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Old February 15, 2012, 02:45 PM   #1
ctrain831
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rookie troubles with .223 loads

I'm new to reloading and have had success with 45acp, 380acp, 9mm, and .308, but I am running into all sorts of trouble with my 223. I used new winchester brass, 55gr Hornady Vmax, 24.1 gr H335 powder, and Federal small rifle primers. I've followed RCBS die adjustment instructions exactly. The overall length was 2.260" which I got from Lyman's reloading manual, along with the rest of the data above. When I try to chamber these loads, the bullet is forced into the brass completely or will not chamber at all. I have also tried shorter lengths of unprimed/powderless cases in tests but results don't change. I just tried another published load using 55gr soft points with the same result. Where do I start when trying to trouble shoot. I feel like I'm making a simple mistake that should be obvious. I have had no other issues with any of my other caliber loads, and I am sticking to published loads only as I try to gain experience. I last shot my AR at the range 2 weeks ago using lake city rounds with no troubles. I've also cleaned it with no better result. Please point me in the right direction. Thanks
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Old February 15, 2012, 02:56 PM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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It sounds like a sizing issue to me. Try screwing your sizing die down another half turn. When you cam over hold it for a couple of seconds. Then see if the sized brass will chamber.
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Old February 15, 2012, 03:04 PM   #3
chris in va
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Agree. Resize the new brass, also check it's length afterward.

BTW 2.26 is pretty much max OAL. My 223's wont fit into my magazines until 2.23.
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Old February 15, 2012, 05:38 PM   #4
ctrain831
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That was my first thought as well and I've taken it down to 2.210 using empty cartridges with no luck. I'm starting to think that it may be an issue with the rifle or mag. Gonna try tonight with my wife's AR (same Armalite model) and a different mag and I'll let u know. Thanks for the response.
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Old February 15, 2012, 05:53 PM   #5
mjm
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I have learned the hard way to check every casing in a case gauge after resizing. I also check after seating the bullet. The last step might be a bit OCD.
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Old February 15, 2012, 05:58 PM   #6
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I'm with mjm, have you tried one of those drop-in cartridge gauges? If it doesn't fit the gauge, correct it before you try it in your gun.
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Old February 15, 2012, 06:02 PM   #7
ctrain831
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Are you talking about the sheets that have precut measurements for a number of cases to quickly check sizing? If not, can u give a link or brand/model of the tool? Thanks
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Old February 15, 2012, 06:03 PM   #8
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BTW MJM, I measure each cartridge after seating the bullet as well, except that my OCD isn't paying off
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Old February 15, 2012, 06:08 PM   #9
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You said bullet was being pushed into the case completely.

As in, the tip of the bullet is flush with the top of the case neck?
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Old February 15, 2012, 06:09 PM   #10
ctrain831
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Yes, it may protrude a bit but it is pushed almost entirely into the brass.
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Old February 15, 2012, 06:13 PM   #11
mrawesome22
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Not enough neck tension.

Did you run this new brass through a fl die before loading?

Win brass is not lapua or norma and will need full prep before its first loading.
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Old February 15, 2012, 06:47 PM   #12
higgite
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Is there something else already stuck in the chamber, like a bullet, cleaning patch, or mud dobbers nest? (Just kidding about the nest.)
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Old February 15, 2012, 09:21 PM   #13
ctrain831
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I did FL sizing and measured every case, trimming when necessary. But it does seem like there isn't enough neck tension. Is it possible that the sizing die is set up wrong? Other than that....only other die seats bullet and, not to sound stupid but I was under the impression that u don't crimp bottlenecks right? just seat to proper depth..... going back to basics, I know but gotta start somewhere
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Old February 15, 2012, 09:22 PM   #14
ctrain831
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I'll recheck the chamber/feed ramp but I'm fairly positive that it's clean
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Old February 15, 2012, 09:40 PM   #15
Zach W.
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Measure the inside neck diameter of a sized piece before you seat a bullet. Should be around.221"

Edit: With proper neck tension, it would just jam up the gun instead of pushing the bullet into the case.
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Old February 15, 2012, 11:49 PM   #16
zippy13
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Quote:
Are you talking about the sheets that have precut measurements for a number of cases to quickly check sizing?
No, that's a case length gauge, it doesn't tell if the case is properly sized. I'm talking about the gauges that replicate the chamber. Dillon makes some.

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Old February 16, 2012, 01:43 AM   #17
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+1 on the case gauge. I have them for nearly every caliber I reload and use them regularly in the course of reloading a batch of ammo. The gauge will tell you if the case length is correct, if the shoulder is properly set back, and if the case is properly resized. You can get them several places, but I like Dillon:

http://www.dillonprecision.com/#/con...fle_Case_Gages
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Old February 16, 2012, 02:27 AM   #18
ctrain831
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Gages definitely look helpful. I'm going off of info out of a couple of reload manuals and these additional tips are exactly what I'm looking for. I'm trying to decide which gages are worth purchasing (my calibers are 380acp, 9mm, 7.62X54r, .223, 45acp, .308) so could someone please explain exactly how they are used step by step. {not reloading 7.62s yet if ever since surplus ammo is so cheap but just for future knowledge}. They are $15-30 a pop so I'd hate to load up on handgun gages if they aren't as useful as they would be on bottleneck rifle cases. Thanks again......not a single condescending rant in this thread yet......impressive.

Edit: Cancel that, just read an article from Dillon, seems straight forward enough. Are these really that useful for straight bodied handgun cases though? Seems like you could just measure overall length and diameters and be good to go. Anyone use them on 9mm, 380acp, 45acp?

Last edited by ctrain831; February 16, 2012 at 02:47 AM.
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Old February 16, 2012, 03:40 AM   #19
Zach W.
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They are not necessary.

All that matters is that they chamber in YOUR gun.

Your chambers are the gauges.
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Old February 16, 2012, 04:22 AM   #20
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Give your size die another quarter to half turn down. For some reason 223 is more difficult to size than 308. I load for a match AR. I don’t like to be embarrassed at a match because the Ammo won’t fit.

So, I check a few sized cases at random to make sure they chamber and eject with ease. I use mostly RCBS dies for loading rifle and have not had a problem with the neck not holding the bullet tight enough. For 223 I currently use a Hornaday bushing die which allows me to set the mount of neck tension.

Are you adding some crimp to your finished round? I typically don’t crimp rifle unless it’s going in a tube magazine such as 30-30. I may put a light crimp if the other caliber bullets have a crimp groove just to make things look right. The use of a heavy crimp can loosen the neck up. Worn out brass will not hold a bullet either. After I’ve loaded the ammo, I make sure these rounds at random chamber and eject with ease. (carefully of course) I also have seated the bullets to clear my magazines a few thousand’s for reliable feeding. I don’t get all hung up on OAL’s. In some rifles, not including your AR the bullet maybe pushed into the case because the bullet is being pushed against the lands of the rifling. (Most times though, the buullet is pulled from the case on extraction and a big mess is made from the now loose powder.)

Since you are loading for a AR I would be aware Federal primers are not a great choice. AR’s have a free floating firing pin. Once a round is chambered and then ejected without firing you will note the primer has a small ding in it. This is caused by the firing pin hitting the primer and putting a “Dimple” in it. There have been reports of slam fires using Federal primers. A better primer choice is Remington 7 ½’s. They are rated as magnum bench rest primer and work very well in the AR.
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Last edited by Tim R; February 16, 2012 at 04:57 AM.
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Old February 16, 2012, 06:02 AM   #21
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I may be wrong,but I am going to assume your Armalite rifle is correct.

If your bullets are setting back easily,you likely have insufficient neck tension

Your sizer die is supposed to squeeze the neck down smaller than required,and,as the decapping/expander spindle is drawn back through,the expander plug sizes it back up.You feel that on the down stroke.

Two features in the die establish neck tension.The die body,squeezing down,the expander plug,sizing up.

Clean brass does not wear die steel fast,but gritty range brass that has not been cleaned is an abrasive cutting tool.If your dies are used,or old,suspect wear on the squeeze down part.

If you load .223 long enough,I promise,one way or another,you will come to a halt with a broke decapping pin and a bent expander spindle.Replacement .223 RCBS spindles are cheap and easy to find.Get one,try it.Compare the expander plug diameters.Could be the original is out tolerance/oversize.Anyway,try the new one.If you feel the resistance of the draw over the expander,with two spindles,you should know you have a good diameter.

Nominal size of a #2 drill is .221.The shank will likely be about .220 or so.Easy slip fit,not too much rattle.

On getting a Dillon,Wilson,etc case gage,do it! There is a precision ground step that will tell you the hi-lo limit to set the resizing die for the correct shoulder bump.

You probably know headspace is an important critical dimension when building a rifle.Setting the sizing die correctly,with the gage,is exactly the same as setting the headspace of the ammo,so it can work with the rifle.That bushing die is your ammo heaspace gages.

I strongly disagree with the advise to just screw your dies in for a stronger bump over on the shell holder.It is easy to over shorten your brass,creating a condition similar to excessive headspace.Your brass will quicly develop stretch rings and head separations.

Please give us follow up.For about $13 you can get a Lee collet factory crimp die.You still need to establish good neck tension,but a light crimp with the Lee die seems to work well.
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Old February 16, 2012, 06:27 AM   #22
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This starting to sound like an orchestra tuning up. [ big ]

CTrain, are you in any particular locale where someone here can help you in person?


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Old February 16, 2012, 09:58 AM   #23
ctrain831
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Yeah, I know it'd be easier to determine the problem if someone was here. I'm near Fort Collins, CO if anybody in the area has spare time.
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Old February 16, 2012, 12:46 PM   #24
ocharry
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CTrain,, one silly question from me

is this a new rifle or have you shot it with factory stuff before???

if you are seeing the bullet set completely back into the case you either have no neck tension like has been said earlier or the bullet is hitting something on the way to the chamber or in the chamber,,and even then with the proper neck tension i wouldn't think the bolt wouldn't have enough force with proper bullet tension to force the bullet all the way into the case

and i would also think you should just kiss the neck of the case with the seat die and give it just a little kiss of a crimp just to keep her feeding smooth

i only neck size my 223 but i have a bolt gun

my .02

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Old February 16, 2012, 01:07 PM   #25
603Country
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I had a similar problem years ago, but I didn't have new cases. The problem for me was that the case neck wall thickness was too thin, which was due to the cases being shot and trimmed a few too many times. Did you check the case neck wall thickness? Seems unlikely that'd be your problem in this instance, but I'd check it anyway. That could explain why your case necks weren't sized small enough internally. Or maybe an expander ball that is a smidgen too large.
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