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Getting Started Reloading .223 Rifle: Case Length

Filed in Ammo, Case Prep, Case Trimming, Reloading .223 Rifle Ammo by on April 9, 2014 2 Comments • views: 1099

case lengthIf you have meed reloading pistol calibers for a while and are about to start reloading .223 rifle ammunition then this article is for you. It is one in a series of articles on this topic.

When you fire a cartridge, the case expands radially outward against the chamber of your rifle. On of the steps in the reloading process is to resize the case back down to it’s proper diameter. When you squeeze the case back down, that brass has to go somewhere.  Where it goes is the case neck. As you repeatedly shoot and reload a brass case, the case wall gradually gets thinner and the case neck gets longer.

The maximum overall length of a .223 case should be 1.760 inches. My experience is that after about three firings most cases will exceed this dimension.  You can easily use a pair of calipers to measure the length, but you can do it faster with a case gauge.  I have the Dillon Case Gauge.  Just drop the case in.  If the neck protrudes beyond then of the gauge then it needs trimmed.

Case Trimmers

There is no shortage of case trimmers on the market.

The venerable RCBS Trim Pro Case trimmer has been around for a long time and works well.  I’ve written more about the RCBS Case Trimmer Here.

My favorite trimmer in this category is the Wilson Case Trimmer.  I believe that it is the most precise trimmer on the market. By attaching my electric drill to it I was able to trim 300-400 cases per hour.  Read more about the Wilson Case Trimmer here.

Now I have the Dillon 1200 Case Trimmer and I love it. I can easily trim a thousand cases in an hour.  The Dillon is motorized and fits on your press.  Click here to read how I mounted the Dillon 1200 Case Trimmer on my Hornady LnL AP Press.

Comments (2)

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  1. can you tell me which one will be the best for newbies?
    RCBS Trim Pro Case trimmer, Wilson Case Trimmer or Dillon 1200 Case Trimmer.

    • Dave Barnhart says:

      Having owned and used all three, I would recommend the Wilson. It is simple, relatively fast, and is the most consistently precise.

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