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Reloadable 223/5.56 brass

Ronstar

Well-known member
I have experience reloading the bigger calibers and working with military ‘06 and .308 cases but new to .223. So I have a few questions….
Picked up a whole bunch of .223 brass at an older rock pit recently. Most of what was out there was that crappy steel casings but when I saw brass shining up ahead I jumped on it. As far as I can tell all but about 20-25 of the 360 cases are first time shot.
My question(s) are; some headstamps are “LC 223 Rem” so is the primer crimped in? Some are marked “WIN USA 5.56” so are they crimped? The rest are all marked “LC with various dated years and the plus within the circle NATO mark.
Did Lake City produce military 223? Did Winchester produce military 5.56? I have a punch and base for small rifle and a pocket chamfer so guess I’ll busy while watching football!!!
Any responses appreciated…..
Also FYI, most recycling centers now will take used brass cases with the spent primers still in, brass prices are better than zinc and aluminum tabs so I’ve been picking it up, good or bad, and scrapping the bad….. money is money!
 

Old Longhair

Crazy Ol' Foole
Staff member
I can't say for sure, but I would just treat it all as though they were crimped the first time through.
I bought a 5-pack of LEE decappers for use with a plastic mallet to punch primers out of crimped pockets. A couple twists with a reamer and they're good to go. I sit and do a couple hundred is a stretch while watching TV in the evening. It's pretty much mindless work.
 

JCR TX

Well-known member
I will go with Old Longhair, just assume it is all crimped primers as most Lake City loadings would be set up to run in full auto platforms if need be. I would also recommend your initial case resizing be done with a small base Full length die to be sure it will chamber in anything. 5.56 is slightly larger in chamber size than .223 Rem. Winchester military loadings used to be stamped WCC. The are a zillion different ones on the market now.
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
I have all RCBS brand dies and tools…..
It used to be one either had brand name factory cases or military. These kinda threw me for a loop. Guess I’ll sit down in the man cave use the punch and base and then do the twist!!!!!
I do know the 5.56 can be loaded a bit hotter than the 223 so I plan on keeping those headstamps seperated and load appropriately. The little Ruger Ranch rifle is stamped 5.56 so it will digest either.
Thanks guys!
 

Picketwire

Well-known member
I would say that a person can usually tell during resizing whether the primer is crimped or not by the effort needed to push the primer out of the case. If that doesn't tell you, trying to push the primer in the case will!
 

Old Longhair

Crazy Ol' Foole
Staff member
I would say that a person can usually tell during resizing whether the primer is crimped or not by the effort needed to push the primer out of the case. If that doesn't tell you, trying to push the primer in the case will!
To me, it's not worth the risk of destroying de-capping pins in my dies, or worse. Treating them all as though they are crimped is a one-time thing that doesn't cost anything but a few extra moments.
 

Picketwire

Well-known member
To me, it's not worth the risk of destroying de-capping pins in my dies
Very true! I have broken pins in RCBS dies by inadvertently trying to remove crimped in primers. The Lee decapper and anvil are very effective. I can't imagine breaking or bending one of those unless the pin or flash hole is off center. I do avoid using picked up brass though. There are places to buy once fired brass for cheap and they tell you if the primers are crimped or not.
 
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