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Thread: Got Dillion 550B. Lots of questions about loading 223...

  1. #1
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Got Dillion 550B. Lots of questions about loading 223...

    Got me a Barnes Precision AR-15 last week. Incredibly sweet gun that is impressively accurate out of the box. Buying another this week when the delivery hits the LGS. Shot about 300 rounds the other day and got some brass. Seeing as ammo either ain't available, or is at kidney swap prices, I feel this should be the first thing I load on my new reloading gear. Got a Dillion 550B, RCBS Rock Chucker kit, combo powder measure/thrower, Forester case trimmer, and other items, getting ready to mount it on my bench in the garage. Been wanting to get into reloading for years, finally now got the time and money to get started.

    I got all the dies, conversion sets, etc... for 40 S&W, 10 mm, and 9 mm. Main reason I bought the 550 was high volume pistol shooting. But seeing as you got to pay near $1/round for 223 these days, I am wanting to start rolling my own more than ever. Also, next time there is a knee jerk reaction in the gun industry, I plan on being in a position to care less. I am not in that position currently. Will be ordering 223 stuff this week, looks like about $250 worth of caliber specific stuff. Reading online, there seems to be mixed reviews about using the 550B for bottle neck cases. Some folks suggest an extra step, case sizing as i recall, was needing to be done on the Rock Chucker (which I got also). I got no idea, just questions at this point. Anything unique about reloading 223?

    Then there is the issue of buying bullets, load recipes to try, etc... Any load suggestions to use as a starting point would be great. I don't know what powder, bullets, etc.. to even look at buying. For that matter, any suggestions of where online to buy bullets and such would be great. I can get most powders, primers, etc.. locally, but bullets are scarce in our recent political climate.

    Will be shooting two Barnes rifles, both are 16" barrels with 1:8 twist, stainless Montana Rifle barrels. Emphasis on one will be a jagged hole at 100 yards, target gun only. The other will be used for plinking at short distances, higher volume shooting, seeking cheaper reloads for this gun. But the other (target) gun I will be seeking accuracy as a sole priority.

    So there you have it, another guy with a bunch of reloading stuff he don't yet know how to use. With two guns and two very different applications. Don't know shet. Don't know where to buy bullets even. No idea on suitable loads for my given applications.


    Thanks for your time and patience.



    -Dan

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    I would enourage you to start reloading with one of your straight wall pistol cases, 9, 10, 40, doesn't matter; and under the tutelage of an experienced local to you reloader.

    Dealing with the shoulder on the .223 brass is an extra step, and extra headache.

    When you are solid on straightwall pistol (or 45-70, I don't care), then when you go to .223 the one new thing you have to deal with is the shoulder on the .223 case.

    Certainly you can buy .223 components in the meantime. I loaded straight wall pistol (only) for 8 months or so, a couple thousand rounds. I wrecked quite a few cases when I moved on to .223. Maybe you can find some range pickup .223 to practice sizing on when you are getting close?

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    223 is pretty straight forward to reload and there is tons of info out there on it. You might want to check out You tube. Since you are reloading for an AR (semi-auto) you need to get Small Base Dies. Varget, H322 and W748 are a few tried and true powders.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    If you haven't already, it's highly recommended that you read this (don't forget that if you access Amazon through the portal at the SAF.org website, SAF get's a donation):

    http://www.amazon.com/ABCs-Reloading.../dp/1440213968

    And this:

    http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm
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    If you haven't loaded at all yet, I would suggest you start loading your 223 single stage on the rcbs. Once you have figured out what each step is about, then you can move up to setting the Dillon up one step at a time. I would also suggest using a ball powder to get consistant powder charges with out having to weigh each charge. The Dillion is quite easy to set up if you know how to properly set your dies on a single stage.
    You need to get a good book such as the ABCs of reloading and a couple of loading manuals to study before you start. If you can find someone to help you that has loaded for a while and you trust you will do very well to get them to mentor you. The Dillon is a tough powerful press and is quite capable of sizing bottleneck rifle cases.

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    If you haven't loaded at all yet, I would suggest you start loading your 223 single stage on the rcbs. Once you have figured out what each step is about, then you can move up to setting the Dillon up one step at a time. I would also suggest using a ball powder to get consistant powder charges with out having to weigh each charge. The Dillion is quite easy to set up if you know how to properly set your dies on a single stage.
    You need to get a good book such as the ABCs of reloading and a couple of loading manuals to study before you start. If you can find someone to help you that has loaded for a while and you trust you will do very well to get them to mentor you. The Dillon is a tough powerful press and is quite capable of sizing bottleneck rifle cases.


    ^^This^^


    I'm in the same boat as you (from NC, as well) and I bought a Dillon SDB and a Rock Chucker. I looked at that Dillon like it had 3 heads until I ran a couple hundred 10mm rounds through the Rock Chucker. Once I was familiar with each step and die, I set up the Dillon by myself, making sure each location was right. Long story short, 200 rounds of .45 ACP dropped out in about an hour. I was pretty impressed with myself. I'm scared to death to shoot them, but it was cool watching them fall in the little bin so fast!

    I spot checked about every 25th round and everything looked good, but I still haven't shot one of my handloads, yet, so I'm still a little nervous.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I am totally picking up what you are putting down. Three heads indeed


    Will be demystifying this thing soon enough.


    Thanks for the input so far guys. I appreciate it.



    -Dan

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    For your 223 load work, I'd suggest getting a box of Hornady 50gr v-max bullets, and a pound of H-335. I'm not so picky on primers, Fed, CCI and or remington, whatever you can get your hands on. You'll likley find 26.0gr of H-335 which is the published max load is the most accurate combo. From an accurate AR or bolt gun you should get 5 shot groups of 1/2" or tighter. 3 shot groups should be one ragged hole. I've used those loads in a 1-12 twist bolt gun, 1-9, 1-8 and 1-7 AR and it works well in all of them. You might want to try a heavier bullet down the road, but the 50 v-max is a good starting point for any 223.

    There is something to be said for using the single stage to size the brass, then trim/deburr, then run the prepped brass through the 550 for priming, dumping powder and seating bullets.

    I disagree with the need for small base dies. I use Redding dies and with the standard FL sizer can size brass that will function through both AR's and bolt guns, no matter what gun they were originally shot out of. I do recomend upgrading to the carbide neck sizer button and if you are using militiary brass with crimped primers you should have some spare decapping pins on hand, as you will bend one once in awhile. You'll also need a means of removing the crimp.
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