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Reloading 5.56 military brass

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by MikeO1948, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. MikeO1948

    MikeO1948 Lander, Wyoming New Member

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    I was given about 1,000 primed pieces of lake city arsenal brass. I loaded 20 of them with 24 grains of 748 and 55 grain Hornady bullets. The fired brass was deformed and really sooty. May be fortunate I didn't harm the rifle; a bushmaster.

    Would anyone have input on what to do with the brass? Should I reprime, or just toss it?
     
  2. Shooter98

    Shooter98 McMinnville, Or. Member

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    There's nothing wrong with reloading military brass. I will say that instead of using your decaping die and busting out the military primer crimp, you should get a crimp cutter. It'll save your decapper pin. Next, if you're shooting out of a semi, then you're going to want to use full length dies, not neck dies and use a crimp. These are trials I learned using 5.56 military brass. Also, use load data for 5.56, NOT 223.
     
  3. JuryRig

    JuryRig Eburg, WA New Member

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    How was the brass deformed? A picture would help. Sooty brass can be from a low power load and the brass doesn't expand to seal the chamber, letting burned powder back along the brass. I haven't used 748, so I don't know what a normal load is.

    Don't toss it, send it to me, I'll pay for shipping. :)
     
  4. MikeO1948

    MikeO1948 Lander, Wyoming New Member

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    So, you think I need to deprime and resize the brass before I reload and fire it? Also, where does one get 5.56 load data? I thought I would just follow the standard 10% reduction in charge advice, but I started with the minimum load for 748; 24 grains.
     
  5. MikeO1948

    MikeO1948 Lander, Wyoming New Member

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    The shoulders were rounded, and some pitting around the neck. I used the minimum load charge for 748; 24 grains.
     
  6. Shooter98

    Shooter98 McMinnville, Or. Member

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    Well my suggestion was for when you set out to reload these again after you've fired them, so no, I wouldn't deprime them now. Are the primers crimped? If so, these are probably brass that's had the bullets pulled and powder recycled. 10% reduction should be fine. I assume you're not too worried about all out accuracy, but more reliability?
     
  7. Shooter98

    Shooter98 McMinnville, Or. Member

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    Are you sure the chamber was clean? It almost sounds like the brass pushed into a dirty chamber while firing. Use the big chamber brush (or 20 gauge mop) to clean the chamber out.
     
  8. MikeO1948

    MikeO1948 Lander, Wyoming New Member

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    Reliability 100%, accuracy not so much. Don't want to damage the gun or myself. Thanks for the helpful input.
     
  9. MikeO1948

    MikeO1948 Lander, Wyoming New Member

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    Hadn't thought of that, but possible. The gun has been in a closet for some time. Need to clean it I guess. Thanks for the input.
     
  10. 2gr8dgs

    2gr8dgs oregon Active Member

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    My Speer #12 says all it's 223 load data is safe for mil spec brass . FWIW their 55gr load starts with 26gr of 748. with a cci Mag primer.
     
  11. ConcernedCitizen

    ConcernedCitizen Oregon Member

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    The case capacity issue with military brass applies to the .308/7.62 NATO, not the .223/5.56 NATO. Military 5.56 NATO brass has the same or higher case capacity than most commercial brass. You can use normal .223 load data, or you can find 5.56 load data from Hornady or Sierra.

    I agree with JuryRig. I'm guessing the rounded shoulders and sooty cartridges you're seeing are because you're on the low end of the load data, and aren't producing enough pressure to properly seal the case neck to the chamber. I would recommend working your load up like normal in 0.3 to 0.5 grain increments, and see if the soot doesn't clear up once you get above mid-range. This should also help the shoulder blow out squarely to match the chamber.

    You might also be seeing dents and dings from where the brass hits the shell deflector upon ejection. This is normal, and most dents will get ironed out the next time you fire it, and new dents will likely form at the same time. As long as they are not deep gouges or creases, minor dents are nothing to worry about.
     
  12. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Arsenal brass should be loaded with CCI #41 Arsenal primers.

    I've never had good luck with 748, I tried a pound, never had good results. I usually stick to H335.

    The problems you're describing sound to be way out of character for everything... even at 24 grains you should be hot enough to make that case blow out, the only way it wouldn't is if the brass wasn't annealed properly, or the primers are somewhat defective and are not producing the required amount of "spark" to get things going.

    The only time I worry about deformed brass is when the primer is showing signs of pressure, i.e. primer is flat, primer pocket becomes loose, primer is blown etc.

    Dents and dings around the case neck are a bit unusual as that type of thing usually only happens in blank ammunition, and the dings would be from dirt in the chamber or the brass flowing over some kind of obstruction, or more likely from rolling on the ground after ejection.
     
  13. Modly

    Modly Beaverton Active Member

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    Upload pictures of your brass.

    You sound about 2 grains low on powder with what you are using, based on established load data (Which might not help the case shape, but it is an observation).

    What dies do you have for sizing the brass?
     
  14. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Just to clarify, it sounds like he's using NEW PRIMED BRASS, not reloading in the classic sense, he's just loading...
     
  15. Modly

    Modly Beaverton Active Member

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    I still size any brass, unfired or not.

    I was under the impression that he had demilled brass that had been pulled.