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ricochet65
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 7:55pm | IP Logged Quote ricochet65

I am new to reloading 223 Rem for my bolt action rifle. My first batch of 100 rounds was a little inconsistent according to my chronograph readings, however, everything seemed to be within normal values. Second batch of a 100 rounds was more consistent, half grain less powder, however, one the last few rounds I fired I noticed blackened case rims as well as the action (ejector area on the bolt)dirtier than normal. I stopped firing as a precaution of course. Is this a sign of something wrong on my loads or is it normal?
This is my load data:
H-335 powder: 21.5gr
Remington 55gr FMJ bullets
CCI 400 primers
Thanks!
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richhodg66
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 8:11pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Welcome to the forum.

In my experience, the .223 is about the easiest rifle cartridge to get great accuracy from reloading. One of the first rifles I started reloading for is a plain jane Savage 110 in .223 and pretty much anything I handload for it goes into a dime size group at 100 yards. You almost can't load bad ammo for one.

Checking against a Hornady manual for their 55 grain bullet, your load of H335 is the starting load, so you shouldn't be having any pressure problems from it. The big sign to watch for over pressures in bolt action rifles is cratered or flattened primers and sticky extraction.

How many times fired is your brass?

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ricochet65
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 8:21pm | IP Logged Quote ricochet65

Thanks so much for your comments!
I purchased a couple of 50-case packs from Cabelas. The label says "Fired once brass", so this last batch would be the third time. I was quite impressed that my first batch was more accurate than factory ammo! Well, I've examined my last rounds closely and there's no signs of over pressure. Brass was extracted/ejected normal, no resistance. I think it could be one or two loose primers :/
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richhodg66
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 8:40pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

If it is only fired once, should be no problem. Is it military brass?

Most rifles can benefit from handloading over most factory rounds, but I have found that the .223 difference seems bigger than most. The little bit of factory ammo I have shot in that old Savage does alright, but anything I handload for it just seems to rip ragged holes at 100 yards if I do my part.

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ricochet65
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 8:52pm | IP Logged Quote ricochet65

Not sure, it's PMC 223 Rem. They come clean and deprimed. Thanks
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Old Ranger
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 9:32pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

The black blow-by is likely by a loose primer pocket.
Less likely, but still possible, a pierced primer. If
that occurred you'd probably notice that when shooting.
PMC brass tends to be a little soft and if your loads are
light there stands a chance that the primer had backed
out a touch also.

And welcome aboard the forum!

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ricochet65
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 9:48pm | IP Logged Quote ricochet65

That's exactly what I thought. I would have to check the primers with a magnifying glass and see if there's a pierced one. I am more inclined to loose primers. I am using a Lee Ram priming unit. While priming my cases I noticed that a couple or more were inserted too "easy" while with most primers you can hear a little "snap". While shooting there was no sign of high pressure, all fired rounds felt the same, chronograph readings were consistent and excellent accuracy. What else could it be? Thanks!!
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Ranch 13
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 9:49pm | IP Logged Quote Ranch 13

You might want to try either some new brass, or some that is once fired in
your rifles chamber from factory loads.
Some .223's can get a bit picky about the brass they get fed.

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ricochet65
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Posted: January 06 2018 at 9:54pm | IP Logged Quote ricochet65

I am planning on reloading factory ammo once fired. For instance, Walmart's bulk Federal or Remington are very inexpensive. Is there any particular brand that you would recommend? Thanks!
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Buffalogun
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 6:46am | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Apparently, some PMC .223 brass has a military crimp and some does not. Check your brass for "PSD" on the head stamp.
If so, that might contribute to the problem.



Mike

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richhodg66
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 7:24am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I've had mixed success with PMC brass. Their handgun brass has been very good in my experience and lasts a long time, but I've loaded some rifle brass that had grossly off center primer holes and other issues. I think buying some of the low cost Remington stuff at Wal Mart to get the brass may be a good idea.

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Ranch 13
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 7:31am | IP Logged Quote Ranch 13

ricochet65 wrote:
I am planning on reloading factory ammo once fired. For
instance, Walmart's bulk Federal or Remington are very inexpensive. Is there
any particular brand that you would recommend? Thanks!


I prefer the Winchester.
If you buy the unprimed component brass, Hornady is my preferred brand.
You might also want to consider a powder a bit slower in burn rate. My favored
powders in the 223 are 748,4895, and Rl15.

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ricochet65
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 7:49am | IP Logged Quote ricochet65

First step, I'm getting rid
of my brass. Done my research
and Winchester factory ammo
is the best choice. Federal
is not an option, it's said
that its brass is too soft
and easily deformed. Still
have plenty of H335, will
consider other powders for
sure. Thanks!!

Edited by ricochet65 on January 07 2018 at 7:31pm
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Old Ranger
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 8:25am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

H335 is perfectly fine in this cartridge. I load plenty
with it. If you toss it, that's like throwing out the
baby with the bathwater.

First off, establish your goals. What are you wanting
from your load and rifle? Strictly paper punching?
Plinking? Varmint hunting?
Once your goal is set then you can proceed to bullet
selection. Narrow your powder choice. And most
importantly, seeking out refinements therein.

If the primary goal is paper punching/casual plinking
then you certainly don't require soft pointed hunting
bullets. FMJ rounds have a high enough B.C. for accurate
fun. Serious distance work and precise shooting? Heavier
HPBT bullets are your choice. Groundhogs and such need
both exact accuracy with explosive impact. Lighter HP or
SP capable of both distance and destruction.

So sit down and review your needs. Don't jump in with
both feet without researching and setting your priorities
first. And never, repeat NEVER try anything with the
"shotgun approach"! Meaning don't change multiple
components at once. Change one thing at a time. The
difference between a three shot group covered by a dime
and one that's all over the place will be found by sound
and logical work and not by throwing loads together
because it's done on a whim or a guess.

DOCUMENTATION! Keep a log. Know what you're doing by
studying what did and more importantly, didn't work.

It's not rocket science, it's just common sense that
separates a good load from simple fodder for spraying
down range.


Edited by Old Ranger on January 07 2018 at 8:29am


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Ranch 13
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 8:31am | IP Logged Quote Ranch 13

ricochet65 wrote:
First step, I'm getting rid
of my brass. Done my research
and Winchester factory ammo
is the best choice. Federal
is not an option, it's said
that it's brass is too soft
and easily deformed. Still
have plenty of H335, will
consider other powers for
sure. Thanks!!


Sounds like a good plan. Looking forward to reading your progress.

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richhodg66
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 8:32am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

My experience with .223 indicates that it is a very forgiving round that uses a lot of different powders well. H335 worked fine as did IMR 3031, BLC-2, 4895, 4196, etc. Haven't used it, but Varget is well written up.

Oddly, I got some of the best groups using IMR 4064 which is a bit slow burning, but I was a new reloader and had some. Shot great and you almost can't get enough in a .223 case to overload it.

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RT58
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 9:09am | IP Logged Quote RT58

Do you still have that case with the primer in it?

If you do, can you post some clearer pictures of the primer? And is the primer even with the case head or sitting lower?
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ricochet65
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 11:06am | IP Logged Quote ricochet65

Thanks everyone for the very helpful feedback and advice! I don't have that case in the pic with me right now plus it has been deprimed already. I've come to the conclusion that it was a loose primer pocket and here's why: Grabbed a few cases from this batch, cleaned, lubed them and proceeded to depriming. The primer in question literally fell of the primer pocket. I think I could have pushed it out by hand with a toothpick! Thanks again!
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 2:31pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Many times the bulk once fired brass buys are decent enough and are indeed "once fired", but eventually one will find a few cases that some handloader had been using for no telling how long and they decided to just leave them on the range floor rather than pick them up because they were near their end of useful life. They get mixed in with the once fired brass and sold as once fired.

My experience has shown that Federal is very soft brass in about any type of rifle caliber in which I have used them. A couple of reloadings and the primer pockets are about toast.

Except for dealing with the military crimp, it is hard to beat Lake City (LC) once fired brass that has been salvaged from a military range. It will most likely be for sure once fired. It lasts well and I have found the inside case capacity to really not differ all that much from most commercial brass. I am not sure if brass fired by the SAW would cause any difficulty. Machine gun fired brass in 7.62x51 will be stretched out a bit more than rifle fired brass, so the SAW fired brass could have that issue as well, but I have not found any problems with any bulk Lake City 5.56 brass.

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hdwhit
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Posted: January 07 2018 at 5:15pm | IP Logged Quote hdwhit

Welcome to the forum.

One thing to realize with so-called "once fired brass" is that unless it it military brass and still has the spent primer crimped in place, all you really know it that is is "previously fired brass" and you really can't tell how many times it was previously fired.

I concur with those who say the explanation is probably an expanded case head. You will notice these when you seat the primer since the primer will seem to go in with no force at all. When that happens, I mark the primer with a sharpie and when that round is fired, it goes into the recycling bucket.

Although I don't think it happened here, you should be alert to the fact that your load is near the starting load and sometimes very light loads can allow propellant gasses to get back around the sides of the case before the internal pressure rises high enough to press the case against the chamber walls. If this happens, you will see soot at the case mouth, neck and possibly down much of its length. If this happens, the solution is to raise the charge slightly or try a different powder.

Overall it looks like you're doing good. You began with the starting load and that's something a lot of people don't do. You can now work up in small increments searching for a more consistent, more accurate load.

Good luck.
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