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Thread: .223 Rem. When is it too short?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    .223 Rem. When is it too short?

    The book says that case length for .223 Remington is 1.760" .....i have several hundred that are new but have been fired ONCE ONLY.

    and yet...most measure in the 1.735" to 1.750" area... they've never been trimmed.

    why would they all be 20 to 40 thousandths short to begin with?.....with NONE ever coming close to 1.760"
    where do you draw the line for TOO SHORT?
    Last edited by mozeppa; 11-19-2020 at 08:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    I've loaded a lot of 223 once fired that were well short of 1.76 Most of my Federal and Lake City once fired is in the 1.745-1.750 range. It worked the first time so I believe it should work for later loads. The bright side is that you won't need to trim them for several firings. Gp PS Too short is when you can't get proper neck tension.
    Last edited by gpidaho; 11-19-2020 at 07:54 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by mozeppa View Post
    The book says that case length for .223 Remington is 1.76" .....i have several hundred that are new but have been fired ONCE ONLY.

    and yet...most measure in the 1.35" to 1.50" area... they've never been trimmed.

    why would they all be 20 to 40 thousandths short to begin with?.....with NONE ever coming close to 1.76"
    where do you draw the line for TOO SHORT?
    You've got a "big" typo there! You're quarter inch and seven sixteenths inch short with what you posted.
    Hell, I was there!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I'd load 'em.
    .040" sounds like a lot, but its probably less than the thickness of your driver's license.

    The big concern is if there is enough neck to grip the boolit.
    With the body and shoulder in the right place, they should do fine at the correct OAL,
    especially with a taper crimp if you even need to crimp.

    There was a article awhile back about some formula of the diameter and neck length ratio sort of something,
    and there being enough 'meat' to properly hold the bullet in the neck.

    The discussion there was about the neck of .300WinMags being too short.
    Check out a picture of them, and how minimal the neck length on them looks,,,,,, and they seem to do fine.

    Not getting all scientific--- your .223/5.56s sound like they are well within the range of being OK, and safe.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    yeah ...typo ....i fixed it .

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozeppa View Post
    ... where do you draw the line for TOO SHORT?
    When they won't hold a bullet.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Even the Lapua brass I have is short. After being reloaded 15 times it has not needed to be trimmed. Near max loads with 77gn SMKs. No annealing. Still .5MOA or less at 300yd if I do my part.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I can't answer the question as to why some headstamps are so short, but its not uncommon. I have loaded thousands of 223/556. No problem with loading brass that is as small as 1.730. I usually relegate the short ones for bulk loads/factory load clones. I use upto 1.775 before I start trimming.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man


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    SAAMI shows a maximum length of the 223 Remington cartridge of 1.760”, minimum length of 1.730”.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Brass gets longer, after sizing. SAAMI minimum is 1.730"

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    One issue with new brass and length is when sized small enough to work in every rifle an fired in a larger chamber the fire form moves alot of brass around and the case shrinks getting shorter. If left long enough to compensate for this then the cases original overall length would be to long. A small body slightly short sholuder and slightly steeper body taoer all take more brass to fill out the chamber.

    To get an idea of this measure a few factory rounds at several pints body to shoulder then datum head space base to shoulder. write these down and fire the rounds then re measure at the same basic points.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I initially trim to 1.740 for use in an RCBS X die. They don't grow much past that point if you set up the die properly.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    The suggested max case length is 1.760”

    The suggested trim to is 1.750”.

    As some of my cases fall just shy of the suggested trim to length, I settled down on 1.747-8”.

    If a case is only a few thou shy of my trim to length, I still use it as a .223/ 5.56.

    If a case shows up decidedly shy of my trim to length, I set them aside for conversion to .222 cases.

    Upon firing my trimmed to 1.747 cases stretch out to about 1.751” and that gives me several firings before I will need to revisit that casing!

    Three44s
    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207

    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    I picked up 200 or so once fired at the range at 1.745 from the same area 3 weeks ago. The 1000 Lake City I bought were 1.750. I don't trim 223 any more. I measure and put in different bags after sizing and over 1.770 goes for scrap. The newer brass seems to have a thinner finish. I have older brass that has more shine.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master








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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hole View Post
    When they won't hold a bullet.
    yup short brass doesnt hurt a thing other then tension on the bullet. that small amount is nothing. If half the neck was gone id say to watch in an ar that bullets arent getting pushed back into case when chambering.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I guess somebody needs to hook a case trimmer up to a tread mill? Call it a trip to the gym?

    I get that many of us have so much brass and fire so many rounds that there is not the time but melting a casing down when somebody out there could knock .020” in 15 seconds and have another casing is foreign to me.

    I do not need 223 brass but there are some shooters just starting that might be interested, selling, trading?

    Three44s
    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207

    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

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