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.223 brass for Bolt Action

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Lee Q. Loader, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Lee Q. Loader

    Lee Q. Loader Member

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    I've got my eye on a Model 700 Varmint in .223 Rem. I think it will be a good Christmas present to myself. I'm going to use it to do some damage to the "Pot Gut" population this spring.

    I've got a couple buckets full of range brass and I'd like to start prepping some of it. I've read a lot on here about the best brass for .223, but these threads are always talking about reloading for an AR. Is the answer the same for a bolt?

    I'd like to sort out about 100 pieces of the best brass for a bolt gun. I know there's a lot of LC that has crimped pockets, and there's also a lot of FC in those buckets, but there's everything else too.
    Which ones would you use? Which ones will require the least prep?
     
  2. denton

    denton Member

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    I expect that you will find FC and LC brass to be the same, except for the crimp. Both have just a trifle more powder capacity than other headstamps I have tested.

    Decrimping LC is a breeze. I have a little piece of pine board, with a hole just large enough to "grab" a case, about halfway down the case. I chuck the primer pocket reamer in my drill press, and do 1-200 in about 10 minutes.

    A lot of people don't like the bother of de-crimping, but I like LC brass for a couple of reasons, and get all I want of it free.

    Other than case capacity, I don't think there is good reason to prefer one headstamp over another. I'd just standardize on whatever I had the most of.
     
  3. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    I have had great results with LC brass: it's pretty consistent and lasts long enough (20+ reloads with annealing) to make prep and sorting worth it.

    Decrimping is trivial if you consider it over the life of the batch of brass.
     
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  4. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    Good Brass is good Brass.
    Lake City is good brass, Federal not so much, but it is very serviceable. Mine started to split after the fifth load. But I still got seven loads out of it. (That's two thousand rounds..)
    Commercial brass will not have a crimped primer, one less step.

    It's a new firearm, splurge and get some new brass, you're worth it. I like Starline, but as long as it all matches...
     
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  5. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Sort the brass by mfg then the LC by year. Then for your best process the brass, clean, size, trim, remove crimp if needed. Then for your best start sorting by weight, 1.0gr spread. The brass that is close the same weight will have similar volume but not always. I found on LC that certain years are closer to others. Some of the earlier years 2005 and older, had smaller volume than most. When you sort by weight you will find the heavier ones. Then do your load development using similar weight brass. Now if you want better look at Lapua.
     
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  6. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    Lapua is $55/100 right now at Brownell's.

    If it was available when I started reloading 308 for a bolt gun, it's what I woulda used. When I run out of FGMM brass or rebarrel, I'm buying Lapua.
     
  7. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    The only good things about crimped .223 brass are
    1 you can be pretty sure it is really "once fired"
    2 you only have to remove the crimp once
    edit add
    3 It's usually FREE :)


    I would say try the LC and see if it meets your needs first since you have it.
    Up to you to decide if it's worth the $ to buy new brass.

    Since I shoot semi autos and finding any piece of brass is a maybe sort of deal I don't consider buying new but for a bolt gun it might be worth it.
    (for sure not for my Mini14 to throw 20' into the weeds or the next county)
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  8. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    I like the Lapua I bought. However, the two twenty three brass comes very short. Much shorter than minimum specification. It can lead to a carbon ring in the end of the chamber. I have been waiting for them to lengthen. It may be awhile...

    With enough of them, any brand of case can make a match set. With Lapua it's as easy as opening the box.

    I will say that extends to Starline. When I got an order of Valkyrie brass all two hundred and fifty were within three grains. One hundred fourteen to one hundred sixteen grains.

    Save for one, he was only one hundred and thirteen. He was so lonely looking by himself. I threw him back in with a notch in the rim. I'll see if he is a flier. Poor little guy...:)
     
  9. lightman

    lightman Member

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    A couple of buckets of range brass is going to be a mix of about everything cheap and plentiful. Out of what you're likely to find I would look for LC and Winchester. If you can scratch up enough of it to make a batch it should serve you well. I suggest dumping it out and start sorting it and see what you got.

    When I bought my first 223 bolt gun all I had to shoot in it was a bunch of miss-matched range brass loaded on the Dillon with a bulk soft point bullet. Think AR blasting fodder! I could get 3/4 inch groups with it, and sometimes slightly smaller. Carefully prepped Lapua only cut the groups down to 5/8 inch or so.
     
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  10. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    When I load for my bolt gun, an older Remington 700 Action which I trued and did some work on, my main concern is uniformity. I have several thousand LC 11 I like so if I want to load a few hundred I cull out a few hundred of the same brass, be it the LC 11 or whatever. I size them and trim them for uniformity. I want them all the same. Then I prime add powder which I like to weigh and seat my bullets. If I am on an accuracy kick I may use Lapua but even on new Lapua I size and trim. The only problem I have with the Remington 700 is I have a heavy 26" barrel with a 1:12 twist and I need to really keep my bullet weight below 55 grains. The Hornady #2249 52 GR. BTHP works well for me as well as Sierra #1400 53 GR HP stuff. See what bullet and charge works for you. Again as to brass I just try for uniformity.

    Ron
     
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  11. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    For a bolt gun? Do yourself a favor and buy 100 Lapua Cases. With neck sizing they'll last you 8-10 reloads easy. No culling or excessive case prep necessary.
     
  12. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    ^^^This

    Yes, it's much more expensive than sorting through range sweepings, but you'll never know how good your gun can shoot unless you take all the variables out. You don't even need to use all 100 pieces to start with, just enough to develop your most accurate load. Then you can compare your groups with sorted range brass, then with random range brass. If you find your gun is really picky about the brass, at least you know. If you are lucky, it may be "accurate enough to get the job done" with any old range brass or just a particular brand of range brass and you can load accordingly.

    I've settled on PMC brass for my Ruger American Ranch with 7 cent 55g fmjbt's. Range pickups are plentiful and the PMC's are pretty consistent in weight and H2O capacity. ~1" @ 100 yards is good enough for casual target shooting and 1.5-2" with mixed pick-up range brass is good enough for fun plinking offhand (soda cans, clay pigeons and an occasional varmint). Makes for fun shooting.
     
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  13. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    I generally use LC brass and have had good luck with it, out of my 20" AR. I expect to get < 1 moa, on good days < 0.7.

    Some of the best groups I've gotten have been with PMC, but I don't have as much of that as I do LC.
     
  14. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    for me, life is too short for crimped primer pockets, all the lake city stuff goes in the scrap bucket. I've sorted by headstamp and had better results with winchester than with pmc, federal or remington. I've got a fair bit of hornady that I had high hopes for but have not really seen it to be any better than anything else. I have not weighed my 223 cases.
    If I was buying brass I'd buy lapua and starline, everything else isn't any better than range pickup as far as I'm concerned.
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Full length sizing as well.
     
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  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Are you really throwing away some of the best cases available today? That's a shame, brass where I live is hard to come by, rarely is there ever any laying around at the public range.
     
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  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I'm going to add my voice to PMC brass. I shoot the best groups from my Howa 1500 with PMC brass. He careful though, there are commercial and crimped PMC cases and they have different capacities. I'm using the commercial cases.

    I found a good bolt gun recipe you might want to try.
    Commercial PMC cases.
    CCI-400 SRP
    55gr Sierra GameKing HPBT bullet #1390
    25.0gr Varget - I have used 26.0gr Varget with no change in accuracy so if you need more velocity for greater distances you .can try the higher charge and see if the accuracy holds.

    In my AR style rifle I charge 25.0gr H335 with a 55gr FMJ bullet.
     
  18. Toprudder

    Toprudder Member

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    The range that I frequent always has someone there shooting 223. I often ask if they are saving their brass, and offer to sweep it up for them.
     
  19. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I agree about a crime being a pain! I will do LC brass but not many other head stamps. After trying about every method there is I usually just use a cordless drill and a carbide countersink.

    With 2 buckets of brass I would sort through them and see what I had. I doubt there will be any Norma of Lapua but there are others that work ok.
     
  20. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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  21. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    Yes, or I leave it on the ground. I go to an outdoor range and have to pick up brass out of the dirt or gravel. No easy sweeping. The range is drowning in 223. If there is a big convenient pile I'll pick up 223, but for the most part I have all I could ever want and then some, and with metal prices low it isnt worth my time to pick it up for scrap. i just gave away a thousand cases I'd picked up because I'm running out of storage. But seriously, for me, life really is too short for crimped pockets. Lc may be a little better, but I get good results with other brass. And I have so many cases that whether i get 5 or 15 loadings out of one just doesn't matter.

    But if you need to buy it, https://shop.thebrassexchange.com/2...ratio-of-commercial-military-223-556-1000.htm

    Or https://rangebrass.us/products/223-rem-or-556-nato-bulk. 1500 cases, shipped, for $60

    I really wish people were shooting something other than 223, 9mm, 40, and 45. Where are the interesting calibers (stuff I reload for that isn't readily available) where is the 30 carb? The 357 and 44 mag? The 6.5 Grendel? The 351 wsl......
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
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  22. fotheringill

    fotheringill Member

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    As above, and despite your original question, you will be better off spending the money (if available) for new Lapua brass and keep them segregated from all of the others you have "in stock". If you do otherwise, you are going to possibly drive yourself crazy when you are getting shotgun spreads in five shot groups. With brand new, quality brass, the guessing as to what went wrong are reduced, all other things being equal.
     
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  23. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    If you watch online used brass locations, you will occasionally find certified police range brass. This is often Black Hills Match, or one of the big 3 common makers. Typically very high quality, and may be fired in a fully automatic AR, but generally not in an M249 as government brass often is. For new brass, I am a big fan of PRVI partisan. It is very high quality brass in terms of consistency and longevity. The PRVI NATO spec 5.56 ammo is also loaded in the same brass, and it can be found in crimped and in-crimped, may be in your range brass "PPU" headstamp. As far as range brass, you've gotten good advice above in terms of sorting in order, brand, weight, and discarding any that are even remotely questionable. For military brass, I prefer, in order, WCC, LC (older lots pre-2000), TAA, Newer LC. I am loading match ammunition for NRA service rifle High Power, but should apply to bolt action loading for accuracy as well. I do use virgin Nosler/Norma brass for long range loads though. Bought it during the famine, I will be switching to PPU when it's worn out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  24. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    Lots of good 'Buy this!!!' advice above if you want to make small groups even smaller,,,

    First question would be "How small are your groups right now?"

    If you are just starting your .223 reloading adventure, and the goal is to 'reduce the 'pot-gut' population',,, I am of the opinion you have more than enough brass to get you well on your way.

    I'd opt for the LC that's crimped. (Most likely 'fired once' and not ~'once fired'~, which seems to trip up a lot of folks who buy used brass)

    Sort by date.

    One of these chucked in a cordless will make short work of the crimp https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/2...MIkPb4qdub3wIVx7rACh31OQMfEAYYAiABEgIFYvD_BwE )

    Work on your recipe.

    Have fun!
     
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  25. Lee Q. Loader

    Lee Q. Loader Member

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    Thanks for all the advice from everyone. I think I'm going to sort the LC stuff and remove the crimps. I've got tons of '17 LC.
    The Model 700 I'm getting is a 26" barrel with a 1 in 12 twist, so I'm going to be loading light varmint bullets. I should have originally mentioned that I've never reloaded .223 before, but my plan is to decrimp, size and load. Next loadings will be neck size only.
    I'm excited! Thanks again.
     
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