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Old May 16, 2012, 08:44 PM   #1
Killa Lawnchair
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Help with FNAR .308 reloading. I'm stumped.

Recently I attempted to begin reloading for my FNAR. I measured OAL, powder, etc. and made a few rounds then loaded them into the mag and ensured they chambered properly. I cranked out about a hundred and to the range I went. When I got there nothing but issues followed. If the rounds actually chambered they fired, extracted and ejected no problem. But most of the rounds would fail to chambered and jammed to the point where with all my strength On the charging handle I couldn't get em out. I resorted to "other" methods and tried again. Same issue. Some even pushed the bullet back into the case and spewed powered everywhere. I stopped and stared. A guy at the Range who also reloaded did me the favor of remeasuring my OAL and got about .090 shorted than I did. Yikes. Ok I measured the OAL wrong. So I went back remeasuring numerous times and still got the same difference. I went ahead and tried his measurements because, well judging by his age I'm sure he had a lifetimes more worth of experience than me. I set the bullets in farther and tried to cycle a couple. Same issues. Seemed to have a better rate of succes but still. I'm lost. I've separated working rounds from non and measured every possible thing and found almost no differences. I'm completely stumped. I've inspected the weapon over and over and everything looks ok to me. My only thought is since the FNAR is supposed to be this super accurate reach out and touch weapon that simple its tolerances for ammo are strict but I can't say. This is the only weapon of mine that would be that strict so it's a thought. I'm just looking for any ideas that might solve those problem. I'd really like to clean up my reloading room of all the .308 that's thrown everywhere outta frustration and Take it all to the range and send it downrange range. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old May 16, 2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Crank your resizing die down another quarter turn. If that doesn't fix the problem get a small base sizing die.

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Old May 16, 2012, 09:31 PM   #3
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308 sizing

try the small base die set and use a case gauge to ensure proper sizing
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Old May 16, 2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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+1 what he said. if the bullet comes out when you take a loaded round out of the chamber,its because its jammed into the rifling, meaning your OAL is too long for the bullet you are using... what bullet ARE you using?
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Old May 16, 2012, 09:35 PM   #5
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Screw your FL size die in little by little until they behave normally.

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EDIT: Jam seating .090" into the lands could cause extreme pressure spikes which could get you, or an innocent bystandard, KILLED. Slow down, measure twice, live to shoot another day.

Last edited by mrawesome22; May 16, 2012 at 09:42 PM.
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Old May 16, 2012, 09:39 PM   #6
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Are you crimping? Excessive crimp will cause problems. Don't crimp and see what you get.
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Old May 16, 2012, 09:51 PM   #7
Killa Lawnchair
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Wow thanks for the ideas. I am using a crimp but I leave that out a see what happens. As far as the bullet goes I believe they are Winchester 162gn? Not around to take a look at the moment but I'll get that to you. I'll try leaving out the crimp and look at how my resizing die is set up and see what happens. Thanks for the quick responses everyone I'll test the ideas out and try to get the results up ASAP
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Old May 16, 2012, 10:30 PM   #8
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Already covered by an earlier post, but I believe it is really hard to set up a resizing die for the correct amount of shoulder "bump" without some kind of gauge.

For bolt action rifles, the chamber can be used as a gauge and bolt-handle effort is the "feedback" that lets you know when you have it right.

With a gas gun, there just isn't an easy way to substitite for a gauge. (Well, you can make a substitute for a Hornady pattern gauge with something that looks like a washer, but then you have to figure out how to use it with calipers and keep everything lined up. Easy if you have lots of experience, but tough if you're just starting to mess around with headspace.)

The LE Wilson pattern is inexpensive, and is a quick check of resizing. Generally, if your resized cases drop to the bottom step, and no further, you should have ammo that chambers easily, yet doesn't have induced excessive headspace (which leads to case head separations.) And it also checks for "trim length" at the other end. And it's fast enough to run every resized case through the thing as a quality control check.

Usually a very, very small adjustment in the resizing die will get you from the top step to the bottom step. (As this can be on the order of 0.006", which is around 1/16 of a turn at 14 tpi, turning the die in another 1/4 turn is usually too much.)
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Old May 17, 2012, 07:53 AM   #9
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OAL doesn't directly cause issues jamming bullets into rifling, even if it is an indicator. Sometimes bullet profile plays a part too. I had some factory 165 Gr .308 that did this in a REmington 700 chamber. It turned out to be bullet profile.

Esentially the bullet shape got too fat too fast & even though OAL was fine the length to ogive was too short. You might want to look at that.
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Old May 17, 2012, 10:12 AM   #10
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Before you do anything else, make sure your sizing die is set up correctly. When a lubricated case is pushed up all the way into the die by your press, you should not be able to see any crack of light between the shell holder and the bottom of the die. See this Lee video for an example of how they do it with their die. Except for the Lee finger-tightening locking nut, it is the same as for all standard dies.

Below is my illustration of what Wogpotter is talking about. Note that the two bullets are the same distance from jamming into the throat (same distance off lands), so both are seated correctly, but their COL's are quite different due to the bullet shapes being different.

The usual poor man's diagnostic tool for feed issues is the Magic Marker. Make up a dummy round (no powder or primer, but same bullet seated as you've been doing it). Color its bullet and case with the marker, and after it dries, chamber and extract it and look for rifling marks on the bullet and rub marks on the case. If the bullet has rifling marks, it needs to be seated deeper.

To get a better idea of what's happening, you can use your calipers with spacers as gauge tools and check your case against a new case or, if the bullet fits in the spacer, a commercially loaded round, as shown. Also sub in a spacer with an oversize hole for 1/4" bolts that is just under the size needed to let the .308" bullet fall through, and apply that to a loaded commercial round and then to your own loaded round (the dummy). You want this measurement to match in the beginning (when you get more advanced you can fiddle with this to improve accuracy, but don't mess with it at first).

Note that the measurement is made after closing the caliper on the spacer and pressing the zero button. The resulting measurement is slightly short for a .308 because the hole through the spacer is slightly larger than the SAAMI standard 0.400" datum diameter for this cartridge's case shoulder. However, you can still get a good comparison between cases this way. In particular, measure your cases before and after resizing to make sure they get at least 0.002" inches shorter after resizing.

If the chamber is tight you may, indeed, find a small base die more convenient. However, before you go there, take a case you've resized and decapped normally. Remove the decapping pin and expander from your sizing die, lube the case again and slip a .002" thick automotive feeler gauge under the case head in the shell holder and size it again. That will make it at least .002" shorter (about what a small base die does, though it usually comes out a little shorter, still, just because it is making a second trip into the die overcomes some of the prior elastic rebound). Put the decapper/expander back in the die and lube the inside of the neck (graphite powder is good enough, but you can use wet case lube, though I like to alcohol that out with a Q-tip or tumble in plain corncob afterward to remove it).

Recolor the case with Magic Marker and try it again.
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File Type: gif poor man comparator small.gif (91.7 KB, 1706 views)
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Last edited by Unclenick; May 17, 2012 at 10:17 AM.
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Old May 17, 2012, 10:20 AM   #11
David Bachelder
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It may sound stupid but make sure your primers are seated properly. If they are seated too high (setting proud) the bolt will not close, or close with difficulty. Set your finished round on a smooth flat surface, like a formica counter top. If it rocks back and forth the primer is not seated fully. It should set flat with no rocking.

I did this with my .243 reloads and din't realize it until I set one down by chance. this is when I noticed the rocking. If there is a mistake to be made I guess I've made it (not certain of that : )
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Old May 17, 2012, 12:29 PM   #12
William T. Watts
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+ 1 level10

I have a L.E. Wilson cartridge case gage for everything I load for except those calibers that headspace on the rim. Level10 gave you some very good advice, the reason I like the Wilson gage you can drop your fired case in the gage and measure with a depth mic, repeat with your sized case in the wilson gage. You can set your resizing die spot on perfect using this method.. William
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Old May 19, 2012, 12:29 AM   #13
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I have the FNAR and hand load for it. I've found that mine is quite generous in regards to COAL.....I can seat a bullet about .045" longer for it than I can the same bullet for my Savage .308 bolt gun. That being said, I had the barrel replaced on the FNAR since the last time I reloaded for it so the new barrel might not be the same.

That being said, I've had no problem loading for my FNAR. In fact, it is just as easy, if not more so, than loading for my AR-15s. LOL!

Do yourself a big favor and get a Dillon or Wilson case gauge, as was mentioned. I can't imagine reloading for a semi-auto without one. Once you have it in hand, then go ahead and set up your resizing die. I can't imagine you needing small base dies unless you are shooting once fired machine gun brass.

Shoot me a PM if you want.....glad to help however I can.
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Old May 19, 2012, 08:24 AM   #14
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You know bolt gunners get away with sloppy ammunition practices that will absolutely jam a semi automatic. These guys get used to beating their bolt handles down with rawhide hammers, or knocking them open with 2” X 4” 's never questioning the problems they create by neck sizing, or partial neck sizing.

Function is always better with properly sized cases compared with cases that are an interference fit in the chamber. As you are experiencing, an interference fit in the chamber will cause stiff loading and even after firing, are so jammed in the chamber that they cannot be extracted. I carry a cleaning rod to rifle matches and that cleaning rod has had an exceptionally long career knocking fired cases out of competitor’s match rifles.

Look you have a gas gun. The first thing you need is a cartridge case gage, you can see two types in my pictures. The first type is a Wilson gage. Wilson gages are cut large between shoulder and base so you can drop a fired case inside and get a rough measurement of chamber headspace. The other pictured gage is a reamer cut gage. This gage was cut with a chamber reamer and is exactly the same dimensions as a rifle chamber.

The next thing you need is a small base die. Standard sizing dies do not necessarily size cases enough for them to drop in the chamber. This can be a safety issue in semi automatic mechanisms.

I rummaged through my brass bucket and found two fat fired cases. These cases were obviously fired in a military chamber. As you can see one will drop in the Wilson gage, the other is clearly an interference fit in the reamer cut gage.

This case was sized in the standard Lee Sizing die.

As you can see, a standard sizing die did not have sufficient case reduction for the case to drop all the way in the reamer cut gage.

God help you if you are firing these cases in something like a 308 Garand or a M1a. If the bolt has to stop, to crunch the case to the chamber, you have created the ideal conditions for an out of battery slamfire. This much case head sticking out of the chamber was similar to the 30-06 rounds that caused two out of battery slamfires in my Garands.

One of those out of battery slamfires blew the receiver heel into my face, shattering my shooting glasses and cutting my face.

Both cases sized in a small base die will drop right in.

The next thing to do is stop crimping bullets. Bullet crimping does not improve accuracy and it causes malfunctions when the crimp buckles the neck, and it also buckles the case shoulder. You can’t see it, but buy a reamer cut gage, and you will see the interference due to buckling when the case won’t drop all the way in.
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.308 , chamber , fnar , jam , reloading

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