Handgun loader 40 plus years...but

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Guest, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 2447
    (9/17/02 7:53:53 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    OK, I admit it, I'm having a stinking bad time trying to process some .223 (5.56) brass to one day try loading it.

    Got close to one thousand pieces of .223 been collecting over the decades...just now cleaning it up by depriming and polishing the brass. This stuff is mostly US military and the rest Swiss with Berdan primers but it is a bitch to punch some of those @%#$+ primers out. What do they seal them with...crazy glue?

    Bought some 1982 RCBS A .223 SB dies today for a mere $1200. The only thing wrong was they were filthy dirty with grease and burnt powder residue...cleaned up real nice with a little WD-40 and gun oil.

    Had to get the dies as I ruined two Lee punch stems broke off their little pins. One was the Lee all caliber Decapping Die and the other was my Lee .44 mag sizing die. (anyone got some new pins)

    Got all the primers out and now resizing them full length. And my question is...what is SB dies...is it Small Base? Do I need small base dies to load in a AR-108 rifle? (My son's gun not mine)

    Are there any low priced single shot or bolt action rifles on the market that can group good?

    Is the doctor in or anyone who can answer these burning questions...inquiring DS wants to know.

    GG



    Bompa
    Member
    Posts: 42
    (9/17/02 8:15:41 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    Is it on the Swiss brass that you are breaking decapping pins ?? If they are berdam primed they are not reloadable,at
    least with standard dies.. I would throw them away...
    Military primers are crimped in and the crimp must be removed
    before a new primer can be inserted..
    Small base dies might be needed but you should try what you have first..
    Lee will sell you new decapping rods for a small fee,order a couple extra when you do..
    Hope this is of some help..

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 2450
    (9/17/02 9:23:11 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    Thanks, already got my order in to Lee for the long Decapper rod, but then went and broke the Lee .44 mag decapper rod.

    Its just the opposite...the Swiss stuff is great and easy to process...the dang US military brass is the trouble maker.

    This is way too much brass, I've got to get a brass tumbler to clean this stuff up.

    Wish they had a heavy duty decapper rod that won't break. Leave it to me to break it...there ain't no such thing.

    Gunguy



    Dr64
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (9/17/02 11:56:23 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    A trick I heard once from a guy that loads for a living is to use a Lee 38 de-cap/sizing die for the resizing of 223.

    Tighting the de-capping rod/pin only tight enough to punch out the primers, this way when you get a piece of brass that berdan or military crimped it won't break the de-capping pin.

    As for a heavy duty de-capper you can get dillon dies, I have their dies and have never broke a de-capping pin yet, I once had a piece of 44mag that came down the feed tube with a 9mm peice of brass inside it and I was able to drive the pin through the spent primer on the 9mm and de-cap the 44, and still not break or bend the de-cap pin.

    Dr64

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 2451
    (9/18/02 8:41:44 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    Thanks, Dr64. Will take a look at my Lee .38 decapper...I've got a little bit of everything in dies.

    The Dillon .45 acp decapper is a heavy built brute alright and wish it would fit in the tiny little .223 brass. I'll order up one of their decappers in the .223 caliber.

    Of special note: I noticed the .223 brass coming out of the sizing die has a smaller neck top than the neck bottom...this looks like its going to require one of those dang neck trimmers...beginning to wonder if this stuff is worth processing.

    Straight rifle and pistol brass is a lot eazier to load than these bottle neck cartridges.

    Gunguy

    jeeper1
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 352
    (9/18/02 10:32:35 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    Since no one mentioned anything about cheap rifles I will throw in my 2 cents worth. For an inexpensive single shot go with the NEF, and for a low priced bolt gun go with Savage. Both will shoot under one inch groups at 100 yards with a scope on it.
    The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum
    To err is human. But to really screw things up you just about have to have a computer.

    inplanotx
    Member
    Posts: 49
    (9/18/02 2:58:42 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    Hi GG,

    ______________________________________________
    Of special note: I noticed the .223 brass coming out of the sizing die has a smaller neck top than the neck bottom...this looks like its going to require one of those dang neck trimmers...beginning to wonder if this stuff is worth processing.
    _______________________________________________

    What this means is that the small base dies are adjusted to just neck size the brass and not rework the shoulder. The SB dies are used mainly for semi-auto rifles due to you not knowing if these were fired in a M16 or a SAW (Automatic weapon) The SB ensures that the brass base will be resized for any rifle or automatic weapon. I use the .308 SB dies for my FN-LAR's. You may just have to readjust your sizer die to neck size more. I would adjust the die so that it stops sizing just before the shoulder. This way the should will not be set back and will not rework the brass as bad.

    As far as decapping, throw away the Berdan primed brass. Military brass, as said before, has crimped in primers and sometimes the primers are waterproofed with a chemical sealer. Once the brass is deprimed, I use a sharp pocket knife to remove the crimp. They also sell swaging dies that can do it on your press. RCBS makes them and they are called primer pocket swaging dies expressly made for military brass usage. Once you get through these stages, you can now reload to your hearts content. Just remember to start out with a load that is 10% less than recommmended due to the increased thickness of the military brass. Happy reloading!





    I am not a native Texan, but I got here as fast as I could!

    AGunguy
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 2456
    (9/18/02 7:09:36 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    Thanks, Inplanotx. Your advice will come in handy trying to master this persnickity little .223 caliber. I, of course, have been full length resizing the brass as I thought it should chamber all the way into the seating die. I assume the seating die is not the same demensions as the rifle chamber...thus the rifle chamber being bigger than the die chamber. Whew! Bottle neck cartridges are not my favorite and guess that's why I've stuck pretty much to pistol and revolver loading.

    Once had a model E 99 Savage in .243 caliber. It was a royal pain in the caboose to load...I was stretching the brass so much that I frequently got case separation near the base of the brass. Guess I was full length resizing those cartridges just like I'm trying to do with the .223 caliber. Come to think about it the .243 was Ultra small base dies for that lever action Savage. Anyway, I soon gave up on it and sold it...gads, that was over 30 years ago.

    Now, I have had some success loading a .303 British cartridge maybe it was because they wern't small base dies. Still got those dies but no gun. Oh, and good luck loading the Savage model 99 TD 1925 lever action rifle in .30-30 caliber.

    Not much of a experienced rifle loader...but I'm trying...don't hunt anymore don't know why I keep the long guns around unless its to keep away varmints...the two legged kind. For that I've got a Romanian 5.45 X 39 AK 74 and boocoo magazines. Don't plan on trying to load those Russian metal cases...ammo for it is still pretty cheap.

    Thans again, and anyone else want to throw in their two cents I'm willing to listen.

    Gunguy

    inplanotx
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 51
    (9/20/02 2:32:42 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Handgun loader 40 plus years...but
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    Hello GG,
    As far as SB dies go, I just use them the first time I resize military brass. I set the sizing die to touch the shell holder when at full stroke of the press and then let the shell holder down and give the die about 1/8 " more of a turn and tighten the die. This is used only the first time sizing the military brass because you never know what ttype chamber it was in and if your chamber is tighter then the SB die makes sure it will chamber in your weapon. As you proably know, military chambers can vary quite alot. If the round was fires in a machine gun, then the chambers are probably at SAAMI max dimensions and when the round goes off, the brass is blown out to fit the oversized chamber.

    With the seating die, you most likely are seeing the crimping effect if you are going all the way into the die to the base. I would back the seater die off until at full stroke, you can fit a nickle in between the shell holder and the die base. This will leave off the crimp. If you absolutely have to have a crimp, then I recommend the Lee factory type crimp die as an extra step in your process.

    After this initial step I usually will only neck size the die to make sure it holds a bullet. the only drawback to this is that you cannot use them in another weapon unless you full length resize the case. Keep 'em in the black.

    Rick
    I am not a native Texan, but I got here as fast as I could!

    flyer
    Member
    Posts: 4
    (10/16/02 5:59:04 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Reloading .223
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    I've just started reloading, and I've had fun with the .223. As others have said ditch the berdan primed brass and remove the primer crimp from military brass. Lyman makes a nice little wood handled tool to do this or a chamfering tool does an OK job as well. I use Lee dies and they seem to do a fine job.

    Lee sells a cheap 22 caliber 'decapper' that has a base and a decapping rod - you hit the rod with a hammer. Might be worth trying. (Same arrangement as the Lee Loader uses).

    If I understand matters correctly the 5.56mm military brass doesn't significantly differ in volume from civilian .223. Many folks think it does because the 7.62mm round DOES differ significantly from .308 and the two rounds get 'lumped together'. I've measured a few (fill with powder, weigh powder) and found no difference to speak of.

    You don't necessarily need to crimp unless you are using an autoloader or magazine fed rifle, and some say even not then in many cases. If you are using a bullet with a criimping cannelure you do not have to crimp it. I plan to test 'crimped' vs 'non crimped' rounds but haven't done so yet. Some say that crimping can improve accuracy.

    I shoot a NEF Handi Rifle which is a GREAT single shot and only costs about $200. Very accurate and well made with 'everything you need and nothing you don't'. The barrel has a twist of 1 in 12, so bullets heavier than 55 grains should not be used.

    With a single shot you don't have to worry about the cartridge overall length, as long as enough bullet is in the case neck to hold it. Accuracy is said to be improved by positioning the bullet so it is about .005 away from touching the rifling grooves. I'm just getting around to trying that. The SAAMI limit on the overall length of the .223 is 2.60 inches, and in my Handi Rifle the 'just off the rifling' length is about 2.330 inches when using 55 grain Winchester FMJBT bullets.

    Popular powders for the round include Hodgdon 335 (maybe the most popular), Hodgdon 322, Hodgdon Varget, and Win 748 and a number of others. You can get Winchester 55 grain FMJBT bullets from Midway for $18.50/500 - great for plinkers. Hornady V-Max bullets are very popular for varmints and are very accurate and great fun. Nosler ballistic tips are also said to be great. Good recipes are on the Hornady web site.

    Lots of recipes call for Remington 7 1/2 benchrest primers and I test with them but generally use Winchester WSR primers as the Remingtons are hard to get around these parts.

    It is a very enjoyable round to shoot and experiment with. I still haven't finalized my loads but am having a lot of fun learning with it.

    jim



    inplanotx
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 60
    (10/16/02 9:02:12 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Reloading .223
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    Hi Flyer and welcome aboard. I would like to add my two cents to a statement you made.

    Quote:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------If I understand matters correctly the 5.56mm military brass doesn't significantly differ in volume from civilian .223. Many folks think it does because the 7.62mm round DOES differ significantly from .308 and the two rounds get 'lumped together'. I've measured a few (fill with powder, weigh powder) and found no difference to speak of.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    First off, I have always found military brass to have thicker walls and case heads.

    Second, when measuring case volume, you should use water and not powder since powder can have air space in it and will not give a correct volume reading. When filled to the tip of the neck, weight the case and also weigh before filling. Do that with both military and civilian brass and I think you'll find a difference due to the case wall thickness. Military brass is loaded to higher chamber pressures than civilian .223. Also the SAAMI chamber specs for the 5.56x45 and the .223 are different.

    This information is located on the Winchester ammunition page under law enforcement. Hope this helps.




    I am not a native Texan, but I got here as fast as I could!

    flyer
    Member
    Posts: 5
    (10/16/02 12:52:55 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Reloading .223
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    Howdy Inplanotx:

    I'll do more testing next time I have some cases side by side to compare. Using the powder shouldn't introduce enough error to hide significant volume differences - I am using H335 which is very fine grained.

    I've seen info in a number of places that indicate the case volume differences are 'disregardable', but I also know that those areas of the 5.56mm do have thicker metal and that certainly must cause **some** difference.
  2. ronnief12

    ronnief12 New Member

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    use a drill bit and make your own pins
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