Lee Collet vs. Full Length .223

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Duckboats, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. Duckboats

    Duckboats New Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    I ordered the deluxe set of Lee Dies for .223 which came with a Collet resizer and full-length resizer. I also got the powder through charging die and the Lee factory crimp die. So I'm looking at the two dies deciding which one I should use. Collet Neck sizing die or the Full length sizing die?
    I'll give you some more information to base your decision. I am going to load
    .223 once fired brass (LC, PMC, Fed, mixed) that was all shot from AR-15s at a police range. I am leaning toward the collet die (51%-49%), but I wanted all the expert opinions to sway me one way or another. The ammo will be used in my duty rifle as practice and range ammo. Accuracy to the "gnat's ass" is not needed, but would prefer so hit what I'm aiming at within 100 yds. Most shots, probably 90%, will be within 25-50yds. Any suggestions on which die to use and load data for 55gr FMJs would be greatly appreciated.
  2. dsv424

    dsv424 New Member

    Oct 27, 2008
    Garland, Tx.
    Not exactly a pro at this but i asked a similar question about a year ago. The answer I got was if your reloading for semi-auto use the full length die and for bolt action use neck sizing die. I'm sure someone will be along shortly to explain why.

  3. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Yes DSV you are correct, full length resize. The only time I neck size is when I will using the same rifle. These rounds came out of various chambers and if you only neck size, you're going to most likely run into some major headaches. These various rounds are fire-formed to the chamber they were fired in. If you're only going to use one rifle to fire the reloads, then you may be able to get away with neck sizing after the first go round. However, I find it best to full length resize everything for AR's; i just can't keep that much ammo seperated for different guns.
  4. Gearheadpyro

    Gearheadpyro New Member

    Oct 11, 2009
    Charleston, SC
    Exactly right dsv424. Reason being, in a semi auto you need that extra bit of clearance for feeding and extracting. In a bolt all of that is done manually in a straight line, so the tighter fit allows for still smooth feeding with the added benefit of better accuracy. Neck sizing brass also allows the brass to last much longer. Once you neck size brass though it must be run through the same gun, it may not chamber in another. For this reason any collected once fired brass should be run through the full length sizer first time anyways. Make sure you use a good lubricant when you full length size, and keep it off of the shoulders of the cases. A touch on the body, and just a bit inside and outside the neck. Lube on the shoulders will dent the case.
  5. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    The answer to your question has already been given. I will say that I neck size only when I load for a single shot or bolt action rifle. Anything that I shoot in a semi auto will be full length sized.
  6. Duckboats

    Duckboats New Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    Perfect. I had the answer, but I interpreted it backwards, thanks fellas. The dies said that no lube is required, any reason to lube then?
  7. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    Careful! The "No Lube" applys only to the Collet Neck die. ALL FL dies require lube. Do not try and FL size without lube, you will be sorry.

    If you are going to load for an AR, you should read this.


  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Once you full length size the once fired cases you MUST check them for the case over all length specification in the manual. If any are long trim them all. Failure to trim the brass can cause safety issues. Excessively long cases jamb into the chamfer at the end of the chamber. That limits their ability to open up to allow the bullet to escape under pressure. That delay, and it is a delay as the bullet will get out one way or another under 50,000+ psi pressures, will allow the pressure time to build more than even 50,000 psi. All kinds of bad things can happen under excessive pressure to both the shooter and the gun.

    Do trim AFTER sizing, if required.

    If you are totally new to reloading I suggest your first couple of batches be new cases, not once fired. Success is more assured when all the components are new. Meanwhile read, read , and re-read several reloading manuals until you thoroughly understand the processes and the way ammo works in gun. The Hornady manual is good about explaining what is happening with pictures. When you have got it all down then take on using once fired brass. The pitfalls with once fired brass are many and do nothing to boost your confidence in reloading if you encounter them. Here's one: are the primer pockets crimped on any of your once fired cases (LC is military brass?).

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    LD gives great advice, as well as everyone else, I would full length size it the first round AND trim it all down to spec. After you fire it all in your gun then use the necksizer, unless its for an AR15 or mini 14 or any autoloader for that matter, then you should full length size it...
  10. Duckboats

    Duckboats New Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    I'm not completely new to reloading, but new to reloading for rifles. I wanted to start with pistol ammo first. Most brass is PMC or Federal, but there are a few hundred LC in the bucket also. I'm not concerned about that, more concerned on the die situation. Thanks for the help and the link. I will let you know if I have further questions.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
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