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View Full Version : what am I doing wrong - reloading .223


swift
01-02-2007, 9:21 PM
I've been reloading pistol and rifle ammunition for a few years, but, for some reason, .223 remington is giving me problems. I hope someone can tell me what I'm doing wrong. I have 1X fired Federal .223 brass and 0.224 bullets (Sierra MK, 69gr or Nosler Ballistic tip, 55 gr) Using a Rockchucker single stage press and the RCBS X-dies for .223

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=194698

I just saw that there is another set of X-dies for .223 small base:
http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=807582

After cleaning the cases and depriming/expanding the neck, I attempt to seat a bullet. Either I get a very loose bullet or I get a nice tight crimp on the bullet and a deformed shoulder such that the angle does not match the commercial .223 and I would not feel safe testing it.

When I put a Federal .223 round in the press and make the adjustments to make the cartridge snug, the bullet I load into an empty brass case is barely held in place. If I adjust the die just a quarter turn to get more of a crimp, the shoulder is not correct. I think I am using the correct dies (what is 'small base'?)

Has anyone else had this problem? How did you fix it?

ocabj
01-02-2007, 10:11 PM
You probably have the seater die screwed down too far. What is happening is the seater die itself is too far down and it is crushing the neck thus crushing the shoulder.

Readjust your seater die.

1. Get a fully sized case and insert into press shellholder.

2. Without die in press, bring ram to top position.

3. Without seater stem in seater die, screw down seater die until you feel it make contact with the neck. Turn back half a turn. Lock die in position using set screw.

4. Now you can insert your seater stem. Adjust seater stem to adjust bullet seating depth as needed.

This will set for no crimping. I don't crimp for .223 and the only rifle I load for in .223 is the AR. 77s and 80s without cannelures. Crimping doesn't affect neck tension. The sizing of the neck during the resizing process does. Crimping is only used to prevent set back due to recoil while the cartridge is in the chamber. Some say it crimping will prevent setback on a misfeed. It won't. If a misfeed is bad enough to push a bullet deeper into the case, no amount of crimp would have prevented it. Also, you shouldn't crimp if the bullet has no cannelure. Crimp will damage or deform the bullet jacket.

superhondaz50
01-02-2007, 10:48 PM
Ya you dont need to crimp, I never crimp any .223 and it still runs fine in my ar. Also from experience federal brass is kind of funky. A good example is I went down to Turners to buy some .223 ammo, I bought federals (marked .223 on the box) and when I got out to the desert I noticed that 8 out of my 10 boxes were packed with Lake City USGI 5.56 ammo! Headstamped L.C. 05 go figure! the other 2 boxes had normal headsstamp federal .223's. My point is that Federal brass may not actually be Federal brass which may not be good for reloading.

Mike 56
01-02-2007, 11:17 PM
The only two rounds i roll crimp are 7.62x39 and 30/30. I do use a Lee factory crimp die for 223. I get better accuracy in my Mini 14 and Bushmaster using it.

Mike

Whitesmoke
01-03-2007, 4:36 AM
Ya you dont need to crimp, I never crimp any .223 and it still runs fine in my ar. Also from experience federal brass is kind of funky. A good example is I went down to Turners to buy some .223 ammo, I bought federals (marked .223 on the box) and when I got out to the desert I noticed that 8 out of my 10 boxes were packed with Lake City USGI 5.56 ammo! Headstamped L.C. 05 go figure! the other 2 boxes had normal headsstamp federal .223's. My point is that Federal brass may not actually be Federal brass which may not be good for reloading.

Federal makes the newer Lake city ammo.....including the brass. And LC brass is good for reloading.

Mike 56
01-03-2007, 7:19 AM
I pick up brass at the range and reload it. I all so like LC brass. I don't know if he is talking about AE brass by Federal or not but that brass is really thin. I have reloaded it and it's been all right but i only reload it once.

Mike

Alanski56
01-03-2007, 11:35 AM
Good morning Swift,

OCABJ is exactly correct. Follow his directions and your problems should go away. I also use the RCBS Small Base X Die set for .223 and have no problems. You mention that you expand the neck. The opposite should be occurring when you resize. Make sure when you resize that you bring the ram all the way up, screw your resizing die into the press until it touches the shell holder, lower the ram then turn the die about 1/4 turn down and lock in place. This will make sure that your case necks are being sized correctly. I have found that Sierra and Nosler bullets need the case neck to be properly sized or else they will seat loosely. Hornady V-Max bullets are a little more forgiving in this regard. All three are more than excellent, however.

Also, OCABJ is also absolutely correct in stating that you should never crimp bullets that do not have a cannelure (crimping groove) otherwise you risk deforming the bullet. I don't crimp my .223 bullets either and have never had any issues firing thousands through my AR and Mini 14.

Good luck!

Alanski56
01-03-2007, 11:39 AM
Regarding Federal and Lake City brass, my experience is they are pretty much one and the same. I have reloaded a gajillion of these and the only problems I have ever encountered was removing the frigging primer crimp. Damn I hate those. Otherwise, I have found the Federal/LC brass to be excellent.

Have a nice day.

grammaton76
01-03-2007, 2:39 PM
Interesting. I've never had a crimp problem on 223, but I've had 6.8SPC once-fired brass with way-too-loose bullets, with the press adjusted EXACTLY the same way that loaded unfired brass just fine. That was annoying

CWM4A1
01-03-2007, 3:07 PM
Although I have not load .223 before, what I have read before at ARFCOM seems to indicate that Federal commercial brass (American Eagle, Federal Gold Medal) does not follow the case spec very well especially on the case head area which may cause case head seperation. Use with caution. Get Lake City (military brass) or Winchester if you can find them.

Fjold
01-03-2007, 3:12 PM
Although I have not load .223 before, what I have read before at ARFCOM seems to indicate that Federal commercial brass (American Eagle, Federal Gold Medal) does not follow the case spec very well especially on the case head area which may cause case head seperation. Use with caution. Get Lake City (military brass) or Winchester if you can find them.


Federal gold medal is their preminum line and it is built well within commercial 223 Rem specifications.

A better way to say it is that many AR type rifles have such sloppy chambers that they may well lead to case head seperations if you do not use the heavy walled military 5.56 NATO spec brass.

Remember that you are loading to seperate calibers when you are running 223 Remington ammo through a 5.56 NATO spec chamber.

-hanko
01-03-2007, 3:25 PM
Federal gold medal is their preminum line and it is built well within commercial 223 Rem specifications.

A better way to say it is that many AR type rifles have such sloppy chambers that they may well lead to case head seperations if you do not use the heavy walled military 5.56 NATO spec brass.

Remember that you are loading to seperate calibers when you are running 223 Remington ammo through a 5.56 NATO spec chamber.
If the ar has a nato chamber, it operates at a different saami presure spec...higher on the nato round than the .223 remington.

An ar was designed as a battle rifle & therefore has a different chamber than .223 remington. Not sloppy, but designed to feed almost anything. A .223 chamber will be tighter, a wylde chamber betweeen the two.

Look for 3 to 4 thousands interference fit between the bullet and case neck. Crimping is not required if bullet diameter and neck diameter are where they should be. Lee's factory crimp die may help in making sure all loaded cases will feed, but I use mine with the crimp part removed.

-hanko

swift
01-03-2007, 8:43 PM
Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I reviewed the reloading chapter in the lyman guide and produced a powerless/primerless cartrige with nearly identical dimensions to Federal AE223 (within +0.002") at the neck, base of the shoulder and base of the cartridge. The OAL was within -0.005 to + 0.003. When at +0.003, the bullet gets stuck in the barrel when I release the charging handle, and at -0.005, it falls into the case. (Yes, I spent a lot of time trying to figure this out!) AE223 feeds nicely, so I doubt it is a problem with the dimension of the round.

I decided to ask Midway if I was supposed to get the small base .223 dies for an AR or if the normal .223 dies will work.

ocabj
01-03-2007, 9:02 PM
I decided to ask Midway if I was supposed to get the small base .223 dies for an AR or if the normal .223 dies will work.

You don't need a small base die for the AR. A long time ago, I bought the small base die thinking my regular die wasn't sizing the brass down enough for my Colt chamber. The real truth was that I just wasn't using the regular sizing die properly. Run the ram to the top position with shell holder in place, but no brass. Screw down full length sizing die until it hits the ram firmly. Lower ram. Screw down sizing die another 1/2 turn. This will give you the proper full length sizing.

The only time you will really need to use a small base die is if the brass you are sizing for your rifle is brass fired out of another firearm with a very loose chamber (ie: fully automatic weapon -> SAW).

swift
01-04-2007, 5:21 AM
[QUOTE=ocabj]You don't need a small base die for the AR. A long time ago, I bought the small base die thinking my regular die wasn't sizing the brass down enough for my Colt chamber. The real truth was that I just wasn't using the regular sizing die properly. Run the ram to the top position with shell holder in place, but no brass. Screw down full length sizing die until it hits the ram firmly. Lower ram. Screw down sizing die another 1/2 turn. This will give you the proper full length sizing.

Got it - I forgot to do this! I did it with brass in the holder and lowered the die until it 'felt right' when I worked the arm. I'll try it again this weekend.

MisterDudeManGuy
01-04-2007, 7:07 PM
An L.E. Wilson cartridge headspace gauge from Midway will point out any setup issues you may be having during sizing. Worth their weight in gold. And you probably oughtn't be ranging from -0.005 to +0.003 - that sounds like way too much variance in headspace - or are you talking about brass OAL?

swift
01-05-2007, 5:27 AM
An L.E. Wilson cartridge headspace gauge from Midway will point out any setup issues you may be having during sizing. Worth their weight in gold. And you probably oughtn't be ranging from -0.005 to +0.003 - that sounds like way too much variance in headspace - or are you talking about brass OAL?


I was referring to cartridge OAL. This was not the variation on two cartridges with the same settings - I adjusted the settings carefully to only be 0.008" different.

I made a couple of dummy rounds following hanko's advice and they seem much better. After work today, I plan to see how they feed and fit into the chamber.

ocabj
01-09-2007, 6:24 AM
Has your problem been resolved? I'm interested to know if you're good to go.

swift
01-09-2007, 9:12 PM
Has your problem been resolved? I'm interested to know if you're good to go.

Yep, the primerless/powderless cartridges feed quite nicely. I didn't get a chance to test any live ammunition yet, but everything looks good and all the measurements are very close to commercial ammunition.


I guess you've done this before.:)

swift
01-10-2007, 9:06 PM
My reloads worked pretty well. After a fouling shot, my first five-string group was 0.82" at 100 yards.
Used 69gr MK + 25.3 gr Varget

Rifle had a 24" DPMS SS bull barrel, float tube, etc. + SRB.
Scope was vari-X III 6.5-20 X 40

Now the tuning begins!