.223 casings below trim to length


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coloradokevin
May 1, 2008, 10:59 PM
At the rate things are going here, I'll probably be checking in for advice as I move through each of the steps in my reloading process :uhoh: (sorry, in advance).

Anyway, I was preparing to trim my sized and de-primed brass tonight, and took a measurement on a couple of my cleaned, sized, once-fired cases.

First one measured 1.746 inches, second was 1.744 inches (if I recall on the second one).

The suggested trim-to length for the .223 (at least in all of the publications I have seen) states 1.75 inches, with a maximum length of 1.76 inches.

Will the fact that my brass is currently below trim-to length be an issue for me?

Or, do I just leave the shorter pieces as they are (and thereby accepting the irregularities on the shorter pieces) until a few more firings stretch them out? Also, is there any chance that I did something incorrectly that caused this shorter length (like, a sizing problem on my part, etc)?

Thanks again!

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Sport45
May 1, 2008, 11:23 PM
I would just load them to the proper OAL and fire them. I don't crimp .223 so the neck being a little short makes no difference. JMHO

Trimming is needed if the case is above its maximum length and is necessary for uniform crimping.

Grandpa Shooter
May 1, 2008, 11:36 PM
I suggest you spend a few bucks and get a case gauge for your .223. A good one will give you the measurement for under length and over length, and will let you see if you have set the shoulder back properly. It is a good and quick way to sort your brass. You can find one on Midway, or the one I prefer, at Dillon Precision.

coloradokevin
May 2, 2008, 12:32 AM
Okay, being that I am still a newb, I went through my first batch, and calipered every sized casing.

Results varied from extremes of 1.77 to 1.36 inches. Didn't average them, but most were in the range of 1.75 +/- 5 thousandths.

Is there a published minimum trim length? I haven't been able to find one!

I can trim the longer cases down, but I can't seem to make the shorter cases longer. Don't have immediate access to a case gauge (just calipers and such), and wanted to finalize a few rounds today! :)

But, I don't want to load anything dangerously!

Bullet
May 2, 2008, 02:35 AM
Is your brass all the same brand?
The trim length is the minimum trim length. As long as youíre between the trim length and the max length you donít need to trim. Any cases above the max length need to be trimmed.

coloradokevin
May 2, 2008, 03:07 AM
Is your brass all the same brand?
The trim length is the minimum trim length. As long as you’re between the trim length and the max length you don’t need to trim. Any cases above the max length need to be trimmed.

Well, that's exactly the problem... much of my brass is UNDER the trim length of 1.75". Some is over the max length of 1.76", but the majority is under the TRIM length.

What do I do on that?

It is all once fired brass that I personally watched come out of the carton. Federal ammunition (stamped FC .223 Rem).

I just can't understand why so much of it is under the trim length, if that is the bare minimum that is allowable!

peterotte
May 2, 2008, 04:59 AM
Did these cases fit your chamber before you resized them? Are you sure you not over-sizing them? Just checking as setting the shoulder back will also set the neck back. No doubt you will be neck sizing only, after the first firings. I never had to trim my 223 cases for my mini-14. Those that started out short, stayed that way untill the necks split - which wasn't often.

coloradokevin
May 2, 2008, 05:00 AM
In trying to explain this, I thought some pictures might help:


Here is the headstamp on a loaded cartridge from the same case of ammunition that my suspect brass came from:
http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/headstamp.jpg

This is a measurement on a random (typical) casing from this bunch after initial tumbling, but before re-size and decap:
http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/Once-firedRangeBrasstumbled.jpg

Here is the same piece of brass after full length re-size and decap (approx 2 thousands of an inch longer, but still shy of listed "trim length"):
http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/Afterfull-lengthresize.jpg

So, do I need to toss all of this otherwise serviceable brass?

My biggest hang up on all of this stems from the fact that my brass is much shorter than spec for trim length... If it was longer I would just trim it, but I am trying to figure out if I can use it since it is shorter by a relatively significant margin!

I was sort of under the same impression as Bullet, in that the "trim length" represents what is supposed to be the minimum trim length. However, given that this was factory new ammo that was only fired once (and not altered)... I can't see how it would be so far out of spec! Thus, I am trying to figure out what to do with the 40 or so casings I have already verified to be in this length range...

Hopefully some of you have dealt in this issue previously. For what it is worth, these casings are ultimately destined to fly from an AR-15 w/ a 20inch H-bar and 1:9 twist.

coloradokevin
May 2, 2008, 05:09 AM
Did these cases fit your chamber before you resized them? Are you sure you not over-sizing them? Just checking as setting the shoulder back will also set the neck back. No doubt you will be neck sizing only, after the first firings. I never had to trim my 223 cases for my mini-14. Those that started out short, stayed that way untill the necks split - which wasn't often.

Peter/Pete (not sure which it is? sorry...),

I didn't try a chamber fit before working on these... I'm very new to the reloading thing, so this is my first attempt through the process.

This brass was fired out of a combination of my rifle, and about 10-15 other AR-15's of similar make/model. It was all new ammo on the day I grabbed the brass!

With my inexperience on the subject, I couldn't say for sure if I am oversizing the brass or not... I provided a couple of pictures in my prior response, in hopes of clarifying some of what I was trying to explain.

Trimming obviously isn't necessary on these cases, as they are pretty short... Just worrying about the fact that they are that short to begin with!


Edit to add:

For what it is worth:

After reading your post I grabbed one of the shorter post-sized cases I had from this group, and tried chambering it in one of my AR-15's. There is no bullet on the casing at this point, so I was just feeling for a chamber fit with it --- if this is even a valid test without a bullet?. Anyway, the casing measures 1.738 inches after sizing, and it dropped right in and out of the chamber with no issues at all

Jacka L Ope
May 2, 2008, 05:17 AM
With your slightly less than normal length case, after a full length re-sizing, all you really have as an issue is bit less surface area in the neck for which to provide a tight grip on the bullet.

Personally, I would load them to the normal cartridge OAL and go shooting. They will stretch with additional firings. And as previously noted above, I'd also recommend a case length/headspace gauge.

Cheers! http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a62/lakcaJLOpe/beerchug.gif

papajohn
May 2, 2008, 05:18 AM
Kevin, first thing to do is RELAX. If it makes you feel any better, I've been shooting .223 since 1981, and before last year, I'd NEVER trimmed a case. If your dies are set right and your chamber is within specs, they rarely stretch enough to worry about. If you're shooting a bolt gun with a tight chamber and a short throat, it could be an issue.

The only reason I'm trimming my .223 brass now is because i'm trying to get my groups under an inch at 200 meters, and I'm using every trick I can think of!

PJ

LotI
May 2, 2008, 06:29 AM
Almost ALL of my Federal brass is under 1.750". Maybe it saves them $ .00001 per case and they make trillions of cases a year. Adds to the bottom line.:rolleyes:

Don't worry about it. As long as there is some surface to grip the bullet, it will be fine. Just sort by headstamp and load them the same.

45ACPUSER
May 2, 2008, 07:26 AM
Kevin, first thing to do is RELAX. If it makes you feel any better, I've been shooting .223 since 1981, and before last year, I'd NEVER trimmed a case. If your dies are set right and your chamber is within specs, they rarely stretch enough to worry about. If you're shooting a bolt gun with a tight chamber and a short throat, it could be an issue.

The only reason I'm trimming my .223 brass now is because i'm trying to get my groups under an inch at 200 meters, and I'm using every trick I can think of!

PJ

Following non-standard practices advocated on the internet such as not trimming cases can lead to firearm damage, shooter damager, or both. Following proper reloading procedures is essential. FC brass sucks! http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=406

Now to put this into perspective. Use of the X Die from RCBS has a person trimming below the spec'd min 1.750 so has to help with the function of die.

SSN Vet
May 2, 2008, 08:31 AM
if you shoot them, they will grow :)

alohanole
May 2, 2008, 08:40 AM
I had the same question a while back for reloading .223. I can't recall the specifics at the moment, but if you are using an RCBS X-Die, the instructions call for you to "full-length resize each case and trim to .020" under maximum case length". If you follow these instructions, you will be trimming to below the published minimum/trim-to case length. The consensus was that it was not a problem. I even called RCBS who confirmed that it was ok to go below the minimum by 0.01, at least for .223. Hope this helps!

Uncle Chan
May 2, 2008, 08:45 AM
Don't stress it Coloradokevin, just load'em up and shoot'em.

strat81
May 2, 2008, 10:42 AM
I had the same question a while back for reloading .223. I can't recall the specifics at the moment, but if you are using an RCBS X-Die, the instructions call for you to "full-length resize each case and trim to .020" under maximum case length". If you follow these instructions, you will be trimming to below the published minimum/trim-to case length. The consensus was that it was not a problem. I even called RCBS who confirmed that it was ok to go below the minimum by 0.01, at least for .223. Hope this helps!
Yup. I'm an X-die user too and the trim-to length for .223 is 1.740. I've trimmed all my brass as such and I've had no problems with neck tension. I still have all of my fingers and eyes too. Hottest I've loaded is 25.5gr of H335 under a 55gr FMJBT, crimped to cannelure. Not a weak load, but not HOT either.

BTW, don't bother with FC .223 brass. It's crap. Recycle it. It is very soft and has very loose primer pockets. You might get 1 or 2 reloads out of it if you're lucky. I'm saving mine to send to Scharch.

Ol` Joe
May 2, 2008, 10:56 AM
The time to measure brass is afterit has been resized. The case expands outward during fireing and shortens in the process. The resizer squeezes them back down and the displaced brass "flows" foreward lengthening them.
Case will eventually grow, how much/fast depends on chamber geometery and the amount of resizeing your die does.
Don`t fret it if they are a tad short. I have trimmed a tad short on more then one occasion with different cartridges, usually on accident and all went well.

edited to add; A good example of brass shortening from fireing is with 45 acp. I`ve never had to trim a case, and most after the 1st fireing I`ve found to be ~0.010" - 0.015" undersized. They never get resized enough to bring them back up to lenght. Others report the same thing, mouths split from work hardening before cases stretch back to a point they need trimming.

papajohn
May 2, 2008, 01:25 PM
QUOTE:
"Following non-standard practices advocated on the internet such as not trimming cases can lead to firearm damage, shooter damager, or both."

Um, so you're saying trimming cases when they don't NEED IT is a non-standard practice? HUH? You have some odd standards! :confused:

After an average of 12 firings EACH, my .223 brass is still below the trim-to length. I'm only trimming them to make the OAL and seating depths uniform.

Caution is fine. But if you're going to insult someone for being reckless, you might want to read their post first.

PJ

lgbloader
May 2, 2008, 01:47 PM
PJ, I am with you on that one, there's alot of that going on around here lately...

Afy
May 2, 2008, 02:57 PM
The Vihtavouri manual states a trim length of 2.610 from .300 WM.

My cases are all in the range of 2.608 to 2.611ish... the only one I have tossed is one I over enthusiastically trimmed to 2.490...

But the others have been loaded and some fired. The Rifle and I are both around... no issues. I even fired one that was 2.604 it grew .003...

Now the Lyman Manual states a trim to length of 2.620 :eek:

All of my .300 WM brass is Federal excluding about 20 Privi Partizan and 20 Sellior Bellot... yes the Federal Brass is the easiest to seat primers in, while Privi is the most difficult.

peterotte
May 2, 2008, 05:33 PM
coloradokevin, papajohn sums it; After an average of 12 firings EACH, my .223 brass is still below the trim-to length. I'm only trimming them to make the OAL and seating depths uniform.

wcwhitey
May 2, 2008, 05:47 PM
I check all brass but trim only those over 1.75 to that number. If it is under that figure by a bit don't worry about it just load to the proper OAL and go shooting as the other have stated. Good Luck!

coloradokevin
May 2, 2008, 06:31 PM
I appreciate all of the advice, and am moving forward with the process.

By the way, can someone shed some light on the military crimp? I understand why the military has used it, and have heard you can ream/swage it away...

But (and I know this sounds naive), how do you spot it in the first place?

I posted a picture (above) of the back of the casing... is that "ring" around the primer area indicative of the military crimp? It is the only thing that I can see different about my .223 brass (any of which could be military like) and my other ammunition in other calibers...

(Assuming it is a crimp I am seeing: Are there any cheaper options to remove this than the Dillon 600 Swage thing?)

dagger dog
May 2, 2008, 08:24 PM
Usually the crimped in will be stamped LC and have the Nato stamp. I'm pretty sure the FC stamp is Federals American Eagle brand and is not crimped . This is just from my experience. Some others may know a difference!

DUCKNDAWG
May 2, 2008, 09:35 PM
I would measure all your brass and find the shortest one trim them ALL to that length so the neck tension will be the same load them and shoot!!!

Jacka L Ope
May 2, 2008, 10:57 PM
Edited for clarity...

Can someone shed some light on the military crimp?

Primer crimp is primarily for military ammo to enhance reliability with automatic weapons and prevents a primer from backing out under conditions of harsh handling or sloppy headspacing which could lead to a malfunction.

How do you spot it? I posted a picture of the back of the casing. Is that "ring" around the primer area indicative of the military crimp?

Yes. That is exactly it.

Are there any cheaper options to remove this than the Dillon Super Swage 600?

Yes. There are various primer pocket reamers, size large and small, on the market from various vendors. For example:

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=643126

Various hand tools may certainly are cheaper, however, when processing cases in bulk, you'll likely rapidly tire of their use. Said, they are necessary to start with and you're free to decide later whether to upgrade.

Cheers! http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a62/lakcaJLOpe/beerchug.gif

Bullet
May 3, 2008, 01:12 AM
Here are some pictures -

http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll98/Bullet94_2008/DSC01600.jpg

Left NO crimp - Right crimped


http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll98/Bullet94_2008/DSC01609.jpg

Left swaged - Right reamed



http://i286.photobucket.com/albums/ll98/Bullet94_2008/DSC01597.jpg


.

Jacka L Ope
May 3, 2008, 01:26 AM
Mine is slightly different, as is my process and goal. Ultimately though, my need is safely met.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a62/lakcaJLOpe/PrimerCrimp.jpg

(To improve upon military cartridge primer/bolt face clearance, I further ream and uniform the primer pocket depth to .131" (industry specification is .132" max.), square the bottom corners and seat primers to a uniform depth of approximately .006" below flush (industry max. seating depth is .008"). Never required, adds more work to the case preparation process yet an extra margin of safety against slam-fires.)

coloradokevin
May 3, 2008, 06:21 AM
Thanks for the updates everyone... And I do appreciate the time that you guys took to throw some pictures up there for me!

Glad I was at least on the right track about spotting the crimp.

I have no real specialized tools at this time, but thought I'd play around with a piece of brass tonight. I tried using my RCBS chamfer/debur tool on the primer pocket, in an attempt to open up the crimp area to take a new primer.

Primer was a bit stiff going in, though as a newbie I don't know what they normally feel like... so it could be normal. Anyway, the primer seems to have set okay, so I suppose this method might work for my initial set of brass?

I would measure all your brass and find the shortest one trim them ALL to that length so the neck tension will be the same load them and shoot!!!

Ahh, yes, my next issue. I played around with bullet seating today, just with an empty un-primed casing for sake of adjusting my die. Bullets were seating easily, but the tension seems to be much higher than factory (at least based on the amount of trouble I had in pulling the bullet back out with my plastic hammer-puller deal -- of course, the lack of powder weight in the case could have had an effect with this method of bullet removal, I suppose). So, might have to play with that a bit too!

Might I add: If any of you have children, be sure to teach this stuff to them! It sure is a PITA to learn it all on your own (though I do greatly appreciate the internet advice you all have provided)

Jacka L Ope
May 3, 2008, 11:35 AM
I have no real specialized tools at this time, but thought I'd play around with a piece of brass tonight. I tried using my RCBS chamfer/debur tool on the primer pocket, in an attempt to open up the crimp area to take a new primer.

Primer was a bit stiff going in, though as a newbie I don't know what they normally feel like... so it could be normal. Anyway, the primer seems to have set okay, so I suppose this method might work for my initial set of brass?


The RCBS chamfer/debur tool will work in lieu of a primer pocket reamer. As with any of these tools, excepting a primer pocket swager, exercise caution not to remove any more metal than is necessary to remove the crimp.

With practice and using a slow and even pressure to seat primers, you'll soon recognize the "feel" of a properly seated primer as it enters the pocket. You should feel "some" resistance but not "stiff" nor anything unexpected.

After seating a primer, rub a finger over them to ensure primers are seated at least flush with the base and never high.

Cheers! http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a62/lakcaJLOpe/beerchug.gif

Bullet
May 3, 2008, 03:07 PM
Might I add: If any of you have children, be sure to teach this stuff to them! It sure is a PITA to learn it all on your own (though I do greatly appreciate the internet advice you all have provided)


I wish there had been the internet when I started. Sounds like you’re on the right track and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lots of helpful people here.


I would recommend buying one of these to help setting up your sizing die -

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=477756&t=11082005

Some people like these also -

http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/content/p/9/pid/23612/catid/3/_223_Dillon_Stainless_Steel_Case_Gage


The RCBS Mic will take actual measurements of the case. If your cartridge/case properly fits in the Dillon gage it should also fit in your chamber. I have both and find that I use the RCBS Mic more.


.

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