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I've recently begun fiddling with a Palmetto State AR in .224 Valkyrie. Of course that means all the reloading stuff. Everything I've heard and read suggests using small base dies. I haven't stuck a case in a die for years but I've already stuck 2 Valkyrie cases in an RCBS small base sizing die. Is this more prevalent with small base dies? I've never used one for any other caliber. Thanks
 

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I've recently begun fiddling with a Palmetto State AR in .224 Valkyrie. Of course that means all the reloading stuff. Everything I've heard and read suggests using small base dies. I haven't stuck a case in a die for years but I've already stuck 2 Valkyrie cases in an RCBS small base sizing die. Is this more prevalent with small base dies? I've never used one for any other caliber. Thanks
Short answer is yes. If you have ever experienced "bolt click", this is what occurs when the die is not significantly smaller than the chamber. You just can't get it small enough to size the base. In your example this probably isn't the issue, but you will have to be generous with the case lube. That small base is going to squeeze the brass pretty good and if you don't have plenty of lube at the base you will have a problem.

Rick
 

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I'm guessing you have a large chamber and small base die is oversizing. Measure a fired case at the web and a sized case at the web, about 1/4" up from the rim. I bet it's a big difference. Ditch the am base die and get a regular one and your problems will go away.
 

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... you will have to be generous with the case lube. That small base is going to squeeze the brass pretty good and if you don't have plenty of lube at the base you will have a problem.

Rick
Reminds me of a problem I sometimes had in college. Plenty of lube definitely helps. You might try this, Doug. I've hung onto this photo forever, just waiting for the right time. :D

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks

Thanks for the input guys. Especially yours Mike even though it's a few years late. :D

I failed to add that these are new unfired bulk-packaged cases. I was sizing them because some of the case mouths were slightly out of round. I'll be hosing 'em down more than usual from now on and I'll pick up a standard sizing die.
 

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I failed to add that these are new unfired bulk-packaged cases. I was sizing them because some of the case mouths were slightly out of round. I'll be hosing 'em down more than usual from now on and I'll pick up a standard sizing die.
Aha, a new clue. So, this brass hadn't been fired in your chamber. Couldn't very well be a problem where the chamber is oversize and letting the brass swell at the base, then. Based on that, I agree with Charlie that you really had no proven need to go with the small-base die, even if others recommend it. Get the standard die, lube the brass well and I bet you don't stick any more brass.

Carpman
 

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When I got my hornady dies for my 20vt ans 20 tac I stuck more cases in a week then I have in 20years I bet. Bent 2 depriming pin shafts as well trying to get everything apart. I done this with both dillon's spray lube and Redding wax. Most my other dies I have never had the problem with....a lot of times the neck has to have gobs of lube or the expanders stick in the hornadys really bad.

You might just try sizing half or a little more of the neck for the first firing then measure a d see how much your die will be working g the brass like mentioned above.
 

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Of course, it's your call. But were it me, I'd stay with the small base and just be a little generous with the Imperial sizing wax. In the long run cases sized a little smaller will cause you less problems IME. Forget which old time shooter, may have been a McMillan said a case should fit a chamber like a rat turd in a violin case.

Rick
 

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New dies always seem to pull a little hard to me no matter how much you clean them up before use in my opinion. Doesn't matter what brand either. After about 20 plus pieces of brass they seem to smooth out. I always wax heavy on new dies, one old case former who is gone now used anhydrous lanolin and Vaseline 50/50 melted in a double boiler for all his resizing and case forming. One shot in new small base dies is risky.
 

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Rick, it was one of the Sierra Techs that said that statement, Jim Hull I believe but not positive about the name.
Well, what am I missing here?

For decades, on bolt guns exclusively, I routinely FL new cases before loading for the first time to fire form. But, after fire forming, I neck size only. I use a bushing dies whenever possible, and only size ~ 70% of the neck, leaving the last bit of the neck near the shoulder at chamber size (the idea being the unsized portion of the neck further assures the case will "coax" with the chamber and promote better bullet to bore alignment, yes?) And, all cases are then "dedicated" to that particular chamber exclusively.

My point is, i may be of the mistaken impression that tight case to chamber fit is conducive to accuracy. "A rat turd in a violin case" doesn't exactly jive with the principals of neck sizing only, does it??? "A rat turd in a violin case"?? Again, what am I missing here???

Note: Neck sizing only, and never having used a small base FL die (custom dies aside), I've NEVER had a case stick except when I accidentally mixed a neck sized reload from one gun to another.

.
 

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I believe George is correct, Jim Hull does sound correct. Clearly, his comment is exaggerated, but the point is, a tight case causes far more problems than it fixes. Paul, if you want to neck size, you can certainly do that, it's your choice. Many years ago that was the preferred practice among benchrest shooters. That has been abandoned for some time. While I'm not a group shooter, I am among folks who shoot the most accurate rifles on the planet ( and some would argue that score is more difficult than group) and I don't know anyone that neck sizes. The common practice is to full length size every firing with dies that match the chamber. By doing this you have consistency. If you only neck size your cases will get tighter with every firing until they MUST be full length sized.
This is also where "bolt click" comes in, where you have a hard place at the top of the extraction due to the fact that the base has swelled so tight that it is difficult to extract. Full length sizing using correctly fitted dies extends case life as well. I have cases that have been fired well over 50 times going back eight years and still winning matches now and then.

While I doubt Doug will shoot those Valkyrie cases 50 times, he will benefit from small base dies. His cases will never be hard to chamber and his brass life will be good. He will never have bolt click. All he needs to do is use good lube in the correct amount.

YMMV,
Rick
 

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As I said I NS on new cases sizing about half the neck, this will straighten the necks out. I don't feel there is a need to FL size new cases as they are already smaller than your chamber. After the first firing I FL size bumping the shoulder .001 which I find works out very well for me. The cases fit the chamber very well and I get excellent case life.
 

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*I don't know anyone that neck sizes. The common practice is to full length size every firing with dies that match the chamber. By doing this you have consistency. If you only neck size your cases will get tighter with every firing until they MUST be full length sized.
YMMV,
Rick
I think the distinction is the difference between custom dies and "off the shelf" dies - the later typical of loading for a factory chamber...is my point.

Some factory chambers are pretty "generous"; fired necks being .004-.005" over neck OD for a loaded case!:eek: Neck sizing ~70% of the total neck length (i.e., factory chambers), combined with bushing dies and uniformed neck wall thickness resulted in one of those "AH-HA!" moments for my factory barrels.

All of my custom bbls (Hart, Shillen, etc.) have FL dies matching the chambers, AND bump the shoulder .001 as well.

So, I guess, for me, the answer depends on whether the bbl is "factory" or a custom rig. I know that FL sized cases in my former (factory) Rem 223 barrel fit like a "BB in a boxcar"! neck sizing was the recipe for that gun. And, to your point, "bolt click" (experienced, just never heard it described that way before) was the indication that it was time to anneal the cases and FL size them before resuming the cycle of shoot, neck size, shoot, etc.

Ami's BVSS and my LRVP are the only factory 223s we have. Ami's BVSS shoots 5 inside a paintball size circle at 200 yards, but instead of dedicated dies, I'm neck sizing for both of those guns. "FACTORY CHAMBERS" being the key distinction/determination (for me), far as neck sizing goes.

Learning from the best of the best. Interesting discussion. I appreciate hearing/reading about your procedures and methods.:)
 
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