AR-15 Reloading Frustrations

03psd

Sergeant
May 27, 2006
581
12
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North Cackalacky
#1
So I have been reloading for bolt action for a couple years with decent success. Earlier this year I decided to start reloading for match quality .223 ammo for my SPR. To say its been frustrating would be a huge understatement. I am about to say to hell with it and just buy Prime or Black Hills ammo for it. Its one thing after another. Today I drive an hour to the range in hopes of a decent session with some ammo I loaded. Just about every other round would not chamber. I bought the 1x fired cases from a respected brass reseller in the PX here. It was advertised as "fully processed". Aside from the necks not be deburred or chamfered, I assumed this meant it was ready to load, which is what I did.

25.5gr 8208XBR
52gr Berger FB Target
2.2455" COAL

Please help me figure out what I need to do here. I am guessing the brass is the problem. I dont know how, or even if, it was resized. I assummed "fully processed" would include resizing and since 99.9% of .223 ammo is fired thru a gas gun, that the resizing would have been done using small base dies. Maybe I am wrong. This gun is a Noveske with WOA 1:7 SPR barrel. Its been a very good shooter with factory ammo and has not been picky as far as a "tight chamber" or anything else as far as I am concerned with any factory ammo. As you can see some bullets got jammed back into the case, others didnt and just jammed keeping the bolt from going into battery. Wha I dont understand is the cartridges arent loaded "long", they were below the 2.25" max COAL and fed from a USGI 20 rnd mag so why are they getting jammed and why is the bullet getting jammed back into the case?

Please advise. Thanks
 
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XLR308

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 22, 2018
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Grand Junction, Colorado
#3
Not trying to be a smartass but first and foremost for reloading for an autoloader you need to ensure that you have a minimum of .002" of shoulder bump, some run a little more than that for reliability when the chamber gets dirty.
Regardless of the brass used whether it be new Lapua or once fired resold brass you should at a minimum verify headspace or ensure it is within .002-.004" target you want to maintain.
Fully processed in this case most likely meant deprimed and cleaned , primer pocket swagged depending on what brass etc, not resized and ready for loading.
 
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Aug 21, 2007
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#4
Used brass:

Clean / anneal / small base resize / drill flash holes / uniform pockets / trim, chamfer / prime / powder / seat.

Hours and hours of "entertainment" - ask me how I know....
 
Jan 22, 2013
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Redding CA
#5
I doubt the brass was sized. The bullets are setting back because the neck was not sized back down to the appropriate size. Like has been said here previously "processed brass" is ready for you to start the loading process. Loading is loading, doesnt matter what you are loading for. Find your process and stick with it.
 

03psd

Sergeant
May 27, 2006
581
12
18
North Cackalacky
#6
Thank you Gentlemen. I tried to save some time by buying and paying for what I thought would save me some valuable time. Turns out all it did was waste my money, time and components.
 

jpgolffl

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 21, 2017
918
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Tallahassee, FL
#7
Thank you Gentlemen. I tried to save some time by buying and paying for what I thought would save me some valuable time. Turns out all it did was waste my money, time and components.
You def should check headspace on any brass that you aren’t already aware of the headspace on before loading it. Especially if it is fired brass bought from an individual. And not just from a chambering standpoint. I want to know how much the brass grew after firing and have that data is case something is off.
 
Nov 30, 2017
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#8
Depending on how many rounds you loaded, it may be worthwhile to buy a size die and have a machinist mill out the primer punch so the bullet in a live round clears and the shoulder can be bumped back.

I bought several hundred rounds of "remanufactured" ammo from a small local vendor and about 20% of them wouldn't chamber in my AR. A buddy of mine loaned me his modified size die - and a case gauge. Lessons learned.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
6,879
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Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#9
Thank you Gentlemen. I tried to save some time by buying and paying for what I thought would save me some valuable time. Turns out all it did was waste my money, time and components.
You need to buy a box of factory ammo and shoot it in your gun. Measure those cases with the Hornady case comparator and write that number down. Now measure the brass you bought. Is it larger or smaller. If larger, easy, run it through a Forster FL sizing die, screwing the die down 1/4 turn at a time till your brass measures .003-.005 less than the factory 1x brass you shot in your rifle.


Just buying brass and saying I got ripped off isn't doing your due diligence. Take the measurement and see what you come up with. #1 tool for reloaders is the case headspace gauge...
 
Nov 22, 2007
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St. Augustine, FL
#10
Depending on how many rounds you loaded, it may be worthwhile to buy a size die and have a machinist mill out the primer punch so the bullet in a live round clears and the shoulder can be bumped back.

I bought several hundred rounds of "remanufactured" ammo from a small local vendor and about 20% of them wouldn't chamber in my AR. A buddy of mine loaned me his modified size die - and a case gauge. Lessons learned.
Machinist mill out the primer punch?:oops:

You size a loaded round?:oops:
 

03psd

Sergeant
May 27, 2006
581
12
18
North Cackalacky
#12
I have about 40 rounds loaded so having anything custom machines won’t make any financial sense. I will run the rest of the brass I bought thru my full size small base resizing die and do all the same steps I do for my bolt guns. Essentially treating the brass as range pick ups
 
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jpgolffl

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 21, 2017
918
337
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Tallahassee, FL
#13
I have about 40 rounds loaded so having anything custom machines won’t make any financial sense. I will run the rest of the brass I bought thru my full size small base resizing die and do all the same steps I do for my bolt guns. Essentially treating the brass as range pick ups
You need a tool to measure headspace. Now is a good time to get one and measure the brass before you resize it. That will let you know for sure what is going on. You probably don’t need to use a small base die. You need to know your headspace measurements so you will know where to set them in the future.

And please, do not run live ammo through your press as suggested above!
 
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Nov 30, 2017
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#14
Ok, I saw this coming. I just don't get how people jump to the conclusion that putting a live cartridge in any shell holder and pushing it up into a size die with an open top presents a danger. The primer is not in contact with or even near anything that could put pressure on it. You stand a VASTLY higher chance of discharging a cartridge by carrying them loose in an ammo box than by what I am describing. Whih is why I don't carry pointed rounds loose in a container that might be dropped.

So, yes, I sized loaded rounds. No part of the machine was anywhere near the primer. People, I was damn near killed by an AD as a teenager and people who have shot with me over the past 50 years will tell you I do not put up with any unsafe shit, full stop. I've seen a lot of stupid acts in 50+ years of shooting, and I never take ANYTHING for granted. So if you think I'm suggesting something unsafe, you're wrong and I didn't explain myself clearly.

Resize die has a primer punch threaded into it. My buddy's die had the punch removed and the threaded channel milled out to just enough to allow the bullet and case neck up into it so the shoulder could be bumped back.

I'm not suggesting this as a replacement for proper reloading. It allowed me to salvage a couple hundred bad rounds.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
6,879
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Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#15
Ok, I saw this coming. I just don't get how people jump to the conclusion that putting a live cartridge in any shell holder and pushing it up into a size die with an open top presents a danger. The primer is not in contact with or even near anything that could put pressure on it. You stand a VASTLY higher chance of discharging a cartridge by carrying them loose in an ammo box than by what I am describing. Whih is why I don't carry pointed rounds loose in a container that might be dropped.

So, yes, I sized loaded rounds. No part of the machine was anywhere near the primer. People, I was damn near killed by an AD as a teenager and people who have shot with me over the past 50 years will tell you I do not put up with any unsafe shit, full stop. I've seen a lot of stupid acts in 50+ years of shooting, and I never take ANYTHING for granted. So if you think I'm suggesting something unsafe, you're wrong and I didn't explain myself clearly.

Resize die has a primer punch threaded into it. My buddy's die had the punch removed and the threaded channel milled out to just enough to allow the bullet and case neck up into it so the shoulder could be bumped back.

I'm not suggesting this as a replacement for proper reloading. It allowed me to salvage a couple hundred bad rounds.

I dont care if you've done it or not, it's terrible advise. Pull your bullets, dump your powder, resize and reload. That is the proper advice. I've been doing this a long time, you hear something new every day.
 
Jan 22, 2013
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Redding CA
#16
Just get a hammer type bullet puller. your gonna need one at some point anyway if you keep reloading. set your dies up according to the instructions and worry about fine tuning headspace later. the neck tension on the 40 that you loaded is going to be so light that it wont take much to pull them down. the bullets will more than likely be usable .
 

jpgolffl

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 21, 2017
918
337
63
Tallahassee, FL
#17
Ok, I saw this coming. I just don't get how people jump to the conclusion that putting a live cartridge in any shell holder and pushing it up into a size die with an open top presents a danger. The primer is not in contact with or even near anything that could put pressure on it. You stand a VASTLY higher chance of discharging a cartridge by carrying them loose in an ammo box than by what I am describing. Whih is why I don't carry pointed rounds loose in a container that might be dropped.

So, yes, I sized loaded rounds. No part of the machine was anywhere near the primer. People, I was damn near killed by an AD as a teenager and people who have shot with me over the past 50 years will tell you I do not put up with any unsafe shit, full stop. I've seen a lot of stupid acts in 50+ years of shooting, and I never take ANYTHING for granted. So if you think I'm suggesting something unsafe, you're wrong and I didn't explain myself clearly.

Resize die has a primer punch threaded into it. My buddy's die had the punch removed and the threaded channel milled out to just enough to allow the bullet and case neck up into it so the shoulder could be bumped back.

I'm not suggesting this as a replacement for proper reloading. It allowed me to salvage a couple hundred bad rounds.
That’s beside the point. Reshaping brass takes a lot of force and strange things can happen sometimes when resizing brass. Will a primer blow if enough force is applied to it laterally if something was stuck In or went wrong in the die? I don’t know. Is it smart to put live ammunition in a die with the intent to put that much force on the case and try it? Absolutely not. Is it smart to suggest other people do it? No. Carrying loose ammo in a bag is 100 times safer than running live ammo through a press. I’m not sure your take on physics is correct here.
 
Nov 30, 2017
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#19
That’s beside the point. Reshaping brass takes a lot of force and strange things can happen sometimes when resizing brass. Will a primer blow if enough force is applied to it laterally if something was stuck In or went wrong in the die? I don’t know. Is it smart to put live ammunition in a die with the intent to put that much force on the case and try it? Absolutely not. Is it smart to suggest other people do it? No. Carrying loose ammo in a bag is 100 times safer than running live ammo through a press. I’m not sure your take on physics is correct here.
Tell ya what. I'll take a thousand rounds of .223 and bump the shoulder as I described. You pour 100 rounds of .223 55gr FMJ ammo loose in a can and drop it 10 times onto concrete from tailgate height.

Ready... go.

But you're right. Stupid suggestion, especially making it to an audience which may not have the experience to assess the safety of and/or safely carry out such an out-of-mainstream operation. The guy who made the die and I have approximately a century and a million rounds of rifle/pistol/shotgun reloading experience between us, and I forgot that not everyone can draw on that.

So - my bad. I take it back.
 
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supercorndogs

Ham Fisted Gorilla
Feb 17, 2014
3,001
1,021
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#20
Agree. If God forbid that round would detonate in the die, it would literally be like a gernade going off.
Should we stop seating with powder in the case also? God for bid one should spontaneously ignite. I think you guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill. It seems like the neck would have to be opened up in the die also. Sounds like a crap shoot, I agree, but I would not see it as dangerous.
 

jpgolffl

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 21, 2017
918
337
63
Tallahassee, FL
#21
Should we stop seating with powder in the case also? God for bid one should spontaneously ignite. I think you guys are making a mountain out of a mole hill. It seems like the neck would have to be opened up in the die also. Sounds like a crap shoot, I agree, but I would not see it as dangerous.
Seating a bullet takes considerably less force than forming brass with a press. I would guess you could seat a bullet with a firing pin on the primer and it would not blow it.

Is it very unlikely that bumping a shoulder on a loaded round would make it go off? Yes it is very unlikely. Should you do it or suggest someone else do it? Hell no.
 
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jpgolffl

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 21, 2017
918
337
63
Tallahassee, FL
#22
Tell ya what. I'll take a thousand rounds of .223 and bump the shoulder as I described. You pour 100 rounds of .223 55gr FMJ ammo loose in a can and drop it 10 times onto concrete from tailgate height.

Ready... go.

But you're right. Stupid suggestion, especially making it to an audience which may not have the experience to assess the safety of and/or safely carry out such an out-of-mainstream operation. The guy who made the die and I have approximately a century and a million rounds of rifle/pistol/shotgun reloading experience between us, and I forgot that not everyone can draw on that.

So - my bad. I take it back.
You are right. You are smarter and more experienced than us so that is why you resize live ammo......
 

Snuby642

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 11, 2017
876
421
63
#23
A lot of fuss over 40 rounds, toss them.
Get yourself a case chamber gauge and check brass before priming it.
I don't trust any cases I didn't resize myself.
I check my own work several times throughout loading and finished ammo as well.

I check often but not every round, any that feel funny on pull of the handle
Definitly get checked.

Scrapped 3 cases out of a 100 saturday, would not prime.
Every case had pocket reamer run on it?
Same lot had 1 primer high?
Read the providers definition of prossessed brass, but always check it first.
 

DrewC

Private
May 19, 2014
67
12
8
Washington
#24
Ok I’ve never heard of resizing live ammo. Besides all the wtf in dong that wouldn’t it take a ton of pressure to do that since the die is also making the neck smaller which in turn having a bullet in there, it would be squeezing the shit out out the bullet? Lol, that’s one hell of a crimp job
 

XLR308

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 22, 2018
1,276
964
113
Grand Junction, Colorado
#25
If you decide to disassemble the ammo I would highly recommend the Hornady cam lock bullet puller die and collet. Even though the necks are obviously loose and a kinetic puller would make short work of them you will be better off in the long run having a more professional way of disassembling ammo than the bam bam cave man hammer.

I actually have both now and since acquiring the Hornady cam lock die the hammer has been relocated to the antiquities section of the reloading gear beside my Pacific Durachrome 30-06 dies. 😉

Sounds like you have things sorted now and can go back to enjoying your AR's without the frustration.
 

ShtrRdy

Gunny Sergeant
Sep 17, 2011
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High Plains
#26
Along with all the help in getting the cases resized, I would like to recommend taper crimping the bullet to help avoid set back when stripping a cartridge from the magazine and chambering. I usually use 0.003" of crimp on my auto loader cartridges.
 
Jan 15, 2005
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VA
#27
If you don't already have a set of the headspace comparators, buy them. The Hornady set is great (one of the few things Hornady makes that is), get the bullet comparators while you're at it. Every precision reloader should have these.

Measure your cases from the factory ammo you fired from the gun at the datum line, and measure your processed cases, 20-50 of them to make sure they were all sized similarly, there should be no more than .001" deviation in sizing. The processed cases should be at least .002" shorter. If they're too long, there's your issue, maybe. Either way this will tell you if the headspace is an issue.

Measure 20-50 of the processed pieces for OAL and make sure they were trimmed back to the proper length and that they're consistent too. Ideally they should be trimmed to 1.750" and vary no more than +/- .002".

Did you chamfer the cases? If not you could be shaving jacket up and jamming it between the case mouth and throat. This could be your issue. Always chamfer and carefully inspect loaded rounds for reasons like this.

Have you shot steel cased ammo through the rifle? I'm assuming no most likely but steel cases don't expand like brass cases and will let more carbon back into the chamber that will build up. This typically causes issues with brass cases sticking afterwards more than anything. Regardless swap your chamber with a chamber brush and a 9mm/.357 bore mop to make sure it's free and clear of any debris.

Your bullets being jammed back is also a bit concerning to me and could be a number of things and you don't mention how far they're being pushed back. A little or a lot? I'm not familiar with the bullet you're using but if you're jamming them into the lands it could be pushing them back, this is a problem if they are. Take one of your loaded rounds and paint the bullet with black sharpie and allow it to dry. With the BCG removed push the loaded round into the chamber with your finger and make sure it seats all the way, then pop it out using a cleaning rod from the muzzle. Do you see rifling marks all the way around the bullet? If so they're in the lands.

Check your neck tension too. Measure a nice uniform case around the neck, right in the center with your calipers, then seat a bullet in that case and measure again. For a gas gun you want the unloaded diameter to be .003-.004" ideally. If you have this then you should not be pushing the bullets back into the case (assuming they're not jamming in the lands) unless you just have an extremely rough feeding rifle for some reason.

Don't take this the wrong way, but this is very simple stuff that any reloader should know how to do, and to do. I'd suggest reading some books and articles published by legitimate sources (not watching all the fucking retards on Youtube who think they're experts because they have a channel and some followers) and educating yourself a little more on loading practices. Your results will be greatly improved. Reloading with solid results isn't hard, if you know how to do it, but it does take learning.
 
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Snuby642

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 11, 2017
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#28
IMHO resizing loaded brass is a no go!
The bullet being jammed posibly messing up the case.
Where will the brass flow now?

Playing with fire I think.
 
Jan 15, 2005
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#29
IMHO resizing loaded brass is a no go!
The bullet being jammed posibly messing up the case.
Where will the brass flow now?

Playing with fire I think.
I just saw that post LOL.

It's more than a no go, it's fucking mentally retarded. I can't imagine how much that must deform a bullet. I've heard of people do some stupid loading practices, but that probably takes the cake.
 
Nov 8, 2013
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IL
#30
Sure to catch some flak..but I am also guilty.

For the most part, pertaining to bolt guns I'll know how many firings my brass will get with my load till fl resize. I'll chamber check a few and just straight neck size. A few will slip thru and be just too tight.
Redding body die takes care of it, it will not touch the neck or bullet as they move freely up the die, keep that in mind for your particular case

My buddy had gre-tan spin him up a nice 6.5c, he had about 200 rds twice fired neck sized for his rpr, naturally they would not chamber in his new rig. Ran them thru the redding body die, no problems and they shot well...that rifle is one of those that'll shoot well across the board.

I think the margin for safety as far as primers going off can not be that low as they would go off without any type of contact as such thru a press. This of course is just my op so take it for what it is. I know all of you have seen what that floating firing pin on ar platform bcg does to the primer when she goes into battery. It's definite contact and my first time looking at it I thought it was pretty crazy. If the margin of safety for a primer to go off is so low running a loaded round thru something like a body die vs being dimpled by a floating firing pin then there would certainly be many lawsuits and systems deemed far to dangerous for use.

Anyhoot it sounds like those rounds are fubar especially as stated a few posts up with bullets being setback. Case guages are worth it Dillon, Wilson, Lyman etc , as you build your repertoire and xp into handloading, it will let you know fairly quick if the case is not properly sized and your issues lay elsewhere. Experience is an excellent teacher as you start to unravel things and wrap your head around what it is you want to achieve and get there safely. Some good advice given above and your best bet this early in the game and dealing with an auto loading chamber would be to just pull them, and go thru the fl resizing process with the brass. Good luck man, take your time and you'll soon be reaping the benefits of hand loads.
 

Snuby642

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 11, 2017
876
421
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#31
Your bullets being jammed back is also a bit concerning to me and could be a number of things and you don't mention how far they're being pushed back. A little or a lot? I'm not familiar with the bullet you're using but if you're jamming them into the lands it could be pushing them back, this is a problem if they are. Take one of your loaded rounds and paint the bullet with black sharpie and allow it to dry. With the BCG removed push the loaded round into the chamber with your finger and make sure it seats all the way, then pop it out using a cleaning rod from the muzzle. Do you see rifling marks all the way around the bullet? If so they're in the lands.
Magazine lenght rounds hitting the lands?
Is that possible?
I have not loaded many of the heavyweight rounds for 223 yet
so it is a question not anything else.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
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#32
Magazine lenght rounds hitting the lands?
Is that possible?
I have not loaded many of the heavyweight rounds for 223 yet
so it is a question not anything else.
Not
It depends what chamber you have. The CLE Match chamber is shorter than 223 Wylde so if your running something like ASC SS Mags which allow COAL of 2.30 or so then yes, you could possibly make some rounds in the 2.27-2.30 range that would fit in the magazines and hit the lands.

If your running a 223 Wylde chamber then no, I havent found a bullet that would fit in even an ASC SS or similar mag that contacts the lands.
 

Snuby642

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 11, 2017
876
421
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#33
I keep forgetting about those ASC mags, and am loading for 5.56 / wylde chambers.

Thanks
Got hold of some brass the other day that after sizing was extra long.
My trimmer just kept chewing and chewing on it.
Is it possible the case mouth is what is jamming?

Edit: a case gauge would have caught that also.
 
Jan 15, 2005
6,679
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VA
#34
Magazine lenght rounds hitting the lands?
Is that possible?
I have not loaded many of the heavyweight rounds for 223 yet
so it is a question not anything else.
A short fat bullet like the 52gr HP's the OP is using, yes absolutely. I know for a fact that you can with some of the light bullets. The heavy bullets, no, at least not in any of the barrels I've ran. I've gotten close to the lands with some heavies in standard mags, but have never been able to touch or jam one.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
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#35
If your hitting the lands at 2.245" COAL you dont have a 223 Wylde chamber. I have 10 223 Wylde chamber barrels sitting here on the shelf (2 of which are WOA 1:7 barrels) I just tested with Sierra 52 HP and they all contact between 2.283 - 2.285". So yes, they fit in a metal mag but 2.245" COAL shouldnt be anywhere close to hitting the lands.
 
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Jan 15, 2005
6,679
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VA
#36
If your hitting the lands at 2.245" COAL you dont have a 223 Wylde chamber. I have 10 223 Wylde chamber barrels sitting here on the shelf (2 of which are WOA 1:7 barrels) I just tested with Sierra 52 HP and they all contact between 2.283 - 2.285". So yes, they fit in a metal mag but 2.245" COAL shouldnt be anywhere close to hitting the lands.
I have absolutely hit the lands with light FBHP and BTHP bullets at mag length, just like I said, and yes they were most certainly 223 Wylde chambers, that's all I run on gas guns.

Pretty much any standard AR mag will accommodate 2.260", yes the OP is running 2.245" but that's not what I said or was referencing in my last reply regarding a different person and question. Also if you go back and read my original reply to the thread that was quoted you will see that I stated that I'm not familiar with the exact bullet the OP is using and only referenced it as a possibility to check... again, because I'm not familiar with that bullet.
 

padom

SuperMod
Staff member
Mar 13, 2013
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Southeastern, Pennsylvania
#38
I have absolutely hit the lands with light FBHP and BTHP bullets at mag length, just like I said, and yes they were most certainly 223 Wylde chambers, that's all I run on gas guns.

Pretty much any standard AR mag will accommodate 2.260", yes the OP is running 2.245" but that's not what I said or was referencing in my last reply regarding a different person and question. Also if you go back and read my original reply to the thread that was quoted you will see that I stated that I'm not familiar with the exact bullet the OP is using and only referenced it as a possibility to check... again, because I'm not familiar with that bullet.
You need to calm down and take a breather. Nobody quoted your post, called you out or said you were wrong. Straight information for the thread is all that was posted. 52 HP contact lands between 2.283 - 2.285 in a 223 Wylde chamber and 2.245" should be far away from the lands. Period.
 
Jan 15, 2005
6,679
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VA
#39
You need to calm down and take a breather. Nobody quoted your post, called you out or said you were wrong. Straight information for the thread is all that was posted. 52 HP contact lands between 2.283 - 2.285 in a 223 Wylde chamber and 2.245" should be far away from the lands. Period.
Perhaps you should look at post #31 on the thread by Snuby642...
 
Mar 26, 2006
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#42
Factory ammo typically meets minimum specs so will shoot in most any chamber. But once fired, all bets are off if it will fit yours and non assumption can be made. No "processing" dictates if it will fit your chamber.

Take a brass fired in your chamber. Measure with a comparator. Set your die to size down .002". Run all brass through this setting. Problem solved.
 

Randy_Lahey

New Hide Member
Sep 25, 2018
31
2
8
#43
Did the "processed brass" pass a chamber/case gauge? I bought some process 5.56 brass(another vendor) and it was fine in the regard of chambering, but some of the primers were very hard to seat. In the future I'm investing in a dillon case trimmer and will just do the primer pockets in batches and process the brass myself. At least I'll know it's done "sorta right".