Forming .221 Fireball Brass [Archive] - Varmints Den

: Forming .221 Fireball Brass


Don M.
08-02-2008, 12:16 PM
Well, been putting off a chore but finally got around to it this morning.
I recently purchased a .221 Fireball Fluted Barrel & had been planning
on doing so for some time. Put the rifle together yesterday and every-
thing went together with good head space. So, took a look at the brass
on inventory and settled on some .223 Black Hill Match Brass that I had.
The brass was nice & clean to start the project. After doing some test-
ing for quite a while yesterday afternoon, finally got all the set ups for
the different dies worked out. First step was to run the brass through
a Redding Forming Die. I could have ran the brass through a Skip Otto
Die the first step, but this Redding Die seemed to do a good job & it was
already set up for the proper shoulder length. But, this die did not form
the neck down full length to the proper diamiater all the way to the
shoulder. So, second step was to run all the brass through a Skip Otto
Die to finish sizing the neck all the way down to the shoulder. Maybe
my Redding forming die set is missing a die ! Third step was to full length
resize the cases. This gave the body a workable dimension and in my
hunble opinion it also straightens the neck (if it is off any). Fourth step is
to trim to length in the Wilson Trimmer with cordless drill. Fifth step is to
run all the cases through the RCBS CAse Center, chamfer & debur the necks,
& clean the primer pockets and cut to a uniform depth, and clean the
inside of the necks. Sixth step is to use the Sinclair Power Case Driver &
polish all the brass. Seventh Step is to reload with RL 7 Powder & a Sierra
40 Grain Blitz King. Eight step is to kill as many Prairie Dogs in 09 with these
500 rounds as possible ! You may ask youself why go to all this trouble.
Well, to be honest I didn't like the Remington Brass ! ! ! ! ! And, I didn't
have 500 rounds either ! ! ! ! ! With any luck I will have most of the brass
work done by this afternoon, iffin my arms holds out ! ! ! ! ! Should get the
reloading done maybe tomorrow afternoon after church if the sand man
doesn't get in my eyes.

Ole
08-02-2008, 12:32 PM
One step missing in my book, neck thickness. When you form brass down(and I'm pretty much doing the same as you with the 2 die Redding forming set) you end up with a real thick neck just above the shoulder. I turned all my brass, doesn't take off a whole lot of brass, but does make the neck thickness the same top to bottom.

Now I maybe all washed up here, but that's what I do.

Ole

Question? Did you buy a bunch of OF Black Hills brass? I bought some off a website and the primer pockets were all loose, threw it all away.

FRED M
08-02-2008, 01:31 PM
Don:
I start out with 222 Winchester brass,If you can find it.
Then run it thru a Redding form&trim die with a 0.050" shim under the locknut.
I do this to get a 1.450" case to fit my chamber.
Cut the neck with a fine hacksaw and debur the inside neck. It's easier with the case still in the die. The case is now about 1.460"+/- and the shoulder still has to be set back which is done by removing the shim and running the cases thru again.
Next the neck is expanded to fit the case trimmer spud and the case trimmed to 1.450".
The neck now turned to fit my 0.246" neck and then polished with steel wool to clean up the burrs.
It sounds complicated but if you do about 20 cases at a time it goes quick.
I now have a case that fits my chamber, (-.005), with a long neck to get those 40gr bullets up to the rifling.
I only wish I had a 30deg shoulder, then life would be good.

Ole
08-02-2008, 04:58 PM
I use a Sinclair OAL gauge and my chamber comes out to 1.437", so I trimmed mine back to 1.432" and some to 1.430"(I goofed), but I keep them seperated.

Ole

C Miller
08-02-2008, 09:01 PM
I own both the 223/222 to 221 form and trim dies and the 221 to 17MK4 form and trim die and went down the same road. Only I made 100ea Rem and 100ea Win in 3 different chamberings, 221, 20VT, and 17FB, totaling 600pcs. Not sure I'll ever do that again but it's nice to know that you can build brass for all of these and not be concerned about 221FB brass availability. I wanted to see if one brand made better brass than the other also. Like the others I made mine with the longer necks but across the board all rounds when loaded were well below the chamber neck sizes, even the 17FB so I didn't turn them. I fully expected to have to turn necks just to chamber these, not so. I'm almost to the point of having them fireformed and ready to anneal and I'm hoping that there is a difference because right now there isn't. The factory Rem brass shoots as well as my custom stuff when fireforming. In custom rifles with premium barrels they both shoot good and factory barreled rifles, well lets say they shoot well, just not with the customs. I do feel I'll end up with some nice brass but it's hard to comprehend all the steps you go to times 600 :eek: until you've done it.

CJ in Wy
08-03-2008, 02:14 AM
Ya might want to form ten and fire them a few times to see if the primer pockets will hold or just load them on the lite side if you already have them all formed.
I wonder if Federal make the brass for BHs as the couple of different batches I had lost the primer pocket long before any of the Mill or Winchester brass did!

Don M.
08-03-2008, 08:58 AM
Ya might want to form ten and fire them a few times to see if the primer pockets will hold or just load them on the lite side if you already have them all formed.
I wonder if Federal make the brass for BHs as the couple of different batches I had lost the primer pocket long before any of the Mill or Winchester brass did!

Too late now C.J. If the primer pockets get loose I will trash them and make
the next batch from Lake City .223. The only reason I didn't use the Lake
City this time was that the Black Hills Match brass was a little cleaner looking.
As to the suggestion to use Winchester brass, if I was going to buy brass I
would just buy 221 Fireball brass and not go through all the hassle of making
it from .223. When I make brass for a "match rifle", I am going to be very
concrned about the overall thickness of the necks from the shoulder to the
end of the neck to have a uniform thickness. Guys this is Prairie Dog ammo !
When a shot is fired in 10 to 30 mph wind, and one shoots a curve for the wind & elevation both, reckon it will make a whole lot of difference ? I have
already fired some in my rifle & it goes "bang" and the bullet went out the
end of the barrel. Look out Prairie Dogs ! Fellows us poor folks have to use
what we have sometimes.

CJ in Wy
08-03-2008, 01:11 PM
The locals go to a few of the closest State land areas to blast ammo. I felt like Murph last night picking up brass they left scattered all over the place.....along with way too much garbage :(

These two pics are just normal hauls from my trips to the blasting area's
http://photos.imageevent.com/cjnmn/guns/websize/brass4-13-07.jpg
http://photos.imageevent.com/cjnmn/guns/websize/antilope%20059.jpg

The only brass I buy these days is for the BR , PPC and limited that to just 100 rounds a piece. I've reloaded the steel cased 223 but the steel cased 7.62x39 just doesnt want to squeeze down to 22 cal worth a darn. I could get a set of dies to form BR cases out of the large supply of 308 that I've been picking up but its easier to neck it down to 243 :D
I have yet to find a 454Casual or 45lc case either but there is plenty of 9mm,40S&W and 45Auto to be had.
If you dont hot-rod the BH brass it works just fine and us economicly challanged boys like to save $$ on powder anyway= the dogs aint gonna notice a couple less FPS either.
Us poor boys gotta shoot of the hood or ground as we aint got no little red wagon to use, thats a great setup by the way!

Ole
08-03-2008, 03:01 PM
Too late now C.J. If the primer pockets get loose I will trash them and make
the next batch from Lake City .223. The only reason I didn't use the Lake
City this time was that the Black Hills Match brass was a little cleaner looking.
As to the suggestion to use Winchester brass, if I was going to buy brass I
would just buy 221 Fireball brass and not go through all the hassle of making
it from .223. When I make brass for a "match rifle", I am going to be very
concrned about the overall thickness of the necks from the shoulder to the
end of the neck to have a uniform thickness. Guys this is Prairie Dog ammo !
When a shot is fired in 10 to 30 mph wind, and one shoots a curve for the wind & elevation both, reckon it will make a whole lot of difference ? I have
already fired some in my rifle & it goes "bang" and the bullet went out the
end of the barrel. Look out Prairie Dogs ! Fellows us poor folks have to use
what we have sometimes.

I've read enough postings on guys who had louzy accuracy with just reformed .223 or .222 brass and they went to Rem Fireball brass saying how much better it worked in their rifle. And I know Rem makes mostly louzy brass, there are some exceptions, so these guys were probably happy with mediocre accuracy. Measure up a couple of reformed rds and see what you end up with.

I'm not knocking you here, but you always have the guy that says he wants to just shoot and can't possibly spend the time doing things the way they should be done, it takes to much time, he'd rather be pulling that trigger. Oh, I can see your gonna get mad at me.

Ole

Don M.
08-03-2008, 07:12 PM
But, I am always open to suggestions. I haven't miked the necks yet, but
with all the work that I have gone to already a little more is not going to
make much difference. And, I doubt if I will shoot this rifle enough to get
the primer pockets loose. With 500 rounds if I can get 4 or 5 reloading
out of them that would be 2,000+ rounds. I may shoot more on next
years PD Trip, but, this year I may have shot a total of 500 or 600 rounds
in 5 days. I let the youngsters do the shooting. Also, in my experience I
haven't seen very much brass that is necked down very much in length
that will not have a thicker neck. Sometimes this can be good and tighten
up the chamber and get rid of some of the factory slop, as long as it is
not too tight and does not have enough tolernace to be dangerous and
cause too much chamber pressure. Thanks for the tip. I can assure you of
one thing, necking down this many rounds is a chore ! ! ! ! ! We made 6XC
brass from 257 Roberts +p for a long time before we knew there was such
a thing as 6XC. And, of course we turned all the necks and annealed it
also. Probably would best to anneal this .221 Fireball brass, but, I doubt
that I will since it will be used for PD's. If I have an neck or shoulder to crack
I will jsut cull that piece on the initial inspection before reloading.

PS: Miked the necks & the top measured .0131 & the bottom measured
.0145 after trimming.

Ole
08-03-2008, 08:18 PM
But, I am always open to suggestions. I haven't miked the necks yet, but
with all the work that I have gone to already a little more is not going to
make much difference. And, I doubt if I will shoot this rifle enough to get
the primer pockets loose. With 500 rounds if I can get 4 or 5 reloading
out of them that would be 2,000+ rounds. I may shoot more on next
years PD Trip, but, this year I may have shot a total of 500 or 600 rounds
in 5 days. I let the youngsters do the shooting. Also, in my experience I
haven't seen very much brass that is necked down very much in length
that will not have a thicker neck. Sometimes this can be good and tighten
up the chamber and get rid of some of the factory slop, as long as it is
not too tight and does not have enough tolernace to be dangerous and
cause too much chamber pressure. Thanks for the tip. I can assure you of
one thing, necking down this many rounds is a chore ! ! ! ! ! We made 6XC
brass from 257 Roberts +p for a long time before we knew there was such
a thing as 6XC. And, of course we turned all the necks and annealed it
also. Probably would best to anneal this .221 Fireball brass, but, I doubt
that I will since it will be used for PD's. If I have an neck or shoulder to crack
I will jsut cull that piece on the initial inspection before reloading.

PS: Miked the necks & the top measured .0131 & the bottom measured
.0145 after trimming.

Thank you! Just so you know I'm an old baby-boomer!

I bought a Rem .221 LVSF last spring I think, because I couldn't pass up the price. I got in touch with the guy I sold my .221 Cooper to along with the dies, brass, etc and borrowed my old forming dies. I went nuts and formed a lot of rds, just the basic forming. Then I ran into a group buy over on Snipershide.com and had the guy order me a set of Redding forming dies and yes, I made a bunch more brass. Just off hand I think I have 700 or 800 rds, most is fully done and ready to load. And the best part, I haven't fired the rifle yet!!! When I did have the Cooper I used nothing but reformed brass and that was a very good grouping rifle.

Ole

Don M.
08-04-2008, 07:59 AM
I think I read one of your post some time back that would indicate to me
that both you & I are probably old enough to be classified in "Tha Old
Farts Club", LOL.

FRED M
08-04-2008, 03:51 PM
I Resemble That Remark. ;)

Ole
08-04-2008, 04:41 PM
Kinda stinks don't it? :-)

Ole

Don M.
08-07-2008, 07:28 AM
As is the case with most if not all necked down (shortned or reformed)
brass, after fire forming, this brass is gonna have to be trimmed again.
As well as it should, it grows in length when fire formed. Boy, this is a
real bear to get done. Got sidetracked for a few days, but, did get all the brass trimmed to length yesterday. Got more time than I have money
and lots of .223 brass, thus the .221 Fireball Brass project.

C Miller
08-07-2008, 11:45 AM
How come in Texas when we shoot fireforming rounds the brass(case length) shrinks and when you shoot it in Kentucky it grows and has to be trimmed? :D

Don M.
08-09-2008, 08:58 AM
How come in Texas when we shoot fireforming rounds the brass(case length) shrinks and when you shoot it in Kentucky it grows and has to be trimmed? :D

Chuck, my chamber apparently is a little larger (longer). The 3 initial test rounds
were trimmed to 1.397 & then fireformed. When fireformed twice, they measured 1.404, so they had to have grown. Seems this is reversed becasue I alway heard that everything was bigger in Texas ! LOL. Or, at least that is the way a lot of the "Texicans" tells it.
And, you are also correct. Think I described the growing bass ackwards in the earlier
post. Most brass that I have made or fire formed does shrink in length. This may be a
first for me with brass growing. This rifle was put together, so, the head space may be
a little longer, thus the brass growing. Doesn't matter, becasue I will only be shooting this
brass in this rifle on Prairie Dogs. So, as long as one sticks the bullet in the lands good for
the initial fire forming shouldn't make much difference except the brass will probably not
work in my other .221 Fireballs. This could be a sign of "age", reckon ? Old that is ! ! ! !