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Rifle Case Prep

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Mr White, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. Mr White

    Mr White Well-Known Member

    I reload for my AR and Garand among other guns. The .223 and .30-06 are by far the greatest volume that I reload. I don't have a progressive press... yet. I use a Rockchucker.

    I tumble, size, inspect, chamfer & deburr with a hand tool, swage the primer pockets on the once-fired military brass, clean the primer pockets with a brush in a cordless drill, and prime. Then they go into plastic bags to await reloading. I do 50 cases at a time and it takes me just over an hour from removing them from the tumbler to bagging them. I don't have a trimmer yet so I don't trim them but I check a few from each batch to make ure they aren't too long.

    What are your case prep procedures for volume reloading? How can I do my case prep more efficiently?
  2. SilentArmy

    SilentArmy Well-Known Member

    Just a heads up, if you are chamferring prior to trimming your cases then you are pushing a chain! Trimming will make a mess of the neck and require an inside outside chamfer to clean it up. If these are true once fired cases then trimming should not be necessary till after the second firing or more in some cases. Also, depending on you trimming system, you should wait to prime those cases as some methods/systems use a rod that runs inot the empty flash hole. There is not much you can do to improve case prep efficiency, it is just a Pain in the A$$ no matter how you slice it! I have considered Dillons auto case trimmer for .223 although $250 is a little steep even for the time saved. I do not bother cleaning flash holes or uniforming primer pockets. I guess if you are shooting Matches from a bolt gun then maybe. Or if you just don't have a thing better to do. Just me though. All my .223 goes through AR's
    Reread your post and realized you ARE checking case length so carry on!
  3. mainebear

    mainebear Well-Known Member

    Ditto with SilentArmy. Looks like you've got it covered. I use a Rockchucker too. Great machine. Brass prep is just a pain no matter what you do. You might save some time though by just cleaning the primer pockets and not bothering with flash holes and uniforming. You won't notice any difference unless you're getting into some very very very fussy shootin.
  4. Mr White

    Mr White Well-Known Member

    When I get a trimmer, it'll have one of the heads that trims, chamfers and deburrs all at once. I think RCBS makes them. I'll rig a motor up to it to make that part a little easier.

    I don't mess with flash holes or uniforming the primer pockets. I do swage them just because I find priming to be a bitch if the crimp is still there.

    My kids are getting to the age that I can teach tem to help with brass prep. That might end up being my biggest time saver!
  5. donttellthewife

    donttellthewife Well-Known Member

    This is for 1000 at a time with breaks through out the run
    these rounds are for battle rifles not bench rest rifles.
    they are as good or better than any common paper punching rounds currently available, better than any surplus

    load 10 primer filler tubes
    tumble/clean cases
    spray lube
    full length size, decap and trim to length ( dillon 650 with a power trimmer and case feeder)
    clean off lube
    universal decapper, prime, drop powder, set bullet, and seat bullet ( 650 with lee factory crimp ).

    I don't chamfer or debur when useing the dillon trimmer and boat tailed bullets
    I don't clean flash holes or primer pockets

    1000 rounds 5.5 hours, 2000 pulls on the press handle.

    powder 4895 8lbs (56000 grains) $ 113.00 42gr loads .085 cents per load
    1000 primers $18.00---------------------------------.018
    1000 bullets under $85.00----------------------------.085
    1000 cases $60.00 when I got them, 4 loadings-------.015

    component costs---- .203 cents per round total for $203.00

    equipment costs, that just keeps getting lower and lower per round. I am somewhere in the nieghborhood of .03 cents per round $30.00 per 1000

    total--- $233.00
  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    It is a good safety practice for Garand/M1a ammo to ream the pockets to depth. Those rifles have this free floating firing pin that tapps the heck out of the primer before the bolt closes. Reaming to depth, full length sizing, and using insensitive primers (not Federal) will reduce the chance of a slamfire.
  7. Mr White

    Mr White Well-Known Member

    Why must the primer pocket be reamed out? Weren't they made deep enough from the start? I check the primer depths and they are seated several thous below the base. I've shot about 200 rounds of reloads thru my M1 and and close to 400 thru my AR with no slamfires so far, and thats with regular CCI and Winchester primers. I've heard to avoid Federal primers for Garand and AR loads from a few other sources too.

    On my next round of reloading purchases, I'll pick up a case trimmer, a set of primer pocket uniformers and a Sinclair Bullet Comparator.
  8. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Well-Known Member

    The biggest timesaver in case preparation is the Giraud trimmer. It trims, deburs, and chamfers in one easy step. It cuts down prep time tremendously, and I would quit reloading entirely before I give up my Giraud.
  9. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Well-Known Member

    All my .223 brass, in whatever state of case prep, goes into an appropriately labeled ammo can. I have cans labeled "Cleaned/Sorted", "Sized/Decaped", "Trimmed/Ready to Load", and a couple 5-gallon buckets of dirty unsorted brass.

    I load in batches of ~500 rounds, semi-progressively on a Dillon XL650 with case feeder. This process will certainly work for a single-stage as well.

    1 - Dirty unsorted brass goes into a small cement mixer with a bucket of crushed walnut shells and about a cup of case cleaner.
    2 - Brass comes out of the cement mixer, is sifted, inspected, and sorted by headstamp (I do this on Tuesday evenings while watching House, so as not to die of boredom.) Right now I'm only loading WCC04, everything else gets set aside. The sorted brass goes into the Cleaned/Sorted (C/S) bin.
    3 - Brass is taken from the C/S bin, lubed with copious quantites of Hornady One-Shot, and dumped in the hopper on the XL650. I remove the powder measure from the toolhead, as I only resize on this trip through the reloader. The sized and deprimed brass then gets dumped in the "Sized/Decapped" (S/D) bin.
    4 - I take brass from the S/D bin and trim it to 1.760" on my Giraud.
    5 - (Only if necessary) I take the trimmed brass and run it through the Dillon Super Swage 600 to remove the primer pocket crimp. At this point, the brass goes into the "Trimmed/Ready to Load" (T/R) bin.
    6 - Brass is re-lubed and emptied from the T/R bin into the XL650 hopper. The brass then gets primed, charged with powder, bullet seated, etc.
    7 - The loaded ammo gets a quick trip through the vibratory tumbler to get the lube and crud off.
    8 - Loaded ammo is spot-checked with the case gauge (unless it's for a big match, in which case I gauge every round), checked for high primers, packed in 50-round MTM ammo boxes, labeled, and placed on the loaded ammo shelf.

    I don't clean or uniform primer pockets. Too much time for not enough benefit.

    This process also applies to loading with new brass, save that I skip the sorting part. New brass still has to be cleaned and lubed.

    My total overall cost for match ammo with Hornady 75grn. BTHP/Reloader 15 is around $0.24 per shot. I get most of my brass for free.

    - Chris
  10. RustyFN

    RustyFN Well-Known Member

    I only load 223 for rifle the rest of my reloading is pistol. For 223 I,
    1: tumble the brass.
    2: size and decap.
    3: tumble for 10 minutes to remove the lube.
    4: trim,chamfer and debur if needed.
    5: prime on the classic turret with the safety prime.
    I try to do this with about 500 at a time. Then whem I reload them all I have to do is drop powder, seat and crimp and I can do about 300 per hour.
  11. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    The primer pocket dimensions are subject to change thru the application of pressure during firing. Get yourself a primer pocket uniformer and replace the step of cleaning the pockets with a brush, with uniforming the pockets (it cleans them up as well as returning the pockets to the proper depth).


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