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.223 brass doesn't want to size - need some suggestions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by mugsie, May 22, 2010.

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  1. mugsie

    mugsie Member

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    I have several buckets of .223 brass, some from me shooting but a lot more from range pickups. Today I thought it would be a good time to start sizing and getting ready for the summer. I tossed a bunch in the tumbler and got em' nice and spiffy. Took em' down stairs and started sizing. After doing maybe 15 or 20, I thought I'd check a couple at random in a Lyman case gauge. Some of them dropped in perfectly, yet a couple failed to fall between the high and low limits. I took these, lubed them up real good, and tried sizing again, thinking I didn't raise the ram fully. They still wouldn't fit in the gauge. For this setup I'm using a Lee FL sizing die. I also tried them on my Dillon, with Dillon .223 dies and still they fail to drop into the safe zone. I thought the neck wasn't pushed back enough but I'm beginningto think it may be something else all together. Two sets of dies, which I have used for years, can't both be wrong (I hope!).

    I took some of these cases, the failed ones, and tried to insert thm base first into the largest portion of the case gage. They hung up. It was as though the base of the case was too large or out of round. I tried some which sized properly and they slid in nicely.

    Next I took some from the unsized bucket, and tried sliding them base first into the case gauge before sizing. A lot slid in fine, yet others failed to enter. These were the ones which, when I tried to decap and size, would not size such that they passed the case gage test. Now I have about 50 - 70 of mostly Lake City brass, some Remmy and a couple MAL head stamps which will not fit into the case gage, and on some, those which I tried sizing, will size, but when tried in the gage, the base doesn't fall between the high and low safe limits.

    It's almost as though the chamber on the gun used to fire these was very large, or something threw the base of the cartridge out of round or somehow enlarged it a thousandth or so because even prior to forming, it doesn't fit into the gage.

    Anyone have similiar problems? Anyone have any ideas how I might size these or do I just throw them in the recycling bucket and say they're NG.

    I'm open to suggestions.
    :confused:
     
  2. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    It's possible you have web area expansion from the 223(5.56) cases being fired in a full auto firearm with a sloppy chamber. I had that happen with 308's several years ago. I resized them in a Lyman hand sizing die and a bench vise. I don't know if Lyman still makes this tool. Wish I could help you more.
     
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    That is very possible. Standard full length sizing dies may not be able to reduce cases fired in huge oversized chambers.

    You can try using a small base die.

    If that does not work, you are hosed.

    I understand commercial reloadering factories have equipment that actually roll cases between plates of steel. Our home reloading equipment is pityful compared to this.
     
  4. mugsie

    mugsie Member

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    That's what I suspect 1) there was some expansion in the web area from a loose chamber 2) there's some distortion on the base because of the extractor.

    I measured the base on some of these and they are about .0015 out of round, whereas the ones which slide easly into the gauge are for all practicle purposes concentric. I wish I could roll them between steel plate, that would solve the problem!

    Guess I'll relagate these into the recycle bin. Since they are still so plentiful, losing a hundred or so is easly replenished.

    Thanks guys.
     
  5. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    I've seen the case heads not fit my shell holder, but not the other end. My guess is full auto fired, as been mentioned.
     
  6. mugsie

    mugsie Member

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    JDGray, yeah, a lot of them are like that too, the heads don't fit the shell holder. The other end, the mouth, were all ok. the problems are at the case head and web area. It's strange because my range doesn't allow full auto, so I have no idea what they were fired in.
     
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...a couple MAL head stamps..." Malaysian milsurp.
    "...range pickups..." Classic example of why you shouldn't. Try 'em in the rifle. Best guage there is.
    Should have said this before. Pitch the cases that are giving you grief. .223 brass is plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Fighting it isn't worth the effort.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  8. Roccobro

    Roccobro Member

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    I've found some range pickups that hung up from hidden burrs in the rim from extraction. A quick hit with a file took care of them. Good luck.

    Justin
     
  9. ole farmerbuck

    ole farmerbuck Member

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    I'm starting to get a few of these each time i resize now. I can resize 3 or 4 times and they still wont fit the guage. They just dont 'feel' right when resizing and if they are a little short on lube, they just pull out of the shell holder.
     
  10. blackwalnut

    blackwalnut Member

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    These cases dont necessarily have to be fired in a full auto weapon for these cases to expand so much. Chamber dimensions can vary between rifles from the same maker and of course be different from different companies. The possibilties are endless. Were they fired in a semi-auto or bolt gun? and what about the chamber? Was is it cut with a new reamer or a very used one? If its range pick up brass dont worry its free. For the heck of it make a few dummy rounds and try them in your rifle. If they go in easy your in luck and if they wont chamber do not force them in. Maybe some brands of case will chamber and some wont. Some sorting and experimenting are in order if you want to use them. Your rifles chamber may accept them. Remember after a case is resized it will spring back a bit. The brass fired originally in your own rilfe will almost always work so keep those labeled and seperated. Again the brass is free and if it dont work thats they way pick up brass goes. Give it to a friend and tell them story about it or dump it at a gun show. OR RECYCLE Thats what my sister would do but she would also recylcle everyones guns too.
     
  11. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    The brass I'm using is all LC, and was fired in full auto. I shoot at a FOP range, so anything I find, has FA written all over it:D Your range is public, someone else may have bought FA fired brass, and left it there. I agree with sunray, and pitch the cases that don't fit the shell holder.
     
  12. mugsie

    mugsie Member

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    I agree - it's free pickup and not worth the effort to hassle with cases that don't fit. First bucket had 423 acceptable ones (now all deprimed, sized, cleaned, trimmed and placed in plastic baggies waiting to be loaded) and 46 unusable ones. Pretty good ratio I would think.

    Now back to work - I have another three buckets to do! I'll check these first with the case gauge prior to cleaning, depriming etc. It'll save some time at the back end.

    All I gotta do now is to find some bullets! Lots of people still have them on backorder, but that's ok, since I already have 450 loaded and staged. Can never have enough on hand!
     
  13. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I have had the same problem you describe.

    I just got finished resizing, trimming, and chamfering two 5-gallon buckets of Lake City brass, some of which was fired in a SAW, and the rest in M4's.

    About 5 percent of the brass could not be resized. Small base dies didnt help at all.
     
  14. ole farmerbuck

    ole farmerbuck Member

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    LC is the only brand giving me trouble and it is fired in my AR. Been loaded quite a few times though. I used FC all last year and am still using some of it now and it has never given any trouble. I'd hate to tell how many times some of it has been loaded.
     
  15. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    I had a bunch of .308 stuff that wouldn't go fully into a Wilson gauge. In my case, it was burrs on the rim, or a slightly out of round condition of the rim itself. I had a lot of time, so I chucked each one up in my drill press just enough to hold it, and touched the spinning rim with a fine file. It fixed them all right up.
     
  16. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    That is OK for small batches of brass, but try two or three five gallon buckets full of LC military brass, expect about a 5% failure rate on resizing, and see if you still want to salvage the brass.
     
  17. Randy1911

    Randy1911 Member

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    I had the same problem. I found out eventully if I did a light sanding around the base of the case they would gage okay. I guess there were burrs I couldn't see.
     
  18. kestak

    kestak Member

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    Greetings,

    Got the same problem with a Lee case gauge and some PPU and LC brass.

    I was curious. I reloaded some brass (with a lighter load than usual) still and it fitted and shot well in my RRA AR-15. :what:

    Thank you
     
  19. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    If the web area of any brass is expanded from over maximum pressure it will not get resized by normal dies. The action type does not matter.
     
  20. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Member

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  21. Ranger J

    Ranger J Member

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    Most of us probably have more free range 223 brass than we will ever use. My advise is if they give you trouble chuck them in the recycle bucket unless you get intellectual stimulation out of figuring why they won't work. Then when you have finally figured it out then chuck all remaining examples in the dud bucket. Life is too short to dwell on this. Of course now that I am retired...:)

    RJ
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    For cleaning up the rim a casepro is nice but pistol only. I have made push through sizers that also work but they can't clean the burrs up where the extractor contacts above the rim or where the ejector contacts below the rim. If your case gauge is steel insert the round backwords and work it around a bit. This will iron out small imperfections.
     
  23. blackwalnut

    blackwalnut Member

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    223 brass sorting is a sign that you need a life perhaps

    I dont mean to be sarcastic but if its range pick up brass and it doesnt fit get rid of it. I agree with Ranger J. I used be in clubs where there were guys who would try to modify Berdan primed brass for instance. Cut down .357s to make 38s and of course 44mags to specials. The list goes on and on: 270s out of 3006s
    243s out of 308s
    how about 30-30 into 32 specials? or visa verca
    more recently 45 gaps out of 45 acps

    Too much time and too cheaps. Some of these guys would have their girlfriends on there hand and knees looking for spent casings. That usually changed after marriage.

    Midway has new brass. Larry will say thanks for your business.
     
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