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  1. #1
    Chief Executive Operator

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    223 reloads problems..

    So my friend, let's call him Bartholomew, is having some problems with his 223 ammunition.
    I went with him to the Indy1500 a year or 2 ago and he ended up buying a box of 1000 rounds of reloaded 223 from some guy that was selling reloads for $299 before taxes. (If it were me I would have bought any top tier factory ammo, preferably Lake City M193)
    I remember asking the guy at the time what the difference was between 223 and 556. He said something along the lines of "They are exactly the same except 556 has a [different] primer." Neither Bartholomew nor myself knew anything about reloading or the differences between 223 and 556 at the time, but looking back this seems not entirely correct.

    Fast forward to a few weeks ago. We went down to the range and he shot some of those reloads for the first time. He kept getting malfunctions. His BCG would get stuck in the chamber after firing a round, and he would need to hammer it loose.
    The guy that helped him at the range said this is common with shooting reloads out of some ARs, and said the headspace probably needs adjusted. I'm not sure if he was referring to the headspace on the gun(tighten or loosen barrel?) or headspace on the cartridge.

    Feeling bad that he wasn't able to properly shoot, I "lent" him one of my loaded magazines to use. No problems. Looking back, there was probably a 50/50 chance the mag I handed him was loaded with 5.56, something he probably shouldn't be using in a 223 rifle.

    I didn't think to try his ammo out of my gun, as I didn't want to damage it with potentially bad ammo.

    Is he pretty much out of luck here, or is there some kind of solution? Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Plinker gemihur's Avatar

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    20˘ a round ain't bad .... unless it's crap!
    You can pull the bullets and use the components. .. if you had a kinetic bullet puller, a set of dies, and a press.
    might think about getting into reloading or getting a cheap .223 barrel for your contender.
    might think about getting into contenders ... or selling that reloaded ammo to someone who has one.

  3. #3
    PATRIOT indyjohn's Avatar

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    The ammo is to blame. Stop worrying about .223 vs 5.56 cartridges, that is not likely the problem unless the seller truly did not know what he had and sold you 5.56 spec ammo (really, really unlikely). The cartridges were most likely not resized to the standard dimension for a common AR barrel chamber. Without getting into a long post about neck sizing vs. full length sizing and Wylde chamber dimensions, the cartridges may chamber but they wind up too large after firing. Don't shoot any more of them. Pull them apart for components.
    "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower

  4. #4
    Chief Executive Operator

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    Thanks guys, that's what I figured. At least this gives me a good excuse to finally buy a press and get into reloading.

  5. #5
    Master Hohn's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by indyjohn View Post
    The ammo is to blame. Stop worrying about .223 vs 5.56 cartridges, that is not likely the problem unless the seller truly did not know what he had and sold you 5.56 spec ammo (really, really unlikely). The cartridges were most likely not resized to the standard dimension for a common AR barrel chamber. Without getting into a long post about neck sizing vs. full length sizing and Wylde chamber dimensions, the cartridges may chamber but they wind up too large after firing. Don't shoot any more of them. Pull them apart for components.
    This. Cases were previously fired in larger chamber and not resized small enough for the gun in which they were later fired again.

    It's important to use something like the Hornady comparator to check the shoulder height of cases fired in the gun against cases you want to fire in that gun. If the spent cases aren't at least 1-2 thousandths bigger than the reloads, you'll have too little headspace and could have the kind of problems described in the OP.

  6. #6
    Plinker

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    Try to check this ammo in a 223 Rem. case gauge before firing in an AR rifle. This might help the situation.

  7. #7
    Expert bgcatty's Avatar

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    First rule of reloading: Do not buy or shoot other people’s reloads! You never know what you are getting. Peace. Out.

  8. #8
    Master Sniper 79's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by bgcatty View Post
    First rule of reloading: Do not buy or shoot other people’s reloads! You never know what you are getting. Peace. Out.
    This. Lesson learned the hard way. Sell them off or pull them apart.
    I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on.

  9. #9
    Expert

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    I had a guy in the shop not long ago with a round stuck in the chamber he couldn't 'Beat Out'.
    Turned out to be buckled shoulder from using a seater/roll crimp die set too deep, shoulder bend too wide to let the bolt go fully into battery, but far enough in for the bolt to lock up...

    When this happens,
    Take mag out, BOTH receiver pins out, and slide upper off lower forward (clears bolt carrier).

    Then use something like needle nose pliers to pry bolt carrier backwards from upper just behind the front take down pin lug.
    This will unlock the bolt without ripping the rim off the round.
    I use something that doesn't dig into the aluminum, even if that's just tape around the jaws of the pliers.

    Once the bolt has rotated and unlocked, THEN you try to remove the round/bolt from the chamber.
    DO NOT HAMMER!

    99% of the time the cartridge will extract with the bolt when you apply steady, even pressure.

    This guy had hammered the bolt mostly closed via the forward assist, so the case was FIRMLY planted in the chamber,
    He had ripped the rim off the cartridge,
    Then stuffed a rod down the barrel to remove the case... And promptly jammed the rod in the barrel.

    The ONLY 100% effective way to get a stuck cartridge out of an AR barrel is an adapter and grease gun.
    You simply block the gas port, pump grease down the muzzle until the cartridge & rod back out the chamber end.

    This guy complained about the bill, declined when I offered to gauge his 'Gun Show' ammo to detect problems,
    Went out to his truck and PROMPTLY jammed another round in the chamber!
    I took pity on him since I already had the tools out and removed the second cartridge (minus cleaning rod and hammering) and gauged his ammo, which stuck up more than 1/2" from a MAXIMUM case size gauge...
    Not even close to correct on side walls (case profile) or shoulder bend (flared) and WAY over crimped (bikini bullets).

    'White Box' & 'Gun Show' ammo is about half my gunsmith business these days, and fixing the home built (kitchen table & hammer) ARs is quite a bit also...
    Still the usual spradic 'Gun Broke-- Bad Gun' (usually lost or user broken parts) is about the same, just more ARs than there used to be.
    VERY FEW custom builds or accurizing work these days, most of the time when they can't hit anything they trade or sell the firearm...
    Make it someone else's problem. (Scumbags).

  10. #10
    Expert

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    If you want to keep this from happening again, simply buy a case gauge.
    Once you gauge the rounds YOU make, or gauge factory rounds that fit your rifle,
    You drop it in a pocket when you head for the gun show...
    You know what will and won't fit in your rifles.

    This will give you an idea how a case gauge works,
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RuJYpm-qplQ

    Gauge some samples of the ammo to see if the loader knew what he was doing or not.

    When I sold BRASS retail, often at gun shows, I screwed gauges to chains and the chains to the table (gun shows are notorious for thievery)
    And you could gauge ANY of the brass in the bulk bin or gauge the brass in the pre-counted bags on the table.

    I got the idea from a guy that carried a gauge on his keychain, he walked up and started gauging brass since I was selling it as 'Processed' he closely inspected the primer pocket for crimp removal, cleaning, damage & gauged the brass.
    VERY smart consumer!
    We still do business to this day and have become friends.

    If you want to see the profile of the case, you can use a case profile revealing gauge.
    This allows you to visually inspect the outside of the case compared to a SAAMI maximum gauge, and it gives you a Datum Line analog to gauge the Datum Length of the case.

    Sheridan Engineering - Slotted Ammunition Gauges

    Now, if you have never heard of Datum Length, that's the distance from the Head stamp surface on the case to the Datum Line on the case.
    The firearm has 'Head Space', and only the firearm.
    The case has a Datum Length, from head (stamp) to Datum Line on the shoulder.
    You need an analog surface for the shoulder datum in the chamber to find the datum length of the case, and that's where a datum line case gauge comes in...



    Once you have a datum analog to work as a stop, you can accurately measure the case Datum Length.
    Once you run some SAAMI (New) cases through the gauge, and some cases that do, more importantly DON'T fit your chamber, you will be able to 'Eyeball' cases/rounds that will fit your chamber.
    Last edited by JeepHammer; 05-19-2019 at 11:15.

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