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Thread: 223->221, what am I doing wrong?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    223->221, what am I doing wrong?



    This is my first attempt in forming cases, I donít have any sneaking equipment so I just throw these on the press mostly to see if I can do it. I started out with range picked up PMC .223 that had been deprimed and wet tumbled.

    I lube the case with spray lanolin in alcohol and use a Redding .221 trim die followed by FL die on a Forster Co-Ax. I had read some of the treads here on forming 221 brass but that donít seem to get me anywhere.

    I also have a 300blk die set and 221 neck die, should I use those as intermediate steps?


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  2. #2
    Boolit Mold
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    *annealing not sneaking


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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Hickory's Avatar
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    Keep the neck & shoulder area dry of any and all lube, always.
    Anneal the neck and shoulder of your cases.
    If you have a 222 sizer die make your first draw with it.
    Anneal the neck and shoulders again.
    Finish drawing cases down in one or two more steps annealing in between each step.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    GARD72977's Avatar
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    Try some Imperial sizing wax instead of the spray lube. I make 221 using a Redding form die. It's been a while but the form die makes the job much easier.
    " If you cant do it with a 308 , you dont need to do it!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    As stated you'll need to remove all lube from the neck area. lube leads to dents then to wrinkles. I have formed 221 from 223 in an intermediate step of going to17 fireball. I did anneal before forming. Also, sometimes it is helpful to start with die screwed out, then form in steps as you thread the die in a half turn at a time. I had best luck with winchester brass although RP worked pretty good also. Main thing is no lube on the neck/shoulder. after you lube the cases, wipe the neck and shoulder to be formed with a rag, trying to remove the lube, whatever residual remains will be sufficient. Brad

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Something to consider using range brass is you dont know the history of it, a lot only throw away rifle brass when its close to used up. I believe I would try and anneal 6-8 cases and see what happens with them.
    Other issues you may have are case walls are tapered getting thicker to the base. reforming the shoulder lower will result in thicker necks, ine due to size reduction ( the brass has to go somewhere) and the thicker brass being brought into use. I have formed 223 into 222 brass with good results most on the new neck was shoulder and required neck turning. Use a good lube like Imperial die wax work slow and easy. I have used the seating die to preform brass at times also. Measure and check necks in you firearm before loading bunch to make sure they fit loaded.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I would first resize in a full length 223 die, I would not do any neck expanding until cases are fully formed and trimmed. If you have a 300 blk die I would use that as an intermediate. Smaller steps work better. I don't go for a full resize on the first push. Neck turning/reaming may be needed depending on your rifle chamber. Forming brass, multiple in and outs, not full depth every time, like making love, enjoy the process, slow is good, wham-bam thank you ma'am doesn't work as well or last as long.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



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    It appears to me, you are doing well with the
    exception of WAY too much lubricant.

    Clean the 221 die with a Q-Tip to remove most of the lube
    sitting in the die.
    Use imperial sizing wax, SPARINGLY
    Maybe only wax every other case NECK
    and just lower down on the case body very lightly.
    Annealing not needed.
    Please report back
    Mike
    Last edited by skeettx; 02-10-2020 at 01:25 AM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Sgt. Scholts voice: Trying to skip the annealing process ? Sneaky, very Sneaky Col. Hogan !

    I'm not familiar with your chosen caliber, but I doubt you'll be able to skip annealing forever. A dedicated machine is nice but not necessary. A hand held propane torch, and a drill with a socket that closely fits your case is all you need. Run the drill slow with the torch pointed at the neck (case in socket) until it just barely starts to red, then tip the drill and let the case fall out. Insert another and repeat. A bucket with cool water to drop them into is handy but unnecessary also.
    Good Judgment comes from Experience, Experience comes from Bad Judgment !

  10. #10
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    I've never annealed .223 when sizing it down. Even when squeezing it all the way down to .315" base diameter to make .22 Lovell.** IMHO you've softened the brass too much, so it buckles too easily. Those are not lube dents.

    ** BTW Federal commercial cases were easiest to shrink for that project.
    Last edited by uscra112; 02-08-2020 at 10:00 PM.
    Eleutheromaniac

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Thank you everyone for the great ideas. I am reporting back after a second attempt. This time I only have brass from the scrap bin so they were a mix of commercial and military cases. I tried a lot of the stuff suggested here, the things that seems to have worked:

    -take expander out of sizing die
    -go in stages
    -only lube sparingly near the base
    -use the 300blk intermediat die

    I used Dies in the order. 300blk -> 221 trim -> 221 size no expander. Going to use the neck die after chopping.

    I seems to be getting somewhere now that the shorter row seems to look good from the outside. Will have to chop them next and see what the case neck thickness is like.


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  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    OK, you are using the 221 trim die, why are you not cutting the extra length necks off
    with a jewelers or mini hack saw? You are using an RCBS #10 extended shell holder?

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1011436867

    https://www.precisionreloading.com/c...#!l=RE&i=83101

    The hack saw will NOT harm the trim die

    https://www.acehardware.com/departme...cksaws/2195303

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-6-...-111/304583781

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-P...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
    Last edited by skeettx; 02-11-2020 at 06:51 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    It will add an extra step but you need an intermediate sizing (or trim/form) die.

    Use a .30 Luger or .30 Mauser (7.62 Tokarev) FL die with an open top design like RCBS.
    Remove the decapping stem and let the long neck extend out of the top of the die. (Give it a few weeks and you should be able to get a set of dies on ebay for about $20.) A second form die like the .256 Win mag is even better but few people have those dies.

    (If you cannot go that way you can sometimes use the seater except the seaters often will not accommodate the extra long necks. Lee seaters have a very short guide area in the neck. I have no idea how they will work for forming. The seaters work a little better because the neck is larger than the FL sizer die neck.)

    Lube only the case body and push the shoulders back to within a few thousandths of the final location if your die is that short. Then neck down in a .221 Trim die and cut them off.
    If you have no trim die then cut most of the excess neck off and trim square. Then finish FL sizing the cases and trim again to finished length. When I had my XP-100 in .221 I formed cases from LC brass and they fit my chamber without having to ream them.
    I did not have the problems you had with .221 cases. I knew what to expect from having formed a lot of .222 Rem cases. My first efforts with .222 case forming looked just like your .221s.
    I would anneal just before the final FL sizing operation.
    EDG

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I must be blessed. I don't have any problem forming these cases from .223. I lube case with a lube of 50/50 lanoline/castor oil. I then wipe the lube from the neck/shoulder. Form the case with a file trim die and trim to length. Full length size and check length again with file trim die. Neck may need turning or ream depending on particular chamber.
    Last edited by Danth; 02-10-2020 at 12:42 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    And I'll wager that you did not anneal first.
    Eleutheromaniac

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    The Co-Ax is a great press but not so great with trim dies.


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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    I do not anneal. Thought I'd try another method. Had a couple of 5.56 cases handy so I lubed them with Lanolin/castor oil, removed lube from neck/shoulder and ran them thru the sizing die, expander/decapping rod removed. No problem. Just need to be trimmed to length.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Danth; 02-10-2020 at 01:35 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    223->221, what am I doing wrong?

    What is this Lanolin/Castor oil formulation you speak of? Just 50/50 mix no alcohol?

    Also what headstamp are those cases?


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  19. #19
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    I make 221 Fireball cases from 223 cases all the time, you're doing ok. Back off the lube on the shoulder and trim with a hack saw. I use a neck reamer right out of the trim die. I have many reject cases and don't care, as I picked them up by the hundreds free at the range....

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Anhydrous Lanolin/Castor oil mixed 50/50 is a lube used in swaging. You can purchase both at a pharmacy. Heat to form solution, let cool and you'll end up with a thick paste. Use sparingly. Great for case forming and swaging. 1st case pictured is Marked MAL 5 .56 3-82 and the second is FC 223 REM. I haven't found any Manufacturers to be particularly problematic and only rarely do I get any case dents unless lube isn't totally removed from neck/shoulder area.

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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
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GC Gas Check