AR-15 Reloading question - Graybeard Outdoors
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Default AR-15 Reloading question

I have been reloading for my AR-15's for a few years now. I recently built a 224 Valkyrie with a 24" barrel. I have decided I would like to do some precision reloading for it and try to make it as accurate as it can be. I have been watching some videos on Youtube on precision reloading. I have gone as far as buy the Hornady O.A.L gauge and the comparator, I also bought the cartridge headspace bushings. When I have reloaded for all my Ar's in the past I full length resized all of my brass. The videos I have been watching I think are mainly for bolt action rifles and they say that after the case has bee fire formed in the chamber of the rifle that they only bump the shoulder back on the case .002 or .003 to allow it just enough room to chamber without any problems. Am I correct in understanding that the case is still being full length resized but they are sizing it as little as possible an just barely bumping the shoulder back? This should be ok to do for my AR-15 correct? Like I said I have always set the full length sizing up like the instructions say that come with the die and have never had problem getting a round to chamber and I don't want to have a problem now. That is why I am asking. Thanks in advance Dale

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 11:00 PM
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Well welcome back from the dead Dale.

In my opinion no you shouldn't be trying to partially size for an AR. Some folks use a neck size only die and some try to adjust for less than full sizing using a regular sizer die. That's fine for bolt action rifles but not so fine with ARs.

I'd adjust the FL sizer die normally and full length size the cases.



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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 05:38 AM
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Hey Dale...where you been? Glad you're back.

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As I read it Forming Dies, it depends on what you are reading and how they are using their dies. There are three die sets available for reloading (incl. auto's and semi's):
1.) small base full length [SBFL]
2.) standard full length [SFL]
3.) neck sizing [NS]

The SBFL die is used to reshape brass to minimum specs so the rounds will chamber and extract with ease in any automatic. It "works" the brass the most but the ammunition is "pass around" safe. Your brass, when fire formed, does not need to be reshaped to minimum spec if it is intended to be reused in the same AR every time.

The SFL die is used to reshape new and fire-formed brass, and is particularly useful for bolt and single shot rifles. This die can be used to neck size without shoulder set back or to "bump" the shoulder just a little while neck sizing, but the ammunition produced is not for sharing with other automatics as it may neither chamber in nor extract from another. You are correct, the SFL is sizing the whole case, even when you are using it to neck size and shoulder bump.

The NS die does just that, and does not bump the shoulder back, thus increasing fire formed brass life. Again, this ammunition is suspect for any other automatic for the same reason as the SFL. Eventually, ymmv, the case will "grow" in length as the brass flows and a SFL die will become necessary to set the should back a little and to reshape the case...but you don't want to find this out after you have reloaded a few that will need to be unloaded and reshaped in order for them to fit your chamber.

Hope that helps. I like GB's simple and direct advice with a smidgeon of SFL neck sizing only as you reload. You AR's chamber, fire formed brass in that AR, and your regimen of reshaping the brass will tell you what is and isn't prudent. Good luck on your "trek of 1000 actions" to accurize your AR. Keep us posted...

Last edited by land_owner; 06-17-2019 at 05:47 AM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:05 AM
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Dale ive never done what you call precision loading for a ar15 but have for bolt guns. Heres what ive found. Being anal sorting cases neck sizing truing flash holes, benchrest seating dies ect don't add up to a lot. Unless your shooting bench rest comp your not going to see any real world advantage. You might gain .1 of an inch in group size which is a lot for a bench rest shooter but nothing for even a 500 yard prairie dog shooter. My advice to people chasing small groups is forget all the high dollar tools and buy a bigger verity of bullets powder primers ect and use that to chase the best group. As to ars I NEVER neck size. As a matter of fact I small base size all my brass. My first priority in an ar15 is that it goes bang every time and feeds the next round and goes bang again. Now you've got a unique one there. Its possible your don't have any need to use it to protect your family. But even my heavy barreled ar might be grabbed to defend myself so it gets brass that's small base sized and is trimmed after every firing. If nothing else for the simple reason I don't want to grab some ammo and find out it works in another gun but not the gun I have in my hand today. So even my accuracy loads for a few guns im worried about such things are sb sized so they can go bang in any gun. By the way two of my ars will shoot ammo they like under 3/4s of an inch at a 100 yards for 5 shots. That is with sb sized brass. Only thing I do for those guns that I don't with others is the loaded ammo I have for them uses sorted brass. At least if I have time to grab the right ammo. Heck ive got a couple cheap ars ive put together that shoot mixed brass sb sized with bulk ball bullets into moa. I guess I have to ask what level of accuracy is your goal?

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 10:19 PM
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I agree with Lloyd, with the exception that every AR is different, everyone of my AR's function with loads that I load using regular FL dies. I use a chamber checker to check loaded rounds every time I run a batch off a batch, or when I use a brand of case I haven't used before.
The one time I reloaded a bunch of foreign brass that was probably fired in loose chamber, they didn't fit the chamber checker easily, I just dumped them on the side, and used them in my Mini-14. I do have a set of SB dies, but have yet to use them.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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You know it's kinda funny. I posted to this forum several times a day for years. It would seem that I have not had anything to say for a few years. My other computer quit on me and I had forgotten my password and never tried to retrieve it until recently. I would still cruise the forums a couple times a year but never signed in so anyone who looked at my profile it would show I had not been on the forum since 2016. I'm still not drinking. I was a heavy drinker for most of my adult life. My wife and myself took care of my mother the last 10 years of her life. My mother would always say to me. Dale I wish you would quit drinking. It's gonna kill you. Probably a month or so after my mom passed I woke up one morning and said to myself I just don't like the way this makes me feel anymore so I quit just like that. At the time I was drinking about a half a gallon of rum every night. I didn't even have a little problem quitting. I like to believe my mom had something to do with it. Anyways I quit drinking and my wife did not. Have any of you ever heard that country song the says? Girl you ain't much fun since I quit drinking. No truer words have ever been sung. I left her a few months later. I have been working for the same contractor for a little over 12 years. We have a Christmas party every year and on that day I will drink 2 or 3 beers and not drink until the next Christmas party. I still have chronic back pain and need surgery. I'm scared to death of it and have put it off way longer than I should have. My knees are giving out on me now, It's hard for me to get down on the floor and even harder to get back up. I got on the scale at my doctors office 5 weeks ago and I'm the heaviest I have been in my life so I decided to go on a diet I have lost 22 pounds in those 5 weeks. My first goal is to lose 60 pounds and after that probably another 50 pounds. I'm hoping after the weight loss my knees and back feel better than they do now. Alright so that's what going on in my life.
I caught the AR-15 bug a few years back and I love them. I have built several of them now with all top quality parts. The current 224 Valkyrie that I asked about here was shooting the Hornady 88 Grain ELDM bullets with H4350 behind them .75 groups at 100 yards first time out. I do have a 24" barrel on it and I am almost sure I can get those bullets to shoot .50 groups or maybe even a little less than that. I plan on taking a 3 hour trip this summer to a range here in PA that has 1000 yard back stops. I would like to take My new 224 Valkyrie and my Ruger precision rifle chambered in the 243 Winchester with me to that range. I think I'm going to go with the full length resizing and bump the shoulder back .003 to make sure I don't have any problems with it going into battery. I think my next build is going to be an
AR-10 chambered in 6.5 Creedmoore I don't know if I will get that one done this summer though. It's not cheap to build a high quality AR. Thanks guys and take care Dale

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Last edited by Dalescarpentry; 06-19-2019 at 05:53 AM. Reason: Spelling
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 05:27 PM
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Dale, life is life and we've all got crosses to bear. Sorry about the loss of your Mom. Glad though that you are back to GBO and we hope you will stay around for a good long time.
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