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Thread: Are all of these .223 brass crimped primer pockets?

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Just looking at your pictures I will say that the 2 cases with the red dye on them are crimped. The RP case is not crimped. The silver primer on the TW73 case makes me think that its been reloaded and the remaining cases are hard to tell but probably are crimped. I have had loose primer pockets on cases with the CJ headstamp so pay close attention to them.

    Mixed range brass vs new brass? So what are your goals with this brass? One of my 223 bolt rifles will shoot 5/8-3/4 in groups with mixed range brass loaded on a Dillon 550 with Sierra Blitzkings. Carefully prepped Lapua brass will shoot 1/8th in tighter.

    Crimped primer pockets can be a pain! I have not found one tool that works perfectly everytime. I've used both the Dillon and RCBS swaggers, all kinds of reamers (RCBS, Lyman, Hornady, Wilson), countersink tools, ect and have been happier with the Wilson tool. It seems to be made with better steel.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master Stopsign32v's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedbugbilly View Post
    You mention good handholds - what are you using it in?

    I went thru the same thing you are experiencing - "frustration land". I'm not an AR person, but shot a friend
    s and fell in love with the 223 cartridge and bought a bolt action for target and fun. 223 brass seemed to be everywhere - just had to bend over and pick it up. Hah!

    Mixed headstamps, how many times fired?, crimped and un-crimped primers and a wide variety of case lengths - so . . . added a primer pocket swaging die, case length trimmer and after processing about 500 +, began to ask myself if it was really worth it time-wise for the type of shooting I wanted to do?

    I ordered 500 223 casings from Starline and never picked up another piece of 223 range brass - and for the shooting I do with my bolt rifle - it saves a world of frustration.

    Sage advice to sort by headstamps and then process, etc. A lot of guys enjoy processing it - and lf you are shooting a lot of it up in an AR or similar, I certainly understand the "why" of doing it.

    I load a number of different rifle bottleneck calibers as well as pistol . . . . but I have never gotten frustrated like I have with the 223 - not the actual loading process - I love that p but because of the urge we all have to save some $$ and use range pick-ups - especially a cartridge that has such a high % of military brass with crimped primers.

    Hang in there Stopsign - you'll get it figured out. It is a neat and fun cartridge and the nice thing is that there are so many on here familiar with it - especially the processing of the brass, that a person can get answers to things that pop up.

    Almost forgot . . . the one thing I found to be really helpful to have when I did proceed the range brass was a slide in cartridge gauge to check the processed casing. Every once in a while I would encounter one that the base was enough oversize that it would not pass the gauge . . . those went into the scrap can.

    Good luck and have fun.
    It's going to be in a AR15 and I want to start doing load data like Johnny's Reloading Bench on youtube. Trying to figure out where I should start reloading wise.

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A crimped in primer = once fired ... never been reloaded !

    All the rest ... Who knows .

    If you really want to do it right ... buy a lot of military cases with crimped in primers .
    But better yet is a lot of Brand New StarLine cases ...never been fired and will be shot in your rifle and no stinking crimped in primers to worry with !
    They are worth every penny you pay !
    Gary
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    " Let's Go Brandon !"

  4. #24
    Boolit Master S.B.'s Avatar
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    I've had little problems removing the crimps from military rifle brass if the proper tool is available? Also, military brass has held up well for me I think a little thicker?
    Steve
    "The Original Point and Click Interface was a Smith & Wesson."
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  5. #25
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by lar45 View Post
    I bought the Dillon Super Swage tool years ago and really like it. Once you get it set up, it goes pretty quick.
    I have the similar concept RCBS. I don't even look at range pickup .223/5.56 these days. Just run everything through.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master VariableRecall's Avatar
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    Unless you've reloaded the brass before and un-crimped the primer, just assume that the brass is crimped. With primer availibility these days you can't afford to crush a bunch of primers beyond use due to an improper fit.

    I don't have the fancy RCBS or dillion swaging equipment, but I use the Lyman Case Prep tool, which has a pocket cleaner and reamer attachment.

    As far as I've experienced it, .223 Remington brass from PMC have always lacked primer crimps. It may be a bit of sample bias, but that's the only headstamp I've had that I can trust to not be crimped so far.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    I refrain from saying "always" or "never" pertaining to almost any aspect of ammunition, particularly military or paramilitary ammo. Add to that what's loaded for specialty contracts or custom loadings and you could find crimped primers in just about any headstamp .223 brass. Some of the crimps are so light you might need a magnifying glass to see them. I have looked at many thousands of 5.56 and 223 headstamped brass and I have found that there are some generalities, but to be certain individual inspection is needed. In addition to the U.S. commercial .223 that is typically not crimped I have also recently come across PMC and Fiocchi (GFL) .223 that is not crimped; the Fiocci may be U.S.-made brass. It's mostly a matter of experience.
    Last edited by higgins; 09-20-2022 at 06:06 PM.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopsign32v View Post
    Got a large batch of range pickup a while back and was wanting to sort my true once fired for some precision handloads. But being somewhat new at rifle brass and .223 I want to understand what I'm looking at when it comes to the primer pocket.
    If I was making precision handloads for rifle, I'd want cases with matching HS, and preferably to be from same Lot.

    When loading for rifle, I want to take as many of the 'unknowns' out of the process. One thing about loading mixed brand cases, is when you pull the lever of the press, each case brand may have a different feel. I want each pull of the lever to feel the same, when it doesn't and I am using all the same brand cases, I automatically know something is wrong. If I were to use mixed brands, I will not know if something is wrong when the "feel" is different.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  9. #29
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stopsign32v View Post
    Trying to figure out where I should start reloading wise.
    I have good luck with .223 target ammo at about 80-or so percent of the max listing for a given powder.
    I've tried a bunch, but Winchester 748 is what I keep coming back to.
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  10. #30
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I have good luck with .223 target ammo at about 80-or so percent of the max listing for a given powder.
    I've tried a bunch, but Winchester 748 is what I keep coming back to.
    I like 748 also. Meters so consistently I never have to worry about checking charge weights and I've noticed the barrel/brass isn't as hot as with say, Varget. Accuracy is good also and it doesn't foul much. Lots to like.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master


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    One other thing that I didn’t see mentioned was that in the first picture there iare only two pieces of .223 brass. The remainder is 5.56 brass which is military. I assume if I have unprocessed 5.56 that the primers are crimped. I don’t recall seeing any commercial .223 with crimped primer pockets.

    The 5.56 you have has very typical headstamps. Commercial .223 will be marked 223 REM along with the manufacturer’s name or initials. Military 5.56 may have “5.56” on the headstamp but not all does. Most American made 5.56 will have a two letter armory code and a two digit year code.

    Once it’s processed there is little difference between 5.56 and .223 brass. The general assumption is that 5.56 is thicker but comparing it to commercial brass by weight reveals that it can be heavier or lighter than commercial.

    If you want to develop more accurate loads, buy new commercial brass from a name brand manufacturer in a single lot of 250 or 500 pieces, if you can find it. With the right charge and a good bullet like a Sierra Match King or a Hornady V-Max my good AR-15 will shoot well under 1/2” at 100 yards and 3/4” at 200 with mixed commercial brass. If you can’t find a batch of brass from a single lot, try weighing your brass and select enough that is very close in weight after it’s been sized and trimmed. That would at least give you something to work with immediately.
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  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    Psst .... Starline is taking orders for Rem 223 now. They weren't a week ago so jump on it if you need it.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Paso View Post
    Psst .... Starline is taking orders for Rem 223 now. They weren't a week ago so jump on it if you need it.
    Thanks for the tip! I just ordered some. Starline is good brass. I've ordered it for years and I'm really glad they added bottleneck cartridges to their line.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by David2011 View Post
    I assume if I have unprocessed 5.56 that the primers are crimped. I don’t recall seeing any commercial .223 with crimped primer pockets.

    SNIP>>>
    That is typically what I've found also.
    BUT,
    I do have a large batch of WOLF brand fired brass cases (recovered from a police shoot) that has crimped primers and the HS is "223 REM WOLF"
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  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    My Starline "backorder" shipped in 3 days. It arrived today. I'll be loading ammo tonight.

    I had to send a batch of "processed once fired" back due to crimps not fully removed. I have the RCBS tool but it isn't up to putting the bevel back. Primers would catch on the ridge ring and go sideways or crooked. The Dillon tool has a raised ring that puts the bevel back, it's on the list.

    Meanwhile Starline!
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    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Paso View Post
    My Starline "backorder" shipped in 3 days. It arrived today. I'll be loading ammo tonight.

    I had to send a batch of "processed once fired" back due to crimps not fully removed. I have the RCBS tool but it isn't up to putting the bevel back. Primers would catch on the ridge ring and go sideways or crooked. The Dillon tool has a raised ring that puts the bevel back, it's on the list.

    Meanwhile Starline!
    Mine was waiting for me when I got home yesterday. Very happy with both the delivery time and the quality.

    Also I've had good luck using a chamfering tool on primer pocket edges but it sounds like you've already got a plan to deal with that. I'm not a high volume shooter and don't get to the range nearly as often as I'd like so I don't mind doing things slowly.

  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    The "processed once fired" was $.20 each and Starline was $.24 Brand New. Had it been a better deal I would have kept the "processed once fired" and bought the Dillon tool. I still have some range pickup and some brass my gunsmith gave me to get started so I'll get the tool but the pressure is off now.

    Starline was unavailable when I ordered the "processed once fired". Starline 223 has been unavailable for months so if you need some, jump on it!
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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    My wife bought me a Rem 700 V in 1974 and I have been scrounging brass since then. I worked for Alaska Corrections for twenty years and we used Federal Gold Metal ammo in our Colt AR 15s and Rem ball ammo for training. I ended up with a couple of 5 gal buckets of once fired brass here and have picked up several more buckets of misc brands of crimped and non crimped brass. Now I just load the Rem brass as all I have is non crimped and I have more than I will ever use. Although I don't need to remove crimps, I do run a Sinclair primer pocket reamer in them to uniform the depth and sharpen the bottom edges of the pocket.

    Of the empties you show, the only ones you can be sure are once fired are the crimped ones that are still crimped. The only ones I can be sure were not ever crimped are the R-P cases. Are they once fired? I don't know.

  19. #39
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I have bolt guns and AR's in .223/5.56.

    For the bolt guns, I use commercial brass with one HS. or once fired LC that has been prepped properly. For the AR's, I use whatever is cheap. Most of the cheap brass has crimped primers and the Dillon tool handle that job well. I have a brass that cost $70-85/k or I got free. It is worth the effort to process IMO.

    You got good advice about using a known and consistent case for accuracy loads.
    Don Verna


  20. #40
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    What is “once fired brass?” To me that means it’s been fired exactly one time. USReloadingSupply.com claims that it’s an industry term “to loosely describe used brass reloading cases.” They go on to say that it could have been fired more than once.

    While I’m asking, off topic, how many is “a couple?” For my first 40-50 years it was consistently used in a context to mean exactly “two,” as with a rail car coupler or a mixed pair of a species. In more recent years it seems to mean an indiscriminate “few.” I would suggest to those that think “a couple” is a number other than two to ask their spouse/significant other if a couple is more than two people.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

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