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5.56/.223 FTF

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by MichaelStrick9, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    So I finally had a chance to test out my first batch of 5.56/.223 reloads. All of the brass was once fired Lake City, swaged. Primers were Federal. I use the RCBS X Die on a Hornady LNL 5 stage. Out of the 80 rounds that I loaded up, 2 of them did not fire. They were both the first ones of my 5 round batches. They seemed to chamber just fine in my AR, but they wouldn't fire and the bolt would lock up. Both times I couldn't free it up by yanking on the charging handle, so I had to take it apart and ram a screwdriver between the bolt and the upper to get it to move. Both times the other 4 rounds of the batch would run just fine, and for SnG's I would load up the funky round back in the magazine, and both times it would fire on the 2nd go around.

    I used Varget with a variety of different projectiles, 4 different loadings per projectile, going up in pressure by .5 grains, 5 rounds of each loading. None of them exceeded the max OAL, which I show as 2.260".

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Been there, done that, have hat, t-shirt, and skinned knuckles too.

    First of all, are you trying to crimp at the same time you are seating the bullet? If so, this could be causing a slight bulge in the shoulder area that causes the case to stick in the chamber and doesn't allow the bolt to go fully closed and locked. This keeps the firing pin from fully striking the primer thus a "no fire". If you are crimping at the same time as seating consider either NOT crimping or get a Lee Factory Crimp Die. Then crimp in a separate operation.

    Also consider getting a case gauge like the one made by EGW and sold by Dillon.

    EGW_Case_Gage_m.jpg

    It's made by using essentially a chamber reamer and unlike the headspace gauges from L. E. Wilson, it allows one to check whether the round will properly chamber, not just it's headpace. A good $20 investment to avoid this frustrating occurance.

    This condition can also be caused by some carbon buildup in the chamber. A chamber brush can be your friend if you're shooting an AR. I have a "Dewey" that is merely a short handled, fixed rod, that has a chamber brush on the end. Open the rifle, remove the bolt, about 10 revolutions on the brush, reassemble, and shoot away.

    Rather than gouging the side of the upper and end of he bolt with a screwdriver, just employ what the military prints in their manual for the M-16/M-4. If you have a stuck round, put weapon on "Safe", then grip the forend with your left hand. Hold the weapon vertical and grip the charging handle with your right hand. Raise the weapon about a foot, pull on the charging handle, and strike the butt of the weapon on a firm surface like a sandbag or the ground. Inertia will cause the bolt to assist your pulling efforts and the round will pop right out.

    If you "hear/feel" that he round didn't chamber fully, usually by the absence of that metalic "thunk" of the bolt hitting the barrel extension, you can whack on the forward assist with a piece of wood or plastic faced mallet to get the round all the way into the chamber. You have to do this BEFORE you pull the trigger though.

    Once you learn the "vertical drop" method, you can even clear a jammed weapon in midst of a firefight although I hope you never have to do so while here in this Country:)

    Last offering, go out and buy an Aerosol can of CLP. Just before a shooting session, open and lock back the bolt, give a good "squirt" of CLP onto the ejection port, and shoot away. The Army is doing this now with all training troops, at least those at Fort Jackson, SC where I have some personal knowledge of this practice. Like it or not, the AR-15/M-16/M-4 likes to operate "wet". Keep a can handy as well as a towel or rag:laugh:

    EGW_Case_Gage_m.jpg
     
    Varmit and (deleted member) like this.
  3. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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  4. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    I do crimp at the same time as I seat. I didn't realize there was another way to do this?

    There was not hardly any carbon built up in the chamber. I always clean my stuff, and I had run about 30-50 rounds of new LC before going to the reloads. I do need to get a chamber brush, though.

    I'll practice that military way of clearing such jams. Forward assist did not help with the problem.

    What is the different between the small base die and the regular one? And how does it pertain to my situation?
     
  5. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    A "small base" die will size the case farther down toward the web. I'ts offered to cure similar problems to yours that often occur when encountering brass that's been fired in a full auto weapon. The SAW and M-60 will start to extract brass before the pressure is totally diminished on the barrel when "Rockin' and Rollin'" and it can cause the lower part of the case to expand more than in a slow-fire semi-auto. Personally, I've never had a need for a small base die and I've loaded tens of thousands of "Machine Gun Brass". I just don't try to crimp at the same time. A nice inexpensive Lee Factory Crimp Die solves all my problems I ever had with cases not going fully into the chamber of my three AR's.
     
  6. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    This can be caused by reloading cases of different length. If the crimp was adjusted to a shorter case, then a long one crimped later, often the longer case will bulge. It will still chamber but not all the way, causing the bolt to stick partially engaged. Did you trim all your cases to the same length before reloading them?
     
  7. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. I actually use my case trimmer as my case length gauge.

    Also, someone might err in simply crimping too much and cause the cases to bulge. Then that slightly longer case will be the one which bulges too much and sticks.

    When using the small base die, it's more critical to lube the case well because it has a better chance of sticking in the die if not lubed.
     
  8. JackThompson

    JackThompson Valley of the Demons Well-Known Member

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    Quick related question.

    I'm looking into picking up a basic progressive press and would like to perform seating and crimping in separate operations.

    Will any (or all) of the progressives out there allow for seating/crimping separately?
     
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    You'll need a press that has a minimum of 4 positions in order to seat and crimp separately. Some good options are the Lee Loadmaster (not MY favorite), a 550 Basic along until you have a full 550B, and the Hornady LnL AP.

    If I were going out today to buy a basic progressive press I'd be giving some real strong consideration to the Dillon Basic. Good Starting price and you can add as you have the funds. My second choice would be a Hornady LNL AP if I wanted a "Basic" progressive. If you think that you will be loading large quantities in the future, then save up some $$ and buy a Dillon XL650. Start out with the basic 650 and then add the case feeder and all the "goodies" later. It's a sturdy, trouble free, and highly capable high volume press.
     
  10. Topper

    Topper Seattle, WA Member

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    i had this exact same issue last week on a batch of .223 I was working up. Rounds would chamber in my SCAR, and SLR106 just fine but a small % got stuck exactly as you mention in my RRA.

    Root caused it to a sizing issue at the base of the case. The rounds getting stuck in my RRA were measuring ~.376 at the base, rounds that worked in my RRA had to be under .375. The SCAR and SLR106 ate the .375/.376 rounds just fine. It wasn't a case length or shoulder issue. And the rounds that got stuck in my RRA fit perfectly into a case gauge as well. My RRA just has a tighter chamber tolerance it seems.

    I was using a redding FL sizer, and did have a redding small base die on hand already. But before swapping them I turned the FL die another 1/8th down (it was already seated up against the shell holder when fully raised on my 550) and that did the trick. Every case i resize thats measuring .376 at the base before comes out .374 afterwards now.

    YMMV but it sounds exactly like the same issue. If you do identify the stuck rounds have a larger case head measurement, you can repro it by putting an empty resized case of the same measurement in your chamber btw and adjust your die accordingly. No need to wait for a finished loaded round to verify if its this issue. That should also help eliminate any question of it being a crimp issue.
     
  11. mookmanjdj

    mookmanjdj Oregon Coast Member

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    Another vote for the Lee Factory crimp die. Works like a charm.
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    A great tool. Just remember though that it really only solves the problem of crimping errors when trying to seat/crimp at the same time.

    Won't fix problems caused by case bulges brought about by improper crimping in the seating die.

    That said, the Lee FCD for straight (or slightly tapered like 9mm) pistol rounds DOES straighten issues caused by dies in the loading process.
     
  13. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Small base sizing, proper case trimming, and the lee FCD fix 99.99999% of problems with people loading .223