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Author Topic: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases  (Read 8435 times)

cpaspr

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Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« on: November 18, 2010, 03:56:18 PM »
I purchased a set of .223 Lee dies recently, and have sized and deprimed quite a few of both .223 and 5.56 cases.  Range pickup brass for all of it.  (Still have two coffee cans full to work through.   ;D for having so much brass available.   :banghead for having so much brass that needs sizing.  And then trimming.) 

Since 5.56 cartridges have roughly only half the angle of the .223, are these cases being resized to .223 specs?  In other words, once I run them through my die, are they now dimensioned to .223, regardless of the headstamp?  And if so, once they are trimmed, are there any concerns about powder capacities I should be aware of?
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JesseL

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 04:18:05 PM »
I'm not sure what you mean about different angles.




Your dies will resize the 5.56 brass to .223 specs just fine.

You should watch out for crimped primer pockets in the 5.56 which will have to be reamed or swaged out in order to be reprimed.

You probably should segregate your brass by headstamp and work up loads separately for each headstamp. Not just between .223 and 5.56 but different manufacturers of each.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 05:05:30 PM by JesseL »
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sqlbullet

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010, 04:54:09 PM »
I am a little lost on that as well.  223 and 5.56 cartridges have the same external dimensions.  Brass thickness and therefore internal capacities vary.  Also, 5.56 is a 62,000 PSI spec, while 223 is on recognized by SAAMI as 55,000 PSI.  CPI (European equivalent to SAAMI) however, specs them both at 62,000 PSI.

Concerns for powder capacities persist after sizing because nothing has changed the brass thickness.  Best insurance here is to work up slowly and use a chrono.
Utah

cpaspr

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2010, 06:08:17 PM »
Here's where I got that info:  http://wethearmed.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=9f4d68bb79ff86365aba65febe0f8b45&topic=67.0

Top sticky in the rifle section. "Can you shoot a .223 in a 5.56 and vice versa?" Our very own PvtPyle, backed up by The Norseman in the first two posts.  So I figured it was accurate information.

Major oops!  Looks like I was confusing "throat angle" with "shoulder angle".  My apologies.



This can be locked now if the moderators like.  My questions on this particular topic have been satisfied.  Thank you.
Oregon

JesseL

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 06:30:51 PM »
We try not to lock topics unless it's really necessary. Even though the original question has been answered, you never know when someone might have something really worthwhile to add.
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cpaspr

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2010, 07:49:47 PM »
Hence the "if the moderators like".

Agreed.  Worthwhile stuff often gets added after the original question gets answered.  I just figured you might want to close it, since the whole original question was based on a mistaken interpretation.
Oregon

THE NORSEMAN

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2010, 11:18:39 PM »
Best way to do this if you just want plinking rounds:

Separate by headstamp.
Weigh a good sized sample of each.
Work up loads in the heaviest brass(lowest internal volume) Preferably with a chrono.
Consider the middle of the charge tables your max

Load a 10-15 round sample batch of all headstamps.
Test again.

Go from there, but this should prove to work out just fine.


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The right of self defense is the first law of nature.


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cpaspr

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2010, 06:10:15 PM »
Thanks Norseman.

I loaded up about 80 .223s, mostly R-P that were less than the max COL with 24.5 IMR 4895 and 55 gr FMJs from Midway.  Shot 60 or so and they seemed to shoot okay for plinking.

I'll follow the above advice for the rest.
Oregon

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2010, 09:15:24 PM »
If it's plinking/practice ammo, "Happy Medium" should be your mantra.  Especially if you have multiple firearms in the same caliber.
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cpaspr

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2010, 12:48:48 PM »
Yep.  Plinking/practice. 

Hodgdon shows 23.0 as the minimum for IMR 4895, with a max of 26.2(compressed).  I'm at 24.5 with what I loaded, so should be fine.  I know 4895 isn't the best for .223, but it's what I had available just to try the new (to me) gun out.
Oregon

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2010, 03:14:03 AM »
You just started there?  Or did you work up to there from the bottom of the charge weight table?
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cpaspr

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2010, 01:58:58 PM »
You just started there?  Or did you work up to there from the bottom of the charge weight table?

You're not going to let me plead the 5th, are you?

I just started there.  I checked the charts, and went with a bit low of mid-chart.

Remember that great advice we've all heard, and I've even given a time or two myself?  "Find an experienced reloader to teach you."
When I actually got to relearning the process again years ago I didn't have anyone.  I didn't have the internet.  I didn't know I should have multiple sources of loads to compare back and forth.  I simply picked a middle of the chart load from the one book I had and went with it.  And I guess I got lucky in one way in that that method never caused me to blow up any guns.

However, and I'll admit to slow realization here, that method also didn't lead to maximizing the potential of my guns with the best loads through each.  I found loads that worked, and loaded them.  I was happy with 2" at 100 yards out of my .308, as it was my deer gun, and I figured that was the best I could do with my vision.  The working up of optimum loads for the .30-06 I bought last year is the first time I've ever done any load development.  And now I'm slowly doing the same thing for other bullet weights in the .30-06 and starting to develop loads for the .308. 

For the .223, I just wanted to see how it shot; I wasn't really worried yet about accuracy, so simply picked a relatively safe load.  Not too hot, not too light.  Used only .223 brass, to avoid the lesser capacity/higher pressure involved with 5.56 brass.  Now that I at least have it on paper (the scope mount was so far off that at 25 yards it was hitting 10" high), load development will start soon.

For handguns, and remember I admitted to being slow to realization, it was only recently that I realized that I had never attempted to load for POA=POI.  I simply loaded for consistent cycling/comfortable recoil.  So I now have a bunch of handgun ammo loaded up in various calibers that will all go downrange effectively, but in truth I really don't know how accurate those particular loads are in my guns.  More stuff to work on in what little spare time I have.   :facepalm  Oh, well.  At least it keeps me off the streets and gives me something to work on.
Oregon

sqlbullet

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2010, 03:52:08 PM »
I think I speak for a large group of people when I say most of us have done the 'start in the middle'.  And 9 times outta 10, or 99 outta 100, or maybe even 999/1000 it will be fine.

But, then you never know when you are going to encounter some confluence of conditions that will teach you the hard lesson.  Hopefully mine will just be a stuck bolt.
Utah

fnfnc64

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2010, 01:26:43 PM »
I would think starting at the middle would be fine with the .223 loads if your shooting them in a gun chambered for 5.56. Most of the time with my bolt guns I run bottom to top just to see what gives me the best group, watching for pressure signs on the way. With my 5.56 chambered autoloaders I just load in the middle and call it good. The books I have only show 5.56 loads for heavier bullets anyway. I have never seen 5.56 specs for 55 or 62 gr bullets.
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bdennis1983

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2012, 12:52:18 AM »
Well i figured i would throw this out there, I am an armorer for the us army. Just to clear the air something i seen here. If your rifle is chambered for 5.56 you are safe to fire .223 ammo. If your rifle is chambered in .223 you ARE NOT safe to fire 5.56 ammo. Reason is this, the construction material for the .223 bolt assembly is a weaker alloy and is prone to failure under the higher pressures from the 5.56 ammo, where as the 5.56 is designed and built for the higher pressures. Just wanted to put that out there and make sure everyone understood the differances and is not risking a failure of your fire arm. As far as reloading them, once you run them through a full length sizer die it will make them all a consistant size and are safe to load as you see fit.
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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2012, 10:26:32 AM »
I've fired a bazzillion rounds through both and I've had no problems.


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Mamba1-0

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2012, 02:50:20 PM »
The books I have only show 5.56 loads for heavier bullets anyway. I have never seen 5.56 specs for 55 or 62 gr bullets.


There's a point to be made for finding and buying 'old' reloading manuals.
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cpaspr

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Re: Loading .223 vs 5.56 cases
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2012, 03:25:37 PM »
Well, I started this.

Bdennis - first of all, Welcome Aboard!

Second.  It's a Mini-14.  Shoots both .223/5.56 just fine from the factory.  Plus, everything I'm shooting is my own reloads.  Which means everything is sized to .223, and frankly, I've only loaded .223 headstamped brass.  None of the 5.56.
Oregon


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