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Help with .223 seating

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Belmont148, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Belmont148

    Belmont148 Well-Known Member

    I am using a single stage press with Hornady dies. I am trying to load up my first development rounds for my AR. It's a 16" Colt with an Eotech and all I will be doing with it is plinking and shooting at 100 yds or less. I have a Colt .308 for long shots.

    I don't own a case trimmer so all of my cases are not equal. What I did was measure each case and set aside any that were over 1.760". I then set up my seater die using a 1.760" case without a crimp and set the C.O.L. At 2.195".

    Will this be alright, or do I need to buy a trimmer, and true up each case and crimp each round? The only way I can get a proper crimp is if every case is the same length, correct?
  2. wgaynor

    wgaynor Well-Known Member

    accuracy is directly correlated to minute consistency of components.

    I think you'd be very pleased with a trimmer. If money is an issue, Lee is cheap and works.
  3. Lj1941

    Lj1941 Well-Known Member

    Lee Dies

    I use a Lee die with the factory crimp die and never had a problem. A case trimer is almost a necessity for a volume reloader. IMO a crimp is desirable for any semi automatic because the case get slamed pretty hard and you don't want the projectile moving in the magazine or when it is chambered.You can buy a Lee Factory crimp die alone for around $10.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  4. kyhunter

    kyhunter Well-Known Member

    If youre just plinking youll be okay with the crimp as long as they arent too much out of spec. Give it a try and see what happens on a few. If it doesnt work out get a cheap lee case trimmer as already said and true em up. Make sure you do crimp for an AR though
  5. Belmont148

    Belmont148 Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone. My issue is that I can't really see how you could set up the crimp if each case is a different length. Yeah the crimp will be perfect on a 1.760 case, but a 1.749 case may not have any crimp. I am going to check the neck tension on these 50 test loads and if they check out I will go shoot them. Once I narrow down a closer charge window, I'll get that lee hand trimmer and really get everything identical and test shoot a few more. Hopefully these first rounds will at least help me test case pressure and get me into a .4-.5 grain window.
  6. TheCracker

    TheCracker Well-Known Member

    Yes you need a trimmer.
    1st so you can still use cases that stretch out of spec by trimming them back.
    2nd so you can have consistency.

    I only trim every other loading typically. The lee trimmers are cheap and do work well but if you ever start processing 1000 pieces of brass at a time you will want something better. I love the RCBS trim pro with the 3-way cutter head for mass brass prep. It's well worth the money IMO as after 50 pieces with the lee (even using a drill with it) things start to be a PITA
  7. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    For high powered rifle brass it is absolutely necessary to at least keep the brass from exceeding SAAMI maximum case length. Generally speaking trim to length should be .010" below SAAMI maximum case length. I don't have a book in front of me right now, other wise I would provide you with the max. case length, and trim too length. I trust you have those specs. in your reloading books anyway?

    Lee makes a quality trimming set up that is very inexpensive. It can be used from your cordless drill, which isn't a bad set up. I just bought the 6mm gauge and shell holder a few days ago for $7, and I know the rest of the hardware is no more than $15, maybe a little less.

    You will also need a ream and chamfer tool to touch up the mouths after trimming. Wilson makes a quality one. Lee also makes one but I don't use mine since buying a Wilson / RCBS some years back,

    As for crimping, it is not necessary to crimp those cartridges, and doing so is only introducing a cumbersome step to the process with little advantage to be gained, if any. The only time a bottle neck needs to be crimped is if it is for a tubular magazine, or if you are definitely experiencing bullet set back or jump.

  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yes, it will be alright, but eventually you will need a trimmer. They come from cheap to pricey, take your pic. You do not have to crimp, just make sure you have good neck tension.

    If you are trying to roll crimp with a standard die, yes, the case lengths need to be fairly close to each other, but even then, if the cannelures on the bullets are all over the place (Like these Winchester 55 Gr FMJs), it still won't work well. I use a light taper crimp on blasting ammo, even though I trim the cases. Accuracy rounds will get no crimp.

    The Lee FCD crimp die for rifles uses a collet to squeeze the case mouth in at 90 degress, and it works with cases whose length varies a lot. It doesn't care about case length. That is an option.

    The case lengths not matching up won't make a big difference in accuracy, and if you are shooting bulk 55 Gr open base FMJ bullets, it won't matter at all since the accuracy with them is not overly good anyway.
  9. Belmont148

    Belmont148 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, you all have been great. Tested neck tension, and it was great. I have a Hornady manual so I have all the specs. I am going to pass on crimping all my rifle rounds except my 30-30 as it is a pain to do.

    These bullets are 55 grain FMJ boat tails with a cannelure. We'll see how they shoot. I will say, this CFE 223 powder meters great.
  10. rg1

    rg1 Well-Known Member

    Maybe not the best or most recommended crimping method but it works and is as consistent as you are. Screw the seating die down nearly as far as it will go to take the leverage out of the press. .223 cases are thin and it takes very little effort to turn the neck in to touch the bullet cannelure. Apply the same pressure on the press handle on every case by "feel" and not just bottoming out the press handle. By having your die screwed in so far you have no compound press leverage and it's all in the amount of pressure you apply by hand. It works and is pretty consistent. Not in the reloading books but worth a try and is easier than it sounds.
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    If you have proper case neck tension and a gun & mags that feeds right?

    There is no need to crimp for a Colt .223.

  12. galan

    galan New Member

    Trim your cases to 1.75". You can get a Lyman trimmer with mandrels for several calibers for a reasonable price. Why skip such an important part of the process? Especially if you have mixed brass, ie: .223 and 5.56? The leade of the 5.56 neck is longer, and can be dangerous if your barrel is chambered for .223... A 5.56 chamber will handle either. A slight crimp on a cannelured bullet is helpful for ammo which might incur rough conditions, otherwise, no need for crimping. Good luck, keep 'em in the 10...
  13. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Why is that he said he has no trimmer yet.
  14. rdhood

    rdhood Well-Known Member

    I use the drill chucked lee holder with the ball cutter. It is tricky to get the hang of it, but I manage to do about 1 case every 30 seconds.

    Yes, if you are making match ammo you will want to sort according the headstamp/length/weight or whatever criteria you have. I don't crimp. I made up a few without crimp. The bullets seemed to be sufficiently tight and seated, and they all ran like butter through my AR, so I am skipping the factory crimp for now.
  15. stavman11

    stavman11 Well-Known Member

    I dont TRIM as often as i should.... but may start doing it more

    I got a Lee Zip Tool and trimmer set... works great and easy

    Another option to think about


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