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Kicking myself for buying Green Tip .223 ammo @ gunshow against my gut feeling

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by metalhd9034, Aug 18, 2007.

  1. metalhd9034

    metalhd9034 New Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Hello Everyone,

    This story belongs probably in both the reloading section as well as the "outrageous things you've heard at a gunshow" section. A couple months ago I purchased a fairly sizable amount of Green tip M855 62 gr .223 ammo at a gunshow in Niles OH. It was priced fairly reasonable, and it was available, so I got some to supplement my dwindling supply of .223. My 1/8 twist RRA frankenstein AR seems to really like this ammo and I've never had problems with running factory or reloads through either of my rifles. After I bought the ammo I was a little concerned however, because I overheard the sales pitch the seller was giving to someone else about how he takes all the brass etc he gets from the range that he operates, and gets all the components from the armory. (I don't know if people can do that, but it sure sounded like B.S. to me) I brought it home and put it on the shelf because I wanted to use up the older ammo up before I started using the "new". I'm seriously ticked because I've come to find out that this ammo will not chamber in either my 24" RRA or my LMT carbine. The round drops into the chamber but I can just barely get the bolt to slam home on the RRA, and not at all on the LMT. :fire: Am I right in assuming that this supposedly "almost factory" reloads were probably never resized and are just a little too big in circumference near the bottom of the bullet and that is preventing the round from dropping completely down into the chamber? I don't have much experience with the reloading process or what is involved, but is it possible to salvage this ammo without having to pull each round apart with a bullet separator and reload everything all over again? I've got at least 600 rounds of it, and I'm just dreading the thought of having to A. spend even more money (that could be used for buying more firearms) to buy the proper equipment to fix each round, B. throw away all that powder, and C. waste all that time reloading something that should have been made correctly the first time! What really burns my butt is the fact that I may not be able to find this guy again at the shows, and who's to say I'll be able to get a refund from him, since it was such a long period of time before I started using it. Regardless, I certainly don't want any more ammo from him, not unless I can test fire it out in the parking lot!!:fire: Any help/advice/amusing anecdotes are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. armoredman

    armoredman Elder

    Nov 19, 2003
    proud to be in AZ
    Never use anyone else's reloads. Find someone who will buy the lot for components, (bound to be someone), and spend the money on good ammo. This is very poorly done, with bad QC, and I would never ever fire it.
  3. metalhd9034

    metalhd9034 New Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Hard Lesson Learned

    Hey Armoredman

    Yeah it's definitely a hard lesson learned that's for sure! Definitely not something I'll do again in the near future.
    Still, I wish there were some way to "fix" it, though without all the pain and suffering. Anyways, If anybody is reading this and wants all of it for components, they're welcome to it. Make me an offer and it's yours. :D
  4. koja48

    koja48 member

    Feb 21, 2005
    SE WA State
    Judging by how far out of the chamber the round is when it binds, I would assume that improper/no resizing is the problem. If the rounds were barely shy of allowing the action to close, overall length could be a factor, however based on the first photo, I'd be inclined to rule this out. "Don't trust another's reloads" is a lesson painfully learned in your case, but not as painful as it could have been.
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    Break it down, size, trim if needed, charge with new, known powder, in known amount, and reseat bullet.

    If you are not set up to do this someone who is will pay a reasonable amount for the ammo and that will recoup some of your money to buy more ammo. (like amoredman suggested)
  6. MarineTech

    MarineTech Active Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Presque Isle, ME US
    From the look of it, those bullets have been pulled at least once already.
  7. byf43

    byf43 Active Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Southern Maryland
    I have a couple of questions/observations regarding this ammo- - -

    Notice the two cartridges in the photo (above).
    The bullet on the right is not seated deep enough, it appears.

    Have you 'mic'd' the two cartridges, other than to say 'Go' and 'No-Go' from a chambering/non chambering and bolt closing test?
    Are you sure that the reason the cartridge won't chamber and allow the bolt to close isn't because the bullet is seated out, so far?
    ('Mic' the casehead near the 'web' on both a KNOWN factory fresh cartridge and these rounds that you just bought.)

    What does the primer look like?
    Is it brass colored, or, is it silver??? (This would be a dead giveaway that it is either a reload, or not.)

    If I suspect that a cartridge is NOT as sold. . . I would go back to the vendor and DEMAND a refund.
    (Hopefully, you got a receipt and know who the vendor is!)
    If not, seek out the sponsor of the gunshow and ask him for a list of vendors at his venue.

    Ultimate bottom line. . . I recommend to NOT fire any of this ammo, if you are not 100%+ sure that it is safe to fire.
  8. fatelk

    fatelk Active Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    It sounds like whoever loaded them did not have their sizing die adjusted correctly. Someone with a beat up old rifle with a loose chamber might be able to use it.
    I have adjusted my sizing die before to fit one rifle's chamber perfectly, then tried to use the ammo in another rifle of the same caliber only to run into the exact same problem you have.

    I've seen reloaded ammo at gun shows that is questionable, and I'm also picky about other people's reloads (though not as picky as some). The biggest problem I've seen is high primers, even with commercial reloads.

    If it were mine this is what I would do: pull all the bullets, weigh and make note of powder charge on a few, then put all the powder in a can marked with exact charge and where it came from. I would then size the brass properly with the decapping pin removed (assuming the primers are seated properly). I would use a few rounds to carefully work up a load to verify a safe charge, then load them up for a good plinking round.

    Yes, I know all the manuals say never salvage powder. In this case however, I would not have a problem with it because I would be using the same components, then starting low and making sure it was safe. Don't take my word for it though; you are responsible for your own safety.

    In the end, this all takes some time and may not be worth it to you. If you were nearby, I would buy it for component value, but doubt it would be worth it to me to ship very far. Surely someone will have a use for it.
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    I would follow fatelk's procedure.
    Do you have any friends?
    Do any of them handload so as to give you a press to work on and some instruction in its use?
    You might have to buy dies and bullet puller if they did not load .223 but that would not be a huge expense.
  10. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 24, 2002
    Georgetown, TX
    How will he know what powder it is, so he can rethrow an appropriate charge?
  11. hags

    hags Active Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Chain o' Lakes, Illinois
    I don't mean to be out of line here, but you plunk down hard earned money for an LMT carbine, Eotech holosight and run the cheapest, gunshow reloads you can find in it? Dump them in the ****can and consider it a lesson learned.
    In my experience go either commercial reloads or load your own.
  12. Mr. Chitlin

    Mr. Chitlin Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    90.44.1W 35.48.4N
    If you absolutely trust these loads, and want to shoot them, here's something you might try.

    Spray them down with case lube, remove your decapper from your sizing die and run them through the sizer die. I had a sizer die work loose and back out a little years ago and loaded 500 .308's. When I ran them through the case gauge, they were too long. I lubed them, took the decapper out and ran them back through. They worked like a champ.
  13. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Senior Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    South-Western North Carolina
    I would go 'MR. Chitlin' one better and after running thru sizing die (careful) run them thru seating die - I can't tell any crimp at all. you could attempt to get the OAL right and crimp. but do maybe a dozen or two at first and try them out. he may have been idiot enuff to miss charging some of them.
  14. alucard0822

    alucard0822 Participating Member

    Jan 3, 2007
    Westminster, MD
    Theres quick and easy, then theres time consuming, but sure. I personally only trust my reloads, and black hills. If there is even a single round that is either severely overcharged, used the wrong powder, or in the case of an AR, a too soft primer seated too hard that won't chamber, well then that pretty AR will be toast. Depending on how tight your sizing die is, running it without the decapper can undersize the neck, and definitely not reccomended with the bullet still seated (it will get stuck BAD). I would pull the bullets (collet puller) dispose of the powder, and if I couldn't identify the primers, dispose of them too. Inspect, possibly trim the brass weigh the bullets (I have found 55gr steel jacketed lead core passed as ss109) good M855 is going for sky high loot these days (nearly $ .50 per rd) and is beginning to have more and more counterfit ammo being passed. Look at the headstamps, and primers, not just 10 green tips on a stripper, I have found green tip adcom and S&B. It is also a good practice to keep a set of calipers and a small electronic scale with you at gun shows to verify dimentions, and sometimes grain weight spread with the component vendors. I have had some tell me to "get the H$!! away from my table" and others call people over to show how consistent their stuff is, you can guess who I buy from.
  15. Outlaws

    Outlaws Senior Member

    Apr 10, 2006
    Valley of the Sun

    To the OP,
    OAL does matter. It may or may not be the problem, but every type of bullet has a different factory OAL spec because the ogive will be different. Where the ogive meets the lands is the real length of a round.

    As for the brass itself, do you have one of these?
  16. sublimaze41

    sublimaze41 Active Member

    Jul 28, 2007
    Peoples Republic of Western New York
    I vote for ditching it unless you are a hardcore reloader. I reload probably 5,000 rounds a year and would in NO way be willing to go through the hassle of keeping the components. Perhaps you can sell them on the cheap. Why risk 2 grand worth of gun for $150 worth of KNOWN defective ammo. oh yea, there is that safety thing too.

    Think..... if that person was so careless on the component assembly (as evidenced by the pictures), do you think he was sober enough to throw a consistent, safe powder charge?
  17. jeepmor

    jeepmor Senior Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    1. brass does not appear that it was full length resized
    2. COL does look a bit long, but there is no marking on the bullet like it jammed into the lands. This assumes you tried to chamber that NO-GO round you provided in your rifles.
    3. Mic it at the primer end to see if it's too large of a diameter when compared with a round that will chamber or compared to actual .223 specs.

    As reloads, it was probably fired in a gun with a much more generous chamber dimension than your rifles possess, and now it won't load into yours. Then the reloader only neck sized it instead of doing the full length resize. Call the show organizer, find out who the vendor is, and give him a call and explain. He might offer a refund (I would) rather than have his name dragged through the mud for selling junk at a gunshow. Once you have his name, his reputation will rely on the service you recieve. Whether it's good or bad, I'd share here. Lots of problems get solved on THR because vendors DO NOT want their reputation tarnished for lousy service and workmanship and they realize the world is a lot smaller now that the internet exists.

    Don't think this will work, read up on some HBE leatherworks threads. I finally got my holster from HBE. Only after getting several excuses and promises and unreturned calls dealing directly with HBE's proprietor. I posted a thread here, and bam, had the holster in 1 week. Sure, it was months late, but that's another story, the exposure THR offered me via the community process quickly got the problem solved so that the excuses stopped and the work got done. Had he not taken my money months before, it would have been a non-issue. This is not the only example of THR members collaborating, just ask Zumbo.
  18. lee n. field

    lee n. field Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    The more I think about this the less I like it.

    You have no idea what he did. None. From here, it's hard to tell how much of a fool this guy might have been. It may be no more than a maladjusted sizing die.

    Money spent on reloading gear is not wasted.

    You'll have to. You don't know what powder it is.

    If you don't want to reload it, buy or borrow a kinetic bullet puller. Spend a couple hours disassembling the ammo. Discard the powder, sell the components.
  19. loadedround

    loadedround Senior Member

    Feb 18, 2006
    Valley Forge, Pa
    Metalhead: I've been reloading for over forty years now and it appears to me from your enlarged picture of these troubled rounds that the case mouths expanded when the original bullets were pulled and were not crimped properly when reloaded. The case mouths are hanging up in your chamber. This is a simple fix if YOU trust this ammo at this point. Find someone who reloads 223 rounds and have them run these cases thru a crimp die similar to a Lee FCD. Actually any crimp die will work. Again, do you still trust these reloads?
  20. LotI

    LotI Member

    Nov 14, 2005
    America's Dairyland
    .223 rounds are hard to do with a kinetic hammer since they're so light(I've tried). You'll be much better off with that amount of ammo to get a collet-style puller. 500 rounds won't take long.
    Everything is usable...Fertilize your plants with the powder.

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