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Old June 22, 2013, 10:07 PM   #1
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Reloading 223 with lead bullets and other advice?

Hello All!

I've decided to finally start wading into rifle reloading. I have quite a bit of experience reloading handgun cartridges(38spl, 357mag, 9mm, and 45ACP/Super but I've never dealt with necked brass.

What I want is some basic advice on getting started with 223:What to do, what to look out for, what to definitely NOT do. I will be shooting these exclusively in a single shot and bolt action rifles. I also plan to shoot lead out of it because I'm a caster and lead runs in my veins(figuratively and hopefully not literally)

I have the case lube, Lee dies, and my trusty Lyman Book with the recipe.

So any help will GREATLY appreciated!
Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Also I WANT to cast for 223 but not sure what mold to get. Just the quick look I've given provides no solid "THIS IS THE MOLD FOR 223". Any advice there would be appreciated as well.
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Last edited by kealil; June 22, 2013 at 10:12 PM.
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Old June 23, 2013, 03:13 AM   #2
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kealil, 6/23/13

Rifle casting and reloading is a whole different ball game than pistol calibers. The alloys are different and usually you need to use a gas check. I cast and reload for 223/556 (LMT-AR), 308 (30/30 and 30-06) and I have a .270 mold waiting to be tried out. Take a look at the cast boolits website
( as they have great info for first time rifle casters and .223 casting/reloading. Good luck.

best wishes- oldandslow
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Old June 26, 2013, 08:54 AM   #3
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The only lead bullets I use for rifle is Missouri bullet company (308) but they don’t make 22 cal. I have no idea where to go but I know that Hornady makes 22 cal gas checks.
Lyman makes the following molds for 22: 225438 225415.
I would also suggest getting Lyman’s cast bullet handbook.
One question, what are you shooting these in. I would not recommend them in an AR.
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Old June 26, 2013, 05:05 PM   #4
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There are no set in stone rules. Common, simple safety covers most everything. Casting for a .38 is no different than for a .223. The bullet selection may change. Rifles, small bore more so, are best served by very fast bullets and jackets make that more practical. So, super fast is limited, add at the other end, weight. Here comes the rub. That super small bore with the fast twist just may or may not like your slow(er) heavy (longer) bullets.

Things to contemplate:
Heavy is more energy - small bore makes that bullet longer - lots of good lube is great help - hard only helps to a point.

There is a fear that lead will be stripped off and clog/block the barrels gas port (on auto loaders with them). I will not say that this can't happen. I have pushed lead out of Garands with no sign of any lead in the gas system. Same for 66 grain pills out of an AR-180 (no they didn't stabilize well - 1 in 12 twist) and I found no lead in the gas system. The boys loading up suppressed 300 Blackouts often used very heavy lead (the twists are balanced for this) and no one is complaining about lead in their DI gas M4s.

I gave up on lead out of first a .222 Rem followed with .223 Rem/5.56. It ended up being a lot of work for a little better .22 RF.

Now lead out of an '06 or 303 Brit is another matter.

Don't push lead hard and watch those super volume cases with so little propellant in side.

One other thing, super clean that barrel when switch from jackets to lead or back.

Be safe and enjoy.

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Old June 26, 2013, 06:00 PM   #5
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I guess I will take some heat for this but I do not like to shoot lead bullets thru any of the high velocity 22 centerfires. Even with gas checks, you will get leading. If you can keep the velocity down to a 22LR level, you are OK.........but that brings up the arguement -- why not a 22LR instead.
Been casting & shooting casts for 40 yrs and IMHO larger diameter have always been best.
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Old June 26, 2013, 07:46 PM   #6
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I just started casting for my AR 223 and so far is has worked quit well. I won't say it is possible for every gun because I have heard enough people say they can't get it to work, but I have also heard enough people say it works well enough for them so I figured I would give it a go.

My mold is made by NOE (custom mold maker from Utah) and it is a clone of an RCBS 225-55 My bullets come out right close to 225 and about 62 grains. I am using a home made lube called simple lube designed by a member of the castboolits forum. It really is quite simple Petroleum jelly beeswax, ATF, and 2Stroke oil.

225-55 is a widely used mold and seems to be fairly popular.

As was suggested above, visit the castboolits website and do some reading. They are good folks and will help you out quite a bit.
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