AR15.Com Archives
 Who's .264 LBC-AR Barrel?
Fast_Ed  [Member]
5/20/2012 12:41:43 PM EST
I've looked around and know about Black Hole Weaponry, Satern, Krieger, Bartlein, and Lothar Walther. Who else beside Les Baer has barrels for this caliber? Would like to hear about your experience ordering and shooting if you have any.

I am planning the build now and need to order the barrel.

Fast Ed
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elkbow  [Team Member]
5/20/2012 1:00:45 PM EST
i've got a Satern and an ARP barrel, the Satern is a .295" neck with 1 degree throat, the ARP has a .297" neck with 1.5 degree throat, i've gotten the Satern to shoot under .4 MOA so far and the ARP at .5 MOA, but haven't really finished loads for either...i am working some loads on the ARP that will focus on lighter bullets...it shoots 123 Amax's well, just have some more experimenting to do, unfortunately our range closed for two weeks for the power company to do some stuff

sywagon  [Member]
5/20/2012 1:01:20 PM EST
AR15Performance - I had zero issues with ordering and got good support. If they are not in stock it can be a long wait. 18" SS midgas, melonite looks nice, 5/8 - 24 threaded, chamber has a .297 neck 1.5 degree throat angle, 6r button rifling, $175, sight in target was <1MOA, best bolt options. I couldn't be happier for the price, or any price really.
346ci  [Member]
5/20/2012 2:09:43 PM EST
Originally Posted By sywagon:
AR15Performance - I had zero issues with ordering and got good support. If they are not in stock it can be a long wait. 18" SS midgas, melonite looks nice, 5/8 - 24 threaded, chamber has a .297 neck 1.5 degree throat angle, 6r button rifling, $175, sight in target was <1MOA, best bolt options. I couldn't be happier for the price, or any price really.


This would be my choice seeing how his 6.8 stuff rocks but the others would be fine also.
tx4guns  [Member]
5/20/2012 7:24:16 PM EST
ARP, hands down. I'm using his barrels exclusively now in my builds. They just plain shoot, and the price can't be beat. He does have bolts for his barrels, as I called him a couple weeks ago. I was very impressed in talking to Harrison.
elkbow  [Team Member]
5/20/2012 7:36:01 PM EST
The is my .264 ARP:



My .264 LBC with Satern Barrel:

Dr69er  [Member]
5/20/2012 8:31:13 PM EST
I use BHW exclusively for my 6.5mm PCC wildcat barrels, so far only one barrel was deffective (bad chamber) out of all the barrels ordered, and that bad barrel
was exchanged Immediately with a new one with next day shipping . Accuracy has been 1 MOA or better with most loads tried, excellent velocity as well.
pmurphy  [Member]
5/20/2012 9:33:28 PM EST
Les Baer.
Operator42  [Member]
5/21/2012 10:46:58 AM EST
Arp was my choice. Nice rifles Elkbow

I'd like to see what the hand loaders can do with the large extension and superbolts from ARP.
I like others to pave the way.

Some are doing good work with CFE powder and the G.
elkbow  [Team Member]
5/21/2012 6:40:57 PM EST
Originally Posted By Operator42:
Arp was my choice. Nice rifles Elkbow

I'd like to see what the hand loaders can do with the large extension and superbolts from ARP.
I like others to pave the way.

Some are doing good work with CFE powder and the G.


I've already went past the loads/pressures of my Grendels, I had two, down to one now and it is probably getting sold to one of my friends, I like the tighter necks on the LBC and ARP, makes the brass last longer. I'm working on ladder charges still, and haven't done any velocity checks until I figure out the loads further and the accuracy, then will check to see where the velocities are at.

LRRPF52  [Team Member]
5/22/2012 12:35:41 PM EST
There are guys with Grendels who have gotten close to 20 reloads with Lapua brass. I have yet to see any evidence that there is a brass-saving benefit to .295" necks vs. .300" neck chambers. The .295" neck also changes the shoulder angle slightly, but I think it's within tolerance or on the edge at least.

JP Enterprises makes a really fine Grendel as well, and I believe they use a stronger bolt too. A guy on the Grendel forum just posted a 7.27" 977yd group with his JP, using 108gr Scenars going over 2800fps.

When I get my 18" Grendel, it will be rifle-length gas, as almost all the 6.5mm pills I have are ones with very long bearing surfaces.

For short little football-shaped bullets like the 85gr Sierra, 90gr TNT, and 95gr VMAX, the mid-length gas might make more sense for your dwell time, but I think rifle gas is the way to go with longer pills. The shooter might not realize the difference between both at the end of the day, but a RLGS will allow you to build pressure a bit longer.

Looking forward to your velocity results/loads elkbow. Post em when you got em!
Tim_W  [Member]
5/22/2012 12:38:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By LRRPF52:
There are guys with Grendels who have gotten close to 20 reloads with Lapua brass. I have yet to see any evidence that there is a brass-saving benefit to .295" necks vs. .300" neck chambers. The .295" neck also changes the shoulder angle slightly, but I think it's within tolerance or on the edge at least.

JP Enterprises makes a really fine Grendel as well, and I believe they use a stronger bolt as well. A guy on the Grendel forum just posted a 7.27" 977yd group with his JP, using 108gr Scenars going over 2800fps.

When I get my 18", it will rifle-length gas, as almost all the 6.5mm pills I have are ones with very long bearing surfaces.

For short little football-shaped bullets like the 85gr Sierra and 90gr TNT, the mid-length gas might make more sense for your dwell time, but I think rifle gas is the way to go with longer pills. The shooter might not realize the difference between both at the end of the day, but a RLGS will allow you to build pressure a bit longer.

Looking forward to your velocity results/loads elkbow. Post em when you got em!

why do you think it changes the shoulder angle? Anyone that knows anything about designing a chamber can make the exact same shoulder angle and a .295 neck just as easy as a .300 neck.

LRRPF52  [Team Member]
5/22/2012 12:54:41 PM EST
You'll have to push the shoulder back then on the outer wall, and chamber a little shorter, with bolt face depth taking up the displaced OAL, but maybe the .264 chamber has already accounted for this with more depth in the barrel. I guess this is why factory ammo runs fine in Grendel chambers, but not in all the variant chambers that are out there.

There are narrow-based die sets specifically for .264 LBC now, so maybe that will help those with variant chambers, especially the ones where necks can be sized smaller. I've seen a few people resorting to them already that have non-SAAMI chambers, as their guns choked on Grendel brass and Grendel dies.

Still waiting to find out what the scoop is on the guy who had a .264 LBC chamber blowing primers on factory 123gr Hornady AMAX.

Right now, I can't see a lot of logical reasons why a manufacturer wouldn't use the SAAMI chamber. It makes things difficult to diagnose, warranty, and manufacture for across the board.

On the Grendel forum, any time we see someone with chambering and extraction issues, it's almost always a non-standard chamber if the bent CProducts magazine isn't to blame for feeding.

Quite a few shooters have had a bad taste in their mouth with the "Grendel", even having never owned one, since their chamber was an odd-ball, but advertised to them as a 6.5 Grendel. When friends ask them, "How's that 6.5 Grendel working out for you?" They probably say,

"That thing's a piece of crap. I had all kinds of feeding issues with it." Again, the entire time, no 6.5 Grendel was ever in thier possession. And people wonder why entrepreneurs work hard to protect their ideas, trdemarks, and design specs.
Tim_W  [Member]
5/22/2012 1:48:39 PM EST
Originally Posted By LRRPF52:
You'll have to push the shoulder back then on the outer wall, and chamber a little shorter, with bolt face depth taking up the displaced OAL, but maybe the .264 chamber has already accounted for this with more depth in the barrel. I guess this is why factory ammo runs fine in Grendel chambers, but not in all the variant chambers that are out there.

There are narrow-based die sets specifically for .264 LBC now, so maybe that will help those with variant chambers, especially the ones where necks can be sized smaller. I've seen a few people resorting to them already that have non-SAAMI chambers, as their guns choked on Grendel brass and Grendel dies.

Still waiting to find out what the scoop is on the guy who had a .264 LBC chamber blowing primers on factory 123gr Hornady AMAX.

Right now, I can't see a lot of logical reasons why a manufacturer wouldn't use the SAAMI chamber. It makes things difficult to diagnose, warranty, and manufacture for across the board.

On the Grendel forum, any time we see someone with chambering and extraction issues, it's almost always a non-standard chamber if the bent CProducts magazine isn't to blame for feeding.

Quite a few shooters have had a bad taste in their mouth with the "Grendel", even having never owned one, since their chamber was an odd-ball, but advertised to them as a 6.5 Grendel. When friends ask them, "How's that 6.5 Grendel working out for you?" They probably say,

"That thing's a piece of crap. I had all kinds of feeding issues with it." Again, the entire time, no 6.5 Grendel was ever in thier possession. And people wonder why entrepreneurs work hard to protect their ideas, trdemarks, and design specs.


No you don't move the shoulder at all you don't push anything back or need special dies or none of that stuff. That's what people that don't know think.
Do a little trig. a 30 degree angle with a .0025 longer leg on one side. you know because .005 dia is split ?
The change in the length of the shoulder is less than the .0025 change because it's a 30 degree angle. A piece of notebook paper is .004 thick so the difference is less than half of the thickness of a piece of notebook paper. Some factory ammo is .008 smaller than the chamber or 4 times the difference in the change of the length created by the dia of the neck.
elkbow  [Team Member]
5/22/2012 2:16:37 PM EST
LRRPF52,

on my hotter loads on my grendels i was getting 5 or 6 reloads before I split the neck, on my satern i've had some of the brass at 10 reloads so far with even hotter loads...there is your evenidence

Measure the neck on your Grendel loads with loaded ammo or factory ammo, they are around .290-.292", so do you think you need to have a .300" neck? I don't.

I have never had a chambering issue with my .264 LBC with .295" neck or the .264 ARP with .297 neck...never

and why wouldn't someone use the SAAMI Spec'd chamber? come on, i consider you one of the smart, less partial guys, on the Grendel forum, but do you think we should have all stuck to the 6.8 SPC I chamber, or maybe the .223 chamber? i hope those answers are obvious
LRRPF52  [Team Member]
5/23/2012 1:10:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By elkbow:
LRRPF52,

on my hotter loads on my grendels i was getting 5 or 6 reloads before I split the neck, on my satern i've had some of the brass at 10 reloads so far with even hotter loads...there is your evenidence

Measure the neck on your Grendel loads with loaded ammo or factory ammo, they are around .290-.292", so do you think you need to have a .300" neck? I don't.

I have never had a chambering issue with my .264 LBC with .295" neck or the .264 ARP with .297 neck...never

and why wouldn't someone use the SAAMI Spec'd chamber? come on, i consider you one of the smart, less partial guys, on the Grendel forum, but do you think we should have all stuck to the 6.8 SPC I chamber, or maybe the .223 chamber? i hope those answers are obvious


The biggest factor in retiring brass is always primer pocket tightness in all my AR's. I have yet to split a neck on anything, including my hot .260 Rem loads.

The Grendel chamber was specifically designed to run reliably in the AR15 in both SEMI and AUTO fire, while still having inherent accuracy.

People don't use 6.8 SPC SAAMI chambers because they're unsafe, and included a major error in the throat angle, and I personally refuse to use .223 chambers in AR15's because they have a shorter leade, which can cause problems with pressure with 5.56 ammunition.

The Grendel chamber allows reliability similar to a 5.56 chamber, but with accuracy of a .223 chamber, kinda like a Wylde concept, with a compound angle. If you want reliability and accuracy with a wider range of ammunition and bullet profiles, it is the way to go. A Melonited barrel will help with reliability because there is such a hard surface for the brass to interface with, and there isn't a huge difference between a .297" and .300" neck.

A lot of it is pole-vaulting over mouse turds, but there are other chambers that only reliably work with hand-loads by a customer who understands the capabilities and limitations of that particular chamber. For the most part, people seem to have good results with .264 LBC chambers with the 123gr factory AMAX. I know of at least one customer with a Satern barrel that isn't running with factory ammo for crap, and he has been back and forth with them over it with no solution as of yet.

Every Satern barrel I have seen is an amazing shooter, but the reliable ones have Grendel chambers.

AlexanderArms  [Industry Partner]
5/23/2012 2:47:39 PM EST
Changes to the neck diameter, if the shoulder angle is maintained, will move the reference point for the neck to shoulder radius. To compensate for the radius position it is posible to slightly adjust the shoulder angle. This may or may not keep the angle in tolerance depending upon the sharpness of the junction.

These little changes seem trivial but they can quickly catch you out.

Typically the plastic deformation of the brass to squeeze the neck down below the bullet size and then deform it upwards again with the sizing button is orders of magnitude greater than the amount the neck will move from loaded condition, to obturate the chamber. An overly tight chamber will not allow a projectile to uncork easily and will increase stress on the brass. This said the Grendel chamber is loose on the neck but allows the projectile to float to the centre of the bore. Tightening the neck does little to increase accuracy until it becomes impractical for a working rifle. This has been verified across a large number of test rifles. Chamber concentricity to the bore is the dominant factor on the overall accuracy assuming a decent barrel is present. Considering steel cased ammunition in which a coating of variable thickness may be present, the looser neck becomes an imperative.
AlexanderArms  [Industry Partner]
5/23/2012 2:49:13 PM EST
For someone specifically searching for the tighter neck the BHW barrels seem to be well set up.
bwaites  [Member]
5/23/2012 2:54:37 PM EST
No you don't move the shoulder at all you don't push anything back or need special dies or none of that stuff. That's what people that don't know think.
Do a little trig. a 30 degree angle with a .0025 longer leg on one side. you know because .005 dia is split ?
The change in the length of the shoulder is less than the .0025 change because it's a 30 degree angle. A piece of notebook paper is .004 thick so the difference is less than half of the thickness of a piece of notebook paper. Some factory ammo is .008 smaller than the chamber or 4 times the difference in the change of the length created by the dia of the neck.


And yet, its always the guys with non SAAMI chambers that show up with issues.

I'll agree, factory ammo will often run the first time, because its significantly smaller than the chamber, that's an issue with almost all factory ammo, where the new brass is on the small end of the spec. Once its fired, though, and people go to reload, and they use a SAAMI specc'd reloading die, they have issues. If those special dies aren't needed, wonder why they are being made......Makes you wonder.

Its not the change in length, so much as where the shoulder angle ends up, and that little .0025 seems to make a difference, or something does, anyways.

As for brass, I have more than 20 reloads on some of my Lapua brass, all in .300 chambers, all without annealing. I lose about 1-3/100 each time I size after 10 firings. That just doesn't seem like much of an issue in brass life.

If you push the load, you might split brass, but if you push the load, you are on your own anyways. The bolt becomes the issue, or the barrel extension, or ? Something will break, eventually. If I remember, Arne used to get 4-5 reloads, but he was pushing brass hard in bolt guns. That is NOT wise in AR's!
Tim_W  [Member]
5/23/2012 3:23:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By AlexanderArms:
Changes to the neck diameter, if the shoulder angle is maintained, will move the reference point for the neck to shoulder radius. To compensate for the radius position it is posible to slightly adjust the shoulder angle. This may or may not keep the angle in tolerance depending upon the sharpness of the junction.

These little changes seem trivial but they can quickly catch you out.

Typically the plastic deformation of the brass to squeeze the neck down below the bullet size and then deform it upwards again with the sizing button is orders of magnitude greater than the amount the neck will move from loaded condition, to obturate the chamber. An overly tight chamber will not allow a projectile to uncork easily and will increase stress on the brass. This said the Grendel chamber is loose on the neck but allows the projectile to float to the centre of the bore. Tightening the neck does little to increase accuracy until it becomes impractical for a working rifle. This has been verified across a large number of test rifles. Chamber concentricity to the bore is the dominant factor on the overall accuracy assuming a decent barrel is present. Considering steel cased ammunition in which a coating of variable thickness may be present, the looser neck becomes an imperative.

Do you think an iside neck dia of ,268 isn't loose enough to let go of a .264 dia bullet. I'll bet the bullet will fall right in a case with the inside dia being .268 and therefore fall right out.
I've been using Grendel dies to resize cases for a 6.5CSS since 06, I wonder why it has worked this long?
Seems to me many are trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill, just to keep things in the family. People have been making wildcats since the 20 and 30s, weird that none of it was that critical until the Grendel popped up.
In the end of all of this it gives shooters a choice, if they want a 300 neck with a compound throat they can have it, if they want a .295 neck with a 1.5 degree throat they can have it. It is and should be the choice of the person purchasing the rifle.

346ci  [Member]
5/23/2012 3:41:26 PM EST
Originally Posted By bwaites:
The bolt becomes the issue, or the barrel extension, or ?


Another reason to go with .264 ARP, you get a better bolt.
Tim_W  [Member]
5/23/2012 3:53:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By bwaites:
No you don't move the shoulder at all you don't push anything back or need special dies or none of that stuff. That's what people that don't know think.
Do a little trig. a 30 degree angle with a .0025 longer leg on one side. you know because .005 dia is split ?
The change in the length of the shoulder is less than the .0025 change because it's a 30 degree angle. A piece of notebook paper is .004 thick so the difference is less than half of the thickness of a piece of notebook paper. Some factory ammo is .008 smaller than the chamber or 4 times the difference in the change of the length created by the dia of the neck.


And yet, its always the guys with non SAAMI chambers that show up with issues.




Really? should I go copy and paste all of the posts from the Grendel forum of people with Grendels that have had issues?

People can put out hearsay forever and most will just believe it and repeat it because they don't know how to check it for accuracy but some here and there reallly know the the truth.
I know many say they are gunsmiths and say they know how things work but some really are and do.

So here is one.. Grendel or 264 dies must resize the neck down small enough to hold the bullet in the neck of the case. A grendel case ia a grendel case, it's used in the Grendel and 264 chambers. Any size die must squeeze the neck down so the inside dia is less than .264 in order to hold the bullet, most size down .004 under the bullet dia. .260 ID and .286 OD right? The case is the same thickness. All dies squeeze the neck down to the same dia be it for a .295 neck barrel or a .300 neck barrel because it MUST hold the bullet. The size die is what is forming the case, the size die is what controls the critical brass dimensions for reliability. The shoulder to neck radius in the chambers only matters after the round has been fired so what does this little radius location in the chamber matter? What does it do to aid extraction? It is .005 away from the case when the case is loaded so how could it possibly be so critical being .005 away from touching anything? The .300 neck chamber allows the brass to expand .014", the .295 neck chamber allows .009" from the smallest resize dia to the fired dia.

Edited to add, some may set up the resize die to have .002 clearance under the chamber size, others if they follow the instructions on the die box may screw down until it hits the shell holder plus 1/4 turn and size .010 or more under chamber size.
Then you have differences in resize dies from manf to manf and tolerances in dies from the same manf and then a .006 difference in actual chamber size between the 'go' and "no-go"
Now not only do we have a .005 clearance in dia but also as much as .010 in linear clearance. That makes the little radius at the shoulder to neck junction ( the hyp) .01208" away from touching anything on either side. So again does .005 difference in neck dia mean anything at all when considering the real wide variances in loaded ammo coming from a factory or a handloader?...IMO NO!
Those that can figure things out on their own will and they will decide what they want. the ones that can't will read "stuff" on the internet and follow the rest of the sheep.
LRRPF52  [Team Member]
5/24/2012 6:46:15 AM EST
I just measured some of the different neck thicknesses of my brass:

Lapua: .015"
PPU: .011"
Federal 7.62x39 sized down: .011"

Don't know what Hornady's is.

Neck thickness of Lapua brass x 2 = .030" + .264" projectile diameter = .294" Considering tolerance deviation in multiple components, or different diameter of the neck at depth (neck at mouth may be .015", but deeper, it's .017"), and the associated tolerance stack working against me, the .300" neck diameter starts making more sense to me, sheep and internet cool-aid aside.

Neck thickness of PPU brass, or Federal 7.62x39 necked sized down x 2 = .022" + .264" = .286".

If we're counting on: 1) all brass necks being made perfectly consistent, 2) all projectiles to be perfectly .264" along their entire bearing surfaces, 3) no barrel makers using Chinese lathes with unacceptable spin axis deviation, and 4) no sizing die deviation, then it would seem ok to go with a tighter neck.

Having been made aware of the effects of tolerance stack by my late grandfather (a machinist for Douglas Aerospace, reloader, and barrel smith), who also introduced me to micrometers, measuring ammunition components, and American Rifleman before I knew my ABC's, I'm personally inclined to lean towards a little more space in the neck diameter of the chamber.

By no means am I telling people they must use this or that chamber design, but I am answering the question as to what I see to be the differences between and reasons for those differences in the chambers. On top of that, there seem to be some people that have more of a personal vendetta to be combative with Bill A., and I can't really figure out why after researching the history of it all.

Like I have mentioned before, I used to believe the lies that have been spread about him and the Grendel, but I was still interested in the cartridge because of its inherent merits. When I learned the truth about the "royalty fee" myths, protectionism claims, etc., I could clearly see that other parties had a dog in the fight that was distractive from just getting a great product to customers who couldn't care less about the back-handed attacks. What is clear is that people recognize success, and try to capitalize off it. Failure is an orphan, and winners have many fathers.
bwaites  [Member]
5/24/2012 7:12:03 AM EST
And yet, its always the guys with non SAAMI chambers that show up with issues.

Really? should I go copy and paste all of the posts from the Grendel forum of people with Grendels that have had issues?
[/quote]

Actually, sure, go right ahead! The problems that people find on the forum basically come down to two classes:

1) They have trouble chambering reloads. 99+% of the time its simply because they aren't bumping the shoulder back enough. This seems to affect a fairly good sized group, and mostly those new to reloading or at least new to reloading for the Grendel. There really isn't much difference between SAAMI chambers and variants in this group.

2) Everybody else who has problems related to a chamber or reloading issue. These are almost invariably variants of some type. The one variant I haven't seen anyone mention is the ARP chamber, but its only been available for a short while, and so far I haven't even seen anyone on the forum comment that they have one. (Someone may have, but I don't read EVERY thread, just most, LOL!)

The simple truth is that no one with a SAAMI chamber had problems with the original Hornady load, while lots of people with variants did. AND when someone stopped to see why, they pointed out that the place that was striking in their .295 chamber was the shoulder/neck junction. That sounds to me like there is a problem there when the chamber is cut that way. That guy was NOT an Alexander fan, so I suspect he was fairly unbiased about what he found.

Regardless, there are plenty of chambers from people to choose from. Unlike bolt guns and target rifles, tighter necks do not seem to have a big advantage in accuracy, witness all the tiny groups shot by .300 neck rifles. The brass wear issue is a non issue, period. Even if you disregard my experience, (since I am obviously biased) I know one Grendel shooter is on his 6 or 7th barrel, with SAAMI and non-SAAMI chambers, and he has stated that there is no real difference in brass life between the chambers. He has worn out his barrels and seen no difference. Thats a LOT of rounds.

Pick your barrel and chamber from a reputable source, reload with the appropriate caution, and you will be happy. Its that simple.
Tim_W  [Member]
5/24/2012 7:23:27 AM EST
Originally Posted By LRRPF52:
I just measured some of the different neck thicknesses of my brass:

Lapua: .015"
PPU: .011"
Federal 7.62x39 sized down: .011"

Don't know what Hornady's is.

Neck thickness of Lapua brass x 2 = .030" + .264" projectile diameter = .294" Considering tolerance deviation in multiple components, or different diameter of the neck at depth (neck at mouth may be .015", but deeper, it's .017"), and the associated tolerance stack working against me, the .300" neck diameter starts making more sense to me, sheep and internet cool-aid aside.

Neck thickness of PPU brass, or Federal 7.62x39 necked sized down x 2 = .022" + .264" = .286".

If we're counting on: 1) all brass necks being made perfectly consistent, 2) all projectiles to be perfectly .264" along their entire bearing surfaces, 3) no barrel makers using Chinese lathes with unacceptable spin axis deviation, and 4) no sizing die deviation, then it would seem ok to go with a tighter neck.

Having been made aware of the effects of tolerance stack by my late grandfather (a machinist for Douglas Aerospace, reloader, and barrel smith), who also introduced me to micrometers, measuring ammunition components, and American Rifleman before I knew my ABC's, I'm personally inclined to lean towards a little more space in the neck diameter of the chamber.

By no means am I telling people they must use this or that chamber design, but I am answering the question as to what I see to be the differences between and reasons for those differences in the chambers. On top of that, there seem to be some people that have more of a personal vendetta to be combative with Bill A., and I can't really figure out why after researching the history of it all.

Like I have mentioned before, I used to believe the lies that have been spread about him and the Grendel, but I was still interested in the cartridge because of its inherent merits. When I learned the truth about the "royalty fee" myths, protectionism claims, etc., I could clearly see that other parties had a dog in the fight that was distractive from just getting a great product to customers who couldn't care less about the back-handed attacks. What is clear is that people recognize success, and try to capitalize off it. Failure is an orphan, and winners have many fathers.


I probably have 2-3000 Lapua cases in this shop, they are all a very consistant .012 thick at the neck. It doesn't matter if they are cases stamped AA or Lapua, 6.5, 6mmBR, 6.5x47, 243 or 308 they are all a VERY consistant .012.
I don't have an important father, know all the important people you seem to know or know all of the military mumbo speak that you seem to know but I do know how thick Lapua necks are.

Edited to add- I have been reading about Bill A designing this chamber to be completely reliable for full auto use for the last 5 years. To most of us that means a larger "loose" chamber but you guys are trying to make it sound like a bench rest chamber that is neck sized only where a 10th of 1 thou makes a difference out of the other side of your mouth. So which is it a full auto chamber or a bench rest chamber?

Tim_W  [Member]
5/24/2012 7:28:10 AM EST
Originally Posted By bwaites:
[

Pick your barrel and chamber from a reputable source, reload with the appropriate caution, and you will be happy. Its that simple.


I'll agree with that
bwaites  [Member]
5/24/2012 7:48:26 AM EST

I probably have 2-3000 Lapua cases in this shop, they are all a very consistant .012 thick at the neck. It doesn't matter if they are cases stamped AA or Lapua, 6.5, 6mmBR, 6.5x47, 243 or 308 they are all a VERY consistant .012.
I don't have an important father, know all the important people you seem to know or know all of the military mumbo speak that you seem to know but I do know how thick Lapua necks are.

Edited to add- I have been reading about Bill A designing this chamber to be completely reliable for full auto use for the last 5 years. To most of us that means a larger "loose" chamber but you guys are trying to make it sound like a bench rest chamber that is neck sized only where a 10th of 1 thou makes a difference out of the other side of your mouth. So which is it a full auto chamber or a bench rest chamber?



Which, proves nothing, but goes to show that there is some variance from case to case and batch to batch.

The chamber is reliable as a full auto chamber, there are multiple owners using it that way, even some who are doing it suppressed.

It also shoots like crazy, as many owners will happily attest. My latest one shot this group with fewer than 20 rounds down the pipe, and with an educated guess at the proper powder weight.



That's 5 shots through that hole. Since then, I've shot similar groups with 123's in Amax and Scenar's, and with 120 Ballistic tips and 107 SMK's. I've got 123 SMK's under .5 MOA, but not quite that tight yet, which I think is because they seem to be a little more sensitive to jump than the others.

SO I guess you can call it a crazy accurate machine gun chamber, or a match chamber you can machine gun through!

Tim_W  [Member]
5/24/2012 8:11:50 AM EST
Originally Posted By bwaites:

I probably have 2-3000 Lapua cases in this shop, they are all a very consistant .012 thick at the neck. It doesn't matter if they are cases stamped AA or Lapua, 6.5, 6mmBR, 6.5x47, 243 or 308 they are all a VERY consistant .012.
I don't have an important father, know all the important people you seem to know or know all of the military mumbo speak that you seem to know but I do know how thick Lapua necks are.

Edited to add- I have been reading about Bill A designing this chamber to be completely reliable for full auto use for the last 5 years. To most of us that means a larger "loose" chamber but you guys are trying to make it sound like a bench rest chamber that is neck sized only where a 10th of 1 thou makes a difference out of the other side of your mouth. So which is it a full auto chamber or a bench rest chamber?



Which, proves nothing, but goes to show that there is some variance from case to case and batch to batch.

The chamber is reliable as a full auto chamber, there are multiple owners using it that way, even some who are doing it suppressed.

It also shoots like crazy, as many owners will happily attest. My latest one shot this group with fewer than 20 rounds down the pipe, and with an educated guess at the proper powder weight.

http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/4158/sierra107andxbr.jpg

That's 5 shots through that hole. Since then, I've shot similar groups with 123's in Amax and Scenar's, and with 120 Ballistic tips and 107 SMK's. I've got 123 SMK's under .5 MOA, but not quite that tight yet, which I think is because they seem to be a little more sensitive to jump than the others.

SO I guess you can call it a crazy accurate machine gun chamber, or a match chamber you can machine gun through!



You know this has been going on for 5-6 years we aren't fooling anyone.
You guys will try to make anything that is different from AAs products look bad, that's all there is to it.
There are thousands of 6.5CSS barrels with .295 necks, thousands of 264 LBC barrels with .295 necks being shot daily with no problems.
I know of some barrels with .292 necks, one shot a group of 1.18" at 600yds
Both chamber options are out there, they both work.

LRRPF52  [Team Member]
5/24/2012 8:20:38 AM EST
A bench rest chamber? Anyone trying to chamber an AR15 with a benchrest chamber will have FTFeed all day long. Straw man argument. Find me once where any sane person claimed that they're using a benchrest chamber in an AR15. Some of the benchrest chambers I've seen have kicked out brass that literally did not change in size externally, and were simply deprimed, and ready to have a load thrown and bullet seated. That would never work in a gas gun chamber.

I just went and measured dozens of my Lapua Grendel and Lapua .260 Rem brass to make sure we were in the same space-time continuum. All mine are measuring at .014" at the smallest, if I apply pressure to the calipers to get it to compress fully. The .260 Rem cases were consistently .015". I guess I need ball calipers.

I checked my sanity again against some .264" projectiles, and they mic out at exactly .264" with the Lyman calipers.

The reason I mention the Lapua neck thickness is that Lapua is known for thicker, stronger brass. One of the head engineers for R&D at Lapua drove the Grendel neck thickness for what it is.
Tim_W  [Member]
5/24/2012 8:45:44 AM EST
Originally Posted By LRRPF52:
A bench rest chamber? Anyone trying to chamber an AR15 with a benchrest chamber will have FTFeed all day long. Straw man argument. Find me once where any sane person claimed that they're using a benchrest chamber in an AR15. Some of the benchrest chambers I've seen have kicked out brass that literally did not change in size externally, and were simply deprimed, and ready to have a load thrown and bullet seated. That would never work in a gas gun chamber.

I just went and measured dozens of my Lapua Grendel and Lapua .260 Rem brass to make sure we were in the same space-time continuum. All mine are measuring at .014" at the smallest, if I apply pressure to the calipers to get it to compress fully. The .260 Rem cases were consistently .015". I guess I need ball calipers.

I checked my sanity again against some .264" projectiles, and they mic out at exactly .264" with the Lyman calipers.

The reason I mention the Lapua neck thickness is that Lapua is known for thicker, stronger brass. One of the head engineers for R&D at Lapua drove the Grendel neck thickness for what it is.


I know Lapua to be consistant and thin giving more case capacity.

bwaites  [Member]
5/24/2012 8:51:51 AM EST
You know this has been going on for 5-6 years we aren't fooling anyone.
You guys will try to make anything that is different from AAs products look bad, that's all there is to it.
There are thousands of 6.5CSS barrels with .295 necks, thousands of 264 LBC barrels with .295 necks being shot daily with no problems.
I know of some barrels with .292 necks, one shot a group of 1.18" at 600yds
Both chamber options are out there, they both work.


Well, since you brought it up, I have to sort of wonder why an avowed 6.8 guy thinks he needs to jump into every 6.5 thread and stir the pot, seems a bit strange.

Thousands? Thousands of 6.5 CSS and thousands of .264 LBC? You are kidding, right? The LBC has been around for less than 36 months, and you'll make that kind of a statement? It simply ain't so. Les Baer doesn't even advertise his .264 anymore, and unless someone goes looking specifically, (or frequents AR15.com) the LBC chamber isn't advertised nationally by anyone, and you think there are thousands of both?

Come on, show me that AR15 with the .292 neck, and we'll run a few factory loads for fun!

You're talking about a bolt gun, using neck turned brass. That's not even the same ball game. Once again, you want to compare apples and kumquats, not even apples and oranges! If I was to build a bolt Grendel, I wouldn't use the SAAMI chamber. There are better options if you want to generate superb accuracy from a bolt gun.

BUT....this is AR15.com, its about AR15's and its variants. The simple fact is that the ONLY chamber that has been tested in full auto, suppressed, multiple barrel lengths, steel case and brass ammo, multiple bullets, multiple cases, full durability testing, shooting into multiple media, etc. is the SAAMI chamber. PERIOD.

None of the variants have been tested anywhere close to as extensively as the SAAMI chamber.

Apart from Les Baer, no variant manufacturer has contributed anything to the advancement of the caliber. Where are the CSS or .264 mags, where are the CSS labled loads, or the 6.5 Sporter, or the ARP loads?

And my point is this....IF you want to be SURE that your rifle will work with all available Grendel labled ammunition, the ONLY chamber so guaranteed is the SAAMI chamber, end of story.


Looking bad has nothing to do with it. We are tired of consumers having issues, and then complaining that their Grendel doesn't work, when they don't have a Grendel in the first place!
Tim_W  [Member]
5/24/2012 9:25:23 AM EST
Originally Posted By bwaites:
You know this has been going on for 5-6 years we aren't fooling anyone.
You guys will try to make anything that is different from AAs products look bad, that's all there is to it.
There are thousands of 6.5CSS barrels with .295 necks, thousands of 264 LBC barrels with .295 necks being shot daily with no problems.
I know of some barrels with .292 necks, one shot a group of 1.18" at 600yds
Both chamber options are out there, they both work.


Well, since you brought it up, I have to sort of wonder why an avowed 6.8 guy thinks he needs to jump into every 6.5 thread and stir the pot, seems a bit strange.

Thousands? Thousands of 6.5 CSS and thousands of .264 LBC? You are kidding, right? The LBC has been around for less than 36 months, and you'll make that kind of a statement? It simply ain't so. Les Baer doesn't even advertise his .264 anymore, and unless someone goes looking specifically, (or frequents AR15.com) the LBC chamber isn't advertised nationally by anyone, and you think there are thousands of both?

Come on, show me that AR15 with the .292 neck, and we'll run a few factory loads for fun!

You're talking about a bolt gun, using neck turned brass. That's not even the same ball game. Once again, you want to compare apples and kumquats, not even apples and oranges! If I was to build a bolt Grendel, I wouldn't use the SAAMI chamber. There are better options if you want to generate superb accuracy from a bolt gun.

BUT....this is AR15.com, its about AR15's and its variants. The simple fact is that the ONLY chamber that has been tested in full auto, suppressed, multiple barrel lengths, steel case and brass ammo, multiple bullets, multiple cases, full durability testing, shooting into multiple media, etc. is the SAAMI chamber. PERIOD.

None of the variants have been tested anywhere close to as extensively as the SAAMI chamber.

Apart from Les Baer, no variant manufacturer has contributed anything to the advancement of the caliber. Where are the CSS or .264 mags, where are the CSS labled loads, or the 6.5 Sporter, or the ARP loads?

And my point is this....IF you want to be SURE that your rifle will work with all available Grendel labled ammunition, the ONLY chamber so guaranteed is the SAAMI chamber, end of story.


Looking bad has nothing to do with it. We are tired of consumers having issues, and then complaining that their Grendel doesn't work, when they don't have a Grendel in the first place!


I guess you missed the title. This is about "which 264 LBC barrel"...
It seems you guys jumped in here to try to convince everyone the 264 chamber is inferior to the 6.5 G chamber huh?
I haven't said ANYTHING about a 6.8 now have I?
My goal in life is to own a SAAMI approved chamber
So now you want to know why no one has done much to help the Grendel? Think about it, why would they?
I'm willing to bet they are going to start helping the 264LBC, much in the same way they helped the 6.8.
100 LBCs sold by 1 shop in a month...36 months Hmmm Some shops don't need to advertise much, friends tell friends who tell friends.
How many 6.5CSS barrels has Woody( Lothar Walther) made? I mean Lothar does actually make barrels don't they?
Didn't they make some of AAs barrels for a while? Yeah, seems like they made some AA barrels with a .295 neck too.
Les Baers chamber design works and time will prove it
bwaites  [Member]
5/24/2012 9:57:58 AM EST
I should point something out:

No one jumped in at all until people started throwing out the BS about .295 necks being easier on brass. It simply isn't an issue, period, as hundreds of reloaders for the Grendel have found out.

The .264 is drying up to some extent, with many of the .264 makers switching to the SAAMI chamber, since it will help consolidate and decrease confusion. Satern has announced their intention to do so, CSS has also.

And what do you mean? I didn't ask why they haven't done anything to help the Grendel, I asked why they haven't done anything to help the 6.5 CSS, or the .264 LBC, or the 6.5 Sporter. No ammo, no mags, no nothing. They would rather rely on Grendel stuff than do their own development and make those things available. (Les Baer is making ammo, and I applaud him for that.)

100 barrels in one month? I assume that was from ARP? Since he finally started shipping the barrels he took orders for months ago, (not a slam, everyone in the industry is doing the same!), I don't see how that is 100 sales in 1 month. That was sales spread over at least 5 or 6 months.

OK, lets get my viewpoint straight on this. I don't care if everyone wants a different variant, I really don't. So long as they know what they are getting, they know how to handle reloading for it, and they don't count on ammunition developed for the Grendel chamber to run in their variant chamber, I have no problems with any of the others. As I said, if I wanted a bolt gun based on the cartridge, I wouldn't use the SAAMI chamber.

I do very much care when BS is spread about the Grendel, when people try to say that they have changed the chamber to be "better" for whatever reason. The brass "issues" simply don't exist, so if that is the reason for the .295 chamber, it was a wasted effort. The REAL reason is that people didn't want to deal with the copyright on the name. I understand that, its cool with me. There are variants on lots of cartridges, I even shoot a slight variant on the 7mm WSM, throated longer for the bullets I run.

BUT...don't try to say they are Grendels, or complain when the factory Grendel ammo doesn't run. Don't try to tell people they are "improved". They aren't. They ARE different, but different isn't always improved, and different doesn't always work. When it doesn't work, don't complain that it should. You bought different, for whatever reason. Its different, its NOT a Grendel.

Tim_W  [Member]
5/24/2012 11:03:17 AM EST
Originally Posted By bwaites:
I should point something out:

No one jumped in at all until people started throwing out the BS about .295 necks being easier on brass. It simply isn't an issue, period, as hundreds of reloaders for the Grendel have found out.

The .264 is drying up to some extent, with many of the .264 makers switching to the SAAMI chamber, since it will help consolidate and decrease confusion. Satern has announced their intention to do so, CSS has also.

And what do you mean? I didn't ask why they haven't done anything to help the Grendel, I asked why they haven't done anything to help the 6.5 CSS, or the .264 LBC, or the 6.5 Sporter. No ammo, no mags, no nothing. They would rather rely on Grendel stuff than do their own development and make those things available. (Les Baer is making ammo, and I applaud him for that.)

100 barrels in one month? I assume that was from ARP? Since he finally started shipping the barrels he took orders for months ago, (not a slam, everyone in the industry is doing the same!), I don't see how that is 100 sales in 1 month. That was sales spread over at least 5 or 6 months.

OK, lets get my viewpoint straight on this. I don't care if everyone wants a different variant, I really don't. So long as they know what they are getting, they know how to handle reloading for it, and they don't count on ammunition developed for the Grendel chamber to run in their variant chamber, I have no problems with any of the others. As I said, if I wanted a bolt gun based on the cartridge, I wouldn't use the SAAMI chamber.

I do very much care when BS is spread about the Grendel, when people try to say that they have changed the chamber to be "better" for whatever reason. The brass "issues" simply don't exist, so if that is the reason for the .295 chamber, it was a wasted effort. The REAL reason is that people didn't want to deal with the copyright on the name. I understand that, its cool with me. There are variants on lots of cartridges, I even shoot a slight variant on the 7mm WSM, throated longer for the bullets I run.

BUT...don't try to say they are Grendels, or complain when the factory Grendel ammo doesn't run. Don't try to tell people they are "improved". They aren't. They ARE different, but different isn't always improved, and different doesn't always work. When it doesn't work, don't complain that it should. You bought different, for whatever reason. Its different, its NOT a Grendel.



So are you saying working the brass necks less is harder on them? If not then when someone says working it less is easier on it is true then.
I think you'll have a tough time trying to find people that will say working the brass more is easier on it. So you jumped in why?
Then we have the stuff where someone is worried about a half of thou in a chamber designed as a full auto chamber where loaded ammo is .006 shorter than the chamber. You all jumped in why?
Both chambers work, they are being shot every day. Since it's the customers money they make the choice. "improved" is subjective, some may want a match chamber some may want a looser chamber kind of like a match barrel and a machine gun barrel. LOL
The 6.5CSS is the same size as the Grendel why would they make a special mag for the 6.5CSS same with the 264 they are the same cartridge. You don't see them making different mags for all of the variations of the 556 do you? There would be 15 diffferent mags if they did. That would sure confuse the crap out of everyone.
I rarely hear anyone say they have chambering issues with their 6.5 sporter or 6.5CSS or Robinsons chamber. After the first little size problem Hornady had with the ammo all of that kind of problems have dissappeared. Most chambers were probably designed or changed right off of the Grendel chamber print or maybe just renamed. If I was doing it I would leave the whole rear end of the case including the datum line for the headspace and only change the dia of the neck, length to the shoulder/neck junction, throat dia, and throat angle. 4 clicks of the mouse.
ARP doesn't take pre orders.
I have never said AA hasn't done a lot for the Grendel but they also hurt the growth at a critical time a few years ago and it's tough to play catch up.
Now that more ammo manufactures are talking about loading ammo it only makes sense that more firearm manufacturers may take an interest in it if their customers can purchase ammo and mags easier.
The customers on the other hand may be scared off by all of the talk of ammo not working and mags not feeding, different dies need to be used and all of that. I don't think there is a problem with the ammo and it working in the chambers but you guys seem too.
The 6.8 has several different chambers but, all ammo fits in all of the chambers, all of the dies work to reload, all of the brass is the same. The only issue there is some of the older barrels do not handle the +p pressures as well as others.
We've beat the dead horse enough and I have work to do.
bwaites  [Member]
5/24/2012 12:19:47 PM EST
The system I'm on is a little limited, so I have to split the posts into three to answer your questions, but here goes!

So are you saying working the brass necks less is harder on them? If not then when someone says working it less is easier on it is true then.
I think you'll have a tough time trying to find people that will say working the brass more is easier on it. So you jumped in why?

I jumped in because it’s completely irrelevant. If the only real reason that the brass fails is because primer pockets loosen, the tighter neck and less working of the brass is irrelevant. Get over the .295 neck thing already. It exists because people didn’t want to deal with the copyright on the Grendel, not because of the brass issue, that was rewriting history, and the reason wasn’t even posited until the chamber had been sold for years. It was originally sold as a “match” chamber, except it wasn’t any more accurate than the SAAMI chamber. It’s simply irrelevant. I jumped in because to say otherwise is nothing but unmitigated BS.

Then we have the stuff where someone is worried about a half of thou in a chamber designed as a full auto chamber where loaded ammo is .006 shorter than the chamber. You all jumped in why?
Both chambers work, they are being shot every day. Since it's the customers money they make the choice. "improved" is subjective, some may want a match chamber some may want a looser chamber kind of like a match barrel and a machine gun barrel. LOL

Define work. Of course if you use properly sized brass, they work. They may not always work with brass that fits the Grendel spec, as they didn’t when Hornady first started building Grendel brass. All that brass ran fine in SAAMI chambers. It didn’t work in all the variant chambers. It was all within the Grendel spec, albeit on the high side.

The 6.5CSS is the same size as the Grendel why would they make a special mag for the 6.5CSS same with the 264 they are the same cartridge. You don't see them making different mags for all of the variations of the 556 do you? There would be 15 diffferent mags if they did. That would sure confuse the crap out of everyone.

Oh wait, like people are confused regarding 6.8 mags? Gimmee a break. It’s circular logic and you know it. Plenty of people seemed to think having their own mag for the 6.8 was a good idea.
bwaites  [Member]
5/24/2012 12:21:03 PM EST
I rarely hear anyone say they have chambering issues with their 6.5 sporter or 6.5CSS or Robinsons chamber. After the first little size problem Hornady had with the ammo all of that kind of problems have dissappeared. Most chambers were probably designed or changed right off of the Grendel chamber print or maybe just renamed. If I was doing it I would leave the whole rear end of the case including the datum line for the headspace and only change the dia of the neck, length to the shoulder/neck junction, throat dia, and throat angle. 4 clicks of the mouse.

There are variant owners complaining all the time about issues. You simply don’t have the time to pay attention. Of course you would. You didn’t, but that’s how you would do it.

ARP doesn't take pre orders.

They don’t? Why were all those people posting on forums about waiting for their barrels, then? I know he is not currently taking orders, but for the last 6 months people have been posting about waiting for their ARP barrel.

I have never said AA hasn't done a lot for the Grendel but they also hurt the growth at a critical time a few years ago and it's tough to play catch up.

Now that more ammo manufactures are talking about loading ammo it only makes sense that more firearm manufacturers may take an interest in it if their customers can purchase ammo and mags easier.
The customers on the other hand may be scared off by all of the talk of ammo not working and mags not feeding, different dies need to be used and all of that. I don't think there is a problem with the ammo and it working in the chambers but you guys seem too.

I’m not sure how they hurt the growth. Every manufacturer I know of sells every Grendel they build. How is that a bad situation for manufacturers? Its bad for buyers, maybe, but its not a sign of having hurt growth, that’s for sure! You don’t see it because you don’t get multiple emails or PM’s daily asking questions about why their variant is having issues. I’ve yet to meet a customer who was scared off by anything regarding the cartridge. I wish some of them were a little scared off, more parts and ammo would be available for me! The people requesting those special small base dies are all variant owners, not SAAMI owners.
bwaites  [Member]
5/24/2012 12:22:07 PM EST
The 6.8 has several different chambers but, all ammo fits in all of the chambers, all of the dies work to reload, all of the brass is the same. The only issue there is some of the older barrels do not handle the +p pressures as well as others.
We've beat the dead horse enough and I have work to do.

Yep, and no one wants a +P Grendel! Isn’t necessary, the standard loads and chamber get the job done!
sywagon  [Member]
5/26/2012 6:11:12 AM EST
Those of us who were waiting got our ARP barrels, and they look to be in stock currently.

As to their explanation of why they use the .297 -

"quote from Arne B.-
Back when brass cost 38 cents per piece, getting only 4 loadings on a case before seeing split necks was bad. Now, lapua brass costs $1 per piece, and getting the most life out of brass that you can is very important.

In the 295 neck chamber, 10 reloading cycles with no split necks was the norm. As a matter of fact, I NEVER threw out a case with the .295 chamber, but did throw out brass with the 300 neck chamber."

Just reporting that, if you disagree you disagree with Arne, not me.


Also just FYI, from an email I received from Harrison:

"The rifling in this chamber is well beyond the bullet even seated at 2.3" it will not jamb the rifling."
LRRPF52  [Team Member]
5/26/2012 6:05:12 PM EST
I wonder if Arne was using 6mm PPC brass back then, because that is what a few wild-catters were doing sizing up to 6.5mm. Since there was no such thing as Grendel brass before 2002, there would have to be an alternate parent case.

If he was using 6 PPC brass, and expanding the necks, that would make a thinner neck, and could explain why we don't see a lot of split necks with Grendel brass and .300" necks.
Tim_W  [Member]
5/27/2012 6:29:07 AM EST
Originally Posted By LRRPF52:
I wonder if Arne was using 6mm PPC brass back then, because that is what a few wild-catters were doing sizing up to 6.5mm. Since there was no such thing as Grendel brass before 2002, there would have to be an alternate parent case.

If he was using 6 PPC brass, and expanding the necks, that would make a thinner neck, and could explain why we don't see a lot of split necks with Grendel brass and .300" necks.

If he was shooting a 300 chamber it would have been after Bill A changed to the .300 chamber because Arne was using a .292 neck chamber on the 6.5PPC he was using when Bill got the idea to Ackley improve it.
Woody at Lother Walther introduced Arne (who was already shooting the 6.5PPC) and Bill before there was a Grendel.
Arne was always a competition shooter and had no use for a general purpose chamber.

Notice the date on the print...1998 long before Bill A got the idea to make the Grendel.
Second the reamer print shows a .291 dia at the neck, a .291 reamer will make a .292 neck in the chamber.
http://www.beyond556.com/bboard/showthread.php?6148-Original-6.5-PPC-Chamber-Print
LRRPF52  [Team Member]
5/28/2012 7:20:36 AM EST
I'll bet Arne had piles of necked up 6.5 PPC brass, and when loaded and fired in the Grendel chamber with stout loads, started splitting necks.

We just don't see it with the Grendel brass in Grendel chambers, otherwise there would be posts all over on the forum of it in the reloading section.

Biggest complaints I see are from those who are new to reloading wondering about the dent in the side of the case from the Brunton device (brass deflector), which isn't an issue, but is symptomiatic to the AR15, as you've already seen of course. I bet the same thing happens with 6.8 all the time, and 50k+psi solves the dents on the next firing.
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