The 4 Best 5.56 Reloading Dies Reviews

If you have the best 5.56 reloading dies you’ll find that reloading ammo becomes easier and enjoyable. The 5.6 mm is widely used of course because of the AR 15, hence a large number of all in one die kits and sets.

To be proficient in reloading you have to make the right selection, one that is compatible with your firearm. If you have never purchased any of these dies before, the information in this review guide will help you.

I have also included other information about reloading dies that you may find useful.

Top 4 5.56 Reloading Dies: Comparison Table

 ProductSpecificationNumber of DiesDimensionsView On Amazon
RCBS .223 Rem/5.56 x 45 SB T/C Die SetAR and semi automatics26.1 x 1.8 x 1.9 inchesCheck Price
Hornady 546228AR and similar rifles22 x 4.8 x 7.1 inchesCheck Price
Lee Precision Reloading 223223 Remington, 5.56 mm45.8 x 4.8 x 1.5 inchesCheck Price
Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set5.56 mm, AR35 x 4 x 2 inchesCheck Price

Best Picks of 5.56 Reloading Dies

#1: RCBS 11107 .223 Rem/5.56 x 45 SB T/C Die Set

RCBS 11107 .223 Rem/5.56 x 45 SB T/C Die Set

Reloading dies are commonplace, but the RCBS earns a slot in my best 223 sizing die list owing to its features.

Made for all types of reloaders, the RCBS comes with a taper crimp die and compact base sizing die. Design wise it’s one of the best in the business, not surprising given the company’s been in it for six decades.

The dies are for the 223 and 5.56, the most commonly used ammo for AR and similar rifles. With this in tow you will have an easier time pumping out rounds at a faster clip.

The dies allow you to gauge brass size correctly, essential for precision and better chambering.

The taper crimp die provides some allowance but without compromising safety. This is enough to give you breathing room, something AR shooters will appreciate.

Another thing I like here is the durability. While the brand is not that well known in this field, these dies stand up to heavy use.

What I Like
  • Constructed from quality materials
  • Ideal for heavy reloaders
  • Suitable for AR and other semi automatics
  • Plastic case included
  • Easy to clean up
What I Didn’t Like
  • Crimping could be easier
  • Takes some effort to properly taper

Bottom Line

This RCBS is one of the best 5.56 brass for reloading as it works the way a quality reloading die should. It is especially suited for any semi automatic and AR type weapon, which makes it more appealing.

#2: Hornady 546228 DIESET 2 223 REM Remington Custom Grade Reloading DIE Set (Series I Two-Die Set) (.224)

Hornady 546228 DIESET 2 223 REM Remington Custom Grade Reloading DIE Set (Series I Two-Die Set) (.224)

If you read a Hornady reloading dies review odds are the 546228 gets a thumbs-up. And i have to agree as they are well made. Hornady is no stranger to gun accessories and ammo so it’s not surprising this set is really good.

This set is for mass reloading, and when used in that matter it’s going to serve the needs of the shooter. If you’re the type who presses hundreds of rounds or more you’re going to like this.

These dies are simple to use and work seamlessly with 223 and 5.56 mm ammo. You can keep using these and they’re not going to wear out. The fact that the dies have a lifetime warranty tells you something about the quality.

These dies have the Hornady Zip spindle, a feature that safeguards your hand while fastening the spindle lock. The Zip also prevents spindle slips, making it easier to do adjustments. Reloading is therefore easier to do here.

What I Like
  • Made from heavy duty materials
  • Does not break or stretch
  • Release is smooth and consistent
  • Minimizes neck stretch
  • Well designed compression washer
What I Didn’t Like
  • Seating stem sometimes puts a slight dent on ELD bullets
  • Beginners may need time to get used to it

Bottom Line

This is one of the best reloading dies for 223, and that really should come as no shock given that it’s Hornady. They may look ordinary but don’t let that fool you as these are high quality.

#3: Lee Precision Reloading 223 Remington Ultimate Rifle Die Set

Lee Precision Reloading 223 Remington Ultimate Rifle Die Set
The Lee reloading dies for 5.56 nato is very popular with a lot of reloaders and shooters as the company makes a lot of reloading presses for the 9mm and the 5.56 mm.

This kit is designed for shooters who use the 223 and 5.56, which means pretty much everyone who has an AR type gun.

The set includes a crimp die that you use so bullets remain in position. It also comes with a bullet seating die that ensures projectile placement is accurate. It’s this feature that makes crimping easier.

There is also a collet neck sizer that’s built for single shot and bolt action rifles. The set also includes a full-length sizer meant for semi-automatic rifles.

The full-length sizer is at their best with a AR 15 and other rifles with a similar design. The sizer, however, can be used with other rifles too.

The inclusion of a powder measure also ensures you’ll always be using the right amount.

What I Like
  • Ideal for 223 Remington reloading
  • Crimp die works very well
  • Comes with full length resizing die
  • Kit comes with a powder measure and shell holder
  • Collet die aids in precision
What I Didn’t Like
  • Charging die needed for Lee turrets
  • The neck resizer is rather big

Bottom Line

The Lee dies are cost effective and work as you’d expect them to. The goodies thrown in add even more value so it’s a no-brainer to give this a thumbs-up.

#4: Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set (5.56-mm)

Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set (5.56-mm)

Lyman has earned a good reputation for creating 223 carbide reloading dies and this is a good example.

This set is billed as a deluxe set and it deserves that branding. As mentioned above it is designed for the 5.56 and 223 rifles, in particular, gunners who want to optimize case lifespan.

This set comes with regular dies well as other features that expand its functionality. It comes with a neck size die and a carbide expander.

You also get a bullet seating die and neck expanding button and a full resizing die with a decapping stem.

The neck sizing die is handy if you are into brass as it’s usable in different kinds of weather. All the dies are well made and eliminate unnecessary resizing, prolonging case lifespans in the process.

There are a lot of reloading dies today, but Lyman has come up with a remarkable set that new and long time AR shooters will definitely appreciate.

What I Like
  • Superb carbide expander
  • Does a good job prolonging case life
  • Carbide button height is adjustable
  • Works great for jacketed bullet loading
  • Built for 5.56 mm cartridges
What I Didn’t Like
  • The packaging needs improvement
  • The guide don’t look very sturdy

Bottom Line

Majority of reloading dies have just 2, but here you get 3 and that tells you what kind of product Lyman has manufactured. Overall the quality is very good and these should last a long time.

 

What are Reloading Dies?

You won’t be able to make sense of reloading die reviews unless you know what they are. Basically, these are objects fastened onto a reloading press and serve as a means to expand, resize and recap cartridges. They are also used for bullet seating.

These dies may come in 2, 3 or 4 sets depending on what cartridge it is for. A 3 die set is needed for straight cartridges, while a 2 set die is more suited for bottlenecked types.

While the number of dies vary per set the process is the same. Every reloaded cartridge needs to go through bullet seating, expanding, decapping, resizing and crimping procedure.

While they both go through the process the specific steps involved varies. Depending on the brand there may or may not be have accessories included to help with the reloading steps.

Things to Consider When Buying a 5.56 Reloading Dies

Before you buy AR 15 reloading dies, you have to decide what dies you need for reloading gun cartridges.

  • If your gun uses straight cases get a 3 die set. For bottleneck cases, 2 dies are a better choice. Some brands like Lee offer a 4 die set.
  • If you’re going to do crimping and use a 2 die set, you must get a crimping die. Most 3 die sets have a crimping die but not always so you will need to get one for it.
  • A hand die is used by seasoned reloaders to modify neck cartridges, but casual and new reloaders don’t necessarily need it.
  • Bump dies are used to move a bottleneck cartridge shoulder to the rear. This is used to improve chambering in the rifle chamber.
  • Die sets often designed for specific cartridges – in this case, the 5.56 – so make sure the set you buy is compatible with the caliber you’ll be using.
  • When it comes to brands you need to go with recognized, reputable names. Hornady, Lyman and Lee are just some of the better known and have established a reputation for quality.
  • You also need to look at the type of press you have. Make certain that the dies you buy are compatible with it.
  • It is all right to mix and match brands and experiment with different types.
  • It is important that you learn how reloading dies work before purchasing several sets.

How to Adjust Reloading Dies

If you are reloading dies for AR 15 rifles you’ll need to follow specific steps to ensure that everything works out properly. Follow these steps.

Inspection

Make sure the cartridges are still usable. Fasten the first die on the press, adjusting its position as required.

Set the cartridge in position. Use the press to push the cartridge up. Keep pushing until the cartridge and die interact, resizing and reshaping it.

Take the primer off the cartridge using the decapping procedure.

Primer Cleaning

When the decapping is finished, set the cartridge in a solution which will clean the primer pockets. Once all the old primer is gone, take out the cartridge and use a brush to clean it up.

Use a case trimmer to size the cartridge to the size you want. Next, use a hand primer or the reloading press to put the primer in the primer pockets.

Cartridge Mouth Expansion

After the primer is in place, use the 2nd die in a 3 die set or the 1st die in a 2 die set to increase the die’s mouth. This makes it easier to put the bullet inside.

Use a bullet to test the cartridge. If the size is right, use a funnel to add powder.

Bullet Seating and Crimping

Crimping involves reshaping the cartridge to make the bullet fit better. This is optional but a lot of gun owners do so as it’s effective.

Crimping is most effective when you use the 3rd die in a 3 die set or a die specifically for crimping. Following the crimping process, you put the bullet in the cartridge. You use the 2nd die or the 3rd die for bullet seating.

Those are the general steps on how to use and adjust reloading dies. There may be some slight variations depending on the design.

Final Verdict

Reloading dies is not only fun but it also offers a practical and efficient way to save on bullets. They have also become easier to use and saves you money in the long run.

Of course, you will only get the benefits if you have quality reloading dies, and that is why I reviewed these products. I have seen and tried a good number of them and can say these are the most effective.

However, the Lee Precision gets my vote for the best 5.56 reloading dies. Having 4 dies in the set saves you money and time. It is also easy to use and should last a long time.

Featured Image by mr.smashy/ CC BY

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