Crimping .223 reloads for AR15


April 15, 2003, 11:35 PM
I have found an accurate load for my AR15 that uses a 52 grain bullet with no crimping grove. I have loaded several of these in a 20 round mag and fired them with no trouble until today. I had fired a few rounds and decided to remove the round that had chambered and check it out. The bullet had been pushed back into the case until it was almost totally inside the case. I had not noticed any signs of pressure on other rounds as I was looking at each empty piece of brass as soon as I fired them. I did not crimp the bullets when I reloaded them. My question is should I? If I need to crimp should I use the standard crimp that my Hornady seater die has or do I need a taper crimp? I tried to crimp with a taper crimp tonight but when I thought I had enough crimp the case shoulder bulged. Too much crimp, so I back it up a little until it did not bulge the case, but you could still push the bullet into the case pretty easily. There must be a way to do this, but I can find no info on how to do so. Any help will be greatly appreciated. My load is 22 grains of H4198 with a Sierra 52 grain HPBTM bullet using various cases. It shoots so good that I would really like to use it but not if I am going to push the bullets back into the case. Thanks-

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April 16, 2003, 07:25 AM
My first thought is you should not be able to easily push the uncrimped bullet back into the case. So, I would check the expander diameter on your die. Sounds like it is expanding the case neck too much. I have loaded thousands of 223 for my Mini-14 and AR-15 without crimping and never had a problem. I also taper crimp some match loads with slow burnig powder. Taper crimp is not heavy. I'm sure others will have some imput, just my 2 cents.

Bottom Gun
April 16, 2003, 11:07 AM
Cherokee is right. It sounds like the problem is in your sizing die. I've loaded countless thousands of rounds for my AR's and other semi autos and have never crimped a single round. Never had one push into the case.
In fact, I experimented and found that I get my best accuracy from uncrimped rounds since not all my brass is from the same lot and slight variances in brass thickness will affect my crimp, which in turn affects my accuracy.

April 16, 2003, 01:37 PM
I'm new to re-loading and am interested in what you mean by "never crimped a single round." I've got a Dillon 550 ordered and will be using their .223 three rifle die set. The third die in the set is called the Taper Crimp Die. How would I load without crimping? Just skip this die? Also, I've read various places where you should only crimp when using bullets with a cannelure groove. Do they mean roll crimp or taper crimp? The places I've seen this don't make it clear. My impression is the you can taper crimp without the cannelure. I'm not sure how I'd roll crimp with the Dillon dies nor do I think I need\want to.



April 16, 2003, 05:00 PM
If you havent expanded ("belled") the case mouth in a prior operation, (such as is done for loading cast bullets), there is no need to crimp 223 rounds for an AR. The case neck tension should be more than enough to hold the bullet snug, and prevent it from being pushed back into the case. I believe a crimp in this scenario is detrimental to accuracy. I would dissassemble your sizing die, and clean the expander ball, thoroughly. I bet it has caked up residue from past sizings present, and is adding to the diameter of neck expansion. Good luck, and let us know how it went. And Abe, for your question, I wouldnt apply ANY kind of crimp to a bullet that doesnt have a cannalure.

April 16, 2003, 05:38 PM
So this statement from the Dillon site: A taper crimp die is preferred for loading ammunition intended to be used in semiautomatic firearms with detachable box magazines, and in lever-action firearms with tubular magazines. only applies to bullets with a cannelure?

If this statement is true and if I am reloading for my AR doesn't this limit my selection of bullets? For instance, Sierra only offers one bullet for .223 (.224) , #1355, with a cannelure. Is the Dillon statement just "marketing" data, is it a fact, or is this a preference\YMMV situation?


April 16, 2003, 05:45 PM
Abe, Im just saying that the vast majority people who shoot ARs in competition dont crimp. If crimping were needed for accuracy or reliability, Im sure this crowd would be doing it. I follow thier leads, and almost never go wrong! Good luck!

Steve Smith
April 16, 2003, 06:32 PM
I wanna say something really harsh (not directed to you, Abe) but the word under my name tells me I shouldn't. Don't crimp your rifle loads unless there is a rediculous amount of recoil...when there isn't with an AR. Also, forget the cannelure bullets in semi-auto BS too. There, that was nice.

April 16, 2003, 08:20 PM
If you havent expanded ("belled") the case mouth in a prior operation, (such as is done for loading cast bullets), there is no need to crimp 223 rounds for an AR

This is the point!! Most people over crimp EVERYTHING!!!

Nice job at being calm there Steve:neener:

April 16, 2003, 09:13 PM

I've reloaded 1000's of rounds for use in a AR (223) and M1A SuperMatch, L1A1 and M-1 Grand and M-1 Carbine.

Crimping is to stop set back from recoil. I've never experienced it in the 223 loading with no crimp. I have seen it a couple of times when shooting the M1A SuperMatch.

When I shot High Power Service Rifle or for any other tight accuracyI didn't crimp. I like most believe un crimped rounds gives better accuracy. The M1A will shoot where aimed and is super accurate.

BUT if you are going to crimp for the AR use a Taper Crimp Die this crimping method presses the neck wall against the bullet. A roll crimp rolls into the cannelure and gives a tight crimp but case length must be the same to produce good results.

Something I do with my blasting ammo is I do crimp and use a Lee Factory crimp die in 223, 308 & 06. The good thing about the Lee the cases can be different lengths (all must be under max. length) cases can be crimped.

I always taper crimp for the M-1 Carbine. Had a very bad experience with the Carbine (slam fire) so I'm a little gun shy of my loading. The crimping won't of stopped the slam fire but I still crimp for the Carbine.

I highly recommend Redding Products if you end up getting a taper crimp.

Safe reloading.


April 16, 2003, 10:00 PM
Thanks for the information. I guess the keyword in the Dillon statement is "preferred". I'll go without the crimp!

- Abe

Steve Smith
April 17, 2003, 09:15 AM
"Preferred" is subjective and use dependant.

Nero Steptoe
April 17, 2003, 01:56 PM
I don't use dies tha have expander buttons for rifle reloading. I agree that crimping isn't necessary for .223 reloading; however, if you want to crimp, try th Lee Factory Crimp Die. It doesn't require a cannelure and crimps using a collet.

Bottom Gun
April 17, 2003, 10:19 PM
FWIW, some time ago one of the bullet makers (I think it was Sierra) stated in one of their ads that their bullets were not intended to be crimped. That might explain why I've never seen a Sierra bullet (which are my favorites) with a cannelure.
They went on to say they saw no reason to crimp any kind of rifle bullets. I think that was in response to the Lee crimp die advertisements which had just started appearing in all the gun magazines.

I've loaded ammo for a variety of semi autos including my Garand, M1A, AR-10, and Remington 742 and never had a setback.
I have tested ammo in my .338 (a bolt action) by loading the magazine box and then loading and firing single rounds while leaving the original bullets in place in the magazine. After shooting a couple of boxes of ammo with the original three rounds in place in the magazine, I removed the ammo from the magazine and examined it. The soft points had flattened a bit from recoil, but the bullets never moved inward.

I test my some of my reloads by pressing the tip of the bullets against a table top and pushing downward. You should be able to apply a lot of pressure without causing any movement. If the bullets moves, something is wrong with the brass or the sizing die.

David Wile
April 20, 2003, 01:12 AM
Hey folks,

I agree with most of the folks here that crimping is unnecessary unless it is required to stop bullet movement of cartridges when under heavy recoil. If the 223 case is sized properly, there is no way there is anywhere near enough recoil from an AR15 to move bullets in the magazine. No way. If the bullets are moving in the case neck from recoil while firing an AR15, the case necks are not being sized and expanded properly.

I also agree that bullets should never be crimped in any manner unless there is a crimping groove or cannelure on the bullet. The popular idea of using the Lee Factory Crimp Die on jacketed bullets without cannelures just does not make sense. If the Lee die is forcing the case to crimp the jacketed bullet by making its own cannelure, the bullet is then being deformed to some extent in the process, and that cannot be conducive to better accuracy.

Too much is made of the need for crimping today, and it is usually not necessary.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

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