Loading 223 using mixed brass (223 & 556)

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Glock21sf-miami, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Glock21sf-miami

    Glock21sf-miami

    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    64
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Fellow GTers,

    I turn to you for guidance. So I am (almost) ready to load my first batch of 223 for my 16" rifle and my 10.5" AR pistol.
    I have seen a bunch of videos and I think I'm clear on the process:
    1- Decap
    2- Tumble
    3- Lube & size
    4- Tumble to remove lube
    5- Trim to 1.750"and decrimp primer pockets (556 brass)
    6- Deburr and chamfer
    7- Prime brass *
    8- Load powder
    9- Seat bullet (little or no crimp necessary) to OAL of 2.25"
    I will be loading a 55 gr FMJ from Hornady with H335 (which is the powder I was able to get my hands on)
    My question is, I have a bunch of 223 and 5.56 brass. My dies will resize everything to 223. However, the 5.56 brass is thicker therefore reducing the inside volume of the case. The Hogdon site mentions a starting charge of 21.3 grs and a max charge of 22.7 grs. That's not a wide range. I am concerned that if I load 5.56 brass at that level, the smaller interior volume of the case might create an unsafe increase in pressure. I know that 5.56 chambers will handle higher pressures but should I worry or would it be safe enough for me to load at say 22 grs? I need this recipe to cycle both my guns which are chambered in 5.56...
    Sorry for the longwinded post but I'd rather be safe than sorry...

    Oh, and I just remembered Fred's comment about no primers, no reloading... I have been trying to get small rifle primers for a while and that is the only thing I am missing...
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  2. 1bigK

    1bigK

    Messages:
    3,659
    Likes Received:
    5,205
    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Location:
    the liberal bastion of Denver, Co
    I have also recently started to reload .223 and am also using mixed headstamps. I don’t believe that the reduced capacity and increases pressures will be an issue, but I am not any expert there. So I will be paying attention to see what some of the other GT experts have to say in that regard.

    I did want to caution you to deburr the inner mouth with a very light touch. You don’t want to remove a bunch of brass as that would defeat the crimp’s ability to lock the bullet in place. A recessed bullet(s) from repeated recoils will absolutely lead to a dangerously increased pressure situation.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

  3. ked

    ked

    Messages:
    5,869
    Likes Received:
    6,515
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Memphis, Tn
    Might want to make “prime brass” your 7th step !
     
    1bigK and SARDG like this.
  4. Hoser

    Hoser Ninja

    Messages:
    2,676
    Likes Received:
    403
    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
    There isnt much difference between 223 and 5.56 brass. Often GI 556 brass has a little less capacity than commercial brass.

    The big difference is in the chambers. 556 chambers/throats are huge to deal with the added pressures.

    Unless you are shooting past 500-600 yards, mixed headstamp is fine.
     
    Taterhead likes this.
  5. Taterhead

    Taterhead

    Messages:
    6,467
    Likes Received:
    3,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Idaho
    If dry tumbling, don't de-cap first.

    The load data that you reference is for a copper mono-metal bullet. Probably a little light charge for a standard 55 gr fmj. Look at Hodgdon data for the 55 gr Speer. With a 55 gr fmj, I'm around 25 gr, or a hair less of H335 for my standard AR blasting ammo. H335 is great for that purpose.

    I don't differentiate between 223 or 556 brass. I load them all the same.

    556 and several 223 headstamps have crimped primers, so swaging or a reaming step will be part of the deal.

    Probably most critical is to get the shoulder bump correct. I use a LE Wilson gauge to ensure that my shoulder is set back properly. That gauge has worked for the 4 or 5 different ARs that I've loaded ammo for.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  6. sourdough44

    sourdough44

    Messages:
    5,610
    Likes Received:
    4,173
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    I only tumble once, not after sizing. If you put to much lube on the case, you likely will get wrinkles in the should area. I mostly use ‘Imperial Die Wax’ or something similar. If needed I wipe the case with a dry rag(old T shirt).

    I mix brass without issues, military/commercial. Your load listed does sound on the light side, no manual here. The main thing is, don’t operate at the edge of max & your mixed cases will be fine, clean out any primer crimps before attempting to prime.

    I load 100’s of rounds for prairie dogging most years, mixed cases, reasonable powder charges, 50-55 grain bullets. I’ve never had problems. I’m talking about casual shooting & plinking, if someone is in competition, more of the process can be added.

    Once a case is sized, trimmed, & all the rest, it’s not really the same as ‘original’ anyways? I often use my Redding SB die, since my loads could end up in 10+ rifles.

    If starting with new loads, try some test batches 1st. You don’t want to find an issue after loading 200 rounds.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  7. BillKilgore

    BillKilgore

    Messages:
    2,682
    Likes Received:
    7,395
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
    In for the education.
     
  8. Samuel_Hoggson

    Samuel_Hoggson

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    183
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    No significant difference in thickness or capacity. You do have to decrimp the pockets. Haven't run into badly overstretched 5.56, as happens with 7.62x51. If you're loading only for one rifle use your chamber to set headspace so you don't overwork the brass/too much shoulder bump.

    https://loaddata.com/articles/PDF/BenchTopics 87.pdf

    Ken Waters found the same thing decades ago, FWIW (Pet Loads).
     
  9. 1bigK

    1bigK

    Messages:
    3,659
    Likes Received:
    5,205
    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Location:
    the liberal bastion of Denver, Co
    Just remembered, if you use Hornady One Shot lube, you don’t have to remove the lube unless you want to. HOS will not affect the primers or powder.

    I put my brass in a large ziploc bag and give it one or two quick blasts of HOS, close the bag and tumble the brass around by hand to spread it around evenly. Then dump the brass into the case holder on my press and finish setting stuff up to load. I usually give a quick blast of HOS into the sizing die also, if I am using it, at the start.

    At the end I generally wipe all of the ammo, in bulk, to remove any excess lube.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    judgecrater likes this.
  10. Glock21sf-miami

    Glock21sf-miami

    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    64
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Correct!
     
  11. Glock21sf-miami

    Glock21sf-miami

    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    64
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    That is exactly what I plan on using. I have used it before on some pistol brass and I have never had to remove any lube since it will not affect primers or powder. Just have to let it dry... good point 1bigK, that will save me a step.
     
  12. collim1

    collim1

    Messages:
    13,740
    Likes Received:
    12,294
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    I load my plinking loads without sorting .223 and 5.56

    My loads are low to mid range in the load data so I am not concerned about the small difference in case specs.

    If I was loading up some max loads I would sort my brass and and work each load up separately.

    My 55g loads with 25.4g of BLC2 give about 2600fps and are very accurate. They have enough pop to reliably cycle all my ARs from 10.5”, 16” and 20” barrels.

    They are very accurate also, even with mixed brass.
     
    Taterhead likes this.
  13. Taterhead

    Taterhead

    Messages:
    6,467
    Likes Received:
    3,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Idaho
    From what barrel length did you snag that velocity?
     
  14. collim1

    collim1

    Messages:
    13,740
    Likes Received:
    12,294
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    20” Rock River A4

    E6C4E1F3-A0A1-46E2-8AC3-080B0F9170BD.png

    Looking at my data looks like I had a pretty good spread and they were a smidge hotter than 2600.

    Probably due to the wide assortment of brass I was using. BLC2 meters spot on out of my meter.

    Surprisingly good accuracy for a cheapo plinking load with factory seconds projectiles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
    Taterhead likes this.
  15. Samuel_Hoggson

    Samuel_Hoggson

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    183
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    I used 24 gr with fmjs mixed brass. Fed a bunch of MGs at shoots, and none had issues. The old Wolf Black Box poly 55s left 20" at around 2700 fps, but ran everything just fine.

    Anyone know why Hodgdon is now suggesting much lower charges of H335? Noted differences between some 55 gr data on the site.
     
  16. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker 1911

    Messages:
    703
    Likes Received:
    239
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    The first bullet listed on Hodgdon's site under the 55gr data for H335 is a Barnes TSX bullet. All-copper bullets are longer than an equivalent weight cup-and-core bullet, so you don't have the case capacity left for powder when using them. I'm not familiar with what the "SFIRE" bullet is, but my guess is it's either a monolithic design or possibly a long, polymer tipped bullet.

    The H335 data for the conventional 55gr Speer soft point looks "normal". I burned a lot of H335 under whatever 55gr FMJ bullets I could find during the Obanic. My load was something like 24.3gr (fixed cavity dispenser) in mixed brass. Worked fine in my semi-autos and gave usable accuracy. Hornady's 55gr FMJ bullets are the most accurate in my experience.

    Also, as already mentioned, you can't just assume all 5.56 brass is automatically heavier with lower capacity than .223 brass. When I was loading for and shooting Highpower Highpower competition, most years of Lake City cases were lighter, with higher capacity than Winchester cases. Both were superior in longevity to just about every other brand except maybe Lapua when pushing max-loaded heavy .223 bullets through a gas gun (AR).

    Sent from my SM-A102U using Tapatalk
     
  17. Glock21sf-miami

    Glock21sf-miami

    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    64
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    So it seems that 24 - 24.5 grs of H335 should be a good/safe number for a 55 gr FMJ using mixed brass...
     
  18. jbmillard

    jbmillard

    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    Location:
    New Mexico
    You'll have to try it and see - we don't know how your rifle shoots, how tight the chamber is, etc.

    I do sort by headstamp. I don't think I can tell the difference but I have enough that I can get boxes of 100 with the same headstamp. I do keep boxes of 100 together so when the primers get loose on ~10, I toss the box.

    I also use a no-go gauge on the primer pockets after removing the primers so that I can see if they are too loose to reload, then I save time not finishing that box of 100.

    My setup is a bit different and maybe controversial:

    0) If it's real dirty (I can see dirt), tumble, if not go to step (1)
    1) Deprime with depriming die. I use a Lyman die
    2) Full length resize and trim with Dillon trimmer
    3) Tumble to remove carbon and lube
    4) Remove primer crimp of required
    5) Load on progressive press

    I'm well aware that full length resizing dirty brass can shorten die life, but it saves me the time of having to tumble twice and I'd rather replace the in 50000 instead of 100000 than tumble that extra 500 times (think 100 round lots).
     
  19. Samuel_Hoggson

    Samuel_Hoggson

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    183
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    WW, Thanks! Makes sense. About to make up another batch. Going to stick with the 24 gr charge, worked before.
     
  20. Taterhead

    Taterhead

    Messages:
    6,467
    Likes Received:
    3,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Location:
    Idaho
    Typically, for the regular FMJ-BT.