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Old 06-19-2019, 12:01 AM
STBE Harris
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223 Reloads in AR



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We have reloaded cases that are looking like the neck and shoulder are being set back too far. This is happing on about 1 out of 20 cases. You can't back the die out anymore or just about all the cases start to not fit in AR chambers or at least the ones that we reload for. I've measured these cases that stick and they are flanged outward oh so slightly at the shoulder body interface. Looks like the shoulder is being pushed back too far and probably the headspace! I have had and been around some bad experiences with stuck cases in semi autos. We once had a case stick in a Colt HBAR and nearly ruined a barrel getting it out. A live round stuck in a chamber is never a good thing. I need to be sure that our reloaded cases are going to work. I am thinking that maybe a Wilson case headspace case length gauge might work, drop the sized case in this gauge and find out. Can't cycle them through the rifles as this would of course find the ones that jam or stick. Note these cases are F.L. resized using 2 regular RCBS sizer dies we have a small base die but cases come out of it measuring the same as the F.L. die or a little larger in diameter so we have been using the regular FL dies. Cases are trimmed to correct length, and inspected. Also the cases stick in a couple bolt guns also. Cases are mixed from our range brass and some are new brass that has been shot through the same ARs. Military brass seems to be worst offender. Thoughts? Thanks STBE
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:07 AM
Samuel_Hoggson
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Originally Posted by STBE Harris View Post
Cases are mixed from our range brass and some are new brass that has been shot through the same ARs. Military brass seems to be worst offender.
^^^That right there is your answer^^^

About the only cartridges I've been able to load with bulk brass for multiple firearms - over the long haul - have been .38 Spl and .45 ACP. Well, until some doofus decided the world needed small pistol primer .45. You're not loading .30-06, say, from brass that came from 6 different Model 70 bolt guns......that you own. The variability inherent in using range/bulk 5.56/.223 and .308 is much worse.

I use the LE Wilson die to check after sizing. Folks miss the point by noting that you can use the chamber of your rifle to check headspace. Of course, but that tells you nothing about where your brass sits with respect to basic specs. And then you have to check in every rifle you plan to use.

With the Wilson die can also get an idea on ?source? brass before sizing, to see how much work your die needs to do. Nice with .308. And it keeps you safe. Sizing the snot out of brass begs for a separation and stuck case fragment. BTDT.

Small base dies may/may not be useful. Answer is depends. You can also get shimmed shell holders, eg. Redding.

At a minimum you're going to have to get used to sorting - and culling - brass. Cuz you'll also discover some of the brass you obtain from ?sources? is not worth trying to load.

Glen Zediker's "Top Grade Ammo" is about the most detailed resource for 5.56 reloading. Highly recommended. More info than you will ever need.......but it's in there.
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STBE Harris View Post
I've measured these cases that stick and they are flanged outward oh so slightly at the shoulder body interface.
I've found that trying to seat and crimp in the same station can cause this "shoulder flange."
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:50 AM
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I have found quite a bit of variation in Brass regarding .308 Win also. I use a Forster Press, and the way that primers are seated, uses a built in set of "jaws" that hold the case steady. There are certain brands of Brass that I have to fight to get them under the jaws, due to variations in Rim thickness. Some easily slide under, while others need effort. Bottom line: Brass from manufacturer to manufacturer, can vary quite a bit.

p.s. I always check cases after sizing in a Case gauge, to make sure head space is at Factory specs.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:54 AM
Leonard T
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Harris I had the same problem happen when I was loading for my Colt SP1. I think it is from the bullet catching the case mouth when seating the bullet. I have loaded lots of 223 since and haven't had a problem giving a good chamfer to the mouth. I also try use boattail bullets to help eliminate this issue. Do you see this condition after sizing or after seating the bullet?
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:13 PM
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Harris I had the same problem happen when I was loading for my Colt SP1. I think it is from the bullet catching the case mouth when seating the bullet. I have loaded lots of 223 since and haven't had a problem giving a good chamfer to the mouth. I also try use boattail bullets to help eliminate this issue. Do you see this condition after sizing or after seating the bullet?
A light chamfer of the case mouth will make seating bullets easier.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:54 PM
Leonard T
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Bottom Gun you are correct. That's why I suggested it because if the case deformity is at the shoulder/neck junction like mine were I believe the bullet is catching the mouth and setting that junction back causing the bulge. Good chamfer = easy seating = no bulge. At least that's how it worked out for me.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:07 PM
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Itís possible that the bullet seating die isnít properly adjusted and or some of the cases need to be trimmed.
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dons View Post
I've found that trying to seat and crimp in the same station can cause this "shoulder flange."
Ditto. The adjustment of the crimp can be a little touchy. If the crimp starts to soon it will grab the bullet while still being seated and cause the bulge.
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:04 PM
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ammo

All the reason to sort cased by lot, weight, and maker. Too much at risk to load all brass the same.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:17 PM
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Are you trimming cases? I know when I reloaded .223, cases were all over for length, and were trimmed to spec.

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Old 06-20-2019, 12:30 PM
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I've found I get my best accuracy by trimming cases and NOT crimping.
I've not had problems with bullet setback even with ARs.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:37 PM
STBE Harris
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Howdy All

Yes we are trimming all the cases they just automatically go to trim after inspection and first cleaning. Personally I have about given up on military cases. They seem to give the most trouble after just a couple reloads, and besides you have to do too much to prep them darn things. We follow the die instructions on setting them up. We have several 223 shell holders amongst us. I measured the shell holders and found that there are some differences in the height not much but we use only one at a time and I don't think the others I found in our reload room have been used at least not in the recent past the shells are getting "flanged" with the current one and the others in the past. The one we are using now is the shortest height. Yes we are chamfering and deburring. I usually do that my self using an old RCBS chamfering tool, my old back won't allow me to size for very long!. I know there are S.H height packs Aka Redding that can increment by .002 or so. I also know that there are different chamfer angle tools, all the stuff we are using is standard. I recently created the same effect with 22-250 round when I set up a universal 22 cal seating die and ran the case up too deep it of course set the should and back a tad, I am sure that that die is not supporting the case around the shoulder area. We are using standard RCBS seating dies.So I think it is something to do like was said with the neck or shoulder being pushed back. I would say that it was a short sizing die chamber except it has happened with the other dies in the past. We are loading boat tails and flat base but I haven't determined if the flat bases are perhaps the culprits catching the case rim.
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:18 PM
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Interesting about the shell holder dimensions varying. Never thought about them potentially causing a problem.
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bottom Gun View Post
I've found I get my best accuracy by trimming cases and NOT crimping.
I've not had problems with bullet setback even with ARs.
I agree. I have resized and loaded all sorts of .223 cases found at the range and never had a problem after thousands of reloads. With proper neck tension you don't need to crimp and your accuracy will be better as well.
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