New to loading 223


November 12, 2012, 07:09 PM
First off- woah its taking a lot longer than pistol brass! I can punch out 100 357's in the time it takes to load up a box of 223. Im currently loading with a lee turret press, the lee 2 die 223 set along with the powder charging die. using winchester srp and winchester 748 powder. To start things off, the edge of my finger finally had a meeting with the decapping pin :rolleyes: . after I got about 5 loaded up, the darn powder was jamming up my powder measure. I Dont like that bullet seating is difficult, you have to guide the darn thing all the way up into the die. by round 10 I was having to use a screwdriver after each charge to push the autodisk back into place to grab another charge of powder. At that point I stepped back to view my handywork... DOH! all the cases were bulged where the case starts to neck. realize that you arent supposed to apply any bit of a crimp.

I really do enjoy reloading, but 223 may end up being more of a task for me.

1- is there any good way to speed up the trimming/chamfer/deburring process? im currently using a drill and a lee case length gage. want to keep it under $75

2. Does a 55gr hornaday boat tail help a good bit stabilizing the bullet before seating? im using 55gr vmax and 60gr sp and i have to hold them all the way to the die... if this continues, my finger will have a meeting with a casing and seating die soon.

3. anyone know a good powder for a lee autodisk powder measure? the 748 is very dense and almost sandlike. it really jams up the measure after 5 loads. I use win231/hp38 for pistol cartridges and it charges like a dream compared to win748. I feel 90% of my frustration with loading 223 comes from the powder and bullets falling everywhere.

4. Im using 23.4 grains for both 55gr vmax(2.220" OAl) and a 60gr sp(2.250 oal) sound good? I wasnt able to find data for the 60gr, but I figured the 55 was near the low end of the load data, and the 60gr is a shorter with a longer oal. safe?

5. lastly- I bought some 61gr tracers at the gunshow just for fun but i didnt realize load data is difficult to find. they vary from 1.079-1.1035 and average +/- .5gr from 61 grains. possible to use the dreaded win 748 under them?

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November 12, 2012, 07:12 PM
lastly, I went to chamber one of my new handloads , ejected it and WOAH. the sucker got a slight dimple on the primer. I do some quick reading and everything i found says "yeah, all ar's do that, its no problem". that scares the poo outta me, never chambering a round unless im at the range again!

November 12, 2012, 07:47 PM
Yes, trimming is a pain. Short of spending the national debt on a Giraud or Gracey trimmer, it is fairly manual and slow.

i use the Lee system. I measure all the cases after resizing but trim only those that are too long. That shortens up the time a bit. I find only 25% to 50% require trimming at each time.

An open end wrench (9/16" or 5/8" or so) that fits over opening in the Lee trimmer shell holder can add some tightening and loosening force so that the shell is held more securely. Sinclair International has a Redding die wrench that has a split round section that fits the shell holder and can be used to tighten and loosen the Lee shell holder.

I can size and trim 100 cases in 15 minutes or less. Then they get dropped in the tumbler to clean off the lubricant. I usually let it run all night but shorter would work.

I can load prepped handgun or rifle at at the same rate on a single stage press, about 100 per hour.

W748 powder is a ball powder and should meter about as well as W231. I never had luck with Lee powder measures but others do. I use a drum style measure such as an RCBS Uniflow for my 223 Remington.

Boat tail 22 caliber bullets really do not have as pronounced boat tail as larger diameter bullets. I do not find they sit any better on the case mouth. The do seat a little easier although if you chamfer the case mouth, that is a bit of a moot point as the chamfer guides flat base bullets about as well.. The chamfer remains if you do not trim the case and if you do trim, you re-chamfer the case so it is really done "once".

A little practice and the seating process will speed up. I sit the bullet on the case and guide it up into the die as it slips through my fingers.

IF you are going to shoot Hornady bullets alot, I suggest getting the Hornady manual. The 9th edition has just been released so there should be some deals on the 8th edition if your pocket book is rusted shut.

I cannot help with the tracers.

Yes, the floating firing pin in a AR will leave a small mark n the primer. Just about any gun with a floating firing pin will do the same.

Hope this helps.

November 12, 2012, 09:11 PM
Thanks! hopefully I can speed up the process a bit. Honestly the only bullets im going to buy will probably just be a few thousand 55gr hornaday boat tail fmj's when they go on sale during midways black friday sale for $67.99/k(shhh, its a secret! I was able to view their black friday items two weeks ago, now its taken down) so I dont see a manual as a wise investment. Im just going to work up one load once i get the bullets and just use em for 50 yard plinking.

just a minute ago I threw one of the tracers which have a significant boat tail(don't know if you'd call it that). I didn't seat it or anything, but it was much more stable than the flat bottom hornadays on the press.

With fresh new range brass I picked up for people, I noticed about 80% of them had some brass shaven off.

lastly, the win748 is a NIGHTMARE in the powder measure. its much smaller in diameter and just about as tall as it is wide. say 1 unit high and 1.15 units wide while the 231 is a much larger circular "flake" about 1 unit high and 4 units wide.

Cranky CJ
November 12, 2012, 10:19 PM
Midway. black friday. $68 per K. Hmmmkay. Thanks.

November 12, 2012, 10:29 PM
With fresh new range brass I picked up for people, I noticed about 80% of them had some brass shaven off.

A reminder, military cases will have crimped in primers. The crimp must be removed before you can re-prime them.

Range pick-ups frequently have cases with crimped primers mixed in.

There are several tools available to do that from primer pocket swaggers to crop cutters. A good chamfer tool frequently is good for removing the primer crimp.

November 12, 2012, 11:02 PM
I hate the lee trimmer.... but for under $75 you can either get the CTS, WFT, or Possum Hollow trimmer. But you still need to chamfer and deburr

November 12, 2012, 11:18 PM
Midway. black friday. $68 per K. Hmmmkay. Thanks.
shhh, keep quiet. I think midway showed their sales way too early and I got a glimpse. If I cant get my 2k bullets because i squeeked, im gonna be mad :) . nothing else to peak a reloaders interests though... besides frankford arsenal calipers for $12.99 if you dont already have a set.

November 12, 2012, 11:22 PM
A reminder, military cases will have crimped in primers. The crimp must be removed before you can re-prime them.

Range pick-ups frequently have cases with crimped primers mixed in.

There are several tools available to do that from primer pocket swaggers to crop cutters. A good chamfer tool frequently is good for removing the primer crimp.
certainly aware of that, ive sorted all my crimped and uncrimped(only remington and PMC) brass. from what ive read, the hornaday primer pocket swager is the best for the money. just chuck it in the drill and have at it.

Anyone loading 223 using a lee autodisk powder charger? what powders are you using? Ive switched hoppers, went from the 1.57 cc single disk to double disk etc etc and the darn thing jams up with that nasty win748 powder. in under 200 loads it scraped deep groves in one of my hoppers, its junked now.

November 13, 2012, 11:42 AM
For charging rifle cases i pitched the LEE perfect measure and picked up a hornady LnL measure. Works great with H110 and 4064. I do all my loading on a single stage press using the batch method.

After cleaning and trimming, I prime and charge and put em in a block till i get through with all the cases then setup bullet seating. While they are in the block before seating a bullet i take a look under a good light to make sure the cases all look to have the same amount of powder. Any over or under charges of any real consequence will be noticable.

.223 is kind of close when seating bullets but it didn't take too long for me to get used to the bullet seating with so little room. After a couple bites you learn fast.

I seem to get more done faster and correctly using the batch method.

November 13, 2012, 01:07 PM
I only shoot bolt action rifles, no AR's. But I have found that neck sizing sure helps to speed up the process and less triming involved.

November 13, 2012, 01:45 PM
Yep, small bullst seating can be a pain. I just finished some .223 reloads with cast 45 gr. bullets, and I did have to guide every bullet in place all the way up into the die, kinda the nature of the beast. When I'm reloading .223 I know it's gonna be slower than any other round I reload so, I go into the session relaxed expecting less finished rounds per session (and I don'r shoot them in an AR so all is good!).

November 13, 2012, 03:57 PM
The sleeve Hornady uses in their seating die has saved my fingers so far.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

November 13, 2012, 04:06 PM
I use the Lee Pro Autodisk with H335 powder and it works like a champ. Whatever the biggest disk is that the single charger throws is just right behind Hornady 55 gr fmj. I don't use it on a progressive press, only a single stage one.

November 13, 2012, 04:36 PM
lastly, I went to chamber one of my new handloads , ejected it and WOAH. the sucker got a slight dimple on the primer.

That's why I often load a dummy round or two (no powder, no primer) for a given OAL, bullet, crimp, etc., that I'm planning to load. I can learn pretty much everything from hand-cycling such a round that I could learn by hand-cycling a live round (unless I'm not getting the primers seated). Chamber fit, magazine fit, feeding, setback, etc.

November 14, 2012, 06:04 PM
well, I just got back from shooting hornaday 60 grain sp's over 23.5 grains of win 748 and I still have all my fingers! Ive never loaded a rifle round before, so I of course had that same wee bit of anxiety that I first felt a year ago just before I pulled the trigger on my first 38 reload! with cold shakey hands, I was able to group about 1.5" 10 round groups at 100 yards. brass piled neatly, 3 feet to the right and 8 feet behind me. I was able to find 88 of the 90 pieces and managed to scoop up 50 other pieces.

once I began to sort my findings for tumbling, It hit me, How do you guys keep track of all your brass? Right now I have obvious once fired(crimped), assumed once fired(non crimped rp/pmc brass), sized and primed, once reloaded etc etc etc etc. I know you want to keep 223 to 5 or 6 loadings, so I was wondering If anyone had a good organized system to keep count of firings? do you guys start out with a large batch of once fired brass, load it all up, shoot it and set it in a marked container and wait til your stock runs low before another loading session for reload #2? I can hardly stand having empty brass laying around, I start twitching. I have a thousand primed and ready to go 38's that are dieing to be loaded, I just have to get up off my butt and freeze for a few hours to make some cast boolits

Hondo 60
November 14, 2012, 07:02 PM
Haven't found a 223 powder that works in the Lee powder measures.

I ended up buying a Uniflow.
But still weigh each charge.

Federal 223 brass is short (1.748-1.753 or so) & in my experience hasn't had to be trimmed.

And I LOVE BT bullets, they're SO much easier to seat!

These are my favorites, if they ever get any more in...

November 16, 2012, 01:01 AM
I Dont like that bullet seating is difficult, you have to guide the darn thing all the way up into the die.

If you are willing to expand your case necks in a separate step from the sizing (shouldn't be an issue on a turret), I highly recommend the Lyman M die. Allows you to place a flat based bullet right into the case mouth, straight up/down. I also hear it reduces neck stretching, which will reduce your time spent on trimming cases. (I can't confirm that part. Just got the M die, recently. And since I started shooting cast in my 223, I hardly have to trim, anyway.)

Also, there are plenty of seating dies with a drop down sleeve that holds the bullet for you. This speeds things up, but you may still get an occasional "crunch" while seating a flat base bullet without a good chamfer and/or case mouth flare.

Haven't found a 223 powder that works in the Lee powder measures.
Not sure how the Auto Disc works, but the Perfect Powder Measure will work great with 748 with a little finagling. My first one needed just a bit of hand lapping to get it to work without leaking/crunching/binding. My second was much worse off, to start. I ended up making a drill adapter to power lap it. Works great, now. :) If there is a fit/finish problem with the Auto Disc, it might be fixable, too.

November 16, 2012, 01:33 AM
thanks for the input on the M die, may have to look into that if the cheapo hornaday 55gr fmj bt doesnt sit well. Im going to have to do some major research before i lay down for an 8lb jug of powder, i never thought powder charging would be an issue, but this win 748 in my lee will be the death of me... fortunately I only have about 100 charges left. doing an 800 round run of 38's today seemed like nothing compared to doing a 100 round 223 run with a jamming powder charger.

November 16, 2012, 03:49 AM
Regarding your powder search, beware what you wish for. When you go from "fine like sand" to the traditional 1-part stick powders, you can trade binding/leaking for bridging. Most people who use powder measures, esp with progressive presses, prefer ball powders like W748. The measure might be the problem, not the powder. I prefer W748 and H335 ball powders (near twins) over Varget and 3031 (stick) for that reason. Course, my measure throws the ball powders just fine, except maybe H110. Now there's a real fine ball powder.

I have personally never tried it, but H380 is supposed to be the bees knees for running through a measure like water. The kernels are tiny spheres.

November 16, 2012, 07:36 AM
The drum style powder measures such as and RCBS Uniflow, Redding measures, the Hornady L-N-L, or a few others essentially do not leak powder whether spherical, stick or flake.

The cutting of the kernels of stick powders gives some folks fits but it is manageable once you learn the technique.

The key with drum measures is to operate it consistently every stroke to get consistent powder charges.

I also have a Harrel style powder measure and a couple of Dillon measures on Dillon progressives but have limit experience with them at this time but they are very good measures and do not seem to leak.

Many folks like the Lyman 55 but I do not have any experience with one of those.

November 16, 2012, 07:48 AM
I use a Dillon 550B, for 223 I've used BL-C2 ... I've loaded both 55 & 69 Sierra's with sub-moa results. I also load 45 & 9mm on the same machine

223 I can do 100 rounds / hour with no problems, pistol rounds about 120 - 130 rounds an hour.

November 16, 2012, 08:13 AM
I load a lot of .223 - for a bolt rifle and 2 ARs. I do own a progressive press but I don't reload any rifle calibers with it. I haven't got to the point where I trust a powder measure to consistently meter the correct measure of gunpowder (even using my RCBS). I weigh every load and I finally invested in a Hornady auto measure/scale. I now use Varget exclusively. I prep brass in large batches (a couple hundred or so at a time) and prime cases before storing in zip-lock baggies. I always have brass ready to go for those times when I may only have an hour of free time - I can still crank out 50-60 high quality, consistent reloads in that time. BTW, I don't like boat tails for my bolt rifle because they are not as accurate as a flat based bullet ( a little practice with bullet placement on the case mouth and you'll be fine).

Remember, reloading is relaxing and fun. Right?



November 17, 2012, 03:04 AM
well, I think ive found a GREAT solution to brass sorting and storage! I dug out an old wall hanging shoe storage doo-hickey. basically 4 pockets wide by 6 tall, clear vinyl like material, each capable of holding a shoe... oooorr 250 223 brass! so, now Im keeping fresh range pickups on the top layer, keep crimped and non crimped seperate. then I have sized/sized and trimmed/chamf'd brass on the second layer. then I have 0 reloads crimped and non crimped sized, trimmed, cham'd, primed brass, separated . another row down I have my once reloaded brass, primed and ready to load. masking tape on the pocket to indicate firings. last row is scrap brass, 45acp and 44 mag brass ive found which i intend on finding a gun to fire them one day!

November 17, 2012, 05:17 PM
Pop for the Dillon Electric case trimmer. Long after you forget the pain of the price you will have the pleasure of the item. This is how I justify buying a gun at twice what I budgeted for.

November 17, 2012, 05:30 PM
so I dont see a manual as a wise investment.

Interesting point of view.

November 17, 2012, 10:00 PM
^I have a speer and lee manual, I honestly do not see it worth the $30 to buy another manual so that I have the data hornaday suggests for their 55gr fmj boattail bullet when I can go off other books data for a generic 55gr fmj. worst case scenario, I can ask a range buddy if I can snap a pic of the 55gr load data for which powder I plan on using.

November 17, 2012, 11:04 PM
Right now, I use the Lee trimmer chucked into my Dewalt drill. Fairly noisy, but I can get in a good rhythm while watching TV and do 100 cases before I know it. I didn't time myself when I did my .308 earlier, but I want an easier solution. I also tumble for an hour or two after sizing, which eliminates my need to chamfer and also takes the case lube off. Before I had a tumbler, this process was a royal pain in the ass - 300 .223s was a day project.

I remember e-mailing the guy who runs Little Crow Gun Works about 2-3 years ago when he first came up with the idea for the trimmer and trading back and forth some suggestions and such, and actually got the chance to try one out. I really liked it, but wished it could be press-mounted like the Dillon 1200B instead. I could probably finagle a way to do it, but chucking it into a drill and going to town works really well. It functions like a pencil sharpener and uses the case shoulder as the length guide. It would have been better in a drill press for sure, but I don't have the space for one anymore. It's about $70, but it's made for only one caliber. Link here (

Other than that, there's the Dillon 1200B, or a Giraud - both way out of your budget (and mine) for now.

November 18, 2012, 08:46 PM
yeah, I saw a video for that a while back and decided that once I get the money, im buying one... maybe. it takes me about 40 minutes to lube, fl size/decap, trim chamfer and deburr using the lee case length gage. I shot 90 of my reloads last week and none of them grew more than .002" out from 1.755 to 1.757. if they dont need trimmed very often, I may just stick with the lee case length gage and drill system

November 18, 2012, 09:37 PM
if they dont need trimmed very often, I may just stick with the lee case length gage and drill system

I measure all my cases after sizing and trim only the ones that are over length. It is usually between 25% and 50% that require trimming.

I have had a World's Finest Trimmer for a year or more but finally got around to using it this past week. It is a nice trimmer. Down side is if you trim several different cartridges, the WFT trimmers will get expensive when buying a number of them. An upside, the cutter is a single end, four flute 3/8" end mill. A readily available cutter.

I have been using the Lee trimmer system is economical and works well but fitting the shell to the shell holder gets tedious at times.

I also have a L.E.Wilson trimmer with the Sinclair micrometer adjusted. I used it mostly for cases that Lee does not make a case gauge for. Since I trimmed 1500 reformed 300 BLK cases, I got a pretty good system going that I may not use the Lee trimmer much any more.

I just went back and looked at the information on the Giraud. It appears that one can buy a case holder and cutter set up for about the cost of a WFT trimmer. Once adjusted, the cutter/case holder can be swapped out without further adjustment. Giraud has a huge number of case holders available. The Giraud motor drive looks more convenient to use than a drill motor. I will probably give the Giraud a try in the new year.

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