Quick Look: Lyman MSR Dies in 223 Remington

Lyman’s MSR dies are specifically designed for the AR platform. Today we look at what makes them so special! 


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About Lyman MSR Dies 

Curiosity grabbed hold when I discovered that Lyman had decided to produce dies specifically for the AR platform. 

From LymanProducts.com

Lyman’s MSR Die Sets are the only die sets engineered specifically for MSR ammo and are a must for anyone reloading for a modern sporting rifle.

    •   Ammo Checker cartridge “Go” gauge included with each set
    •   Available in 223/5.56, 6.8 Rem. SPC, 300 AAC Blackout, 224 Valkyrie, and 308 Winchester 3 die sets and 450 Bushmaster, 458 SOCOM, 9mm, 350 Legend, and 50 Beowulf 4 die sets
    •   Small Base Size die for smooth chambering
    •   Separate Taper Crimp die for tight bullet grip
    •   Packed in a sturdy, clear cover storage case
    •   Black finish matches your favorite “black” rifle.

What’s in the Box? 

The characteristic orange plastic box with form-fitted foam cutouts keeps everything together for easy storage. Inside are the following: 

  • Shellholder 
  • Adjustment wrench
  • Full-length small base sizer die 
  • Seater die
  • Taper crimp die
  • Ammo checker 

This set is tailored to the AR platform. A small base sizer die makes resizing once-fired military brass easier as it brings the body of machine-gun fired brass to smaller dimensions. It’s also useful for personal loading, making your brass a little bit smaller at the base for more reliable chambering. The taper crimp die also assists with securing cannelured bullets a little bit better and aiding in feeding. Finally, checking loaded ammunition in the ammo checker helps ensure dies are set up properly and the ammo will chamber. 

Loading Demo

I opted to try the dies on my Dillon RL 550C progressive press with the small base sizer in station 1. I elevated the die and though I’m using brand new brass, I want the expander ball to work on the case necks. The powder charge is in station 2 and the bullet seater in station 3.

I elevated the seater stem, raised the ram with a complete reference cartridge in place, lowered the die until I could feel slight resistance and then lowered the seating stem until I was compressing the bullet. I took it a little further and locked it down. The taper crimp die is in station 4. Digital calipers can give you a good read on how much crimp there is. This die is especially useful when loading cannelured bullets. 

This time I’m loading Berry’s 55 grain FMJ bullets with Hodgdon CFE 223 powder. With this setup and the Double Alpha Academy mini case feed system, I don’t need to add cases by hand. Each time I just have to add a bullet to station 3, guide it into the die, press forward to prime the case, then index. It’s important to be sure the case head is flush with the top of the ammo checker when inserted.

Though I am using new brass, it is possible to still have a sizing issue. An expander ball can distort the shoulder area and cause chambering problems, which will show in the ammo checker. 

Lyman MSR dies can be used on a turret or single stage press, just with a different process. 

Get the Gear! 

If you’re shooting an AR-platform and reloading for it, Lyman’s MSR dies are definitely worth a look.

They are currently in stock (as of 6/27/22) at Midsouth Shooters Supply for $65.33

Find CFE 223 at Midsouth Shooters Supply.

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Gavin Gear 

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