December 5th, 2018

DIE BASICS: Full-Length Dies, Neck-Sizing Dies, Small Base Dies

Sizing dies brass sinclair redding full length neck neck-sizing small base

This article is part of Sinclair Int’l Step-By-Step Reloading Series. Most of the products mentioned in this article are sold through Brownells.com.

by Roy Hill, Brownells/Sinclair Copywriter
Making your own precision handloads is a meticulous journey with many steps, many important matters to consider, and many sets of measurements to calculate. For those who pursue the perfect group, the highest score, the really long accurate shot, the rewards more than outweigh the effort. Choosing the right cases, deburring the flash holes, making the primer pockets uniform, trimming the cases, and lubricating them are all familiar – and critical – steps along the journey. And now that your brass preparation is complete, you are at last ready to start running the cases through your press and fill them with primers, powder, and bullets. The very first die the brass encounters is the sizing die. You insert the case, work the press’s lever to return the case to its correct pre-fired dimensions – and the journey continues.

Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

There are three types of sizing dies to think about: neck, full-length, and small base. All three have specific benefits and potential drawbacks, and you should choose the type of die you use by thinking very carefully about what kind of shooting you plan to do with your handloads. No matter which type you select, most sizing dies will also punch out the old spent primer with some sort of decapper assembly that uses a hardened steel rod. Many types of sizing dies use an expander ball inside the die to make sure the neck of the case will accommodate a bullet after being sized. With some size dies, the expanders are easily removable and interchangeable, letting you get exactly the neck tension you want. If you are reloading for pistol cartridges, carbide sizing dies allow you to quickly resize without applying any lube to the case. But rifle cases always need lube.

Neck-Sizing Dies
Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length neck size neck-sizing die bump die shoulder bump gaugeNeck-sizing dies resize only the neck of the case. The benefit of sizing only the neck is that the brass is “worked” very little, letting you reuse the same cases many times over. Also, cases that have already been fired in your rifle are perfectly fireformed to fit that rifle’s chamber, which can help accuracy. However, neck-sized cases will fit only the specific rifle they were originally fired in, and may still require a little extra force to chamber or extract.

Sinclair recommends that neck-sized-only cartridges should not be used any in other rifle besides the one they were originally fired from [unless they are also FL-sized], or in any action other than a bolt-action. Neck-sized-only rounds are great for the target range or the benchrest but should not be used in critical situations like military or police operations, or hunting. And if you fire them enough times, neck-sized cases will still need to be full-length sized periodically for you to keep using them.

Full-Length Sizing Dies
Full-length sizing dies do exactly what their name says: resize the full length of the case, not just the neck. Full-length sizing helps create handloads that will function in any rifle, not just the one from which the cases were originally fired. The potential downside of full-length sizing is that it may shorten case life because it works the brass more than neck sizing. But it’s possible to “tune” today’s full-length sizing dies so they barely work the brass at all, as this article by Sinclair Reloading Tech Ron Dague shows.

Illustration Shows How a Full-Length Sizing Die Works
Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

Another way to reap the benefits of full-length sizing is to use Redding’s full-length bushing dies, which size the full length of the case but use a system of interchangeable bushings that enable you give the case neck the bare minimum of resizing needed. To see how finely adjustable bushing dies are, and how they resize the case while fully supported, CLICK HERE for Video. The neck bushing helps you precisely control the neck tension to help increase the consistency and accuracy of your handloads.

Redding Custom full length dies

Small Base Dies
A Small Base Die is just another type of full-length sizing die, but one that is typically used when reloading for semi-automatic rifles, like the AR-15, M14, or AR-style .308 rifles. (It may also work well for bolt guns that need extra sizing on the lower section of the case.) A small base die works exactly like a full-length sizing die, only it compresses the brass just a bit more, usually about .001″ more, and may even push the case shoulder back just a hair. Small base dies give that extra bit of compression to the brass to help make sure the case will properly extract from a semi-automatic firearm. The upside is that you get precision handloads that should work flawlessly in your semi-automatic. The downside is case life is really shortened, especially compared to brass used only in one bolt-action rifle, because the brass is worked more.

Shoulder Bump Gauges
A handy tool for setting up your full-length sizing dies as close as possible to your rifle’s chamber is the Sinclair bump gauge. The bump gauge lets you resize the case as little as possible, to extend case life and help your handloads fit your rifle almost like a neck-sized only die. You use deprimed cases fired in your rifle and bump gauge inserts to help you set up the die so it resizes the case only about .001″ to .004″, depending on what type of rifle you’re shooting.

Video shows how to use a shoulder bump gauge to set up your full-length dies

Sinclair International Int'l sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

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December 5th, 2018

New Products for 2019 in Shooting Industry Magazine

shooting industry magazine preview edition

Shooting Industry Magazine just released its December 2018 issue, which you can read for free online. This December issue includes a SHOT Show Preview, but more importantly, there is also a 24-page New Product Showcase. Here you can see a variety of new products, including those from some of our favorite manufacturers: McMillan (MC3), Leupold, Warne, Vault Pro, Champion and more…

McMillan fiberglass stocks Mc3 McCubed tactical legend
McMillan fiberglass stocks Mc3 McCubed tactical legend

warne rings sight mounts bipod

Vault Pro locable Handgun pistol transport safe

Champion digital electronic hearing ear muffs protection

MDT PRS tactical chassis rifle 6.5 Creedmoor

Leupold Stevens spotting scope

There are dozens of other NEW PRODUCTS HERE »

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December 5th, 2018

Powder Valley’s 12 Days of Christmas Offers $15,000 in Prizes

Powder Valley Inc. Giveaway 12 days of Christmas Ammo Bullets Press Sierra Hornady Hodgdon Powder Bullets Ammo

Are you feelin’ lucky? Well here’s your chance to win. For 12 Days in December (Dec. 5-16), Powder Valley is giving away a total of $15,000 worth of products from big name suppliers. That averages well over $1,000 worth of product prizes every day. This is top-of-the-line stuff, including Powder from Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Ramshot, and Shooters’ World, Bullets from Berry’s, Nosler, Sierra, Speer, and Zero, Ammunition from Hornady, Nosler, and Zero, plus Reloading Hardware from Hornady. Each day there will be a new set of prizes. Not only will there be huge giveaways we have added something new this year! With the support of some great companies we will be offering discounts and free hazmats on the days these companies are represented. Keep a watchful eye — this is big stuff!

It’s easy to qualify to win one of the Daily Giveaway prize packages. Simply visit Powder Valley’s Facebook Page, and make a comment on the featured Daily Giveaway Post. You don’t have to fill out any forms, but you must have a Facebook account so you can comment. Each day the folks at Powder Valley will select winners from among the visitors who commented. In days ahead there can be multiple daily winners. And on Day 12 there will be very special prize give-aways including Powder Valley Gift certificates. NOTE: You can enter multiple times by commenting on multiple days, but sorry, if you win, you are no longer eligible.

Powder Valley Daily Giveaway — New Prizes Every Day

Powder Valley’s 12 Days of Christmas promo kicks off Wednesday, December 5th, 2018. To enter, you must visit the Powder Valley Facebook Page. Once there, scroll down to find the Giveaway of the Day. You need to comment on that post to be entered. Winners will be selected by lottery from those who comment. Each successive day, through December 16th, there will be another product giveaway post. Also on some of the 12 days we will have additional discounts and free hazmats so follow closely.

Here are some of Last Year’s Prizes… Stay Tuned for the 2018 Giveaways!

Powder Valley Inc. Giveaway 12 days of Christmas Ammo Bullets Press Lapua Sierra Berger

To be entered in this Powder Valley Contest, you need to go to the Powder Valley Facebook Page and post a Facebook Comment for the Daily Prize story. NOTE: You MUST post your comment on Powder Valley’s Facebook Site, NOT HERE. And you need to comment each day to be entered in that particular day’s contest. To have repeat chances to win you need to comment on multiple days. Got it?

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