Lake City reload problem?????

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by thumbs, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    I loaded a bunch of Lake City brass a while ago. I think it was military 5.56. I know I had to swadge the primer hole to load it. I shot just a little of it but not much. The other day I went out and shot some and at one point I tried to clear the chamber using the charging handle but the darn thing was so hard to get out I just shot it out. I had to do that a couple of times. I also had a couple of fte during that session. I came home and loaded a mag with the reloads and tried to run them though by hand and had maybe 50% of them hard as the devil to get out of the chamber. I took about 30 of them apart and reloaded them paying particular attention to the sizing die and making sure I did what I could to make sure it was sized properly. I then loaded two batches of 15 but one .05 shorter coal than the other. I ran them through the rifle but had the same problem. The action runs smooth with no problems at all. I had a box of factory American Eagle rounds and decided to run them through to see if it was my reloads or the rifle. Well the American Eagle ran smooth as silk. No problem easy in and out. Ok I got my loading book,one of my reloads and one of the American Eagle factory loads. Both were under the max in all measurements but the Lake City was .03 large just before the rim than the American Eagle. Still at the max measurement but but larger than the American Eagle. The rifle is chambered for 5.56, which I think the Lake City is but the America Eagle is .223.

    Has anyone else had problems with Lake City cycling in their AR's?

    thanks or the help
     
  2. JesseJames

    JesseJames Active Member

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    I assume you are full length sizing. How long is the brass? If the oal of the brass is to long it could be getting pinched in the chamber.

    I have reloaded many LC brass, and many other makes of surplus 5.56, with no trouble. As long as it is all properly resized and trimmed to length, you should have no more problems with the rifle functioning with LC brass, than you would with commercial brass.

    Was this all fired through your rifle once before? Or are you buying fired surplus brass? I guess either way, if it is sized correctly it shouldn't matter.
     

  3. Ludicrous

    Ludicrous Well-Known Member

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  4. JesseJames

    JesseJames Active Member

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    Unless he has a real tight chamber, I would think that a regular full length sizer should allow the round to come out. Alot of AR chambers are a little looser than what you would find in a bolt rifle to allow for more reliable feeding.
     
  5. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys.

    As far as I can see the Lake City and the American Eagle are just about the same size wise. I really can't find much of a difference. Case length is correct. I think go back and check several more to see if I can find a problem. I am using the Lee full length sizing dies.
     
  6. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    yeah they are the same. The only variance is one inch up from the base of the case it is supposed to be .358 max. Lake City is .360--.361. I don't see any scrape marks on the brass but I'll tell ya what. I'm afraid to shoot these for fear of the casing not comin out of the chamber. The American Eagle cycles fine.

    Oh yeah I bought the brass. Pretty sure it was military once fired. Or that is what I was told. Problem is I loaded 1000 of them for a pd hunt. I guess I shot about 100 and didn't notice a thing until I got home and wanted to clear the chamber. Man that Lake City is in there tight

    I bought this rifle about 2 years ago. It's a Smith and Wesson Sport. Not sure if they are noted for tight chambers or not.

    Should that RCBS die work with 5.56 brass? Can't even imagine taking 1000 rounds apart then reloading them.
     
  7. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    ^^^

    This is the solution to your problem. Milsurp brass comes to you having been fired in much looser military chambers. A full length sizer die will not size enough at the case head to fix this. That is why a small base die is needed.

    If you take one of the loaded rounds that is giving you trouble and try to chamber it in a bolt action .223, you will be able to feel the bolt camming the round into the chamber. If it will, in fact, chamber at all. You AR has much less camming power to feed or extract your rounds.

    Yes, you will need to pull your bullets and properly resize your cases with a small base die. This is a good example of why one should do careful load development when loading for semi-autos, including function testing, before loading large batches of ammo.
     
  8. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    Yep lesson learned for sure. The long and the short of it is I just didn't have time. I had to get them loaded. I figured since the rifle was 5.56 and the cases were 5.56 as long as I properly loaded the rounds I was good to go. Ole Murrphy's law again huh?? Heck other than the fact that they don't work I really can't see what is wrong with them. I guess it's that one measurement that is causing the problem but even with that I still don't see any marks on the cases to indicate it being to tight or rubbing. Obviously it is. This rifle must have one tight chamber. When I drop the round into the chamber by hand it sound like and looks like it is in there properly. I guess it's just not seated quite right and when the bolt hits it it forces it in the chamber pretty hard.

    I just want to make sure I understand what your saying. The Lee full length die won't work because my chamber is really just a touch under spec, to tight and the original firing of the Lake City brass was in an chamber that was a bit oversize or over spec. Now the RCBS will take the entire oversize Lake City case and make it smaller in diameter that will allow the round to enter the chamber. Is that correct???

    It sounds like this is a common problem with once fired milspec brass in a civilian AR since RCBS went to the trouble to make an undersize die set.

    So the fix is the RCBS two die set right?
     
  9. Lefty7mmstw

    Lefty7mmstw Well-Known Member

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    If you are in a time crunch I'd cycle all of your ammo through your rifle in a safe location and cull the ones that don't chamber easily. Those will have to be torn down and sized again with a SMALL BASE sizing die to get everything to factory minimum dimensions and then reload.
    I don't personally need to use a small base die with my ar, but I don't usually shoot pickup brass or buy once fired.
     
  10. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    No not in a time crunch now that was a while ago. Yeah if I had to do it over again I would have bought new.223 ammo and sucked up the cost. Actually not only would it have been a lot cheaper but the time and aggravation factor would have been down to nothing. Oh well live and learn. I thought I was doing the smart thing and it ended up costing me quite a bit.

    I would fire these things but I am afraid they will hang up on the chamber and I'll have more hassle than it's worth. I'll just go at it nice and easy and work through the ammo until I get it done. I will however use the RCBS dies and do maybe twenty and try them out first. If they still don't work I'll have to buy new .223 ammo and start with fresh stuff that I know will work and be able to be reloaded with out much problem.
     
  11. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    The issue is not that you have a tight chamber. The issue is that the military chambers the brass was fired in tend to be more generous (especially around the case head) for reliability reasons.

    Yes, this is a common problem when reloading with military brass. I ran into the same problem loading 7.62 NATO LC brass (which is even worse than 5.56 in terms of loose chambers). All you really need is the small base full length sizer die:

    RCBS Small Base Sizer Die 223 Remington

    The good news is that you should only have to do this the first time you load milsurp brass. With my formerly machine gun fired 7.62 brass, I found that re-sizing with conventional dies and then following that with re-sizing through the small base die worked best. Some cases required A LOT of force to small base re-size on a single stage press. Sizing in two stages made things go a lot more smoothly. I also found that it worked better to do the primer pocket swaging and small base resizing as separate steps from the rest of the reloading process. Once the brass was fully prepped, it could then be used in the progressive press and loaded normally.
     
  12. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Yeah just went down and checked more. Looks like the Lee full length die goes to about 1/4 in to where it tapers in for the extractor wring. That 1/4 inch is .003 larger on the Lake City once fired mil brass than the American Eagle. Again the AE runs fine.

    Now the RCBS die has to size all the way to the bottom of the fired case. I think this is where the problem is. Does it size all the way to the bottom?
     
  13. Gunpoor

    Gunpoor Well-Known Member

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    Thumbs, I ran into this very same problem once. I had rifle rebarreled to 264WinMag and used new brass and everything was great but sold the rifle and kept the reloading components and dies. Later on I found a good deal on an Encore custom barrel in 264 and drug out the components and started load development for it. Yep, the cases wouldn't chamber in the new-to-me barrel w/snug chamber. I had to run them into the FL sizer die until the case belt was bumped by the die in order to get them to chamber which was really hard to size to this extent, i.e. lot of resistance on the ram lever. A small base die would have done the trick but I just bought more new brass (was readily available then :( ) The new brass worked like new money from home.
     
  14. thumbs

    thumbs Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I am hoping the full length sizer will run a little easier since all my Lake City brass has been run through the Lee dies previously. The only part that really needs to be resized is the bottom 1/4 inch or so. At least I think so. Everything else looks good I think. I have 1000 rounds of this stuff. If I can save it that will be the way to go for me. Like its been said once I do the resizing I should be good to go. Again I hope.