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Old October 16, 2006, 12:06 PM   #1
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Help needed for best setup for loading .223

What is the groups advice on equipment to start reloading .223 cartridges?

Is it better to load these in single steps or goto something like a Turret or Progressive press.

Any help and advice on types and brands of equipment would be appreciated.
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Old October 16, 2006, 12:31 PM   #2
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The multi-station press question depends on volume. If you only load a few a week, get a Lee Anniversary Kit and a set of Lee Dies and get your feet wet. If you are loading for a bolt gun, the Lee Collet die included in their deluxe die set will give you really good results. If you are loading for a semi-auto you need to use a full-length resizing die (included in that Lee set). If you are loading for match shooting in either a bolt or semi-auto, I would recommend the Forster/Bonanza Co-ax press. It is faster than a conventional single-stage because of the quick-change die system, and it floats the die until the case starts in, assuring perfect alignment. If you are shooting volumes of full-auto or just a whole heck of a lot of semi-auto, a progressive press makes the most sense, and you will want a Gracey case trimmer or it's equivalent to trim that volume in a reasonable time frame.

Because rifle cases require periodic trimming, you can't always run them completely through a progessive loading cycle, and will need to interrupt the progression after the sizing step to do the trimming. This needs to be done about once every third reloading cycle or so, depending on your load and chamber dimensions.

If you are reloading for match or other maximum accuracy work, I would also highly recommend the Redding Competition Seater die. I would buy some Sierra match bullets to learn on and to be able to find your best accuracy. Powder choice will depend on your bullet weight choice. IMR 3031 isn't a bad way to cover the weight spectrum, though it may not be the best choice at either extreme. That depends on the gun. Federal 205M benchrest primers are a good choice. If you use heavier bullets and a ball powder like 748, though, you may want to try magnum primers to see if you get any improvement? I would invest in a flashhole deburring tool if you want to use ball powder.

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Old October 17, 2006, 11:12 AM   #3
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The Best setup for loading .223 is a Dillon 1050 but

The Best setup for loading .223 is a Dillon 1050 but that may not be the most cost effective for the first setup for loading .223.

For a bolt gun I'd agree with the Forster/Co-Ax with Redding dies as mentioned above - that's what I use, but I like playing with micrometers and necksizing bushings and all the rest - it gives purpose to the range sessions.

For a semi or full auto or for most purposes in general I'd suggest counting down from a 1050 to a 650 with case feeder to a Hornady with case feeder to a 550 and buy the one that matches the budget.
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Old October 17, 2006, 11:39 AM   #4
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I do not load using huge volumes and need inexpensive caliber conversions, so I simply use a Lee Classic Turret. If I where needing large volumes of a single caliber, I'd invest in a progressive press.

Benchrest shooters only need a single stage press, so Rock Chunkers and the Lee Classic Cast come to mind.
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Old October 18, 2006, 07:00 PM   #5
Tim R
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There is some thought a single stage press will give you more uniform brass, but I do know people who load 223 on a progressive and they seem to shoot just fine.

Uncle Don pretty much hit on the head but I will throw in some observations. The Redding match seater is a good one but won't stand up to compressed loads. I would recommend the Forster match seating die in stead. Some thing just better built. For the sizing die I use a Hornady match bushing die.

Uniforming primer pockets is a must. I also trim using a Forster trimmer.

I like and use Reloader 15. It's cleaner than Varget but I still believe in cleaning my rifle anyways. I also use Remington 7 1/2 BR primers. These work very well in a service rifle with it's free floating firing pin. In a pinch, there is not much group size change using CCI BR primers. I won't use Winchester or Federal Gold match primers as they don't stand up to the hard use of the S/R in matches. I know people use them but one of these days it will bite them at the wrong time.
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Old October 19, 2006, 07:48 AM   #6
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Do u already have a press? I load .223 and All other calibers on a RCBS Pro 2000. after setup of all components i can load 300-350 rnds per hour. if u primarily load 55gr FMJ's it would be more sensible to buy Surplus ammo. components and powder = about 8-10 cents a round. that is reusing brass. U will invest more time into cleaning, trimming, loading, and polishing than the 11-13 cents a round u can buy it for.

if u are doing it for custom loads (vmax,BT's, etc) than yes reloading them will save some $$$. shooting them out of an Ar15 almost guarentees i will not find all of my rounds and they will be dirtier than normal.
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