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Crimp .223?

 
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  #1  
Old 11-27-2010, 07:15 PM
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Crimp .223?

I don't normally crimp my rifle rounds, with the exception of the AR-15 stuff. I've got a Remington 700 XCR chambered for .223 and I'm just now getting around to working up some loads for it. I ran into what I think is a neck tension problem. I don't know if it's the brass that I'm using (probably is since a lot of it is range brass) or what but toward the end of my reloading session I found out that I was able to seat bullets with my MIC gauge. I load AR-15 rounds on a Dillon XL-650 and the last stage is a crimp die. I pulled it off of the Dillon and used it to crimp my rounds. Some of them crimped "hard" and some of them felt like they didn't even touch. All are seated to the same depth. Bullets were Berger and Sierra.

To be real honest, I normally load much larger calibers. .270, .284, .30, and .338 so .223 is new territory. I don't particularly care for the AR platform but I have a couple since they are a lot of firepower in a small package. I bought the XCR last year for a coyote gun and haven't had a chance until now to play with it. I picked .223 to go with the AR's. Yesterday, I put 5 rounds into a hole the size of a dime at 100 yards with the XCR so I can see that the rifle will be fun to shoot varmints with. I just need to figure out what the deal is with the neck tension issue and work up a decent load.
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2010, 07:14 AM
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Re: Crimp .223?

Do you trim your .223 brass? It all needs to be the same length for the crimp die to crimp them all the same. Without adjusting the crimp die for each case of differing length.

I don't normally crimp for my ARs even. I do use RCBS Small Base die in the Dillon for my ARs. More reliable feeding.

For a bolt gun I would set up, and back off the FL die so it's just bumping the shoulder. The reloads for the bolt gun probably won't work for the ARs after you do this.

You could have a neck tension issue. Have you sorted your range brass by brand? No two brands of brass will shoot the same powder charges, will be different because of capacity, and pressure issues.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:56 AM
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Re: Crimp .223?

Quote:
Do you trim your .223 brass? It all needs to be the same length for the crimp die to crimp them all the same. Without adjusting the crimp die for each case of differing length.
I trim as needed. That's a good point on case length affecting crimp. I did a random sample of all of the brass (all fired in the bolt rifle btw) and the COL's were pretty consistent and short enough that I didn't need to trim. I had trimmed them prior to reloading the last batch. I think you nailed the reason that they felt funny though.

Quote:
I don't normally crimp for my ARs even. I do use RCBS Small Base die in the Dillon for my ARs. More reliable feeding.
I don't remember if the crimp die came with my Dillon dies or I added it. All I know is that if I had loaded these for the AR I would have had setback problems. I "normally" keep my AR loads separate from my bolt rifle loads. However, I never thought about the fact that I was using range brass. I've got some new brass ordered and I'll use it for the bolt gun exclusively.

I've got an AR with a Shilen Match barrel that has chambering issues. The same round will load right up and fire in my other AR's. I may need to check into the small base die. I FL size them, trim to length, etc, but they won't reliably chamber in one of the AR's. The bolt doesn't quite close.

Quote:
For a bolt gun I would set up, and back off the FL die so it's just bumping the shoulder. The reloads for the bolt gun probably won't work for the ARs after you do this.
I used a neck sizing die (Forster) and adjusted it so that I set the shoulder back .002". That's my standard setup for FL or NS.

Quote:
You could have a neck tension issue. Have you sorted your range brass by brand? No two brands of brass will shoot the same powder charges, will be different because of capacity, and pressure issues.
There's definitely an issue with the range brass. I threw one case away when I could push the bullet into the case by hand. Now that I've had some time to think about it, I think my "once fired" brass is "once fired maybe" (like most range brass) and I need to sort it. Ugh... 2,000 rounds of brass to sort.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:37 PM
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Re: Crimp .223?

Hi Mike,

BigSkyGP already nailed a bunch of this stuff, but I'll toss in two cents worth as well. First, you really don't need to crimp when loading for an AR, you can control neck tension just fine via the case and sizing alone. In this case, however, the mixed brass sounds to be the culprit for you, and yes, the no-crimp approach requires the use of good, consistent (and same make) brass. It needs to be loaded in lots, and those lots segregated and loaded together. Crimping may solve the problem for you here, but understand the real problem lies elsewhere.

Case length may, or may not affect crimp, but proper trimming is always a good thing with an AR. Type of crimp is what makes the difference. Redding and several others make a taper crimp for the 223. These rely on the cases being near identical in length to deliver the same tension once crimped. On the other hand, there's also the Lee Factory Crimp die, and this would negate or at least minimize the problem of varying case lengths It's a good crimp, and if I HAD to use a crimp, that's probably what I'd go to first. Lastly, don't over-do it. Whatever crimp you need, use the minimum to get the job done and that should minimize the negative impact on accuracy that crimping sometimes displays.

Small base sizing may or may not be required, but FL sizing ALWAYS is with an AR (or any other semi-auto). Yo want free and easy chambering, and a shoulder that's bumper .003" - .005" with a gas gun, not the .001" - .002" that works in a bolt rifle. Different animals entirely, and they need to be treated as such. The AR's are a great series of rifles, and they'll shoot far better than most give them credit for. Virtually all the old records once held with the M14s have long since fallen to the ARs that dominate Camp Perry today, so that should say something for them. Give 'em a chance, and you'll like what you find.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2010, 10:01 PM
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Re: Crimp .223?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Thomas View Post
Hi Mike,

BigSkyGP already nailed a bunch of this stuff, but I'll toss in two cents worth as well. First, you really don't need to crimp when loading for an AR, you can control neck tension just fine via the case and sizing alone. In this case, however, the mixed brass sounds to be the culprit for you, and yes, the no-crimp approach requires the use of good, consistent (and same make) brass. It needs to be loaded in lots, and those lots segregated and loaded together. Crimping may solve the problem for you here, but understand the real problem lies elsewhere.

Case length may, or may not affect crimp, but proper trimming is always a good thing with an AR. Type of crimp is what makes the difference. Redding and several others make a taper crimp for the 223. These rely on the cases being near identical in length to deliver the same tension once crimped. On the other hand, there's also the Lee Factory Crimp die, and this would negate or at least minimize the problem of varying case lengths It's a good crimp, and if I HAD to use a crimp, that's probably what I'd go to first. Lastly, don't over-do it. Whatever crimp you need, use the minimum to get the job done and that should minimize the negative impact on accuracy that crimping sometimes displays.

Small base sizing may or may not be required, but FL sizing ALWAYS is with an AR (or any other semi-auto). Yo want free and easy chambering, and a shoulder that's bumper .003" - .005" with a gas gun, not the .001" - .002" that works in a bolt rifle. Different animals entirely, and they need to be treated as such. The AR's are a great series of rifles, and they'll shoot far better than most give them credit for. Virtually all the old records once held with the M14s have long since fallen to the ARs that dominate Camp Perry today, so that should say something for them. Give 'em a chance, and you'll like what you find.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA

Thanks Kevin,

I'm afraid that I may have mentally placed AR ammo into the category of pistol loading as opposed to precision rifle. Big mistake imho. That said, every round that I load for the AR is FL sized and put through a Giraud trimmer (I highly recommend this trimmer). I size first, then trim, then back to the case feeder (Dillon XL650) for loading, where it goes through the sizing die, etc. If I checked setback when I last loaded I don't remember what it was. I basically set the sizing die to just off of the shell plate. Dies are made by Dillon. The only AR that I have trouble with has a Shilen Match barrel. The other two AR's shoot the reloads fine. I'm not sure what that's about.

Loading for my bolt rifle on the other hand is a different process. I neck size, bump the shoulder back .002", and then trim with a Sinclair trimmer (only if necessary). I use Forster Benchrest dies. The reloads for my bolt gun get the same attention to detail as the reloads for my 7mm Rem Mag and .338 Edge. That said, the Dillon does a pretty good job thought it's not as precise with powder drops and seating depth. I usually check every 10th round for powder accuracy and around every 20th for seating depth. If things look pretty stable don't check as often

After the problem that I had the other day I ordered some (100 rounds) Lapua brass (is it true pua means "whoa... that's expensive" in the language of reloader ) from Midway. I'll do all of my load development for the bolt gun with that in the future.
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2010, 12:42 PM
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Re: Crimp .223?

+1 what Mike says.

Hmmm, your expensive barreled AR probably has a Match/or Wylde chamber. This means it's tighter, it will favor factory ammo verry well. SB die might help this, but may not solve your issue. I was just reading on this site about tight neck chambers. Brass with long necks, from stretching and resizing, could be causing your problem. I don't know if this applies to .223, since it doesn't stretch a whole lot like larger calibers do.

I don't trim as needed, you don't have to, I trim everytime. As long as you trim the batch of ammo you reload together, so that they strech all together, you will need to adjust your crimp die to reload each batch/lot, to correspond with their case length.

Do some more reading, on this site, I've found at least three threads concering loading accurate ammo, sorting brass, bullets, etc.

You can resize, measure case make sure they are not too long, prime, charge with powder, seat bullet, maybe crimp and shoot safe reloads. At the minimum.

You can get great accuracy by adjusting, and having consistent powder charging alone. There are more things you can do to wring out more accuracy.

Keep studying, we're here for you.
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  #7  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:28 PM
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Re: Crimp .223?

I just opened my new box of Lapua .223 Match brass...

Whoa Dorothy... this ain't Kansas anymore... This stuff may be too pretty to load. Nah... but I see why people like it...
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