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Rem PCA Ammo Problems

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Caveman Jim, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    I was the lucky bidder to win a 500 round lot of .223 PCA ammo which I was the only bidder to boot (I wonder why)!! It is head stamped with 04 which I know is the year & I did not research it too well. Lucky freakin me... eh
    I just shot some of it at the range with the new Bushmaster with a piston kit. What I found was that 2 out of 7 rounds fired I had 2 seperations (see pics). Personally I think they are crap & I will not shoot any more of this ammo & would like some options of what I can do to salvage this deal since I have 493 rounds left. Should I pull the bullets, save the powder & start over with new brass & primers?
    Any assistance from seasoned reloaders appreciated.
    Jim Sr.

    IMGP0859_zps04c50534.jpg

    IMGP0858_zps15100f77.jpg
     
  2. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    those are the ones where the grey part is plastic? I've found empties before and for reason thought they must be some sort of blank. With two separations out of seven I'd be pulling bullets and tossing the rest.
     
  3. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    Thats what I'm thinkin, what about the powder & primers, any way to salvage them?
     
  4. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought but it might be telling you something about your rifle that doesn't show right up with brass cartridges.

    When a case separates it is very often a function of excessive headspace. The ejector holds the case forward against the shoulder, when fired the case grips the chamber wall, and if there is excessive headspace the base of the case moves back to meet the bolt. This all results in an area, usually about 3/8" to 1/2" ahead of the case head to stretch. A brass case will stretch and leave a groove on the inner surface. Since these plastic cases have a brass/plastic junction, they just break.

    Take a brass case that you've fired in your rifle and measure the headspace. Compare it with an unfired plastic case. It's just possible that this may be the problem. A little extra headspace isn't usually a problem with brass cases. Leads to shorter case life and one needs to be careful to inspect for the internal groove. With a case like this it can lead to separations as there is a definite stress riser at the junction of plastic to brass.

    This is a good time to check headspace rather than just assuming it's OK because the rifle is "New".
     
    Caveman Jim and (deleted member) like this.
  5. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    +1
     
  6. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    Thanks for the specifics deadshot2, I am not a GS but I do know of a few. I had a GS in Lacey install the Adams Arms piston kit, went to pick it up & I did ask him if he checked the headspace, he had not, so I asked him to do so while he was explaining it (to the wall) and not to me I am hard of hearing & did not catch it all. He said that it was within tolerances.
    So I guess I need a second opinion on this. I have done some research on the early lot of the PCA cartridges (2004) and some of the newer lots (2011) & there were problems with seperations around the necks on the 04 lots but not much about the joint section that I could find.
    Being that they are almost 10 yrs old I donot think I will even bother shooting this stuff & have the brass & headspace inspected.
    Thanks for the help!!!
     
  7. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Chances are what's happening is the gas piston system is extracting too early while the pressure is still too high and ripping the case heads off. This is a common problem with gas piston systems on all ammo types, not just PCA. Buddy of mine had a ruger SR556 that would do this, even with steel case heads. Fact of the matter is, the gas piston system is a bad fit for the AR and supplants one set of fairly easily treatable problems (carbon fouling, overheating) for another more complex set. In some ways the extraction/cycling characteristics of the gas impingment system are more similar to short-recoil operation, than they are to a gas system in terms of the inertia and stored energy curves. This is part of the genius of eugene stoner.

    If you're set on shooting up all this ammo, try turning your gas system down. Or see my offer in your PM. I've been trying to find a few boxes of this for T&E (as well as my collection of goofy ammo) for a while now.
     
  8. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    A friend said the same thing so will give it a test & see what happens.
    Thanks.