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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been reloading 223 cartridges for my Mini 14 since January of this year. This past week I bought an AR 15. I took it to the range and the grandson and I put about 70 rounds through it. I saved the brass, as I usually do. When I cleaned them, decaped the old primers, and then cleaned them again to remove the lube, I noticed that an average of 5-6 out of every 50 had a noticeable split in the neck or the beginning of one. I culled these and threw them away. I know this is about the fourth time to reload these cases. I was just wondering if this is normal for reloading 223 cases (I do not max my reloads, usually about the middle) or if the specs on the AR 15 are causing it? In other words, with the AR, should I reload the once fired cases only one or two times then throw them away?

Ray
 

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Is the AR chambered for 5.56 or .223?

5.56 chambers have bigger throats.

Regards,

Walt
 

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Hey Hawkeye36 I've been reloading for a couple of years now. No expert by any means but I do know that brass will work harden. So after several trips through the sizing dies they start resisting the stretching that's necessary as they go through expansion on firing and then sizeing to reload. So to make them last as long as they can and should you can anneal them. This is a process of heating and then letting the brass cool slowly so that it returns to its maleable state. So it's nothing to do with the AR necessarly, I've had brass split the necks in my Mini14. So far I've not had to anneal any myself but I read up on the process a while back. You can do it with a simple propane torch. It basicly entails heating the neck of each peice of brass until it starts to glow a dull orange and then just letting it cool on its own. The peice I read sujested doing this in a darkened room or outside after dark so that you can tell exactly when it starts glowing and don't therefore overheat it. Do a search on annealing brass and you will find lots of info on the web. Hope this helps.:cool:
 

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Basically the cases are lined up in a shallow pan of water (enough to cover a case lying down) and a propane torch is passed over the shoulder/neck area heating the brass up to a dull cherry red - then tipping the case over into the water quenches the process and finishes the job. Its that simple.
 

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Also after these have been reloaded 4 times-have you reamed the necks on them?Case necks tend to thicken and stretch because of the metal flowing forward upon firing,also have you trimmed them to length after this many reloads.Both neck length and thickening can lead to split necks too.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Magnomark:

Yes, I gauge them every time regardless. I'll try reaming the necks to see if that will help. Maybe even get a small torch and metal bucket or pan to try heating. Thanks fellows.
BTW, I have a DPMS, "Cal.223-5.56 mm, Mod.A-15" That's what is written on the left side of the receiver.

Ray
 

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Magnomark:

Yes, I gauge them every time regardless. I'll try reaming the necks to see if that will help. Maybe even get a small torch and metal bucket or pan to try heating. Thanks fellows.
BTW, I have a DPMS, "Cal.223-5.56 mm, Mod.A-15" That's what is written on the left side of the receiver.

Ray
on the underside of the barrel between the gas block and the muzzle there will be writing on the barrel. it will be the barrel manufacturers name and the caliber the barrel is chambered for.
 

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I like the Rem brass the best, it seems to last the longest.
 

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I have no first hand knowledge, but a buddy of mine who has been reloading for about 10 years has said that all of the brass he has been reloading in 223/556 is being made cheaper due to the price of brass. This is just in the past few years. The companies are making it thinner to get more made. It only reloads a few times for him and then will split more.

Take it with a grain of salt, but I could see it because of the rise in the raw materials.
 

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Unless I missed it you didn't say what the reloads are, meaning powder and bullet. I shoot brass 6-8 times before a witness any fatique. Hot rounds or excessive head space could be cause this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Carbine 85:

I was using Benchrest, in the middle of the suggestive low and high amounts, using a Winchester 55 g bullet with cannelure. I may be crimping too much. In loads I'm putting together now, I'm just barely doing so. After shooting a few rounds, we will see. I ran out of Benchrest, so I am now going to be using Varget and the low is 15 gr and the high is 17.5. I'm loading some at 15.6 and the others at 16.4. Using the same bullet. Most of the brass is military.

Ray
 

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Carbine 85:

I was using Benchrest, in the middle of the suggestive low and high amounts, using a Winchester 55 g bullet with cannelure. I may be crimping too much. In loads I'm putting together now, I'm just barely doing so. After shooting a few rounds, we will see. I ran out of Benchrest, so I am now going to be using Varget and the low is 15 gr and the high is 17.5. I'm loading some at 15.6 and the others at 16.4. Using the same bullet. Most of the brass is military.

Ray
I'm using IMR4895 and H335 in all my 5.56 reloads for the Mini and AR's. I can't help you with the Benchrest since I haven't used it. If the rounds worked good in the Mini they should be fine in the AR. Try hand selecting the brass and use it strickly in the AR. If this is a newer rifle it's possible that the chamber isn't reamed correctly. At the pace these things have been going out the door it could easily be a manufacturing issue.
 

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Carbine 85:

I was using Benchrest, in the middle of the suggestive low and high amounts, using a Winchester 55 g bullet with cannelure. I may be crimping too much. In loads I'm putting together now, I'm just barely doing so. After shooting a few rounds, we will see. I ran out of Benchrest, so I am now going to be using Varget and the low is 15 gr and the high is 17.5. I'm loading some at 15.6 and the others at 16.4. Using the same bullet. Most of the brass is military.

Ray
Benchrest is darn good powder, the load you were using are some of the same components for my most accurate load for my savage 10FP. In my load I am using PMC or Federal brass, CCI benchrest primers, benchrest powder and 55 grain winchesters with the cannelure. with a light crimp using lees factory crimp die.

just gotta ask why your loads are so light with the varget powder? the start charge for your load is 25.5 grains. we are still talkin .223 right?? running your charges that low with varget you run the risk of a squib load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
HighDesertWolf:

Those were numbers off the top of my head. I'd have to run out to the shack to see the correct numbers, but it is too cold. I just started loading Varget again (picked up 8 lbs at the last gun show). I usually load around the middle of the scale on all powders.
 

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I load 25.5 gr varget behind a 75 A-max in a lake city case weight 92 grains. this load gives me about 8 reloads per case on average. As HighDesertwolf stated these are mil cases but I have not found much difference in the internal volume vs commercial brass. I do however see a big diffrence between civ. and mil. 308 brass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Again, I'm talking off the top of my head, which isn't saying much, but I believe Lyman states the beginning load is 25 g and the top load is 27.5 g for a 55g bullet. Today it is raining cats and dogs outside. However, the degrees has gone from 24 yesterday to 54 today. It's a wonder we didn't have another tornado! Anyway, after we run an errand around 8:30 this am, I'm going out and put a few together. I'll check the stats again on the Varget load for the 223 with a 55g bullet.
 
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