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Old July 4, 2012, 01:23 PM   #1
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Reloads stick in chamber

Hello,
I'm a new reloader. So far I love it and find it so relaxing (most of the time) I recently reloaded two batches of .223. I used the Lee Deluxe die set plus FC die. I trimmed all brass to 1.75" and loaded 55 FMJ to an OAL of 2.25. After the first batch I discovered they were sticking in the chamber when I tried to manually extract them and it required quite a bit of extra force to extract them. I also discovered after a couple times loading they would eject much easier. I read around and found that it could be either my seating die or my resizing die. I dropped a resized case in and it went in and extracted fine. I adjusted my reseating die and loaded another batch. This batch extracted somewhat easier, but still took extra force. After the first time a round was chambered though it would extract perfectly normally. Also, even rounds that I did not use the FC die on have this problem.

I have a few questions based on this:

1) Are these rounds safe to shoot or will they damage the firearm and/or have case failure? I expect I will have to use the charging handle quite a bit if I do.

2) What is the likely cause of this?

2) Is it in any way damaging to the rifle (an LWRC Piston AR15) to chamber empy cases or single load the rifle? I assume not based on the way it loads but thought I'd double-check.


Thanks everyone for their time and responses.
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:38 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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If the sized brass fits, it must be a bullet/OAL length issue.

Try seating a bullet deeper. Does the round now chamber without interference? If so, your bullet is into the rifling at 2.25. I wouldn't expect that to be the case but maybe your chosen bullet has an odd profile or you have an unusually short chamber?

Chambering an empty case will not hurt your rifle.
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Old July 4, 2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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Do you see any marks on the bullets that are getting stuck in the chamber?
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Old July 4, 2012, 04:06 PM   #4
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The case neck expands out when you seat the bullet. If the neck is too thick it can then cause chambering problems even though the resized case chambered fine before bullet seating. Another consideration.
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Old July 4, 2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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Try bumping the shoulder back another 1-2 thousandths when you FL resize your brass. This should fix your problem. I've had the same problem and they fired and ejected just fine.
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Old July 4, 2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the responses so far.

I forgot to include that I had tried seating the bullets much shorter, down to 2.19" and had the same problems; however I had one that was 2.22 that chambered perfectly.

I don't see any obvious marks on the case/bullet where it is sticking, other than a few faint "scuff" marks below shoulder.

I'm also curious about the loads I already have. Are they safe to shoot even if inconvenient? What about the ones that chamber fine after being chambered a couple times? Or do I need to unload them all, as I fear?

Thanks for all the advice so far and please keep it coming. I won't have a chance to do more loads until tomorrow evening. When I do I will try each suggestion until it works.
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Old July 4, 2012, 05:00 PM   #7
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I would unload them...tough I know, but that's what i would do. Additionally, I would make some dummy rounds and test them for chambering, until you get the issue figured out, before making anymore live ammuniton.
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Old July 4, 2012, 05:21 PM   #8
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Try turning the sizing die down in half turn increments, and skip the crimping. See if they chamber easily. Note do not use the Collet Neck Sizing die with a semi auto. All rounds for semi Auto must be FL resized.

With the turing the die down till the rounds chamber easily. Now take a batch to the range uncrimped. Fire one round extrac the next round do this with 5 rounds. Measure the extracted rounds. If they measure to within +/- .002 skip crimping. If they are longer then crimping may be needed.
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Old July 4, 2012, 05:44 PM   #9
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Big assumption: You are full length resizing. Die mouth solidly in contact with the shell holder at full stroke.

First: If all resized (but empty) cases load and extract OK, you do not have a resizing problem.

Second: if any loaded cases then fail to extract before firing, you have either a bullet length
problem (unlikely) or a crimping problem that's deforming the case shoulder. (more likely)
Solution: Do not (repeat, NOT) crimp at all....back that seating die at least one full turn
away from any contact with the empty case mouth... then try those rounds for function.

Third: If rounds will chamber/extract OK before firing, but then stick/fail to extract upon firing, we'll go to the next step....
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Old July 4, 2012, 06:48 PM   #10
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^^^ This.

You should have a headspace gauge, like the Hornady. Verifies shoulder bump when FL sizing (about .002).

SOLID contact between the shellplate and die is critical. When I first started reloading, I could not get the bump in my first try with our .223. I was about ready to have the die sent back to Hornady to be ground, when someone on another forum suggested I go 1/4- 1/2 PAST contact between the shellplate and die.

Raise the plate, screw the die down until it contacts the plate. Lower the plate. Go 1/4 turn MORE on the die. Now, cam the press over. It should cam over hard. This removes all play and resolves most issues like this, unless there is a problem with the die itself.

If you're having problems with hard extraction after firing- you could be having pressure issues- be careful.

If that's the case, how hot are your loads?
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Old July 4, 2012, 07:39 PM   #11
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Lee seating dies have a built in crimp (at least all the ones I use) You need to use a nickel or other spacer to keep the seating die from coming into contact with the shell holder. Put the ram at the highest position, screw the seating die down until the base of the shell holder is in contact with the nickel. Then verify that there is no crimp by seating a bullet.

If you are using a FCD after seating that is a different process.

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Old July 4, 2012, 07:44 PM   #12
Brian Pfleuger
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Lee Deluxe die sets include the full-length sizer, a collet neck sizer and a "dead-length" seater. The seating die does not crimp.
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Old July 4, 2012, 08:21 PM   #13
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You are right, I was thinking of the old "3 die set" with a powder through die and a seating/crimp die. Getting older, first the hair, then the mind...

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Old July 4, 2012, 08:34 PM   #14
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I assume you are loading for a AR15 type action.

The first thing you really, really need is a cartridge headspace gage.

Like these:






You need to set up your dies so you size to gage minimum for a gas gun.

You can also use the gage to determine just how much you are pushing the shoulder back on a fired case by measuring base depth before and after resizing.



You should not be crimping your round as crimping has collapsed shoulders and mucks up bullets.






Once we get you on the track of being able to measure just how much you are setting the shoulder back, and that the case is smaller than the chamber, the next step, assuming you are sizing correctly, is a small base die.
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Old July 4, 2012, 10:23 PM   #15
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..oops
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Old July 4, 2012, 10:37 PM   #16
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What type of brass are you using? Commercial or military? Military brass is thicker and always start your loads lower, ask around its something like 10% lower. Also making sure your within the powder range for AR type rifles, I use Varget and IMR4064. Here is some really good info to read, another user posted this to me in this forum.

http://www.exteriorballistics.com/re...sgunreload.cfm
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Old July 4, 2012, 10:43 PM   #17
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Military brass is thicker? I'm pretty sure that myth has been busted enough.

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Old July 4, 2012, 10:50 PM   #18
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I picked up some commercial and military ammo, all the commercial brass was much lighter and had a dent on the side of the casing after ejecting and all military brass had a very light ding. it was the same brand to (PMC) maybe its just me, but its seems thicker.
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:15 AM   #19
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I'm using commercial ammo (mostly). I will get a gage as soon as Midway can deliver it. I'm doing a fairly light powder load (24.5 grains if I remember, don't have my log handy) but the powder shouldn't matter because I haven't fired them yet. Even the rounds I haven't crimped and have only seated (the die assures me it does not crimp) stick. I think I have narrowed it down to a bullet seating issue because the resized case fits perfectly. I just don't know what the problem is because I have tried the die from backed as far out as it will go to still seat the die to as tight as I can get it, all with the same sticking, though to various degrees of tightness.
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Old July 5, 2012, 06:05 AM   #20
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Are there distinct rifling marks on the "stuck" bullets once you get them out? A smoked bullet in a
case (with no powder) will show you that quickly.) Bullet jam would have to be fairly egregious
to stick things as badly as you describe, and even then would tend to push the bullet further into
the case rather than jam the action shut. (You'd also likely pull the bullet out of the case upon
forcibly extracting it.)

If this isn't the case, I still suspect the seating die is squeezing the neck as the bullet is being pushed
in, and deforming the shoulder area ever so slightly.

Just for grins, see if you can find someone w/ an RCBS seating die and back that die off of
case contact by a full turn to see what happens.

Last edited by mehavey; July 5, 2012 at 11:28 AM.
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Old July 5, 2012, 07:02 AM   #21
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mohr308,

As you can see, actual data does not back up your experience. A guy I know did the same with commercial and 30-06 brass and came up with the same conclusion, military brass falls within the spread of commercial brass of the same caliber. Haven't done this for 308 Win/7.62x51 brass just yet.

Brass Aver. Wt. Extreme Standard
Manufacturer Spread Deviation

Lapua 93.35 (100)1.2 gr 0.31 gr
Hornady 93.88 (50) 1.7 gr 0.43 gr
Federal 96.28 (50) 2.3gr 0.75 gr
LC '04 92.97 (50) 2.5 gr 0.61 gr
WCC 99 95.5 (20) 2.9 gr 0.74 gr
IMG 95.42 (25) 3.1 gr 0.88 gr
PMP 104.4 (50) 3.9 gr 0.93 gr
Radway 96.05 (50) 4.1 gr 0.89 gr
PMC 93.48 (20) 4.6 gr 1.36 gr
Remington 92.33 (50) 4.9 gr 0.85 gr
Winchester 93.91 (44) 6.5 gr 0.96 gr

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Old July 5, 2012, 07:36 AM   #22
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Jimro

so from your list, all those halfway down to the end have large deviation with winchester being the worst?
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Old July 5, 2012, 08:16 AM   #23
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Quote:
A smoked bullet in a
case (with no powder) will show you than quickly.)
+1 on that. This should be your first task - find out exactly where it is sticking. Make up one cartridge with no power and use a candle to smoke the crap out of it. Chamber and unchamber it to see where the marks are.
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:17 AM   #24
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Are you using digital or dial calipers when checking you COL? Have they ever been calibrated and checked for accuracy? I work for a large company and I have all my tools calibrated once a year, its required. Are you sure the bullet you're seating is being set to the proper depth? Bullets can vary on the seating depth (COL) because of the design. .010 of an inch can mean a lot depending on your rifle, you could be hitting the lands or be right next to them.
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:36 PM   #25
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mohr308,

The list is in no particular order. And it doesn't list lot numbers for the civilian ammo. I really like winchester brass for my 308, and one could say that the 223 brass sample size was a tad small to draw firm conclusions from. But that aside, it is enough to demonstrate that there is no significant weight differences (and by inference) no significant volume differences between milsurp 5.56 and civilian 223 brass.

I wouldn't draw any quality conclusions from the list.

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