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New to .223/556 Reloading


jschroep
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I have a press coming and I am trying to get powder while it is still available. I noticed on some of the reloading data I have seen it specifies the case brand. Does that matter?

 

Can I just load mixed brass after i have trimmed and resized it?

 

Also what loads do you recommend? I mostly do target shooting with my AR's. Both are chambered in 223 wylde. 

 

I will most likely just get the Dillon super swage and a Lyman electric case trimmer. Cases don't have to be seated multiple times right?

 

My dad's AR will be a 16" mid length and mine is a 18" rifle length. Both with Epsilon VG6 brakes on them. Not sure if that is relevant

Edited by jschroep
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Yes you can reload mixed brass, but performance will vary slightly between head stamps. 
 

I reload 223, and 30-06 for rifle plinking and compared to pistol the brass length is very important. So either check every piece or run a trimmer pass. 
 

Because you’re using mixed brass probably don’t want to run max powder loads. 
 

I find biggest problem with 223/556 is the primer pockets. Because most of my brass was 5.56 they are “crimped” and need to be either swaged or hand reamed out.


Because it’s such a popular caliber there’s lots of online help available. Do some searching and checking out what others do. 
 

Good luck and enjoy. 

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Headstamp doesn't matter much in .223, in some other calibers the volume may vary dramatically. Sort .223 only for utmost precision. Clean, lube, size, swage, trim, load.

 

If loading 55gr. H335 is a great powder. Most accurate fmj load I ever shot was pushed by Benchmark. There are a Ton of suitable powders crack a manual, you'll be able to find something.

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yeah, case brands will have different internal volumes, so you will want to sort brass by headstamp (and weigh each case, tossing high/low weights) if you want to load for ultimate accuracy.  With an accurate bullet and powder/charge weight for your barrel, you might be able to skip being too particular about brass, but it depends on your goals.  

In my rifles, I'll use two different accuracy loads, and there isn't much of a noticeable difference in groups at 100y.  One is maximum effort and maximum accuracy (sub MOA).  The other is lower effort intended to be cheaper in time and money and shoots almost as well.  I love the 75grain Hornady BTHP round, its reasonably affordable (16c?), very accurate in by barrels, and can be used accurately out to 750 yards or slightly farther. 

  • I'll do a bulk 'easy' accuracy load with 75gr Hornady BTHP with mixed brass and TAC ball powder.   Since its a ball powder and meters well, I'll just get the powder thrower dialed and then charge batches of 50-100 without weighing individual charges.  Brass is checked for max trim length only.   This load only costs me around 26c a round.
  • My ultimate accuracy load is new or 1-2 times fired high quality Lapua brass with each round individually weighed and trickle charged with Varget.  Being a stick powder, Varget doesn't meter well so weighing individual charges is necessary.  The good Lapua brass increases costs, so I need to recover the brass.  If I'm a little cheaper or can't recover brass I'll use Lake City brass, headstamp sorted by year, and weight each case, throwing out the heavy and light outliers to try to get a consistent internal case volume.    If you're hunting ultimate accuracy, everything counts.  This is a real tack driver load in my barrels.

I don't reload 55gr FMJ.  I can do it cheaply, and the Hornady bulk 55gr bullets perform admirably accurately in my barrels (1.2MOA), but the time required for the minimum brass prep isn't justified by the cost savings for me versus just buying bulk 556 for plinking.  The 55gr ballistic tip rounds shoot accurately for a lot of people, but I've just had such good sub MOA results from the Hornady 75gr when I'm spending the time to reload, its the round that gets the nod.

Edited by Chrome308
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Mixed brass will perform fine, like others have said es/sd won’t be as consistent. For my long range load I use Lake City. For powder I have used 322,335, benchmark, 8208 and varget with cheap 55gr soft points. I’d like to try Shooters world Tac Rifle, I have heard nothing but good things about it. 

Edited by NateTSU
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  • 3 weeks later...

I have some .223 brass which is a great deal heavier than what one typically sees, and that means lesser internal capacity.  .  When I first got an AR about 1976, the only .223 ammo I could find was some strange white boxed Norma.  It was the dirtiest burning .223 I've ever encountered, plus having the heaviest cases.  There's one batch of new Scandahoovian brass I got recently which is almost as heavy.  

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On 4/5/2020 at 11:33 AM, Beef15 said:

Headstamp doesn't matter much in .223, in some other calibers the volume may vary dramatically. Sort .223 only for utmost precision. Clean, lube, size, swage, trim, load.

 

If loading 55gr. H335 is a great powder. Most accurate fmj load I ever shot was pushed by Benchmark. There are a Ton of suitable powders crack a manual, you'll be able to find something.

I also use H335 for my AR loads.  I also agree that you need to sort headstamps for precision.  Since I only usually plink, I don't sort headstamps.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For trimming, get the Giraud Tri-Way Trimmer. It’s only a few dollars more than the WFT but leaves a much cleaner cut. I’ve used both extensively and own the giraud


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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For trimming, get the Giraud Tri-Way Trimmer. It’s only a few dollars more than the WFT but leaves a much cleaner cut. I’ve used both extensively and own the giraud


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I second this. The Giraud is well worth the investment.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I tend to look for LakeCity brass.  The primer pockets will need to be reamed or swedged like someone mentioned.  I also learned the hard way that if you plan on using the ammo for anything more than plinking in an AR platform, get a SB sizing die.  Those dies require lots of lube or the case will get stuck.  So I end up lubing/depriming and sizing, then tossing the brass back in the tumbler to clean off lube, then start loading the processed brass from there.  This is all after separating military headstamps from standard, and then tumbilng and trimming if need be.   Some days its almost easier to buy processed brass and just keep the old stuff for a rainy day.

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  • 1 month later...
34 minutes ago, Boomstick303 said:

Out of curiosity, what head stamps for brass are people finding the have the most accurate rounds with?

It doesn't matter that much. What matters is that you use all the same ones. For my long range stuff I'll match batches of them and sight that batch in. 

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Personally I think mixed brass with 55 grain bullets is fine out to about 200 yards, as long as the powder is consistent. For longer range rounds, definitely sort and use same head stamp. I think I’m down to about .17 cents a round for 55 grain and about .33 cents a round for 75 grain Hornady BTHP.

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Like has been stated many times the most important thing is to clean resizing depriming swaging if necessary and trimming to1.750 

 

Although this is not a great group this is 10 Rounds in an inch and a half with mixed brass mil/com. 27 grains accurate 2520 cartridge overall length is 2.200 I don't do much better with all same name stamp brass...lol

20200714_165532-1-1-1.jpg

Edited by usmc1974
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On 7/8/2020 at 5:31 PM, AHI said:

Lapua,Norma,Geco,

 

Exactly these 3 brands of brass have been the most consistent in my experience (weight, neck wall thickness variation). RWS brass is good as well.

 

Having said this, out to 300 meters I don't see any difference in score (Service Rifle) when using this brass or other brands or even mixed brass. A quality match bullet is much more influential than the brass. I still use Lapua the most for competition though, but that's a more a psychological factor.

Edited by RGA
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