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Clay

Problem with first reloads

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Hey y'all I have a little problem on my hands and would like your insight. I loaded about 30 rounds of  hornady 155 hpbt for my AR308 using a lee hand press and lee dies. I was also using once fired ppu brass that I have been collecting that was fired from the same rifle I am reloading for. I resized and checked with my Lyman case gauge and they all passed. The brass was a little longer than I would've liked (2.011) but still within spec so I didn't trim. After loading them at 2.795 coal I thought that I should chamber one to ensure that I had crimped it properly. In hindsight I should've done this with a dummy round but I didn't think of it at the time. Anyways I put one in the mag pulled back the charging handle and the round chambered just like new so again I thought everything was okay. Then when I went to eject the round the was bcg was stuck and would only move back around 1/4 of an inch or so. I took it to my local gunsmith and got the round out. After inspection the bullet had some pretty bad markings on it. I loaded another reload round that was shorter (2.650 coal) and it did the same thing. We then loaded some of his match hornady amax and it ejected fine but the markings on the bullet were again present. He believes that I resized correctly and that my barrel may have a burr but why would the factory ammo eject and my reloads wouldn't? Thoughts?

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  You will get Bolt Locking Lug marks when cycling loaded ammo with out firing it , Bullet scraps along the locking lugs on the way out .

 Trim Brass to 2.005" & make sure Bolt locking Lugs are well lubricated . If rife is new Build or just a new rifle , things will be a little tight . Needs to seat components in.

  Was Head Space checked or is a factory rifle ?

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Okay I will trim a dummy round to 2.005 and see. I just assumed as long as I was in spec I was good to go. Yes I had the headspace check by a gunsmith. Since it fits my case gauge it's safe to assume that the case is in fact resized correctly?

Edited by Clay

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51 minutes ago, Clay said:

Okay I will trim a dummy round to 2.005 and see. I just assumed as long as I was in spec I was good to go. Yes I had the headspace check by a gunsmith. Since it fits my case gauge it's safe to assume that the case is in fact resized correctly?

  If it fits correctly into the Case Gage , yes the Case is sized correctly for case head space. 

 You should always Trim the cases to Trim length , you can get away with out doing it in some Chambers , but you never know with some Brass & its thickness after sizing . Another thing is , what Sizing Die do you have , Full Length or Small Base ? A FL will work in most cases , but not all Chambers are a like , some fired Brass , from some manufacturers may not Size the same & need the SB Die .

 Size & Trim a Case & Chamber it & see how it reacts , you can also try one of your untrimmed Cases also. I load a lot of 155gr. Hornady match Bullets & as long as they are trimmed & the Shoulder is set back correctly , your COL is fine .

 

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34 minutes ago, survivalshop said:

  If it fits correctly into the Case Gage , yes the Case is sized correctly for case head space. 

 You should always Trim the cases to Trim length , you can get away with out doing it in some Chambers , but you never know with some Brass & its thickness after sizing . Another thing is , what Sizing Die do you have , Full Length or Small Base ? A FL will work in most cases , but not all Chambers are a like , some fired Brass , from some manufacturers may not Size the same & need the SB Die .

 Size & Trim a Case & Chamber it & see how it reacts , you can also try one of your untrimmed Cases also. I load a lot of 155gr. Hornady match Bullets & as long as they are trimmed & the Shoulder is set back correctly , your COL is fine .

 

I cleaned and lubed the chamber, found a perfecta case that was already right on 2.005 and seated a bullet with no powder/primer.  Resluts were the same, chambered fine but bolt is locked. I used Lee Full length. With the brass being cheap stuff ( PPU and perfecta) could that be the problem?

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39 minutes ago, Clay said:

I cleaned and lubed the chamber, found a perfecta case that was already right on 2.005 and seated a bullet with no powder/primer.  Resluts were the same, chambered fine but bolt is locked. I used Lee Full length. With the brass being cheap stuff ( PPU and perfecta) could that be the problem?

Full length as opposed to small base dies? While not much difference, that might possibly be it. It is not much case at the bottom, but if it swelled, that might cause it. Just a thought. Check your case diameter at just above the base with a micrometer and compare it to a factory round just to be sure.

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  This issue sounds like the same thing I got when I bought the New MEC single stage press last year , & found I was not setting the Case Shoulder back enough . I now use LE. Wilson Case Gages . Even though I reloaded for almost forty years with out them & never had an issue till I got this new Press , I had to find a Shell Holder that permitted proper Shoulder set back . Might also be you have some play in your Press & its not forcing the Shoulder to the proper set back . 

 You gage may not be telling the whole truth & it wouldn't be the first time . The Lee Had Press is a Great little tool , but may not be for a Large Caliber case . Just one more thing to look into .I just read about someone had a Hornady Case Gage that was showing incorrectly .

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OP, have you actually fired this rifle yet? New to reloading and new rifle is not a good combination. Take it out to the range with some good commercial ammo and put some rounds downrange. These rifles take anywhere from 50-200 rounds to break in.

And lube the BCG well before shooting.

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12 hours ago, Sisco said:

Full length as opposed to small base dies? While not much difference, that might possibly be it. It is not much case at the bottom, but if it swelled, that might cause it. Just a thought. Check your case diameter at just above the base with a micrometer and compare it to a factory round just to be sure.

Yes full length not small base. Will do

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2 hours ago, survivalshop said:

  This issue sounds like the same thing I got when I bought the New MEC single stage press last year , & found I was not setting the Case Shoulder back enough . I now use LE. Wilson Case Gages . Even though I reloaded for almost forty years with out them & never had an issue till I got this new Press , I had to find a Shell Holder that permitted proper Shoulder set back . Might also be you have some play in your Press & its not forcing the Shoulder to the proper set back . 

 You gage may not be telling the whole truth & it wouldn't be the first time . The Lee Had Press is a Great little tool , but may not be for a Large Caliber case . Just one more thing to look into .I just read about someone had a Hornady Case Gage that was showing incorrectly .

Could I possibly be pushing the shoulder back too far when I crimp? What's the best way to tell if the shoulder is properly set back? Measure from base to shoulder?

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2 hours ago, mineralman55 said:

OP, have you actually fired this rifle yet? New to reloading and new rifle is not a good combination. Take it out to the range with some good commercial ammo and put some rounds downrange. These rifles take anywhere from 50-200 rounds to break in.

And lube the BCG well before shooting.

Yes but not a ton I haven't had it long. I'd say 150-200 rounds is all that's been through it

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2 hours ago, Clay said:

Yes but not a ton I haven't had it long. I'd say 150-200 rounds is all that's been through it

That should be enough in most cases. I use that same Lee Loader, but with small base dies. I did have a recent failure to extract with my new M1A, but I was using a light load. Next time out I will keep track of it.

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3 hours ago, Clay said:

Could I possibly be pushing the shoulder back too far when I crimp? What's the best way to tell if the shoulder is properly set back? Measure from base to shoulder?

  That can happen on a small case like .223 , pretty hard to do on a 308 , but anything is possible . I would size a Case & with out a Bullet & see if it chambers & Extracts OK , that may tell you something about what is going on . If the empty case has an issue , then you know its a sizing issue , if it feeds & Chambers & you can unlock the Bolt normally , you need to look elsewhere .

Edited by survivalshop

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7 hours ago, survivalshop said:

  That can happen on a small case like .223 , pretty hard to do on a 308 , but anything is possible . I would size a Case & with out a Bullet & see if it chambers & Extracts OK , that may tell you something about what is going on . If the empty case has an issue , then you know its a sizing issue , if it feeds & Chambers & you can unlock the Bolt normally , you need to look elsewhere .

Okay I chamber a resized brass and it did extract okay not the smoothiest but didn't lock up like when it had a seated bullet. What could this mean?

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10 hours ago, Clay said:

Yes full length not small base. Will do

 

23 hours ago, Sisco said:

Full length as opposed to small base dies? While not much difference, that might possibly be it. It is not much case at the bottom, but if it swelled, that might cause it. Just a thought. Check your case diameter at just above the base with a micrometer and compare it to a factory round just to be sure.

Looks like my resized brass is about a thousands larger at the base. I chamber an empty resized brass and it extracted although not very smoothly

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8 hours ago, Sisco said:

That should be enough in most cases. I use that same Lee Loader, but with small base dies. I did have a recent failure to extract with my new M1A, but I was using a light load. Next time out I will keep track of it.

I really like this little press so far I don't think my problem has anything to do with it

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17 minutes ago, Clay said:

Okay I chamber a resized brass and it did extract okay not the smoothiest but didn't lock up like when it had a seated bullet. What could this mean?

 

  -Too long of Cartridge Overall Length for the Chamber

  -Your Brass needs a Small Base Sizer Die , try different manufacturers Brass 

 -You may not be setting your Press up correctly , are you setting the press Ram so the Shell Holder is touching the bottom of the Sizer Die Body when sizing the Case ? The instructions may not say this , but its a good way to make sure you have the proper Shoulder set back .

    I have trimmed down  RCBS Shell Holder for my MEC press , I have a Lee Shell Holder works with out trimming or cutting down . Believe it or not , all Brands of Shell holders are not made to the same spec's , close ,but not all the same .

  -Sized , Trimmed , unloaded Case should easily chamber & extract .

Edited by survivalshop

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33 minutes ago, survivalshop said:

 

  -Too long of Cartridge Overall Length for the Chamber

  -Your Brass needs a Small Base Sizer Die , try different manufacturers Brass 

 -You may not be setting your Press up correctly , are you setting the press Ram so the Shell Holder is touching the bottom of the Sizer Die Body when sizing the Case ? The instructions may not say this , but its a good way to make sure you have the proper Shoulder set back .

    I have trimmed down  RCBS Shell Holder for my MEC press , I have a Lee Shell Holder works with out trimming or cutting down . Believe it or not , all Brands of Shell holders are not made to the same spec's , close ,but not all the same .

  -Sized , Trimmed , unloaded Case should easily chamber & extract .

I set them at 2.795 which is what my factory load is as well. Yes the bottom of the die is touching my shell holder so I believe I have it set up correctly. its sounding like the small base die may be needed I should've just went that route from the get go lol

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14 minutes ago, Clay said:

I set them at 2.795 which is what my factory load is as well. Yes the bottom of the die is touching my shell holder so I believe I have it set up correctly. its sounding like the small base die may be needed I should've just went that route from the get go lol

Try different manufacturers Brass first . I just re read your first post & read you set a much shorter COL & it did the same thing , so probably not the COL , I load mine about the same COL .

  Starting to sound like a Brass issue , but still , I would look further into the Shoulder set back .

 

Edited by survivalshop

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I believe Lee directions say to screw the die down until it touches the base of the shell holder, retract the shell holder arm, then turn the die 1/4 more turn and lock in place. Are you doing that extra 1/4 turn?

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1 hour ago, Sisco said:

I believe Lee directions say to screw the die down until it touches the base of the shell holder, retract the shell holder arm, then turn the die 1/4 more turn and lock in place. Are you doing that extra 1/4 turn?

Yep, that's almost universal - it needs to cam over.

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9 hours ago, Sisco said:

I believe Lee directions say to screw the die down until it touches the base of the shell holder, retract the shell holder arm, then turn the die 1/4 more turn and lock in place. Are you doing that extra 1/4 turn?

No I don't believe so. I don't remember reading that last part in my instructions but could've missed it. I will definitely give it a try though. I'll also use some Remington brass this time as well

Edited by Clay

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  Try both Brands if you have not added that extra 1/4" to the set up , which is in the instructions , I looked at them yesterday . Even if it doesn't cam over , the extra 1/4" makes sure you have room to take up any play in the Press & the proper Shoulder set back . 

 If you have time , see what I went through with my new MEC Marksmen Press ( its here in the Reloading section ) , It doesn't have a compound linkage for the Ram , like most single stage presses & I  set the Press up to touch the Shell Holder to the bottom of the Die & I had the same issue you have . I thought there was no play in the straight Linkage ,because it will not or can not , Cam over , but there was a little play & it was just enough to not set back the shoulder properly & I'm only talking about a Thousandth of an inch , very small ,I thought the Shell holder was touching the bottom of the Die , but wasn't , I had to force it just a little to fit the LE Wilson Case Gage , that I bought later to make sure it was right . I also had to find the right Shell Holder for me to do so also & it was a Lee I had , the Two RCBS Shell holders , I have ,will not permit the case to be set back enough . I did trim one  about 0.004" that works also .

Edited by survivalshop

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Okay here are the instructions keep in mind I am using the Lee Hand Press, not a regular stationary press. 

"Insert a Breech Lock bushing and screw the sizing die in until it touches the shell holder and moves the lever off the stop 1 ⁄4”. When properly positioned, tighten the lock ring."

I did this last time  but this time I actually got a measuring stick and made sure the lever was off the stop 1/4" instead of just eyeballing it. I resized one of my cases again and I did feel a tiny bit of resistance so maybe that will correct it. Me and my fiance are babysitting our twin nieces today so won't be able to test it just yet. 

If that doesn't work should I still lower the ram and turn another 1/4 turn?  I don't want to press the shoulder back to far

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  I find it interesting your Case Head Space Gage passed the Brass before . If your case gage is not to believed , Chambering & Extracting is the only alternative , besides checking the Cases on another gage . I used the Chambering /Extraction method for many years with out issue , till this year with Military once fired brass & not my first time with that type of brass ether .

  I did look up the instruction for the Hand Press . I can tell you , it doesn't take much in the form of Shoulder set back to cause an issue . As I alluded to before , some Shell Holders cause an issue with not enough Shoulder set back , no matter how you set the press up .

 Bottom line is , if Factory ammo works & your Hand loads don't , its your reloading process , in one form or another .

Edited by survivalshop

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