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Old August 12, 2018, 04:35 PM   #1
Sgt_Wade
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.223 rem & 5.56 reloading question

I am brand new to reloading. Just set up my RCBS press and have used hornady brass (brand new) for 6.5 creedmoor. I didn't have any issues doing that. My question is this. I have tons of spent 5.56 brass that I kept for reloading when I finally got into it; can I used .223 rem rcbs or hornady dies to make .223 rem ammo out of 5.56 brass or do I have to get brand new .223 rem brass??

Thank you all, I appreciate your expertise. I haven't found a direct answer via google.
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Old August 12, 2018, 04:46 PM   #2
Unclenick
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Welcome to the forum.

You are good to go. I've looked at the military and SAAMI cartridge drawings and the case dimensions are the same on the outside, so the same sizing dies work fine with both. The only exception is that every once in a while you run into a self-loader that wants the brass sized extra small to feed smoothly, and for those you need a small base die. But I've never owned a rifle like that myself. Some military brass is harder, so have a good sizing lube. But except for a couple of foreign brands, the case capacity in .223 and 5.56 is also about the same (unlike .308/7.62, for which military brass tends to be a little less roomy inside), so they are interchangeable.

The only thing to watch out for is that military 5.56 brass, and some civilian .223 brass will have crimped primers to prevent the primers coming out when firing in a machine gun. You need a tool to remove the crimps after decapping or you may have some problems seating primers. Sometimes you can get away with it, but it can be hard and at other times it can't be done.
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Old August 12, 2018, 04:53 PM   #3
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What Unclenick said.
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Old August 13, 2018, 06:29 PM   #4
Sgt_Wade
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Awesome thanks for that information. I enjoy the process and the learning that is involved. Thank again and I will be asking many more question I am sure, when they arise.
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Old August 14, 2018, 01:23 PM   #5
mkl
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Just be sure to remember what UncleNick said:

Quote:
The only thing to watch out for is that military 5.56 brass, and some civilian .223 brass will have crimped primers to prevent the primers coming out when firing in a machine gun. You need a tool to remove the crimps after decapping or you may have some problems seating primers. Sometimes you can get away with it, but it can be hard and at other times it can't be done.
Search the many threads on this forum re removing the military crimp.
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Old August 14, 2018, 02:38 PM   #6
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Being the 5.56 brass is thicker , my want to lower the listed charge by one grain . Start lower is always the safe way . I shoot 308 and I like the brass that's on the thick side , even medium loads will fill the case .
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Old August 14, 2018, 03:12 PM   #7
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As Unclenick said, just remove the crimp.
Someone had recommended using Lake City brass for my wife's 223. More volume actually, more consistant weight.
I'm shooting 69gr MatchKings with Alliant Power Pro 2000.
Good velocities, temp stable, and low Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation.
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Old August 14, 2018, 09:23 PM   #8
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cw308,

As std7mag says, the 5.56 military brass is not thicker than .223. This shows just the opposite (scrollbar about 1/3 of the way down). In .30-06 the difference is so small as to be negligible except for some lots of Winchester brass that have more capacity. It is only 7.62 that is heavier and thicker than .308, and if you follow some of member Metal God's recent posts on .308 brass capacity (in this thread), the difference has been getting smaller over time, with the lightest commercial cases gradually getting a bit heavier.
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Old August 15, 2018, 08:49 PM   #9
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Dang...I'm glad I joined. Holy cow yall know so much. Great resource. I am learning so dang much it's insane.
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Old August 15, 2018, 09:42 PM   #10
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My favorite brass is the Lake City 5.56 NATO. It does require a bit more case prep due to having to ream the primer pocket to get rid of the crimps but it has a bit more volume and it seems to be more durable.
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Old Yesterday, 06:28 AM   #11
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What UncleNick, and others, have said.

I also load .223 and use a mix of .223 and 5.56 brass. I also will sort the brass. 5.56 is a bit thicker (can't measure the thickness, but 5.56 cases weigh more than .223 cases). If outside dimensions are equal, that means inside dimensions must be different...5.56 having less case capacity...meaning higher pressure with the same powder charge, bullet weight and seating depth.

I usually back off on the powder charge a grain or so with 5.56 brass.
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Old Yesterday, 12:08 PM   #12
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I would check case thickness off the case neck in two locations 12 & 6 o'clock . Same as when checking neck tension .
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Old Yesterday, 03:34 PM   #13
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If you plan on doing more than just a few cases at a time. I advise getting a primer pocket swage. The bench top models are a one time expense of around $100.00. Some case prep kits have a reamer that does work. Make sure if you chuck it in a drill that is on low RPM setting. I have the swage that goes on my RCBS press. When finances allow I will order one of the bench top models so I can mount it to a length of 2x6, and clamp it to a table to do the work while sitting down.
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Old Yesterday, 03:54 PM   #14
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As long as we are talking about primers...Learn the difference between Boxer primers
and Berdan primers . I learned the hard way about them.

Even after swaging the crimp on military cases the brass will do a little spring back , use a Primer Pocket Uniforming Tool , to finish the job and cut away that last little bit that makes it hard to seat some primers. Then you will be good to go.
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