5.56/.223 Reloading Questions


February 24, 2010, 08:47 PM
I just bought me a new toy: AR-15 . . . .Iíve lots of experience loading 44 Mag and 45 ACP, but the .223 will be a whole new ballgame. I use a single stage press and load primarily for target, plinking and defense. I understand that Iíll have to trim cases and lube them for full length resizing, but I have some questions and would appreciate any help.
1) Are there any sites or forums out there dedicated to 5.56/.223 loading?
2) Should the bullets be crimped? And if so, how much? Are there specific neck dimensions I should be looking for?
3) Whatís the deal with neck resizing? (I like the idea of using a carbide die and not having to mess with the lube.)
4) Any tips or tricks anyone would like to share?
5) Any pet loads anyone would like to share?

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February 24, 2010, 08:54 PM
1. i like www.accurateshooter.com
2. i load for a 24" varmiter bushmaster, i do not crimp
3. you need to full length resize, even with carbide you will need to lube. i use rcbs lube 2 and a lube pad or imperial sizing wax
4. read the book. handloading for cometition, by david zediger.
5. 69grn sierra hpbt, 25.5grn 748, winchester primers. 55grn vmax, 25grn varget, cci primer
good luck, becareful it gets addicting

February 24, 2010, 09:13 PM
I use a 60 gr Hornaday v-max behind 24 grains of H4895. I also use a Lee single stage and I full length re-size. I slightly crimp. Go to AR15.forum for load information. Make sure to lightly lube inside the case mouth. Hodgdon Powder has lots of information on loads and bullet weights at their website. I'm partial to CCI primers (usually use the 400).

February 24, 2010, 09:26 PM
1. Lots of guys on AR15 reloading forum, but many are...questionable.
2. I crimp cannelured bullets for my M4s; no crimp for DCMs.
3. Ditto OHtard.
4. Ditto OHtard
5. Pet loads in my rifle may suck in yours.

February 25, 2010, 12:11 PM
This is perhaps the best on-line guide I have seen.
Lots & lots of valuable info about the .223 here.

I do not crimp for .223 in a CZ-527, Ruger Mini-14, and various AR-15's, and that has worked for me for close to 40 years now.

It is not necessary if you have proper case neck tension and a rifle & magazine combo that feeds like it should.

Carbide FL dies are only available from Dillon, and you still have to use case lube with them.
No case lube is strictly a straight-wall pistol + carbide die thing. And even they work way easier with case lube.

Neck sizing will not work for semi-auto rifles.


February 25, 2010, 12:29 PM
I use one shot spray on case lube now, cost a bit more in the long run but it's much faster then a lube pad and works just as good if not better

February 25, 2010, 01:14 PM
My take:

1) This is the best reloading forum I know of... more than enough knowledge here to get you started.

2) If the bullets have a cannelure I use it (crimp slightly into the cannelure). If they don't, I don't. I ruined my first batch of SMK's by crimping/overcrimping. Even if you are going to do it, light is good.

3) Neck resizing is for bolt rifles in which the same brass will be used over and over. It works because you have plenty of leverage to manually chamber a round. In an AR or other autoloading rifle, you don't have this... you need in-spec cases and headspace to ensure reliable chambering. You need to full length size each time in an autoloading rifle, and there is no shortcut around lubing. I use Hornady One Shot spray on lube. A lot of people don't like it for some reason, but it goes on fast and I've never had a problem with it. Most will recommend "Imperial sizing die wax". I have a small sample of it, but I'm not sure how it is applied.

4) Get an LE Wilson .223 case "gage". This will let you see if you have your sizing die set up within spec, by measuring a go/no go on a sized case. It is a lot easier to screw up the sizing of bottleneck rifle cases than it is pistol cases, in general.

5) We could share pet loads, but they wouldn't necessarily work for you. Far more customization takes place in rifle loading than pistol loading, and you will need to work up your own loads.

Good luck; there are several aspects you will need to learn about in the rifle loading world that don't apply to pistol. Personally I started on .223 and went to pistol later on, so it was an easier transition. Take your time and be careful.

February 25, 2010, 03:53 PM
4. read the book. handloading for cometition, by david zediger.

I think that is Glen M. Zediker

Rollis R. Karvellis
February 25, 2010, 06:36 PM
69gn. SMK, with IMR4895 rock.

February 25, 2010, 09:54 PM
imperial is applied by hand. put a little on your inger and thumb, rub case as you pick it up..

February 25, 2010, 09:57 PM
Cavman, you are right. not sure how i got that wrong. i just reread the book.

February 26, 2010, 08:11 AM
Read this.

February 27, 2010, 12:18 AM
Read this.
Thanks . . . that is an excellent article and answers a lot of my questions . . .

February 27, 2010, 11:10 AM
I too have read that article before and the question I can't answer is this:

When using a bushing die to adjust neck tension (recommended in the above article) the bushing die squeezes the neck. Isn't this the same thing a crimp die does with the exception one does it before the bullet is seated versus after?

Can anyone with more experience than me address this?


February 27, 2010, 11:22 AM
A crimp die (bottle neck crimp dies) only crimps the very edge of the neck. A neck sizing die sizes the entire neck to the proper diameter.

I perform a crimp on my .223, but a very light one- I set the die up so that I get a .003" reduction in neck diameter at edge without a bullet. This seems to give me the best consistency.

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