ve been Reloading 9mm for 5 years, and yesterday started Reloading 223 in my XL650 for hoser ammo. Range brass, wet tumbled.

 

I adjusted the Lee resizing/decapping die according to Lee instructions (1/2 turn after touching shell plate) an processed about 500 223 cases.

 

When I checked with the LE Wilson case gauge, all case heads are below the lower step.

 

So, a few questions:

- scrap processed brass for excessive headspace?

- what is the correct process of adjusting decapping die in the XL650?

 

Thanks for your guidance

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I would load and shoot them, then scrap them because they will stretch quite a bit, because the next firing could result in case head separation.

 

The correct process of adjusting the SIZING die would be to screw it in or out until the headspace is correct with the case gauge. 

 

Adjusting a decap die is pretty easy, is it pushing the primers out? GTG!

 

When setting up ANY die, it will behoove you to check the results before cranking out 500 rounds...

Edited by RiggerJJ

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I usually follow the die Manufacturer’s instructions, so I was not expecting the cases to be short. I read Dillon’s instructions that mention the use of the case gage, which got me concerned.
I may not even use range brass going forward, but I had a bunch collected and wanted to process to see if it is something I want to get into. But depending on my shooting volume, may just buy fully processed and setup a loading only toolhead: decapping, powder/prime, Bullet seater and crimp die.

Newbie mistake and lesson learned.
Thanks for the feedback.



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Buy a Hornady cartridge case headspace gauge and measure a few cases fired in "your" rifle. Then set the die up to bump the shoulder back .003 to .006 for a AR15 type rifle.

 

Just remember when checking range pickup brass fired in another chamber is it wants to spring back to its fired size after sizing. Meaning the shoulder location will vary after sizing due to work hardening/how many times the case was fired and the chamber it was fired in.

 

Below I buy bulk once fired Lake City brass and check the average shoulder location and then set the die up for a minimum of .003 shoulder bump.

The dwell time inside the sizing die effects brass spring back, meaning at the top of the ram stroke I let the case inside the die for approximately 4 seconds to reduce brass spring back.

After the cases have been fired in your chamber you can size normally without pausing at the top of the ram stroke.

 

Below mixed fired range brass will have different shoulder locations and the resized cases can also have shoulder locations that vary. So set the die for a average of .003 shoulder bump checking with the Hornady gauge. The problem with Wilson type case gauges is the "fired" cases may not fit in the gauge and you have no idea how far you are bumping the shoulder back.

 

.H0SXHH8.jpg

 

Below a Wilson, Dillon and JP Enterprise 5.56 gauges. the JP Enterprise gauge is closer to minimum SAAMI dimensions (diameter) Meaning if the case fits in the  JP Enterprise gauge it will chamber in any .223/5.56 chamber. A resized case for a semi-auto should be .003 to .005 smaller in diameter than its fired diameter. This allows the case to spring back from the chamber walls when fired and extract reliably. Meaning the bolt is not yanking on a case still clinging to the chamber walls.

 

KSB3ZvP.jpg

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I think that the lee die instructions are attempting to err on the side of caution; in general lee attempts to get people into reloading with the least amount of tools possible.  As such,  I think lees suggestion gets most cases in most presses sized plenty.  ALL sizing dies should really be adjusted to a particular rifle or series of rifles and size the shoulder back .001-.003.  Consider that re-sized case dimension depends on the chamber that the case was fired in before sizing and ensure your setting up your dies to size those "worst case" cases sufficiently if using range pick up brass.      

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You mention you brought it down to it makes contact with shellplate then went 1/2 turn farther. Shouldnt it be a 1/2 turn back?

 

A case gauge is definitely a must.  But you also have to use them when you setup.

 

I dont think its major issue and it should load ok and shoot ok for plinking. but like others have said use it once and toss It'll be pretty work hardened depending how far you went.

 

The other option would be annealing it. But 223 is cheep enough I wouldnt bother.

 

One final Idea would be to convert to 300 black out. or sell for that purpose.

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