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The last word on reforming .223rem to .222rem

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by duckklr, Aug 26, 2011.

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  1. duckklr

    duckklr Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    I scrounge any and all brass at the local range and eventually put it to good use. Now days .223 is by far the most plentiful and I pick up many hundred cases every time I go (excluding the steel cases). I reform to both .222 rem and .17 rem quickly and cheaply. I usually reform 200-cases at a time. Here’s how:
    #1) To keep my dies from getting permanently scratched on the inside which then transfers to every case thereafter, I first tumble all .223 cases in a Thumlers Tumbler with .177 steel balls and just a pinch of Dawn powdered dishwasher detergent for several hours. The cases come out grit-free and the water is black (I rinse numerous times in clean water). Since virtually all .223 cases come from semi-auto’s they are always violently ejected onto concrete or dirt hence the scratches and embedded grit. Note! The Dawn makes the brass a little bit dark.
    #2) To speed up the process and assure total drying I spread the wet cases on a large cookie sheet and dry in the oven set to 135˚-150˚.
    #3) Just to make sure that all the dried cases pass muster I lube each one very lightly but completely using my fingers with just the smallest amount possible of Hornady Unique case lube. This gives me a chance to catch any remaining grit, splits or cracks. I then run them through the full-length .223 resizing/de-priming die.
    #4) I first clean and then swage all the primer pockets even if they’re commercial brass to catch any oversized primer pockets and of course to put the bevel on the pocket mouth of the military cases.
    #5) Next, and the most important step in reforming, I fill a shallow pie-pan with no more than ½” of water and place it on a flat surface away from my reloading bench. I then place 10-12 prepped .223 cases base-down in the shallow water and using a propane torch, heat the neck and shoulder area of each case bright cherry-red before immediately tipping it over with the torch-end into the water. This softens the entire end of the case to allow for wrinkle-free forming. !!!Don’t melt the case mouth!!!
    #6) Again I send the cases back to the drying oven.
    #7) I next insert the .222 rem full length resizing die into my Rock Chucker and once more, using the Unique case lube, I coat each dried and prepped .223 case with the thinnest lube-coat possible. After inserting the case into the shell holder I slowly run the case about 2/3 of the way into the die and then back it out. Using my forefinger and thumb (with the case still in the shell holder) I wipe away any built-up lube from the new neck/shoulder area and then slowly finish the reforming. I very rarely have a crease or dent in any case neck or shoulder (I’d estimate less than 1%).
    #8) The new formed case is much longer than specs and I either use a Forster trimmer or an RCBS trim die and file. Once the new case mouth has been chamfered inside and out I then outside-turn the case neck the least amount I must in order for proper/safe chambering of a loaded round. (Excess turning can lead to early neck splits.)
    #9) I then weigh each case and separate cases into groups with no more than 2 grains difference between them. Both new brass and reformed brass typically weigh between 90 & 95 grains per case
    The best load in my Redfield 12X-powered 1983 Rem 700 bull-barrel with a new plastic stock is the Sierra 53 grain flat-base MatchKing using a Winchester small rifle primer and 25 grains of 748 with the bullet set long in the case. I also form .17 rem using an RCBS .17-.222 forming die-set however the resultant case is short of factory specs by many 1000th’s (but still goes bang). I could buy the cases new (at $25-$30 + S&H /100) but what would be the fun of that and besides, what would I do after supper?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  2. 303tom

    303tom member

    Jul 16, 2011
    Sounds like you got that down pat, that is the way I would do it, or should I say it`s pretty close to the way I do it. Give`s us something to do huh, keep up the good work.
  3. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Nov 11, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    Sounds like a lot of work. But can't you easily and cheaply rechamber your rifle to .223?
  4. clutch

    clutch Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Northern Michigan
    Sorry, I just could not take not seeing any white space. :banghead:
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