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Reloading 223/556?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Izzy, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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    I'm an avid shooter & re-loader. I have been reloading for my AR for quite some time. I have been using .223 brass exclusively, but am getting down to the end of my stash. I have a grip of 556 brass & plan to start in on that soon! I'm wondering what is everyone's favorite, & least favorite 556 brass to reload? What head stamps to look for & what ones to look out for?

    Thank you!
     
  2. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    For plinking rounds, brass is brass. I don't go through all the trouble to separate the headstamps. But I don't load my plinking rounds very hot either.

    Loading for my bolt .223 Rem tacdriver that's a completely different story however.
     
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  3. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    For an accurate AR you might want to sort by headstamp. Different brass has different internal capacity, so it could impact accuracy if you don't. If you have a garden variety AR it may not make any difference. Worth trying though just to find out. As for manufactures I don't think one has a real advantage over the other. I would favor Winchester and Lake City, but again doubt it would matter.

    For a bolt action, I use nothing but Lapua. So consistent and if you take care of it, will last a lot of reloads. I've heard of cases being reloaded up to 50 times. For bulk varmint loads Winchester works pretty good too.
     
  4. Nickb

    Nickb Moxee Active Member

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    Here's a good read.
    http://www.6mmbr.com/223rem.html
    This is a screenshot of one of the charts from the above article.
    0AE87DFB-A83E-43B4-9D48-FDB4DA1AD86E-12688-00000CCDDD0D3EA4_zps9c3f62f3.jpg

    If you do go thru and weigh your cases make sure they are trimmed before weighing them for consistency. 5.56 is about .015 longer.
     
  5. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    I can't speak for ALL the various headstamped 5.56 cases, but I have found little trouble reloading most LC brass. I even found a lot of cases to be the same capacity as the Winchester .223 headstamps I was using at the time. I never messed around with European or other foriegn makes of 5.56, since I do not have the tools to deal with Berdan primers. I have not seen any of the LC national match cases. I have stopped using range brass and just buy Lapua for both my AR and .223 bolt gun. I've been told that there are LC marked cases that were made for for use in SAWs and they were thicker brass, hence lower internal capacity, but I have never met any personally. The LC I used and still have some of was a bit older than that in the chart from 6mmbr. I have never been able to prove that case weight alone affected my groups in any cartridge I have shot, although I was told it would and believed it until I gave up trying to prove it.


    Since we had a recent surge in the number of people buying ARs we should expect to be seeing a similar increase in new folks loading for them. We might do them a service by mentioning that there are likely to be differences between brass you pick up at the range that are headstamped .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm or possibly 5.56 NATO. The differences that can cause problems for the new reloader or reloader new to the cartridge are mainly two: the case capacity as mentioned above can be quite dissimilar between the two and is worth checking before loading powder into a 5.56 marked case. Secondly, a 5.56 marked case could easily be from a surplus military cartridge, and as such will likely have a crimped in primer. These crimped primer pockets can cause very difficult decapping and even broken decapping pins. The pockets will need to be reamed out before a new primer can be properly seated if it can be seated at all.
     
  6. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure .223/5.56 was never manufactured with Berdan primers. anywhere
     
  7. Izzy

    Izzy Oakridge Active Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I was aware of the crimped primers, hence the reason for loading nothing but 223 up till now.

    Nickb, thanks for the link & the chart!
     
  8. sterzenbach

    sterzenbach Bend Oregon Active Member

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    I was actually JUST about to look up info on this topic. Ive ran into the same scenario reloading .223. Is there a specific tool or process to get the crimp out?
     
  9. Nickb

    Nickb Moxee Active Member

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    I use a RCBS case mouth debur tool to remove the crimp. Just have to put a chamfer on the pocket.

    Commercial .223 with a FC headstamp and some PMC brass has crimped primers, along with a de with oddball headstamps.

    The only commercial brass I have noticed any difference in was PMP, the brass would not hold 25.5 grains of varget.

    I'm just now starting to load 5.56 brass since I bought some once fired brass and the guy tells me there is "some" military brass. About 800 pieces of military brass so these will be my close range plinking rounds.
     
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  10. Chunky Milk

    Chunky Milk Springtucky Member

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    WRONG, wolf steel case is berdan, and i believe tula is too, although i dont shoot tula so i dont know for sure
     
  11. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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  12. sterzenbach

    sterzenbach Bend Oregon Active Member

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    Thank you sir!
     
  13. Guilty

    Guilty Salem, Oregon Active Member

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    I use LC brass exclusively for reloading 5.56 ammunition. I still have and collect range brass, but I no longer use it. I don't have a reason for exclusively using the LC brass other than I like consistancy in my reloading and using the same components increases the probability that my reloads will be consistant.
     
  14. Bxc53

    Bxc53 Arlington Wa Member

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    I've found a few brass 223/556 with Berdan primers in random range brass. I don't recall the head stamp, I just toss em after resetting my decapper and saying a bad word...
     
  15. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    "Anywhere," Certaindeaf???:

    http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Ammo_Cross_Sections/.223 THV 1.jpg

    "223 THV which in French means "Tres Haute Vittesse" or very high velocity in English, Brass spire tipped projectile, from South Africa headstamp 13/87. A short lived armor piercing round that was ruined by the anti pistol caliber AP laws back in 1986. With its negative parabolic ogive, the projectile has long range, high velocity, high penetration, and also causes serious wound channels."


    Sure looks like a Berdan primer to me...

    Also, a short web search for "5.56 NATO Berdan primed" turns up quite a few sites that have info on Berdan primed 5.56 ammo.
     
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I hear you.. perhaps I was thinking of 7.62x51 but those dang ruskies probably sullied that too of late.
     
  17. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    Incorrect. I've broken decapping pins on berdan 5.56 surplus brass before. Pretty rare stuff. Wish I could remember the headstamp.
     
  18. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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  19. hoody

    hoody Tigard/Beaverton area Active Member

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    I have a ton of Berdan 308 cases :(
     
  20. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I've only seen a few makes of berdan "5.56" notably PMP (old, new is all boxer), Radway Green (RG old, new is all boxer), and some of the german and swiss stuff, most of which is now boxer as well. The only stuff out there that I've seen recently is TZZ headstamp which IIRC is isreali and also probably old.

    Also, there are two ways to remove the primer pocket crimping: Reaming or Swaging. Personally I think reaming returns better results and the parts don't wear out as quickly. If you're thinking about going to a swage I would suggest the RCBS primer pocket swager: RCBS Primer Pocket Swager Combo 2 (I've seen them out there cheaper ~$20) but it's a lot cheaper than the dillon and it fits right on your press.

    I use one of these for reaming: Hornady Primer Pocket Reamer Cutter Head Small I mounted it to a speed lathe (essentially a motor that has a collet mounted to my work table) and I can decrimp 1000 cases in about 20-30 mins depending on how quickly I'm working. As I said, reaming is the faster, cheaper, and better method for crimp removal.