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Separating .223 from 5.56 range brass? Yes/No?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Gpruitt54, May 23, 2014.

  1. Gpruitt54


    Jul 18, 2012
    I just received an order of range brass for .223. After cleaning them, I started separating .223 from the 5.56 brass. During the process my wife asked why I was doing this. Because I had to come up with a good answer I just made up some answer that would allow me to appear knowledgeable in her eyes.

    Should I separate the .223 from the 5.56 brass?
    Is there an advantage or disadvantage in this?
    Does it matter?
  2. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    As with most reloading answers, it depends.

    If you are developing loads, you should be testing your components with as many variables removed as possible. This includes variances in case volumes, and would dictate that you use the same headstamp brass.

    If you have a pet load that is at or near max, you should certainly be separating the brass. If you're pet load is a mid level charge, then don't bother sorting the headstamps.

    My .223 loading for A/R's is 26.5gr of BL-C2 pushing a bulk 55gr FMJw/c. I don't sort headstamps and load all the brass (.223 / 5.56) the same. I do track the number of times each lot of brass is fired. I leave them behind on the 6th firing.

  3. G36_Me


    Aug 4, 2009
    My 5.56 needs the primer pocket swagger. My .223 does not. So... I have extra steps in my 5.56 reloading. Plus, what PCJim said.
  4. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    I load all the brass the same, but am not pushing max loads either. I prep all the brass too, some 223 has crimped primers.
  5. G36_Me


    Aug 4, 2009
    Fred's response is even better than mine. Since I do all my rifle on a single stage press, I do find some economies by not swagging my .223 unless needed.
  6. steve4102


    Jan 2, 2009
    5.56 brass will usually have a crimped primer, 223 usually does not. The only reason to separate 223 from 5.56 during initial prep is to remove the crimped primer.

    Once the primer crimp is removed, separating 5.56 from 223 is no different that separating Remington from Federal or Lapua from Hornady. Headstamps vary, and if extreme ultimate accuracy is your goal then separate away, if not, mix em up they are the same.