My Christmas present finally came in yesterday....an RT-1500. So now comes the nitty gritty of setting everything up on the 650. I plan on using 2 toolheads, 1 for brass prep and 1 for loading.
I currently have a set of steel Dillon dies. What would be the optimum setup for the 2 toolheads? Since I have the trimmer which will resize, do I still need a resizing die? If so, everywhere I read says to use a small base die. Is that necessary or will the Dillon dies and/or sizer/trimmer do the same (I read somewhere that the Dillon resizing die is pretty close to the sizing one would get from a small base die. I also understand everything one reads on the internet is the truth.... )?
Also have read on a few other sites that once it is trimmed/sized, the next station should set neck tension either with a larger sizing die (30/06) using the ball sizer or an expander mandrel. Thoughts?
Would this setup work?
Station 1: either empty or universal decapping die (already have 1 on a single toolhead and quickly run brass through this, then off to wet tumble)
Station 2: empty
Station 3: resize/trim
Station 4: empty
Station 5: mandrel neck sizer or larger caliber resizing die, using only the neck sizing ball.
I used to have a Dillon trimmer but got rid of it because it left a huge nasty burr all around the case mouth that was a major PITA to remove. A friend of mine has a newer one and says he doesn't have that problem, so YMMV. Mine didn't size the case quite enough, I always had to run them through a regular sizing die first. Again, YMMV with a newer trimmer.
I'm not sure if the trimmer requires the cases to be lubed or dry or if it doesn't matter. If they need to be dry then you'll have to de-lube after sizing, which may affect your setup. If trimming lubed cases works, then I'd put a sizer/decapper in station 1 and the trimmer in station 3, and leave the rest empty. You want all your sizing to be done before you trim, because sizing will stretch the case necks a bit.
The need for a small base sizer depends on the chamber in your rifle. If it's on the snug side or tends to get dirty inside then you probably want the SB die. Really, most AR's work fine with regular FL sized cases, at least in my experience.
Neck tension is a whole subject all its own. It depends on chamber dimensions, case neck thickness (which can vary from case to case depending on manufacturer and how many times the case has been reloaded), and what bullet you want to use. Read the stickied "Reloading for precision/competition" thread above for all the gory details.
Personally, I use a standard FL sizing/decapping die all alone in one toolhead (mine is an old RL450B) and trim and prime as separate manual operations. Then I have a powder charge die, seater and a separate taper crimp die in a second toolhead. I do use a type S FL sizer with inserts to control neck tension for my competition setups (.308 and 6.5CM), but for other stuff I just the regular FL sizing dies with their expander balls.
I have a size deprime die in 1, trimmer in 3 and another die with expander in 5.
If it starts leaving a burr, it's time to index the carbide cutter.
You might want to get a set of these too.
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