.223 ar15 reloading question

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so im starting to get ready to load up some first run (never reloaded rifle rounds, loaded thousands of pistol rounds) batch of .223 ammo, and i need some questions answered please

what is max OAL? ( loading for an ar15 platform)
what is low limit OAL? ( wanting to know a good range to trim the cases to)
do you trim the cases before u size/deprime or after?
is a standard 2 piece die set all i need for loading them ( i have a dillon 550b, conv kit, all the tools)
do u load them with small rifle or magnum primers?
what is a good powder to use?
please help school me in this, because i dont want to load a bad batch
 
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Varget is my favorite powder, SR primers are what the .223 and 5.56 cases are designed for, 2 piece die is all you need

Here's some reading material for the rest of your questions: 223 Rem + 223 AI Cartridge Guide

Start with light loads and work up (like everything else), and never jump straight to max loads (from any book) those max loads are generally tested in bolt actions not gas systems.
 
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If you are looking for a good "general purpose" load for target/plinking purposes here's what I load.

I trim all cases to 1.750"

Max OAL to feed properly in an AR-15 is 2.260" but I finish mine at 2.255. As almost all bullet seaters push the bullet into the case by contacting at or near the "Ogive" this allows for any variations in overall bullet length.

25.4 grains of Accurate 2230 which is inexpensive compared to other powders. It was formulated for the .223 round, burns nice and clean, and meters well in my Dillon powder measure.

For Bullets I buy Montana Gold .224, 55 gr, FMJ-BT's by the case.

For Primers I use the Wolf/Tula .223 primer which I buy from Powder Valley, Inc in Kansas. These primers have lit off many thousands of rounds for me with not a single problem and unlike their equivalent, the CCI 41, can be bought regularly for less than $20/box of 1,000.

All in all these rounds cost me $0.16 each.

As for performance I chronographed several batches through a 16" barrel and they fly at 3015 fps avg. They perform very much like the military M-193 round which is "spec'd" @ 3250 fps or so from a 20" bbl. Allowing for the shorter barrel I would say they are "right on the money".

This combination works well enough for me that it is my only recipe for my AR's. I try and load 3,000 rounds or so (a case from MG is 3500) in a run. Have never had the desire to change the formula.
 
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Definately trim AFTER as sizing re-forms the case to the proper dimensions. My pet load is 25.5 gr of Wincester 748, Winchester small rifle primers and Winchester 55 gr FMJ loaded on a Dillon 1050. Been loading this for years.
 
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Widener's Reloading and Shooting Supply INC

I just purchased a case of 5,000 of these FMJ Lake City projectiles from Wideners last month. This is an excellent price on very good bullets for anyone who reloads a lot of .223 / 5.56 MM. These are some of the most consistent FMJ bullets I've ever come across. They are much better than the FMJ Winchester 55 gr. bullets I bought from Midway last year. They come in sealed Poly bags of 1,000 each. Bill T.
 
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do u trim the cases to length before or after u size/deprime them?
I actually trim and size at the SAME time. I use a Dillon XL-650 with case feeder for all my .223 reloading. I have a tool head with a universal de-priming die in Station 1 and a Dillon Rapid trim on station 3. The trimmer is mounted on a proprietary sizing die and trims all the cases to length using a high speed motor with a carbide bit. I guess that technically the trimming occurs after the sizing as it happens at the top of the stroke, after the case has been pushed all the way through the sizing die. This system does not use an expander ball in the sizing process and since I load only Boat Tail bullets I have noticed no issues with the case mouth being too small to start a bullet. Might be different for the "bolt action" guys that are loading flat based bullets but for AR "plinking/target" the 55gr FMJ-BT seems to be the best all around.

When the cases are de-primed, sized/trimmed, they then go into the cleaning process. Change tool heads and then ready to load. With the Dillon progressive I have found it necessary to put a sizing die that I have removed the de-priming rod/expander from in Station 1. I back it off a turn or so so that all it does is center the case in the shell holder so there are no issues at the priming station.
 
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Wow I googled montana gold 55gr and did not get their website.

Best I've found is 62gr for 92/1000
Here's their website: https://secure.mooseweb.com/montanagoldbullet.com/pricelist.tpl

I order 55 gr FMJ-BT by the case. $273 Delivered to my door. (.078/bullet)

I also order a lot of their 124gr JHP 9mm's by the case that cost me $0.082 per bullet.

Don't forget to include freight/shipping when comparing. Not every vendor pays this and an extra $5-$25 on a bill is an unpleasant surprise.
 
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While not everybody has their own opinion, you should use small base dies for semi-autos for reliable ammo. For trimming LOTS of brass the best way like Deadshot2 said is the Dillon rapid trim...spendy but well worth it. I also run mine in a xl650 but I load my 5.56 on a Dillon 1050. Just depends on how fast you want to get things done and how much you want to spend. :s0112:
 
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Ok. Do I need to look for a special die set for loading for an ar15platform? And what is a good kind of trimmer to use to do alot of brass?
I agree for reloading the AR-15 it is best to use a Small Base Resizing Die. They cost no more, and give an extra margin of reliability when feeding ammunition into a weapon with a smaller match type chamber, or a very dirty one.

As for case trimmers I recommend the Giraud Powered Case Trimmer. Especially if your going to be trimming a large amount of brass. The reasons are many. The Giraud works blindingly fast. Once properly set up to minimize wasted motion, you can easily trim 15 or more cases a minute. It trims them very accurately to a tolerance of +-.002 or less. The best thing is it chamfers both the outside, as well as the inside of the case at the same time. The Dillon trimmer requires you to do any chamfering in another separate step. If your using a Dillon trimmer as you reload, you either have to stop the process to chamfer, or go without. Neither is very desirable. The Giraud isn't cheap, but quality tools seldom are. I put them in the same class as a microwave oven, or a TV remote control. Once you buy one and use it, you'll wonder how you got along without one for as long as you did! Here is the Giraud in action. Bill T.

YouTube - Giraud Tool Company Power Trimmer

YouTube - Giraud Power Case Trimmer
 

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