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Progressive Loading 223 Questions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by mousegun380, Feb 3, 2013.

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  1. mousegun380

    mousegun380 Member

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    Hello, and thanks for taking the time to read my questions.

    The following is the process I have arrived at after many trials and tribulations loading 223 cartridges. I'll tell you the steps I use and explain why I do them. Maybe you have a better process, after all, that is what I am seeking.

    1. Tumble (To remove dirt so that I do not scratch the sizing die.)

    2. Decap Only (This is done on a single stage press. I do this seperately because I sometimes break decap pins when I hit a crimped primer. I have slightly bent the decapping rod before, and I would rather have this happen to a decap die instead of my more expensive full ength sizing die. I haven't had this happen in a while though because I have learned to use a lighter hand.)

    3. Swage (Dillon Super Swage 600)

    4. Lubricate (Dillon Case Lube)

    5. Full-Length Resize (RCBS X-Die 223 Small Base. I used to use a Hornady standard 223 full length sizing die, but I had problems chambering the rounds in my AR. The "small base" die completely solved this problem. I have not gotten to use the "x-die never trim again function" of the new die because I am still using it to process range brass. No cases have come through twice as of yet. This is done on a single stage press.)

    6. Trim, Chamfer, Deburr (Hornady Case Prep Station)

    7. Tumble again to remove lube.

    8. Seat primer, powder charge, seat bullet (no crimp). This is done on a Hornady LNL AP.

    So this long and drawn out process is what I have ended up with because it works. The problem is that it completely sucks and takes forever. You end up passing the cases through the single stage twice, and the progressive once, not to mention the swager and case prep station.

    Recently, I tried to quicken one part of this process by using the progressive to resize the cases instead of the single stage. I loaded the sizing die only into the Hornady LNL AP and began to load lubricated cases through it. Had it worked, it would have sped this part of the process up because I only need to add the cases, they are ejected automatically. Unfortunately, the base ripped off of one of these cases after about only 6, sticking the case deep in the sizing die. I was unable to get it out through normal workshop means, so I bought a stuck-case removal tool from Hornady and it got the case out immediately. I tried again, thinking that maybe the case was faulty. I broke the very first case in the same manner. The stuck case remover again saw some action.

    Question 1) Why would my progressive rip the base off of cases and my single stage does not when using the same lubed cases and same sizing die? The only difference I can think of is the shellplate vs shell holder. Maybe it is the added friction from the small base die in combination with the way the shellplate holds the case? There has to be someone out there progressively loading 223 with a small base die without incident.

    Question 2) I know people progressively load 223, but how are they doing it without missing steps? The only way I can think of doing it would be to use a Dillon 1050 with their motorized trimmer attached. That's the only way I could think of swaging, sizing, trimming, etc all at once - at quite an investment I might add. Keep in mind I am processing once fired range brass.

    Thanks again, and any process improvement suggestions would be much appreciated.
     
  2. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    For range pickup brass that I have to trim and swage.

    I shake and get what dirt (if any) I can off then spread them out on a towel then spray them down good with non-stick cooking spray, get them wet. That is my case lube. It alone gets them clean enough to resize.

    I then resize and decap, same die on single-stage press.
    Then trim and swage primer pockets with RCBS primer pocket swager die.
    I then wash them in hot soapy water, rinse and let them dry outside in the sun.
    Tumble
    Then prime. charge and seat bullet with Lock N Load AP also.

    I'm no reloading expert and a novice at reloading rifle cartridges but this is what works for me reloading 223.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2013
  3. Mike 27

    Mike 27 Member

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    I think you have a good process. There as far as I know is not a much quicker way to do it, without spending a ton of money. I usually will size on my single, then trim and associated tasks, and then pretty much the same thing you do and finish up on the progressive. It takes a while. I have considered getting one of the WFT trimmers, but have not as of yet.
     
  4. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    Progressive reloading isn't always as quick and easy as some make it out to be.
    You have a lot going on.
    I progressively resize and decap the brass. After that I clean again and trim what needs trimming, then I progressively prime, charge and seat the bullet.
    If I crimp the case I do that has a seperate step.
     
  5. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I tumble my brass first thing. From there I hand lube cases in batchs of 5-10 with lee lube, and I sort out the stuff that is crimped. If I've got plenty of brass that is not crimped, I usually just use that rather then worrying about dealing with the crimped brass. Crimped brass is deprimed and swagged on a single stage. From there I use a Dillong 550b, first die is lee FL sizing die, 2nd is dillon powder die, 3rd is lee bullet seater, 4th is either empty or lee factory crimp die.

    I make sure the case, including case neck is well lubed. Go slow with the press, no need to work the press handle super fast, I find this really seems to let everything work well together.

    -Jenrick
     
  6. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    In the first place, I see no reason to deprime first unless you are going to tumble after the deprime....you tumble first....which is fine, but size while you are depriming on the single stage. Or better, since you have LnL bushed dies, why not mount the RCBS Lube die in #1 (which uses decent lube that won't stick brass in dies) and your sizer/deprimer in #2.

    Do that and you eliminate a bunch of time. You just have to remember to squirt some lube in the hole once in a while....and leave a case in the bottom of the lube die to keep it from leaking when not in use.

    Also consider the off press case prep operations: If you use a trimmer with a three-way, and a Trim Mate (or another prep center), you can handle the brass once....trim one and stick it on the Trim Mate to ream the crimp out...and uniform too if you want. (Then your pockets are clean without a separate step to clean them.)

    Then back to the AP to prime, charge and seat.

    So two trips to the progressive and that's all. I do a final delube with finished ammo....15 minutes in clean corncob and it look like a million dollars.
     
  7. dbarnhart

    dbarnhart Member

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    I just finished reloading 5K rounds of 223 on my Hornady LnL.

    Swaging needs to be done only once for the lifetime of the case.
    I seem to need to trim cases after they have bee fired three times.
    I work in batches of 1000.

    With that in mind:

    When I come home from the range, the cases get deprimed and wet-tumbled. They then get put into a bin until the bin contains an entire batch.
    When the bin contains an entire batch I resize them and put the batch away until it is its turn to be reloaded. Case lubing is done on the press using an RCBS Lube die.

    When it is time to reload a batch it's just prime, charge, seat the bullet, and crimp. I seat and crimp in separate steps using a Lee FCD.
     
  8. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    mousegun380 - sorry no enlightened answer to your question.

    I do almost the same as your step 1-8 (no super swager here)
     
  9. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    All your steps pretty much are what I do as well. I don't decap before sizing though. Also if you get the CH4D swager kit, you'll be able to swage probably 3-400 rds in an hour. It's cheap-about 40 bucks delivered. Made in USA, tough, FAST. You'll chunk rocks at that Dillon after giving this thing an honest try.

    The only rounds I can truly load progressively are straight-wall pistol rounds.
     
  10. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    I use a Hornady LnL AP progressive with a case feeder.
    I lube the cases around 200 at a time in an old roasting pan using Dillon case lube.
    I don't worry about scratching the inside of my die so I set up my press as follows. Full length sizeing die in station #1 but setup only to decap and expand the necks. Station #3 Dillon RT-1200 rotary trimmer.
    The trimmer die FL sizes the case and trims it.

    Once they AR's sizes and trimmed they get wet tumbled which cleans the lube and other crud off of them.

    I then set up the press with a universal decaping die in station #1 just in case that something gets stuck in a flash hole.
    Powder measure in station#3 and a seater die in station #5.
    When I load boat tail bullets I don't chamfer or deburr.
     
  11. mousegun380

    mousegun380 Member

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    I appreciate all of the thoughtful responses. Thanks also for the heads up on the RCBS Lube Die. I had never heard of it. I just looked it up and that will absolutely save me time. I'm going to order one right now!

    A couple of you mentioned other swage-ing tools besides the Dillon. I had not seen those either.

    I really appreciate it guys.

    Mousegun380
     
  12. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    I got the lube die and found it to be a pain, its either to full or not full enough. I ended up just using RCBS spray lube and haven't had a problem sizing 5000 223 cases in Hornady dies on the LnL.

    Here is what I do
    Tumble cases

    Lube a couple hundred in a big zip lock so they get rolled around good. Usually do this twice.

    Size on LnL

    Tumble off lube so I don't get lube all over my equipment

    Trim on a RCBS trimmer chucked to a drill with 3 way cutter. No need to measure case length as they all get trimmed.

    Swage primer pocket as needed

    Load on LnL. First station is a universal decaper to make sure there is no media in flash hole, second is powder, nothing in third, fourth seats and fifth crimps if needed.

    The above is for the AR rifles, if I'm loading for the 223 heavys I usually debur the primer pocket and flash hole and a lot of times throw the powder charge by hand and seat the bullets on the single stage.
     
  13. mousegun380

    mousegun380 Member

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    Muddydogs,

    What kind of sizing die are you using on your LNL? Full-length? Neck only? Small base?

    Thanks
     
  14. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    The Hornady full length and then I follow it with a Redding body die to help set back the shoulders that may have more spring in them then usual. My full length die is set up to set the shoulder back to where I want it which is generally .010" for the tightest chamber out of the 3 AR's I load for. I have shot a few 1000 rounds out of the 3 AR's and have never had a feed problem just using the normal FL dies.

    I really like the RCBS spray lube and when I run both the FL die in station 1 and the body die in station 3 the cases run through both fine with just the inital case lubing.

    Before I started using the 2 die combo for sizing I was having problems with some LC brass not sizing enough. If I set the full length die to size these cases to where they needed to be then I would have some cases with the shoulder set back way far. The body die basically takes care of the problem and all my cases come out with about the same shoulder set back.
     
  15. mousegun380

    mousegun380 Member

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    You have answered a question I was kicking around in my head. I was thinking of trying to use two sizing dies in the LNL press to spread the friction across two seperate operations. I thought about using the Hornady full length die first and then my RCBS small base die afterwards. I was wondering if the lube would hold out, but my guess is that it will judging by what you said. I'm excited to try this. Thanks for your help. I did order the lube die this morning so I am going to give it a shot. I think I will try:

    station 1 = universal decap
    station 2 = lube die
    station 3 = full length sizing
    station 4 = small base sizing
    (I still want to decap seperately since I have caused a lot of problems in the past bending my sizing die shaft when I hit a crimped primer.)
     
  16. Muddydogs

    Muddydogs Member

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    Using the Lee decapper is a bonus if you do happen along a berdan primer as it slides instead of breaking. I have never had a problem depriming crimped primers with Hornady or RCBS dies and most of my 10,000 pieces of brass have crimped primers but using the decapper in station 1 dosn't hurt a thing.

    The RCBS lube die does work, it takes a little time to get the fill right and once you get to using it you will be able to tell when it needs more. Do Not forget to slide a case in the die when you are done using it or you will have a puddle of lube under the die when you come back to it. I just found that with the messing around filling the die, dealing with the over lubed cases if the die is to full and needing to refill just when I had a rythum going to just take to much time. With the spray lube I can lube 200 cases in just a couple minutes then set down at the press and run them through non stop. Take the cases and dump them in the tumbler, lube another batch and go to town again.

    Let me know how using 2 sizing dies works out for you.
     
  17. MikeOBWan

    MikeOBWan Member

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    Try doing your case prep before you reload. Like months before. It helps spread it out and makes it so it's not so tedious.

    My process
    - Tumble range brass
    - Sort by headstamp
    - Hornady One-Shot spray lube (about 300 cases at a time)
    - RCBS Full length resize and decap (Rockchucker)
    - Sort by size with a Wilson Case gauge (Trim/No Trim)
    - Chamfer Debur all that don't need trimming (Hornady Case Prep Center)
    - Trim, Chamfer and Debur all that need trimming (Hornady Case Prep Center)
    - Wet Tumble (Thumlers Tumbler)
    - Swage Lake City Brass (RCBS Swage die on Rockchucker)

    I usually end up processing a couple thousand pieces of brass in a weekend. I have well over 10,000 pre-processed ready to load when I need them.

    I find that (All Once Fired) about 75% of Lake City range brass need to be trimmed. About 50% of Winchester needs to be trimmed, and only about 15% of Federal needs to be trimmed.
     
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