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Old March 8, 2012, 03:39 AM   #1
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.223 case trimming issues

I've collected several once fired brass from a local range, all of various manufacturers. The shortest of these cases has been 1.730 and have not found 1 case longer then the recommended case length, but the manuels I've seen show that the cases should be trimmed to 1.760. What issues will I likely run into by trimming all my cases to 1.730. Also, when going for accuracy, is being +- .002 long or short on C.O.A.L. significant. Any help would be much appreciated
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Old March 8, 2012, 03:48 AM   #2
chris in va
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Trim to 1.75, leave the others alone.
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Old March 8, 2012, 04:55 AM   #3
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The issue you will find is a shorter case! That is, when you seat a bullet to the same depth (same place on the bullet body) you will have up to .030" less neck to hold the bullet and that much less case body for powder.

This could have no impact for what you are reloading. Some instances it could matter:

- Loads with bulky powder like Varget need all the case capacity they can get, it is usually a heavily compressed load. A shorter case may reduce the max powder charge you can compress into the case.

- A shorter neck (and 1.730" will be quite noticeably shorter) may not allow you to seat shorter bullets out as far to get better accuracy.

BTW, the cases often lengthen after you full length resize. So if you have not resized yet, be sure to measure their lengths AFTER sizing and then trim.

I trim to 1.750" and anything below that gets loaded as-is, and will eventually lengthen to need trimming.
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Old March 8, 2012, 11:34 AM   #4
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The only problem, if it is a problem, is that the cases won't all be the same length. But, if you wanted to trim them all to the short length, I doubt it would matter. I say that because when I was a newbie reloader I accidentally power trimmed all of my 220 Swift brass to a considerably shorter length than recommended. I had just set the trimmer up wrong and started trimming. My Ruger 77V continued to shoot great groups.
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Old March 8, 2012, 12:02 PM   #5
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NW Pilgrim hit it, I think. If you haven't resized them yet, the measurement is meaningless. After resizing them if they are still short, then they have either been trimmed more than usual by a previous reloader or they are a brand that is normally short. You occasionally run into that with specialty bullets, though I don't recall seeing it in .223, specifically.

The short cases won't likely give you a problem with long, heavy bullets. It used to be a standard service rifle match shooter's trick to cut cases for long match bullets down an extra .015"-0.020" below SAAMI minimum just so you didn't have to trim them again before you retired them. That's usually within five loadings for the M14/M1A using military brass. The same could be done with the .223 if you have a fast enough twist for the longer bullets.

The SAAMI spec for .223 cases is 1.740"—1.760". The standard trim length is simply in the middle of that range.
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Old March 8, 2012, 09:03 PM   #6
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Great info Guys, thanks. I'm using the 55 gr V-Max, which seems to seat well. I also wait to measure until after re-sizing each case. I'm trying to be very meticulous about every measurement.
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