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Discussion Starter #1
I reload more than quite a bit of handgun ammo, Got my progressive press, and a pretty good system going. Have tons of brass, about 50 K primers in stock, lots and lots of powder, bullets, 2 tumblers, etc.

My system works for me, I can load a few thousand rounds at a time, and then just forget about it for a while.

Now I am considering loading .223 ammo, possibly later this year (after I relocate). Just began collecting some brass. Have to do some research (That's what you guys are here for), and then invest in some additional dies, and whatever.

Seems like it's gonna be a whole lot more time consuming. Since time is money, I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble.

Here's some questions off the top of my head:

Do I have to separate the 5.56 brass from the .223 brass?
Will my vibratory tumblers work, or would a sonic cleaner, or one that uses liquid and stainless steel media be better?
Is de-priming gonna be a problem? Will I need that tool that RCBS sells for the primer pockets?
Have to lube the cases, right?

I shoot my AR's pretty much for fun. Enjoying the SSAR-15 stock, which eats up ammo like poop through a goose. Shooting mostly Tula ammo so far. It's been extremely reliable. Cases are non-reloadable, but it's fairly inexpensive. Both of my AR's function without any issues.

I got a while before I take the plunge, but I figure it's never too soon to start asking questions
 

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Here are the answers to your questions:

1) Yes, separate .223 from 5.56 brass. The latter is heavier and has a slightly smaller volume which could run up pressures as you approach maximum.

2) A vibratory tumbler will work fine.

3) Any conventional .223/5.56 die will deprime 5.56 brass just fine. You will need an RCBS primer pocket swaging die set or a Lyman combo primer pocket tool to get rid of the crimp. Process the whole batch once, then you can shift to the Progressive Press. You will need to keep the brass separate, though, from new, once-fired 5.56 brass.

4) Yes, you MUST lube the cases (unless you enjoy having stuck cases in your dies, that is ;) )
 

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Excellent starter guide here.
 

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Here are the answers to your questions:

1) Yes, separate .223 from 5.56 brass. The latter is heavier and has a slightly smaller volume which could run up pressures as you approach maximum.

2) A vibratory tumbler will work fine.

3) Any conventional .223/5.56 die will deprime 5.56 brass just fine. You will need an RCBS primer pocket swaging die set or a Lyman combo primer pocket tool to get rid of the crimp. Process the whole batch once, then you can shift to the Progressive Press. You will need to keep the brass separate, though, from new, once-fired 5.56 brass.

4) Yes, you MUST lube the cases (unless you enjoy having stuck cases in your dies, that is ;) )
This is good advice plus you'll have to check case length after you deprime. You'll probably have to trim!! When you lube the cases make sure you lube inside the neck as it helps to keep them from stretching. I reload for my AR but I only shoot about 250 a week from it. Most of that is long range!! IMR 8208 powder is working well for me.

BW
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Picked up some bullets today from my buddy. He is a big time reloader, and bullet caster. That's what he does for a living, works from his house.

His opinion is, It used to be not really worth the time and effort, but with ammo prices going up, pretty soon it may be the way to go, if not already. He also said that for long range shooting accuracy, reloading is the only way to go. As I said, I shoot my AR's mostly for fun.

I guess I'll just keep picking up brass, and doing my research.

Worst case scenario: I'll trade BW a bunch of once fired .223 brass for beer, when I get to AZ:D
 

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Reloading .223 Should I even consider it?
With that slidefire stock, you're probably going to have to. You done built yourseff a bullet eatin' machine. :D
 

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I'm just going to add a note on what I read about reloading .223
Fully re-size new and range found brass, once. Everything fired from your rifle should only be Neck sized henceforth.
 

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That'll work!!! LOL Hurry up & get there!!


BW
 

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I'm just going to add a note on what I read about reloading .223
Fully re-size new and range found brass, once. Everything fired from your rifle should only be Neck sized henceforth.
If you don't full length size, it may not cycle properly in semi-autos or lever actions. I'm not saying it won't work. But to have 100% reliability I will continue to full-length size my .223s. In bolt guns, I completely agree with you.
 

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If you don't full length size, it may not cycle properly in semi-autos or lever actions. I'm not saying it won't work. But to have 100% reliability I will continue to full-length size my .223s. In bolt guns, I completely agree with you.
According to the Lee Reloading Manual you need to initially full length size the case. After they've been fired, if you're going to fire it in the same weapon the recommendation is to neck size only. The reason is that the cartridge has been formed to the exact dimensions of the chamber it was fired in, and Lee claims better accuracy if you don't full length size them. Lee says your brass will last a LOT longer that way, too. My inclination would be to follow Lee's advice, and if feeding in a semi auto was problematic then go back to full length resizing. JAT
 

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I could write a whole pag yammering about this but I won't. Reloading rifle is a PITA compared to pistol. There is a pile of small things you need to read up on first. The one thing I will mention is when you do buy your sizing die, and yes for an AR you want a full length sizing die, buy one that you can find a carbide neck sizer for it. That will make life a little better right from the start.
 

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According to the Lee Reloading Manual you need to initially full length size the case. After they've been fired, if you're going to fire it in the same weapon the recommendation is to neck size only. The reason is that the cartridge has been formed to the exact dimensions of the chamber it was fired in, and Lee claims better accuracy if you don't full length size them. Lee says your brass will last a LOT longer that way, too. My inclination would be to follow Lee's advice, and if feeding in a semi auto was problematic then go back to full length resizing. JAT
My take on it is this - there's so much once-fired range brass coming out of my friends' ARs that I don't worry about saving it for later use. Process it once, ready it for re-loading, shoot it and don't pick it up. You never know when you're going to pick up some cheapskate reloader's 9th-time-loaded case, and you don't want that bloody bastard in your batch.
 

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another reason to reload other than cost is that 5.56 is the military round for current weapons. There cold be another shortage of that ammo, so if nothing else buy the dies and keep the brass for a rainy day.
 

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Lots of good advice.
I have only one thing to add.
Some .223 and 5.56 brass is Berdan primed. Inspect the brass after cleaning and toss any Berdan primed cases. While most of the brass is Boxer primed, replacing the decapping pin gets annoying after a while.
 

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I dunno Jake...do they make a kinetic puller for .223/5.56? (Sorry, couldn't resist)

I don't even have an AR yet and I've already been scrounging brass and have my dies set aside. When I do get to reloading it, I'll be treating it just as I do any other rifle brass. Tumble clean, lube, full length resize, and trim. Gets to be a routine and after a while the extra steps won't even be that aggravating.
 

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This is good advice plus you'll have to check case length after you deprime. You'll probably have to trim!! When you lube the cases make sure you lube inside the neck as it helps to keep them from stretching. I reload for my AR but I only shoot about 250 a week from it. Most of that is long range!! IMR 8208 powder is working well for me.

BW
Good point, BW! There are special brushes just for the purpose of lubing the inside of the case mouth. I totally agree, trimming these cases is essential, especially after the first firing or for range pickup brass. I haven't seen too many reloaded 5.56/.223 brass at the range; it is nearly all once-fired military. RCBS does have their X dies series that are supposed to eliminate case stretch for rounds fired in military rifles. Also, don't bother with small-base dies. They are completely unnecessary these days.
 

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Picked up some bullets today from my buddy. He is a big time reloader, and bullet caster. That's what he does for a living, works from his house.

His opinion is, It used to be not really worth the time and effort, but with ammo prices going up, pretty soon it may be the way to go, if not already. He also said that for long range shooting accuracy, reloading is the only way to go. As I said, I shoot my AR's mostly for fun.

I guess I'll just keep picking up brass, and doing my research.

Worst case scenario: I'll trade BW a bunch of once fired .223 brass for beer, when I get to AZ:D
Yes, it's not really worth loading 9mm right now either, but I'm still experimenting with it so that when the time comes, I'm ready. It won't be cheap forever. During the "Great Ammo Shortage of 2008" you couldn't even find much 9mm.
 

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I'm just going to add a note on what I read about reloading .223
Fully re-size new and range found brass, once. Everything fired from your rifle should only be Neck sized henceforth.
I'm confused!! What else is new?? I just looked up the collet dies at Midway & they say not recommended for autoloaders, slide or lever guns!! Not trying to start an argument but which is it?? I fullsize all my .223 & I've reloaded my cases about 8 times already!

BW
 

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Collet dies are for bottle neck rifle cartridges. The idea is that you don't have to full length size a case once it is fired in your bolt action's chamber. That's called "fire forming" and the only thing you need to do is reset the neck tension for the next bullet. There are also body dies that don't touch the neck or shoulder. As I said above, reloading rifle is a PITA and needs to be really read up on since even what I just said could be gone into in much greater detail with a lot more added on for better explanation. Think, setting shoulder, where the case stretches, what that means, and how to check it inside before it's bad enough to see on the outside and risk a case head rupture, and the needs of auto loader vs. bolt action vs. lever rifle... There is so much more to reloading rifle...
 

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LOL I'm still lost!


BW
 
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