Having a problem with .223


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Ianmtx
May 31, 2010, 01:00 AM
Hey guys, been reloading pistol for a while now, recently started .223 a few months ago. The problem I'm having with .223 is for some reason some of the cartridges that I'm making are getting stuck in the barrel so that the bolt assembly isn't able to close all the way and the gun won't fire obviously because of this. When I try to pull back the charging handle, it's really hard to pull back and I pretty much have to bang the gun on the table on it's stock while pulling the handle to get the bullet stuck out of the barrel.

I am using 55 gr FMJ .223 bullets and once-fired military brass. The brass is trimmed to the proper length and I even tried seating the bullet a little bit deeper and it's still not fixing the problem.

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parker51
May 31, 2010, 01:50 AM
Do you have a case gage? Are you resizing with a Small Base die? If the brass fits into the case gage properly then it should fit into your rifle. Where do you see marks? On the brass or on the bullets? I'm guessing that they are probably about a 1/4" from the case head.

degunner
May 31, 2010, 01:56 AM
is your OAL within spec? are you full length resizing? If you short stroke it the base will not be properly resized and will hang up.
is the problem with all the same head stamp or multi headstamps?
and what parker51 above asked too

Friendly, Don't Fire!
May 31, 2010, 05:47 AM
Are your cartridge cases within length specifications? A case that has been realoded several times will be over the maximum length and will cause exactly what you are explaining.

As a side note here, DO NOT TRY TO MAKE THESE FIRE! If the cases are too long, they wedge the bullet in tightly where the longer case acts like a wedge effect between the chamber entrance and the bullet.

Since these cartridges are already high in pressure, pushing pressure "over the top" could result in catastrophic consequences.

NuJudge
May 31, 2010, 06:54 AM
Once-fired military brass has frequently been fired in belt-fed machineguns, which have headspace adjusted very loose, and the dimensions other than headspace are rather loose.

I encountered these problems years ago in 7.62x51 brass. Since then, such brass gets sized with Small Base dies, and I use both case gauges and the rifle(s) it will be fired in to test at least a representative sample. Some lots of 7.62 brass, I had to size it twice, even though I set up the size die to "cam over".

243winxb
May 31, 2010, 07:46 AM
To hard a crimp can bulge the neck or shoulder area. Or the web area has been expanded when fired in other firearms.

JimKirk
May 31, 2010, 07:51 AM
Is your sizing die turned all the way down, touching the shell holder plus a 1/4 turn, to take out any slack? I would bet that die adjustment is your problem.

Will a sized unloaded brass fit your chamber OK ? Try it, if not then you have sizing problems.

If it does then look at the bullet seating depth and if you are crimping, that could be the problem.

Jimmy K

JDGray
May 31, 2010, 08:39 AM
What Captain Kirk said:D The shoulder wont be bumped back, unless the sizing die is turned down the extra 1/8-1/4 turn.

ssyoumans
May 31, 2010, 08:43 AM
Sounds like you only used a neck sizing die and not a full length resizing die. What set of dies did you use?

steve4102
May 31, 2010, 09:13 AM
Is your sizing die turned all the way down, touching the shell holder plus a 1/4 turn, to take out any slack? I would bet that die adjustment is your problem.

Will a sized unloaded brass fit your chamber OK ? Try it, if not then you have sizing problems.

If it does then look at the bullet seating depth and if you are crimping, that could be the problem.

Ditto!

Walkalong
May 31, 2010, 09:52 AM
Get a case gauge. Check your brass with it. If you have the sizer down enough, it should fit the gauge unless the brass has been way over stressed.

It should fit like this
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=120303&d=1272453795

This round has a slightly buckled shoulder from lightly roll crimping when the cannelure was below the case mouth.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=95687&d=1238971188

It won't fit the gauge
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=95688&d=1238971191

The cannelure on the cheap bulk bullets is not consistent.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=120702&d=1273145417

I switched to taper crimping these. I could leave the crimp out, but I like to crimp blasting/plinking ammo.

Here is a link to another good thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=440962) about sizing 5.56 brass.
--

Ianmtx
May 31, 2010, 05:31 PM
Do you have a case gage? Are you resizing with a Small Base die? If the brass fits into the case gage properly then it should fit into your rifle. Where do you see marks? On the brass or on the bullets? I'm guessing that they are probably about a 1/4" from the case head.

No case gage. I am using these dies:
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=554943

The marks are on the actual bullet.



is your OAL within spec? are you full length resizing? If you short stroke it the base will not be properly resized and will hang up.
is the problem with all the same head stamp or multi headstamps?

Like I said, I am having this problem with brass trimmed to the correct length. I am full length resizing and not short stroking.



To hard a crimp can bulge the neck or shoulder area. Or the web area has been expanded when fired in other firearms.

I am not using a crimp.



Is your sizing die turned all the way down, touching the shell holder plus a 1/4 turn, to take out any slack? I would bet that die adjustment is your problem.

Will a sized unloaded brass fit your chamber OK ? Try it, if not then you have sizing problems.

If it does then look at the bullet seating depth and if you are crimping, that could be the problem.

Jimmy K

Yes the sizing die is all the way down. Yes an unloaded case will fit in the chamber and eject just fine. It is definitely not the case sizing causing this.
The bullet is seated exactly to the same size as a factory round and the top of the case is at the cannelure.

steve4102
May 31, 2010, 06:17 PM
Yes the sizing die is all the way down. Yes an unloaded case will fit in the chamber and eject just fine. It is definitely not the case sizing causing this.
The bullet is seated exactly to the same size as a factory round and the top of the case is at the cannelure.

All the way down, Plus 1/4 turn in?

How did you set up your seating die? All the way down then back it out one+ full turn?

Ianmtx
May 31, 2010, 06:29 PM
Scratch what I said about the cases. Just tried another one and it got stuck the same. I think my big problem is this is military brass and has just been a huge pain in the ass.

Since I bought 5,000 rounds of it, what can I do to make this stuff work?

HJ857
May 31, 2010, 07:00 PM
Some brass just simply won't size, as far as my experience shows. That's true for both a standard full length sizer and a small base sizer die.

My problem has almost always been with LC brass as well, most size just fine, some won't.

The Lee dies you show are ok dies, though I would recommend replacing the sizer/decap die with the RCBS small base sizer die, it really is a lot nicer.

Some of the responses indicate using a case gauge, really what you need to be absolutely sure that the case has been sized properly is a headspace gauge.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=456614

Make no mistake, a headspace gauge like the one linked is a lifesaver and is the only gauge that truly shows if the brass is sized properly throughout it's length.

Here's a link to a different post that has some photos.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=410080

Roccobro
May 31, 2010, 07:00 PM
Since I bought 5,000 rounds of it, what can I do to make this stuff work?

Find out what the problem is and go from there. :)

I had brand new Hornady dies that wouldn't full length size. I had to machine off a few thou from the base of the die. No "plus 1/4 turn" or any other crap will work if this is your case too. When the die is bottomed out on the press, it CANNOT go any further down without hurting your equipment. DON'T RISK IT!

Luckily I was using a Wilson case gauge and could see the shoulder needed to be moved back a hair more. Hornady rep said I could take a whack at removing material and would fix the problem if I could not. Happily, I have not had an issue resizing .223 of any origin since.

Justin

longdayjake
May 31, 2010, 07:04 PM
I have never had very good luck with Lee dies. In fact, I got rid of them as fast as I could. If you can afford to buy 5,000 pieces of brass and then load them with bullets, powder, and primers, then you can afford a set of good dies. I suggest you get the RCBS small base dies. Some people get by with full length dies but others do not. My bet is that the small base dies will instantly solve your problem.

NCsmitty
May 31, 2010, 07:12 PM
Ianmtx, smoke one of the sticky empty cases with a candle, and see where the problem is located in the chamber. Find out where the soot rubs off.

OR, you can sell the milsurp brass and get some commercial brass and go shooting.



NCsmitty

Ianmtx
May 31, 2010, 08:19 PM
Ianmtx, smoke one of the sticky empty cases with a candle, and see where the problem is located in the chamber. Find out where the soot rubs off.

OR, you can sell the milsurp brass and get some commercial brass and go shooting.



NCsmitty

I gave this a shot and it's the base of the case that is catching. I'll try the RCBS small base dies.

243winxb
June 1, 2010, 10:04 AM
Are you lubing the inside of the case neck when FLRSing? You dont want the expander pulling the neck forward on exit.

Walkalong
June 1, 2010, 10:14 AM
Redding makes carbide expander buttons for their dies, as well as RCBS dies. They sure are nice and really help stop neck stretching. A little lube is still a good idea, but the carbide buttons make a big difference.

Brush the necks with a bronze brush after tumbling, then take a nylon brush that has been rolled over a lube pad and run it in the necks before sizing..

zeke
June 4, 2010, 12:58 PM
Would also suggest a small base die. If you trim the bottom of a regular die, you may have problems setting the shoulder too far back.

Perhaps i was reading too fast, but what kind of rifle are you reloading for, what brand specifc bullet are you using and what is the COL (cartidge overall length) ? What is the measuremnt at widest part of brass base (other than the rim)

Some bolt action rifles have a much smaller "leade" and tighter chambers than a AR-15.

docsleepy
June 4, 2010, 01:11 PM
Lee dies work fine for me in .223, 6PPC (yes, they make that too), 38 special, 9mm and .380.

Sounds like you found your problem area (base). Next thing is to figure out why that area is not being resized....or what.

Suggest you take your calipers and carefully measure that area and compare it to the published spec for a .223 case (loading manual, or internet). Measure the cases you bought, and cases you have resized. Adjust the die if possible to get that area resized (e.g., if you weren't coming quite down far enough, perhaps, dunno) and if nothing works, call Lee and explain your problem and ask for help.

I picked up some .223 once at the range and was stunned to find it would NOT fit into a bolt action rifle -- all the brass had been bulged near the base, perhaps by a hot load in a partially unsupported chamber. I'll have to full lengh resize those (something I've never needed to do, since I generally fire the brass in the same rifle over and over and don't use really hot loads.

Calipers are your friend, and you've already advanced your cause enormously by figuring out where the problem is. Later on, make a case without primer or powder, and with the bullet held somehat loosely. Set it quite long, and the insert and close bolt--it will push bullet back to near-jammed-on-the-lands length. Remove very carefully, measure; repeat multiple times until you can get it repeatable. Then you'll know exactly the length to your lands (for THAT particular bullet). Works just about as well as the Hornady tool in my limited expderience. A "comparator" is also a useful piece of equipment to add to your calipers.

Happy reloading! Stay safe!

JimKirk
June 4, 2010, 01:40 PM
I believe I would try another sizing die just to make sure your die is not the problem.

Like Roccobro, I had a RCBS 270 win sizing die I had to brush the bottom on the grinder to get it to size enough for a rifle I had.

Just make sure the grinding cut direction is away from the die hole towards the outside of the die and you'll have no problem burrs in the die chamber.

Jimmy K

steve_dune
June 6, 2010, 12:10 AM
What sizing die are you using? Try using a full length sizer die once and see if that helps. I had the same problem with my .308 after firing new brass and just neck sizing them. I used a full length sizer die on the ones that wouldn't fit. I only had to full length size them one time now I only use my neck sizer. Now I always size one and try it in the action before I load them!

alfack
June 6, 2010, 12:30 AM
I have the same problem, but my chamber is a little tight. My problem was the PMC brass. It would not take a size like the other LC brass I have.

I took a fired casing of factory ammo, measured the base and compared it to an unfired round. The fired case was .374" at the base. The unfired case was .371. The PMC brass I had resized was also .374 and the LC brass was .372 after resizing.

The rounds I had made with the PMC brass fit in my case gauge with no trouble, which indicates they were within SAAMI specs and that my chamber is smaller than SAAMI specs.

Instead of messing with reaming the chamber, I think I will just toss the PMC brass. It has crimped primer pockets, too.

I guess the point is, it's possible that your chamber is smaller than spec, too.

Ianmtx
June 6, 2010, 05:21 PM
Okay, I got a small base die the other day and re-sized some brass with it. I noticed that it does size it a little smaller, but it is still getting stuck. I also noticed another thing.

On my Lee expanding die, the neck of the case doesn't reach the top of the die because the bottom of the die stops it first when it hits the baseplate. Should be case be pressing against it to shape the neck down? It might be possible this is the reason why it isn't fitting all the way in the chamber. Just a thought.


Also, since this is 5.56 brass should I talk to my gunsmith about maybe reaming my chamber? Or should I just straight up buy a 5.56 NATO barrel?

Clark
June 6, 2010, 06:02 PM
Hey guys, been reloading pistol for a while now, recently started .223 a few months ago. The problem I'm having with .223 is for some reason some of the cartridges that I'm making are getting stuck in the barrel so that the bolt assembly isn't able to close all the way and the gun won't fire obviously because of this. When I try to pull back the charging handle, it's really hard to pull back and I pretty much have to bang the gun on the table on it's stock while pulling the handle to get the bullet stuck out of the barrel.

I am using 55 gr FMJ .223 bullets and once-fired military brass. The brass is trimmed to the proper length and I even tried seating the bullet a little bit deeper and it's still not fixing the problem.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/db/Pistol-Bushmaster-Carbon15-Type97.jpg/300px-Pistol-Bushmaster-Carbon15-Type97.jpg

I bought a Professional Ordnance Carbon 15 Pistol Type 97 ~ 10 or 15 years ago for $1,000, took it to the range twice, and sold it for $850.

The ammo would get stuck in the chamber before the bolt was closed.
It wanted very small base cases, or the case would not fit. And it was too noisy and inaccurate.

I just got back from Montana, where I saw a Howa Barreled action Varmint .223 that would not take cases with a base .375", or even close to it. The new Win brass must be selected with a micrometer before being put in the gun.

My theory is that the reamers were re sharpened one too many times.

zeke
June 7, 2010, 07:11 PM
would help to know what rifle you are loading for ie brand/type (bolt/semi?). Also would help to know what brand bullet/brass you are using and what is the COL.

"The marks are on the actual bullet." The bullets are seated to far out for your chamber. Some commercial brand 55 fmjbt's are not the same as military issue 55 fmjbt's, which are designed to be used with a 5.56 chamber. Alot of older commercial 223 chambers have much shorter "leades" than a ar-15.

243winxb
June 7, 2010, 08:13 PM
On my Lee expanding die, the neck of the case doesn't reach the top of the die because the bottom of the die stops it first when it hits the baseplate. Should be case be pressing against it to shape the neck down? It might be possible this is the reason why it isn't fitting all the way in the chamber.The full lenght sizing die must contact the shell holder to size the brass correctly. What die are you talking about?:confused: You need 2 dies. 1. A full length sizing die, this also expands the neck after sizing. 2. A seating die. Are you saying your decapping rod with the expander is keeping the case from entering the full length sizing die all the way? :confused: Also, since this is 5.56 brass should I talk to my gunsmith about maybe reaming my chamber? Or should I just straight up buy a 5.56 NATO barrel? NO Buy 20 rounds of new factory ammo, fire, then reload. Do you still have this problem? :scrutiny:

Rokman
June 7, 2010, 08:23 PM
I hope that you get it worked out because .223 is a real joy to load for me.

243winxb
June 7, 2010, 08:27 PM
Find more info here on Lees Help Page >http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi/faq/index.cgiFull Length die adjustment

When using our full length sizing dies for rifle cartridges, the die should be turned in to touch the shell holder and then enough more that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. This is the preferred method because the act of sizing sometimes results in flex that prevents the shell holder from touching the bottom of the die.

Lee dies are designed so that the shoulder of the case is not sized until the very top of the die has been reached. This is done for two reasons; first, we do not want the die to overwork your brass and second and more importantly, we do not want to invite headspace problems. Pushing the shoulder back too soon can create a situation that can eventually cause case separation and a dangerous situation.

If you notice that your Lee Die does not appear to push the shoulder of your case back, ensure that you are adjusting the die so that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. If you see daylight at the top of the stroke, readjust the die downward and repeat sizing until it disappears. If your case is still difficult to chamber, you can send the die back to us with a sized case and we can modify the die to minimum SAAMI specifications.
Can't close bolt on rifle

First make sure the the sizing die is adjusted so that the shell holder contacts the base of the die when the ram is at the top of its stroke when resizing a case. This ensures that the sizing die is bumping the shoulder back as well as reducing the diameter of the case. If the shell holder does not contact the base of the die, the diameter of the case is squeezed down, making the case (and distance to the shoulder) longer.

If this does not solve the problem, return the sizing die with a couple of fired cases, and we can modify the die to suit. Our address is:

Lee Precision Inc,
4275 Hwy. U
Hartford, WI 53027.

Clark
June 8, 2010, 02:18 PM
Lee put his foot in it if he did not qualify THAT process.

He may make dies and he may make shell holders, and he may be certain that the brass shoulder will not spring back more than .002", but he did not chamber the rifle.

When I measure the shoulder to breech headspace datum of .223 rifles, the factory rifles are sloppy. The minimum from breech to shoulder registered with SAAMI is 1.4636" and the max is 1.4736":
Ruger .003" over
Colt .005" over
Wilson .0065" over
Bushmaster .008" over

I may be able to headspace a rifle right on the money, but the factories do not waste the effort.

If Lee's dies and shell holders are going to touch and get a case to fit in a min chamber, then the same process without more mental effort is going to set the shoulder WAY back for sloppy factory rifles.

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