Introduction: Reloading .223 Ammo for an AR15 (or Other Rifle)

Picture of Reloading .223 Ammo for an AR15 (or Other Rifle)
This instructable comes from my website AR15howto.com

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.

Step 1: Components of Ammunition

Picture of Components of Ammunition

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.

Step 2: Step 1 - Pop Out the Spent Primer

Picture of Step 1 - Pop Out the Spent Primer

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.

Step 3: Clean the Primer Pocket

Picture of Clean the Primer Pocket

Next you use the primer pocket cleaner to clean out the powder residue from the primer pocket of the brass casing.

Step 4: Resize the Casing

Picture of Resize the Casing

Now you resize using the resizing tool to make sure the brass casing is the right length.

Step 5: Smooth the Cut Edges of the Neck

Picture of Smooth the Cut Edges of the Neck

Use the chamfer tool co make the cut edge of the neck smooth, use the tool on the outside and inside edges.

Step 6: Clean and Polish the Casing.

Picture of Clean and Polish the Casing.

Use the steal wool and cloth to clean the outside of the casing.

Step 7: Casing Lube

Picture of Casing Lube

Put a small amount of casing lube on the cleaned brass casing.

Step 8: Sizing Die and Primer

Picture of Sizing Die and Primer

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.

Step 9: Powder

Picture of Powder

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.

Step 10: Seat the Bullet

Picture of Seat the Bullet

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.

Step 11: Crimping Die

Picture of Crimping Die

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.

Step 12: Final Cleaning and DONE!

Picture of Final Cleaning and DONE!

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.

Comments

F1VEpointFIVE6 (author)2016-09-02

NEVER use a factory round to "measure" your bullet seating depth. This is dangerous and irresponsible. Use calipers or a micrometer.

MarkGerard (author)2015-04-17

This was my first machine.. and really enjoy the lights out of it! but decide to go for the Green Machine cos It allow me to use my automatic bullet feeder, and now I'm in the process to manufacture my own case feeder... my hope is one day put a motor and make at least 500 per hour! by hand if I can get 300 is jut to many.. Thanks for the post, very very very nice.

parkerdude (author)2010-12-01

Good Instructable. Have you timed your production rate. I've have an old RL550b. I haven't loaded in a few years, but I just got a little Bushmaster and I'll be shooting some this spring.

Stay safe and thanks for the info.

later,

parkerdude

lanix13 (author)parkerdude2010-12-01

Thanks parkerdude, I have not timed my production rate, I have spent a lot of time at perfecting my consistency between each round. And I am still working on making it better. My first AR was a Bushmaster, I will always love that gun. I am currently building an AR15 that will shoot a 6.5 grendel, I will be putting up pictures and the howto on my website http://ar15howto.com

Thanks again for leaving the comment, and you stay safe and have fun shooting!

-Lance

About This Instructable

128,817views

56favorites

License:

More by lanix13:Reloading .223 ammo for an AR15 (or other rifle)
Add instructable to: