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jejb

Convert my 650 from pistol to 223, is it worth it?

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Long time reloader, but never rifle. Shotgun and many straight walled pistol calibers. 100's of thousands of rounds over the years. Used to compete in Trap, but never with my handguns. All just for fun and keep sharp for CC. Weekly trips, at least, to the local range.

 

I've always kind of wanted a .223, but never bought one. Just don't have much need for it. But I really enjoyed shooting that caliber in the Army. Black Friday deal on an .223 has me looking hard at one, which brings up the question about converting my 650 over to do 223. Is it worth it? What is the cost per round of an average reloaded 223? I've never had to worry about case prep, and that sounds like a bit of a pain, and a fair expense, for rifle cartridges. I doubt I'm going to be shooting a ton of rounds through it, so just wondering if buying bulk 223 is the way to go. I see lots of 223 options on Ammo Seek for 24-25 cents a round. Not looking for precision per se. Will use a red dot, most likely. Decent groups at 100 yards would work.

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4 minutes ago, jejb said:

Long time reloader, but never rifle. Shotgun and many straight walled pistol calibers. 100's of thousands of rounds over the years. Used to compete in Trap, but never with my handguns. All just for fun and keep sharp for CC. Weekly trips, at least, to the local range.

 

I've always kind of wanted a .223, but never bought one. Just don't have much need for it. But I really enjoyed shooting that caliber in the Army. Black Friday deal on an .223 has me looking hard at one, which brings up the question about converting my 650 over to do 223. Is it worth it? What is the cost per round of an average reloaded 223? I've never had to worry about case prep, and that sounds like a bit of a pain, and a fair expense, for rifle cartridges. I doubt I'm going to be shooting a ton of rounds through it, so just wondering if buying bulk 223 is the way to go. I see lots of 223 options on Ammo Seek for 24-25 cents a round. Not looking for precision per se. Will use a red dot, most likely. Decent groups at 100 yards would work.

I only shoot a little .223/5.56. There is no way I’m loading it. I think unless you shoot a truckload of the stuff every year or you need need a lot of hunting/accuracy loads just buy it in bulk. 

 And if you are looking at an AR make sure the rifle you buy is 5.56 not just .223

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I am new to shooting sports (3yrs), and new to reloading (1yr). I bought a Dillon 750 recently and decided to load 9mm and .223. 

 

In in two years I spent hundreds of $$$ chasing down ammo that my savage ar-15 would shoot well for blasting paper, 3-gun, home defense, and mostly hunting. The only ammo that worked was $1.25 per round!  Not a solution for me.

 

After a little learning and trials with errors, I am now loading .223 rounds for blasting paper at event, long range steel targets, bench rest bullseye, and very accurate hunting for about $0.49 per round including buying fully processed brass.  Once I fire that brass it works even better in my gun and loads easier. I hope to get at least three cycles from that brass but hear of others getting six or more cycles from it.  Without the cost of brass I am paying about $0.35-.37 per round. 

 

Since I started reloading .223 8 weeks ago I have shot 800 rounds, more than the previous 2.5 years combined. 

 

My gun gun runs reliably and shoot much more accurately, and I have the right ammo for the job. 

 

Working up up a load is like a whole new hobby with its own rewards and frustrations.  It is more than just saving $$$ per round. Long winters here welcome indoor hobbies. 

 

The learning curve and and tools needed were greater than I expected. 

 

For now, buying fully processed brass is a good solution for me until I can save up and score a great bargain on used processing tools. 

 

Converting the 750 between rifle and pistol takes me about 30 minutes now, and getting quicker each time. 

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Thanks for the feedback. The reviews I've read about the gun I'm looking at almost all say it eats most any factory loads. But if it does prove to be picky, that would be a good reason to gear up the 650 for loading it. And I do really like shooting my own ammo, a big reason I've been reloading all these years. I guess I just need to get it and see how much I really shoot it. Going to be hard to justify if the cheaper bulk ammo runs well, though. Even at the not including the brass cost per round listed above, I'd be losing money.

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12 hours ago, jejb said:

Not looking for precision per se. Will use a red dot, most likely. Decent groups at 100 yards would work.

 

For what you're looking for - just buy blasting ammo. 

 

I do load my own 223 and a lot of other stuff, and have for many years, but it's all precision ammo for accurate rifles. I wouldn't waste my time loading blasting ammo for 223 when it can be bought for about the same price or sometimes less. That goes double if you will also have to buy all the equipment to do so. Not worth it unless you're looking for precision.

 

As for getting an AR to run bulk ammo well - that's very easy, and most guns should do it out of the box. If they don't, you've either got really bad ammo, or something wrong with the gun. Contrary to what the "Vietnam era" guys say about ARs, modern AR15s are generally very reliable and capable of excellent accuracy as well. Being able to run cheap bulk ammo is a very reasonable expectation for a decent AR. (By "decent" I mean quality ranging from PSA or better, the exception being that some very tight match barrel chambers don't work well with low quality ammo.)

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I do hoser 3-gun ammo on the 650. Everything else is on single stage. A 650 primes, powders, and seats quickly, but the brass still needs all the prep work.

If you shoot a ton, worth it.

If you shoot some and want accuracy, get a single stage.

If you don’t need the above, just buy it.

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If you shoot some and want accuracy, get a single stage.


There's a lot of people out there who would disagree. I'm one of them.

With a couple of properly configured tool heads and an AutoThrower + AutoTrickler setup, you can churn out ammo suitable for PRS bolt gun matches as well as even F-class.

It'll be a good bit slower than cranking out 'hoser' ammo, but a hell of a lot faster than plodding along with a single stage - and fewer 'touches' of each and every component along the way.


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I didn’t see the same savings with 223 vs pistol. I haven’t done the math in a very long time, but IIRC I could save more than half of the price of bulk pistol ammo, and tailor it with far less recoil.  With rifle, I think there was very little savings I calculated and a lot of Reloading / prep time for rifle cartridges.  So, I still buy bulk rifle ammo. 
 

If some reason I do start shooting rifle A lot more, and need accurate bulk ammo in a tailored load, then I will definitely start reloading it. 

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It only takes about 20 minutes to swap if you have tool head with dies. When I do it, I make sure I have at least 4000 pieces of brass prepped and load em all.

Your gonna blow through some powder so the larger hopper is nice but not a necessity.  For short runs of a hundred or so I just use the single stage.

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Agree with Shep, wouldn't worry about swapping out as that's easy to do quickly. Challenge is cost. Right now, you can buy some good plinking ammo for under $0.30 a round. When I did the math, my component cost was almost that n it including dies, feeder plates etc. That said if you truly enjoy reloading, there is some entertainment factor that may make it worth spending a little more. For me, the economics need to work for me to want to load.

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1 hour ago, travail said:

Agree with Shep, wouldn't worry about swapping out as that's easy to do quickly. Challenge is cost. Right now, you can buy some good plinking ammo for under $0.30 a round. When I did the math, my component cost was almost that n it including dies, feeder plates etc. That said if you truly enjoy reloading, there is some entertainment factor that may make it worth spending a little more. For me, the economics need to work for me to want to load.

I'm not worried about the time it takes to swap the loader over, it's just the economics and case prep parts of it.

 

Probably going with a Bushmaster QRC 5.56. Lots of reviews on them and mostly all positive. Yeah, low end, mil spec starter rifle. But I can build from there, if I want to or need to. Other gun in the running is a DPMS LCAR 5.56, but I've not found a lot of information on them. Seems like a decent starter gun as well, though.

 

 

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I shoot about 2-3k of short range “blasting” ammo/year. For the past 2 years I have been keeping my eyes peeled for bargains and have been loading for 13 cents/round (.023 primer, .055 bullet, and .052 powder. I do the same for match ammo and will be loading my next 500 75gr precision loads for about 25cents a piece. The case prep for bulk loading is a pain but the savings can be significant.


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If you keep your eyes open you can find some great deals for 223. I just bought 4K 55g wolf for just over $200 shipped from widners  reloading Website. You can also find deals for bulk cheapo rifle powder. Won’t be the most accurate stuff like varget or reloader 15 but it’s cost effective. 
 

during the winter I take a break from USPSA and load rifle rounds for plinking. 

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There's a lot of people out there who would disagree. I'm one of them.

With a couple of properly configured tool heads and an AutoThrower + AutoTrickler setup, you can churn out ammo suitable for PRS bolt gun matches as well as even F-class.

It'll be a good bit slower than cranking out 'hoser' ammo, but a hell of a lot faster than plodding along with a single stage - and fewer 'touches' of each and every component along the way.


Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk




Jesus. I didn’t say you can’t make good ammo on a dillon. All I meant was that rock chucker is a hell of a lot cheaper than a conversion kit, dillon dies, case feeder plate and quick change kit. And it’s just ready to make .223. OP asked if it was worth it. I gave an alternative.

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24 minutes ago, loaded605 said:

 

 


Jesus. I didn’t say you can’t make good ammo on a dillon. All I meant was that rock chucker is a hell of a lot cheaper than a conversion kit, dillon dies, case feeder plate and quick change kit. And it’s just ready to make .223. OP asked if it was worth it. I gave an alternative.

 

 

 

Are you saying he should buy a Rockchucker single stage press instead of paying for 223 dies? What good would that do? If you're not counting the cost of the dies, which would be needed either way and certainly don't need to be Dillon, then a Rockchucker is not cheaper than converting, and doesn't necessarily translate to better ammo. 

 

You mentioned brass processing too, and if he wants to speed up that process it can be done faster on a 650 anyway with another tool head, if he is willing to spend the money.  

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Are you saying he should buy a Rockchucker single stage press instead of paying for 223 dies? What good would that do? If you're not counting the cost of the dies, which would be needed either way and certainly don't need to be Dillon, then a Rockchucker is not cheaper than converting, and doesn't necessarily translate to better ammo. 
 
You mentioned brass processing too, and if he wants to speed up that process it can be done faster on a 650 anyway with another tool head, if he is willing to spend the money.  


Keep in mind the OPs question was “is it worth it?” I just gave an opinion and dillon fanboys are getting butthurt. I really don’t give a s#!t.

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No Dillon fanboy here, just making sure the OP gets accurate info. He doesn't have to go to a single stage to load accurate ammo. Just use good dies (I suggest Forster rather than Dillon) and good load development. 

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No Dillon fanboy here, just making sure the OP gets accurate info. He doesn't have to go to a single stage to load accurate ammo. Just use good dies (I suggest Forster rather than Dillon) and good load development. 


Jesus Harold Christ. You’re right. A single stage is a stupid option. Don’t mind me.

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Loading 223 on a 650 can be done easily. I started on a 650 and moved to a 1050 for the sake of brass prep.

 

The biggest pain is the brass prep. you'll either need to buy processed brass or buy a case trimmer. The dillon trimmer is quick and simple but cost a couple hundred. If you don't buy processed brass you'll probably run into brass with crimped primers which means a swager or a reamer. I'd recommend an automated version of the reamer or the dillon super swager, both cost at least a 100. Once the brass is processed it's simple just like any other cartridge. 

 

You'll be able to load 223 plinking ammo for less than $200 but it will take some time to do it. If you're only gonna shoot a couple thousand a year I'd say don't mess with it unless your loading match ammo then I'd say go for it. 

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I load 5.56 on my 650.

 

For first pass mil brass (got a BUNCH of it), I have two tools heads set up.  First tool head has a Lee Universal Decapping die in position 1, and a sizing die in position 2.  I lube the cases and pull the handle.  I normally process about 1000 cases at a time.  I tumble them to remove the lube.

 

At some point, I swage them with Dillon swager, normally while watching TV.

 

To load, I have a second tool head with nothing in Position 1, and the rest setup normally.  I run the processed brass for priming, powder, and bullet seating.

 

During the crisis period, I ordered a case of Hornady bullets from Brownells.  About 18 months later, having totally forgotten about the order, this rather smallish, but heavy, box showed up. :D

 

Today, I am not sure that I would bother to set up to load it, unless I was going to shoot a lot.  Prices are too low.

 

Like for 9mm, for playing.  I can get it for around 17 cents per round.  Reloading it is about 15 cents per round .....

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It's not that bad swapping over, but I would definitely make sure I had components to do a big run. Swapping for a couple hundred is not worth it to me. I usually load 3k to 4k and that holds me over for a while. Depending on what your 650 is currently set up to load the swap may be easier. 

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its an easy change over, I use 2 tool heads, the 1st one has a RCBS small base FL die set to bump the shoulder .003(I haven't bought a RT1500 trimmer yet), I then tumble off the lube, trim on my Giraud Trimmer, the second tool head had a Lee Collet die in position 1, 25.0 of 8208 in position 2, RCBS seating did in 4 and a Lee FCD in 5, I only use the FCD to remove any bell in the case mouth, this process producers 3/4 Moa ammo, the furtherest I have shot this load is 500 yards.  

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