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Posted: 1/28/2006 7:57:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 3:49:02 PM EDT by swingset]
I put together a 10.5" upper with oddball/used parts. The bolt and carrier are new RRA. All went well and the rifle functioned tested fine. So far, it digests Wolf, WWB and 855 like candy.

The trouble started when I tried my reloads. The rifle feeds them, but they go in tight....if you close riding the BH it will stop short of battery. If you drop the bolt-release, the rounds chamber but are stuck in the chamber tightly. To extract, I had to tap the BH with a rubber mallet gently to get them out of the chamber.

Now, I would say that's a long case (improper die adjustment), but the weird thing is this is a well used barrel and upper, and every single one of my other AR's (5 total) eats these reloads up just fine.

Sooooo....thinking I would test the headspace, I used my .223 remington guages (all I have), and the bolt will not close on a max (nogo) guage, which is good. However, on the min (go) guage, the guage chambers but it's tight - about as tight as my reloads. Now, I know there are differences between the .223 SAAMI guages and military, but is the sticky min-guage and indication that my headspace is off?

Not experienced with the AR and headspace, and I've been lucky up till now all my builds have been solid and eaten everything I feed them.
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 8:39:18 PM EDT
brass you are using might be expanded too much.........resize them correctly and make sure you measure
your bullets and the over-all length of the whole bullet once you reload them.
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 9:15:34 PM EDT
I’m betting on the reloads being out of spec in either,

Cases not trimmed correctly (too long),
Cases not fully resized,

Or my all time favorite since we see this the most,
too much pressure used to crimp the bullets and the shoulder/neck of the case buckled.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 5:02:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dano523:
I’m betting on the reloads being out of spec in either,

Cases not trimmed correctly (too long),
Cases not fully resized,

Or my all time favorite since we see this the most,
too much pressure used to crimp the bullets and the shoulder/neck of the case buckled.



My cases are trimmed at 1.740", which is actually very low. The cases are fully resized, using an RCBS die overcammed by 1/16 turn, which should be completely adequate for a FL resize. I'm pretty sure of that, because as I said these reloads shoot like butter in all my AR's, my bolt gun, my AR180B (which has a tight .223 chamber).

And, I don't crimp my rounds, so that's not it.

My OAL is waaaay under maximum, it's middle-of the cannelure on Winchester .224 FMJBT's. If it were the OAL, I think I'd see scoring on the bullet tip from the rifling, but they eject clean.

Any other guesses?
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 5:57:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/29/2006 6:31:56 AM EDT by 1911builder]
Sounds like insufficient headspace to me. You have to strip the bolt of the extractor and ejector when you measure HS. Charles the Gunsmith.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 3:47:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1911builder:
Sounds like insufficient headspace to me. You have to strip the bolt of the extractor and ejector when you measure HS. Charles the Gunsmith.



Yup, that was my thought too....not enough headspace.

I have relief-cut HS guages, so don't have to disassemble the bolt.

Thinking that there could be a burr or something in the chamber causing me issues, I polished the chamber and tried again. The bolt closes on a MIN guage, but just barely. It's tight so I may be looking at not enough headspace.

So, I tried 5 different bolts, all the ones I have on hand, including a couple very worn ones. Same result each time....closes, but snug.

So, where does that leave me? I'm baffled by the issue. The barrel is well worn, shouldn't it be on the generous side with HS? I can't really control the HS. It seems to shoot great with factory loads, no problems or signs of excessive pressure, FTE, etc. Should I just not shoot reloads and enjoy the gun or dump the barrel?

Confused.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:35:17 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:58:31 PM EDT
What manufacture is the barrel? It could be a tight .223 chamber and that would explain your concern.

My .02

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 9:02:21 PM EDT
It's interesting, to be sure, but what the heck do I do about it? I can't recut the chamber - it's a chrome lined barrel.

This barrel was well used, and the previous owner had it on an MG and experienced no issues. I can't figure out why the chamber is too short, shouldn't it be the other way around??
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 9:03:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WCTLE:
What manufacture is the barrel? It could be a tight .223 chamber and that would explain your concern.

My .02




I'm not where the barrel is to read it, but I'm sure it's marked 5.56 NATO.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:08:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 11:11:52 PM EDT by j3_]
Using a small base die? Does the die require checking for a gap between shell holder and die bottom with handle pulled down fully on a case as it is sized? Try here www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=1&f=9
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:58:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By j3_:
Using a small base die? Does the die require checking for a gap between shell holder and die bottom with handle pulled down fully on a case as it is sized? Try here www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=1&f=9



The die is a std. LEE .223 die, and the instructions are for 1/4 turn past shell holder contact (overcamming).

If it were the die, or the setup, then any of my other 6 .223 guns (including the one with a tight .223 match chamber) would be difficult to chamber. However, only this gun is, and only it doesn't want to eat a MIN guage.

I don't think it's the die, or my reloading....but I could be wrong.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:44:52 AM EDT
You can re-cut the chmber using a carbide reamer. Problem is that carbide reamers are expensive. I don't know if any firm rents them. It might make more sense, from a financial point, to just use factory ammo, or, to just replace the barrel. Good luck. Charles.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 8:08:53 AM EDT
I had a problem similar to this and it was caused by an out of spec resizing die. Get a Dillon case gauge and see if your reloads are in spec.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 12:18:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1911builder:
You can re-cut the chmber using a carbide reamer.



I'd always heard you can't recut a chrome-lined barrel, tho...because of the finish. Come to think of it, I am going on the word of the previous owner about it being chrome lined - I don't actually know that it is.

Is there an easy way to tell? Sure looks shiney, but then so does my bolt gun and it's not chrome lined.

So many questions!!
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 2:18:47 PM EDT
Here is an easy and cheap way to tell if it is chrome lined. Using a Q-tip put a small amount of cold blue on the chamber. If the chamber turns color to blue, it is NOT chrome lined. If it does not change color it is chrome lined. Charles.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 3:15:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1911builder:
Here is an easy and cheap way to tell if it is chrome lined. Using a Q-tip put a small amount of cold blue on the chamber. If the chamber turns color to blue, it is NOT chrome lined. If it does not change color it is chrome lined. Charles.



Doh! I should have thought of that!

Link Posted: 1/31/2006 3:59:42 PM EDT
You keep mentioning that the barrel is well worn. My ? to you is which aspect of the barrel is worn? If the previous own used it in a MG, they would have had to worry about throat errosion more than rifling. At least the instruction that I have received on MG use was that. There is a throat errosion gage that could tell if it is in spec. or not. Just a thought. Good luck determining the exact problem.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 4:11:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By blackta6:
You keep mentioning that the barrel is well worn. My ? to you is which aspect of the barrel is worn?



The previous owner shot by his estimation 8k through it, possibly more. So, I wondered how a barrel that had been shot that much still had a too-tight chamber. I don't know about the throat erosion, but that shouldn't be affecting headspace.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 9:19:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 5:07:54 AM EDT
I am going to vote the dies. If this chambers eats commercial ammo, and the previous owner shot 8k thru it, it is your dies, or reloading process. I have had different resizing dies from different manufacturers size differently. You dont need small base, but I am betting one of too things is happening - your die or shellholder is out of spec, or you are crimping way too much, or you arent deburring.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 10:10:53 AM EDT
I’m not a gunsmith, I’m a computer tech. When hardware fails on a computer, but I’m not sure what part is bad, I start swapping parts out with a known good PC and see what fixes the issue.

Since the bolt might be a problem, why don’t you swap bolts with another rifle and see if that fixes it?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 12:42:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FALARAK:
I am going to vote the dies. If this chambers eats commercial ammo, and the previous owner shot 8k thru it, it is your dies, or reloading process. I have had different resizing dies from different manufacturers size differently. You dont need small base, but I am betting one of too things is happening - your die or shellholder is out of spec, or you are crimping way too much, or you arent deburring.



I would agree except for what I said above - first I don't have any issues with the reloads in 5 other guns, including 2 that have tight match chambers.

I don't crimp the rounds, and deburring and chamfering is done on each round.

And, the offending gun is not quite taking a MIN headspace guage, while the other 5 guns do.

I'm no gunsmith, but that sounds like it's the gun....to me.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 12:44:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Thuban:
I’m not a gunsmith, I’m a computer tech. When hardware fails on a computer, but I’m not sure what part is bad, I start swapping parts out with a known good PC and see what fixes the issue.

Since the bolt might be a problem, why don’t you swap bolts with another rifle and see if that fixes it?



Swapped 4 other bolts (all I have on hand), same result with each - but if I have an in spec bolt on all 5 rifles, and 1 bad chamber, swapping bolts won't help until I run into one that's out of spec in the right direction.....something I have no idea how likely is to happen, nor do I have access to that many bolts.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 1:31:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 4:01:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Randall_Rausch:
I thought it has already been determined that the chamber is shallow.
What are we still quibbling about?



I'm not quibbling, just answering other posts that suggested it could be other factors, even though I think it's settled.


Lastly, you could just scrap the barrel and move on.
These are your options whether you like them or not.



I don't like them, but I understand those are my only options.


I don't think disussions like this are a bad thing, to hash out every possibility. It's not just my problem....other people may run into this, and a suggestion that was floated to me might just solve the next guy's problem if it didn't help me. My .02
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 4:04:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/1/2006 4:09:54 PM EDT by j3_]

The die is a std. LEE .223 die, and the instructions are for 1/4 turn past shell holder contact (overcamming).




Are you sure you are adjusting out any gap between the die and shell holder with a full down stroke of the handle with a case in the press? Adjusting without a case can leave a gap when sizing. Here is what Lee says.

Full Length die adjustment

When using our full length sizing dies for rifle cartridges, the die should be turned in to touch the shell holder and then enough more that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. This is the preferred method because the act of sizing sometimes results in flex that prevents the shell holder from touching the bottom of the die.

Lee dies are designed so that the shoulder of the case is not sized until the very top of the die has been reached. This is done for two reasons; first, we don't want the die to overwork your brass and second and more importantly, we do not want to invite headspace problems. Pushing the shoulder back too soon can create a situation that can eventually cause case separation and a dangerous situation.

If you note that your Lee Die don't appear to push the shoulder of your case back, ensure that you are adjusting the die so that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. If you see daylight at the top of the stroke, readjust the die downward and repeat sizing until it disappears. If your case is still difficult to chamber, you can send the die back to us with a sized case and we can modify the die to minimum SAAMI specifications.

Lee Precision, Inc.
4275 Highway U
Hartford, WI 53027




This is off their FAQ on the web site.
www.leeprecision.com/cgi/faq/index.cgi

Link Posted: 2/1/2006 5:18:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By j3_:

The die is a std. LEE .223 die, and the instructions are for 1/4 turn past shell holder contact (overcamming).




Are you sure you are adjusting out any gap between the die and shell holder with a full down stroke of the handle with a case in the press? Adjusting without a case can leave a gap when sizing. Here is what Lee says.

Full Length die adjustment

When using our full length sizing dies for rifle cartridges, the die should be turned in to touch the shell holder and then enough more that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. This is the preferred method because the act of sizing sometimes results in flex that prevents the shell holder from touching the bottom of the die.

Lee dies are designed so that the shoulder of the case is not sized until the very top of the die has been reached. This is done for two reasons; first, we don't want the die to overwork your brass and second and more importantly, we do not want to invite headspace problems. Pushing the shoulder back too soon can create a situation that can eventually cause case separation and a dangerous situation.

If you note that your Lee Die don't appear to push the shoulder of your case back, ensure that you are adjusting the die so that there is no daylight between the top of the shell holder and the bottom of the die during the sizing process. If you see daylight at the top of the stroke, readjust the die downward and repeat sizing until it disappears. If your case is still difficult to chamber, you can send the die back to us with a sized case and we can modify the die to minimum SAAMI specifications.

Lee Precision, Inc.
4275 Highway U
Hartford, WI 53027




This is off their FAQ on the web site.
www.leeprecision.com/cgi/faq/index.cgi




Yes, I'm 100% sure I have no gap with a sized case. After overcamming the die, I put a shell in and resized (checking for gap) per Lee's instructions.

As I said, if this were an issue, surely I would have seen hard to chamber reloads on any of my other guns.

I just ordered a case guage today from Midway (should have done this before), and I'll know for sure if I'm in spec, but based on what I am experiencing, I'm very confident the die is not the culprit.
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 8:56:52 PM EDT
send the barrel to me...............wanna sell it?
Link Posted: 2/1/2006 9:03:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rogue007:
send the barrel to me...............wanna sell it?



I can probably fix it, good learning experience.
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