little problem with my .223 loading.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Hardtarget, Jun 29, 2014.

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  1. Hardtarget

    Hardtarget Member

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    I've not loaded many rounds of .223 but I'm not pleased with what is happening.
    Here is my component list. RCBS dies. Hornady 55gr btfmj, mixed brass,( Ramshot powder.)

    Brass is cleaned and polished, sized/deprimed, trimmed. The bullets are Hornady (bulk)55gr btfmj, as mentioned.
    My problem is inconsistent COL . I tighten my dies after making adjustments but the COL will not hold. It drifts as much .030 . back and forth.

    I've cleaned/examined the seating dies and I'm careful when tightening the lock rings so as to not let the die change.

    Could it be a problem with "bulk" bullets? I noticed one that was rather blunt compared to the others. Maybe the ogive is different bullet to bullet. I have not tried a "premium" class bullet yet.

    I'm not a novice at this. I started my reloading journey in 1973 and load ten calibers. However!..I'm NOT an expert. There is MUCH I don't know about this hobby.

    If anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate the help.

    My thanks, in advance, for your time, knowledge, and assistance.

    Mark
     
  2. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    Your dies are set to a length to the ogive not the tip. If you look into your seater die, you will see that it has a cup shaped end that actually touches your bullets on the ogive, not the tip. If you could measure from base to ogive, I am sure that this would be much more consistent. .030 is a big number, maybe some of the bullets are too long, and they are actually touching the tips instead of the ogive, thus seating them too deep.
     
  3. ZGunner

    ZGunner Member

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    I am a novice, been loading .223 for about two years now. I use mostly polymer tipped bullets.
    My first questions would be:
    Are you measuring off the ogive or the tip? Do the bullets themselves vary that much? If I'm not mistaken, as long as your actual seating depth is consistent you're in good shape. But it's hard to tell that if the bullet lengths vary .030.
     
  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Measure the length of the bullets. They will vary although 0.030" is probably a bit much.

    The seater plug in your die my not be the best fit for the bullets and the bullets vary, the seating depth varies.

    If you seat a bullet, then move the seater stem and seat it a bit more, the over all measurement will be different as if you seat the bullet with the final setting of the seater stem. So, if you racing around changing the seater stem position, you could be aggravating the overall positioning.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    You do realize you are worrying about 3 one-hundredths of an inch. If you took a box of factory ammo and measured them all you would find that variation and probably more. Like said above, your seating die does not seat the bullet from the tip so any slight variation in the bullet itself will show up when you measure the OAL to the tip like you are.
     
  6. jeeptim

    jeeptim Member

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    If 030 is out of line for you you might try one headstamp at a time. I know it shouldent matter. But I have found once I started doing that I got s much better end product.
    Just my thoughts.
    Good luck.
     
  7. Gadawg88

    Gadawg88 Member

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    If you are using the bullets I think you are, they have a cannelure. If so, seat them to the middle of the cannelure and carry on. As long as they fit in the mag, which they should, you are good to go. Just work up your load from there.
     
  8. ironworkerwill

    ironworkerwill Member

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    One more option: The brass may be a bit over worked. A bit less neck tention (or more uniform neck tention) might resolve the issue.

    @Jeeptim: I thought the same thing. Sorting brass by X-firings and by head stamp couldn't hurt.
     
  9. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Brass doesn't effect, or have anything to do with cartridge over all length, or COAL. Neck tension, internal volume, yes, but it won't change or effect OAL. Even if you were to file off .030" from the case head, or trimmed the brass .030" shorter, or both, your OAL will still be the same. Seating depth is effected by the olgive, and only the olgive. A measurable difference is going to be created by inconsistencies of either the olgive, or some other dimensional flaw that relates to projectile length, but not the brass.

    GS
     
  10. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    OAL trouble drives me nuts and in my case I've found that 9 times out of 10 it's caused by hard brass with differing neck wall thicknesses. If I was a hard-core reloader like some of these guys I'd be buying neck-turning equipment. A stopgap measure is to segregate brass into groups of varying neck sizes - two or three groups is generally enough - then allowing the lands to seat the bullet.
     
  11. CoronaGold

    CoronaGold Member

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    It is good to read. I am a novice and I did NOT realize the contact surface for the seating die was at the ogive. So thanks for educating this lurker.
     
  12. Hardtarget

    Hardtarget Member

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    First, let me say thank you for your insight into this. It was beginning to creep into bad ju-ju land for me! :D

    Several ideas were very close to some of my own thoughts.

    With the brass trimmed after sizing and these are not premium bullets...I may be fretting over small stuff. I pay attention to small stuff so that it doesn't become big stuff.

    I don't try to "magnumize" my loads. I'm generally under max and load just enough to make good functional ammo.

    Thanks again for your time and input on this. I'll re-read these and make the changes to my technique to settle this problem.

    You guys are great!

    Mark
     
  13. FastCut

    FastCut Member

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    http://media.midwayusa.com/productimages/880x660/Primary/231/231904.jpg

    If your really concerned then you can purchase the above or something similar. I have the above tool and it works fairly well providing a constant datum surface on the bullet verses measuring COL. While COL is important its likely not the best measurement when determining distance from the lands on a rifle. It sounds like your reloading practice AR ammo based on load and bullet choice if you were trying to provide a consistent "jump" to the lands then you could try the above.
     
  14. ironworkerwill

    ironworkerwill Member

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    @GS- the brass will never have an effect on oal? Ok, so uniform neck tension, annealing, or uniform neck thickness will have no effect on oal? I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree.
     
  15. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Contributing Member

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    I'll share this with you. Your dies are RCBS and a standard RCBS FL die set in .223 Part # 11101 has a seater plug in the seating die with an ID of just about .180". This is a long way from the ogive of a .223 bullet but it matters not. If all of your bullets were absolute uniform when you were done they would all have the same COL. Bulk bullets don't tend to be this way.

    If you have a set of calipers adjust and lock them for .180". Now place the blades of the .180" calipers over each bullet. I am betting the calipers will fall lower on some bullets than others. I am also betting what yu are seeing is just the result of non uniformity of lower quality bulk bullets.

    It won't matter as was covered as hey should shoot just fine.

    Ron
     
  16. dmurdach

    dmurdach Member

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    Im not sure how correct this is and I'm sure someone will correct me if it is not, but I only worry about the length to ogive on my rifle bullets.
     
  17. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    I haven't loaded a lot of 223, just started a few months ago. My first batch used all the same brass, (PPU), Hornady 55gr fmj. If my OAL where different by .030", I'd be convinced something was wrong. I'm loading with a Lee turret, Lee dies.
     
  18. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    Generally there are few problems seating when the brass is still soft. When the brass starts to get hard the reloader can:

    - anneal (only seems to work once for me), or


    - turn the neck so the sizing die won't tighten up the neck so much, or


    - use a larger bushing sizer and install a good crimp for uniformity, unless you're using the lands to seat with.


    I still say turning the neck is the best option for serious reloaders. It also has the advantage of helping to center the round somewhat.
     
  19. ironworkerwill

    ironworkerwill Member

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    I just stated that the brass was an option to consider as part of the problem. Not that it WAS the problem.

    Tip malformations if oal is measured to the tip , inconsistent ogive/ bearing surface if measured to the ogive, press/ setup/ user error, and brass prep all will add to the problem.

    If more than one issue is occurring then the problem will worsen.
     
  20. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    My recent order of bulk blemished Horn. 55 fmj's varied nearly as much as yours. Some of the tips of the bullets were rounded and blunt while some were like 1st quality Hornady's. Hornady 55 fmj's usually are very consistent and one of the best 55 fmj's available. Like I mentioned, mine were sold as blems and usually blems are hard to tell why they are blems. Usually just cosmetic. I agree that brass can cause a very few thousandths variation but not .030". Most likely difference in bullet tip shapes and like already discussed the ogives are probably very close. Load and shoot as I've loaded them from 2.200 to 2.230" with no issues. Seems that over my many years of reloading that some bullets I use a lot have been changed by the manufacturer in their ogives and tip shapes.
     
  21. Otto

    Otto Member

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    As long as your OAL falls between 2.165 and 2.260 it's within SAAMI specs and you're good to go.
    Variances will always occur when measuring base to tip. Don't get OCD over OALs
     
  22. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    My thoughts exactly.
    Maybe it isn't necessary, but I always sort all my brass by headstamp.
     
  23. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    Your component list indicates that you are basically making plinking ammo, and variations can happen but usually Hornady bulk FMJ is more consistent than what you're showing.
    If you want to build more accurate loads, use a single brand of case and commercial bullets like V-Max, Z-Max or some of the match HP that most brands list in their line.
    As mentioned, as long as your COAL doesn't exceed the mag length on your plinking loads, you'll be fine.


    NCsmitty
     
  24. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Most likely OP is using a way-too-heavy crimp on his loads.

    Reduce (or simply omit) the crimp, and I'll betcha the OAL thing settles down.

    You don't need to crimp .223 bullets used in recreational ammunition.
    Seat the bullet.
    Push the loaded round bullet-first against your gun safe with just one hand.
    If the bullet does not move back into the case under moderate pressure you already have all the neck tension you need for good ammo.

    I've reloaded some 20,000 .223 rounds since 1989.
    I crimped my first batch, and they were a mess.
    I've omitted the crimp, and had good results ever since.
     
  25. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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