Reloading for the AR-10


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Bottom Gun
June 12, 2003, 07:11 PM
My last time out with my AR-10 was kind of disappointing. I was having a problem with soft point and some hollow point ammo jamming in my rifle so I started experimenting with my reloads. (I very seldom use factory ammo except for the surplus ammo I buy for plinking.)
I noticed that the surplus ammo I shot and my FMJ loads fed and functioned perfectly while my soft point and hollow point loads would jam quite often. Some of the soft points were extremely deformed from slamming against the forward wall of the magazine.

I discovered that seating depth is an important factor in shooting soft point ammo in my AR-10.
I loaded several different bullet styles to test including some soft points I had trouble with in the past. This time, however, I seated the bullets in just far enough into the cases for the cartridges to fit into the magazine. I typically had about .03 clearance between the bullet tip and the inner wall of the magazine. I seated all the bullets except the 110 gr round nose this way.
Some of the bullets had cannelures and looked very strange with the cannelure 1/8 inch or more forward of the case mouth but they were firmly seated and since I don’t crimp it was a moot point.

Bullets used were:

150 and 165 grain Remington Core-Lokt
150 gr Sierra Spitzer
165 gr Sierra BTSP
125 gr Speer TNT
180 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip
150 and 165 gr Hornady SST
150 gr Speer Mag Tip
110 gr Sierra FMJ Round Nose (Carbine bullets)

This time, all but the Mag Tips functioned perfectly. I had two jams with the Mag Tips, which are flat tipped bullets. The remainder of my loads worked fine. . . . . .even the round nose.
I checked the bullets remaining in the magazines from time to time and was pleased to see that even the bullets with extremely soft tips like the Core-Lokts were deforming far less than my last batch did. (I had seated the last batch all the way in to the cannelure).
I think that seating the bullets so far out minimizes the distance the cartridges can travel forward in the magazine under recoil which in turn minimizes the forward momentum and results in less tip deformation. It also forces the cartridges to stay to the rear of the magazine where they belong and helps them achieve the proper feed angle when they are stripped from the magazine.

Now I can work up a good hunting load and take my AR-10 out for deer this fall if I get a wild hair. It ought to be a perfect foul weather rifle.

Just wanted to share my discovery with you guys. I hope someone can benefit from it.

Be aware though, that shooting reloads will void the Armalite warranty.

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