Episode 4: Starting over.

Discussion in 'Ammunition and Reloading' started by spamassassin, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    I started going through all my 7mag brass and .308 brass and .223 brass and realized it's almost all in need of just throwing away at this point and starting with a fresh batch. All but my Prvi .223 cases are 80% of the way through their useful life. I've just been refusing to admit it to myself because brass is so damned expensive now.

    I also got my shipment of brand new Hornady .243 win brass for my new .243AI barrel and a bunch of boxes of 108gn ELD-M's, my new 6mm neck sizing and seating dies and a few bits and bobs. In the spirit of starting from scratch I've culled all of my older brass and I'm setting that aside for TEOTWAWKI.

    I've since ordered a very large box of Prvi 7mm Rem Mag brass (giving them a chance on some belted cases, their .223 brass is amazing for the price) to go with the very large box of 162gn ELD-M's I recently got.

    I'm going to pull down all of my existing loaded 7mag and .223 and .308 ammo tonight.
  2. Keith Moderator

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    How much do you shorten your case life with those hot loads you run to match shooting?
  3. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Around 60% reduction on average with military brass. On LC11 I was getting 3 loads before I started seeing case head separations start to appear. By 5th load some were splitting necks and some primers were loose enough to get black rings around them after firing and some wouldn't fit correctly in a shellholder and CHS's were much more common. The cull rate is pretty high with .mil brass to begin with. With my new PPU brass and the BHW barrel my pressures are way down and velocities are up with a lighter load on .223 ammo. I'm only .5gn over book max right now on my .223's. In my experience pressure limits take longer to get to with BHW's polygonal rifling in play and velocities are higher. With the factory Mossberg/Savage barrels I had to run pressures pretty tall to get the required velocities.

    My 7mag 162gn load so far is nowhere near max pressure. Over 3K FPS and plenty of room to go. I won't even be able to shoot max pressures with the .243AI due to MV restrictions.
  4. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Went through and finished my brass cull and pulled down a bunch of ammo for components. Got a bunch of supplies coming too. Got a new bullet comparator set and digital caliper, new 7mag brass, a bunch of bullets for .38spl and .357mag and .45ACP & Cinderblock loads. I gathered up all of the bad loads (crushed shoulders, rumpled necks, upside down primers, damaged bullets, ICHS suspects, etc...). That ended up to be 2 quarts of random ammo to pull down. Sorted all of my bullets and gathered all the remnants that I won't be using. I'll be listing those for sale here pretty soon. Lots of .30 cal and .223 and a bit of 7mm and .429 bullets so if you're a reloader and you want to get dibbs, LMK. I'll see if I can't have a list ready tomorrow morning with detailed info. It's going to be Hornady .30cal and Berger and Hornady .223 mostly with some Speer .30 cal and Remington .429 in there and a bit of MidwayUSA Dogtown .223 too.

    Doing all of that got me set up to start a big batch of pistol and carbine ammo so I'll be running that through for a couple days at least and I managed to find 100 rounds of 1-fire hornady .243 brass I can use to get my fireforming loads dialed in before doing it to my brand new brass.
    Keith likes this.
  5. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    You know how depressing it is to see a 5 gallon bucket full of brass and think, "man, none of that is worth loading."

    On the other side, the guy doing my barrel cerakote hasn't called me back in a week. getting irritated.
  6. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Picked up 500 new Winchester .45acp cases and 1000 each of new Winchester .38spl and 9x19mm and a 300 .357mag cases. Added that to the 500 rounds of starline .30carb brass I pulled in recently and the PPU .223 brass I got recently. That's about 4K rounds of new brass all tolled along with >2000 projos.

    The wife got me a present to go with everything else, an industrial arco bin rack. Came with 12 big ass bins and 4 huge ass bins that can all be organized into smaller buckets with little dividers. There's enough capacity for all of my new brass and all my bullets and dies.

    Like I said, starting over so all the old stuff, the dirty stuff it's just off to the side now. I'm still putting dividers into bins and transferring my bulk supplies into them. I'll get pics when it's in a state worthy of them.
  7. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Just ordered 8lbs of Reloader23 along with more PPU 223 cases and more .357mag PPU cases. I think I'm set for the rest of the year. yay.
    Keith likes this.
  8. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    Going to build 500x .45's today. 300x 200gn Bear Creek MCRNLHB's (moly coated round nose lead hollow base) and 150x 200gn Hornady HAP's (XTP's without skiving) loaded to .45ACP levels and 50 of them loaded to .460Rowland levels then I'll crank out 100x .357mag's with 125gn Hornady XTP's and 500x .38spl 158gn Berry's plated RN's. My spotter, The Disco Tripper, is coming over this morning to help since he shoots up half of my pistol ammo for me.
  9. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    The bin rack is really coming together. I have to make a few more dividers tonight but it's within sight of done. So much space is clearing up with this thing. Really helps the organization in the garage in general. I'm running the bin rack in layers from top to bottom, fired brass, cleaned brass, sized brass, primed brass, projectiles, loaded ammo. I've got six bins of width so I can either have 6 calibers going with some in each stage or what's more likely to happen, I'll have some in 2-3 stages and some in 2-3 completely other stages. Since I tend to binge process and binge load that seems the best way to go. Because the Dillon is in use not everything goes through every stage atomically however, I tend to like to size and prime as a separate operation from the rest of the loading cycle for stuff like pistol ammo. It's easier that way since there's the case mouth belling stage which I set up on position 1 on my tool head so the powder die stays at position 2 where it's supposed to be so the powder charging actuator arm can do its job.
    Keith likes this.
  10. GrocMax Active Member

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    If current IMI 223 brass is as good as it used to be, getcha some. Ain't seen any unprimed IMI brass for sale for quite awhile so its once fired only.

    New unprimed LC is $45 a bag of 250 and readily available. Once fired has 30%-50% of its life already gone.

    To get it to last longer do the chambers with a small base reamer that stays .375" at the base instead of SAAMI .378". It keeps primer pocket growth in check better. Down side is you'll need a small base body die for any brass not fired in that chamber.
  11. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    I'm running all PPU and FC for .223 right now. All of the NATO/.mil brass I've gotten was causing me endless troubles with CHS and all the work to unscrew the primer pockets.
  12. GrocMax Active Member

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    CHS- What primers you use?
    CHS- This all once fired mil brass?
  13. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    I use CCI 5.56 mil spec primers and CCI SRP and MSRP. All depends on the load and how possible it is that the rounds will make it into an AR-15. All my LC/IMI/TAA was once fired, not even from machine guns. Mostly gathered from a police range. By the 3rd firing I started getting a lot of case head seps, statistically speaking. In the .mil brass I had to run pressures higher to get the velocities I needed. Now with PPU and FC commercial brass I'm able to get the velocities without going to a compressed charge. So far no indications of CHS.
  14. GrocMax Active Member

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    Breakdown of a CHS-

    23 deg (or other narrow angle) shoulder makes it worse.
    You can have perfect 0 headspace and still CHS.
    Pin strike can force the case into the neck and lengthen the neck/shorten the body just like a really short sizing die setup.
    Pressure rises, the thinner portions of the case from neck mouth to midway on the body expand and grab the chamber walls.
    The thick portion of the case does not expand far enough to lock onto the chamber wall.
    This lower portion of the case gets forced back to the bolt head, where the area between case grab and not grab is located, is where the CHS line is at, about midway up the body.
    Hard thick cup primers on first firing make it worse, fire form with a softer thinner primer (CCI 400, WSR etc.).
    Once fire formed go to full load thick hard primer.
    Tight body chamber helps both CHS and primer pocket longevity for max loads.

    As a test take a sized case, no powder, try a 400/WSR primer in one, a 450/BR4/7 1/2/41/ Tula SRM or 556 in the other. Clean chamber well, mark neck to shoulder junction with a sharpie. Fire cases with primer only.

    a) Note how much the neck has grown in length on each (sharpie swipe).
    b) Note if primer is now sitting above case head.

    Moral to the story-
    Use virgin brass and fire form moderate practice load with a soft primer before going to max load. Use the thinnest softest primer you can get away with without piercing. Avoid 41's they are the worst.
    This is really a problem when fireforming an AI. Tight headspacing a narrow shoulder angle case is not as absolute as you'd think. Consider an AI, 30 to 45 deg shoulder.

    In my personal testing both LC and new lots of FC have stronger case heads/pockets than Lapua, even though Lapua starts out with a .0005" undersized pocket. I only run into problems on LC with once fired mil brass, new is fine. FC is trimmed too short for me but works good for 20 Prac.
  15. GrocMax Active Member

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    I had a very high rate of FTF's with a deep strike and CHS on 2nd load in both 223AI and 6TCU and went to figure it out and the root cause was using 450's, 7 1/2's, and Tula SRM's for fireform loads. Even set my pin protrusion to a ridiculous .100+" and still firing it primer only no powder/bullet would FTF 3 out of 5, the ones that did fire had the primer sticking out nearly .030" from primer gas pressure alone. Since switching to 400's for fireform and going back to .040" pin protrusion have ZERO FTF's, pierces, or bad cases with either fireform or full loads. Full loads get 450's, Tula SRM or 7 1/2's. And I load hot with the same case just to find the limits for case life, lucky for me the loading bench is 20 ft away from the shooting bench.

    Granted fireforming AI is a little different from straight 223 but the problem still exists just to a lesser degree. There can be a LOT of forward movement from a pin strike with the 223.
  16. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    WOW! That's some super useful info. Not the what but the why. Can't thank you enough for that. I've got some definite changes to make. Thanks!


    Never stop learning.
  17. GrocMax Active Member

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    Jamming a bullet doesn't always help either. I was stuck in CHS=headspace mode for awhile. Checked headspace till I was blue in the face. Then tried the empty case primer only deal and the LED (light bulb for you old timers) went off above muh head.
  18. spamassassin Well-Known Member

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    They're cutting the shank on my new .243AI barrel today. Should have it in time for the next match. Think I'm just going to load normal .243's the first time, then mess with the load dev for the AI stuff later.

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