Reloading .223/5.56

kerryman71

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I'm going to begin reloading .223/5.56 in the near future. I have most of what I need, but want to make sure I got the case prep right. I'll be using an RCBS FL die. My plan is as follows:

1. Clean the brass. This is a bare bones cleaning I do with all my brass prior to decapping/sizing. I put it in an old laundry detergent bottle with Dawn and some Dlead soap, shake it around and let it sit for awhile before draining and rinsing well, then dry.
2. Lube the brass.
3. Decap/size.
4. Swage the 5.56 primer pockets.
5. Wet tumble and dry.
6. Trim/chamfer/debur as needed.
7. Seperate the .223 and 5.56.

Just want to make sure the prep process looks good. My concern is the first step, where I'm not fully cleaning the brass in the tumbler prior to lubing and sizing. It's the same process I use for 9mm with no issues, but that's with a carbide die set and no lube. The brass is pretty much the brass I fire or semi clean surface level brass, nothing dug out of the dirt. That would get wet tumbled prior to prepping.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

daekken

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I follow the same but I skip step 5.
After sizing/decapping and cleaning the primer pocket, I check for case length and trim/chamfer/deburr as needed.

This was the same whether I used the same cleaning method you noted (my method when I first started reloading) or now, since acquiring a tumbler.

I ran into too much media getting stuck in primer pockets when tumbling after resizing.
That, and if you use a lube that doesn't affect powder/primers, I don't really see a need unless you're very heavy handed on the lube.

Everyone's got their own method, though. I know some people that size before cleaning the brass at all, and then clean after sizing.

ETA: I also know people that tumble the completed rounds after they load them, which I've never done, and never plan to do.
 

kerryman71

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Thanks for the replies. The first cleaning I do is mainly just to get surface dirt and crud off the cases. Again, it really isn't anything crazy or time consuming, just a quick wash in a container, rinse and air dry.

The cleaning in the wet tumbler with SS pins afterwards gets everything real clean, including the primer pockets, which is why I currently decap/size all my 9mm brass first, then wet tumble. I figure an added benefit with rifle cases would be it would also clean any leftover lube up.

I use an RCBS turret press and basically will sit and one day just decap/size about 500 pieces of brass, wet tumble them and dry them in the oven, then put them in an ammo can. I might do this until I get a full can, then next session will be seat primers and put those cases in another ammo can. Generally once both cans are full I start loading.
 

Tackdriver

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To prep new Lapua brass for a target AR:

Spot check the lot to make sure they are all under max length (never really had a problem with this with any in the last ten years or so)
Hand prime all the brass in the lot, Here I'm trying to separate them based on how easy the primers seat. (Easy, medium easy, medium, medium hard, hard) not very scientific, just want to keep them together based on how easy the primers seat.
Prime
Powder
bullet (once in a while the factory case mouth will be a hair too large and will need neck sizing, but very rare)

If I'm shooting my target ARs with prepped and fired brass:

tumble in Walnut
decap and neck size
clean primer pockets
prime
powder
bullet

If I'm shooting a non target AR with regular brass:

lube case
small base resize
tumble in walnut
decap and neck resize
prime
powder
bullet


Dave
 
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mac1911

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Thanks for the replies. The first cleaning I do is mainly just to get surface dirt and crud off the cases. Again, it really isn't anything crazy or time consuming, just a quick wash in a container, rinse and air dry.

The cleaning in the wet tumbler with SS pins afterwards gets everything real clean, including the primer pockets, which is why I currently decap/size all my 9mm brass first, then wet tumble. I figure an added benefit with rifle cases would be it would also clean any leftover lube up.

I use an RCBS turret press and basically will sit and one day just decap/size about 500 pieces of brass, wet tumble them and dry them in the oven, then put them in an ammo can. I might do this until I get a full can, then next session will be seat primers and put those cases in another ammo can. Generally once both cans are full I start loading.
I think the first step cleaning is s waste of time unless its dirty with mud and sand. If not why not just universal decap then wet tumble....
Anyhow all is good. You do what works for you
 

gene

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The SS pins are a pain in the Azz and frankly my brass always looks just as good after a tumble with Dawn, Lemi shine and a drop or two of Brasso.
I have 5 pounds of that crap I refuse to use after two attempts and finding the bastards everywhere when I clean.
Plus I don't have to use a magnet to try to figure out where pin is stuck inside the case and this happens often when you think you got all the pins.
Take a magnet and the brass will follow it with a pin inside
Your gonna shoot it and not make love to it so who cares if it shines more that new brass.
My less shiny brass is just as accurate as my other brass depending on the load;)
 

Mudflap621

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Seems like it would work. I’m not a fan of leaving the lube on my rifle rounds so no matter what I’ll clean twice. Give it a small run off 50 or a 100 and then reevaluate maybe you’ll learn something from it. Seems there are a thousand ways to do the same thing in reloading it all depends how your setup and what’s the best for you.
I was thinking I needed a wet tumbler for a long time but after about a year of reading and reloading I really don’t wanna spend the time to do it and actually have read quite a bit about how super clean brass can effect neck tension adversely. I also started by tumbling in corn cob for 3-4 hours till it was really shiny now I usually run for 45min-hr to clean than to get lube off another 15-20.
 

andrew1220

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Seems like it would work. I’m not a fan of leaving the lube on my rifle rounds so no matter what I’ll clean twice. Give it a small run off 50 or a 100 and then reevaluate maybe you’ll learn something from it. Seems there are a thousand ways to do the same thing in reloading it all depends how your setup and what’s the best for you.
I was thinking I needed a wet tumbler for a long time but after about a year of reading and reloading I really don’t wanna spend the time to do it and actually have read quite a bit about how super clean brass can effect neck tension adversely. I also started by tumbling in corn cob for 3-4 hours till it was really shiny now I usually run for 45min-hr to clean than to get lube off another 15-20.
Same
 

kerryman71

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Lots of great info. As for the initial cleaning, it isn't really something I would do in this case if it's not needed. I was under the impression that rifle cases had to be clean prior to lube and sizing, otherwise you run the risk of a stuck case. But from what I'm seeing here, that doesn't seem to be, dare I say it, the case.

I already have a wet tumbler which works well for me. I think live in a condo so do everything inside. I haven't had an issue with the pins inside cases mainly because all I've reloaded has been pistol. I have read where with rifle there is a tendency for pins to be inside the case afterwards, so I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks again.
 

daekken

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Lots of great info. As for the initial cleaning, it isn't really something I would do in this case if it's not needed. I was under the impression that rifle cases had to be clean prior to lube and sizing, otherwise you run the risk of a stuck case. But from what I'm seeing here, that doesn't seem to be, dare I say it, the case.

I already have a wet tumbler which works well for me. I think live in a condo so do everything inside. I haven't had an issue with the pins inside cases mainly because all I've reloaded has been pistol. I have read where with rifle there is a tendency for pins to be inside the case afterwards, so I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks again.
On anything reloading-related, you'll get a plethora of answers.

Once you get into it, you'll find what works best for you.

I tumble my brass with white rice, cut up dryer sheets and corn cob media for 45 mins to an hour and 15 minutes and that's not let me down.
I've heard of people tumbling stuff like 14 hours before and then wonder why their tumbler blows up.
 

Penniepup1

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Everything above is all great advice and you’ll find your rhythm. My biggest cheer is “always pay attention“ to what your doing. If you think you skipped something and did something wrong, do it over again. It’s a fun hobby to have, especially this time of year and other virus related lock ins.
 

daekken

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Everything above is all great advice and you’ll find your rhythm. My biggest cheer is “always pay attention“ to what your doing. If you think you skipped something and did something wrong, do it over again. It’s a fun hobby to have, especially this time of year and other virus related lock ins.
Great advice. Before I seat bullets I hold a flashlight over every case twice--just to visually confirm they all have the appropriate amount of powder.

If I am unsure about any cartridge that is loaded, it gets pulled. I'd rather waste fifty cents in components than have to buy a new gun (or a new face or hands).
 

mac1911

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The SS pins are a pain in the Azz and frankly my brass always looks just as good after a tumble with Dawn, Lemi shine and a drop or two of Brasso.
I have 5 pounds of that crap I refuse to use after two attempts and finding the bastards everywhere when I clean.
Plus I don't have to use a magnet to try to figure out where pin is stuck inside the case and this happens often when you think you got all the pins.
Take a magnet and the brass will follow it with a pin inside
Your gonna shoot it and not make love to it so who cares if it shines more that new brass.
My less shiny brass is just as accurate as my other brass depending on the load;)
i often just wipe them on my shirt
 

andrew1220

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On anything reloading-related, you'll get a plethora of answers.

Once you get into it, you'll find what works best for you.

I tumble my brass with white rice, cut up dryer sheets and corn cob media for 45 mins to an hour and 15 minutes and that's not let me down.
I've heard of people tumbling stuff like 14 hours before and then wonder why their tumbler blows up.
Have you tried brown rice?....
 

mac1911

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If you want to shoot for groups as good as you can get, I would suggest the Hornady Comparator headspace and bullet seating gauges. A must for me. It will help with OCD!
theres no help, you will only end up with some sort of Starret or mitutoyo measuring tools. Then you will loose sleep over jacket thickness variation///
 

moojpg2

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I decap a 5 gallon bucket, sometimes two, of mixed brass, then I tumble it in my harbor freight concrete mixer, then seperate it by caliber, lube and resize and trim, then it gets stored with all my other prepped once fired brass until I'm ready to load it. I load into 100rd mtm boxes and then that brass gets fired, decapped, tumbled, sized, trimmed, primed and reloaded 100rds at a time until it's worn out, it goes in the scrap brass bin, and then I cycle in new brass from my stash that was prepped in bulk.
 

mac1911

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I decap a 5 gallon bucket, sometimes two, of mixed brass, then I tumble it in my harbor freight concrete mixer, then seperate it by caliber, lube and resize and trim, then it gets stored with all my other prepped once fired brass until I'm ready to load it. I load into 100rd mtm boxes and then that brass gets fired, decapped, tumbled, sized, trimmed, primed and reloaded 100rds at a time until it's worn out, it goes in the scrap brass bin, and then I cycle in new brass from my stash that was prepped in bulk.
I do the same. run a small lots until the first split neck or any problem.
 
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