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Old April 10, 2008, 07:11 PM   #1
ahescock
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223 Reloading Question

I have reloaded 40 S&W for awhile without too much trouble (besides high primers). I just started reloading 223 and cannot get more than half of my reloads to feed consistently. The problem is that my bolt will not close all the way even if the charging handle is pulled all the way back. When this happens, the rounds are often difficult to extract. I have fired roughly 1000 factory rounds (WWB) without any problems.

I am using a Lee Turret Press with RCBS Full Base dies. The brass is mostly once fired milsurplus that I have recovered from my local range. I size to 1.75" using an RCBS trimmer with the multi tool that chamfers/deburrs. I do not sort the different head stamps, but I check the size on each case after trimming. Currently my OAL is 2.20", but I have tried 2.20"-2.24". I am using 23 grains of Hodgdon H335 with 55grain Hornady FMJ boat tails. I am not crimping, but have the Lee die if necessary. I use an RCBS hand priming tool with Winchester Small Rifle primers.

Should I be tumbling the lube off (I haven't bothered to at this point)?
Should I try crimping with my Lee die?
Should I try using just my own once-fired WWB cases?
What else could I try?

Thanks,

Adam
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Old April 10, 2008, 07:17 PM   #2
rwilson452
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Get rid of the lube first. if that doesn't do it crimp.

I have loaded a bunch of LC brass with Lee pres and dies. no issues.


the only other thing that comes to mind is if your not going all the way with the sizing die.


Quote:

have reloaded 40 S&W for awhile without too much trouble (besides high primers). I just started reloading 223 and cannot get more than half of my reloads to feed consistently. The problem is that my bolt will not close all the way even if the charging handle is pulled all the way back. When this happens, the rounds are often difficult to extract. I have fired roughly 1000 factory rounds (WWB) without any problems.

I am using a Lee Turret Press with RCBS Full Base dies. The brass is mostly once fired milsurplus that I have recovered from my local range. I size to 1.75" using an RCBS trimmer with the multi tool that chamfers/deburrs. I do not sort the different head stamps, but I check the size on each case after trimming. Currently my OAL is 2.20", but I have tried 2.20"-2.24". I am using 23 grains of Hodgdon H335 with 55grain Hornady FMJ boat tails. I am not crimping, but have the Lee die if necessary. I use an RCBS hand priming tool with Winchester Small Rifle primers.

Should I be tumbling the lube off (I haven't bothered to at this point)?
Should I try crimping with my Lee die?
Should I try using just my own once-fired WWB cases?
What else could I try?

Thanks,
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Old April 10, 2008, 07:34 PM   #3
Inspector3711
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Not far enough with the die OR the bullet seater. If the bullet is touching the rifling and you pull the trigger, gun turns into grenade or bolt just plain wont close. You need a gap between the rifling and the shoulder of the bullet. I have Redding dies. To set up the full sizer die they want you to pull the press all the way up with the shell holder in place but no shell. Next spin the sizer die down until it just touches the shell holder then back it out 1/2 turn. Resize one shell and then chamber it (just the empty shell). If the bolt closes easy you are set if not, turn the die clockwise 1/8 turn and resize the same shell. Repeat until it fits. If you are sure that it's set right and that your trim is correct then it seems to me the bullet isn't seated deeply enough which can be pretty dangerous if one fits well enough to close the bolt but is tight enough to touch the rifling. I think you want .050" between the shoulder of the bullet and the rifling lands (as I recall) but consult your manual.
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Old April 10, 2008, 07:35 PM   #4
taylorce1
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Quote:
I am using a Lee Turret Press with RCBS Full Base dies.
Are you using Full Length dies or Small Base dies? If you aren't using Small Base dies you may not be resizing the case enough to fit in your chamber. A RCBS Full Length die doesn't size the case small enough all the time to switch between chambers on Lever or Semi-Auto action rifles, but isn't usually a problem with bolt actions because of the caming action of the bolt. Look at your dies and see if there is an FL (Full Length) or SB (Small Base) on the storage case. If you have the FL dies let me know I have an extra set of SB dies that I bent the decapping rod, when I accidently got a case with a crimped primer. I'll send them to you and all you would have to do is transfer your decapping rod to my set of dies and you should be in buisness.

Other than that tumble the lube off after resizing. You shouldn't have to crimp the .223, not enough recoil.
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Old April 10, 2008, 07:40 PM   #5
totalloser
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+1 Yeah, I suspect your die is not going down far enough. I had a RCBS .357 sig die that was machined wrong, and would make the headspace too long, but I would suspect your die needs to be turned down a little farther as this sort of thing is pretty rare. Usually it's something set up wrong. Usually a 1/2 turn after contact to set the headspace correctly. Could be the bullet length, too, but that's more obvious.

A VERY useful tool is a case length gauge. Any kind works fine, and makes it SUPER SUPER easy to check for problems with trim length, headspace etc. Just drop a cartridge in, and it becomes clear quickly if something is wrong.
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Old April 10, 2008, 10:01 PM   #6
DR. Furlicker
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When I first started loading .223 I had the same trouble and found that the problem was I had the seating die screwed to far in to the press and it was causing the top of the case to bulge right where the taper started.

You could actually see a very slight bulge when holding it up to the light: I then confirmed it with a micrometer. It's easy to determine if this is the problem, just mic the empty case and then check it again after you seat the bullet.

If you find this to be the problem; bring your shell holder up to the top, screw the die down until it stops and then back it off about two turns. That solved the problem for me.
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Old April 11, 2008, 12:43 PM   #7
ahescock
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Next steps...

Thanks for all the advise.

First, I am going to remove the case lube. Then I am going to check to see if my sizing die is set as suggested. I think I already have the Small Base dies, but thanks for the offer Taylor. If this doesn't work, I will check to see if my cases are bulging after seating the bullets. After all that I will check back in and post my results.

Thanks,

Adam
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Old April 11, 2008, 01:56 PM   #8
Alleykat
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Get a Wilson case gage and use that gage to set up your sizing die. Chances are, you don't need a small base die. If I set my sizing die up the way Inspector 3711 suggests, I'd never bump the shoulders enough for proper headspace. I have to adjust the sizing die so that it's actually making contact with the shellplate, sometimes even camming over a little.

I also use an o.a.l. of 2.260", which is about the longest that will fit in an AR magazine. I never have ammo-related failures.
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Old April 11, 2008, 02:02 PM   #9
Inspector3711
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That's not my suggestion Alley, it's Redding's suggestion in the manual that comes with the dies as I indicated in my post. It worked quite well for me on the .25-06 and .223 setup.
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Old April 11, 2008, 03:49 PM   #10
Alleykat
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I'm using Lee and RCBS dies for .223 reloading. Maybe they don't work the same way that Redding dies work, ergo, my suggestion that the OP acquire a case gage.
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Old April 11, 2008, 07:28 PM   #11
Inspector3711
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No argument there... Gauging is always better. Some of us aren't up to speed with the cash for everything we should have yet though. I've been trying to sell stuff on craigslist for a week now to finance my first bottle of Varget and some brass (no, I can't afford even $20 right now). Also need a Lee auto prime and primers. Luckily I was able to check the ogive for various bullets at my dad's recently with his tools. Unfortunately he lives 2.5 hours from here and I still need a bullet comparator to check the bullet seating depth. At the moment the dimensions I have written down aren't helping me. My one saving grace there is that my .25-06 was made long before 75 and 87 grain bullets were around. The rifle has a long throat so there is no way these will come close to the rifling. Instead I'll set them .257 deep which I can check with calipers. Then I'll hope for some kind of accuracy. For fall I'll use 100 or 117 grainers which the ogive measurements work out for. Back on the .223, I will need the comparator for seating depth there. In both cases the empty brass chambers easily in my rifles and the overall case length is dead on +/-.001 so at least I'm prepped.
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Old April 12, 2008, 08:04 AM   #12
stubbicatt
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My $.02

If the sizing die is properly set up.
If the trim is proper.
If the case mouth is not hitting the crimp shoulder in the seating die.

Check to see that your powder dispenser die (if you are using a powder dispenser type die) is not set too far into the press. If it is, often it will push the case neck into the case shoulder, causing a bulge at shoulder/body junction.

Only other thing I can think of is some irregularity in your chamber.
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Old April 13, 2008, 10:36 PM   #13
totalloser
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What Stubbicatt said, just made me think; If you don't clean your cartridges after loading, and they have lube on them still, it could be burning and fouling up your chamber. After "1000" rounds, that COULD be your problem. I have buildup from this on my plinking loads, but clean my chamber to offset it, and I DO wipe them off in a shirt after loading. I probably should always clean them, but I'm lazy sometimes, and it's easier to clean the chamber than to tumble 500 rounds...

PS If you're short on cash, re reading the die instructions is mighty cheap! Sure can't hurt!

Last edited by totalloser; April 15, 2008 at 12:24 AM.
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Old April 14, 2008, 05:19 PM   #14
Tim R
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This is a commom propblem if you don't set your size die to touch the shell holder with the ram all the way up, and then lower the ram and give the die another 1/4 turn down before locking the die ring.
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Old April 15, 2008, 05:24 PM   #15
foxmeadow
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I'm having pretty much the same problem. Once fired brass, SS109 bullets loaded using a Loadmaster and Small Base dies. This Stuff runs great through my Mini 14, but not through my recently acquired Bushmaster. Assuming that the sizer wasn't set low enough, is there anything I can do to the 1,000 rounds already loaded? Or is it now reserved for the Mini? And, BTW, the bushie eats all sorts of factory ammo flawlessly...
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Old April 15, 2008, 10:31 PM   #16
amamnn
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AN AR, I'm guessing?


A very typical error that folks new to reloading make-- as mentioned above--not setting back the shoulders far enough. You don't really need small base dies or gages, just follow the directions for setting up the dies exactly. In my experience rounds in which the bullet has been seated too far out to chamber, will not fit in the magazine of an AR and/or will be reseated when the bolt closes as long as the bolt is allowed to close with full spring pressure. Not the best way to seat an accurate round.

Here is a useful essay on handloading for gas operated rifles. It comes from Sierra's manual, something worth having.

http://www.exteriorballistics.com/re...sgunreload.cfm
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Old April 16, 2008, 09:25 AM   #17
ryalred
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I have had a problem with my RCBS .257 Wby Mag sizing die. I have sent it back twice and can't get it to size where I can chamber the ammo completely. (Reloading cases that were fired in my son-in-law's .257.) I know its the die because I have an old Lyman FL sizing die that will size cases from any source and they will chamber with no problem.

RCBS customer service has been very responsive, but still haven't been able to get the problem resolved.
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Old April 16, 2008, 11:14 AM   #18
foxmeadow
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I'm not sure what shoulder setback has to do with my problem. When I run the charging handle, a round is stripped from the mag, but only goes about halfway into the chamber. I'd have to use the forward assist 2-3 times to get it all the way into battery. I suppose that, since it is a tapered case, shoulder setback might affect case diameter.
Whatever. If I have to run the rounds through a new die I have yet to purchase, I'll just load all new rounds for the AR. Newly loaded to functional dimensions sounds more practical than a 1,000 rd. salvage operation. Again, the Mini loves 'em. Thanks for the input.
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Old April 17, 2008, 05:28 PM   #19
ahescock
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Originally, I set my sizing die by screwing it down to the shellholder, then lowering about 1/4 of turn. After all the advise, I reset my die by screwing to shellholder and lowering 1/2 turn (just to make sure it was low enough). After doing so, sizing cases was very difficult in my RCBS small base dies. The third got stuck, which has happened before. I just bought a RCBS full length sizing die to see if the small base was the problem. I will post my results...
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Old April 18, 2008, 10:20 AM   #20
Alleykat
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Shoulder setback has nothing to do with a case that's getting stuck half-way in. Sounds like a slight bulge at the shoulder or improper adjustment of the sizing die.
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