.223 reloading assistance wanted


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Masterartisan
November 30, 2012, 12:04 PM
I’ve been reloading 9mm and .45 pistol cases for a year now and want to begin reloading for my .223/5.56 rifle. I’ve been collecting brass, buying primers and am now ready for the next step. My loads will primarily be for CQC training (primarily 10 yards to 200 yards), self defense and ornery varmints. I have been shooting 55 grain FMJ ball ammo and that has been working fine. I typically purchase 1000 round cases of whatever is on sale, but no junk foreign stuff.

I primarily shoot Noveske and Colt rifles and don’t want to reload junk but, at the same time, I don’t need each bullet lovingly kissed to perfection. I have a Hornady Lock and Load press that will be dedicated to this caliber.

I would like to know whose bullets to buy (who has the best prices and service), what powder to use and any tried and true recipes to follow. Any additional tips would also really be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help.

PS: Assume I don't know jack about reloading.

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cfullgraf
November 30, 2012, 12:32 PM
Check out this thread. it will probably cover many of your questions although it may not seem to by the OP's original post.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=687230

Reefinmike
November 30, 2012, 12:46 PM
just keep an eye out for a good deal on bullets. midway has hornady 55gr fmj for $90/k but they ran out recently. any cheap bulk will fit the bill for you. i honestly think you can reload upside down bullets in the dark and still get better results than some factory ammo :rolleyes: . Im fairly new to loading 223, but i really like 24.5gr h335 with a 55gr fmj hornady bullet. nice accurate round that doesn't put a lot of stress on the brass nor does it throw it into the stratosphere. 223 is a bit of a PIA to load compared to pistol. you take your fresh once fired's, tumble them, then you lube them, size and decap, tumble them again, trim each one down to size, and chamfer and deburr the case mouth. Then if its crimped mil brass(headstamps of lc and fc are always crimped) you need to swage out the crimp so that you can seat a new primer. then you go on with your normal loading process. make sure you only crimp bullets that have a cannalure , otherwise you'll get weird bulges in the case. I found that out on my first try. All that work you put into the brass doesn't last forever like pistol does! keep track of the number of firings each batch of brass has had and pitch em(well, recycle them) after 5 reloads. Don't leave them behind for a new reloader to assume they are once fired. i only pick up and reuse crimped FC and LC brass as once fired... unless I'm picking up after someone shooting new factory ammo. I'm three reloads into my first batch of brass and fortunately they haven't needed any trimming.

Centurian22
November 30, 2012, 12:47 PM
I was just checking Berry's bullets today and though its not what I was after came across this:

http://www.berrysmfg.com/product-i14687-c50-g8-b0-p0-Armscor_.22_Cal_.224_55gr_FMJBT.aspx

55gr FMJBT box of 500 for $60. I have no idea if they're any good but figured I'd pass on the link.

You'll need to lube and full length size your brass, clean the lube off, cleaning primer pockets is personal choice, trim, chamfer, deburr, choose if/how you will clean brass (tumbler, ultrasonic, wipe clean), from there it's similar to pistol: charge seat and crimp if desired. For lube I have heard the following recipe gives great results, won't contaminate / affect powder or primers, and is far cheaper than any advertise brand of lube.

1 part 100% pure liquid lanolin (available at health food stores or online)
4-5 parts 99% rubbing alcohol (note must be AT LEAST 95% preferably 99%)

Some say they mix better if warmed but be sure not to bring either near open flame. I would set both bottles in a bath of hot water for an hour if so desired. Mix and pour into a spray bottle. Place your batch of cases in a tray or plastic container, spray, roll / shake around, spray again if needed to coat evenly, let dry (usually about 5 min max).

This and many other DIY / home made solutions available here:
http://www.frfrogspad.com/homemade.htm

Best of luck and stay safe.

Centurian22
November 30, 2012, 12:54 PM
Is it not possible to anneal 223/5.56 or are there other reasons to only load 5 times?

Also for load development check this method out:

http://optimalchargeweight.embarqspace.com/

Reefinmike
November 30, 2012, 01:30 PM
dont quote me on this as im a novice on loading 223, but i think annealing is just to soften the brass to prevent neck splits. People pitch em after5 or 6 reloads to avoid case head separation which is when the case splits about midway down into two pieces.

cfullgraf
November 30, 2012, 01:39 PM
Is it not possible to anneal 223/5.56 or are there other reasons to only load 5 times?


Cases fired in my ARs are tossed primarily due to primer pockets getting loose. This is somewhere around 5 to 7 firings.

My 223 Remington bolt rifle is a different story. I am not sure how long a case last in it. It does not get shot as much as the ARs. Frequently, I'll move cases from the ARs to the bolt rifle after three firings.

The time benefit ratio of annealing cases does not do it for me, so i do not bother trying to extend case life by annealing.

Walkalong
November 30, 2012, 05:24 PM
I size my .223 cases to fit a Wilson case gauge and get 8 to 10+ firings before the primer pockets loosen up. How many firings before that happens depends on the pressure you load to. 99% of my cases are still not showing any signs of case head separation when the PPs loosen up.

Pick up whatever 55 Gr FMJ is cheapest and load it up with one of the popular .223 powders, like 2230, H338, 748, TAC, 4895, etc.

Reefinmike
November 30, 2012, 06:27 PM
walkalong- what signs are there of case head seperation? i know about the paper clip trick, but i dont see myself checking every casing that way. do you start seeing a visual ring? once fired 223 is so common at my range that I can grab a thousand in just under a half hour so ive been planning on setting aside reloads #6 for my twice yearly middle of nowhere camping and gun blasting trip that way I dont have to worry about someone using old brass nor do i have to search through tall grass and mud for casings.

Hondo 60
November 30, 2012, 08:55 PM
Tried & True load data

Brass trimmed to 1.750
Armscor 55 gr BTFMJ (has a cannelure, so just seat to said cannelure & OAL comes out to about 2.230).
26.0 gr of Varget

Very accurate (with a cheap bullet) in my AR15A1 20" 1 in 9.

Walkalong
November 30, 2012, 09:05 PM
walkalong- what signs are there of case head seperation?
Here is the very beginning sign of an impending separation. You can feel it with a good "feeler (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=118411&d=1269559067)" of some sort (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=92799&d=1234744703).

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=174544&stc=1&d=1352651797
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=174545&stc=1&d=1352651797

If you have new brass, you can fire it a few times without worrying about checking for the "rut", assuming the headspace in your rifle is OK, and you do not oversize (Push the shoulder to far back creating artificial headspace induced from improper sizing) the brass.

If you are shooting "once fired" brass, or even worse, range brass, I recommend checking every single one of them for internal signs of case head separation.

once fired 223 is so common at my range that I can grab a thousand in just under a half hour That's awesome for you. I shoot range brass as well, but don't find it at nearly that rate.

If there is no shiny ring, you are probably OK to shoot them again, assuming proper sizing and a proper chamber.

Your appendages, your choice. :)

RustyFN
November 30, 2012, 09:17 PM
The best deal I have seen on decent 55 grain bullets is at Montana Gold. They are $80 per 1K delivered but you have to buy 3,750 to get that price. If you are like me 3,750 don't last too long.

rcmodel
November 30, 2012, 09:26 PM
but i dont see myself checking every casing that wayYou really should see yourself that way, if you want to reload safe ammo!

rc

Masterartisan
November 30, 2012, 09:53 PM
What I see on the cut away view is this; just a bit south of the crosscut the bass appears to get thinner and you can barely see a dark "line" traveling around the case. Is that what we are watching for? What do most people use to find it? Or is it primarily visual?

Walkalong
November 30, 2012, 10:35 PM
just a bit south of the crosscut the bass appears to get thinner and you can barely see a dark "line" traveling around the case. Is that what we are watching for?
Yes, and if you look close, you can see the thinning in the case wall where that dark line is.

What do most people use to find it?

Something like in this pic I linked to earlier. It could be anything similar (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=92799&d=1234744703).

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=118411&d=1269559067

By the time it is visual, as in a bright line on the outside, you are close to a separation.
.

Masterartisan
December 1, 2012, 07:03 AM
Perfect! Thank you very much. I have a similar tool and can start checking a few every day.

Blackrock
December 1, 2012, 07:20 AM
Midways 50 or 55g Dogtown bullets are accurate and reasonable. Also Midsouth has a comparable on as well. I get better accuracy out of these than I do the Berrys 55g FMJ which is OK for plinking and drills.

dgod
December 3, 2012, 09:26 AM
Spend the $20 to $25 at Midway to get a Swager. Fits your press, has small and laged Swager pin, it removes the Priber Box Bands, and it works great. You only have to do it to a piece of brass 1 time, then it is done, works on Pistol and Rifle brass.

I have been reloading off and on for 30 years, just found on a month or two ago, and it is a prized piece of my reloading stuff now.

I highly recommend it.

Dan

hentown
December 3, 2012, 09:33 AM
I recently bought a case of 6000 Hornady 55gr fmj bullets @ about $.08 each. They're higher quality than most other bulk bullets that I've bought. I use 844 powder and Wolf small rifle primers.

BillB204
December 3, 2012, 10:36 AM
4198 or Varget on the powder.

mmay1
December 3, 2012, 09:40 PM
I use Midway's Dog Town 55 HPs for most of my AR-15 loads and have been well satisfied with the accuracy/consistency. I use mixed brass and am not at all picky about whose headstamp. I trim to 1.750 and load to 2.20" OAL, using 22.0 grains of H322, no crimp. I started loading 223 using H335 and was well-pleased with the results, but had trouble finding it locally. Once I found an 8-pound keg of H322 and was pleased with the results, I have continued ordering H322 on the 'net. I also load a lot of 223 using Hornady v-Max bullets for use in a Savage model 12 and get tiny groups, also using H322.

Masterartisan
December 3, 2012, 10:37 PM
Thanks, get advice!

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