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AR-15 reloading question

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by OregonBuzz, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. OregonBuzz

    OregonBuzz Grants Pass Member

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    I recently reloaded some .223 ammo for my AR. 20.3 gr./4198 (minimum load), CCI primer, R.P. case 55gr. FMJ. When fired the cartridge case was not extracted/ejected. In fact the bolt failed to function and required some firm yanking on the charging handle to extract the cartridge case. No evidence on the case/primer of an overload. Other loads and factory ammo functioned perfectly. Pulled some bullets and re-weighed the powder charge and it's OK. I've been reloading for some 45 years and have never experienced anything like this. Any thoughts?:huh:
     
  2. thedude

    thedude Seattle New Member

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    Got a chrono? How is your POI compared to factory loads?

    I bet your charge it too light. It seems to me that posted starting loads are usually very weak.
     
  3. OregonBuzz

    OregonBuzz Grants Pass Member

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    Pretty much what I was thinking. I was looking for some confirmation. My buddy is bringing his chrono over today. Thanks.
     
  4. bmgm37

    bmgm37 Coos Bay Active Member

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    To light of charge. When starting a load I load 5 rounds of each charge and slowly step the charge up.
     
  5. PX4WA

    PX4WA Tacoma, WA Active Member

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    Too light a charge or brass was not resized enough... Some ar's require the small base sizing die
     
    Blitzkrieg and (deleted member) like this.
  6. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I agree on the too light of a charge. This load is near the bottom for .223. 4198 is a fairly fast powder and is not allowing for enough pressure buildup to cycle the action. You might want to consider a different load with a slower powder such as 4895 or Accurate 2230 which I have has good results with.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Another recommendation here for the AA2230. Just as it's number intimates, it was designed for this cartridge and the gas operated AR's. Assuming you can shoot a factory load now with no problem, the most likely problem is too lite a load. Sizing issues usually show up as a failure to fully chamber and allow the bolt to go into battery. This is then followed by a "click" and no "bang". The case then needs to be extracted by holding the rifle vertical, pulling on the charging handle and smacking the butt of the rifle on a sandbag. Another issue that behaves like a sizing issue is improper crimping. Setting the seater die to seat and crimp will often bulge the case causing a "no chamber, no fire" situation. Better to seat in a separate operation using a Lee Factory Crimp die.
     
  8. HappyRoman

    HappyRoman Sherwood Forest Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Sometimes cleaning the ar and the gas tube can help.
     
  9. TylerDurden

    TylerDurden PDX New Member

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    I have two AR's that will not cycle IMR 4198. I have switched to 23.5 gr of H335 in my long range and 22.5gr of IMR 3031 in my M4 carbine. I havent had a single problem.
     
  10. lamrith

    lamrith tacoma Active Member

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    Wow, 23.5g H335 worked? I am using WC844 pull down of that powder and with 23.8g it did not cycle consistently, ftf/mf every other round... Hoping my batch is just on the "weak" side and needs a few more grains to run well.
     
  11. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought Buzz, but have you considered a lighter buffer and/or buffer spring?
     
  12. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Those would only help if the BCG was "short stroking" and not chambering a new round or failing to lock back on the last round.

    His issue as I read it was the round was not extracting at all.

    TylerDurden made a good point. Gas Operated rifles like the AR, M-1A/M-14, and M-1, all rely on a given amount of pressure at the gas port. Some powders are too slow and don't provide sufficient pressure before the bullet leaves the barrel and others peak and drop before the bullet passes and opens the gas port to pressure.

    AR's work best with a fairly narrow range of powders. May do OK with some others but as I said, BEST performance is with powders and loads pretty much designed for the Gas port/tube/Direct Impingement system utilized in these rifles. With Bolt actions, almost anything works within reason. Anything that relies on "timing" is fussy.
     
  13. lamrith

    lamrith tacoma Active Member

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    Great Info Deadshot!

    The one thing I was going to say is that if factory ammo is cycling his weapon fine, it is just his reloads that are having issue, the LAST thing he should do is start changing springs and buffers out. That essentially makes his gun "out of spec" just to fit his reload ammo. Just not the best course of action really. He would be better served carefully bring his charge up little by little. Make batches of 5-10 of each different powder drop in small increasing increments.

    These small batches are this size for two reasons:
    1. They are small enough that if they just do not function, you can know after a couple rounds and move to the next one, and not be faced with tearing down a big batch of rounds. Trust me that gets old very fast!! Or if they are safe and not too hot, but just cycling poorly, you can manually cycle each round thru if you choose.
    2. They are just large enough that you can single fire a couple to check cases for signs of over pressure, then load a magazine up and verify your weapon cycles well. You also are putting enough shots down range to get a rough idea of accuracy for the load as well.

    It is a balance of sorts. enough rounds to get a feel for performance, yet not have to spend all night tearing down a bad load batch.. then bring a box of factory with you so you can just cut loose and have fun, as well as verify it is the handload causing cycling or other issues and not a weapon problem...
     
  14. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    ^^This^^

    The OP specifically said that manual extraction was difficult
     
  15. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    Well now I feel like a dumba$$. deadshot is absolutely right. I should have read Buzz's post more carefully. Sorry.

    As others have said sizing is the issue. Grab the caliper and take measurements at various points on a reloaded cartridge. Compare to a factory load.
     
  16. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    .223 chambers are loose compared to a 5.56 at the base. It's a well known issue
     
  17. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    Dead shot is right on! I would think that 4198 is a little on the fast side of the usable powders. You would be better off with a slower powder that would supply your gas port with a little more pressure to operate that action with a little more force/consistency. For example, in my CAR length 458 SOCOM it prefers an even more narrow range of usable powders than 5.56 AR and with a mid length 458 (not ideal by any stretch of the imagination) that list is shorten to about 3 powders that perform well/at all. And that is due to the fact that the 458 was originally designed for a CAR length gas system then SOME manufactures went and screwed up a perfectly good design and built some with a Mid length gas system, therefore, reducing the already low pressure even lower and virtually eliminating the possibility of using 2-3 most popular powders just by moving the gas port forward by a couple inches... What I'm getting at is that gas port pressure is imperative to the operation of you AR rifle, as you have found out. Your most probable solution is switching to a slower powder, such as the proven H335/WC844/Varget range of powders.
     
  18. nwdrifter

    nwdrifter troutdale oregon Active Member

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    24.5 gr of H335 in all my guns, works them all :thumbup:
     
  19. lamrith

    lamrith tacoma Active Member

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    I finally went out and tested my new loads over the weekend. Note to begin, my factory Aguilla 223 ammo feeds and cycles perfectly, always locks the bolt back on empty. I tried American eagle ammo and it had a few missfeeds out of 40rounds.

    They were much better than the previous load which had numerous misfeeds/fail to feed Due to the bolt not fully cycling to grab the next round cleanly. WC844(H335)@23.8g, Armscore 62g

    Loads (All using Armscore 62g boat tails and CCI#400 primers):
    10: 24g
    10: 24.5g
    20: 25g
    10:25.5g

    All of these round cycled the gun well, all were equally accurate with the 25g seeming to have a slight edge. However these rounds would not lock the bolt back on last round. The primers are not showing any gross signs of over pressure, nor is the brass. I have heard the pull down wc844 can vary widely in power, so I am unsure how much farther I should push it. My book does not have H335 data for 62g, and knowing that WC844 can have wide variances has me concerned. I am chambered in true 5.56, not 223, so the chamber is made for higher pressures. I do not have a Chrono yet, still trying to save $ to get one into the budget.

    Does anyone have some experience with the WC844 that can give me some guidance as to experience/loads with it? I am switching lube in the gun, to see if that helps at all.
     
  20. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Just out of curiosity, where did you get your load data? Yes, it's pretty much accepted that WC844 is the same as H335 but Hodgdon doesn't show any loads as "stiff" as what you posted for the 62 gr bullets. They show a max of 21.4 for the only 62 gr bullet they list.

    There is another cause of a bolt not locking back on last round. It's called "bouncing" which can be caused by too hot a load. Have you chronographed any of these loads yet? This will at least reveal whether the load is too hot or not. You should expect speeds in the 2700-2900 fps range with the 62 gr bullet. If you're in the 3200+ range you could be headed for a really battered BCG and a broken cam pin or two.

    As for "uniformity" of 844, if you bought it in an 8# jug, expect it all to be "uniform" within the jug. If you have several jugs, I would consider cross mixing the jugs much like a painter who mixes all the paint in a case so there is no variation in color from can to can.

    Usually "pull down powders" are collected in huge quantities and then individually packaged so variations would be more likely from "Year collected" than from jug to jug.