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Old July 17, 2006, 01:19 AM   #1
TexanInOhio4
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Another newb with ??s on .223 reloading

Okay...I think I've officially caught the reloading bug.

I've been reading everything I can find here, on other forums, and on various manufacturer's websites for the past week or so (to get a very basic understanding of things), and have already sorted by headstamp and cleaned (in a vibrating cleaner at work) 2000+ cases of fired .223/5.56. I'm thinking about ordering equipment in the next few days, and need help to figure out what else I might need (or not). I'm planning on reloading around 100 rounds/week for both plinking and bench shooting with my 24" Bushmaster.

Here's what's on my goodie sheet so far:

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press Master Kit
(Includes: Press, 5-0-5 scale, hand priming tool, Uniflow powder measure, Speer #13 reloading manual, case loading block, case lube kit, primer tray, powder funnel, and deburring tool)
RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Combo (about half of my brass is military WCC and LC)
RCBS Pow'r Pull Bullet Puller
Lyman 48th edition reloading manual
Cleaning media and seperator (and continue using cleaner at work)
Flash hole deburring tool (if needed)
Primer pocket uniformer (if needed)

I already own a 6" dial caliper and a 1" micrometer.

Now for the 20 questions...

While I've got the cash for a Dillon 550B, a good single stage press will suffice for the amount of shooting I want to do, right? (and spend the savings on other things like components, haz-mat charges, etc.)

Which dies will work best for .223 in my AR while maximizing my brass life?

Is it possible to only neck size .223 brass for use in AR15's (since I'll be reusing the brass in the same gun), or do I have no choice but to use a full-length resize die or even a small base die?

Do I need to crimp .223 for use in my AR15? If it is necessary, should I use the crimp that the seating dies will provide or would I require a seperate crimping die? If so, which is the best type/manufacturer of crimp dies?

I saw that midsouthshooterssupply.com has a better price than most on the above equipment. Does anyone else that you know of sell for less?

I know that's probably a lot for one post (my first here)...just trying to get started on the right foot (and place one order).

Thanks for anyone's help,

Mike
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Old July 17, 2006, 05:44 AM   #2
rwilson452
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more stuff

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press Master Kit
(Includes: Press, 5-0-5 scale, hand priming tool, Uniflow powder measure, Speer #13 reloading manual, case loading block, case lube kit, primer tray, powder funnel, and deburring tool)
RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Combo (about half of my brass is military WCC and LC)
RCBS Pow'r Pull Bullet Puller
Lyman 48th edition reloading manual
Cleaning media and seperator (and continue using cleaner at work)
Flash hole deburring tool (if needed)
Primer pocket uniformer (if needed)

The deburring tool and primer pocket uniformer are not absolutly needed but are desirable.

I already own a 6" dial caliper and a 1" micrometer.

I don't see a case trimmer.

I would suggest the Lee setup. and spend the extra buck and get the optional ball handle cutter

Now for the 20 questions...

While I've got the cash for a Dillon 550B, a good single stage press will suffice for the amount of shooting I want to do, right? (and spend the savings on other things like components, haz-mat charges, etc.)

Which dies will work best for .223 in my AR while maximizing my brass life?

Everyone has a different answer for this one. I use Lee dies.

Is it possible to only neck size .223 brass for use in AR15's (since I'll be reusing the brass in the same gun), or do I have no choice but to use a full-length resize die or even a small base die?

For semiauto full length resize is reccomended.

Do I need to crimp .223 for use in my AR15? If it is necessary, should I use the crimp that the seating dies will provide or would I require a seperate crimping die? If so, which is the best type/manufacturer of crimp dies?

For Semiauto crimping is reccomended I suggest the Lee Factory crimp die.
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Old July 17, 2006, 06:11 AM   #3
Tim R
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For 223 in a AR you will have to Full length resize each and every time. In fact, if you don't size enough, you will have problems chambering and ejecting live rounds.

I try to build match grade 223 for my AR which is used for High Power matches out to 600 yards. I do not crimp bullets as there is no crimp groove on SMK bullets.

I have reloaded some brass as many as 10 times with my Hornaday Match Bushing die but by the time I get there, the rifle won't shoot them as well as brass with fewer re-loads on them.

I currently reload on a single stage press and fire 3 matches a month plus practice. There is some thought a strong "O" press makes for more uniform brass. I also load match 308 and '06 and they do work the press harder than the 223. The powder I use for the 223 won't meter well in a progressive so while it does get tiring working the press all the time, I do like the way it shoots.
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Last edited by Tim R; July 17, 2006 at 02:56 PM.
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Old July 17, 2006, 01:01 PM   #4
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I would not use a progressive press for rifles. The powder will not measure well. If you do use a progressive press, only use ball powder. It will meter fine, like H380. However, if you are going to shoot competively, I'd go single stage, and make sure you invest in a powder trickler and a VERY good digital scale, or save the money and get a good balance scale. I'm prejudice toward the balance scale, but that's just me. I may catch some heat for this next statement but I'm going to make it anyway, some will disagree but...It is dangerous to reload a max charge in a progressive press with non ball powder. So if you go progressive, stay .5 gr under max and you will be fine. If you are at max, weigh every powder charge every time.
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Old July 17, 2006, 05:26 PM   #5
TexanInOhio4
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Thanks for the help!

I've narrowed down the rest of my goodies to the following:

RCBS .223 Rem Competition Full Length Die Set
RCBS #10 Shellholder and #10 Competition Extended Shellholder (for Comp. seating die)
Lee Universal Decapping Die
Lee .223 Factory Crimp Die
Lee ZipTrim
Lee Case Trimmer (cutter/lock stud/pilot/holder)

Am I going the right direction? Anyone had any issues with any of these items??

The total with everything here and above will come out to around $420.00 including shipping if I buy through MidSouthShooters.com...$25 less than MidwayUSA.

Last edited by TexanInOhio4; July 17, 2006 at 06:02 PM.
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Old July 17, 2006, 05:28 PM   #6
Bullet94
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For dies I like these –

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=592925

If you want better –

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpag...eitemid=248565
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Old July 17, 2006, 06:30 PM   #7
Tim R
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Quote:
Lee Universal Decapping Die
Lee .223 Factory Crimp Die
Lee ZipTrim
Lee Case Trimmer (cutter/lock stud/pilot/holder)

Am I going the right direction? Anyone had any issues with any of these items??
I would think you could do away with the decapping die, as the sizing die does it too. I have not found a need for the FCD in several 1000 match 223 rounds.

I have a Forster case trimmer which uses different pilots depending on cartridge size. A couple of spins on the handle and it's a done deal.

Bullet, you won't like the Redding match seating die if you ever have to make compressed loads....The Forster is the bomb.
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Old July 17, 2006, 06:56 PM   #8
Buckythebrewer
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Just get a lee single stage press+ lee dies.For best safety get the lee factory crimp die(It will work fine with any bullet as long as you don't over crimp).It helps if you forget to trim properly as well(great product!)..I have used lee products for years and im not saying they will do everything better than anything else but I use the Lee pacesetter (full length die) and the Lee collet (neck sizing die) for my ar15 at ranges as far as 625yrds so far hitting under M.O.A. ..However DO NOT USE THE NECK sizing die unless you have a way to measure shoulder displacement..The general rule is always full length resize and trim your cases( I also highly recommend crimping with the lee FCDie).I usually don't crimp for long range but I am going to try it to see if I lose accuracy or not(my rifle seems to eat anything)..My whole reloading kit was very cheap and VERY easy to use and learn good reloading habits and I have used it for years with long range being my most recent passion and the equipment is still up to the task..Also buy a case gauge to double check your sizing and if you wan't to take it a step further and make your brass last longer get a comparitor mic like from RCBS(I think around $40)You can take before and after shoulder displacement measurements so when You adjust your die you can size the least(bump shoulder) while still being safe.You can also measure bullet seating and throat measurements with the rcbs comparitor mic.

You can size your brass too much and that is bad because of the possibilty of head case seperation.The goal is to do the measurements and find what your rifle would be the safest and best with for die adjustment.

Like I said for what you get you would be best with Lee products and when you find a die or product you must have to do a specific task you will by then be making a smart purchase that will probably make the difference you were aiming for..good luck and be safe( use start loads always until you are sure of your pressures)
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Old July 17, 2006, 07:08 PM   #9
Buckythebrewer
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BTW if you wan't to save money I beliave you can get a whole reloading kit from lee with dies for way under $200 total..If your trying to save money and get great ammo there is only one choice .don't believe for a second you have to spend That money on the rockchucker,The press is the most UN-important part of making good accurate ammo so why spend all that money on it????My cheap single stage lee press is many years old and has reloaded many 1000's of rounds and now is still up to the task of 625yard 5 shot groups well under 6"Compare my LEE challenger press and price to that rockchucker(and im not saying it isn't a nice press its just not needed).
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Old July 18, 2006, 12:45 PM   #10
TexanInOhio4
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"Also buy a case gauge to double check your sizing and if you wan't to take it a step further and make your brass last longer get a comparitor mic like from RCBS(I think around $40)You can take before and after shoulder displacement measurements so when You adjust your die you can size the least(bump shoulder) while still being safe.You can also measure bullet seating and throat measurements with the rcbs comparitor mic."

Is this the mic you're talking about? Dillon's case gauge description says that it "allows you adjust your size die to ensure proper headspace." Will the case gauge do the same thing as the above mic if you take a step reading off the case head and the gauge with a dial caliper? Either way, once you get a measurement, how do you know how far to adjust the die for the least amount of sizing?

I was also looking into getting a chamber length gauge and a bullet comparator for determining trim length and seating depth.

Thanks again for any help!

Mike

Last edited by TexanInOhio4; July 18, 2006 at 03:46 PM.
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Old July 18, 2006, 05:35 PM   #11
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I started out reloading .223 with a Lee 4 Hole Turret Press Deluxe Reloading Kit. With all the other already metioned extras(case trimmer, tumbler, ect.) I'm set up to load 5 different calibers on it for under $400. I use regular Lee dies with the FCD and the only measuring I do is checking the brass length every 2-3 firings and of course the seating depth. With an almost stock mini-14 with a cheap BSA red dot, I can get 1" groups at 100 yards, I can't find any factory ammo that will give me that performance. My advice is Lee stuff works vey well, and keep it simple. Get what you need to get started safely and get the other bells and whistles stuff when/if you realize you need them.
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Old July 19, 2006, 06:24 PM   #12
Bullet94
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TexanInOhio4

The link you have to the RCBS precision mic is the correct tool for measuring headspace. To use this simply take a case that has been fired in your rifle and measure it in the mic. Then subtract .002/.003 from the measurement to use when adjusting your sizing die. This measurement will be the measurement you will use for your rifle and brass to have the correct headspace. All you do is size your fired case in your sizing die measure it with the mic and adjust your die as needed.

I have a case gauge but I never use it.

I don’t use a chamber length gauge for a semi-auto. Just use the trim and MAX case length listed in your loading manual.

I have a bullet comparator and it is nice when seating longer than mag length, but if you feed from your mag it is not needed.

The only time I crimp for 223 is when there is a crimp groove on the bullet. Most (if not all) target bullets don’t have a crimp groove.
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Old July 19, 2006, 06:28 PM   #13
Buckythebrewer
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Texan ,That is the rcbs gauge I was talking about..The thing that I find is I use a case gauge by feel with the fingers to know if my ammo is in the safe ball park,,But what I notice is its hard to use a regular case gauge by feel to know exactly what the before and after measurements are.I use BOTH because the regular case gauge(I have a $12 dollar wilson)Is fast to check my ammo,And the rcbs is more precise for adjusting my Sizing die(for my accurate long range ammo).Its hard to go by feel and tell how many thousandths difference there is with a simple case gauge, but with the rcbs gauge it is very easy.

Say you measure from the head to the shoulder on your unfired factory ammo with the rcbs comparitor mic and it reads .004 under saami minimum standard,,Then you fire the round and it reads .001 OVER saami minimum standard.Your goal for a semi-auto 223 is to size at least .004 smaller than your chamber for safety(You wan't that bolt to lock-up with no problems) You can adjust your dies, and read how far your adjusting them with the rcbs comparitor mic by measureing your case while you adjust your dies( a little at a time) until it bumps the shoulder back to around .003 under saami minimum standards( sorry if I said that confusingly ).

That way your brass does not have to violently expand back to fit your chAMBER AS BAD.It usually makes a more accurate cartridge as well as make your brass last longer.At the very least get the cause gauge and drop your ammo in it to make sure your in the ball park,But I highly recommend the rcbs comapritor mic to go along with it . I will admit I have bumped the shoulder only .002 smaller than my chamber and it feeds fine and shoots great @ 625yrds but technicly it is unsafe to do so(and it can lead to ar15's blowing up),,You should size .004 or so under your chamber size to be safe.good luck

The rcbs gauge reads from the head to the datum line on the case(near were the shoulder ends on the outside of the case),I don't think there is an accurate way for you to measure that with a dial indicator but I could be wrong..
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Old July 19, 2006, 07:29 PM   #14
Buckythebrewer
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I would also like to add I have never cleaned my brass with a tumbler or cleaners and I have had complete reliable and accurate ammo(primer pocket cleaning and seating very important though)for 1000's rounds.I am also still using the same dies with no problems and my chambers have no problems either.So if you don't wan't to be fussy with a tumbler or cleaners you don't have to(Even the lee manual says that)They are more hassle then they are worth IMO.(another way to save some money on stuff that won't make a difference)
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