Reloading .223 for AR15

The process of reloading is a delicate one, care must be given as you work with firearms and especially as you make or reload ammunition.  Like with building the AR15 you really need to read all you can, and then even after that still consult with a professional to be sure you are safe and accurate.

When I was first learning how to reload, years ago, all I really wanted to start with was a parts list, or a tool list.  So here is my tool list:

  • Lee 3 die set – sizing die, Powder loading die, seating die
  • Lee crimping die
  • Lee universal depriming die
  • Lee 4 hole turret press
  • Lee pocket primer cleaner
  • Lee Chamfer tool
  • Lee .223 sizing tool
  • Lee auto disk powder
  • Lee safety primer for small rifle primer
  • Lee auto disk powder upgrade – this allows you to stack two disks, this is required for the amount of powder you will need to load into a .223 casing.
  • Lee case lube
  • Steal wool and cloth to clean casing with
  • I also like to have a ammunition holder, I like to have two that hold 50 rounds each so I can reload 100 rounds at a time, I like to clean the press and dies after 100 rounds, I will need to do a page on how I do that as well.

Components of Ammunition

I like my lists so here is another one, this is the components of a single round of ammunition:

  • Primer
  • Brass Casing – you can buy ammunition that has steal casing but you can’t reload a steal casing with this equipment.
  • Powder – make sure you get a powder that will work with .223, your die set will come with some options, and you should already be talking to a trusted knowledgeable realoader.
  • Bullet or projectile.

The question might come up, which part is the most important or which component will affect accuracy the most, the answer will be all of it, and including all the components of the rifle.

Now lets get down to business, how to actually reload, or rather how I do reloading, since like almost everything there are many ways to achieve the same end.  First is the cleaning of the brass casing, obviously if you purchased new brass you skip this part.  This is my least favorite step in the realoading process.

Reloading:

  1. To start with you need to pop out the primer from the brass casing, this is done by using the Lee press and the universal depriming die.
  2. Next you use the primer pocket cleaner to clean out the powder residue from the primer pocket of the brass casing.
  3. Now you resize using the resizing tool to make sure the brass casing is the right length.
  4. Use the chamfer tool co make the cut edge of the neck smooth, use the tool on the outside and inside edges.
  5. Use the steal wool and cloth to clean the outside of the casing.
  6. Put a small amount of casing lube on the cleaned brass casing.
  7. Now use the 4 hole turret, with the sizing die, the powder die, the seating die, and if your bullet needs the crimping die, that too
  8. First the brass goes into the sizing die, when it is in that die you put a primer in the safety primer, as you pull the casing out of the die and all the way down it will seat the primer fully in the pocket, be careful not to crush the primer in the process, be sure the primer is seated all the way into the pocket and not sticking out.
  9. The next die the brass goes into is the powder die, you need to have the auto disk powder ready and set correctly, it will then load the casing with powder.
  10. Now is to seat the bullet, you will hold the bullet to make sure it goes into the die properly, this die will need to be setup correctly as well, the first and second rounds I loaded pushed the bullet too far in.  Start with it out almost all the way then slowly set it closer to get the bullet in the right depth.  I also did get a set of calipers to be able to measure the bullet.  Another way to do this is to hold it next to a factory round.
  11. The last die is the crimping die and is only required if the bullet has a crimping ribbon or spot around it.  When the ammunition is pushed into this die it will crimp just around the top to have a better hold on the bullet.
  12. The last step is to clean off any lube residue on the finished bullet, and carefully store it.  I like to use small plastic boxes.

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