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A few basic .223 questions from a beginner.

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Hi guys, I am trying to get setup loading .223 having only loaded 9mm in the past. I’m hoping for guidance on getting going. 
I am using my Dillon 550 and an RCBS FL Die Set. 

1. I have some .223 brass that appears to be from Rockey Brass and is marked as swaged, sized, trimmed, and cleaned. However looking in the bag I can see some slightly tarnished brass and some of the necks are damaged from what I can see.  Is this normal? It seems they should be 100% (I’ve never bought processed brass before) Link to photos>> https://imgur.com/a/aBVmXDM
2. I am mainly looking to make normal training (full strength) ammo.  I typically shoot 55gr Wolf Gold from my AR’s but am considering buying 62gr RMR bullets and using H335 if I can find it.  Is this a good starting point?  I use 1/7 twist barrels so I’m thinking the extra barrel weight will be ideal.
3. Assuming I can just wet tumble this brass to remove the tarnish, it appears I would still run it through my sizing die to expand, correct?  My understanding is my powder die does not expand like it does in 223.

Thanks in advance and if you have any links to helpful articles, I will gladly read them.  Having not loaded 223 before, its’ hard to know which ones to follow.

Edited by Edwards30
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yeah i wouldn't be happy with that brass if it was advertised as sized etc.


from what i've read, h335 is the best powder for 223 blaster loads (55g etc).


i've loaded .223 in a single stage (turret) press (2 dies - deprime/size, and bullet seater) and now have the caliber conversion kit and quick change kits to do this on my dillon 750.

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I've been reloading .223 for a while; I'm not a fanatic about getting my brass wet-tumbled clean and shiny, but I wouldn't trust that the vendor got it all right unless you've had experience with them before.  I'd clean the brass, cull out any with messed up necks like that one picture, and run it through a sizing die.  You may not need to trim it, but you won't know unless you run them through a case gauge or check them with calipers.  


The dies for .223 don't really "expand" the mouth of the case like a 9mm belling die does; it resizes the neck to proper dimension so you get good neck tension and it's nice and round.  I get plenty of neck tension so I don't crimp my blasting ammo.  The H335 is a great powder, meters well and it's fine for 55-62 grain bullets.  Not ideal for heavier stuff.  Your 1/7 barrel will shoot pretty much any weight of bullet fine, although I'd stay away from the really light, thin-jacketed varmint bullets.  55, 62, 69, 75, 77, etc should all be good.  If you can find them, you can't beat the Hornady 55gr SP bullets for general plinking/blasting/vermin, they're very accurate.  

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the replies from you both. In regards to the brass, I got it from a guy with a bunch of SRP so who knows if maybe it’s just older stock and got tarnished while sitting. 

As far as the belling of the case/seating thanks for answering that. So I guess I could use the press test to see if I get bullet setback after seating. I believe my die has a roll crimp built in as well. 

Also with the brass, I extracted 5 pieces from the bag and ended with 1.7498” average length. The neck is .208” on those cases as well. 

Edited by Edwards30
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There's a couple of thread addressing the issues you are seeking answers for.


I too went from loading 9mm to volume 223 for competition. Almost the same, but the precision for the rifle ammo has to be a bit higher.


1. Invest in a good gauge checker. I recommend the Sheridan which are by far the most precise I've found. Get the slotted version.

https://sheridanengineering.com Head space is more important for both reliability and safety.


2. If you are hand placing the bullet you do not need to expand the neck. However, if you are using a bullet feeder you will need an expander die. Get one from NOE Bullet molds. This one: https://noebulletmolds.com/site/shop/expanders/expander-plug-rifle/226-x-222-exp-plug/ You will need to crimp. BTW the 1050 swage backer rod does the same thing.


3. I use 55 gr cheap bullets from RMR. By far the best for the buck. Personal opinion is unless you are shooting for absolute precision the cheapest bullets which provide adequate accuracy at 200 yards is the way to go. Also Bullet weights are best chosen based on barrel length and twist rate.


4. Lots of good powders for 223/5.56. Buy one which can be used in more than one caliber for flexibility. Again the need for absolute accuracy will change this.


5. Like your pistol, chamber check your ammo! The ammo must drop in and out of the chamber without binding or you will, not might, have a failure to completely chamber and fire. Then you will be do the butt slam to unload the cartridge.


6. Don't trust purchased brass unless you are totally familiar with the company. Sizing is very important and swaged pockets may not be adequately done. You will need a case trimmer, rifle brass grows as it it shot and resized. Lee makes a cheap one for use with a drill. 


7. Follow Dillon's guide about how to set up the Sizing die. See video https://www.dillonprecision.com/accessories-add-ons-videos.html Notice they say you must use a headspace gauge. The Sheridan works great.


Sounds complicated, but really isn't. Just learning the process.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Just adding a little update to this post..


I got my case gauge in the mail. I ended up with Lyman one. 

As far as the “processed” brass, I have yet to find one to pass the gauge. On each one the shoulder needs to be bumped. 

So I now have my sizing die setup to pass the gauge and should be ready to load some laddered loads. 

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That Butt Slam is no joke, it can drop check and still not feed, been there done that.  You will be shocked how much a tenth of a grain can change the grouping.   



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