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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the difference between Full Length Competition dies and Small Base dies and which set do I need to reload for my dad's RRA AR-15 Varmint rifle?

I have a set of .308 FL dies that I use for my M14 and my bolt rifle, and I have never had an issue with any round out of them.
 

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Full Length and Small Base are both "full length" sizing dies.

I recommend Small Base for any gas guns because of the powerful extraction forces involved. Small Base will "size", particularly down towards the base where it matters, a case down closer to its true unfired dimensions. I think Small Base dies are probably just a little tighter tolerance, so they get sold as such, but I do think it helps in terms of preventing stuck cases.

A competition die just gives you finer adjustments in terms of bullet seating, for the most part. Unless you are really "geeky" in terms of these things, (I admit I am) it probably wont do much. It does provide a more precise means when seating long bullets (like 80 grainers) based on distance off the lands...

Keep in mind though, not all dies are equal, thus not all small base dies are equal. I pretty much only use Redding, so I dont know how much the tolerances differ in other brands. Also, any of the Redding Comp Dies will probably require bushings as well. The good ones are about $20 a pop. Make sure you know what you want and get two more + and - the size you decide on, just for some margin of error or different brand cases...
 

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What is the difference between Full Length Competition dies and Small Base dies and which set do I need to reload for my dad's RRA AR-15 Varmint rifle?

I have a set of .308 FL dies that I use for my M14 and my bolt rifle, and I have never had an issue with any round out of them.
Hey there,,,,I think the Main difference with Competition dies is they have a Micrometer on it so you can precisely seat the bullets exactly to the length you want,,but there could be more to them than that,,not sure. The Small Base Die really puts the case back to factory Spec,,if not a tad tighter,,really works the brass ! I have used Reg Full Length Dies for my 223/5.56 loads with 0 problems,,I use Hornady Dies myself,,but all the Major Die makers make quality stuff,,ya really can't go wrong with any of them. You should be good to go with reg. dies,,but when you get them get a Wilson Case Gauge,,they will help you set up your Sizing Die to get the brass right where it needs to be. They aren't a necessity,,but hey are a nice "Extra" step to have to check your brass !!
http://www.sinclairintl.com/.aspx/pid=33287/Product/Wilson_Case_Gauge
 

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Agree with the above posters in general. I used Small Base dies when I first started loading the 7.62X51 (.308) round. What I noticed was the it didn't make any difference accuracy or reliability wise but did really work the brass which meant I got less loadings per case for no measurable benefit. The Small Base dies got traded off and I stuck with standard full length dies.

One die set that you might look at is the new RCBS X die. Supposedly this die reduces case stretch and adds to useful case life. They are on my 'to buy' list.

Also for me a case guage is mandatory. I use the offerings from L.E. Wilson.
 

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One die set that you might look at is the new RCBS X die. Supposedly this die reduces case stretch and adds to useful case life. They are on my 'to buy' list.

Also for me a case guage is madatory. I use the offerings from L.E. Wilson.
Ditto and ditto. I have case gauges for every caliber I own, but really like the LE Wilson gauges.
 

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The small base dies will work the brass more and reduce the number of times they can be reloaded. If your dies work, don't get the small base dies...if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 

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I use the RCBS small base X-Dies, They work awesome after they are set up properly, adjustment is very touchy. But you have to trim to 1.995" so no re-trim are required, they do stretch back a couple thounsandths. For the M1A the sizing die works great! The seater i just a standard seater, it was leaving marks in the bullet ogive. I polished the edge of the seater plug and it was fine after that. MCORPS1
 

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I've never used small base dies.

My first set of .223 dies were Pacific (Hornady) and my M700 varmint special and Mini14 ate them just fine.

A couple years ago I inherited a set of Lee .223 dies and my first AR15 did just fine with ammo resized with that die. However, my newest AR will only chamber about 5 out of 10 shells resized with the Lee dies and about 7 or 8 out of 10 sized with the Pacific dies.

My wife bought me a set of RCBS X dies in .223 and the new AR runs though 10 out of 10 no problem. From now on all my .223 resizing will be done with the X dies.

Every rifle is a little different and apparently so are reloading dies.
 

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I use RCBS competition die sets in .223, .308, and 30/06. It sure makes for seating the bullet on the case mouth easy, especially the small .223.
 

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I've put over 8k rounds through my NM AR (three barrels - 1 Armalite and 2 WOA match chambered barrels) all loaded with rounds sized with FL sizing dies. Never a problem.
 

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I've put over 8k rounds through my NM AR (three barrels - 1 Armalite and 2 WOA match chambered barrels) all loaded with rounds sized with FL sizing dies. Never a problem.
Lots of people do. The problem is that not all brass is equal (some contracts more than others and # of firings per case also has an effect). Not all chambers are equal either. Its added insurance....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am pretty sure Dad's rifle's chamber is .223 Wylde if that makes any difference in the determination.
 

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Have used small base for all semi autos and match for bolt guns...
Got some LC brass once fired used a full length die long ans short
ended up pulling a bunch of bullets.......
Now use SB for autos have not had any problems...
 
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