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I am new to reloading (have not started to reload for my AR yet...) but wanted to know if those who reload for their AR separate the .223 labeled brass from the 5.56 brass or do you reload them mixed....???? May be a dumb question but just thought I would check in with the experienced hand loaders on the forum about this possibly minor issue.

Also does anyone use the Lee Ram Swage on their press? Looking for a brief product review... THANKS as always.
 

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I am new to reloading (have not started to reload for my AR yet...) but wanted to know if those who reload for their AR separate the .223 labeled brass from the 5.56 brass or do you reload them mixed....???? May be a dumb question but just thought I would check in with the experienced hand loaders on the forum about this possibly minor issue.

Also does anyone use the Lee Ram Swage on their press? Looking for a brief product review... THANKS as always.
You don't need to separate the two unless you fire an AR and a bolt action. You'll generally want to keep the brass you fire in each weapon separate. You'll most likely full size your AR loads and have the option to neck size your bolt action loads and you won't want to mix your neck sized brass with your full sized brass.

I have an initial batch of fired brass from my ARs that used 223 and 5.56 and I use them in my AR only. I don't separate any of that brass.
 

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There may be a 1% case volume difference between a .233 and a 5.56 case and there may be a 1% case volume difference between two different .223 cases. In other words it doesn’t matter. Once you load a 5.56 case using .223 data it’s no longer a 5.56. Just make sure you bust the crimp out of the P/P on the 5.56 prior to seating a primer or there’ll be a lot of head scratching going on.
 

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The only time I worry about 5.56/.223 case volume/different cases is when I load near max, which is never. If I am really wanting to group well I will segregate cases by head stamp.
Mark is on the bulls-eye with his post.
 

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What everyone mentioned above. There is no dumb questions when it comes to getting started reloading. One thing i like to do is trim all the cases to the length. Bolt guns get a little more attention when reloading. I also use the Lee factory crimp die.
 

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What everyone mentioned above. There is no dumb questions when it comes to getting started reloading. One thing i like to do is trim all the cases to the length. Bolt guns get a little more attention when reloading. I also use the Lee factory crimp die.
I will second that there are no dumb questions with hand loading. If something does not look right then stop until you figure it out.

I have been loading 223 for years and there are many tips and tricks I have learned along the way. There are some good economical tools for brass prep that make life easy. Any questions just ask.
 

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Good advise from the others who responded. We can all talk about our habits and routines. Mark's point is well taken. I do separate by military and American manufactures. I will further separate the American brass by brand until I have a 100 of each. If I get a bag of 100 misc. American, I load them. The reason to keep the military spec or NATO separate is the crimp ring. I don't separate them any further than spec or NATO. Just my OCD self. Good luck. For semi auto I use a bullet with a cannelure. Bolt guns can use the smooth side bullets.
 

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Ar reloading is one of my specialties. I load atleast 10 different calibers for ars.
Initially if its military 5.56 i keep it seperate so i can remove the crimp for the primer pocket. I have seen some brass marked 5.56x45 that is berdan primed, from overseas, chunk them, they arent worth the effort.
A small primer swagger is mandatory, wether a bench mounted, press mounted or hand swagger will he needed.

After that they are all .223 remington after being sized.

I would recommend a small base sizer die since some chambers can be tight and this makes sure you have no issues. Redding and Rcbs make great small base dies.

I also recommend a lee universal deprimer die it makes those crimped primers come out easier.

I also use a lee factory crimp die. To crimp seperate, it gives a uniform taper crimp.

I do all these on a single stage press despite having a progressive.

Any more questions you may have just ask.
 

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The only dumb question is the question never asked when it comes to reloading. Been doing it for going on 8 years in lots of calibers and learn something new after every session.
 

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I would recommend a small base sizer die since some chambers can be tight and this makes sure you have no issues. Redding and Rcbs make great small base dies.
I run small base dies for my SP1, my chamber’s like “socks on a rooster” tight. Avoid the aggravation and get S/B dies out of the gate. Most folks don’t know it but Dillon’s .223 dies are S/B.......if you want to spend the money.
 

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I run small base dies for my SP1, my chamber’s like “socks on a rooster” tight. Avoid the aggravation and get S/B dies out of the gate. Most folks don’t know it but Dillon’s .223 dies are S/B.......if you want to spend the money.
You have an SP1.... im jealous
 

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There may be a 1% case volume difference between a .233 and a 5.56 case and there may be a 1% case volume difference between two different .223 cases. In other words it doesn’t matter. Once you load a 5.56 case using .223 data it’s no longer a 5.56. Just make sure you bust the crimp out of the P/P on the 5.56 prior to seating a primer or there’ll be a lot of head scratching going on.
Yes, true. It seems to be greatly circulated that ALL military small arms cases have less case volume (= thicker brass) than civilian commercial brass, which is not the case. Only SOME calibers' military cases have thicker case walls, usually 7.62 NATO, if at all.
 

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I actually picked up a box of empty Lapua 308 brass yestersay for my GSR although have military brass. There is no comparison to quality and Lupua is the finest quality there is like high end whiskey! :cool:

If you are not into shooting precision I would not worry about the brass as long as they in reloadable condition. I would not use the the best brass to shoot the 3 gun and steel matches because chances are I would never get them back.

As far Lee ram swager, I have not nor have I seen one. Dillon is what I am using.
 

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I enjoy reloading for my AR. I would recommend doing one thing I have done, insuring that I never have gotten a jam. I bought a Hornady case-length gauge like the one shown here.

If the round does in flush, I am a happy reloader. Got one for my .45 acp reloads, too.


of course they are on back order at Midway, but I reckon you can find one.

I shoot rifles outdoors, so I snagged a Caldwell brass catcher too.
 

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I stand corrected. I actually do use the SB die on my reloads for the AR. I used the FL on my mixed bag (223 & 556) of brass for my first reloads and had no issues with my AR. For the 3rd reload, I did purchase a set of SB dies, with the advice of others, and use that now after the brass is fired once for my ARs only. I was told to FL size NEW brass so that is what I have been doing a lot of the past few months... cause brass seemed to be the only thing I can buy with the shortage. lol
 

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You can use your gun's chamber as a gauge ... that's what we did before the die makers started selling chamber gauges . Warning : Just because your ammo fits a gauge ... it does not guarantee it will fit your chamber ... so check the ammo in your guns chamber .

As for primer pocket crimp removing , every swage tool has some brass spring back , the best way to do it is swage pocket then use a primer pocket uniforming tool (small hand tool by Lyman is good) to finish cutting the pockets to the same depth and diameter .
Done once and you won't have any primer seating troubles .
Gary
 

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You can use your gun's chamber as a gauge ... that's what we did before the die makers started selling chamber gauges . Warning : Just because your ammo fits a gauge ... it does not guarantee it will fit your chamber ... so check the ammo in your guns chamber .
This is a good point, though lazy-bones me likes to have the gauge at the bench without going to the gun safe for the rifle. In my case, they correspond.
 

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6 years ago, I bought a new Ruger AR556. it was a "gun show special" that came with 2ea 30 round Magpro magazines and 5 ea 20 round boxes of FC M-193 ammo. The first box I opened had two rounds that refused to fully chamber. By that I mean the bolt would not go to full battery. They fit just fine in my Wilson case gauge but the bases were just a few thousandths to large to fit in the Ruger's tight chamber. I made a case head gauge out of an old circular gap gauge by drilling a hole then using a rat tail file to enlarge the hole to the exact diameter of my AR556's chamber.

Turned out I had about a dozen rounds in the batch of new Federal ammo that wouldn't fit in the home made gauge or in the AR556. I have at least a couple hundred rounds of reloaded 223 Rem (R-P headstamp) for my bolt action Remington Mod 700. They chamber just fine in the Remington and in the Wilson case gauge but none of ones I tested would chamber in the Ruger AR556.

I ended up buying a RCBS small base die set. I picked up about a thousand LC headstamp 5.56 spent cases, deprimed and swaged the primer pockets then cleaned all the cases in my Ultrasonic cleaner. I then resized all cases in the new small base sizer die. After sizing, I ran all the cases through my vibratory case cleaner with corn cob media. The cases shine beautifully and worked in my home made gauge so I loaded them up with 26.5gr of Varget and 55gr Ballistic Tip bullets.

At the range, all the newly reloaded cartridges chambered and fired just fine in my AR556. They were also very accurate at 100 yards.

Now I have two batches of ammo in ammo cans .... one batch for my Remington bolt gun with R-P headstamps and another batch of LC or FC headstamps for my Ruger AR556.

Here's my home made gauge with a factory cartridge that didn't fit:


Same gauge, different cartridge that does fit in the gauge:
 
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I have a AR 556 MPR, two Palmetto uppers, one on Palmetto lower one on a Ruger Elite lower and a Mini 14. All ammo sized with standard RCBS or Lee dies and all fit. I must be lucky.
 

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Sr40ken, I don't think RCBS, Dillon, and other companies would make small base sizing dies if there wasn't a need for them. Besides normal manufacturing tolerances, there are at least 8 different chamber reamers available for 223 Rem and 5.56 NATO. I don't know what the odds are but it is quite common to see tight chambers in ARs. As I recall, Ruger Mini-14s use a Wylde chamber reamer that is compatible with 223 Rem and 5.56 NATO.
 
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