Reloading for ARs

Discussion in 'AR15/10 Rifles' started by Hicks, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Hicks

    Hicks Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty new to the AR thing, but I reload for all my firearms. A buddy of mine told me that these rifles can be finiky to reload for, and he said that I needed to use "small base" (I think that's what he called them) dies. Is this true?

    Hicks
     
  2. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Not true but it does not hurt. Try the search on the tool bar at the top of the site it has been discussed quite a bit. search my name or Kevin thomas
     

  3. Nimrodmar10

    Nimrodmar10 Well-Known Member

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    Not true at all. You'll be amazed how easy an AR is to load for and how accurate they are. 1/4" groups are not unusual with these guns. They'll give a bolt gun a real run for their money. You'll enjoy it.
     
  4. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hicks,

    If you're already reloading, that's a good start. Hate to see guys trying to load for gas guns without having a solid background in reloading for bolt guns and the like, since this is an advanced form of handloading.

    No you (probably) won't need SB dies, but they won't hurt anything, either. Most ARs will get along fine with standard F/L dies, especially something like the Reddings, which tend toward minimum dimensions anyway. Get a gage if you don't already have one, and use it when setting up your sizing die. Make sure you're bumping the shoulder enough to provide at least .003" clearance. Again, these aren't bolt guns, and they need to be treated differently. I might suggest some of Glen Zediker's books or website, since he deals a great deal with reloading for gas guns, specifically. There's a chapter in the Sierra manual on this, as well as some excellent material in some of the specialty books put out by Sinclair and Precision Shooting magazine (all of which should be available through Sinclair).

    Hope this helps, but don't hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.
     
  5. Hicks

    Hicks Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys! I figured that I'd at least have to full length size, which is sort of a departure for my rifle cartridge reloading as all mine are sized to head space off the shoulder (even the belted cartridges). I do have the Sierra book, but I never looked at the chapter on gas guns as I've never had one. I'll be sure to check out that section, and look at that site too.

    Hicks
     
  6. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    I had a DPMS that i turned into a short tactical rifle. The chamber was custom cut and only SB dies would work for it. I hear that a mil spec chamber is very loose and a FL die will work. As to the truth to that i have no idea.

    I found for reliability if you set up the sizer die the way the book tells you to (Almost touching the shell holder) you will not have any problems. Now i have also found that using light loads would not cycle right. Now i had a 13" barrel with a 3" Novske flass suppresser (an back pressure enhancer). Using a longer barrel might fix this though.
     
  7. billt

    billt Active Member

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    I shoot quite a bit of AR-15, and just finished loading up these 2,500 cases. I got a really good deal on 5,000 bullets from Wideners.

    Widener's Reloading and Shooting Supply INC

    These bullets are some of the best 55 Gr. FMJ bullets I have come across, and are very consistent. My load was 25.7 Gr. of H-335. This stuff flows through a powder measure like water, and meters very consistently. $390.00 for 5,000 comes to only $ 7.80 a hundred.

    I have both an RCBS Small Base set, and a set of Lee dies. I can't tell the difference with a micrometer which die was used. Both resize to the same dimension at the base. Both fit my Dillon Case Gage exactly the same.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Markm87

    Markm87 New Member

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    The AR is a breeze to load for. You can crimp, not crimp.... load hot ammo, or mild...

    It's limitless.
     
  9. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    Take extra caution to avoid a squib load. When I handload for my ARs I double check to insure every cartridge has a full charge. My electronic balance gives a round count. You could also weigh rounds in groups (to speed up the process).
     
  10. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hicks,

    Some of the stuff I wrote for the Gas Gun chapter in the Sierra manual has become a bit dated at this point. If you've never dealt with reloading for autoloaders before, it's still a good place to start, but they are an entirely different breed than bolt guns. Some different rules in play here, but you'll get used to it quickly, I'm sure. Bottom line; full length size everytime, and using a small base die will never hurt. Never, under any circumstances run neck sized ammo through a service rifle. That's a major headache looking for a place to happen. Use gages. If you don't have them already, get some. Even the least expensive chamber type gages like those from L.E. Wilson (you can get them through Sinclair's) will save you a bunch of problems. Well worth their price, and I promise you, they'll earn their keep.