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.300 brass from .223

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Watchman, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Watchman

    Watchman Well-Known Member

    I want to make some .300 Fireball cases from miliatry .223 cases because I have an endless supply of emptys.

    Unfortunatley, there dosent seem to be a whole lot of info on the net about using .223 brass instead of the .221 fireball brass.

    I know that the brass must be trimmed considerably, but Im wondering if the brass may need to be reamed as the neck might to be thick. Does anyone have any thing that they could tell me about this practice ?

    I'd rather learn from your mistakes than mine...:D
  2. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    I suspect that you would have to anneal the heck out of the body during forming and also ream the hell out of the neck.

    Lots of work.
  3. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    Anneal....undoubtably; but not at the base.

    Till you try one, won't know bout ream requirement. Probably will tho.

  4. Watchman

    Watchman Well-Known Member

    Yeah I know it'll be lots of work. Maybe not even worth it in the long run.

    The trouble is that I have a 5 gallon bucket of .223 emptys that are just begging to be played with.

    So...since I ve got plenty of time to figure it out...

    any little tricks I need to know ?
  5. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    I'd say the biggest trick of all would be getting someone to make you a forming die that you can screw into your press.

    Run the case into it, and hacksaw off the brass that's sticking above the die.
  6. Watchman

    Watchman Well-Known Member

    No trick. I can do that. I already thought about it.

    Being a machinist does have its advantages...:D
  7. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    Heh. You're not kidding.

    Just be sure to harden or chrome plate the top of the trim die so you don't muck it up with the hacksaw.
  8. Watchman

    Watchman Well-Known Member

    heres the plan...

    I'm going to make a trim die from Drill Rod.I will harden it.

    I'll cut the cases with a with a battey operated repicrocating saw with a metal bit.

    Then,I'll run it throught the forming die(or maybe two) to get the neck right.

    Then a trip to the drill press to get the overall lenth correct.

    If I need to ream the ID of the neck, I'll use an adjustable reamer to get it perfect.

    Either before or after, Ill swage the primer pockets to get the crimp out.

    Should'nt take long to do a couple of hundred.

    Am I missing anything ?
  9. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

    .30 Luger from .223

    I have made myself a mess of .30 luger brass from .223GI and .222 Remington brass.

    John Paul
  10. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    "Am I missing anything..."


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the Fireball cases are about 30mm long, whereas the 5.56 are 45 mm long.

    Removing that much metal will take you well into the harder areas of the case body, meaning that you will have to anneal the cases at some point or else you'll have a lot of problems with cracks, either during forming or firing.
  11. Watchman

    Watchman Well-Known Member

    Yeah I figured Id have to do that somewhere along the line.

    I'll try a few without it to see what happens. Even if they dont crack, it might be a good idea to anneal after the proccess is done.

    Then.. into the tumbler.
  12. Watchman

    Watchman Well-Known Member

    The Brass Forming update...

    I finally got the dies in, they are 300-221 dies from Redding, so I gave it a shot. The following are various steps that I used in case anyone is interested, as there dosent seem to be much info out there on the net.

    I made a trim die, after a bit of adjustment it works well. This is used to cut the .223 brass off at the shoulder to prepare it for sizing up to .30 cal.

    I used a small pocket swager to hold the brass in place for the cutting.on an RCBS RL3 press. I used an 18 volt Ryobi Sawzall with a fine toothed metal cutting blade to cut the cases with, it took a total of about two seconds to do it. I used a small pocket swager for its ability to hold enough tension on the cases to keep them from spinning when trying to saw them. It also ensured that the cases had in fact had the primer pocket swaged, since I am using military brass.

    After sawing, ocasionally the necks would get a bit deformed. I used a tapered case spinner that I made, after one gentle tap with a brass hammer, it would make the neck round again.

    I then tried two different methods. One was to trim the case on the RCBS case trimmer using a shaft that was adapted for a battery operated drill and then I sized the brass in the die.

    The other method was to size the brass first and then trim it to lenth. I decided that this was the way to go to ensure that the case lenth wouldnt have to be trimmed again, thus saving an extra step.

    After cutting the brass with the trim die, I then sized it, and then trimmed it to lenth. The thing that suprised me the most was that I didnt have one single neck split or crack due to metal fatigue. I had read that this was common when sizing 300 up from 221 Fireball cases, its apparently alot easier to size down the case to .3O cal than it is to size up a small neck to a larger one.

    The Redding dies come with 2 neck sizers, one being a .270 sizer and the final .308 neck sizer. In this case, I only used the final neck sizer of .308.

    Afer sevral concentricty checks with a dial indicator, I tumbled the brass for a couple of hours. The brass looks great.

    I really figured that I would have to anneal the cases however at this time, it seems to be unnecesary. Sizing the brass with the Redding die was effortless,in fact, it was much easier than I anticipated. If I start getting split necks upon firing, this made need to be looked at .

    I think it'll be worth the effort. I made 100 cases, most of the time was in trimming each individual case to lenth. Sawing, libing and sizing was minor.

    In the future, I may use a drill press to trim the cases, but first Ill have to make some sort of jig to hold the cases.

    So far...so good.
  13. saands

    saands Well-Known Member

    FYI ... Lee makes a Drill press adapter for their trimmers ... Like most of Lee's simple tools, this one was inexpensive and works well.

  14. Big_R

    Big_R Well-Known Member

    One quick question:

    Did you have to turn the necks? I would think they would be a tad on the thick side after forming. Just curious.

  15. Watchman

    Watchman Well-Known Member

    I thought that they might be thick, but they actually look fine, of course this is one lot of LC 91 brass. Other makes could require it.

    I made what looks like a small drill chuck with a tapered collet in it to hold the .223 cases perfectly. I used a tapered pin reamer with a 1.5 degree taper to make the collet with. I chuck it ip in the lathe and trim the cases with a parting tool. I lock the apron, keep my zero reference with the collet and trim the cases. The chuck stays in the lathe chuck. Takes all of about 5 seconds to trim. Very quick and much easier on the hands.

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