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Problems chambering my reloads

This is a discussion on Problems chambering my reloads within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I am going to preface this post by saying I am new to both the M14/M1A platform as well as being new to reloading. My ...


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Old May 10th, 2017, 10:23 AM   #1
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Problems chambering my reloads

I am going to preface this post by saying I am new to both the M14/M1A platform as well as being new to reloading. My current issue is that I seem to be having difficulty getting my reloaded rounds to chamber to full battery. They will seat to full battery, however when I rack the op rod back to eject the bullet, the op rod requires a decent amount of force when compared to ejecting a commercial PMC M80 round. When ejecting a commercial M80 round, the only resistance felt when racking it back to eject the round is purely resistance from the op rod spring. When ejecting one of my loaded rounds (168 grain Nosler custom competition bthp with like city once fired brass), they definitely have some resistance that seems to be in the bore or chamber. With one of my reloads chambered, it requires a good bit of force to move the op rod back the first inch or so, but after the initial inch of movement, you can tell the resistance/friction is gone and the only resistance present is from the op rod spring. Furthermore, when you move the op rod back an inch or so, the op rod spring will not put the bolt back to full battery as it will with a commercial M80 round chambered - you have to push the op rod forward with your hand that last inch or so to get back to full battery.

So upon further research, I discover that most Lake City 308 brass is machine gun brass and needs to be resized with a small base die instead of the Lee full length resize die I had been using. No problem, I get a RCBS small base die and assume the problem is gone. Loaded up a couple rounds lastnight and test the chambering action of them - exact same problem. They just don't seem to want to seat all the way into battery very well and still had noticable resistance on the op rod when I pulled it back with a round chambered.

Now for some preliminary info : rifle is a Fulton Armory 22" medium weight 1/10 twist barrel and it is set in a Sage EBR chassis. My rounds I'm making are Lake City once fired brass ran through a Lee full length resize die and RCBS small base die and I've got an overall length of 2.800" using Nosler custom competition 168 grain boat tail hollow points. Now I did get these rounds to the range and shot 20 of them before noticing the problem chambering which was discovered on my last round that day at the range when the round fired but did not work the action - no ejection, no nothing. Didn't even seem like the op rod budged. That is what started my further investigation of my reloads and found them to be chambering stubbornly.

Sorry for the long post, just trying to provide all of the information I have to try and narrow this problem down. If I have left out any critical information, please do not hesitate to ask and I will provide any information that I can. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 10:29 AM   #2
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At first glance it appears that even though you are using a small base die, which you should, that it may not still be sizing down enough. You should try screwing the die down further if you can for a more complete sizing. Check the length of your brass, max is 2.015 but you should trim to 2.010 or even more, some go all the way to 2.0". Check your bullets for rifling marks when you pull them out, its possible you could be sticking the ogive into the lands. But it really sounds like a brass sizing issue. Try using some commercial brass, I like Winchester best.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 10:54 AM   #3
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Welcome from Florida, Daytona Beach area.

I presume if you place your round in the chamber (muzzle down) and let go it does not slide in with gravity only. How far out does it stop, the 1-inch?

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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:08 AM   #4
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Get a cartridge case gauge to insure the resizing die is setup properly. M14/M1As are notorious for being finicky in this regard.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:29 AM   #5
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Try to chamber a resized but empty case and see.

Are you using a crimp?

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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:39 AM   #6
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Commercial M14 barrels tend to have tight match chambers.

Screw your sizing die down until it touches the shell plate, then lower the plate and give it another 1/4 turn.

After sizing the case, give it a quarter turn and size it again.

Make sure you are lubing the inside of the case neck, to keep it from stretching.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:44 AM   #7
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what curt said
might want to invest in a small base sizing die
http://www.brownells.com/reloading/m...prod80617.aspx

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Old May 10th, 2017, 11:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POLACK View Post
what curt said
might want to invest in a small base sizing die
http://www.brownells.com/reloading/m...prod80617.aspx
He already did.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:00 PM   #9
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Get a case guage. It will help you ensure the resized case has the shoulder in the correct place. Without it you can trim a shell to the correct OAL but the shoulder in between can be at the wrong position relative to one end and then not go all the way into the chamber, etc.

I had the same issue. My M1A wouldn't cycle right until I figured that out. On my reloader it meant turning the die down just a bit further until the cases were correct in the guage. You check the case at both ends of the case guage. The case acts like a chamber. You make sure its all the way in(not far) on the one end and that its not stick out or too shallow at the other. That won't work right unless the shoulder is in the right location.

Where I went wrong early on was thinking that following the die installation instructions would set my die at the right depth to make resizing occur within spec. My rounds worked in one rifle but then got hinky in the M1A until I learned the above.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:05 PM   #10
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I fought this same issue and have decided to avoid machine gun brass all together. Commostud provided me with excellent product and service on this site. I'll certainly give him a plug for his brass services.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:10 PM   #11
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You could also get a Hornady case comparator to see the relationship of where your shoulder is coming out of the die vs fired rounds/factory brass.

Your question is very well written and detailed BTW. Welcome to the forum.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:24 PM   #12
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I had the exact same problem when I first tried using the once-fired LC brass. Try the advice given above and you will be ok. I ended up having to do a little more than a half turn with the RCBS small base die and my Rockchucker to get the ammo to work in a Wilson case gauge. If I hadn't bought 500 rounds of the cases I would have chucked them. With the help of the gentlemen here they are now functioning fine.

good luck with yours and welcome from South Carolina

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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:39 PM   #13
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Wow, you guys are a wealth of knowledge. I do have the Wilson go/no-go gauge for the cases. All 20 of the rounds I loaded seemed to fit just fine without getting stuck or protruding from the end indicating it needs to be trimmed. So I did not trim any of them, just full length resized, small base resized, and seated the bullet. I was using my Lee factory crimp die to crimp my rounds, however I have since removed the factory crimp die in favor of the RCBS bullet seating die that also crimps according to the directions. As far as dropping a round in the chamber with barrel pointed downward, and letting gravity do the work, this did not work. I can take some pictures of how far the back of the case sticks out from the chamber, I'd say a 1/4 of an inch estimating, but it definitely does not fall into full battery. I will take some measurements of the once fired brass both before resizing and after resizing and post those measurements tonight. I will have to double check the die adjustments but I know I set them up per the RCBS directions which had me screw the die into the turret until it was just above the shell holder. So based on what you guys are saying to make it touch the shell holder, lower the shell holder and give it another half turn or so, that will definitely make a difference as I know mine is not set up that way. I have the Lee full length die adjusted the same way, adjusted to be just above the shell holder at the end of its stroke. Thanks again guys, you all have me very confident that with your help, I'll get this figured out.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJJones87 View Post
As far as dropping a round in the chamber with barrel pointed downward, and letting gravity do the work, this did not work. I can take some pictures of how far the back of the case sticks out from the chamber, I'd say a 1/4 of an inch estimating, but it definitely does not fall into full battery.
Loaded rounds or just sized brass? 1/4" sticking out on sized brass usually indicates the "body" of the case is still oversized. Better to use a sized case, since loaded rounds add another potential variable such as over-crimping, run-out, or projectile jamming the lands.

Notice you crimp. You don't need to crimp, and Nosler CC's don't have a cannelure to crimp into.

Try the gravity test with sized brass only to confirm.

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Old May 10th, 2017, 12:53 PM   #15
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Skip the crimp. Totally unneeded.

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