More .223 reloading questions

Jcelt

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I have reloaded for many years but always straight wall pistol cases. I have been working on getting everything together to reload 223 .I have a lot of range brass and I have cleaned, deprimed, swaged where necessary and trimmed where necessary. I have read this and other forums as well as load data for this round and still have questions.

1. I have been shooting factory Federal rounds with a 55 Grain FMJ in a ruger 556 and they have performed well. Their OAL is 1.90 and the brass is 1.45 in length. A lot of what I am reading states to load to an OAL of 2.20-2.25. My Lee load data shows a minimum OAL of 2.20. All there measurements are longer than the factory loads I am shooting which leads to question #2.

2. I trimmed with my Lee trimmer to 1.54 and am loading 55 grain FMJBT bullet into dummy rounds with no primer or powder to see how they perform in my rifle ( see photos). I am crimping on the cannelure and my OAL is coming out to 2-2.10 which is longer than the factory rounds but shorter than the 2.20-2.25 everyone seems to recommend.These fit my magazine and have ran through my rifle with the exception of 3 rounds (out of 15) that caused a failure to feed and 2 of them actually had bullet setback where the bullet slipped back into the case. (See photo). This was probably my fault because I was using these to adjust my dies and probably seated them too deep.

3. I have read that it is necessary to seat the bullets at least one diameter deep which would be .224. Where I am crimping gives that approximate depth but still shorter than 2.25 OAL. I have some range brass that measures as short as 2.35 so someone has shot those and that leads to next question.

4. I am just loading plinking rounds and wonder how critical the brass length is. As mentioned, I have a lot of range brass and they vary from the mentioned 2.35 to long enough that needs trimming. I have had a hard time finding a minimum OAL and wonder about that. I know it is probably best to load in batches with similar brass lengths to make sure the bullet seats correctly but is there really a minimum OAL?

I am loading on a Lee Turret Press with their 3 die set. I haven’t purchased any powder yet but considering Varget.

I know these are a lot of questions and I am overthinking and over analyzing this but I would rather ask dumb questions than get in trouble on a reload. Thanks for any help.
 

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Defcon Shooter

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If you are loading for a Stoner platform rifle get a separate Lee Factory Crimp die and perform crimping as it's own step. This will stop any shoulder push back from regular reloading seat/crimp die and assures the same crimp on all cases even if OAl's are not consistent. The factory crimp die is the key to flawless reload performance in Ar's
 

Glock 40

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That bullet getting pushed back like that doesn't make sense. Almost looks like that case wasn't resized. Can you push and pull the bullet in and out of that case? The crimping is to stop the bullets from moving in the mag and possibly when being chambered. A bullet should not be easy to put into the case when resized. It should require a press to seat it.

As for OAL on the bullet you are using. Load to what your lee manual says on powder and seat it to the cannelure. MAX OAL on 223 is 2.260 that is to fit in the magazine that is a separate than your OAL depending on bullet and powder charge. Lee says For Varget on a 55gr bullet 2.180 is that Min OAL per Lee. All manuals and manufactures can vary some. Here Hornady says for a 60gr FMJ C.O.L.: 2.229" Lee say 2.244 for Varget on a 60gr you can use the cannelure as your guide or disregard it.

You can overthink it for sure. The main thing is to make sure you brass is all under the max trim length of 1.760 that is where you could have issues. It dosen't all have to be perfect and if its off .005 or .010 you will just see it vary where it sits on the cannelure.
 

Jcelt

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Thanks for the replies. I am still a little confused on the minimum OAL of the loaded round. My factory rounds are substantially shorter than what the LEE manual says the minimum OAL is, 1.91 vs 2.20. My reloads if I use the shortest range brass I have would be in that range also. That just doesn’t make sense to me but I’ll keep researching. Thanks again.
 

swampratt

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Are you measuring with dial calipers and are they reading accurately?
I have loaded .223 from 2.030 to past 3" oal and had no issues.. just searching for accuracy.
If you are loading at the top of the powder scale then you can get into some higher pressures when seating bullets deep into the case.
Seating them jammed into the lands will also result in higher pressures than recommended.
The little .223 is pretty forgiving though and can take a bit of pressure.

If the loads you make shoot accurate and you have no pressure issues then run with it.
Could be the bullet you are using just has a short nose.
 

Jcelt

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Thanks. I am measuring with dial calipers and I checked them to make sure they were accurate. I am more concerned about a minimum length than a maximum length. I am going to load some as close to 2.20 OAL as I can first And shoot those. Since my factory loads measure out at 1.90 OAL I think I would be OK there also.The 2.20 minimum OAL threw me because everything I have been shooting from the factory are shorter than that. I plan to start with the lowest recommended powder charge. Thanks again.
 

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As long as your brass isn't shorter than 1.740 and your in the book load data and seating into the cannelure your good to go. 50 and 55 gr bullets are not that long so your not going to have as long OALs. I would imagine a 55gr hornady will be similar in length to your factory 55gr ammo if you seat into the cannelure.
 

Jcelt

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Thanks, that makes sense but I broke down a factory load and the brass measures 1.735. That means all my factory brass for reloading would already be too short out of the box. I guess that’s why I’m hung up on the minimum OAL of 2.20 . I am shooting factory loads substantially shorter than that and if I reloaded that brass I will get about the same OAL as my factory loads of 1.92. I have always followed the loading data but this has me stumped.The factory bullet is just a few thousandth longer than mine so that doesn’t cause a problem. Thanks again.
 

SHOTGUN12

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Thanks, that makes sense but I broke down a factory load and the brass measures 1.735. That means all my factory brass for reloading would already be too short out of the box. I guess that’s why I’m hung up on the minimum OAL of 2.20 . I am shooting factory loads substantially shorter than that and if I reloaded that brass I will get about the same OAL as my factory loads of 1.92. I have always followed the loading data but this has me stumped.The factory bullet is just a few thousandth longer than mine so that doesn’t cause a problem. Thanks again.
Man .... you are way overthinking this stuff. The max. length doesn't mean squat, it's just so the round will be able to fit into the magazine. I've loaded tons of these things, a long time ago, so I'm not exactly up to speed on it anymore.
I'll leave my contact number in a PM if you'd like to give me a call.
 
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