I recently purchased my first AR and also just started reloading 223 to feed the new gun. I've been having some problems with my reloaded ammunition and would appreciate any help or advice that you could give me. I've ready many posts in the Troubleshooting section of the website that sound like my problems, but would like to ask for your opinion anyway.
My AR is a Bushmaster XM15 E2S lower (was used, less than 300 rounds) and a brand new Bushmaster M4A2 "Patrolman" upper. When I first purchased the gun, I had the money to buy it, but no money to buy ammunition. My father-in-law let me use his Wolf ammunition (eek, I know, but it was the only thing available at the time) so I could at least squeeze off a few rounds. The gun was clean, but I ran a couple of patches down the bore to make sure...I did not oil any part of the gun.
The Bushmaster fired 30 rounds of Wolf flawlessly, no problems with extraction or feeding. That was all I fired that day.
I brought my gun home, broke it down, cleaned it thoroughly and oiled all the parts. Without ammunition, the action works flawlessly.
I started reloading ammunition to feed the beast. This is the first rifle ammunition I have ever reloaded. I ordered once-fired brass and 55 gr FMJBT bullets. I've used a full-length sizer die, then trimmed the cases to 1.75 in using a Lee Case length gauge and case trimmer. I used a chamfer tool to bevel the inside of the case mouth, BUT NOT THE OUTSIDE (I think this may be part of my problem, more on this later). I'm using 23.0 gr of H322 powder and seating the bullets so the overall cartridge length is 2.20 in. At this length, the case mouth sits right in the middle of the crimp groove of the bullet. I then use the Lee Factory crimp die to crimp the ammo (I do not use the bullet seating die to do any crimping).
At this point, let me say that when I was checking over the finished ammunition, I noticed that occasionally there were tiny brass shavings still attached to the cases...I would assume that these are from the trimming/chamfering that happened earlier. I did not think, probably ignorantly, that these shavings would be a problems, I figured they would work off in the magazine or during the feeding into the action.
Finally, now the problems I'm having. I was cycling the action by hand to make sure that the ammunition would feed properly into the action...I know now that is is not a smart thing to because of the free-floating firing pin and slamfires, I will not do it in the future. Often (5 out of 30 rounds), the bullet will snag on the feed ramp. Pulling back on the charge handle and letting it fly forward would usually make the round chamber. So I have a feeling that my feeding problems may be because of gun/magazines not being broken in and probably because I was "easing" the charge handle forward instead of letting it fly forward.
My second, and more disturbing problem, is the fact that my bolt carrier was getting stuck in the forward position after chambering a live round. Often, I was able to work the action by forcefully pulling back on the charging handle a few times. In a couple of instances, I had to gently tap on the charge handle several times with a rubber mallet to loosen the bolt and extract the round.
I have noticed that there are quite a few brass shavings in the barrel extension. Could this be causing the stuck bolt? Sorry for the ignorance, I'm used to AK's where "too dirty" does not exist and most problems can be fixed with a hammer.
Thanks for reading this way too long post and for offering any advice or help...this AR newbie greatly appreciates it!!
You may wish to visit the Reloading section of AR-15.com for some answers on how your reloaded rounds may be causing your problem. Go to 'Armory', scroll down to the nearly the bottom of the menu and you will see 'Reloading'. Good luck
Thank you for the information...I believe that I have solved the problem. I loaded 50 rounds using cases that had been chamfered inside and out and sized using a small-base die set. Absolutely no problems with feeding or extraction. I guess my chamber must be extremely tight.