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5.56 Reloaded as .223

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Tank45, May 8, 2008.

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  1. Tank45

    Tank45 Member

    Apr 27, 2008
    I have a lot of Lake City 5.56 brass laying around. From my understanding 5.56 operates at a higher pressure than .223. My question is this, am I able to reload the 5.56 cases with a .223 load?
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    .223 Rem. & 5.56 NATO cases are the same thing.

    Some GI 5.56 cases may be heavier then .223 commercial cases.

    Some .223 commercial cases may be heavier then 5.56 NATO.

    You use .223 reloading dies to reload either one.

    You use .223 reloading data to reload either one.

    5.56 NATO will have have crimped primers, in which case you will need to remove the crimp before you can reload them.

    Regardless of which case you use, you need to work up your load for your rifle while watching for pressure signs.
    IE: Don't start out with a maximum load.

  3. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Member

    Mar 9, 2007
    east-central Minnesota
    Ditto on rcmodel..........

    I had LOTS of LC and Federal brass that had the crimped primer pockets and had to "SWAG" the primer pockets before trying to re-prime the brass.
    This is a lot easier to do than you might think. I bought an RCBS "Primer Pocket Swager Combo" (part no. 9495) for about $25 and did a few thousand casings in a couple of short days. It's fast and easy.
    There are other swager tools but I have not personal knowledge of how well they work. One of the Dillon presses (1 of the EXPENSIVE Dillon presses) swags automatically during one of the steps of progressive reloading.
  4. sargenv

    sargenv Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Bay Area, CA
    I have both the RCBS primer pocket swager combo and the Dillon Bench swager and I actually prefer the Dillon. I have to use the RCBS for large rifle (think 7.62 Nato). The dillon has a bit of a learning curve but I recently processed about 6000 pieces of various manufacturer .223/5.56 brass. Most Military, some commercial but apparently new manufacture (unless RP) needs to be swaged too.

    I still have about 3000 pieces to process.. waiting for a rainy day (week).. :)

    If I was going to process both I'd probably still get the dillon for the small stuff and use the rcbs for the bigger stuff.
  5. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

    Jan 30, 2008
    SO. IN
    The military brass being heavier, the thought is the brass is thicker therefore less volume, less volume = higher pressures with the same load in non military cases. The easy way is to fill each with water and measure it either in volume(CC's) or just weigh the water, it will give you a starting point on which has less volume and these should be reduced by 10% for starting loads.
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