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Old December 27, 2013, 06:30 PM   #1
Hardcase
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.223 won't chamber

I've got a Del-Ton AR in 5.56. I've been shooting Federal 55 grain brown box ammo for a little while and finally accumulated enough brass to make reloading worthwhile.

I loaded up 50 with Sierra Varminter 55 grain SPT bullets. I swaged out the primer crimp with an RCBS tool, then full-length sized the case with a Lyman 223 Rem/5.56mm die. I seated the bullets a little short, at 2.22 inches with a Lyman die.

The rounds won't chamber - the bolt will not close all the way on them. I've compared the dimensions with the Lyman 49th Edition manual:

Base: .373 measured vs .376 spec
Shoulder: .354 measured vs .354 spec
Mouth: .245 measured vs .253 spec

The neck is a little tough to measure because it doesn't seem to have a sharp definition - it stays at .245" then angles up to .256" before the shoulder. Is that where the problem is? I didn't put much of a crimp on the bullet - should I have?

Here's a picture of two rounds. The one on the right is a factory round from Federal that chambers and fires just fine. The one on the left is my reload in a Federal case.

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Old December 27, 2013, 06:32 PM   #2
jwrowland77
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.223 won't chamber

If I had to guess by just looking at the picture, I'd say the shoulder is squished a bit causing the shoulder of the case to catch and not fully seat. It looks like the shoulder just barely comes out just a tad. Of course I am due for an eye appointment too. Loo
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Old December 27, 2013, 06:44 PM   #3
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Crimping only creates more problems than it solves. You should control neck tension with the expander not with a crimp die. Among other problems it creates, crimping deforms the soft lead core of bullets, and, as what I think happened here, you bulged the case shoulder.

This is another’s picture, you can clearly see here how crimping deformed the shoulder.

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Old December 27, 2013, 06:53 PM   #4
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In my case, I hardly crimped at all - the factory round has a much greater crimp than mine.

I just tried to chamber a full-length sized case with no bullet in it. The case will not chamber in the same way that the loaded round doesn't. I wonder if I should be suspicious of the sizing die?
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Old December 27, 2013, 07:05 PM   #5
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I use the factory crimping die to crimp, worth the extra $20.

Doug
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Old December 27, 2013, 07:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
In my case, I hardly crimped at all - the factory round has a much greater crimp than mine.

I just tried to chamber a full-length sized case with no bullet in it. The case will not chamber in the same way that the loaded round doesn't. I wonder if I should be suspicious of the sizing die
Did you use a case gage to set your die? If the die is not setting the shoulder back far enough you can have chambering issues.

I have case gages for all of my centerfire rifle calibers, except 7.5 Swiss, because no one makes a gage for 7.5 Swiss.






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Old December 27, 2013, 07:28 PM   #7
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Slamfire, I did not - I haven't needed one with larger calibers (or perhaps the chambers were more forgiving). I'll go grab one tomorrow.

I did experiment with the crimp. A bit more crimp does help and I can see where the shoulder is more defined, but the round is still pretty tight in the chamber - it takes quite a bit of force to eject it, whereas the factory round comes out easily. There is a really fine line, though, where there is just enough crimp to chamber, but a fraction of a turn on the die crushes the shoulder. That probably should not be.

Obviously the case gauge will give the definitive answer. I'll let you know what I find out.
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Old December 27, 2013, 07:32 PM   #8
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I have encountered dies which when "adjusted to the shell holder and a quarter turn" did not set the shoulder back far enough to be under the "No Go". I removed material from the bottom of the die and everything was good.

This is something that has to be determined with a case gage, so get the gage and measure what is going on.

Semi auto's require ammunition that has to be much more precisely made than what bolt gunners can get away with. There are bolt gunners who neck size, partial neck size, the massive cams on bolt guns allow these guys to beat the bolt closed with their hands, and after firing, they knock the bolt open with a block of wood. Because of the forgiving nature of bolt guns, these characters they think they are reloading experts. Loaded cases for semi autos have to be smaller than the chamber, you cannot be as sloppy as you can be reloading for bolt guns, and you need gages to measure what is going on.
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Old December 27, 2013, 07:38 PM   #9
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Check your bullet seating die, the shoulder is definitely squished down, I have done the same thing in the past, luckily I caught it after only four rounds while loading. The die was turned down too far into the turret of my press. Back out the stem and reinstall the die and see if that works for you. You may have noticed that you were putting more force into seating than normal. Hope this helps.
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Old December 27, 2013, 08:15 PM   #10
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This seems to come up every few months.
I did read the part where the OP said brass would not chamber with no bullet seated.OK,sometimes there are multiple problems.

In your picture,It looks to me like the shoulder collapsed and bulged outward.I might not see it right,but I can see it.

Do you run your seating die down to contact the shelholder? If so,that is your problem...at least one of them.Back the seating die away from the shellholder.
Put a sized brass in the shell holder.Raise the ram with the die backed up 4 turns.Now,screw the die body down till you feel the brass with the die..Now,back off 1/2 turn.Set it there,for now.
You might have seen very little crimp.That is because you are not crimping into a cannelure.The case collapses first.

Now,your crimp comparison pix,it looks to me like the neck of the reload on the left is longer than the factory load on the right.It looks to stand slightly higher than the cannelure of the bullet in the right..016 to .020?


Did you measure your brass length over all and trim if necessary?Brass to long will not chamber.

Crimping is controversial.Some do,some don't.If you must crimp,get a Lee factory crimp die.You will get poor results if your brass length varies.It is best to use bullets with cannelures.

If you buy a bushing type gage,an over length neck will protrude and you will know it is trim time.

I do not see a chamfer on the case mouth.I recommend a slight id and od chamfer.

Do you see the shiny ring around the case at the junction of the case body and the shoulder?That is the bulge where the case collapsed.Measure over the shiny ring,then measure just behind it.

Last edited by HiBC; December 27, 2013 at 08:26 PM.
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Old December 27, 2013, 08:26 PM   #11
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The reloading store had only bushing gauges. I measure a fired case at 1.459" and a loaded case at 1.463". That's only 4 thousandths. Is that enough to cause trouble? It would make sense to me if the fired case measurement defines the maximum value.

By the way, I really appreciate the advice.
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Old December 27, 2013, 08:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiBC
Do you see the shiny ring around the case at the junction of the case body and the shoulder?That is the bulge where the case collapsed.Measure over the shiny ring,then measure just behind it.
.358 on the ring, .354 behind it.
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Old December 27, 2013, 08:58 PM   #13
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Im a little confused.

If you are measuring case length overall,it should be about 1.760.I did not see a max and trim to length in my Nosler book.

The drawing shows a case body length of 1.438,headto shoulder chine.

Your numbers appear to be perhaps derived from a caliper attachment thingy,like a Hornady lock-n-load setup?

That useful.Your numbers are probably "reference" or "comparative" numbers.

What matters is the "before" and the "after" and the change.

From your numbers,as the diameter was sized down,like squeezing a banana in your fist,it gets longer.Yes,that .004is a problem.Your sizing die is supposed to form that back,a touch shorter.

In an AR,that setback,from a case fired in your rifle,should probably be .003 to .004 shorter.That should give decent brass life versus reliable lockup.

You say you have a Lyman sizing die.The die is partnered with a shellholder.Together,they determine length.

Is it a 7/8-14 full size die,or a Lyman Jr die?

Do you have the correct shellholder,as in the one Lyman specifies or just one that seems to work?Just making up an example,a Redding 9x18 Makarov shellholder might hold the brass,but it might not give correct results.

Redding makes competition shellholders of varying length...but a new set of dies may be in order.
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Old December 27, 2013, 09:08 PM   #14
HiBC
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The .354 is a good number per the drawing.The 358 is bad,oversize.But,understand that comes from the shoulder collapsing back,which changes other things.

Do check the 1.760 length on your cases.I'll bet you are long.Too long tries to shove the neck into the throat.Problems with that.
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Old December 27, 2013, 09:09 PM   #15
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Very simple. Back out the sizing die a bit. You have it turned down too far.
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Old December 27, 2013, 10:15 PM   #16
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Chris:Post 11,he said fired brass is 1.459,and loaded brass(after resizing) is 1.463.
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Old December 27, 2013, 10:35 PM   #17
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Hardcase,

How far is your FL sizing die turned in? What press are you using?
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Old December 27, 2013, 11:27 PM   #18
Hardcase
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Shoulder collapse is the culprit. I pulled the decapping pin from the sizing die and sized one of the failing rounds. It chambers correctly now. So now I'll have to watch closely when I load up another batch of ammo to see what happens when I seat a bullet.

I've got a FCD if I elect to go that route. Also, I'll chamfer the case mouths - I had not done that. .30-06 and .30-30 is a lot more forgiving ;-)

Again, thanks for the help.
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Old December 28, 2013, 01:33 PM   #19
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Glad you found the cause. Still, buy a case gage, you don't know how far you are pushing the shoulder back if you don't have a way to measure.
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Old December 28, 2013, 04:47 PM   #20
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I'll just toss in the SAAMI drawing for the OP's reference. No question that a case grows during sizing and you have to check it afterward for all dimensional limits. For the AR's, the SAAMI minimum shoulder datum dimension is desirable to achieve: 1.4596". Also no question the case in the photo bulged at the base of the shoulder and exceeded, at .358", the SAAMI maximum of 0.3542" for that location and pulled away from the bullet at the top of the shoulder and base of the neck simultaneously.

Sure looks like a simple case of the crimp ring in the seating die jamming the neck down, though I've seen a couple of bullet seater stems over the years that would jam a neck if the bullet ogive was too short. That shouldn't be happening here, though.
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Old December 28, 2013, 05:21 PM   #21
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For an AR I would get a Small Base resizing dies for it's use. With little to no crimp you use. Your rifle should function pretty good then. With my Colt Sporter it jams periodically when I try to get by using FL dies. Hardly ever with S.B. use.
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Old December 28, 2013, 08:43 PM   #22
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you may want to check that your resizing die is properly adjusted. I just realized that mine was screwed out a little and the die wasn't going all the way to the shell holder leaving the very base oversized. Now have a hundred rounds that wont go into battery. Jams just short of battery and the assist is no help. This is in an AR10.

I will have to take them apart and rework them. arghhh
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Old December 28, 2013, 09:41 PM   #23
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No need to take them apart. Just get a body die.
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Old December 29, 2013, 07:53 AM   #24
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HiBC nailed it... I always pl;ace the very same nickle I've used for thirty years between the seating die and the shell holder to get a tad of space between die and shellholder,,,, and provided all your brass is the very same length, then all you have to do is set the die to the case and lock her down,,, no more squished shoulders.....
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Old December 29, 2013, 08:11 AM   #25
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Its not your resizing die. Its plainly obvious from your picture that your seating die is not set properly and when you stroke the ram up into the die, the bullet seats and at the very end of your upward stroke the bullet AND the case neck are pushing at the same time and slightly buldge your shoulder. If you want to test this theory, simply reload two rounds, first one jjst load as you were, and the second one seat the bullet in very slow increments and very lightly until youve just about gotten it to full seat. Youll find your first round is buldged and the second round isnt, when you put the second.round back in and attempt to cometely seat it it when then buldge the shoulder. We have had several posts regarding this topic recently and this has been the concensous. Also, i have done the same thing and gone to the range and had rounds jam the gun or simply not chamber. Also, try lubing the case next alittle, this will allow the bullet to "grab" the brass less and lessen your chance of buldging that shoulder.
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