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Thread: Loading for a semi-auto

  1. #1

    Default Loading for a semi-auto

    I just loaded my first 10 rounds for a semi-auto. Brass was full length resized, trimmed, and cleaned. I used a 55 gr. V max bullet and 20.0 grains of IMR 4198. This is for a M400 Sig. AR-15 in .556 / .223. I did not have a small base sizing die, I used a standard set of RCBS dies. I did put a very small crimp on the bullet. I thought I would shoot one round then clean until I get these shot up. I should know if they will cycle by the time I get these 10 rounds shot. The semi-auto is all new to me. Have I over looked anything?

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    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    Not really. Typically the things that keep the semi autos from cycling with handloads are Un trimmed brass, shoulders pushed back and bulged from setting the seating die to crimp too much, primers not seated fully, causing misfires or creating an over length cartridge by protruding out of the pocket. Just to name a few.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    OP, a couple questions, what type of brass are you using and what primers? Most of the time, standard dies will be just fine, as long as you know where the brass came from. Also if you are using mil brass, you should start on the lower powder level and work up. I presume that with the 4198 powder that you are weighing each charge. I have found Varget, W748 and H335 to be better powders to use. However finding powders these days can be challenging. I recently reloaded a bunch of 50 grain V-max using Varmint powder and I am putting 10 shots inside a 1" square at 100 yards. I know that this is not real tight, but for my use, it will be just fine.
    Shooting one round, cleaning, and then one round seems like a lot of work, but I did the seem with one of my AR's. With the right bullet/reload, it will put 5 shots toughing at 100 yards.
    Have fun, take your time and enjoy.

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    In my experience imr 4198 is to fast for the ar15 platform…. some carbine lengths will cycle it, but its almost guaranteed to short stroke a rifle length system……..i can not say enough about a wilson case gauge for loading for a semi….. helps you set your sizing die and will tell you rather or not your gonna have chambering issues before you get a bunch loaded

    http://www.brownells.com/reloading/m...prod33287.aspx

  5. #5

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    I am weighting each load. The reason I used the IMR 4198 is because it was listed in the book and I had some of it that I do not use much. The brass is once fired Winchester that was fired in a single shot rifle I own. I am just hoping these will cycle in this rifle to get it through the break in and cleaning phase. If these will work I will try other powder and bullet combos later.

  6. #6

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    They shot just fine, or most of them did. I had a round that had a small dimple on it from excess case lube that would not chamber. The rest did fine. We loaded the mag and shot then checked for pressure signs and found none. I saved the last round unfired to check to see if my crimp had held. The bullet had not moved. I think I have another expensive hobby now.

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    BECAREFUL, reloading gets expensive! Yes, reloading each cartridge saves money, it is just that you be reloading more/shooting more with equals spending more on reloading components.
    You are right, it is fun though.

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    As Gunbugs said.
    Trim brass to the same length.
    Seat primers correctly at the bottom, recessed slightly from flush.
    Full length size generally is enough for the 5.56/223 but SB may be needed for some rifles.
    Most problematic is the crimp. Seating depth must be the same in every case. Do not crimp unless you have a cannelure (crimp groove) and then only in a additional operation, never with the seating operation. It's best to use a separate crimp die after all bullets are seated or use the seater/crimper die with the seating stem backed up and readjust the die body for crimp only operation. Buy the third die crimp it's worth the $$$ if you load a lot and use cannelures bullets. The lube dents will iron out when fired. They usually cause no problems.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  9. #9

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    I was under the impression that you needed a crimp when loading for a semi-auto. The v-max bullet that I am loading has no cannelure so is it ok to shoot these in a AR type gun or do I need to switch bullets? I have loaded for over 40 years for bolt actions and single shots without crimping any rounds but the AR is all new to me.

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    I use a tapered Crimp die from RCBS. So far no issues when using bullets with out a cannelure. If the bullets have a cannulure, then I use a rolled crimp.

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    If you have sufficient neck tension a crimp isn't necessary. I've never crimped my 168 gr 308's in my M1A for over 30,000 rounds and never had a problem. Worn out 3 barrels so far. Still going strong.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunbugs View Post
    If you have sufficient neck tension a crimp isn't necessary. I've never crimped my 168 gr 308's in my M1A for over 30,000 rounds and never had a problem. Worn out 3 barrels so far. Still going strong.
    Concur. I load for Garands and AR15 and don't crimp. Never had a problem. If you are using typical 55-62 grain bullets, just set your seating die for magazine length and you'll be good to go. I know beggars can't be choosers these days, but if you get the chance, try AR Comp or RE15 powder. They meter well and are better suited than 4198 for gas guns.

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    While you're looking for powder, don't pass up AA2230, it's my standard powder for 55 +/- bullets. H335, Varget, & 748 have all worked as well, but I always come back to AA2230 for these bullets. It flows well and fills the case to where I like it. There's several good powders in that burn range. During these times I buy any thing I see that may work; better to have something than nothing. I don't load stick powders in the smaller case.

    I "never" get dimples in the .30 cases, but "always" get a few small ones when I start sizing .223 cases. It hasn't caused me any problems and I just accept I'm less than perfect when putting lube on the pad. Think about it, the pressure forced the brass into the case not outside the case. I rather have a few small dimples than deal with a stuck case. I shoot those few dimpled cases for standing just in case there is a difference.

    I'm part of the don't crimp cases for the semi-autos crowd. I've never had to use SB dies for any of my semi-autos.

  14. #14

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    The dimple I had was on the end of the shoulder and on into the wall of the case. This round would not chamber in the AR but probably be ok in a bolt gun. I will try it in a bolt gun and fire it to blow the case back out if it will chamber ok. If not will just throw it away after I pull the bullet.

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    What kind of primers are you using? I'm starting to stock up an 5.56 cases. I'll either be loading .223 for fun or .300 BLK for hunting. Haven't decided which way yet. Are you using the small rifle magnum or just the small rifle? Just curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    What kind of primers are you using? I'm starting to stock up an 5.56 cases. I'll either be loading .223 for fun or .300 BLK for hunting. Haven't decided which way yet. Are you using the small rifle magnum or just the small rifle? Just curious.
    These days with component availability I imagine folk's are using whatever they can get….. I usually always use a a magnum primer or a military primer like CCI # 41 for ball powders, Thats just always been a rule of thumb….especially in a colder climate like Alaska. With stick powders Like Varget or Benchmark , I usually just use a standard primer. Now that their affordable….when I do my load work up I usually always shoot over a Chrony, its kinda neat to watch the Deviation tighten up along with the groups when you hit a node… I have seen magnum primers work wonders helping the spread on ball powders..

  17. #17

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    I used the Winchester Small Rifle (WSR) primers. All I wanted to do with this load was see if it would cycle in the rifle. I have several other powders and bullets on hand to try now that I know they will work in the rifle. When I start working up some loads I will use the conograph also.

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    No need to turn it into rocket science....
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunbugs View Post
    No need to turn it into rocket science....

    ROFL……. Some of just can't help it …. You are completely right and I agree. Some of the best Loads I ever worked up was just loading from min to max and shooting 5 shot groups… However Im always looking for conformation of my load when I work it up…. Ive been amazed at how handy a crony has proved to be for this. I will get spreads from anywhere from 60 to 100…Then I hit that node and the spread drops to 20 and my groups tighten right up….for me it just confirms I am in the node….. Then I check OCW and 90 percent of the time I'm right in the middle….. Then I know its time to start working on seating depth.

    But yeah your correct… Just shooting groups and finding the OCW has always worked in the past just as good. I just enjoy shooting I guess and I have a tad bit of OCD to boot… I can't do anything without going overboard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanTides View Post
    These days with component availability I imagine folk's are using whatever they can get….. I usually always use a a magnum primer or a military primer like CCI # 41 for ball powders, Thats just always been a rule of thumb….especially in a colder climate like Alaska. With stick powders Like Varget or Benchmark , I usually just use a standard primer. Now that their affordable….when I do my load work up I usually always shoot over a Chrony, its kinda neat to watch the Deviation tighten up along with the groups when you hit a node… I have seen magnum primers work wonders helping the spread on ball powders..
    Are those Semi-autos or bolt guns? I ask because I'm mainly looking at semi-auto. The only thing I really worry about with primers on semi is the potential for slam fire. I've read a lot about cup thickness, but it seems to be less of an issue for less demanding action. IE, non-military drop your rifle down a hill and has to be 100% type. I'm mainly only concerned that it function right and I can run it in my semi without worrying about slam fire.

    I already have a healthy supply of varget, so that will be what I start with. Just need to get some primers and bullets.

    Anyone want to trade 1k small pistol magnum primers for 1k #41s? lol.

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