Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reloading for Rifle


Tactically speaking, not much is new.

I’m reloading .223 Remington for my AR.  Rifle reloading is a lot more complicated than pistol.

The longer cases stretch more than pistol cases and have to be trimmed.  Okay that’s a small complication, even when you include deburring the interior and exterior of each case. 

I'm goin' to shoot, shoot, shoot till I run out of ammo (sing to "Fun, Fun, Fun!)


I did not realize that the primer pocket needed to be chamfered as well.  Most military brass has staked or crimped primers.  Why?  The crimped primers tend to be much more robust and don’t blow out.

I’ve blow primers or parts of primer out in my AR and had them lodge in the trigger mechanism.  Most of the time it’s an easy fix, but it puts your rifle out of commission until you can field strip it, diagnose the problem and fix it.  

Before Chamfering




Did I carve enough brass away?  The test is poppin' a primer in.

Noted trainer John Farnam states that if you carry a combat rifle, you need a pistol for those fatal times your rifle craps out.  It happens.  The tactical message: when possible, when it’s for the all the marbles, when it’s your life, shoot military ammo, which is always 5.56X45 and not .223 Remington. 

ARs look the same, but come in two flavors .223 Rem and 5.56X45 and it's more than a tomato/tomahto difference.  5.56 will safely chamber .223 but dangerous pressures can build-up from 5.56 in a gun chambered for .223.

You bought an AR for .223?  Sorry, it sucks to be you.

But I digress…………..

For reloading, I have to lub the cases (I had a case get so stuck in my sizing die I had to send it back to Dillion.  Of course they fixed it, but…) before I run them through the sizing die which de-primes and compresses the brass back to proper diameter and case angles.  The cartridges stretch when you shoot them and grow a little more when you resize them.  Eventually the brass breaks and becomes scrap.

I trim to length, debur the opening and chamfer the primer pocket.  I want to make the pocket just big enough to let the primer scoot in and deform just a little during reloading.  But I don’t want to crush primers.  They are just too expensive just to throw away.

While I’m chamfering primer pockets I sort out the NATO spec ammo.  They have the little circle with cross-hair stamped on the base.  Those primers are really staked.  I find I have to remove a lot of brass and I’m uncomfortable about it removing so much.  Those go in the scrap brass bucket.

NATO head stamp


Now I’m ready to reload.  Oh wait… I have to relub the case to make sure they don’t friction weld in my sizing die.

It’s a lot of work and production doesn’t flow well with a progressive reloader.  If I could find a relatively inexpensive source of 65 plus grain non-corrosive ammo in .223 Rem., I’d kiss those dies good bye!!!!

- - - - - - - -
The other day I looked look up and there was a nun standing at the range check-in table signing a hold harmless agreement. 

Well.  I’ve heard the Singing Nun, and I’ve seen the TV version of the Flying Nun and I’ve seen the Nun’s Story, but I’ve never seen a Shootin’ Nun.  At least in full habit!

I’m a little intimidated by nuns in full habit.  I had Dominican nuns in grade school and they left a deep impression on me.  Mostly with a ruler.  Still you have to admire their willingness to devote their lives to service in a church that doesn’t recognize them as full partners.  But I digress…again!  (So why can’t women become priests or nuns serve mass???) 

Yes, those are ear muffs in her hand and rifle cases on the bench.


It’s unusual to see them on the range, but why shouldn’t they be interested in shooting?  The achievement of placing your shots where you want them, or breaking 25 out of 25 clays is the same.  I can’t, I will not believe they somehow do not value their life over that of a violent criminal offender.

I snooped around and found she was just visiting.  I hope she had fun.

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