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Hammer together some .223

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by OrangeCat, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    A good manual includes more than load data; it will include a good step-by-step process for reloading safely and consistently. That section alone is worth the price.

    As far as presses go, cheapest I'd go is the Lee Breech Lock Single Stage. Bolt it to a board that you can C-clamp to a table/tailgate, etc. Way easier than either the Lee Loader or a hand press for not much money invested. Believe me; you'll thank us later!

    Check out @LoonWulf 's "Porta-loader" thread for some good ideas.
     
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  2. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    That might actually explain why they were off on their own little shelf, and why there were only a couple of boxes.

    Unfortunately the only other calibers I would be reloading would be 6.5x55 and 30-06. So I think someone else would get more utility out of it.

    I actually looked at those while I was out and am giving it some consideration. I'm working through the actual Lyman handbook I'll probably sit down with it and go cover to cover this weekend. But for eight bucks the pamphlet seems like a good resource.
     
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  3. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    The Lyman is a good manual.

    I use a whack-a-mole on 32 special because I got it for 7 dollars. I also reloaded 20 rounds for it in the last 5 years. It's a relaxing way to spend a lot of time doing very little.
     
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  4. Jbird45

    Jbird45 Member

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    I started reloading on the Lee loader too so here is my 2 cents. If you want the absolute bare minimum investment to start here is what I did.

    Do not buy any powders, bullets, or primers until you buy a Lee loader.

    The Lee loader kit comes with load data and a powder scoop, so your choices of loads are limited, but you don't have to buy a manual right away. Look at the load data in the kit and buy it the components for the load you chose. Stick with this data until you buy a manual. Also, buy a caliper if you don't have one to measure brass and finished rounds. This is important!

    As far as the Lee loader goes, it is not fast by any means. BUT, what it does is teaches you each step in the reloading process and helps you understand what to look for. Follow the loaders directions to the T. Understand that the Lee loader neck sizes only so if you are loading for a semi auto you may have feeding issues.

    With the Lee loader I started reloading for an investment less than $30 without the price of bullets, powder, and primers. I was able to make some ammo and try it without investing lots of money.

    After I decided that reloading was saving me money and produced great results, I expanded my collection.

    You mentioned working with different powder charges. Make sure you buy the best scale you can afford and a good manual before you do this. I cannot stress that enough. Know how much powder you are using!

    I now have a single stage press and it is much faster and more convenient but I have found it much easier to know what to look for when setting up dies after using the Lee loader. The reloading dies can do more than one function at a time so it builds confidence knowing what to look for.

    Take this for what it is worth, but this method worked good for me. Whatever you do, just put safety first!
     
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  5. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    [QUOTE="Jbird45, post: 11150875, member: 256466"...…..]Make sure you buy the best scale you can afford and a good manual before you do this. I cannot stress that enough. Know how much powder you are using!...…...[/QUOTE]

    ^^^This bears repeating.

    The two things that we don't stress enough for those new to reloading.

    1. Get a good quality scale.

    2. Have a clean well lit and sturdy work area.
     
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  6. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Oh! Speaking of scales I recall the one that dad used had this neat little bowl that you could take off and it had a pour spout built into it. Is that something that I should look out for or should it be avoided.
     
  7. Jbird45

    Jbird45 Member

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    Most scales come with a little pan. Just make sure before you add any powder your scale is reading zero and is calibrated properly. Read the instructions that come with your scale on how to do this. Some scales even come with a weight you can use to calibrate your scale to make sure it is giving an accurate reading.
     
  8. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Right like the calipers at work make sure that you are not using an old zero to get your new measure
     
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  9. Jbird45

    Jbird45 Member

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    You got it.

    P.S. I may have mislead you on my original post too when I said reloading saved me money.

    I do not save any money, but boy do I get to shoot more!:thumbup:
     
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  10. Christopher 761

    Christopher 761 Member

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    "P.S. I may have mislead you on my original post too when I said reloading saved me money."
    lol. Ain't that the truth
     
  11. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Update.........A month later..........I apparently had some thinking to thunk.

    It looks like I can get the Lee anniversary kits for not too terribly much.

    I think to start out with I'll stick with a 52 grain Speer HP or Sierra blitzking whichever is available when I start gathering components. For the primer I'm going to stick with Remington 7 ½'s and I think I'm going to use Sig unprimed brass so I don't have to worry too much about sorting brass.

    For powder I'm going to start with h335 or h322 I'll have to check the data again and remind myself which I wanted.

    Which means I'll also need shell holder plates, dies and probably one of those hammers for disassembling suspicious rounds.

    I don't think I need a case cleaner right now, a few boxes to segregate loads is probably prudent though.

    Not sure what I haven't thought of if anything pops into anyone's head
     
  12. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Even with a light 35 grain bullet I can't think of a single powder which you can load with 40, 50 or 60 grains of powder. Matter of fact I can't even find a load using 30 grains of any powder in a 60 grain bullet combination.

    My 223 bolt gun has a slow 1:12 twist and I never had much luck trying to stabilize any bullet over about 55 grains. I have gotten good results with for example Nosler 55 grain spitzers #39526, Sierra 53 grain HP Match #1400, Sierra 55 grain FMJ #1355 and Hornady 52 grain BTHP #2249. I shoot the heavier bullets in a 1:7 twist AR.

    As to a press I would look around for a good used single stage press like a RCBS Rockchucker or an old Lee O press. I would also just run with a hand primer or a single stage press that will prime.

    Ron
     
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  13. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Sorry, my fault those were meant to be bullet weights not powder weights.

    I've settled on starting out with a 52 grain bullet.
     
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  14. Reloadron
    • Contributing Member

    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I sort of thought that was a possible, :) If your rifle has a slow twist like my 1:12 then yes, I would start with the lighter bullets in the slow twist. As I mentioned, heavier bullets just didn't want to stabilize which simply demonstrated what was already a known and published fact.

    Ron
     
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  15. crest117

    crest117 Member

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    I started reloading with a Lee Loader (whack-a-mole) for a 45-70 Trapdoor and it worked well although slow. Then I bought one for .243 and it also was OK but slow. Once I bought a single stage press and dies it was a huge improvement. My advice would be to buy an inexpensive Lee press and dies. In the long run it will save money as my original Lee Loaders have sat unused for several years. Have fun, read a lot and be careful.
     
  16. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Compare costs. On one hand you have neck sizing only whackamole loading setup where you beat and bang and crank out a round every 12th hammer whack. Or you could buy a very basic press and dies probably for very little difference and crank out a round every 4th pull. The cost difference is zero if you ever pick up a second caliber to reload because all you need is a set of dies then. Yes whackamole is cheap, but unless your buying used stuff then you aren’t going to save money in the long run with it.
     
  17. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    If I developed this load and decide that this is worth pursuing I'll probably try 55 grain ballistic tips next and dad did come up with a 40 something grain bullet that he tried in his ar. It wouldn't cycle but that isn't an issue for me.

    I may try and get ahold of him and see if he has a pet powder he likes but I'm more or less comfortable with what I have settled on for right now.
     
  18. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    So the fun begins!:p If you are like me it will take years to get the perfect load. The fun is the journey not necessarily the destination.:thumbup:
     
  19. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Dumb question but it looks like Hornady dies are on sale here... I can use those in the press in the Lee anniversary kit right they're all standard size as far as I've ever seen but I don't want to screw myself over.

    Edit nevermind it's still more expensive because I would have to get a shellholder separate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  20. rocirish

    rocirish Member

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    Yes, Horady dies will work with any press available today.
     
  21. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Okay I couldn't actually find the Speer bullet I wanted, found other Speer stuff so either they cut their stock or I misread something.
    I know which is more likely.:oops:

    But Hornady components were 20% off so I snagged some 53 grain vmax.

    I asked Dad about his pet load and it's reloader 7 and a 52 grain SMK.

    According to the chart in my manual reloader 7 is close to h335 but there is less data for it so I think I'll stick with 335 unless I run into problems.

    Looking at the v-maxes I'm a little concerned about how far I'm going to have to seat them to fit in the magazine and there's a few anecdotal complaints about them not stabilizing in slow twist rates. So I may be developing ammo for my imaginary AR.
    But if they don't work there is someone at work who'll probably be able to use them and I'll go grab a box of Matchkings and try not to grab stuff without better research.

    Magazine loaded with 55 grain fmjs
     
  22. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Those 53s don't even stabilize in a 22-250 1-14 twist or my 1-12 223. So don't go too crazy loading a bunch of them.
    If they work well, they are great. If not, they won't all stay on paper.
     
  23. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Yeah I only got a hundred of them I'll probably set aside five for dummies to see if I can get them to feed and then try about ten of them in a mild ~24 grain loading. My fault, the rifle doesn't seem to mind the cheap fmjs so maybe I'll luck out but I kinda doubt it
     
  24. OrangeCat

    OrangeCat Member

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    Okay finally got my press set up

    Stray thoughts...
    There is a LOT more crap in the primer pocket than I would have thought.
    My table sucks hard maybe I can uhm "aquire" a bit of sheet metal from work or I suppose pay my own money for some and reenforce it.

    Of the five that I have resized three of them wound up slightly above the trim to length and one of them was right at and one was a little below.
    Is that normal or do I need to throw the shorties back in the press and process them again?

    Also I can't figure out how to use the case conditioner kit or the quick trim.... actually I am assuming that I'm missing a caliber specific part but won't be able to go to the store till Wednesday.
     
  25. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    As long as you're not more than .010 over the 'trim to' length or so they are fine to load as-is. Resizing again won't change anything. These days I usually just trim all on the first processing to get it out of the way and make them more consistent but if you don't have a easy way to trim them all right now they can often wait until the second or third firing before they really need it. Never used the Quick Trim so no input there; I use the Lee cutter/length gauge with the lock stud chucked in a cordless drill.
     
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