.222 case length(s)

Foxyboy43

Well-Known Member
Just started some reloading of once-fired PPU and Federal brass for a pal and measuring case length after neck-sizing was surprised to note that PPU come in at an average of 1.690" but the Federal average is 1.662" (for a max case length of 1.700"). Sinclair comparator shoulder lengths are 1.328" and 1.319" respectively so not too far out but even by mark-one eyeball the obvious remaining c.20 thou difference is the neck length. I have never reloaded Federal but it would seem that their cases are considerably shorter than any other brands I have reloaded for the past 25 years. The case volume differences are likely to be pretty minimal but I wonder what the "impact", if any, with the additional 20 thou of neck tension will be on zeroing. Bigger question for me is why do Federal make their necks so much shorter than everyone else?
Views appreciated chaps.
🐺🐺
 

Foxyboy43

Well-Known Member
Further to my post on how much shorter Federal brass is I also found them very difficult to prime. Looking at the primer pocket there is a clear difference in how they are formed which presumably explaind the very tight fit. Anyone else encountered this with Federal brass?
🐺🐺
image.jpeg
 

Cottis

Well-Known Member
Federal brass is not very good in my view. I have had primer pockets loosen considerably after two firings of a mild load resulting in subsequent priming being far too easy. I binned the lot. Must say I have never seen it the other way round but I have heard of Federal inconsistency, so that kinda makes sense.

Short case length below max trim length is not a massive issue but 40 odd thou is quite a lot. Whilst not the same as over length cases, it does suggest that more brass can flow forward from the rest of the case resulting in shorter life along with other potential issues of inadequate neck tension and maybe more. Bound to result in excess growth on each firing. It probably will not be particularly useful.

I bought a coupla hundred Lapua .222rem cases a while back which are still sat unopened on the side. I paid around £60 a box for them. The reason they are not opened is because my current batch of Lapua has well in to double figure firings on it and does not look to be caned any time soon.

So with .222rem brass, even the expensive stuff, basically having almost negligible cost to the reloading process, it begs the question "why bother with inferior quality brass that has a history of being a bit crap?"

Even if it is free and available, you will just end up having to work up a new load in the foreseeable future, so I would just say do it right the first time. Just buy Lapua or Nosler. Looked after, it will last donkeys years in a mild cartridge like the .222rem.
 

cjs66

Well-Known Member
Further to my post on how much shorter Federal brass is I also found them very difficult to prime. Looking at the primer pocket there is a clear difference in how they are formed which presumably explaind the very tight fit. Anyone else encountered this with Federal brass?
🐺🐺
View attachment 208879


Hey Foxy.
I've used and had the same issues with 222 Fed brass. As for primer pockets, they're crimped. Just get your chamfer tool and give it a quick twist with a bit of pressure on it. Don't go digging into the head of the case, you just need to put a bevel on the crimp and the primers will go in great. It's a one time job.
As for case length, I just went with it. Like Cottis says, Lapua is the way to go but, if you remove the crimp, Fed is very serviceable..

cjs
 

Donkey Basher

Well-Known Member
Personally I wouldn't bother with the Federal brass, just after the foot & mouth outbreak we had a local RFD who was selling 'surplus' FMJ .222Rem ammo that he had bought from 'the Ministry' who apparently hadn't realised you needed expanding ammo for shooting sheep etc. Anyway, I bought several hundred & whilst they shot OK the number of split necks I had on first firing was enough to make me stick all the empty brass in the scrap bin.

Invest in some quality brass to start with & look after it & you won't go wrong, I have no idea how many times I've reloaded it but I have circa 800 Norma cases that I have been using for over 20 years. Have also got some Sako brass from factory ammo I bought about 2001/2 & its holding up well too.
 

Foxyboy43

Well-Known Member
Hey Foxy.
I've used and had the same issues with 222 Fed brass. As for primer pockets, they're crimped. Just get your chamfer tool and give it a quick twist with a bit of pressure on it. Don't go digging into the head of the case, you just need to put a bevel on the crimp and the primers will go in great. It's a one time job.
As for case length, I just went with it. Like Cottis says, Lapua is the way to go but, if you remove the crimp, Fed is very serviceable..

cjs
Thanks 66. I have encountered this “crimp” before with .308 ex-military brass and understood it was there to ensure that the primer was held in place in all battlefield conditions and particularly to counter recoil in machine guns, as you say it is easy to remove and seat the primer - I use a countersink on a slow speed and just a touch does the job. What I don’t get is why Federal has done this with the civvy .222, it is an extra step and will have cost implications but to what avail? I have since obtained some older Federal cases and they are all “normal” length. Puzzling!
🦊🦊
 

cjs66

Well-Known Member
Thanks 66. I have encountered this “crimp” before with .308 ex-military brass and understood it was there to ensure that the primer was held in place in all battlefield conditions and particularly to counter recoil in machine guns, as you say it is easy to remove and seat the primer - I use a countersink on a slow speed and just a touch does the job. What I don’t get is why Federal has done this with the civvy .222, it is an extra step and will have cost implications but to what avail? I have since obtained some older Federal cases and they are all “normal” length. Puzzling!
🦊🦊

Yeah, and I think you'll find some don't have the crimp either.

cjs
 

Donkey Basher

Well-Known Member
Re the crimped primers, my guess would be that they have a line set up to produce primed cases in 222 & 223 & that their market for the latter includes the military (5.56) hence the crimping. In which case there would be no sense having a dedicated line using different tooling just to produce a limited quantity of 222 for civilian use. A lot more efficient once the line is set up to be able to run a variety of different options on it without changing it. My club used to buy a LOT of American Eagle (Federal) 223 ammo & it was all crimped primers.
 

ShooterB

Well-Known Member
Federal brass is not very good in my view. I have had primer pockets loosen considerably after two firings of a mild load resulting in subsequent priming being far too easy. I binned the lot. Must say I have never seen it the other way round but I have heard of Federal inconsistency, so that kinda makes sense.

Short case length below max trim length is not a massive issue but 40 odd thou is quite a lot. Whilst not the same as over length cases, it does suggest that more brass can flow forward from the rest of the case resulting in shorter life along with other potential issues of inadequate neck tension and maybe more. Bound to result in excess growth on each firing. It probably will not be particularly useful.

I bought a coupla hundred Lapua .222rem cases a while back which are still sat unopened on the side. I paid around £60 a box for them. The reason they are not opened is because my current batch of Lapua has well in to double figure firings on it and does not look to be caned any time soon.

So with .222rem brass, even the expensive stuff, basically having almost negligible cost to the reloading process, it begs the question "why bother with inferior quality brass that has a history of being a bit crap?"

Even if it is free and available, you will just end up having to work up a new load in the foreseeable future, so I would just say do it right the first time. Just buy Lapua or Nosler. Looked after, it will last donkeys years in a mild cartridge like the .222rem.
Sound advice indeed.
 
Top