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.223 casings below trim to length

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by coloradokevin, May 1, 2008.

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  1. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    At the rate things are going here, I'll probably be checking in for advice as I move through each of the steps in my reloading process :uhoh: (sorry, in advance).

    Anyway, I was preparing to trim my sized and de-primed brass tonight, and took a measurement on a couple of my cleaned, sized, once-fired cases.

    First one measured 1.746 inches, second was 1.744 inches (if I recall on the second one).

    The suggested trim-to length for the .223 (at least in all of the publications I have seen) states 1.75 inches, with a maximum length of 1.76 inches.

    Will the fact that my brass is currently below trim-to length be an issue for me?

    Or, do I just leave the shorter pieces as they are (and thereby accepting the irregularities on the shorter pieces) until a few more firings stretch them out? Also, is there any chance that I did something incorrectly that caused this shorter length (like, a sizing problem on my part, etc)?

    Thanks again!
     
  2. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    I would just load them to the proper OAL and fire them. I don't crimp .223 so the neck being a little short makes no difference. JMHO

    Trimming is needed if the case is above its maximum length and is necessary for uniform crimping.
     
  3. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Member

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    I suggest you spend a few bucks and get a case gauge for your .223. A good one will give you the measurement for under length and over length, and will let you see if you have set the shoulder back properly. It is a good and quick way to sort your brass. You can find one on Midway, or the one I prefer, at Dillon Precision.
     
  4. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Okay, being that I am still a newb, I went through my first batch, and calipered every sized casing.

    Results varied from extremes of 1.77 to 1.36 inches. Didn't average them, but most were in the range of 1.75 +/- 5 thousandths.

    Is there a published minimum trim length? I haven't been able to find one!

    I can trim the longer cases down, but I can't seem to make the shorter cases longer. Don't have immediate access to a case gauge (just calipers and such), and wanted to finalize a few rounds today! :)

    But, I don't want to load anything dangerously!
     
  5. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Is your brass all the same brand?
    The trim length is the minimum trim length. As long as you’re between the trim length and the max length you don’t need to trim. Any cases above the max length need to be trimmed.
     
  6. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Well, that's exactly the problem... much of my brass is UNDER the trim length of 1.75". Some is over the max length of 1.76", but the majority is under the TRIM length.

    What do I do on that?

    It is all once fired brass that I personally watched come out of the carton. Federal ammunition (stamped FC .223 Rem).

    I just can't understand why so much of it is under the trim length, if that is the bare minimum that is allowable!
     
  7. peterotte

    peterotte Member

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    Did these cases fit your chamber before you resized them? Are you sure you not over-sizing them? Just checking as setting the shoulder back will also set the neck back. No doubt you will be neck sizing only, after the first firings. I never had to trim my 223 cases for my mini-14. Those that started out short, stayed that way untill the necks split - which wasn't often.
     
  8. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    In trying to explain this, I thought some pictures might help:


    Here is the headstamp on a loaded cartridge from the same case of ammunition that my suspect brass came from:
    [​IMG]

    This is a measurement on a random (typical) casing from this bunch after initial tumbling, but before re-size and decap:
    [​IMG]

    Here is the same piece of brass after full length re-size and decap (approx 2 thousands of an inch longer, but still shy of listed "trim length"):
    [​IMG]

    So, do I need to toss all of this otherwise serviceable brass?

    My biggest hang up on all of this stems from the fact that my brass is much shorter than spec for trim length... If it was longer I would just trim it, but I am trying to figure out if I can use it since it is shorter by a relatively significant margin!

    I was sort of under the same impression as Bullet, in that the "trim length" represents what is supposed to be the minimum trim length. However, given that this was factory new ammo that was only fired once (and not altered)... I can't see how it would be so far out of spec! Thus, I am trying to figure out what to do with the 40 or so casings I have already verified to be in this length range...

    Hopefully some of you have dealt in this issue previously. For what it is worth, these casings are ultimately destined to fly from an AR-15 w/ a 20inch H-bar and 1:9 twist.
     
  9. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Peter/Pete (not sure which it is? sorry...),

    I didn't try a chamber fit before working on these... I'm very new to the reloading thing, so this is my first attempt through the process.

    This brass was fired out of a combination of my rifle, and about 10-15 other AR-15's of similar make/model. It was all new ammo on the day I grabbed the brass!

    With my inexperience on the subject, I couldn't say for sure if I am oversizing the brass or not... I provided a couple of pictures in my prior response, in hopes of clarifying some of what I was trying to explain.

    Trimming obviously isn't necessary on these cases, as they are pretty short... Just worrying about the fact that they are that short to begin with!


    Edit to add:

    For what it is worth:

    After reading your post I grabbed one of the shorter post-sized cases I had from this group, and tried chambering it in one of my AR-15's. There is no bullet on the casing at this point, so I was just feeling for a chamber fit with it --- if this is even a valid test without a bullet?. Anyway, the casing measures 1.738 inches after sizing, and it dropped right in and out of the chamber with no issues at all
     
  10. Jacka L Ope

    Jacka L Ope Member

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    With your slightly less than normal length case, after a full length re-sizing, all you really have as an issue is bit less surface area in the neck for which to provide a tight grip on the bullet.

    Personally, I would load them to the normal cartridge OAL and go shooting. They will stretch with additional firings. And as previously noted above, I'd also recommend a case length/headspace gauge.

    Cheers! [​IMG]
     
  11. papajohn

    papajohn Member

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    Kevin, first thing to do is RELAX. If it makes you feel any better, I've been shooting .223 since 1981, and before last year, I'd NEVER trimmed a case. If your dies are set right and your chamber is within specs, they rarely stretch enough to worry about. If you're shooting a bolt gun with a tight chamber and a short throat, it could be an issue.

    The only reason I'm trimming my .223 brass now is because i'm trying to get my groups under an inch at 200 meters, and I'm using every trick I can think of!

    PJ
     
  12. LotI

    LotI Member

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    Almost ALL of my Federal brass is under 1.750". Maybe it saves them $ .00001 per case and they make trillions of cases a year. Adds to the bottom line.:rolleyes:

    Don't worry about it. As long as there is some surface to grip the bullet, it will be fine. Just sort by headstamp and load them the same.
     
  13. 45ACPUSER

    45ACPUSER Member

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    Following non-standard practices advocated on the internet such as not trimming cases can lead to firearm damage, shooter damager, or both. Following proper reloading procedures is essential. FC brass sucks! http://www.ar15.com/content/page.html?id=406

    Now to put this into perspective. Use of the X Die from RCBS has a person trimming below the spec'd min 1.750 so has to help with the function of die.
     
  14. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    if you shoot them, they will grow :)
     
  15. alohanole

    alohanole Member

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    I had the same question a while back for reloading .223. I can't recall the specifics at the moment, but if you are using an RCBS X-Die, the instructions call for you to "full-length resize each case and trim to .020" under maximum case length". If you follow these instructions, you will be trimming to below the published minimum/trim-to case length. The consensus was that it was not a problem. I even called RCBS who confirmed that it was ok to go below the minimum by 0.01, at least for .223. Hope this helps!
     
  16. Uncle Chan

    Uncle Chan Member

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    Don't stress it Coloradokevin, just load'em up and shoot'em.
     
  17. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    Yup. I'm an X-die user too and the trim-to length for .223 is 1.740. I've trimmed all my brass as such and I've had no problems with neck tension. I still have all of my fingers and eyes too. Hottest I've loaded is 25.5gr of H335 under a 55gr FMJBT, crimped to cannelure. Not a weak load, but not HOT either.

    BTW, don't bother with FC .223 brass. It's crap. Recycle it. It is very soft and has very loose primer pockets. You might get 1 or 2 reloads out of it if you're lucky. I'm saving mine to send to Scharch.
     
  18. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    The time to measure brass is afterit has been resized. The case expands outward during fireing and shortens in the process. The resizer squeezes them back down and the displaced brass "flows" foreward lengthening them.
    Case will eventually grow, how much/fast depends on chamber geometery and the amount of resizeing your die does.
    Don`t fret it if they are a tad short. I have trimmed a tad short on more then one occasion with different cartridges, usually on accident and all went well.

    edited to add; A good example of brass shortening from fireing is with 45 acp. I`ve never had to trim a case, and most after the 1st fireing I`ve found to be ~0.010" - 0.015" undersized. They never get resized enough to bring them back up to lenght. Others report the same thing, mouths split from work hardening before cases stretch back to a point they need trimming.
     
  19. papajohn

    papajohn Member

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    QUOTE:
    "Following non-standard practices advocated on the internet such as not trimming cases can lead to firearm damage, shooter damager, or both."

    Um, so you're saying trimming cases when they don't NEED IT is a non-standard practice? HUH? You have some odd standards! :confused:

    After an average of 12 firings EACH, my .223 brass is still below the trim-to length. I'm only trimming them to make the OAL and seating depths uniform.

    Caution is fine. But if you're going to insult someone for being reckless, you might want to read their post first.

    PJ
     
  20. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    PJ, I am with you on that one, there's alot of that going on around here lately...
     
  21. Afy

    Afy Member

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    The Vihtavouri manual states a trim length of 2.610 from .300 WM.

    My cases are all in the range of 2.608 to 2.611ish... the only one I have tossed is one I over enthusiastically trimmed to 2.490...

    But the others have been loaded and some fired. The Rifle and I are both around... no issues. I even fired one that was 2.604 it grew .003...

    Now the Lyman Manual states a trim to length of 2.620 :eek:

    All of my .300 WM brass is Federal excluding about 20 Privi Partizan and 20 Sellior Bellot... yes the Federal Brass is the easiest to seat primers in, while Privi is the most difficult.
     
  22. peterotte

    peterotte Member

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    coloradokevin, papajohn sums it;
     
  23. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    I check all brass but trim only those over 1.75 to that number. If it is under that figure by a bit don't worry about it just load to the proper OAL and go shooting as the other have stated. Good Luck!
     
  24. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I appreciate all of the advice, and am moving forward with the process.

    By the way, can someone shed some light on the military crimp? I understand why the military has used it, and have heard you can ream/swage it away...

    But (and I know this sounds naive), how do you spot it in the first place?

    I posted a picture (above) of the back of the casing... is that "ring" around the primer area indicative of the military crimp? It is the only thing that I can see different about my .223 brass (any of which could be military like) and my other ammunition in other calibers...

    (Assuming it is a crimp I am seeing: Are there any cheaper options to remove this than the Dillon 600 Swage thing?)
     
  25. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    Usually the crimped in will be stamped LC and have the Nato stamp. I'm pretty sure the FC stamp is Federals American Eagle brand and is not crimped . This is just from my experience. Some others may know a difference!
     
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