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Discussion Starter #1
I have been saving my 5.56/.223 brass since I got a S&W Sport and a Mini-14 about 6 years ago. Neither has been shot much, but the Sport probably has seen 50% more rounds than the Ruger. I wanted to see what I had so today I washed them up and counted
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That is 823 pieces of brass. I thought it would be at least a thousand. Some are from Curt. He got his AR 2 or 3 years ago but hasn't shot it much. I know I haven't recovered all I shot so if I'm estimate 177 list that would be 1000. Between us we have probably shot 300 to 500 at most of the Russian steel cased ammo . I tend to shoot that in my Mini-14 since it throws cases about 25 feet .
I should set up to load these but right now I seriously doubt I could get components. I do have 1000 Small Rifle primers I bought a couple years ago just in case I decided to load them someday
 

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Inspect the brass carefully. Crimped primers can be hard on decapping pins and makes seating primers tough.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Inspect the brass carefully. Crimped primers can be hard on decapping pins and makes seating primers tough.
All the brass is once fired, by me or Curt. Most is Federal from Walmart. There is about 200 pieces of 5.56 that could be crimped, the rest is .223. Do they crimp commercial brass in .223 on these?
 

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Remember, these shouldered rifle cartridges have to be lubricated before sizing. Your sizing dies should take them to the right dimensions for 5.56. Some crimp primers, and some don't. You may need a primer pocket reamer to shave them to normal size.

The small mouths of this specific cartridge can be difficult to work with. Also check the cartridge length before loading. And take your time - go slow and stop after the first 25 or so to test things.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Remember, these shouldered rifle cartridges have to be lubricated before sizing. Your sizing dies should take them to the right dimensions for 5.56. Some crimp primers, and some don't. You may need a primer pocket reamer to shave them to normal size.

The small mouths of this specific cartridge can be difficult to work with. Also check the cartridge length before loading. And take your time - go slow and stop after the first 25 or so to test things.
I have never loaded anything but straight walled handgun cartridges. Will definitely be re-reading my manuals since I just skimmed chapters dealing with bottleneck cartridges the first couple times around. It will probably be a while before I get all components and get going, but if I have any questions I will be posting them here.
 

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Too much lubricant will cause hydraulic pressure to buckle the shoulder area, so use it sparingly. Some people re-anneal the shoulder area after trimming.
 

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All the brass is once fired, by me or Curt. Most is Federal from Walmart. There is about 200 pieces of 5.56 that could be crimped, the rest is .223. Do they crimp commercial brass in .223 on these?
I have seen some commercial 223 brass that was crimped. I can't remember the brand right now but it does happen.
 

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It has been my unfortunate experience that almost all 223 / 5.56 brass has a crimped primer. Not all brass has a crimped primer, R-P for instance, but the crimp presence stops seating a new primer in a heart beat. I "deburr all my primer pockets on new "range pickup" brass the first time I reload it. It is better to deburr, and not need it than it is to not deburr and have a problem. At 6 - 8 cases deburred per minute, out of a batch of 250, 3 minutes time is not a real issue. 25 crimped primer pockets are an issue.

I have also found out that annealing the case necks makes resizing much easier. After the cases are lubed for resizing, I stand all the cases mouth up in a box or container, and give all the cases a very quick spray of Hornady spray case lube inside the necks. If I get case lube inside 75% of the case necks on just one side, the expander ball easily comes out of the neck.
 

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All good suggestions so far. I doubt there's any need to trim once fired brass, especially when it's destined to be going through the rifles you mentioned. As mrerick pointed out...be careful lubing and re-sizing. Primer pocket issues will take extra care as well.
I'm going to strongly recommend that once you think you have the whole process figured out, from start to finish, dies set and locked down, primer issues resolved etc...load 20 or so and take'em to the range before you go too far down a bad path. I've known folks to load several hundred rounds of .223/5.56 ammo only to find it didn't function in their rifle.
Good luck, and enjoy the experience..!!
 

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I like the idea of doing what you can now and then waiting on the powder and bullets (if necessary). I had not done any reloading for several years, but recently broke out my reloading equipment to load some 9mm brass that I had on hand. Fortunately, I had all the bits and pieces on hand to complete the loads except for a few bullets which I sourced from gunbroker at a reasonable price. I had previously sorted the brass by manufacturer and run it thru the vibrating case cleaner so it was clean and ready to go. The end result was a 600 rd batch of 9mm ammo that ts/was generally unavailable from any other source. I still have a couple of thousand 9mm cases on hand along with small pistol primers and powder. As soon as I can acquire some more jacketed bullets, they will be reloaded also! Where there is a will, there is a way!
 

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All that work must be why I saw almost as many empties on the 50 yard lane at my local outdoor range. Glad I do not have an AR or I'd be spending a lot of time being a brass whore
 
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