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Old October 26, 2001, 11:15 PM   #1
shu
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223rem agony

Have not done alot of reloading, but what I have done (some 308win, 357mag, and 38spl) sure went easier than those 223rem. I took whatever powder and bullets the counter guy had that I could make a match for in one of the books. That happened to be varget and hornaday 2266 55gr sp. The brass was some FC headstamp american eagle, which I now understand is not particularly suited to reload.

Anyhow the varget was the first surprise. Those big cylinders went bouncing all over out of the pan and on to the table and everywhere.

For the second lift I switched to some AA 2460 which I had got for the 308win. It certainly is a better behaved powder in the measure and the pan. Evan then, the smallest drop-chute for the RCBS uniflow was still enough bigger than the case mouth that I could not drop directly into the case but had to use the pan and funnel for each drop.

But the worsties was those flat tailed bullets. I had got used to boat-tailed 308win, and the flared cases for pistol. The brass was now twice fired, if that makes a difference, and those itty-bitty bullets just would not stay set on the case mouth, let alone stay ballanced there while I raised the ram.

I kid you not, sir, it averaged well over a minute to get one of them things pushed in and seated. I had resort to flaring the mouth of each case slightly with an inverted bullet (of course the cases were all primed and powdered at this point) and was many times sore tempted to just load them pointy end in and let them turn themselves around after they left the barrel.

Don't know if I can stand to go through the hundred or so of these things I have left. Have on order some boat-tails now, but in the meanwhile are there any tricks I am missing?
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Old October 27, 2001, 01:37 AM   #2
labgrade
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Why do you say American Eagle brass isn't suitable for reloading?

If your measure won't allow you to drop directly into your brass (can't imagine why not though - can you change bottom portion of measure or add a smaller tube?), place your scale pan directly against the bottom of your measure - direct contact - when throwing a charge. It'll keep everything right there.

Never really ran into a problem seating a flatbase into .223, but they sure are small compared to .308 I dunno. I always hold the bullet in place while raising the ram till the bullet's inside the seating die which takes over from there.
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Old October 27, 2001, 08:13 AM   #3
shu
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Labgrade -

Suitability of AE brass comes from a thread over at ar15.com. Responses did not all support the writer's warning not to reload it. They are the softest and thinnest I had encountered in my limited experience, so I took the thread to mean proceed with caution, inspect carefully, and use low power loads.

http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?id=60821

Incredibly the problems traced to an accumulation of minor distractions: residue of a heated discussion with the wife some hours previous, late hour in the evening, and decision go ahead with the powder and seating steps rather than call it quits for the day.

I was particularly attentive to such things as double checking selection of primer and powder, the scale setting, clearing the deck between evolutions, etc. Selection of drop powder drop chute I checked only once, and was in fact using the larger of the two.

The most previous lift I had done was some 125gr 38spl, short little fellows that were more easily set in the flared case mouth with the ram down than held in position as the ram was raised. That I so obstinately persisted attempting to balance the 223rem bullets last evening is still a marvel to me.

Not for the first time in my young reloading career have I recalled experience from a previous encarnation as air force instructor pilot. I usually observed a rapid drop and then recovery in the learning curve. The first time the student attempted a particular maneuver he was fully focused and did reasonably well. Performance on the the third or fourth following flight was usually the worst, as the student began focusing on particular parts of the maneuver or integrating it with other events in the flight.

thanks.
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Old October 27, 2001, 12:09 PM   #4
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I didn't check out the AR15 thread but I'll trade you once fired military cases for the Federal if you don't like them. I use them and they work fine.
My favorite reloading trick is to not load anything when I am feeling distracted, rushed, or especially mad. Saves on components and possibly body parts.
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Old October 27, 2001, 04:54 PM   #5
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Being an AR15 shooter and being an AR15.com'r I've seen many a thread regarding Federal ammo and Federal brass, there are some suitability issues when it comes to reloading the stuff for use in an AR15. Something about the semiauto action design of the AR15 makes it pretty likely that eventually you'll have a runin with primers popping out of their pockets and into odd little places all over your trigger group or barrel extension. Bolt action shooters don't seem to have this problem quite so much, no wonder really because a bolt action feeding operation is less jarring on the round and the round is supported more.



Personally I have experienced many a headache with both factory Federal ammo and while trying to reload the brass, I've had primers that will back out of their pockets shortly after having seated the primer and while in a bolt rifle that won't be the death of the action in a semiauto rifle the action will likely spank you for trying to use such ammo with loose primers. Now I don't bother even trying to reload Fed. brass for my AR15s or my AR10, I'll likely use it lots for bolt actions I"m planning to buy in the future.


Strangely, other semiauto shooters haven't mentioned the problem so much so I think there is definitely something unique to the AR15 action that promotes these hijinks.
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Old October 27, 2001, 06:14 PM   #6
shu
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Yes - that's another thing I noticed. Those primers went in with hardly any resistance at all. Made me wonder.....
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Old October 27, 2001, 06:30 PM   #7
labgrade
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Curiouser & curiouser .....

I did take a look at that AR15 link (thank you) & have noticed some things peculiar. BTW, for ref, I've a Colt HBAR Match Target flattop with a 1.5X6 on it.

I have shot a bunch of Fed's AE brand & get excellent groups with their 50 gr HP. Have shot a few Pdogs out to 250 or so & it seems to be quite adequate - good expansion & all that.

But.

When reloading, I've run across a coupla pieces ofbrass that literally came apart about 1/2 up the brass. This isn't at the web area where you'd expect brass to fail after a coupla loadings in a rifle with headspace problems, but 1/2 up. Seems to be an odd place for it to fail. Have had to pop a coupla "nose pieces" out of the chamber with a cleaning ro w/brush attached.

Too, pressures seem to be up there right away with the AE brass. Even with starting loads, the primers are way flat - much more than I have ever experienced with other comparable starting loads.

I've some pretty good rifle reloading history behind me & this combo is the first time I've run across seemingly unexplainable things.

I've still about 2K Fed's AE once-fired brass all sized, primed & ready to go & I do have one fairly decent load worked up. Think I'll load 'em up, shoot & leave the brass where it lay - ouch!

This AR is one of those "if the S ever HTF" rifles & I'd just as soon be able to count on bullet-proof reliability if needed.

All-in-all, I rather invite 'em in for a beer & some good conversation.
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Old October 27, 2001, 08:10 PM   #8
labgrade
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griz,

BTW, if you wanna do a trade before I load all this stuff up, get with me at labgrade@keepandbeararms.com .... maybe we can come up with something that works for both of us.

All my already primed (CCI small rifle & normal - no small based RCBS dies) brass may be up for grabs.
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Old October 27, 2001, 08:42 PM   #9
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I agree with Labgrades' technique on holding on to the bullet so you can guide it into the seating die.
Boattail bullets are much easier to get started though.
Have never used Varget, but I do a lot of case charging with my Lee measure. Seems to work just great, although small changes in weight are not possible.
I have used H4198 @ 17.5 and 20.7 grains with good results.
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Old October 27, 2001, 08:44 PM   #10
Steve Smith
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Guys! Guys! Guys!

The reason that the guys at AR-15.com have had so much trouble is that we're all High power rifle competitors over there.

We push 80 grain bullets at 2900 fps. If anything will make a weak case rear it's ugly head, that will!

For regular pressure reloading, they might be just fine.
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Old October 29, 2001, 02:06 PM   #11
Keith J
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Well Steve...

I had an AE go at 22.5 grains of AA2520 with a 80 gr MKHPBT seated to 2.45". Starting load. From the remains of the case, it was unsupported in the very thin web area, right at the chamber chamfer of my FN USGI barrel.

Don't use it in AR's!
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Old October 29, 2001, 02:16 PM   #12
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Dude, it's easy...

1. Call Sinclair, and order a drop tube adapter for your Uniflow. You'll like it, and it comes with different size inserts for different size cartridges.

2. While you're talking to 'em, tell 'em you want a Wilson deburring tool. Use it to chamfer and debur the case mouth. Then all you should have to do is set the bullet on the mouth, and raise the ram to the seater... No big deal.

The bullet does NOT have to be sitting inside the case prior to seating. The seater will take care of that. A nicely chamfered/deburred case mouth does make entry much smoother tho...

If you can load the brass, you can shoot the brass. Just look out for overly loose primer pockets, and incipient head seps...
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Old October 29, 2001, 10:55 PM   #13
Steve Smith
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Jeez! you can't say anything around here without someone trying to prove you wrong!

Keith, take note of the 4th to last word in my post. MIGHT.

I don't use AE's and won't because of the ESTABLISHED record of Federal brass. I use USGI brass and it works great. I was only trying to explain why so many of us at AR15.com have had the same story. I'm quite glad those guys told me about it before I used some at a match! Its quite possible, however, for a regular Joe to load his 55 grainers many times without having problems with federal brass...I have no idea, it was truly a guess. I only shoot 77 and 80 grain SMK bullets. Keith, you do bring up a good point, though...why even TRY to use the Federal brass? Buy brass from www.rvow.com for a pitance of the cost of Federal, and you're good to go with some case prep (which the Federal doesn't have eitehr). The pressure curves are quite different when comparing a 55 gr. bullet at ~3000+ fps and an 80 doing 2600 to 2900 fps.

shu, try RL15 when you get a chance...it meters really well and shouldn't bounce everywhere.
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Old October 30, 2001, 11:34 AM   #14
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Shu, Bogie is dead-on about the chamfering of the case mouth. Just don't go overboard with it!

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Old October 30, 2001, 11:36 AM   #15
Keith J
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sorry Steve...

Didn't mean to sound stern...I learned my lesson the hard way on cheap brass. My lot of USGI brass started neck splitting and I saw a "good deal" on American Eagle, thinking it was in the same league as their .45 ACP.

As far as my current situation, I now use Black Hills for 200-400 and save the USGI brass. I class it according to date, discarding oddballs. I feel confident its only been reloaded once and after trimming/deburring, it lasts for at least 6 reloadings w/o annealing.
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Old October 30, 2001, 01:04 PM   #16
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Heck - for .223 brass, just call rvow.com, and get some once-fired GI stuff... They do VERY nice brass, and it's already trimmed - you just have to chamfer and deburr...
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Old October 30, 2001, 08:01 PM   #17
Steve Smith
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"Heck - for .223 brass, just call rvow.com, and get some once-fired GI stuff... They do VERY nice brass, and it's already trimmed - you just have to chamfer and deburr"

AMEN! RVOW is pretty awesome stuff for safe cases that are cheap as dirt. For 300 yard stuff and less, the chamfer and deburr is all that's needed. I weigh, deburr, chamfer, true primer pockets, and deburr flash holes on my 600 yard loads.
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Old October 31, 2001, 03:27 PM   #18
Bob243
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Quote:
Don't know if I can stand to go through the hundred or so of these things I have left. Have on order some boat-tails now, but in the meanwhile are there any tricks I am missing?
Did you use the champer ( sp?) tool on the mouth of the cases? I use HP-FB alot, that is what groups the best in my 700VS.

As far as AE brass... not for reloading in AR... but in my 700 I have some with 7 reloads on them, no problems signs, primer pockets are still tight, I am reloading just under max loads from my Hornady book with N-135.
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