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Old September 11, 2000, 08:22 AM   #1
Joel Harmon
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Join Date: April 25, 2000
Location: Omaha, NE. USA
Posts: 165
I have researched rifle reloading for .223 and I know what kind of stuff I need to buy. I am not sure of some things that were mentioned in the sources I used and I have a few questions. My reloading will be for sub-MOA accuracy but component price is also a great concern. Sorry for the long post.

What I do know:
I know I need dies, a press to hold said dies, a scale, a case trimmer, calipers, a trickler, blocks to put shells in, a funnel for the powder, a hand primer, tumbler to polish cases/media, case lube?, powder dispenser, and a bullet puller. Are there any additional tools?

I know I need powder, primers, brass, bullets.

I will be buying powder from Widener's (WCC844-mil surplus and is $11.00/lb shipped). I will be getting small rifle primers locally ($13.50/1000). I will obtain bullets from Midway (Winchester 55 grain FMJ Boat Tail $37/1000 shipped). I have not decided on brass yet (see below).

The process as I understand it:
1. Polish brass with tumbler and corn cob media (make sure primers are out).
2. Resize using a die in your press.
3. Use hand primer to put a primer in (make sure to use same pressure each time).
4. Use another die in the press to spread the top of the brass to fit the bullet.
5. Throw a designated charge onto the scale with the powder dispenser.
6. Trickle the rest of the charge into the scale pan with the trickler so it is EXACTLY the same for each charge.
7. Place charge in brass. Repeat to charge whole block of brass this way.
8. Seat bullet and crimp with press with yet another die.

What I don't know:
1. In resizing, can't I buy carbide dies for rifle that will allow me to avoid having to use the sizing lube or are carbide dies only available for pistol reloading?

2. Is there a better way to prime your brass to make it more consistent? Maybe set a stop somehow so you can press the primer only so far? I learned that if you don't use the same amount of hand pressure on the hand primer each time you could get different shooting results just from the primer not being seated the same each time.

3. When seating the bullets for my bolt action rifle I want the bullet to almost touch the lands and grooves in the barrel. I am told that this also helps accuracy. I have read descriptions of doing this but they all vary.

The most common one involves putting the bullet in the brass casing loosely without crimping and chambering this round in your bolt action. Chambering the round sets the bullet to a point where it is right on the rifling. Carefully unchamber the round and use the calipers to measure the total length of the round. Subtract a little bit from your measurement so the bullet is not on top of the lands and grooves but so that it is just behind it. You may then seat and crimp every bullet to this determined length each time thereafter. Is this even remotely correct? There isn't much info about this out there.

4. I understand that the military brass is smaller or shorter or something like that. It is also primed using a different method (boxer?). Should I buy military once fired brass or is that not a good idea? It is much cheaper than commercial once fired brass. The commercial stuff is the other one I was considering buying. In other words, does the priming system and case size of the military brass cause reloading problems? Do I need special tools or primers, etc. for the military stuff?

Please "fix me up" on these issues. Once these questions are answered I can start my reloading adventure. Please don't tell me to buy some "how to" reloading book. I will be getting a reloading manual for loading data.
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Old September 11, 2000, 09:43 AM   #2
bedlamite
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Location: WI
Posts: 1,033
1. You're right, carbide dies are only available for straight wall pistol cases. Lube is a fact of life with bottlenecks, I use Hornady One Shot spray lube.

2. Just make sure the primer is seated fully. If it's not, that's when you can have problems.

3. You already have that one figured out, all it takes is a little trial and error to get the best length.

4. The walls on Military brass are a little thicker so the internal volume is slightly smaller, and the primers are crimped in place. It can be reloaded, it just takes one more step. You have to swage the primer pocket to get rid of the crimp. Dillon has a swaging press for this purpose, or you could get brass from River Valley Ordnance, they have sized, trimmed, and swaged brass for sale, you can get them already primed too. http://www.rvow.com/

A couple of other items, usually the resize and deprime are one step. How do you plan on getting the primers out without sizing before you tumble the brass? I tumble the brass with the primers still in, and use a primer pocket scraper after sizing/depriming. You will also have to trim to consistent length and deburr your brass after sizing for the best accuracy.

There has been discussion in the past as to wether trickling to weight or just throwing the charge is more accurate. Depending on how consistent your charge dispensor is, and what powder you use, it could be more accurate either way, try both. I recently tried that test with Winchester 748 in 30-30 and moly coated Hornady #3035, and group size and standard deviation in velocity was smaller with thrown charges than it was with trickled. The opposite was true with Reloader 15 using the same primers, bullets, and gun. The only way to know for sure with your combination is to try both ways.

For the best accuracy, you want to have the bullet seated and crimped in two different dies. I can't say enough about the Lee Factory Crimp die, just get one.

On a final note, I know you said not to tell you to get a "how to" book, but all the good reloading manuals have a "how to" section, as well as data, like Hornady, Sierra, Lymann (for cast bullets). They are definately worth it, get a couple of them, and read them cover to cover.


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[This message has been edited by bedlamite (edited September 11, 2000).]
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Old September 11, 2000, 12:16 PM   #3
sundog
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Location: Green Country, OK
Posts: 730
Joel, you said that you're going tto be loading for sub MOA accuracy and then go on to describe your components. How do you know that they will produce the accuracy you want in the gun you are shooting? Don't buy a bunch of stuff before you find the load you are going to shoot. Sometimes a few cents more per unit for smaller quantities can save dollars later by eliminating components you do not want to use (and subsequently pile up unused). If you're going to play the sub MOA game, chances are your first load won't be it. If it is, GREAT. sundog

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Old September 11, 2000, 12:57 PM   #4
Hutch
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Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 1,124
You've got a pretty good grasp, with the advice you've been given above. Couple of notes. You're not belling the case mouth of the rifle cases, but actually performing 2 operations on the neck. Step one happens at the very top of the ram stroke, when the case neck is squeezed down below the minimum size necessary for bullet insertion. On the return stroke somewhere (depending on the die adjustment), you're pulling an expander ball or button back thru the newly squeezed case neck. It opens the neck back up to the appropriate diameter.

Priming brass is more of an art than a science. If you are using milsurp brass, the primer crimp may be swaged out, or reamed out with a deburring tool (another "nice to have", probably moreso than a puller). This will cause varying levels of pressure required to seat the primers. You'll get a feel for it. Like was said above, if you REALLY REALLY want a tackdriver, you might consider H335 powder and match or varmint bullets. They will usually be noticably more accurate.

Coupla tips. Midway is a great supplier for tools and bullets. (800) 243-3220 for a catalog. Dillon makes fine products as you've probably read elsewhere in this forum. The spray lube is wonderful for rifle cases. Military cases are cheap, but a real PITA for the accuracy buff. Keep an eye out in the gunshow for bulk fired commercial cases. Buy a bunch, sort by headstamp, tumble 'em, and then sort by weight. It'll help wring the last .05 moa from the group. Lotsa success, and don't hesitate to ask questions here. Email me if you need to.
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Old September 11, 2000, 03:00 PM   #5
Mel Hoskin
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Join Date: April 8, 2000
Posts: 29
Joel,
There is a lot of good information in the quotes that have been provided by others, I have to agree with the one about not buying some large bulk quanity of powder or bullets until you find the combination that your rifle likes. You may have to try 6 or more different bullets(brand, design, same for the powder) before you find the right mix.

In finding the right OAL for your rifle, Noslers Reloading Manual has some good data on that subject. You may want to look at the stoney creek OAL device. It works. Some of the guys that I know that shoot bench rest use a powder measure(a good one) to load their ammo. Told me it took too long to weigh each and every round.

Good shooting.
Mel <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Joel Harmon:
I have researched rifle reloading for .223 and I know what kind of stuff I need to buy. I am not sure of some things that were mentioned in the sources I used and I have a few questions. My reloading will be for sub-MOA accuracy but component price is also a great concern. Sorry for the long post.

What I do know:
I know I need dies, a press to hold said dies, a scale, a case trimmer, calipers, a trickler, blocks to put shells in, a funnel for the powder, a hand primer, tumbler to polish cases/media, case lube?, powder dispenser, and a bullet puller. Are there any additional tools?

I know I need powder, primers, brass, bullets.

I will be buying powder from Widener's (WCC844-mil surplus and is $11.00/lb shipped). I will be getting small rifle primers locally ($13.50/1000). I will obtain bullets from Midway (Winchester 55 grain FMJ Boat Tail $37/1000 shipped). I have not decided on brass yet (see below).

The process as I understand it:
1. Polish brass with tumbler and corn cob media (make sure primers are out).
2. Resize using a die in your press.
3. Use hand primer to put a primer in (make sure to use same pressure each time).
4. Use another die in the press to spread the top of the brass to fit the bullet.
5. Throw a designated charge onto the scale with the powder dispenser.
6. Trickle the rest of the charge into the scale pan with the trickler so it is EXACTLY the same for each charge.
7. Place charge in brass. Repeat to charge whole block of brass this way.
8. Seat bullet and crimp with press with yet another die.

What I don't know:
1. In resizing, can't I buy carbide dies for rifle that will allow me to avoid having to use the sizing lube or are carbide dies only available for pistol reloading?

2. Is there a better way to prime your brass to make it more consistent? Maybe set a stop somehow so you can press the primer only so far? I learned that if you don't use the same amount of hand pressure on the hand primer each time you could get different shooting results just from the primer not being seated the same each time.

3. When seating the bullets for my bolt action rifle I want the bullet to almost touch the lands and grooves in the barrel. I am told that this also helps accuracy. I have read descriptions of doing this but they all vary.

The most common one involves putting the bullet in the brass casing loosely without crimping and chambering this round in your bolt action. Chambering the round sets the bullet to a point where it is right on the rifling. Carefully unchamber the round and use the calipers to measure the total length of the round. Subtract a little bit from your measurement so the bullet is not on top of the lands and grooves but so that it is just behind it. You may then seat and crimp every bullet to this determined length each time thereafter. Is this even remotely correct? There isn't much info about this out there.

4. I understand that the military brass is smaller or shorter or something like that. It is also primed using a different method (boxer?). Should I buy military once fired brass or is that not a good idea? It is much cheaper than commercial once fired brass. The commercial stuff is the other one I was considering buying. In other words, does the priming system and case size of the military brass cause reloading problems? Do I need special tools or primers, etc. for the military stuff?

Please "fix me up" on these issues. Once these questions are answered I can start my reloading adventure. Please don't tell me to buy some "how to" reloading book. I will be getting a reloading manual for loading data.
[/quote]



------------------
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Old September 11, 2000, 03:40 PM   #6
Bogie
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Join Date: June 5, 2000
Location: Job hunting on the road...
Posts: 3,827
Loading for accuracy - Well, a lot is going to depend on your rifle... Please tell us what sort of rifle...

If you're loading for an auto, seat your bullets out far enough to where they still fit in the magazine. IMR-4895 and 55 grain Sierras works for me in my AR.

If you're loading for a bolt gun, I heartily recommend the Lee collet dies. I shoot benchrest, and I don't BS about accuracy. The collet dies are what I use for my "critter" rifles. You don't need a trickler.

Let's see...

Lee hand press - $30
Lee deluxe collet die set - $35
Lee scale (accurate as the $$ ones) - $35
Wilson case trimmer and shell holder - $45
Trust me on this one...
Lee perfect powder measure (does just as well as the $$ measures, as reported in Precision Shooting mag) - $30
Lee autoprimer - $15 (only better hand primers are the K&M and the Sinclair, and they're not as fast - just keep the Lee lubed)
You don't need the tumbler - Just 0000 steel wool 'em occasionally.
You do need some decent calipers - Midway's are okay.
Davidson's bullet puller is very nice

Wait a minute! If you're loading for accuracy, you're not going to want to use the el-cheapo FMJ stuff - Buy a box of 100 Speer 50 gr. "TNT" bullets, and see if they shoot. Take it from there. Also, you will likely want to try a couple of different powders.

Check out sinclairintl.com

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Old September 12, 2000, 04:43 PM   #7
B9mmHP
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Join Date: February 2, 2000
Location: Texas
Posts: 465
Joel, dont forget to buy a flash hole deburer. You only need us it once. The reason is that on factory ammo the flash hole is punched out leaving some burs that might not allow the powder to ignite uniformaly. About $3 or 4.

And once you have read and reread some good reloading books, order a Reloading Video from Midway, Sierra`s Highpower Rifle Reloading video (2-volume set) by David Tubb. You can learn alot from it. $34.52


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Old September 14, 2000, 05:12 PM   #8
Joel Harmon
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Join Date: April 25, 2000
Location: Omaha, NE. USA
Posts: 165
I really appreciate you guys taking the time to answer my questions. This is why I spend a lot of my time at TFL. You guys can't be beat!

bedlamite: You have cleared up my ignorance on the military vs. commercial brass issue. I have decided that instead of swaging the primer mouth I will just use commercial. When it gets winter time in Omaha you can't shoot comfortably so I don't shoot as much as some of you others might. I might fire 700 rds of .223 per year so I will just get the "once fired" commercial. It should probably last me for at least 8 reloads from the info. I've been reading.

I will be getting a reloading manual first anyway so I will have not only powder reference but "how to" reference as well.

Sundog: I will see if I can get a sample of that WC844 powder (perhaps 1 lb) to try. I am only seeing it in 8 lb lots. I agree that it would be ideal if I could get a lb or so to test with (maybe Widener's can work something out with me). I want to use that product if I can because the price on it is more conducive to my budget.

Hutch: I'll get the spray lube like you say and I have Midways catalogue and have ordered from them before. They are a great, very pro-RKBA company!

Bogie: I have a Savage bolt action 10 FP in .223 that I will be reloading for (maybe my AR-15 too). It has a 1:9 twist and a 24" bull barrel. I will be putting a bipod on it and plan to use it for shooting up to 500 yards. I will be varminteering with it in the future as well (prairie dogs).

I expect to shoot no further than 500 yards and will later obtain a Remingtion model 700 in .308 (evil black finish and stock) for those longer range shots (up to 800-900 yards). One of these days (if the BATFags don't ban them) I want to get a bolt action .50 cal for really long range shooting. I am practicing my nuts off because I want to be really good and maybe even compete in the future. I have been shooting for a while now but it has only been at closer ranges not exceeding 200 yards both with open sites and scoped firearms. I am pretty good at these ranges and want to expand my horizons.

It's ironic that I have always been so into shooting. A majority of my male relatives were in wars (from both sides of the family) and like shooting. From the civil war, WWI, WWII, Korea, and vietnam.

Last week my suspicions were confirmed about my father. About 10 years ago (I was about 16 years old) I met a friend of my dad's that served with him in the Marines and he said my dad went to sniper school and became a sniper. I know my father is an excellent shot (still at 51 yrs.) but I really didn't know if I believed this guy at the time. I don't know why but I just wasn't sure.

Just last week my mom and I were talking about my fathers past drinking problem and career in the Marines during vietnam. She mentioned he was a "scout/sniper over there" and "he saw a lot of bad things". He became an alcoholic after that war and got over it later. She said when they met and dated for four years he never drank except in rare social settings. Something else to thank my government for.

Joel
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