Bullet stuck in barrel. Rookie reloader


April 4, 2010, 05:46 PM
I'm sure this is not first time it's happened but I'm a reloading rookie and could use a little sage advice from the old timers.

I finally got a chance to try out my reloads .223 Rem in my AR-15 at the range today. Started with 5 rounds in the magazine and by the second shot I noticed they were hitting low. 4 rounds fired and brass ejected as advertised. 5th round fired but failed to eject the case.

Loaded up 2 more rounds just to see if this is a trend. Closed the bolt on the first round and it failed to close fully. Performed SPORTS on the weapon and got the bolt closed but it felt a little tight. Pulled the charging handle and the case ejected without the bullet.

Here is what I loaded with:
Brand new .223 Remington brass, lubed and sized, not trimmed
69gr. Sierra Match King .224 bullets
Winchester 748 powder measured to 23gr. using a Lee Powder Safety Scale
CCI small rifle primers
Cartridge OAL average 2.255 inches measured with a digital caliper/micrometer
Rounds were not crimped

Anything I might have overlooked while loading? I suspect the reason for the FTE and stuck round is either the round did not build enough pressure either due to lack of the crimp or the powder was measured wrong by me.

I'll tear a couple down when I get home and check the powder weight and probably crimp a dozen of the current rounds and see how they perform.

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April 4, 2010, 06:06 PM
Is it possable you removed the round to check powder amount and put it back on the reloader without powder.Don't ask me how I know this!

April 4, 2010, 06:11 PM
You're below the recommended starting charge. Not a good idea for the AR's gas system. Verify the accuracy of your scale and charges and get the charges in the recommended ranges. Crimping isn't necessary and not advised on a bullet with no cannelure. Deburr your new RP case mouths. Check a loaded round to make sure the bullets are held tightly in the case. Push the bullet against the reloading bench and if it moves you don't have enough case neck tension. With your bullets, cases, and powder I'd start at 24 grains and work up to the maximum of 25.8 in the Sierra manual. Your overall length should not be a problem.

April 4, 2010, 06:20 PM
Sounds like you are jamming the bullet into the throat.

Not sure how that can happen on a conventional barrel if the round fit in the magazine.

What kind of barrel is on the gun?

April 4, 2010, 06:25 PM
shootinxd: I'm not going to ask how you know but I didn't take any rounds apart and accidentally load them powderless >.<

rg1: I'll recheck all of them and weigh the powder charges. I might even use the dipper that came with my die kit (Lee Precision brand) and bounce that off my other load data.

W.E.G.: The barrel is a 1/9 twist 16" Carbine chambered in 5.56 NATO.

April 4, 2010, 07:35 PM
If you want to verify presence of powder in each loaded round, there are a couple of (non-exclusive) techniques:

- For less than 100% load density charges, shaking each cartridge and listening to check for presence of powder is effective.

- Setup digital scale for "tare" weight (primed case+projectile), and zero at that level. Then place each completed cartridge on the scale. Number displayed will be approximate charge weight. (Approx. because brass weight varies some). Certainly good enough to detect gross absence of powder.

April 4, 2010, 07:39 PM
Couple things to add:

The 69gr. Sierra matchking FMJ-BTHP bullets did not have a cannelure, thus the reason I did not crimp them.

I got the lodged bullet out of the barrel of my AR. Boat tail is blackened, no rifling indications, and about 1/4" from the tip shows a solid round groove. The groove cannot be felt using my fingernail but is clearly visible..

April 4, 2010, 07:40 PM
Are we reading the same post?

By my reading of it, the OP is NOT saying he pulled the trigger on a live round, leading to a bullet being stuck.

He is saying he encountered resistance when chambering a round, so he jacked the bolt open, causing the bullet from the sticky round to be stuck in the throat, while the casing was thrown free of the rifle.

The OP has neglected to mention whether the POWDER CHARGE from the ejected casing got dumped into the fire control group, or whether he lucked-out and the powder charge ended up on the ground somewhere.

April 4, 2010, 07:42 PM

We posted seconds apart.

Did you drop the hammer on this round, or did you think you were jacking a live round out of the chamber?

April 4, 2010, 08:23 PM
I didn't pull the trigger on the round that got stuck. Something just didn't feel right about it. I wanted to inspect the round when i pulled the charging handle. The powder must have been thrown free when the round ejected sans bullet. I laid the rifle down and haven't fired another until I figure out what went wrong. Better safe than sorry.

April 4, 2010, 11:32 PM
Here are my thoughts on the matter. First you need to insure that your sizing die is adjusted properly, so that each and every piece of brass will chamber properly. Here's a good read on that subject: http://blog.sinclairintl.com/2009/02/19/setting-up-a-full-length-sizing-die/

Next, you need to determine the correct overall length for loaded ammo in your rifle. There are several tools that will do this, ranging in price from pretty reasonable, on up. Here's one: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=570611 Here's another: http://www.sinclairintl.com/product/6803/Bullet-Seating-Depth-Tools-OAL

Setting up your sizing die using the method outlined in the Sinclair article, in conjunction with some type of cartridge headspace gauge, will prevent problems from insufficiently sized brass. It will also allow you to set your sizing die to bump the shoulder back the minimum amount necessary, and (marginally) increase brass life. Using a seating depth gauge will prevent you from jamming the bullet into the rifling, and both drastically increasing chamber pressures, and 'losing' bullets when you eject unfired ammo. A multiple win-win situation!

April 5, 2010, 11:54 AM
:) I read some good stuff in your posts. I'm happy that you used good judgement to set the rifle down until you could figure things out. Good thinking, friend.

Many of us buy our equipment and start loading.
Often we forget one step: Learning how to reload first.

Do you have books on reloading? Get any two of the following: Lyman, Hornady, Sierra, Speer, Nosler, Lee, ABC's of Reloading. Read them thoroughly. Understand all the components, safety protocol, procedures, double-checks, setup and operation of the equipment, skills, and even the proper names for the parts and pieces. Learn all that you can about your craft.

If the back of your bullet was blackened, but the bullet only traveled part way down the barrel, you only had a tiny amount of powder. It often seems like we did everything right, it couldn't be us. But it was. Your original post hints at accepting this possibility. Look inside every case after you fill it with powder, no exceptions. All cases should be approximately the same level of fill.

FMJ: The Sierra MatchKing is not an fmj bullet. It is jacketed, but the jacket is open at the tip (hollow point). An fmj is open at the base.

Caliper: A caliper is not a micrometer. A micrometer is a different instrument, and much more accurate and precise. We generally use calipers to measure OAL because the dimension is generally not that critical for most ammunition.

Get load data from published books, or the powder manufacturer's web site. Don't trust stuff you read on these internet forums. These forums are good to get some nifty ideas, but always go back to your published data to check, then double check against a second published source.

Referencing your books, make your selection of components. Inspect once-fired cases for condition, looking for splits and evidence of excessive stretch. Learn to resize cases to fit your chamber (especially important with a semi-auto rifle). Measure case length and trim as necessary. Seat primers fully to the proper depth without crushing. Charge cases carefully, then look inside each one to visually verify powder charge in every single case. Seat bullet to proper depth. Inspect the finished product afterward. Learn the fine points about these procedures from your books.

As you just learned, when something goes wrong with one round, DON'T chamber another round and try to shoot it. When your last round chambered tight and your withdrew the brass without a bullet, you averted true disaster on your very first reloading experience. You used good judgement to set the rifle down until you could figure it out.

April 5, 2010, 01:00 PM
I appreciate the kind words ants. I have the book modern reloading from richard lee as my "instruction manual" lots of good information in plain english.

After tearing apart a few round they are at 23gr of powder. Using the loading chart in the modern reloading book that is the minimum recommended starting load for the bullet caliber. I took a fresh sample from the bottle with the included dipper in the die set and it came out to 24 grains.

Next load will be using the dipper and I'll double check the neck tension. Something in my mind nagging at me says they weren't held tight enough in the first place to build proper pressure.

I'll be the first to admit when I am wrong or make a mistake. It's all part or learning something new and that's all well and good. I learned I needed more powder and to check proper case tension. However if I check and the tension still isn't enough, should I put a crimp on them even though the bullet doesn't have a cannelure?

April 5, 2010, 01:32 PM

The problem was not de-burring and chamfering that new Remington brass!

I just prepped some .06 cases and OMG they were all flared out, at least .002-.003 had
to be removed to get the mouths close to reloading specs.

April 5, 2010, 01:33 PM
PS. I never crimp bullets without cannelure grooves.......It's just not right, IMO

April 5, 2010, 01:44 PM
As I said earlier my COAL was 2.255 (+/-.001) using a digital caliper. I've seen other postings of people seating down to 2.200. Is it safe for me to seat further with that charge and type? Part of my problem seems to be getting enough energy maintained in the cartridge to push the bullet out. Since I shouldn't crimp the round the seating depth seems the next step to get the bullet to hold more snug.

I appreciate all the comments guys and I'm all about learning. Last thing I want to do is damage my rifle, myself, or god forbid hurt someone else. I see why some of my buddies from work that reload will not let anyone else shoot their handloads. 200 rounds might be perfect but it only takes one to turn a great time into a tragedy and I don't think I could live with myself knowing that something I made endangered someone I care about.

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