TexasRuss
TexasRuss
5 posts
Joined May 2016

223/556 case prep and 550B process

This issue is not specific to the 550B, but rather the process in general. However, since I have a 550B I'll post it here.

Trying to setup for .223/55.56 reloading. My question is on case prep and 550B process.

I am using the sizing/recap die to do just that, ie remove the primer and resize the brass. I then prep the brass as needed, ie trim/chamfer, etc.

With my newly processed brass I am now a bit confused. Do I rerun the properly sized brass through the sizing die again and then insert the primer, or do I just run it through and insert the primer only - and bypass the 'pull down step' that resizes the brass.

Just curious if there is something easier or I am missing something.
Thanks.
Jumpman2334
Jumpman2334
19 posts
Joined January 2019

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

Russ, 


I am somewhat new to reloading, but i came across this issue and id like to share how i prep and load my 556 brass on my 550c; i have a very particular way, but i really like my process and how it makes it easier for me in the long run. i load for volume, but i still want a sub moa load:


Im using once fired lake city brass that started as XM855/193 (whatever has an LC headstamp and a primer crimp) because i had a crap load of 855/193 i needed to shoot. Knowing i was going to get into reloading soon and knowing this brass is great, i decided to keep it all. 


That paid off, but the problem is once sized the brass is very long and will need to be trimmed. unfortunately there is no way to do this one pass on a 550 AND still load it into live ammunition. 


Wanting to only trim brass one time only for the life of the case, i bought x series dies by RCBS and i currently trim to 1.740 AFTER initial sizing in station 1 (this part is important do NOT skip). Once you do this and fire the case, it will never need to be trimmed again. Which means once the brass has undergone its initial trim and second firing, i keep this brass separate from the rest and it can now be loaded in a single pass without the need for a second trim (assuming you arent annealing, or have annealed this brass with your current 'annealing schedule'). i recommend a giraud trimmer or something that is rated for a high volume ( i killed a RCBS manual trimmer in less than 3 months because i trimmed too much/fast on it). 


if you do not wish to use x series dies, you may have to trim more than once after a few firings. which really puts a hamper on the whole 'ease of one pass reloading'. which was the sole reason for me wanting the x-series sizer die and ultimately why i bought a dillon. 


the x series seating die was absolute crap and produced 'wobbly' projectiles in my loaded cases. they still fired but they were not accurate. So i bought the hornady match grade dies and put only the seating die in station 3.


 With this setup, i have achieved 0.53 moa 5 shot group at 100 yds out of a christensen v-tac shooting on the ground with a harris bipod and no chrono. i plan to get a chrono, but the fact that i am almost sub half moa gets me to exactly where i want, all while still being able to produce 100s of 223 in one sitting. 


ideally you would want a single stage press somewhere else to handle all of the initial first time sizing. although you can do what i do and just resize at station one on my dillon. you can even remove the sizing die once you have done your inital sizing and trimming as its not needed to run through a second time. for this, i like the hornady lock rings as its easier to remove and install versus dillon's low profile die nuts. 
Jumpman2334
Jumpman2334
19 posts
Joined January 2019

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

I cant edit my very long response, but you can certainly pull the sizing die after it has been sized, deprimed and trimmed. Sorry for the long initial response. I wanted to give you an idea of an alternative.
TexasRuss
TexasRuss
5 posts
Joined May 2016

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

Thanks for the reply Jumpman.

Curious how you X trim works in that you just need to trim once for the life of the case. Do you never resize? Or does the length you trim it to mean that it doesn't get out of spec for subsequent reloads?

Other than that, this confirms the method I am using in that after I size and trim I will not use the resizing/decap die and simply insert a primer before powder and bullet.
dillon
Administrator
dillon
3,222 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

We're lazy, and thrifty. On the 550, we generally run a universal depriming die in station 1, and the RT1500 electric trimmer in station 3.
Since you don't have to trim after every firing, this allows us to leave the size/deprime die in the loading toolhead. This way, the case neck always has an expander ball opening it to a uniform inside diameter.
Jumpman2334
Jumpman2334
19 posts
Joined January 2019

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

Russ

The x series die claims you only need to trim once for the entire life of the case after an initial sizing. Once trimmed to the correct length, it will need to be sized again, but the nice thing here is you dont have to take it off the line to re-trim.

This means that brass you trimmed then fired can go straight back to being loaded in one pass after being cleaned. You still have to size it in station one, but it can be loaded in a single pass. This is perfect for high volume loaders that have a 550.

Dillon also has a great example but that requires a separate toolhead and additional storage for the extra tool head. My giraud trimmer takes up that extra space.
tet301
tet301
31 posts
Joined February 2016

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

My process is pretty simple and I developed it from what i gleaned from the shooters on this forum. My case prep is all done with one specific tool head; station one uses a universal decap die, there is nothing in station two, and station three is my Dillon trim die, which also resizes. When I set mine up, I have the trim motor in place and adjusted to trim each case to 1.750". After lubing the cases, I begin each session, by checking my first couple decapped, resized and trimmed cases in a Dillon case gauge. And because I am just a bit anal, I also check my case in the chamber of a Colt AR. I have not sorted the cases at this point, just brought everything to a universal outside dimension.
I then check headstamps to sort the commercial cases, which will not need work on the primer pockets, from the military cases, which will need to have the primer pockets swaged.
After I am satisfied that all the cases have the correct primer pockets, I need to spend a couple of seconds on each case chamfering and deburring the case mouths. My case prep is completed by tumbling the worked cases to get the lube removed. This is a bit of a process, so when I am going to do case prep, I plan on doing at least 500 cases and most of them time, a thousand or so.
For loading, I use a separate tool head with nothing in station one, and my seater die in station three. I have experimented with using a separate crimp, but found I really didn't need it since I never flare the case mouth after resizing. Continuing on my compulsive behavior, I again check a couple of my loaded rounds in a case gauge and by dropping them into the chamber of a Colt AR upper. They should drop in and fall out as easily as a factory round.
Good luck.
SGArmstrang1
SGArmstrang1
2 posts
Joined May 2015

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

I second on having a separate tool head, and using a universal decapping die. If you are running military brass, you have to address the crimp, as well as the length after sizing.
I have an older 450, and use it exclusively to decap. I have an extra case plate for my high volume calibers.
It is best to tumble the cases before processing through a sizing die. You want a clean surface before you lube. By using the universal decapper, I can get the primer pocket clean also without a second trip through the tumbler.
In your set up, if you size and decap, use a universal decapper in station 1 of your loading toolhead to clear the flash hole of any residual tumbling media.
edsigman
edsigman
5 posts
Joined November 2017

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

My process is a little different. I wash all of my brass in a sonic cleanner. I lubricate all of the brass. Then, I size and decap on my Redding Turret Press and I also test using the Sammi gauge on that press. Once decapped, I inspect the primer pocket and check the length of the case. Then, I clean all of the brass in a tumbler using steel media and a wash. Then in station one, I have a neck sizing die that opens the mouth of the case to receive the bullet and install the primer. Station 2, I charge the case. Station 3, I use DAA mini bullet feeder to place the bullet into the neck of the case. Station 4, I seat and crimp the bullet.
StevefromOhio
StevefromOhio
13 posts
Joined May 2019

RE: 223/556 case prep and 550B process

I have used .223 range brass in the past....I separated the brass manufacturers preferring LC first and then FC. That is the cheapest way to reload...picking up range brass. Don't know how many times it was used or reloaded. Military brass is no problem as I swage the primer pockets on all brass once. I anneal all range brass and then after 5 reloads, I re-anneal. I've gotten up to 20 reloads before I scrap the brass.
When I want the best accuracy, I go to Lapua brass. I have some Lapua brass that I have reloaded 30 times....still no neck or case cracking and when annealed, it can last a long time.
I use a Dillon RL450 converted to a 550C. I first run all my brass through a Lee single stage press to de-prime. I then take my brass and run it through a wet tumbler with stainless media. After tumbling, I put the brass in my clothes dryer on a tray and dry the brass. After drying, I then lube the brass using lanolin and Heet carb cleaner...makes a great lube as Heet is 98% alcohol and is super cheap. Put the brass in a plastic bag and spray the Heet/lanolin on a paper towel and put that in the bag...tumble it around a bit and done!
I then run all my brass through an RCBS desktop primer machine. It is so fast and so good.....the Dillon is great but the RCBS machine beats it as far as feel. (When your Dillon does not turn as easy as it should, usually it is because one of the cases has a primer that has not seated as well as it should). The RCBS ends that.
My Dillon 550 then takes over...first the full case sizing via Dillon die....then the Dillon powder drop. One of the most accurate drops as tests have shown...then.....bullet seating via Redding micrometer seating die. No need to crimp as I use a bolt action CZ 527 223 varmint. I only crimp for my 15.
As always, check your rounds....bullet seating is important. For accuracy, each rifle is different and so bullet seating has to be checked if you are looking for absolute accuracy. Use Ogive and not overall length.
I've owned all the major players reloading machines (RCBS, Lee, Lyman, Hornandy... and the Dillon 450 was the one I kept....converted it to a 550 C and reload everything on it....from 17 Hornet to 223 to 308 to 6.5 Creedmoor. You just cannot beat the simplicity of the Dillon presses. Mike was a genius.