.223 cartridge overall length

.223 cartridge overall length

This is a discussion on .223 cartridge overall length within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; ok. i'm new to reloading. my hornady book shows 55gr loads seated to a COL of 2.200 but in the specs in the beginning of ...

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Thread: .223 cartridge overall length

  1. #1
    Member Array spyshot's Avatar
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    .223 cartridge overall length

    ok. i'm new to reloading. my hornady book shows 55gr loads seated to a COL of 2.200 but in the specs in the beginning of .223 chapter, it shows maximum of 2.260. i've been using remington lead tip bullets and have been loading them to about 2.200 col. then i switched to remington FMJ and noticed that when i seat them at 2.200 that i can push the bullet right in the shell with my fingers. i played around and have noticed that in order for me to not be able to push the bullet in with my fingers, that i have to seat them to a COL of 2.260.

    i notice that when i load them to COL of 2.260 and chamber the round in my AR that the bullet DOES engage the rifling. (i can see scratch marks on the bullet and it is somewhat difficult to extract the round with the charging handle.)

    questions:

    is it the shape of the bullet that is causing the FMJ to push in easier? (I'm using the same brass)

    is it ok for the bullet to engage the rifling like that when chambered?

    how do you determine the proper COL when your reloading book doesn't address that specific bullet?

    thanks so much for your help in my dilemma.

    adam


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Majorlk's Avatar
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    The max OAL in all my manuals is 2.260.
    Quote Originally Posted by spyshot View Post
    questions:

    is it the shape of the bullet that is causing the FMJ to push in easier? (I'm using the same brass)
    You should NOT be able to push a seated round into a case with just finger pressure. Either you are not properly resizing the case neck or you are expanding the neck in the powder die and then not crimping it in the seating die.

    is it ok for the bullet to engage the rifling like that when chambered?
    Normally, no. You need about .002 clearance. You need to adjust your seating die stem for each style of bullet. One adjustment does NOT fit all.

    how do you determine the proper COL when your reloading book doesn't address that specific bullet?
    You seat a bullet to a depth that does not contact the rifling. It is common for the OAL to vary with bullet style.
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    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    is it the shape of the bullet that is causing the FMJ to push in easier? (I'm using the same brass)
    Possibly verify your bullet diameter. Should be .224" you shouldn't be able to move the bullet by hand. Also double check the length of the brass to make sure it's not too long and that the neck isn't cracked.
    is it ok for the bullet to engage the rifling like that when chambered?
    No. All rifles are different. more then 90% of the time the OAL listed in the book is conservative and a good reference point. You may not get the best accuracy but it will be a safe reload point to progress from.

    how do you determine the proper COL when your reloading book doesn't address that specific bullet?
    Not to be a smartass but to solve it you buy the book that lists your specific bullet.


    Quickie question... Do you know the barrel length and twist rate? This could either limit or expand your options for bullet choice.
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Your crimping die isn't set right,to set your crimping die,first get the bullet seated to correct length,If you are using Lee dies that seat and crimp in one step,after seating the bullet to correct depth back out the seating attachmentI and then screw down the crimping die until it touches the bullet and stops turning,then raise the die up and turn it down another 1/2 turn and then crimp the round,it should hold the bullet tight,at that point raise the bullet back into the seating/crimp die and turn down the seating knob until it stops on the bullet,you should now have the die set to where it seats and crimps the bullet,Iusually seat my bullets somewhere between minimum and maximum,if you go over maximum the bullet will be too long to load in the magazine.I loaded some 55 grn FMJ and COAL is 2.240
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    Okay, I skipped reading the other posts, but here's my experience.

    COL is usually the MAX length. I have a Rem. 788 in .223 and I purposely extended the COL until the bullets touched the rifling (as you described) and then seated it a tad deeper. The rounds still fit the mag and fed. The accuracy was superb!

    And yes, if I wanted to, I could move the bullet and even yank it out. But my rounds were made for my rifle for varmit hunting, not feeding through an AR.

    I also did the same thing with my Rem. 700 in 30-06. My cartridges will not fit my buddy's gun, but if they shoot 3/4" groups in mine at 100 yds, who cares?

    So you'll see there's a lot of experimentation with reloading (which enables you to find the perfect load for your gun).

    Different bullets have different shapes. Are the loose ones boattailed? That would make a looser fit compared to non-boattails.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Member Array Emrah's Avatar
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    Agree with almost everything here. Though you shouldn't NEED to crimp the necks at all. I have several thousand rounds loaded and I don't think I crimped more than a couple of hundred of them. Neck tension alone should hold the bullet secure. You should not be able to push or pull the bullet with your fingers.

    Not trying to be a smartass, but did you actually size the brass? Or did you buy some once-fired brass and just load it? When you fire it, the neck expands and you can almost drop the bullet in with no resistance.

    As for overall length, 2.260 is max to fit in an AR magazine. I usually load mine to 2.230 or 2.240. When I load in bulk, I'm not super-anal about case length so the OAL loaded length will vary somewhat. I'd rather have that bit of extra in reserve should one be longer/shorter etc. so I know it will feed in the mag and not get hung up. Now, this is for bulk plinking ammo, not match grade ammo.

    Emrah

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    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    I agree with Dukalmughty. FOr AR ammo, you should not be able to move the bullet with your fingers. You need to set your die to properly roll crimp with the bullets you are using or add a factory crimp.

    I use the factory crimp die(FCD) because in my experience it is real easy to crush a case with the regular die while trying to crimp, so my die is backed out so it does not crimp so it just seats the bullet to the corect AOL and then I crimp with the FCD.

    Either method will work but you need a crimp unless your chambering one at a time by hand.

    I also usually try to set my AOL in the middle somewhere between min and max. That way any variance either way is unlikely to cause trouble. YMMV
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emrah View Post
    Agree with almost everything here. Though you shouldn't NEED to crimp the necks at all. I have several thousand rounds loaded and I don't think I crimped more than a couple of hundred of them. Neck tension alone should hold the bullet secure. You should not be able to push or pull the bullet with your fingers.

    Not trying to be a smartass, but did you actually size the brass? Or did you buy some once-fired brass and just load it? When you fire it, the neck expands and you can almost drop the bullet in with no resistance.

    As for overall length, 2.260 is max to fit in an AR magazine. I usually load mine to 2.230 or 2.240. When I load in bulk, I'm not super-anal about case length so the OAL loaded length will vary somewhat. I'd rather have that bit of extra in reserve should one be longer/shorter etc. so I know it will feed in the mag and not get hung up. Now, this is for bulk plinking ammo, not match grade ammo.

    Emrah
    Yep, what he said. I keep mine at 2.235 with no crimp, for my long distance match rifle. Works great.
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  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    With bolt action rifles I never ever crimp. For the AR I give it a "lee factory crimp". The only reason I have done this is I have had a double feed due to a defective rim (the rim ripped off) the round then was pushed into the shell and the bullet popped right into the case... a rather extensive cleaning followed due to the powder that sprayed out of the case. A crimp may not save the round but it will help you not have to clean powder if the bullets ever take a hit.
    There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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    Agree with Emrah on the crimping.

    The neck should be tight enough after resizing--for any rifle. You can't "roll crimp" unless the bullet has a channelure. Nor should seating the bullet crush the case (an extra advantage of BT bullets-they seat easily).

    The expander plug on the decapping pin is (should be) smaller than the bullet diameter, thus the case neck is already "crimped." If your bullets are "loose," something is wrong with your die or setup.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Member Array spyshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emrah View Post
    Not trying to be a smartass, but did you actually size the brass? Or did you buy some once-fired brass and just load it? When you fire it, the neck expands and you can almost drop the bullet in with no resistance.
    Emrah
    that's ok, but yes, they were sized.

  12. #12
    Member Array spyshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majorlk View Post
    You seat a bullet to a depth that does not contact the rifling. It is common for the OAL to vary with bullet style.
    how do you go about doing this? just by looking for scratches on the bullet when inserted in the rifle?

  13. #13
    Member Array spyshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razor02097 View Post
    Quickie question... Do you know the barrel length and twist rate? This could either limit or expand your options for bullet choice.
    16" barrel 1:7 twist. i'm using 55gr if i didn't say above.

  14. #14
    Member Array spyshot's Avatar
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    ok, thank you to everyone for the insight. it has helped me to paint a better picture of what's going on. i have found that my problem was that the crimp part on the seating die was not set properly. now that i have that set, i am having no more problems with the bullet being loose.

    now on to proper COL. here is my procedure...

    after setting the crimp properly thanks to dukalmighty i then played around with the seating depth.

    -i tried seating them to about 2.245 and putting the round into the magazine and pushing the release button on the bolt.
    -pull the charging handle and i have to pull pretty hard to get the cartridge to eject.
    -examine bullet and find scratches on it.
    -change seating depth to 2.235 and check again...etc.

    i'm now at 2.200 and still finding that the cartridge is hard to eject.
    shouldn't the cartridge eject easily? shouldn't the charging handle pull back as easily as it would if there were no cartridge in the chamber?

    the cases are sized and the outside diameter of the brass measures the same as my reloading book specs.

    ideas?

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    It still sounds like you have a sizing die setup issue. Don't know what brand dies you have but for most--

    Sizing die: Raise the shellholder to its uppermost position. Screw the die down until it "barely" touches the shellholder. Lock the adjustment ring down (it has a setscrew for locking the ring into a set position, right?). That ensures maximum resizing.

    Remove die and shell holder. Hold shellholder against the base of the die. Adjust decapping pin/expander rod down until the decapping pin protrudes about 1/8" below where base of the case would rest in the shellholder. Lock the rod into positions there. That ensures the spent primer will clear the casing.

    On occasion, some autos require the use of a "small-base" resizing die (I think RCBS makes them) due to tight chambers. An A/R should not need this as the military specs are generally looser than non/mils.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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