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AR Reloaders- how important is trimming your once fired brass?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by GJgo, Mar 10, 2008.

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  1. GJgo

    GJgo Member

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    Hey Fellas,

    I've got a RRA CAR-A4, .223 chamber. I've collected lots of brass. It's all cleaned and sorted by headstamp.

    I've measured handfuls of it from each headstamp. The majority of it is +/- .005" around the published maximum case OAL, and it has not yet been full length sized. (Although the Federal stuff is all noticeably shorter.)

    Question- how important is it for AR ammo to be at or less than max case OAL? Are these chambers long "just in case"? I'd rather not neck trim thousands of cases if I don't have to..
     
  2. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    I have only reloaded milspec 5.56 brass, but I find that after sizing, every one of them comes up over max length. I trim all of them after the first firing, and according to the dimensions, this is required.

    I understand that using cases that are too long can lead to very bad things.
     
  3. moosehunt

    moosehunt Member

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    If you've measured them and they are that close, and not sized yet (you probably better full length size them unless they are from your rifle), then you for sure need to trim them. An over long case can cause major preasure problems because it is beyond the chamber neck, hence really grabs the bullet. Think of it working like a swage, which indeed it is. In the future, if you just neck size them, you should be able to go several loadings without trimming again. If you full length size, you'll have to trim pretty often.
     
  4. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

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    I'm not a gambler. When I reload, taking a gamble ultimately seems to save me a small amount of time, and if I lose, epic failure results. Poor yield in my opinion. If you gauge a case to satisfactory numbers, by all means run with it. If you aren't sure... size it. I am not familiar enough with 223 to tell you if .005 over is enough to make a difference, but I err on the side of caution, which has got me this far.
     
  5. GJgo

    GJgo Member

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    Fair enough, thanks fellas. I'll likely just leave the brass in the corner until I can set up a power tool operation to do the job.
     
  6. strat81

    strat81 Member

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  7. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    I always use a full length sizing die for AR-15’s. Did you miss the AR part?

    I purchased one of the Giraud power trimmers the other day. It’s the only way to go if trimming large amounts of cases.


    .
     
  8. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

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    What Bullet says...

    Forrest
     
  9. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    Forrest has access to the handy, dandy, Giraud trimmer. That is the non plus ultra of trimmers.
     
  10. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    If I had to do thousands of cases, I would get a power setup, no question. I actually find the chamfer/deburring to be more of a pain than the trimming itself, but, I believe there is a powered tool you can get that will do all three steps.
     
  11. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    This one does all 3 steps at once - Giraud power trimmer.


    .
     
  12. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    All brass grows the most the first firing. You have to trim or you will have pressure problems as the neck get pinched in the throat.

    Now I just trim on each firing on everything. Takes about the same amount of time as measuring.
     
  13. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    Case length should be checked after sizing. Trim it all once, then use the RCBS X-Die to size and you shouldn't have to worry about trimming again.
     
  14. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

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    + 1 to the X-die.
     
  15. Idano

    Idano Member

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    LiquidTension and Dave beat me to the punch. Unless you just like trimming brass buy the RCBS X-Die.

    I was originally going to buy a Giraud, it's definitely a nice trimer, but once I switched to using X-Dies I couldn't justify anymore. I now use the Possum Hollow trimer since I only have a trim the brass once in it's life time. It takes me an hour to process 1,000.
     
  16. Quickdraw McGraw

    Quickdraw McGraw Member

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    Got A Question

    Where can I get just the full length sizing X-Die for 223? The places I've looked sell them with the seater die for just under $50. I don't need/want the seater die as I already have an RCBS full length die set, I would just want the sizer die. Currently this is the only rifle caliber I full length size and am thinking of getting the X-die.
     
  17. rodregier

    rodregier Member

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    What's so magic about the X-die?
     
  18. Idano

    Idano Member

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    Let's see. How about you only have to trim brass once during it's entire life span, so far some of my .223 brass is on it 15th reload without a split and has only been trimmed once. I either loose brass or the primer pocket wears before I have any split since I started using only X-Die. IMO the X-Die is to rifle what the carbide die was to pistol; I won't full length resize with anything but a X-Die I have them for all my calibers.
     
  19. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    So how does it work?
     
  20. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    Measure your chamber. You may not ever need to trim. Sinclair has the chamber plug tool for ~$6. Otherwise you're just guessing and may be wasting a lot of time and effort.
     
  21. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    The same a fax machine works. Magic.

    Honestly, I have no idea. But it does work. MidwayUSA sells the single die.
     
  22. moosehunt

    moosehunt Member

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    Bullet--You may well have a point there. Other than a couple of old lever actions, I only have bolt actions. I didn't really catch the AR part, don't know anything about them--sept that they don't interest me (nothing against them, though).
     
  23. Quickdraw McGraw

    Quickdraw McGraw Member

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    I don't have one but am thinking of getting one. Here is info from MidwayUSA's website.


    "The X-Sizer Die features a specially designed mandrel that eliminates the need for repeated trimming after an initial trim of .020" off the maximum case length. The mandrel contacts the case mouth during sizing and reduces the growth rate. Because of an extremely close tolerance between the mandrel and die neck wall, the neck wall of the case does not thicken as the case length is pushed back. Cases repeatedly sized in the X-Die will initially grow a few thousandths of an inch, then stabilize below the maximum case length with no discernable loss of accuracy or case life. Shellholder sold separately."
     
  24. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    you'll get failure to feed if its too long. and they are a PITA to get out. (read slam charging handle against object to extract)
     
  25. mallc

    mallc Member

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    Reloading Bottleneck Brass

    Always check bottleneck brass, including new brass, in a case gage before reloading. Its usually easier to resize it all, especially if its range brass or has been fired from different guns.

    Always check bottleneck case length after sizing and trim as needed.

    Scott
     
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