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on a few questions I am having while learning to reload. I wish I had someone to show me the ropes but I don't. I have been reading and studying and I think I am getting close to actually starting. I am a watchmaker by trade so I appreciate details. Question one is how do I decide what powder I wish to use in my .223 rounds? I am a target shooter and I have 500 62gr bullets and several hundred once fired brass in .223.

My next question is possibly flawed as I am not sure I completely understand the idea. I understand the length of a shell in my rifle has an ideal length. How do I measure that length? Do I measure a once fired round?

I understand that some brass has "military primers" and it is necessary to address the primer hole before trying to reprime. How exactly is this done? How do you recognize military brass from other brass?
 

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Military brass has crimped in place primers, the crimp ring has to be removed before you can reprime them, there are a couple of ways to do this, one is a reamer designed for the task, or a swedging tool, both willwork, I use a reamer.
There are a number of powders that work well, I have used 748 Winchester and am now using Hogdon H335. Tou can get data from the Hogdon web site.
 

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I also use H 335 it is a ball powder so it flows well in the powder measurer. The loading manual will give you the max case length and overall shell length, use a dial caliper to measure them. I would resize the case then measure for length. After the shell is loaded check it for overall length. If you want the most accurate load for your rifle start at low range and work up a couple of grains at a time checking for over pressure signs. I generally will load 5 rounds. Pick the one that gives you the best group then + or - 1/2 grain around that to see if you can get a better group or less than a 1/2 grain if you want. You can try different powders also it never ends. Then different bullet set back from the lands for the best group. Once you settle on the best for your rifle most of the time that will be the shell for many rounds if nothing changes. It is a pain but worth the trouble. Once your dies are set the next time you reload it will be a piece of cake. Make notes so you know your recipe for the next time. I hope this helped and good luck. If you have more questions ask, someone will be glad to help.:)
 

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I've worked up loads using both the SS109 and 55 gr. M193 bullets in 5.56 brass attempting to duplicate the M855 and M193 rounds in performance and accuracy. I used both H335 and A2230 both of which meter well. Now .223 brass will give different results so I recommend taking what I have with a grain of salt. That means work up your own loads from a base point starting say 10% lighter in powder charge and working your way up. Here's a link to the spreadsheet I used to document my data. I finally ended up with 25.5 gr. of H335 and the same of A2230 for the 62 gr. SS109 and 26 gr. of both for the 55 gr. I also use a Dillon Super Swage 600 to clean up my military primer pockets. Final note, if possible buy or borrow a chronograph so you can document your strings...
https://www.dropbox.com/s/kl13zpytw6d6uqh/RoundWorkUpLog.xlsx
 

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I don't recall the ideal length of .223 brass but a good reloading book can give you those dimensions. I use a trim die to file my brass to the right length. I have found Lake City brass to generally just a tad bit long but most other companies are good to go without doing any trimming. I use a drill press and a reamer to cut out the crimp ring. I just push the brass up to the reamer and watch a thin sliver of brass peel off. That is ususally all it takes.

I like H335, AA2230 and RL10 for my choice of powders with 50, 55, and 60 grain bullets. kwg
 

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No one has asked this, so here goes. You DO have at least two good loading manuals, don't you? You're being quite foolish trying to reload without several good manuals. The answers to all your questions are in any decent manual, and you're taking one hell of a chance trying to reload without a manual. I suggest two so you can get slightly different load data to use in working up any load.
 

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on a few questions I am having while learning to reload. I wish I had someone to show me the ropes but I don't. I have been reading and studying and I think I am getting close to actually starting. I am a watchmaker by trade so I appreciate details. Question one is how do I decide what powder I wish to use in my .223 rounds? I am a target shooter and I have 500 62gr bullets and several hundred once fired brass in .223.

My next question is possibly flawed as I am not sure I completely understand the idea. I understand the length of a shell in my rifle has an ideal length. How do I measure that length? Do I measure a once fired round?

I understand that some brass has "military primers" and it is necessary to address the primer hole before trying to reprime. How exactly is this done? How do you recognize military brass from other brass?
Reloading is not that hard. My parents bought me a reloader when I was in highschool. I learned it on my own with a good reloading manual. Internet just came out at the time here 94'ish and my brother was the computer hog so i never used it to research. get a good book to go by don't always trust what people tell ya. safety safety safety first.
 

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No one has asked this, so here goes. You DO have at least two good loading manuals, don't you? You're being quite foolish trying to reload without several good manuals. The answers to all your questions are in any decent manual, and you're taking one hell of a chance trying to reload without a manual. I suggest two so you can get slightly different load data to use in working up any load.
+ 100

Both Nosler and Sierra give a "accuracy" load, Sierra just the one powder/charge they found to be the most consistent, Nosler the most consistent charge for each powder AND the most consistent powder overall.

Case length is given 2 ways, both "max length" and "trim to length". The rule of thumb is to trim once the sized case exceeds max, and trim to is .010 shorter than max (min runs about .020 under max).

Shoot for groups at the longest range possible, 100yd minimum.
Pick a powder, and load from min to max in 10 steps (I use 3 at each step) using the manual recommended OAL. Re-shoot 5 each of those that show the most promise. Still not happy, change powders and repeat.
Once you have the powder type and charge as good as you can get, you can (if you are still not completely happy) than you can start playing with the OAL to tune the barrel harmonics.
 

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Get two reloading manuals or the online equivalent (RCBS ,Nosler, Hodgdon.
Hogdon H-335 as mentioned here is a great powder for your usea s is Varget.
I prefer Nosler 50 gr bullet.
Bullet seating depth is critical for accuracy. I like the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) Overall Length Gauge. It made all the difference in my case. I achieved accuracy that I never though possible.
Enjoy the process.....good luck!
 

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Pontifex Discordia
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Using multiple sources for your load data provides a good sanity check. I've encountered several cases where published max loads from one source significantly exceed those published in several others.
 

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Get two reloading manuals or the online equivalent (RCBS ,Nosler, Hodgdon.
Hogdon H-335 as mentioned here is a great powder for your usea s is Varget.
I prefer Nosler 50 gr bullet.
Bullet seating depth is critical for accuracy. I like the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) Overall Length Gauge. It made all the difference in my case. I achieved accuracy that I never though possible.
Enjoy the process.....good luck!
Very good advice,I would not be without mine!!!
 

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Question one is how do I decide what powder I wish to use in my .223 rounds?
Try several different powders until you find one that works well in your gun with the bullets and cases and primers you wish to use. Many good powders have been mentioned here. 748, H335, BL-C(2), Varget and CFE 223 are just a few of the powders that are likely to give you good results. I personally use a lot of Varget but will likely switch to buying CFE-223 in bulk for future powder purchases.

I understand the length of a shell in my rifle has an ideal length.
A reloading manual will give you the maximum/minimum trim to length. However depending on your specific fire arm you might find that very minor adjustments might pay dividends. At that point though your really starting to split hairs. As a competitive shooter this might be worth the small gains in accuracy where a 1/100th of an inch difference can mean the difference in winning a match or finishing down well in the pack. I find bullet seating depth to be a much more productive variable to play with.

I understand that some brass has "military primers" and it is necessary to address the primer hole before trying to reprime. How exactly is this done? How do you recognize military brass from other brass?
Rifleman55 pretty much covered this well. Those two are your basic options. I use a reamer myself as almost all of my 223 and 308 is military brass. Military brass can usually be identified by the head stamp on the the base of the case. Some of the more common head stamps are WCC (Winchester), LC (Lake City), TZZ (Isreali Military Industries). For example if you look at the base of the case you will usually see something like WCC and 02. This would indicate its made by Winchester and was made in 2002.
 

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Note... NOT ALL military brass has the primer crimped in... but just be aware that it COULD BE... I find a LOT of lake city brass is not... SOME is, yes... but not all, and in MY experience... not MOST... YMMV..etc...

:D
 

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And put your location in your profile. It's quite likely someone here may live close enough to you to be able to mentor you to get started. Otherwise you're pretty much on your own.
 

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Note... NOT ALL military brass has the primer crimped in... but just be aware that it COULD BE... I find a LOT of lake city brass is not... SOME is, yes... but not all, and in MY experience... not MOST... YMMV..etc...

:D
Correct, I'd bet that LC brass without the crimp was sold as xm ammo, military reject probably because either the whole lot or some of that lot did not get the primmer crimped.

Also company's like Black Hills that buy up lots of once fired military brass and reload it remove the crimps before they reload it.

I use a primer pocket swager to remove the crimp on military brass.
 

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One thing to note is that with the long chambers in the Mini-14, it is impossible to load your rounds to an OAL to match the chamber. I tried this and ended up with a round so long it would not clear the ejection port. As a result, I load my .223 just short enough to fit in the magazine.

Currently I am using Alliant Reloader 15 (RL-15) and have gotten some very accurate (1-1.25 MOA) groups with Sierra 55gr bullets.
 

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Ultimate Reloader Reloading Blog

Just an FYI, follow that link....click on your brand of press ( in the top banner ) and that will link you to all sorts of videos about that brand.

As for powder , start with a Ball powder...my current favorite is CFE223.

Reloading for any detachable magazine fed rifle, means you are restricted to the length that completely functions in your magazine. So try not to spend much time on that. Excellent accuracy can be achieved without that trick.
 

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on a few questions I am having while learning to reload. I wish I had someone to show me the ropes but I don't. I have been reading and studying and I think I am getting close to actually starting. I am a watchmaker by trade so I appreciate details. Question one is how do I decide what powder I wish to use in my .223 rounds?If you are a target shooter you might want to try a powder that flows well in a powder measure like "benchmark powder" I am a target shooter and I have 500 62gr bullets and several hundred once fired brass in .223.

My next question is possibly flawed as I am not sure I completely understand the idea. I understand the length of a shell in my rifle has an ideal length.The Ideal length is found by trying to seat the bullet as close to the "lands" as possible , 1-3 thousanths of inch to allow the bullet to jump to the riflings. How do I measure that length?once you are satisfied with the grouping of several"groups" you use a caliper,or micrometer to measure the Combined Over All Length(COAL) of the loaded cartridge! Do I measure a once fired round?Only for trimming brass back to factory specifications.

I understand that some brass has "military primers" and it is necessary to address the primer hole before trying to reprime.Yes it is necessary. How exactly is this done?The primers on military brass are "crimped or swaged in to the cartridge to insure a proper seal and not allowing "migration" of the primer during battery.This creates a ridge around the top of the primer entrance hole that has to be either swaged back to original opening diameter or have the metal(brass)reamed at the opening to allow entrance to the primer.If you don't do this-you will have crushed or "peeled" primers. How do you recognize military brass from other brass?Military brass-generally gives no caliber notations,but gives loading facilities and year manufactured noted as letters and numbers(et al)LC 97,WCC 94.......
Hope this helps.;)
 
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