Hornady Case Prep Center?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by twoclones, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. twoclones

    twoclones Well-Known Member

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    I have a Dillon 550b press and already load several handgun calibers. I'd like to start loading .223 for my AR and need to know about preparing the 5.56 brass I have bought.

    Is the Dillon RT 1200b the way to go or is the Hornady Case Prep Center a better option?
    With the Dillon, what does one do about chamfering, neck brushing and primer pocket cleaning?
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    A lot will depend on what you are doing with the brass.

    If it is for an AR with a big appetite for ammo then go with the RT 1200. It will size and trim the cases extremely fast. If using it on a 650 with a case feeder, it turns out a trimmed and sized case almost as fast as one can pull the handle. The trim process is done by a high speed carbide bit that is extremely sharp. Leaves very little, if any burr on the case mouth. Most AR's "eat" boat tailed bullets that seat extremely easy so no additional de-burring or chamfering is necessary.

    If you are a finicky, get the last bit of accuracy possible from a round, shot only in a bolt action rifle, perhaps the Hornady case prep center is a better option. The only reason it is "fast" when compared with other methods is that everything you will need to prep a case is there, all turning at once. It still is a "hand job" as there is no automation with this unit as there is with the Dillon setup when used on a progressive press. If you are used to trimming on a lathe, then chamfering, deburring, cleaning a primer pocket or uniforming it, all in a separate operation then the Hornady does offer a "one stop shop" for these services. Not fast, just convenient.

    I use the RT 1200 set up on a separate tool head. All my .223 cases go through the trimmer/sizer and have been de-primed with a universal depriming tool. They are then cleaned in Stainless Steel Pin media which tends to remove any sharp edges remaining at the case mouth while removing every bit of carbon from all surfaces, inner and outer, of the case.

    Needless to say, I am feeding three hungry AR's so I want to process as much brass as possible in as little time as possible. For my high volume brass needs the Hornady Case Prep Center isn't fast enough. For my "accuracy" ammo, it still doesn't offer me any improvement as I trim all my .308 and 30-06 brass on an RCBS lathe type trimmer using their 3-way cutter. Cuts case to length and de-burrs/chamfers at the same time. Primer pockets are cleaned when the cases are cleaned in the Stainless Media.

    Just my view on the topic based on my needs. Other's needs and desires may vary.
  3. varmiter

    varmiter Member

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    i have a hornady case prep center and as far as speed not much more so than a hand turner other than the the other powered station and does not offer a carbide cutter(big minus)but does do a good accurate job.
  4. twoclones

    twoclones Well-Known Member

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    "Stainless Steel Pin Media" sounds very effective. I'm guessing it's expensive to get set up but lasts a long time. ?
  5. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    There are a couple of sources now. STM is fairly expensive at about $50 for 5 lbs but that's shipped to your door. This company, Stainless, Zinc, Aluminum and Copper Cut Wire Shot - Pellets, LLC sells the same product for less and in varying quantities.

    The nice thing about the stainless media, aside from it's superior cleaning qualities, is that it is permanent. No more 40# bag in the corner for replacing worn media.

    I remember a saying that a tire dealer in Lewiston, ID used to put on his sign, "It's not how much you pay, It's how often you have to pay it"! Buy the stainless media once and you can "will" it to your heirs along with the other good reloading equipment you have.
  6. twoclones

    twoclones Well-Known Member

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    Which size stainless media do you use/recommend?

    I'm checking into buying the gear to reload .223 at Brian Enos - Competition Shooting Books, Slide-Glide, DVDs & Reloading and this is going to be a fairly large purchase {again}. I wonder just how much I will save by reloading .223? I originally bought my 550b to load .500 S&W which reduced my per round expense by something like 75%. Not expecting that big of a saving from .223 but would like for the gear to pay for it's self a few times :)
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    The Stainless Steel media I have measures .038" avg in dia and .268" long. This is working great for all my large and small primer pocket pistol and rifle brass.

    Savings when loading .223 will vary, depending on what your component costs are. I am currently loading .223 ammo using 55gr Montana Gold FMJ-BT bullets that I buy in Case Lot quantities. I buy my powder (AA2230) and primers (Wolf or Tula .223 rifle primers) from Powder Valley Inc. By purchasing in just under 50# quantities I can get all the powder and primers shipped under the same Hazmat fee so it amounts to about $0.50 per pound of powder or box (1,000) primers.

    By doing the above I am able to load for a cost of $0.16/round. This of course assumes one already has the brass.

    This price equals $160 per thousand or $3.20/box(20). Most of ammo, same bullet weight and speed, sells for at least twice this unless you want to shoot the steel cased stuff.
  8. twoclones

    twoclones Well-Known Member

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    Well, I ordered the Dillon caliber change kit and swager {have military brass} from Brian Enos and he talked me out of buying the trimmer. At least for now... We'll see how that works out.
  9. Mark W.

    Mark W. Well-Known Member

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    I use a older Makita 9.6V rechargeable drill (the right angle drive type) to spin my case prep tools. Works great
  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    The Dillon Rapid Trim is great for high volumes of cases. If you are only trimming a couple of hundred, trimmers such as the Lee are as good as any.
  11. chainsaw

    chainsaw Active Member

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    How long does it take for the media to eat through your tumbler tub?
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    Have used mine several months now, with an average of 2-3 loads per week. The shine on the inside of the "Tub", which is a RCBS Sidewinder drum, hasn't even been broken.


    There's a lot of "voodoo" being passed around about stainless steel pins regarding tub wear, surface hardening of the cases, etc. They are merely a light weight pin that weighs about .5 grains that cleans and polishes by rubbing. The same as corn cob and walnut shell only it's small enough and hard enough to get into the case and clean the inside as well as primer pockets. The tumbling cases weighing 30-200 grains do far more damage than the pins will ever do, not only to the tub, but to other cases as well.
  13. chainsaw

    chainsaw Active Member

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    Makes sense to me,guess I'll be getting my tumbler some stainless media.Thanks.