Reloading for Gas Guns?

Discussion in 'AR15/10 Rifles' started by Kevin Thomas, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Okay, now that we've started here, let's talk a bit about the difference between loading for gas guns and loading for bolt guns!
     
  2. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Well I dont get the case life out of my autoloaders that I do out of my bolt guns. Powder selection is very very important as well as primers. Most guys I have spoken to dont relize that and Im not sure all belived me after I told them the dangers of powders in gas operated sytstems.
     

  3. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    No AS bad a problem for the ARs as it was for the M1s and M14s, but yeah, there needs to be some though put into the correct burning speed of powder that are used in such guns. I've frequently had a hard time getting through to people that too slow a powder in some of these guns can damage them, even if the pressures are perfectly safe and below max. Port pressure. Just one of the many things bolt gunners never have to worry about.

    Still, just makes me cringe every time I hear someone say that there's no difference between loading for a gas gun and a bolt gun. That's an injury looking for a place to happen.
     
  4. eyeballjr

    eyeballjr Well-Known Member

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    Anyone have any tips, or links for a good place to get started reloading for an ar15 223?
     
  5. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Well when Im doing rounds for my AR I use LC brass, CCI #44 primers, H335 powder and standard COAL for the bullet I'M shooting.

    My hunting bullet is either a Barnes or Nosler BT. Range fodder is anything thats on sale at the time not to concerned with "OMG that thing shoots accury" just something that will put holes in man sized targets out to 200 yards.

    Kevin EURO babes would be nice I just love the industry you work in is all.
     
  6. HighKnob

    HighKnob Well-Known Member

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    I've been working on 75 gr. Hornady bthp with Varget in a 1-8 twist heavy barrel. Still a work in progress, but looking pretty good so far.
     
  7. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    eyeballjr,

    I'm sure the's some stuff that will appear here that will get you started. There's already some good advice on the thread. The LC cases are very good for ARs, as is the advice for the CCI #41 primers. They're made specifically for autoloading guns with floating firing pins, like the ARs. Highknob mentioned the Varget with 75 grain bullets, and that's a top choice for heavy bullets (anything over 69 grains). That or RL-15 are probably the two top choices for competitive shooters using these rifles.

    Beyond that, I strongly recommend the use of chamber gages to set up your dies, and remember that these rifles ALWAYS REQUIRE full length sizing. No excepetions, no exemptions, unless you just really want to have some problems. You might check over on 6mmBR.com or usrifleteams.com for more along these lines. Asa Yam pinned a chapter from a previous edition of the Sierra manual on reloading for gas guns that may be informative for you. There's several other good books specifically relating to the ARs, and several of them have some very good info on reloading for them. John Feamster's Black Magic, Derrick Martin's The Accurate AR, or Glen Zediker's Handloading fro Competition are all really good sources for this info.

    And of course, you're always free to ask questions here. Always glad to help.
     
  8. BigSkyGP

    BigSkyGP Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to know more about CCI#41 (44?) primers? Where can they be found in sufficient quantity?

    How/do they compare to Fed Match primers?
     
  9. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    BigSkyGP,

    CCI #41s are Mil spec small rifle primers. They're fairly hot, and would probably equate to what we'd normally consider a magnum primer. Their key difference is the fact that they're made with very heavy cups to prevent slam fires in guns with floating firing pins; like the M16 family. If you've never tried it before, fire a round or two (so the chambering is what it normally is during firing) and extract the next chambered round. You'll see a very pronounced dimple on the primer where the firing pin struck it during chambering. Yes, the firing pin actually hits the primer lightly when the bolt closes on a live round. As you can imagine, there's a fine balancing act between cups thick enough to withstand thsi sort of provocation without detonating. That's what Mil Spec primers are set up to do. This is also where the warings about not using Federal 210Ms in Garands and M14s (both of which also have floating firing pins) comes from. I've used a lot of the #41s and the #34s (large rifle Mil Spec) and never had a problem. I've also used many other commercial primers, but am careful to stick to those with harder cups; Remington 7 1/2s, Wolf SRM or 223 primers, etc..

    I've seen slam fires in M14s, and it's pretty nasty. Never seen one in a M16 typr rifle, but the potential is there. Worth keeping an eye on, and avoiding if at all possible. Two eyes, ten fingers, that's all you get.
     
  10. milanuk

    milanuk Well-Known Member

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    Kevin,

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but in the M1A/M14 family it was not unheard of to fire out-of-battery (before the bolt is completely locked up) because of things like this (overly sensitive or high primers)? I've always heard that because of the design of the M16/AR15 bolt this particular phenomenon is, if not physically impossible, considerably more difficult to make happen. I'm not an engineer or gunsmith, I just shoot the dang things, so I take some of that stuff at face value.

    Seems like there's always a few who think with the right combination of powder/primer/bullet/etc. they can make their AR .223 into a .22-250, rather than accepting the gun/cartridge for what it is...

    Monte
     
  11. chuckmaster

    chuckmaster Well-Known Member

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    Kevin

    That is a good piece of information on the primers. I was already to get another 1000 CCI primers, but will now look for the CCI #41.

    I have a Lo Pro Classic with a 16" 1/9 twist barrel and I am using Ramshot XTerminator with 55 gr. bullets. I am getting getting just under 3100FPS and the groups are very tight.

    Jim
     
  12. BigSkyGP

    BigSkyGP Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I had that all in the bag! I've been working on M16A2-A4s, M4s, and ARs since '98. I've seen the dimpled primers. I figured U. Sam has different primers for that, didn't know we could get them for reloading components.

    I'm more curious about where to look for them, and if it would be a waste of my time, due to availability/cost.

    I'm also interested in getting away form the f-pin burn throughs. The remingtons, and CCIs both, my f-pins are fine, right now, I don't look forward to having to replace them because of crapy primers.
     
  13. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Monte,

    Sorry for the delay here, but I've been out of the office for the past week at a trade show. You're correct here, but it sounds that we may be mixing slam firers and out of battery firings a bit. For those who may not be familiary with these, a slam fire occurs when the bolt goes home and discharges the round. The bolt may be either in or out of battery when this occurs; they happen both ways. If the bolt is in battery, you merely have an accidental discharge that leaves the rifle otherwise undamaged (aside from scaring the crap outta you, and hopefully not killing someone nearby: muzzle discipline!). An Out of battery firing occurs when the rifle is fired (intentionally or otherwise) and the bolt is not locked fully into battery. Yes, the Garand and M14s both use a similar safety system to prevent this, but I've seen them happen. Mechanical stuff . . . never trust it completely. True the, ARs are much, much less likely to do this. In fact, I've never heard of it happening. I can, however see somepossibility for this happeneing if the bolt was damaged, as in losing lugs. Don't laugh, I have seen that happen. So I'll stick with the "less likely" description and won't say "never".

    Out of battery firings are serious business, and they can be very dangerous and destructive. I had a guy blow up an M14 right beside me during a match one time, slightly injuring him, but destroying the rifle. I had one personally in a bolt action once, in which the rifle itself was only slightly damaged, but left me with a shattered right arm and a 16" scar running from the top of the shoulder to below my elbow. In that particular instance, the rifle was virtually undamaged, and required only a new bolt handle to be screwed on, assuming I'd have been stupid enough to use that action again.

    Basic rules for avoiding either in Service Rifles are the same; use properly sized (full length ONLY) sized brass, that has a measured .003"-.005" headspace, a sturdy enough primer such as the #41s, #34s, Wolf Small Rifle Magnum or 223s, or other thick-cup designs. Assure that the primers are fully seated, at least a few thou below the case head, and manually check this when you reload, each and every time. It's the little things that'll bite if we start getting complacent.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  14. REDHEAD

    REDHEAD Well-Known Member

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    I take it most popular Ballastic Tips are OK in the AR 15 platform. I'm interested in the fragmenting Varmint Grenades, Barnes MPG bullets and or Nosler Lead Free style of bullets. Has anybody reloaded these for the AR 15 .223 ? Some circumstances require low/no recocheit and otheres ( Fed lands & waterways) no lead.