Reloading for the AR-15

Varmint Hunter

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Dec 26, 2001
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Not quite a year ago I bought a RRA Predator Persuit which hasn't been out of the box yet. I think I'll begin shooting it in the spring but I'm starting to look into reloading for the rifle now.

I have a set of Redding type "S" FL dies which I bought for my bolt rifle and picked up a box of Sierra 69gr HPBT bullets for the AR. My question is; can I just neck size tightly using a small neck bushing or is bullet crimping necessary in the AR's? If crimping is essential than what is the best way to accomplish this when using bullets that do NOT have a cannalure?
 

ZebDeming

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Sep 29, 2008
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With everything I've loaded for my AR, I've crimped using a Lee factory crimp die. On the non canalure bullets, it kinda squishes the bullet a little. It still doesn't sit right with me, deforming a bullet that little bit and all, but they have always shot well. I'm not sure if it's absolutly nessassary to crimp, but I've always done it in my AR, just for good measure. I don't have any loaded right now to take a pic of the crimp on a non canalured bullet, but if you'd like I could load up a round and take a pic.

Zeb
 

RT2506

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I don't know what twist barrel you have but I have been loading for a Bushmaster AR with a 9 twist. 25.3 grs Varget, CCI BR-4 primer, WW case, 69 gr Sierra MK, OAL 2.260 and I use a Lee Factory Crimp Die and it is a tack driver. I can detect no adverse effects in accuracy from using a Lee Factory Crimp Die. I have found that it makes many loads more accurate. I have done some ground hog shooting with this load and it does a right good job with body exits about the size of a golf ball. With a head shot there is not much left.
 

Kevin Thomas

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Varmint Hunter,

Do not EVER neck size for an AR, or any other semi-auto. It's an absolute promise that it'll end up causing you problems, normally at the worst time possible. FL size for the ARs, ALWAYS! You don't need to crimp, so long as you're providing sufficient neck tension to keep the bullet from being either set back or pulled (unseated, slightly) upon chambering. There's some specialty sites that discuss the feeding of ARs, and I'd strongly recommend that you visit them. Some reloading manuals specifically discuss loading for Service Rifles, and they're a worthwhile investment of time to read. There's also several books out on the ARs that cover loading for them, the best being those by Derrick Martin, Glen Zediker and John Feamster. All are available through Sinclair, and well worth their price for the info therein.

Loading for Service Rifles is, no two ways about it, advanced handloading. Don't treat it like you would that for your bolt guns, 'cuz it's an entirely different animal.

Hate to sound strident here, but it's a pet peeve of mine, and I don't want to see you run into trouble that can be so easily avoided. Anyway, I hope this helps.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
 

7mmSendaro

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I also use the Lee Factory Crimp Die with great results (with the 69 MK). I have it in the last station of my Dillon 550. Accuracy is outstanding.
 

dk17hmr

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Nov 15, 2009
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I have a 223/556 M4 style carbine and a 6.8 SPC 20" AR-15, I dont crimp the bullets in the case for either one, using V-Max bullets, never had any issue. For FMJ's and blasting ammo I crimp just because.

55gr Hornady V-max with a max charge of H322
 

Varmint Hunter

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Varmint Hunter,

Do not EVER neck size for an AR, or any other semi-auto. It's an absolute promise that it'll end up causing you problems, normally at the worst time possible. FL size for the ARs, ALWAYS!
Hate to sound strident here, but it's a pet peeve of mine, and I don't want to see you run into trouble that can be so easily avoided. Anyway, I hope this helps.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
You may have missed it but the dies referred to in my post are not neck dies.

I may try using a tight neck and see how that works. If necessary I'll try a taper crimp die.
 

Kevin Thomas

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Feb 16, 2009
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1,256
Location
Sedalia, MO
VH,
I saw the mention of the Type-S FL die, but your later mention of neck sizing may have thrown me a bit. Sorry for the confusion, but no problem at all. You'll see a lot of stuff out about loading for ARs that really confuses the issue. They're not difficult to load for, but they are a bit different. They NEED to be treated differently than your bolt guns. I'm a huge believer in case gages when loading for Service Rifles, and use them religiously. Headspace becomes critical here, to avoid all sorts of nasty surprises. Primer seating is another area (in connection with headspace) that requires a bit of extra attention, especially in the context of avoiding slamfires. Powder selection is pretty easy here if you're sticking to the heavier bullets; RL-15 or Varget. Poll the Service rifle shooters at any HighPower match, and I'll guarantee that it'll be about an even split between these two. There's others that work well too (VV N135, N140, etc) but these two are probably 95% of what you'll find on line. You can also disregard the usual comments about a 10% reduction when using miltary brass. Perfectly valid when talking about 30-06 or 7.62 military brass, but not so with the 5.56mm stuff. LC's production brass has virtually identical capacity to most commercial stuff, and actually a bit more than some that I've seen.

Always worth floating an idea around here! Good feedback from multiple sources and levels of experience, and that exchange of info is almost always a good thing.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
 

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