View Full Version : .223 brass life expectancy (RCBS AR small base dies)

07-07-2012, 10:29 AM
I was just wondering how long your .223/5.56 brass is lasting using the new RCBS small base AR dies. I guess they work the brass a little more so you can expect it to wear out faster?? Just wondering if anybody is actually using these dies and what the results have been? Is there a noticeable difference from any other .223 dies you have used? I ordered a set but I havenít received them yet.


07-07-2012, 11:36 AM
Your brass will not be worn out any faster than with any other dies. Your brass life/longevity will be dependent on how much you bump the shoulders of the brass when you resize. As long as you don't bump them more than about .005", you should get several loadings. It will also depend on how hot your loads will be (stretching primer pockets).

If you don't use some type of gauge when you set up your dies to reload, you have no idea how much your over sizing the brass.

My advice is to read up a bit on "shoulder bumping". There's a lot of information on the net.

Here's a quick you tube using a Sinclair bump gauge to help you understand what I'm referring to.


07-08-2012, 5:50 PM
I run all my brass through small base dies. I reload them 6 times. I may get more out of them, but I shoot competitively and can't afford the trouble of a case separation during rapid fire. Six does it for me

07-08-2012, 7:07 PM
As mentioned above, brass life is largely a function of how much you set the shoulder back. If done correctly (no more than a few thousandths), then you can expect brass life of at least 3-4 loadings and possibly as many as 7-8 times. This range is dependent on the brass quality in the first place and how hot you are loading them in the 2nd place.

Best brass life for me has been Lake City brass, worst was Federal with primer pockets getting too loose after just a few re-loadings.