Loading for ar15


January 30, 2010, 05:34 PM
I know this has probably been covered before, but I'm weighing the cost effectiveness of loading .223 for my ar15. I've never loaded rifle rounds before;never loaded anything but revolver cartridges actually.

I know I need a set of dies and the usual components (brass, bullets, etc) but is there anything else I need? I have case lube for the outside of the cases but doesn't the inside of the neck need to be lubed also? Do I need a case length gage or something like that to make sure the rounds will chamber correctly? Any powder preferences a first time loader?

Going to start 9mm soon too, so any and all responses are appreciated.

Again, I"ve loaded a few thousand revolver rounds, so I have a handle on how things work, just trying to save myself as much hassle as possible.

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January 30, 2010, 06:34 PM
A lee case trimmer, case length gage, shell holder, and the ball handle is handy. Just chuck it into your drill, and it will trim all your brass to the same length. Make sure you have calipers to measure your OAL. From my experience, your dies should come with instructions. You may need a primer crimp removal tool if your brass has a primer crimp. Since you have loaded for revolvers before, you know what the primer pocket is supposed to look like. A primer crimp is a circular band that is inside of the primer pocket. This can be removed with many tools. The RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Combo is $26 at Midway and is well worth it as an investment. Remember to use small rifle primers (magnum for ball powders).

I have no preference on powders, just stick to one that is found in your reloading manual (make sure you have a good manual). A powder measure is better than the lee dippers. It will give you more control over working up a load. A good digital scale is also needed.

Remember, for the AR, you will want to buy bullets that have a canular. Also know the barrel twist of your rifle. If it is a 1 in 7, then look for bullets over 55grains. Anything lighter may cause problems over distance and is not optimal.

Write down your load data and work your loads up slowly. You want to make sure that the round will cycle an AR. Lastly...read, read, read.

Your case lube is what you lube the inside neck of the case with. Just a dab on a cotton swab for every ten or so will get it done. Make sure you crimp your bullets too. The jarring force of an AR can cause a bullet to seat back if it is not properly crimped. This can cause undesirable increase in pressure.

I had to learn from my mistakes quickly, and everything I posted above is what I learned through mistakes. Hope it helps! Be safe!

January 30, 2010, 07:00 PM
I'm guessing you lube the inside of the case neck after filling with powder?

January 30, 2010, 07:03 PM
Also, anybody know a good place for cheap .223 bullets?

January 30, 2010, 07:10 PM
Lube the inside before you size the case.

Jimmy K

January 30, 2010, 07:33 PM
Just lay your cases out and spray them with lube. You will get enough around the necks of some that it will lube the die enough for the rest.

January 30, 2010, 08:01 PM
Screw most spray lubes! They are not a good choice for the novice bottle neck cartridge reloader.
Your process...should be something like:

1 - Clean brass
2 - Lube brass with imperial die wax and then use a case neck brush to lube the inside of the case neck. Pulling the case neck over the expander ball actually lenghtens the case.
This is where Redding sizers with carbide expander balls shine.
3 - FL size the case per instructions....
4 - Next clean brass to remove lube, and it makes it easier to see case defects.
5 - Next you need to trim brass to 1.750", deal one time only with any crimped primer pockets, clean and even uniform primer pocket to prevent high primers, I like clean the case neck with a worn bore brush especially if this brass was mil spec with the asphalt sealant, you can then consider deburring the flash hole too.
6 - Prime cases
7 - Charge with powder
8 - Seat bullets to spec.
9 - Crimp as a matter of personal preference.....

January 30, 2010, 09:06 PM
I know this has probably been covered before,
It has - - with that certainty in mind, use the Search function.

January 30, 2010, 09:34 PM
Ya know, I"m getting kinda tired of reading "use the search function" in every thread I read where a question is being asked. All these people must have missed all the threads about the search function not working very well.

Bottom line being if you don't have anything to contribute, why waste everyone's time?

If topics weren't brought up again from time to time, we'd have nothing to talk about now would we? Besides, you never know when something newer or better has come around that makes the process easier.

January 30, 2010, 10:03 PM
I agree on the "search function". Why even bother to post the remark. Do you have to feel that superior by demeaning people? Not very High Roadish.

Halfded, a reloading manual will go a long ways on teaching you. Also, check out RCBS website. They have step by step instructions and the one that 45ACPUSER posted were spot on. Print them out and follow them, you can't go wrong. Good luck. Be safe. When in doubt, ask questions and ignore those that tell you to use the search button.

January 30, 2010, 10:29 PM
I have been reading a ton about reloading as I am just getting started other then limited experience with the lee hand loader, and what I have learned about the .223 is that there is not a ton of cost savings, but you have so many load possibilities open to you by reloading. And, where you can fine tune so much on the AR platform reloading for the AR-15 seems like a great idea to me.

Good luck! I want to do the same with my SKS, but it seems as though finding 7.62x39 brass is the hard part.

Tim the student
January 30, 2010, 11:14 PM
what I have learned about the .223 is that there is not a ton of cost savings

Maybe there isn't as much savings compared to other calibers, but there can definitely be substantial savings.

It is more apparent with the higher end projectiles. Look at how much you can save on varmint grenades (V-max's etc etc) compared with buying them.

January 31, 2010, 12:09 AM
If you are going to crimp the necks the best tool is the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Also you can use your case mouth chamfer tool to remove the military crimps. I have a RCBS one and chuck it in my battery drill by the small shaft in the center of the outside reamer end and use the tapered inside reamer end to gently remove the ridge inside the primer cup. When loading military brass reduce charges an extra 10% at start due to case volume being smaller because of thicker walled brass. I also trim my bottlenecked cases every reloading for the extra safety margin.

January 31, 2010, 12:10 AM
Cost saving is definately not the only reason why I handload my rifle rounds. I have a lot of rifle ammo that I purchased when it was cheap and the thrill of shooting my hand made ammo far outweighs that. The .223 has lots of load possibilities with the different preojectiles and powders, etc., that I am always trying and tweeking new loads. Have fun!

Jesse Heywood
January 31, 2010, 12:12 AM
Maybe there isn't as much savings compared to other calibers, but there can definitely be substantial savings.

Saving money by reloading is a myth. :D But you do get to shoot more! :evil:

January 31, 2010, 08:51 AM
Forget lubing the inside of the case neck and get a carbide expander ball, no need to lube inside case neck with them, saves a step and makes life easy.

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