The Five Best 5.56 Reloading Dies [Reviewed] – Top Models

Many professional and amateur hunters consider reloading a fun and rewarding hobby. The 5.56mm is an arguably the most common round to reload, because the AR 15 rifle is very popular in U.S. When reloading, it is very important that you select the right set of dies for your rifle, because semi-auto rifles have different technical specifications than bolt-action ones.

You also need a set of sturdy dies, because you don’t want anything that will reloading less than 1,000 rounds at a time is simply not worth the time and effort. Fortunately, you can use 5.56mm reloading dies for .223 and vice versa. Although the two rounds have different pressure loadings, dies themselves are interchangeable.

The best dies come from American companies, and we have the top five 5.56 reloading dies for 2018 in the table below.

Top Five 5.56 Reloading Dies of 2018

Product Image
Best Feature
Grade
Price
Hornady 546228 DIESET 2 223 REM Remington Custom Grade Reloading DIE Set (Series I Two-Die Set) (.224)Simple to use, yet reliable
Lifetime warranty
Feature Hornady’s Zip spindle
A+
RCBS Small Base (SB) Die Set .223/5.5660 years of experience in reloading supplies manufacturing
Specifically designed for AR shooters
Very affordable
A+
Lyman 223 Rem Carbide Deluxe Rifle 3 Die Set (5.56-mm)Super hard and slick carbide expander
Extends case life
Carbide button can be adjusted for height
A
Lee Precision Reloading 223 Remington Ultimate Rifle Die SetOffers one of the best single stage presses on the market
Maximum versatility
A-
Dillon Precision 10096 Carbide Rifle 3 Three Die Set 223 Rem 5.56 High VolumeIncreased scratch resistance
The set includes a full-length carbide sizing die
A-

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

Many hunters are looking to keep things nice and simple, but they still want a quality set of dies. Well, their expectations will be surpassed by this set from Hornady – one of the world’s best known ammunition manufacturers.

The company produces a vast range of ammo, including custom match ammunition, without making even the slightest compromise with Hornady’s high quality standards. This particular die set is simple to use and it is designed for mass reloading.

These dies are for the type of guy who shoots a semi-automatic rifle and likes to press out a thousand or so rounds at a time. They are affordable, easy to use and, most importantly, they do the job!

For all their affordability and simplicity, these dies are far from cheap. This is why Hornady offers a lifetime warranty. They guarantee that their dies will never break or even wear from reloading 5.56mm and .223 ammunition.

These plain dies feature Hornady’s Zip spindle, which is somewhat new to the Hornady dies. Yet, it protects your hand while you are trying to tighten the spindle lock. But that’s not all, because it also keeps the spindle from slipping, which greatly facilitates spindle adjustment. Because of their simplicity and longevity, these plain dies are our top choice for 2018.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Top quality manufacturing
  • Feature Hornady’s Zip spindle

Cons

  • The seating die took some time to set properly
  • Relatively pricey

2. RCBS Small Base (SB) Die Set .223/5.56

Although RCBS doesn’t have Hornady’s ammunition manufacturing claim to fame, they do have a lot to offer when it comes to reloading supplies, because they have been making them for six long decades, which means they know very well what they are doing.

The RCBS kit we have chosen to review here for the 5.56 and .223 are specifically designed for AR shooters. This makes sense, considering the fact that the AR rifle probably eats more .223 and 5.56 ammunition than any other firearm ever made in the world. The RCBS dies are designed for the progressive reloader, whose ultimate goal it is to pump out a large amount of ammunition in a short period of time.

This particular set of dies offers its user a full length, small base sizing die and a taper crimp seating die. The manufacturer guarantees that it sizes the brass consistently, so as to ensure chambering performance and unrivalled accuracy. The taper crimp seating die is designed to give you a little leeway in a safe manner.

It is also worth mentioning here that this die set is also quite affordable. At a very reasonable price one can get an astonishingly sturdy set of dies, well complemented by a very long warranty. Although they are not as simple to use as Hornady’s, these dies are made to be long lasting and tough, and can be used thousands and thousands of times. Therefore they have earned the number two spot on our list.

Pros

  • Very reliable;
  • Very long warranty;
  • High quality manufacturing;
  • Ensure outstanding chambering performance and accuracy;
  • Excellent customer care;

Cons

  • This set can sometimes resize the brass out of spec and cause the bolt to lock forward after every shot.

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

The third set of dies on our list is what a shooter needs when they can afford to invest in their brass. Using standard Federal brass or Lake City is nice and cheap, but using nickel-plated, weather-resistant brass is a completely different experience. If you want to preserve this pricier brass of yours as long as possible, then Lyman’s dies are the right choice for you, as they prevent excessive sizing and greatly expand case life.

This set is certainly not the cheapest one on the market, but it is a reasonable investment for the consistent reloader. Without any doubt, these are among the best 5.56 reloading dies money can buy.

More often than not, when it comes to reloading 5.56 rounds, you only need 2 dies. But there is a huge difference between “need” and “nice to have. So the third die in the Lyman Deluxe rifle set is certainly not a necessity, but it is very nice to have. The product’s outstanding quality lends itself to the fact that Lyman is a well-known company that manufactures pretty much everything related to reloading.

This deluxe rifle set suits any .223 and 5.56 rifle, and it is the choice of shooters who are looking to maximize their case life. This set of three includes some standard dies with nice extra features. The first is the full length resizing die that is equipped with a decapping stem. Next you there is neck expanding button, as well as the bullet seating die.

You also get a third die, which is basically a neck sizing die with a carbide expander. This extra die enables the reloader to extend case life by reducing the amount of stretching caused by excessive sizing. These die sets are just perfect for loading jacketed bullets in bottlenecked rifle cases. Our number three pick is arguably the best choice for loading 223 Remington (5.56mm) cartridges.

Pros

  • Super hard and slick carbide expander;
  • Extends case life
  • High quality manufacturing;
  • Outstanding chambering performance;
  • Good customer care;

Cons

  • The guide rods can bend and jam in the shell.

4. Lee Precision Reloading 223 Remington Ultimate Rifle Die Set

The Lee Precision Ultimate die set comprises of four different pieces. The full length sizer is designed predominantly for semi-automatic rifles. Although these rounds work with other rifles as well, they are most efficient with semi-auto designs like the AR 15. This die set also includes a collet neck sizer that is designed for bolt action and single shot rifles.

Also, the bullet-seating die provides accurate placement of the projectiles in the case making it easier to crimp. Finally, the crimp die is used to swoop in and keep the bullet in place.

Lee Precision is the best choice of shooters who would like to learn to reload. The company produces a wide range of different reloading presses, including one of the best single stage presses on the market. Most reloaders pick a certain caliber to hone their skills and it is often either 5.56 or 9mm. To all 5.56 shooters, Lee Precision offers their Ultimate 5.56 die set. This set consists of everything you could possibly need to begin reloading 5.56 and .223 rounds.

Pros

  • The set includes a shell holder, a powder measure and the famous Lee load data featuring all common brands of powder;
  • Full length-resizing die returns brass to factory dimensions
  • Collet neck sizing die helps provide the best possible accuracy

Cons

  • No charging die
  • Collet neck sizing die may bend after tens of de-cappings.

5. Dillon Precision 10096 Carbide Rifle 3 Three Die Set 223 Rem 5.56 High Volume

This is the perfect die set for high volume users, such as commercial reloaders, law enforcement agencies, and high power or service rifle competitors. It includes a full-length carbide sizing die. Although you still have to lube it properly, the increased scratch resistance and die longevity of carbide are of great benefit to consistent users.

Dillon Three-Die Rifle Die Set also includes a sizing and depriming die, a bullet seating die and a taper crimp die. The sizing/depriming die is a full-length one.

The manufacturer strongly recommends that a headspace case gage be used to correctly adjust the size die. The depriming assembly includes a carbide expander ball for effortless neck expansion. This expander ball is located in the middle of the depriming stem to take advantage of superior initial leverage for easier extraction.

In case of a stuck case, the design of the depriming assembly allows it to work as a stuck case remover. Dillon’s bullet seating die is designed to keep the bullet straight throughout the seating process. Once accurately adjusted, the only measurable runout will be that which is inherent in the bullet.

This manufacturer’s special taper crimp die is specially configured to center both the case neck and the case body, thus aligning the entire cartridge for a more uniform crimp. Dillon Rifle Dies are designed to meet the more rigid requirements for both accuracy and precision demanded by today’s shooters.

Pros

  • Sizing Die has a carbide insert for longer life span;
  • Increased scratch resistance
  • Outstanding reliability

Cons

  • Lubrication still required
  • Steel versions sometimes delivered instead of carbide

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Reloading Die Set

In this section, we’ll outline the main factors to take into considation before buying a reloading die set.

Reliability

Make sure that the set you buy will not give up after reloading one thousand rounds or so. If this is your main concern, then consider buying Dillon Precision 10096 Carbide Rifle 3 Three Die Set.

Warranty

Albeit all of the set featured here are offered with a sufficiently long warranty, only Hornnady’s boasts a lifelong one.

Ease of use

If you have to reload one thousand rounds, you definitely do not want to spend the whole day doing it. If you want the ultimate user-friendly die set, then check out Hornady’s products.

Our Final Review

Thank you for taking the time to read reading our review of Top Five 5.56 Reloading Dies. We hope now it will be easier for you to make an informed decision as to which die set will best suit your specific needs. All of the products reviewed here high-quality die sets manufactured by the leaders on the world market.

Our top choice is the Hornady 546228 Custom Grade Reloading DIE Set, because it is very reliable, sturdy and at the same time it is quite efficient and simple to use.

Which is your number one pick of the ones reviewed here? Is there another one you would like to add? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Leave a Reply