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Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56?
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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jbird22cal
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

Greetings all!

As some of you know, I am somewhat new to reloading and I have been reloading ammunition for 2 rifle cartridges for 2 rifles over the lasts 2 years.

I am about to embark on "mass producing" .223 Remington cartridges for my 3 AR-15s (possibly 4 if I can come up with enough money for a RRA pistol). and am looking for a way to set my dies that all rounds will cycle through all guns efficiently. My goal cartridge is one that will be primarily a "plinking" load. using a happy medium of powder set from the load development with the same 55 grain bullet for all three rifles and future rifles, separately, keeping safety and human error Embarassed in mind.

I have one .223 R chambered rifle and two 5.56x45 chambered rifles ( I understand that these have dimensional differences, but have not seen any blue prints nor have I taken the time to cast these chambers.) I am not concerned with powder data at this time.

All three rifle shave eaten every round of .223 I've stuffed in the hungry 30 round mags. So I am relatively confident that if set with in the SAAMI regulations of case dimensions I should be ready to go.

My question to you fine folks, I have Hornaday Dies at the moment for this procedure and have heard another brand (Dillon I believe) stating to use a head space gage to set the dies. I have never tried this. I was curious if anyone has tried this? If you did, which one did you all use? Go or Field?(No Go would be a bad Idea obviusly) Or does everyone try a more trial and error way of slowly moving shoulder back and increasing head space until the case fits in all rifles?

Thanks

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TRBLSHTR
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

Smile I reload 223 for a half dozen in that caliber(no ar's)bolts,nef's,mini's,and if the cases are all fl resized,and trimmed to length-then they should all function flawlessly in an ar as they should all(with the exception of the 223 chambered one)have milspec chambers that are a little more forgiving.You said that this was just for plinking,and for an autoloader you want the stuff to be fl resized for reliability.Your accuracy might suffer a little due to the milspec chamber not being fully utilized-but it will all go bang and chamber pressures will probably be lower in your milspec guns.
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FALPhil
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

I agree with TRBLSHTR. The only thing that I would add is that I use a small base resizing die for my ARs and AKs in 223/5.56 so that they are sure to feed from the magazine.

If you are setting dies with a headspace gage, you want to use the GO gage, because it gives you minimum spec. Anything else, and you run the risk of having a cartridge that won't feed.

I don't have any Dillon dies, and probably never will; the setup procedure for most manufacturer's dies does not require a headspace gage.

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chambered221
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

The 5.56 NATO round has a higher operating pressure than the 223 Remington. They say you can shoot 223's in the NATO but don't shoot the NATO in the 223.

A crimp die would be a good idea if you plan on using 30 rd mags.

I use RCBS precision mics for setting up my dies. Smoking the case works just as good just takes me longer that way.
If your gonna run the same ammo through different guns I suggest setting the sizing die according to the manufactors directions to give you a full length resize.
The small base die FALPhil suggested might be a better way to go. AR's have been known to be fussy.

I use Dillion dies for my handguns. They do make a carbide die in 223, but you still need to use a lube. If your gonna go progressive at some point I recomend the carbide. If not I think you'll be wasting money.
I don't know if this is small base type die. Guys I know useing it have never had feed trouble with it.

The Dillion 3pcs die set [carbide sizer,seating,and crimp dies] is $124.00
The carbide sizer alone is $98.00
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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

I'd just go with the dies you have, make sure you resize full length and seat your bullets to match the factory loads.

I had some trouble with loads for an AR this year and the problem turned out to be that I had the seating die set a hair low. I was accidentally crimping the cartridge on a bullet without a canelure and slightly bulging the shoulder. I'd suggest that, if you want to crimp, use a taper crimp die in a separate step after seating the bullet.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

I agree with all the comments posted so far.

Full Length Size and be vigilant with case length/trimming and you shouldn't have any problems at all.

Pumpkinslinger mentions a taper crimp die...personally I much prefer the LEE Factory Crimp Die. I use this when loading for my mate's Howa .223 REM and it is great.

Just a little food for thought...will you be using ex military brass or commercially available brass? Be aware that the military brass is generally a little thicker and can generate slightly higher pressures. This is usually only an issue if you are loading maximum loads.

Cheers, Vince

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FALPhil
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

chambered221, my chronograph does not indicate that there is much pressure difference between the 5.56 and the 223.

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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

From my understanding, Military 5.56x45mm NATO rounds are higher pressure, BUT the jump of the bullet from the case to the rifling is bigger, (the actual ammunition dimensions are the same) so the pressure is relieved quickly. Smile

Hense no pressure spike, but in a commercial .223 Remington Chamber the jump is less to improve accuracy which means you will not relieve the pressure in the chamber if you were firing NATO ammunition. Smile

Dimitri

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chambered221
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

FALPhil

A rise in operating pressure does not always mean a increase in velocity.
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TRBLSHTR
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

Cool Here's a link for more info on .223/5.56nato www.6mmbr.com/223Rem.html
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Arron
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:23 am    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

I use Redding dies when I load for dad's AR(Bushmaster Varminter) as well as my NEF. First off there is a BIG difference in the thickness of Mil-Spec brass and commercial brass. A 5.56NATO can run 55-60K PSI or CUP depending on gauge used while a .223Rem will be more in the 45-55K range. Everytime I have EVER had a Mil-Spec case loaded to .223Rem levels it stuck in the NEF's chamber because you can stuff more powder into a .223 than a 5.56 because of the inside volume of the case; I had to dowel it(spent case) out from the muzzle, one reason why I will not ever shoot Black Hills in my NEF, because the sorters do not weed out and seperate Mil-Spec and commercial, but dad's AR will eat them all day long. The key is find a middle of the road load that will work the actions of all three and as they are all AR platforms then you should not have too big of a problem. I would highly suggest that ya' only use loads for the lowest pressure load you have and keep Mil-Spec seperate from commercial. I have done this and it makes a big difference so that you do not have to "think" which rounds go with which rifle? Of course the whole picture changes when you start talking "accuracy" then you are looking at a whole new ball game and alot more headaches than just a dirt clod safari. Just be consistantly consistant and all should fall into place.
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

This info comes from a Bushmaster catalouge I have, 223 - 5.56 difference:

"They have basically the same exterior dimensions and length,but the 5.56 is usually loaded to produce higher velocity and chamber pressure."

"The difference comes in the chambering of the rifle,and that difference is in "leade" (more commonly known as the throat) ."

"In a 5.56mm chamber the throat is typically .162"
"In a .223 chamber it's usually .085"

It goes on to warn against the use of NATO rounds in a 223 chamber.
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FALPhil
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

chambered221 wrote:

A rise in operating pressure does not always mean a increase in velocity.

It goes on to warn against the use of NATO rounds in a 223 chamber.

Generally speaking, a rise in pressure does translate into higher velocity. That being said, there operative factor is the time-pressure curve. If you have a high pressure in a short amount of time versus a lower pressure over a longer period of time, you can theoretically achieve the same velocity, within limits. If higher pressure is the only variable, you will always get higher velocity. Of course, there are many variables between the two cartridges, like case web thickness, primer, etc.

However, the components used by commercial cartridge companies and those used by arsenal loaders are very similar, therefore, chances are that relative velocities between the two cartridges out of the same gun would indicate correspondingly relative pressures. I have only tested one genuine cross-in-a-circle ammunition, and it was US Army Lake City prior to outsourcing (I still have a few hundred left), c. late 1970s. The US Army, while it subscribes to NATO spec, does not necessarily require maximum loadings. I was comparing against Winchester White Box.

The leade spec I find very interesting and may have bearing on my experiences. My measurements were made while shooting a CZ 527. That particular rifle is known for having a long leade for a 223.

I use my Lake City brass for handloads and it is good, high quality brass. I don't reuse it in my ARs or AKs because I small base size for them and I don't want to work the brass that hard for my precision ammo. In the CZ, I had to back off the 748 charge when using the LC brass because of pressure signs (flattened primers).
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chambered221
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

FALPhil

I think you've missed the point I was trying to make. I should have explained myself a little better.

It is possible to have two different loads that have the same velocity with pressures that are not even close to one another. Therefor yes, your findings on the chronogragh would be close to one another. But the chronogragh does not measure the pressure inside the chamber.
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Setting dies for for ar-15 in .223/5.56? Reply with quote

Hold your horses, Winchester White box ammunition is repackaged 5.56mm NATO rounds (M193 rounds to be exact) Winchester makes if its Q3131 and if its Q3131A its Israeli military ammunition by IMI thats been repackaged!

The US Military does make most of its ammunition in its Lake City plant now ran by ATK (who owns Federal) but still buys lots from Olin (Winchester - who ran it after Remington left the plant and ATK's recent take over) and I'd imagine not to keep the lines down when military contracts are not around or not filling production secduals they make the White Box stuff.

Dimitri

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