Reloading mass quantities

I’ve accumulated a larger pile of assorted 223 brass than I thought I had (2.5k+), and now I’m trying to figure out the best way to reload it all. I have a Dillon progressive press, and don’t want to have to handle the brass more than I have to, but I also want to make some reasonably accurate loads for precision shooting, and some training / blasting / plinking ammo loads for general purpose. The brass is somewhat sorted, in that it is generally in batches that were accumulated together, and each bag is mostly a similar type, even if not all exactly identical. Most is commercial, some is 5.56 NATO military brass. It’s all been run through the polisher (corn cob media), but some of it has been stored a while and isn’t exactly shiny-new looking.

So, what I am thinking is doing the following:

1)  Set up the tool head with a decapping die (to not break anything important if I run into an unexpected crimped primer) and a full length resizer. Lube the brass and run it all through, keeping the current batches more or less separate, polishing the brass first for some batches if tarnishing makes it appear needed.

2) Do a basic case prep with a Frankfurt Arsenal electric case prep station on all of them; check with case gage and trim to length if needed, chamfer / deburr the neck, and hit the primer pocket. Maybe set one of the offspring units to work on that slave labor while I…

3) Sort the cases by weight and/or headstamp, going by batches. Look at the resulting distribution, group things however looks to make the most sense, then polish each group again and work up loads for each separately*. Try to find one batch with very high consistency of weight (therefore volume) to use for my match loads, aiming for two batches of 500 or so, with the rest being some flavor of plinking ammo.

3.5) * use Newberry’s Optimal Charge Weight Load Development to work up loads for each batch, starting with the lower volume / higher weight brass first.

4) Load my pinking batches first to work out any loading die / machine / automatic case-feeder problems. THEN do the match stuff after I’ve got it all flowing smoothly.

I think that will be a workable compromise between too many steps / too much handling, and getting a consistent enough batch of brass to make some quality ammo.

Any thoughts?

UPDATE:  Bent the decapping pin on the decapping die, and then had the replaceable decapping pin on the resizing die fall out and get lost. Had to dig out spares. No real time lost, but I came close- I wen through two items and was on my third. As always, guys, keep spares of critical equipment on hand: three is two, two is one, one is none, as the preppers day.

2 thoughts on “Reloading mass quantities

  1. Like I said at Joe’s. I use a universal decapping die from Lee. I just tumble, then decap. That way the flash hole is cleared. And just remove the decapping pin from the die. That way there’s no stoppages when I get in the “Dillon Zone”.
    For decapping, I have my old RCBS single stage set up just for that. That way all I have to do is swap shell holders for different cartridges. I also use it for form/trim die work.

    1. Yes, I have one of the Lee decapping dies. I bent the pin on it. I had a spare pin for that, too. It proceeds apace, and I’m loving the case feeder I got a little while back – makes processing brass go a LOT faster.

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