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reloading the 5.56/223

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by themighty9mm, Aug 1, 2010.


  1. themighty9mm

    themighty9mm
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    So I am strongly thinking about getting a colt 6920 ar15. I currently only load for 9mm, very soon 357 and 38 aswell. I load on a dillon 550. So what are the differences in loading for necked case as opposed to a straight/semi straight walled case
     

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  2. BC Dan

    BC Dan
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    I just did the same, after loading thousands of pistol cartridges on my 550, I just started loading .223 to feed a new AR. Biggest difference is in case prep. The cases need to be sized to spec, primer pockets need to be clean and sometimes swaged/reamed, inside and outside chamfering is required. I tumble the cases, deprime and size on a single stage, then do all the case prep. After the cases are ready to go, it's easy to run 'em through the 550.

    It's also important to get a case gauge and gauge all the cases to ensure you maintain factory head spacing. I didn't worry about that too much when shooting .223 in my Model 70 bolt action, but on the AR, it's pretty critical to keep from damaging the rifle.

    I also added an RCBS X-die, I'm curious to see how it works to help in keeping trimming to a minimum.

    Takes a lot longer to reload the rifle cases, but it's still fun!
     

  3. Murphy's Law

    Murphy's Law
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    Basically more time and consideration and attention to detail. I got myself a Lyman case trimmer and best of all, the RCBS 5 station case prep unit. Now time is cut in half and it's a lot easier on the hands in preparing brass (especially primer pockets) for reloading. I have the Dillon 550B and I also purchased the Dillon carbide dies. Never been disappointed yet with the Dillon capabilities. I also have the Colt 6920/A3 and use Varget (1), H335 (2nd) and H322 (3rd). Any one of these seems to work quite well for the .223 cal IMHO. Enjoy Gents
     
  4. BC Dan

    BC Dan
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    +1 on the RCBS Trim mate. That thing rocks. I have also been using H335, after some polishing on the powder drop bar on the 550, it meters very accurately. I also got a Dillon swager, that tool makes those pesky crimped primer pockets go away in a hurry! Wish I had done that years ago.
     
  5. RustyFN

    RustyFN
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    These are the extra steps you will need to take with the rifle brass.

    1. the csaes will have to be lubed before they can be sized.
    2. the lube will need to be cleaned off after they are sized.
    3. after being sized they will have to be checked for length.
    4. The cases that are too long will need to be trimmed, chamfered and deburred.
     
  6. themighty9mm

    themighty9mm
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    Ok so its not real diferent then. Sounds like a good bit of prep work. How much do the extra tools cost?
     
  7. BC Dan

    BC Dan
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    That really depends, the Lyman manual trimmer I use is about $85 bucks. An electric model that is much faster is $240. A hand tool for chamfering inside and outside of the case neck is $12-15 bucks, a hand pocket reamer/cleaner is $10-15 bucks, depending on make, and a flash hole deburring tool is another $12 or so. The RCBS TrimMate has 5 rotating stations and makes it very easy to move from station to station to do chamfering and primer pocket cleaning/uniforming. I paid about $110 for the RCBS Trim Mate, but I'm a sucker for mechanized equipment to make things go faster.

    I use a lube pad with RCBS lube to lube when sizing and a cheap vibrating cleaner to clean the lube off before running the brass through the 550. Some guys will use One Shot for lube, but I have had a few cases stick using OS. So far, I have reloaded 600 rounds using the pad with no issues.

    Also, because of advice found on this forum, I put a sizer/decaper die in stage 1 on the 550, with the die set so it does no work on the case and with the decapping pin set to work normally. If there is some debris from cleaning the cases in the flash hole or primer pocket, the decapping pin will dislodge the junk and keep the flash hole clear. Wish I could remember where I read that to give the original poster credit, it is a good idea and works.
     
    #7 BC Dan, Aug 1, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  8. njl

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    I haven't tried it yet (haven't started doing rifle), but I bought the RCBS Trim Pro Power case trimmer and 3-way cutters for .223 and .30 cal, figuring that the power part would make trimming faster and easier and the 3-way cutters would eliminate a few steps. Have any of you tried these things?
     
  9. RustyFN

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    I do the same as Dan. I will size a bunch of cases and then tumble them for five minutes or so. As far as trimmers you can spend from $20 to $450. I use the Lee trimmer, it's around $20 for everything. I didn't think I would like it at first but after putting the lock stud in a battery drill and seeing how fast it all works I am very happy with it.
     
  10. dudel

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    What Rusty and Dan said.

    I use the Wilson / Sinclair trimmer. Not much more than the Lee less than the Lyman); and much easier to use. I also prefer boattail projectiles as they are easier to start in the case (they also have a better BC). Even with BTs it still a good idea to deburr and chamfer the case after trimming.
     
  11. RustyFN

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    You can say again. I bought a 100 box of 52 grain Hornady flat base bullets when I didn't know any better. I still have 97 of them sitting on the bench.
     
  12. BC Dan

    BC Dan
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    Maybe you can drill holes in the end and make 52 grain sinkers out of 'em for your next fishing trip? ;)
     
  13. McGriff

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    I found that if you hold the bullet all the way into the die, it straightens itself out in time to slide into the case. At least on my Lee dies that works. It's beyond frusterating to try and balance the bullet on the case.
     
  14. PCJim

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    Rusty, those 52gr Hornady HP bullets are extremely accurate over the right charge of AA2230. Don't toss them.

    Mighty, you may want to consider the Possum Hollow Kwick Trimmer for your .223 case trimming. Used with a "power adapter" (which afterwards you will use with your chamfer/deburring tool) and a variable speed drill, you can quickly trim a very large batch of cases. The Kwick Trimmers perform their trimming based on the shoulder datum, not on overall length. The more expensive trimmers (Giraud, Gracey) use this same method.
     
  15. RustyFN

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    I won't toss anything Jim, I'm too cheap. :rofl: Do you have a PH trimmer? I have been wanting to try one it sounds like it would work good. I'll have to look into getting one.
     
  16. PCJim

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    Rusty, I have two of the Kwick Trimmers - one for .223 and another for .243/.308 which is set for .243 (I don't immediately recall the other calibers that the .223 can be used for.) The Kwick Trimmers are adjustable which is why one trimmer may be used for several calibers. I suggest you refer to Possum Hollow's site for the specifics.

    I did call them when I bought the .243 trimmer. Spoke with the owner, Eric. He took care of an overtightened set screw on the .243 trimmer and paid me for the postage to return it to him for fixing. That's what I call EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    I use the trimmers in their power adapter in a variable speed drill set to a low rpm.
     
  17. themighty9mm

    themighty9mm
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    Very good info guys. I will have to look into it a bit deeper when I get the rifle, late next month. My usual process is get gun buy at least 1k factory ammo save brass reload. so it will be a minuet untill I actually get anything. Just looking into it.
     
  18. wanderinwalker

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    Reloading .223 isn't particularly difficult, in all honesty. There is a very wide range of usable bullet weights and powders that can be made to shoot well, depending on your rifle.

    The biggest difference is that you will have to lube the cases when you resize them. And trimming to length can be time consuming, but only has to be done every 2-3 reloads IME.

    Now for the bombshell: Trimming, chamfering and primer pocket cleaning are not 100% critical. Yes, you read that right! I used to load .223 with 69gr Noslers, Varget and CCI-400 primers on a LEE progressive. Spray lube a batch of cases, run it through on full progressive (no stopping for special prep, just size, prime, charge and seat a bullet). I shot many good scores at Highpower matches with that combo, and won a couple here and there too.

    However, if you are looking for .5-MOA groups, I wouldn't suggest trying the above, but it will get you to 1-MOA as long as you're in the sweet-spot for your bullet/powder combination. And I had a very experienced Highpower shooter tell me last week that trimming for most AR-chambers is almost a waste of time. He was refering to .223-Wylde chambers cut by WOA (which by extension are tighter than a Colt 5.56 chamber), and said they are all OVER max trim-to, so he skips trimming now. This guy is a President's 100 and Distinguished Rifleman, so I think I might listen to his advice... :whistling:
     
  19. jdavionic

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    +1 and I would add that if you are reloading mil brass that has not been previously reloaded by someone else, you will need to decap a crimped primer and remove the crimping for the install of the next primer.
     
  20. frankmako

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    i do the same as bc dan when i use my 550. but sometimes i just do all my 223 on a single stage press.