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How to reload .223 for fast cycling firearms?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Northslope Nimrod, Jan 25, 2008.

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  1. Northslope Nimrod

    Northslope Nimrod Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Northern Utah
    A buddy told me yesterday that his dad stopped reloading for his M4 because the primers fall out (or something) during the fast cycling. He also said that the bullets (not being crimped) have issues too. Is this true?

    So, what must you do to reload .223 for AR-15's and the like?
  2. ocabj

    ocabj Member

    Jan 22, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    In full-auto? I can't comment. Maybe stick to primer-crimped factory ammo.

    For semi-auto? If primers are falling out, then there is an underlying problem here.

    1. Check for overpressure loads.

    2. If using Winchester SR primers, switch to CCI or Remington. Trust me on this. I know a lot of people will claim they have no problems with Winchester SR in the AR platform. But my personal experience shows that Winchester primers can be problematic in the AR platform, even in mild loads (popped primers, separate anvils, pierced primers).

    3. Loose primer pockets. Make sure not swaging, cutting, or uniforming too much primer pocket material.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    Your buddies dad has a pressure problem with his hand-loads.
    (Or very used empty brass that has been reloaded way too many times.)

    There is nothing any different with the M-4 pressure & extraction cycle (if he really has an M-4) that would not occur in a semi-auto AR-15 or M-Forgery. The gas port pressure has to have dropped below the threshold of safe opening before the empty case can be pulled from the chamber.
    Full-auto doesn't change that.

    And that pressure level doesn't blow primers!

    If the primers fall out, it means he is exceeding the yield strength of his brass with excessive loads, and the primer pockets are expanding so much the primers can fall out.
    These are Very Dangerous loads!

    It is generally considered good practice to crimp any loads used in a semi or full-auto magazine fed weapon. Bullet impact on the feed ramp can in some cases, cause bullet set-back, and resulting high pressure.
    And also blown primers.

  4. jenrob

    jenrob Member

    Dec 18, 2007
    Eastern Oregon
    Thats when you know its about time to get new brass. Or as the above win primers are some of the softest primes. I use them and have no problems have a friend that uses CCI and swears by them also. Most of the time you will feel if the primer pockets are getting loose. at that point I take a sharpie pen and mark the head of the brass. Then when I pick up my brass and sort them out I pick out the heads that are marked and throw them in my recycle box. I put a light crimp on AR loads. My thought (not that they have value) is that if I load a gun that holds more than 10 rounds I put a light crimp just the thought of tapping on a round 15-30 times seems to me like a bullet puller in works. I have loaded many into an AR without crimping with no problems, but just started doing one day and have continued to do so. If your shooting an AR or a full auto you a more than likely useing a prog press any how and to put a crimp die in isn't going to make any more or less work on reloading.
  5. DaveInFloweryBranchGA

    DaveInFloweryBranchGA Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    NE Georgia
    I agree with the other posters. One of three situations exist:

    1. He may have swaged or trimmed out his primer holes too much.

    2. He may be using loads that are too hot and is getting excessive pressure, thereby blowing the primers out.

    3. His brass is worn out and the primer holes aren't capable of holding the primers properly any more.

    In any case, he's right to not shoot those. Though correcting the above could put him back shooting reloads in his AR.

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