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Old October 2, 2012, 07:08 PM   #1
Metal god
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Reloading /Difference between Military and commerial brass ?

I do not reload at this time but keep all my brass for when ever I do . I like to slowly waid out into the waters before jumping in .

So I saw this reply on another thread
Quote:
I was surprised when I loaded winchester brass in place of military brass. With military, I used 25.9 grains of 748, and with winchester it took 26.4 grains to get good results. Brass thickness made a significant difference.
And it got me thinking . What is the difference between Military and commerial brass ?

How can I tell them apart once they are fired and all sitting in the same bucket ?

Is it as easy as looking at the bottom of the case to see how its marked ?

If its 5.56 its military brass period , no matter who makes it ? and vise versa for the 223 as far as commercial ?

Can 223 brass handle the same pressuers as 5.56 ?

Do you not worry about looking to see what type of case it is and just wiegh each one before you reload and that will tell you how to proceed to the next step ?


Lets say I have a 223 bolt gun and an AR15 chambered in 5.56 and want to load the perfect rond for each . Lets also say I like the same bullet and wieght for both or even same bullet different wieghts . How do I differentiate 223 from 5.56 when reloading

Im sorry if it's alot to ask and if one answer begets the next which Im guessing will happen .

Anything that helps me understand a little better would be greatly appreciated
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Last edited by Metal god; October 2, 2012 at 08:47 PM.
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Old October 2, 2012, 11:28 PM   #2
Marco Califo
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Quote:
How do I differentiate 223 from 5.56 when reloading
Use only comm 223 brass for 223 loads and 5.56 brass for 5.56 loads.
The first thing you are going to need are the 5.56 rifle dies.
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Old October 3, 2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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For all practical purposes the 5.56 and the 223 cases are identical. It is the pressures to which they are loaded which makes shooting 5.56 in a 223 chamber problemmatic. You can use milsurp cases in your 223 loadings. Run a few through your sizing die and trim to length and then weigh them. You will find after weighing maybe 20 or so that there is a weight range. I make 3 piles, one lighter than the range, one heavier than the weight range and the vast majority within about 2 grains of each other in the middle.

I toss or sell the heavies, and work up loads in the big, middle +/- 2 grain pile, and then use the light ones for 200 yard loads or less.

Oddly enough they all seem to shoot pretty darn good. Just cull the heavies.

YMMV.
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Old October 3, 2012, 08:07 AM   #4
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Military brass is typically harder than commercial brass; it's never been intended to be reloaded. It's also less uniform than commercial brass. But it's cheap and may well suit the needs of many folks.

Regarding max pressure specs for the .223 and 5.56 rounds, the NATO version has the same max pressure specs as the .30-06 and its siblings of different calibers; .25-06, .270, etc. Ditto for the .308 Win. and it's sub caliber siblings. The .223 commercial version has lower pressure specs by about 10%. Several 22 caliber centerfire cartridges have the same pressure specs as the 5.56 NATO round. Therefore, the .223 Rem. has lower pressure specs than most modern cartridges.

Last edited by Bart B.; October 3, 2012 at 09:30 AM.
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:38 AM   #5
stnosc
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Quote:
How can I tell them apart once they are fired and all sitting in the same bucket ?
Look at the case headstamp. If it has this symbol, it's military brass:


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Old October 4, 2012, 09:27 AM   #6
243winxb
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Checking the weight of the brass may be helpful.
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Old October 4, 2012, 01:33 PM   #7
Jimro
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This statement:
Quote:
I was surprised when I loaded winchester brass in place of military brass. With military, I used 25.9 grains of 748, and with winchester it took 26.4 grains to get good results. Brass thickness made a significant difference.
Is slightly misleading. Needing 0.5 grain difference in charge weight between brands of brass is very normal within the realm of "commercial" 223 brass.

To put this into perspective this is a 2% difference in charge between the winchester and milsurp brass, this is not anything to get worked up about. Case thickness could be secondary to case hardness (if Winchester were softer it would expand against the chamber walls quicker and give the same "lower pressure" signs as a large case capacity). So, unless you measure with water to be sure that it is in fact case capacity it is nothing to get worked up about.

But whenever you change a component, redo your load work up to ensure safety.

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Old October 4, 2012, 02:21 PM   #8
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I've heard a number of complaints about recent lots of Winchester being softer than they used to be. So it could also be lower bullet pull results from lower neck tension, lowering start pressure.
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