Mixing 223 Headstamps


April 5, 2012, 01:24 AM
Before today I had always separated all rifle brass prior to reloading it. I took 13 different headstamps and loaded 20 rounds each, using the same load in each and fired 1 of each without looking at the headstamp. All 13 rounds from the 1st group formed a group of less than 1". I still have 19 more of each headstamp to test, but so far it looks like I can probably use any of this brass with this load and get decent results. Anyone else mix rifle Headstamps?

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April 5, 2012, 03:04 AM
While I'm sure mixed brass for .223 ammo is no problem at all I just can't bring myself to mix the brass on any calibers, handgun or rifle. I'm just a little crazy like that and can't help myself!

April 5, 2012, 03:15 AM
I've shot mixed headstamp 8x57 Mauser with results like yours.

Although I have to admit I'm usually really anal about not mixing cases. Especially with my handguns.

April 5, 2012, 04:02 AM
If I am shooting out of my Sig 556, I do not bother sorting headstamps, the rifle itself is not accurate enough to justify the effort and my experience has been that is true for most black rifles. That is unless you build one with a heavy barrel and weighted stock, and what not. Not really my thing but I understand why since you cannot be truly competitive in cross the course stuff without it. So if I was shooting that with a hot rod black rifle I probably would.

April 5, 2012, 04:12 AM
At 100--200 YDS mixing headstamps is no big deal for the accuracy a majority of reloaders require. Now if you are trying to get everything out of your rifle ammo combination that you can it might be one of those things that will make a significant difference. If accuracy is desired then weighing charges/cases/bullets and separating by headstamp as well as neck turning, neck sizing, and flash hole uniforming will all improve your groups. I went that route for a time and feel that for 100--200 YD plinking and my hunting also being at those distances it is not really worth the extra effort. YMMV

April 5, 2012, 06:19 AM
Is that the brass I sold you?

Either way, good shooting!

April 5, 2012, 07:17 AM
I shoot mixed .223 brass all the time for plinking. I pick a charge weight that is safe even in the heaviest cases. Even so, if the occasional case comes through where the powder is way up in the neck compared to the others, I toss it in the scrap bin.

For informal target shooting I would not mix cases, but yea, the case does not make a huge difference compared to things like bullet choice, powder/charge weight, etc.

April 5, 2012, 07:39 AM
For plinking 223 Remington ammunition, I do not worry too much about headstamps. It is what it is.

My service rifle match ammunition is a different story.

Steve in PA
April 5, 2012, 08:11 AM
My plinking ammo for my AR is mixed brass. If I am trying for groupings, etc then I stick with one brand.

April 5, 2012, 08:45 AM
Parker51, Testing is the only way to know. Whats the components in the loading? What rifle? I dont mix.

April 5, 2012, 08:46 AM
its performing to spec or better, I'd say why worry about mixing?? m.o.a. is hard to argue with

I guess the next step in your search is, load all one headstamp same load & see what happens!

shed some more light, powder, bullet etc

But, as 4 me, mixed is plinking, accuracy is dedicated headstamp. Probably all about same until needing match results

April 5, 2012, 09:14 AM
I mix for pure plinking loads only with low quality bullets. Anything else gets same headstamp. Why waste an expensive bullet with a "?" case.

April 5, 2012, 09:21 AM
I cannot bear to mix them, either. This is unfortunate as it doubles prep time. :banghead: I have learned to just scrap some.

April 5, 2012, 12:52 PM
Mixing .223 stamps to me depends on what stamps we're mixing.

Commercial and military? No thanks, unless it's a very moderate/mild load. And the only commercial cases I keep in rotation are Winchester, which are actually due for retirement soon (neck splits).

Mixed recent vintage LC stamps (and a handful of WCC)? Ok for out to 300 yards. 25.0gr of Varget, a CCI-BR4 or Remington 7 1/2 and a 69gr Nosler will shoot cleans on the 300 yard target in mixed years LC cases out of an AR service rifle.

Max-throttle 600-yd .223 loads? Sorted headstamps, track the firings. When these are retired, they're good for scrap.

With my .30-30, I don't mix headstamps but I never reload more than 2 boxes (40 rds) in a sitting anyway, and haven't fired 20 in a sitting since it was new.

Handguns? Sort headstamps? Yeah, right. Shoot 'em, gather 'em up, clean 'em, reload, repeat. The only exception is with Magnums, and those get tracked in boxes of 50 anyway. Everything else gets loaded bulk into big buckets.

April 5, 2012, 04:45 PM
The cases I used for this test were as follows:
WCC (with crimp removed)
FC (no crimp)
S & B
FC (with crimp removed)
PMC (large letters)
LC "01"
BHA Match

All were loaded as follows:
Bullets: Hornady 55 gr. V-Max
Cases trimmed to 1.750
C.O.A.L.: 2.327
Powder: H322 Wt: 21 grs
Primers: CCI 200

Rifle: Remington 700 with heavy barrel.

I agree with those of you that suggest that Headstamps should not be mixed if shooting for competition or long distance shooting (I have no way to test past 100 yds) but for just shooting at paper and varmints I feel it would probably be okay to use any of these rounds for shots out to 100 yds. Also, this is only for the .223. I have some 22-250 cases that will not hold the amount of powder listed on the can of H380 without some serious compacting of the powder (the cases fill to the top of the mouth).

April 5, 2012, 05:52 PM
Mixed 223 cases shoot very well.

I shot mixed brass 223 out to 300 yards and shot HM scores.

At 600 yards I shoot same headstamp. But that is due to my 308 and 30-06 experiences.

Mixed 308 and 30-06, there are big weight differences between cases of different makes and years. The stuff will shoot fine out to 300 yards, am not going to try it at 600 yards.

April 5, 2012, 07:31 PM
Anyone else mix rifle Headstamps?

For 223, I do all the time, I just don't mix 5.56 with 223.


April 5, 2012, 07:35 PM
as long as you are not loading near max charge,(or over!) i do not see a problem. i do this sometimes when i just want to plink, and excellent accuracy is not needed. just throw a medium amount of powder with cheap bullets, and put holes in tin cans. but most of the time i want to be able to shoot the eye out of a crow at 200 yards type of accuracy. so most of the time, i do everything i can to ensure optimal accuracy.

April 5, 2012, 09:42 PM
I have only shot mixed brass. I guess I'm too lazy to sort. :D I'm not looking for bench rest accuracy so 5 rounds in 1 inch at 100 yards in my stock Rock River will do for me.

April 5, 2012, 09:58 PM
If you are going for a tight group, can't you just pick out 3-5 matched headstamps from your mixed ammo pile for each string?:D

April 5, 2012, 11:18 PM
If you are going for a tight group, can't you just pick out 3-5 matched headstamps from your mixed ammo pile for each string?:D

Yes, but what fun would that be? Actually, the reason for this test is that I'm trying to come up with a single load that will work good in more than one .223 no matter what brass I happen to have on hand. At my age I will probably never shoot through all of the Winchester or LC brass I have squirreled away, so the least I can do leave my nephew some decent reloads that will work in any of his newly acquired guns :uhoh:.

Hondo 60
April 6, 2012, 12:16 AM
MY OCD will not allow me to mix headstamps.
Even though I use the same load data for all .223

April 7, 2012, 12:40 AM
For .223 plinking rounds and handgun ammo I mix headstamps. For my long range precision rifle ammo I never do it. If you want the highest levels of accuracy you really need to work up test loads for each brand of brass you are using as they vary in case wall thickness from manufacturer to manufacturer. The same charge of powder will therefore create differences in pressure in different makes of brass and this will show up in your long range shooting.

April 7, 2012, 01:39 AM
I dont care, as a hunter 1-2MOA is all i need, and generally mixed brass of any caliber I shoot will do that well.
I am carefull not to mix Commercial and Mil brass, but thats more to do with staked primers, so some of the commercial stuff gets tossed in to the Mil pile.
A couple years ago i scrounged a full USPS med flat rate box of .223/5.56, and i just finished processing it, so i have a pretty good grab bag of different shells. Most comerical, LC, RORG, and if i remember correctly another Mil brass.

April 7, 2012, 10:36 AM
Some of the old Norma and Lapua brass is much heavier, indicating a lot less internal volume. There may be others. You might want to weigh the different types.

April 7, 2012, 06:11 PM
The Norma cases I used to have were very heavy and were a problem. I finally culled then all. I checked the case capacities on a lot of different brands and mil cases; not enough to make a difference IMHO. With a bench rest barrel it might.

If I were loading maximum I would sort. For general shooting I use a 55 gr with IMR4198 powder. Uses less powder at very good velocity. More bang for the buck.

April 7, 2012, 10:24 PM
Rem 700 (.223): same headstamp
M4/AR15: mixed headstamp

I use OCW for the bolt action, but for the others, I shoot groups with increasing charge weights for each group, checking for pressure signs as I go up.

One test I did recently with the semi autos was to have each cartridge in a group a different headstamp. I found a good group that way, and it took the mixed brass factor out of it.

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