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Old November 23, 2012, 12:51 AM   #1
Gargamel6
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New to loading .223 for AR- Primer seems to be backing out a bit

I have been reloading my Remington 700 .308 for a few months now, and finally started working with .223 for my AR. I apologize, in advance, for all of info I'm going to spew out! Just trying to give the whole story to hopefully get more accurate responses.
I'm working with 55g Sierra Spitzer BT and CCI small rifle primers (BR4?). I have a variety of cases, and I'm working them up individually. First I started with H4895. I loaded 25g of powder in FC cases (checked web first). I fired a few and they seemed to group relatively well. When looking at the primers they seemed to be a little flat, and ever so slightly pushed out. Closer investigation led me to conclude that they weren't any more flat than factory- just appeared to be because of the silver primer. Nevertheless, it worried me, so I decided to start over with less powder. I worked up from 23 to 24.5g and it seemed to be better. The grouping was clearly better at 24 and 24.5 grains. But, that's not my most pressing issue at the moment. I just want to ensure that I'm loading safe rounds. My first question is about the primers starting to pop out a bit. Is that OK? They don't seem to go in super easy or anything in the FC cases, so I doubt they're loose. I used PPU 5.56 cases doing the same loads. Those primer pockets seemed to be noticeably looser than the FC cases. I had a partial ejection and jacked up the case neck at 23g. The primer seemed to back out more than the FC did at that charge. I stopped the process with that case.
Finally, I used the same bullet, and the same primer with Varget in RP, PPU (5.56), and PMC cases. Sierra recommended starting at 25.1 grains. I cross referenced with other sources and decided starting with 25 should be good. I individually measured all charges. It worked pretty well in all cases. The primers looked slightly better, but were still pushed out farther than the stock PMC I fired. Maybe it has to do with burning rates of powders?
In a nutshell, the primer being pushed out a little has caused me to pause. I don't want to get into a bad situation where I damage my rifle, or myself. Am I overreacting, being too anal? Should I consider a different Primer? In all honesty I'm not super concerned with making ammo that is really any more accurate than stock Remington .223 or the likes- at least for my AR. It's just for plinking, really. It's just a way to make shooting a little more affordable, and I just like reloading. I have my .308 if I want to get real accurate. Should I consider maybe just trying to find factory recipes? Does anybody know where I can find that info? Thoughts?
Just for GP, My AR is a kit I got back in '93. It is a bushmaster lower. I believe it is a surplus govt (20") barrel and upper parts. I was in the military when we got it, and I had the armorer check it out so I'm relatively sure everything is within specs.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to look at this and respond. You guys were super helpful with my other newbie questions!
Sean
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Old November 23, 2012, 02:43 AM   #2
mohr308
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I cant really answer your questions, but I will tell you that I use CCI#41 primers for my AR.
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Old November 23, 2012, 04:01 AM   #3
lll Otto lll
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How do you set your head space? Are your finished rounds within SAAMI specs?
How many times has the brass been reloaded? Is the brass range pick-ups?
Is the bolt face smooth and without any erosion or pitting?
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Old November 23, 2012, 09:49 AM   #4
myg30
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I never had loose primers or any back out on mixed brass. You first said you started with 25g of 4895 then reduced your load to 23-24g. You NEVER start at a load that you have not worked up in your weapon. ALL the powder manuf have loading data on the web and the STARTING LOAD is where you should start ! I know you dont want to waste time,powder,primers brass but
If and WHEN you have a mishap in loading you will find out that going to loads in the near max or even starting mid range can be bad news.
Several guys here on TFL have posted their near mishaps, kabooms,squib loads etc. Im no expert but my eyes and fingers are well worth a few primers and grs. of powder.
Miracle rounds not the first load you make, but the one you worked up,that grouped the smallest in that gun.

I would read up more on reloading .223. Google for info on loading .223
I never used the "special" .223 primers out there but others have good luck with them in some brass.

Be safe, check data twice, Start at the MIN. load, work up from there.

Mike
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Old November 23, 2012, 09:53 AM   #5
rg1
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A good possibility is that you may have excessive headspace. Shoulder of the brass pushed back too far when sized. Firing pin pushes the case forward in the chamber, case expands to grip the chamber, pressure pushes the primer backwards until it contacts the bolt face and it stays a few thousandths out after it is ejected from the rifle. Try backing your sizing die away from the shellholder a few thousandths and check them to insure they will chamber in your rifle. A headspace gauge such as Hornady's headspace gauge set is useful for setting your sizing die. With a mild load you'll see the primer back out and stay there but with a maximum type load you can get case stretching and when the case stretches it'll reseat the primer to flush. Just sounds like you have excessive shoulder set-back when sizing the case?
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Old November 23, 2012, 12:12 PM   #6
grubbylabs
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After reading some of the reviews on Midway and how using a head space gauge made a difference for them, I think I am going to get one to try out.
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Old November 23, 2012, 06:55 PM   #7
hagar
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Your load is fine, so are the CCI primers. If you use #41 primers back off 1/2 grain or more, they are VERY HOT. Stay away from Winchester and Rem 6.5 primers, 7.5 is the best primer in my book for an AR. That and Wolf small rifle magnum.
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Old November 23, 2012, 07:32 PM   #8
mohr308
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I use the L.E. Wilson case gage to set my die for the correct headspace. I ordered them right from the manufacturer.
http://www.lewilsondirect.com/casegages.aspx

I think I had to call them to place my order, the Gage's I wanted weren't listed in the store.


http://www.lewilsondirect.com/cartridgecasegage.aspx
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Last edited by mohr308; November 23, 2012 at 10:16 PM.
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Old November 23, 2012, 07:59 PM   #9
tank1949
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Gargamel.

First, what is barrel chambered for: .223 or 5.56? If it is chamered for 5.56 then the barrel has a lot of bullet lead or jump before bullet touches rifling. I own several ARs, the most accurate are the ones with .223 Wylde chamber.
Most all brass manufactures create brass with differnet weights. If your brass is culled, then OK and stick to one brand if you want realy good accuracy. I even weigh my Vmatch Winchester brand hulls, but in doing so I achieve 1/2 MOA at 200 yds/rapid fire. If your rife is chambered for 5.56, go online and get load data for 5.56 since they safely load hotter, but do not shoot in gun designed for .223. If you rifle in not headspaced within specs, then you could be popping primers. Any reputable GSmith should have tools to perform this check. If gun is new and out of specs,. it may be something as easy as buying a new bolt, but it may also require a new barrel. If so, see RRA for a 223 Wylde chamber. Wait time is 3 months, but Obama may delay it. If you just want to throw lead downrange, still have it check out for HS.

Good luck!!!!
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Old November 23, 2012, 10:47 PM   #10
Gargamel6
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Thanks for the responses. I think getting the headspace checked on the rifle will be in my future. As I said, it was a kit, and my armorer checked it out, but I suppose it is worth a second look! Shouldn't factory loads push the primer out a little too if it was a rifle headspace issue? I'm pretty sure it was a surplus barrel and upper, therefore would have to be 5.56, right? I could be wrong, and there are no markings that I can find on the barrel. To be safe I'm only shooting and reloading .223 at this point. Rifle set up may all be moot because I'm going to buy a mid length upper next month....Hopefully.

I will also check out resized cases with my headspace gauge. I do have the hornady gauge. I have been using it on every round just to be sure. They were seating fine in the gauge, and might have been a little on the "low" side. I did adjust it a little because the cases weren't seating easily in the gauge- and understand that can be a problem in autoloaders. Maybe I adjusted it too much. Maybe adjusting the die is the answer to everything.

As far as the load is concerned... With the bullet powder combination (Hogdon 4895, 55g jacket bullet) Lee suggested 25g as the starting load and 26g as max. What I realized after the fact was that 25g was the MAXIMUM STARTING load according to Lee. My book didn't have any H4895 recipes that matched my bullet exactly, I didn't see any H4895 on the Sierra sheets I found on line. The closest I found on Hogdon's site was a 55g Speer SP (I have sierra 55g spbt). 25 grains was the starting load, and 26 was the max. Lee's data sheets, as stated above, suggested basically the same thing. From what I read I thought 25 grains was a legitimate starting point. What should I have done? After I read the whole "maximum starting load" blurb I subtracted 10% and worked it up from there. I learned you have to read the fine print! Lee's data said maximum starting load, while sierra advises against using charges less than shown on their sheets. It's confusing... So, anyway, I started using varget because finding loads seems easier. Should I start lower than the starting load all the time? I get it from a safety standpoint. I also get that primers are different, cases are different, and rifles are different. But, logically, it confuses me. Is it not a starting load?

I have been reading and reading about reloading AR's & .223. I undoubtedly will read more. Are there any resources anyone can suggest specifically for loading AR's? Or, resources on mimicking a factory load? I know thats probably a no-no to bring it up in this group . But, from my perspective ...I'm happy enough with a factory remington .223 load. If I knew the recipe I'd make it and call it a day...after working it up, and addressing head spacing of course.

Sean
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Old November 23, 2012, 11:48 PM   #11
Gargamel6
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RG1,
You said:
"With a mild load you'll see the primer back out and stay there but with a maximum type load you can get case stretching and when the case stretches it'll reseat the primer to flush"
Maybe that is a contributing factor here. The loads that I shot were not maximum loads, they were lower end loads.
Thanks
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Old November 24, 2012, 10:34 AM   #12
tank1949
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again, determine if breech is 5.56 or 223 if you are concerned if your loads are too hot. Factory ammo may have primers crimped into pocket so thay may not back out. Pin holes in primers with very flattened surfaces always are a good indicator of excessive pressure. Please go online to powder mfg web site and access min and max for 5.56 and .223. You will notice differences in what I refer to as their "lawyer factor." They don't want to be sued. Ether do I.
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Old November 24, 2012, 12:30 PM   #13
chris in va
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Reloaded a few thousand.

LC uses a firm pocket crimp and the primer won't back out enough to show pressure signs. Once you buzz off the crimp, the recessed primer simply doesn't have enough grip in the pocket to stay put and will slam against the bolt face.
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Old November 24, 2012, 08:56 PM   #14
tank1949
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Chris,


I have noticed that some of the newer LC primer pockets do not require crimp removal. Older VN issue stuff had one hell of a crimp and you would definately notice elevated primers because the new primers would not seat correctly. Been there too.
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