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Having a problem with .223

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Ianmtx, May 31, 2010.

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  1. Ianmtx

    Ianmtx Member

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    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.
     
  2. PCCUSNRET

    PCCUSNRET Member

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    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.
     
  3. degunner

    degunner Member

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    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
     
  4. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    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.
     
  5. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

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    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".
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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

    JimKirk Member

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    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
     
  8. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    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.
     
  9. ssyoumans

    ssyoumans Member

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    Sounds like you only used a neck sizing die and not a full length resizing die. What set of dies did you use?
     
  10. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Ditto!
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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
    [​IMG]

    This round has a slightly buckled shoulder from lightly roll crimping when the cannelure was below the case mouth.
    [​IMG]

    It won't fit the gauge
    [​IMG]

    The cannelure on the cheap bulk bullets is not consistent.
    [​IMG]

    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 about sizing 5.56 brass.
    --
     
  12. Ianmtx

    Ianmtx Member

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

    The marks are on the actual bullet.



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



    I am not using a crimp.



    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.
     
  13. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    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?
     
  14. Ianmtx

    Ianmtx Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  15. HJ857

    HJ857 Member

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    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
     
  16. Roccobro

    Roccobro Member

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    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
     
  17. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    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.
     
  18. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    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
     
  19. Ianmtx

    Ianmtx Member

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    I gave this a shot and it's the base of the case that is catching. I'll try the RCBS small base dies.
     
  20. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Are you lubing the inside of the case neck when FLRSing? You dont want the expander pulling the neck forward on exit.
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    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..
     
  22. zeke

    zeke Member

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    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.
     
  23. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    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!
     
  24. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    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
     
  25. steve_dune

    steve_dune Member

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    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!
     
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