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Thread: .222 from .223/5.56 Headsup

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    sulphur springs, Tx

    .222 from .223/5.56 Headsup

    Ran into something I thought might benefit someone who is interested in saving some money on brass for their .222. I had collected several thousand pieces of .223/ 5.56 brass before acquiring a Rem 788 chambered for the .222 Rem. and decided to form cases using the range pickup brass. I trimmed cases and used a form/ trim die to set the shoulders back and used a primer pocket swage on the crimped primer pockets of the military brass. What I failed to do was weigh sort the cases to check for varying volumes. This was a serious mistake! I ruptured a case while using the rifle to shoot prairie dogs in Colorado and was unable to remove the damaged/expanded case head from the bolt face until I got back home. Put the rifle out of action for the remainder of the hunt and upon removing the case I found the extractor had been damaged from the expanded case rim. I started weighing unprimed cases and found the weights of cases varied from 89 grains to 100 grains! Avoid problems by weigh sorting your converted brass and benefit from my stupidity.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Yep, BTDT!

    Same caveat when forming .300BO FROM 5.56x45.

    You should also neck-turn your .222/.223 and anneal them. Worked great in my CZ552 .222 until my order of 100 PPU .222 came in the mail from Grafs.
    Not worth the trouble considering how good and inexpensive the PPU cases are.
    Ditto .300BO. Iíve discarded all my reformed .300 brass as I was gifted 500+ Hornady and Remington once fired cases.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Mauser 98K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    yea. being you,re necking them down, the brass will be thicker and might not expand as readily upon firing to release the bullet.. to check this you can take a fired case and see if an unfired bullet will slip easily into the case, if not then you will need to either ream or turn the neck on them.. also the 5.56 brass has a slightly lower internal capacity then civilian .222 brass and you will need to reformulate the loadings accordingly or risk high pressures..

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    The neck thickness was no problem when I made up a bunch of 222s for my contender. With loaded bullets, there was still some freeplay between the case and chamber. When I made the 222s, it was using all the same headstamp (RWS as I recall) so I was not worried about weight variations.

    However, the mesage that weight variation from range pick up 5.56 can be a big deal is very real.

    With other cases where I started with range pickup 5.56, I have done a pre-sort by weight before I started. At first I was hoping to find reasonable consistency, but it quickly turned into culling a big fraction that was not even close.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    M-Tecs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Regarding brass weight... I bought a variety of cheap commercial .223 and 5.56 ammo several years ago to shoot in ARs. I weighed some empty cases. Of course, they all varied in weight. One brand, however, IMI, was much heavier than everything else. I don't recall the numbers now, but it probably wouldn't be a good idea to mix this in with everything else.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check