Gun Zone Deals

First time reloading steps.

The #1 community for Gun Owners in Texas

Member Benefits:

  • Fewer Ads!
  • Discuss all aspects of firearm ownership
  • Discuss anti-gun legislation
  • Buy, sell, and trade in the classified section
  • Chat with Local gun shops, ranges, trainers & other businesses
  • Discover free outdoor shooting areas
  • View up to date on firearm-related events
  • Share photos & video with other members
  • ...and so much more!
  • hornetguy

    Active Member
    TGT Supporter
    Rating - 100%
    8   0   0
    Feb 21, 2021
    Allen, Texas
    Ask yourself this question...

    Does the AR operate correctly with factory ammo?

    If it does, then follow these steps

    Set the headspace gauge aside.
    Using a caliper, measure the length of your brass, if you suspect it to be too long. If it's below 1.755", then procede.
    Lightly lube the cases, including the inside of the case mouth (to prevent stretching)
    Full length size the cases.
    Load them with a low-to mid level load from a good loading manual, using a load for "service rifle" or 5.56x45.... not .223
    Fire those loads in your AR to see if you get correct operation.

    Report back here.

    edit: I forgot to add.... clean the lube off the cases before loading.
    Last edited:


    New Member
    TGT Supporter
    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    May 22, 2023
    Killeen, TX
    Let the lube dry if you are using spray lanolin lube...
    If not lanolin-based, I can't help much (all I use, DIY Lanolin/Isopropyl mix now [used to use Dillon's until the move]), BUT I have shot MANY of dinged cases from certain-rifle range-pickup that worked fine many re-loadings after dings like that. I am more concerned with the case-rim being chowdered/chipped/ruined.

    Have a .223 case gauge?.

    I have never worried about case-head separation, as I have a tool for that, but never had to use it, yet, and many of my .223/5.56 cases have been reloaded at least 15 times...

    If it ever happens, maybe, I'll start chasing the insides with a paperclip to check, but never have any cases I reloaded cracked prior to case-head separation either.

    I've only bee reloading .223/5.56 since Jan 2012, but still that seems to be a long time, and with the number of reloadings under MAX, I think I am doing good...

    Each die MFR has it's own instructions, and I noticed that some need tweaking, BUT a case-gauge helped me a LOT.
    I noticed that my .223/5.56 brass was not sizing fully, and my wife had some problems feeding in her .223 Wylde chamber due to this.
    My 5.56 NATO chamber didn't give a crap. :D 9mm too, some guns didn't care, others I had a couple jams per 300+ rds.

    Since getting the case gauges, I turned down the locked decapping and resizing dies on my .223, AND my 9mm dies a smidgen to fit the cases in the case gauge, as I was not sizing either cases all the way to spec.

    Talking to another .223 reloader at the range, when asking about case-head separation, he said something like...
    he reloads them until they fail, the chamber should support pressures of a blow-out, if it happens, just gotta dig the case out, and suffer range-down-time, no real safety issue. Not sure if that is true, but the chamber is steel, case is brass, work-hardened, and that's what I've been going with. I do not reload for super-accuracy, but for QTY, myself. 2 MOA is good for me, as I shoot with Iron sights, and only out to 100yd in my AR... :)
    Case head separation IS a big deal. Too much headspace (out of spec chamber being too long from bolt face to shoulder is a brass killer. Get a chamber go-no go gauge and check that headspace). Pay attention to the amount of trimming you do each time you reload and record it. Trimming to the maximum case length will have less material migrating from the case body to the neck on each firing. Trimming to minimum case length will result in more brass migrating forward with each fire-resize-trim cycle. That migrating brass is coming from the lower portion of the case just above the web. After firing, look for a shiny band on the lower part of the case body. Shiny is caused by the brass stretching to fill the chamber from bolt face to shoulder. (Headspace problem). Keep track of the number of times a batch of cases have been trimmed, and start thinking about the paperclip checks after the 4th trimming. The moment you get a case head separation, it is time to toss the entire batch. You really don't want a case head separation while firing and if you get one you need to re-think your brass inspection and quality control.
    Top Bottom