Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:08 pm

    Corn, what bullet do you usually use with that Ramshot TAC powder?

    I'm now the proud owner of 500 .223 cases, and dies are on the way.

    Good Lord, there are millions of bullets, powders, and stuff for the .223/5.56 out there. I've never seen anything like it. Ran out to lunch to get some ammo for the first range trip, and I had my choice of brands and bullet weights. I guess I just got used to calibers like 10mm, 357 mag and 45 Colt and very limited offerings.

    Not to mention, components are CHEAP. Those 500 cases only cost me $12 at a local range. Bullets I've looked at (mostly Sierra) are $15 - $18 for 100.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:09 pm

    For normal plinking and shooting out to about 400-500 yards I usually buy the hornady bulk 55gr fmj bt bullets.  They seem to shoot great in all my guns.  
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:24 am

    Single most expensive commodity you have is - time. Go to gunbot and look up 5.56 You should find 55 gr bulk ammo for about $350/1000. You get ready loaded ammo that works great - and you get the cases. And no time to spend loading. I have several thousand cases saved, but so far I am so pressed for time i just shoot this stuff. It works fine, shoots fine, and saves me the time to load up ammo.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:45 am

    That is certainly logical, and even financially prudent, but there are a couple of things pushing me towards loading my own.

    First, and most important, is that I actually enjoy handloading. If I've had a long crappy day at the office, spending an hour or two at my handloading bench seems to erase it all. Maybe it's the repetition, maybe it's the satisfaction of finding the right bullet-powder-primer combo for better accuracy, or maybe it's seeing tangible physical results of my efforts. Regardless, I enjoy the handloading process. I know, I'm weird. I also enjoy cleaning my guns, even the AR.

    Second, I strongly believe we're about to see another massive gun and ammo buying run, draining stock like we've seen recently. No matter who wins the Republican nomination, the general masses are going to assume that Hillary will win, and anyone that doesn't have an AR and a big pile of ammo is gonna buy out whatever's available. When that happens, I want to have a huge pile of bullets, cases, primers, powder and experience actually handloading the calibers I want to shoot.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:05 pm

    I am not attempting to talk you out of reloading. Or buying the parts. All I'm saying is that ammo is currently SO CHEAP that it behooves you to stock up and shoot some. Reload whenever your heart demands, but get this cheap stuff. If you are right, ammo prices will go up again - and you will be sitting pretty. Just like everyone else who anticipated the last run and didn't have to pay big bucks for 50 rounds - when they were available.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:55 am

    TJ, have you shot it yet!?

    I do agree with Dev, it is nice to have some ammo on hand--especially when it is so cheap. If, for nothing else, you can always turn around and sell it later once you have your own stock of loaded ammo.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:06 am

    Brownell's yesterday had an add for 1k PMC for $312. 1K Remington was $329. All 55 gr FMJBT mil-spec ammo. It is really hard to pass that kind of ammo up.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:25 am

    I have shot it, and I'm very impressed. Just using iron sights for now, but putting all the rounds into 3 inch dots at 25 yards free-standing was very easy. The 6 inch dots free-standing at 50 yards were also easy. My first impression is, it sure is easy to plow through a lot of ammo with an AR because it's a lot of fun to shoot.

    I hear you guys on the factory ammo. That's what I've been shooting so far.

    My range officer buddies at my range were so thrilled I finally joined the rest of free America with an AR that they gave me a big bucket full of 223 brass. Must be 1500 cases in there. I can't leave well enough alone and I'm very anxious to see how handloading goes in this caliber.

    Let me ask you guys a quick question. Do you swage or ream the primer pockets in this caliber? I've never looked into primer preparation much, but think it might be time to do so.

    I'm noticing that it takes a LOT more effort to get the primers to seat in standard commercial 223 brass (Federal, Winchester and Remington), and I'm not even sure the primers are seated in far enough. I clean out the primer pockets till they shine, but even then it seems tougher than normal to fully seat the primer. Never had this issue before with 30-30 or 30-06 brass (even military 30-06).
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:46 am

    Not my experience. I shoot mostly Lake City in .20 Tactical (.223 case necked to .204), which I've clearly had to make since there is no .20 Tactical brass, and seating primers has never been either hard or otherwise complicated. I had been TOLD that 5.56 tended to have the cases "walk" a lot but so far my .20 Tactical has not had to have shoulders bumped nor cases trimmed over about 3 reloads. Someone with more .223/5.56 experience (like Corn) may have other experience.

    ?Did you perchance have military primers that need the pocket swaged because of primer crimping.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:11 pm

    Thanks Dev. No, no military primers, just regular commercial CCI small rifle primers.

    That 20 Tactical sounds interesting. I've often wondered if there was a more serious application for the .204 that the rest of us were overlooking.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:03 pm

    TJ, you will want to swage, not ream the primer pockets. RCBS makes a decent swaging die/kit for that. I only swage the ones that are crimped or have a non uniform primer pocket. I've don't recall having problems with seating primers in commercial brass--usually commercial brass is easier than the military brass. I usually try to prime all the mixed brass at the same time, and the ones that don't prime, I put in a pile to swage later. A good snug fit is a good thing, just make sure the primers are seated deep enough so you don't have a whoopsie slam fire. I usually use CCI small rifle primers or S&B when I'm feeling cheap.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:47 pm

    Thanks you guys. I'll let you know how it comes out.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:51 am

    Over the weekend I learned a lot more about crimped primer pockets than I ever wanted to learn. In my pile of cleaned, sized and trimmed brass, most of the headstamps were either Federal or "LC" (which I later deduced means "Lake City"). However, there were a few Remingtons and PMCs in there, which I could prime just fine.

    I guessed that the LC brass is probably crimped at the primer, but surely not the Federal brass because it's commercial .223. And there is a HUGE amount of Federal brass in my pile of cases. The Handloading Gods laughed at me. "Ha ha ha, let's make this one suffer for his ignorance."

    The best I could do on the Federal brass was to ram the primer in so the primer was sticking out above the case by about a hair. Needless to say, I am not going to even try to shoot those rounds.

    After wrecking about 10 cases and primers, I decided to capitulate and look into methods for swaging the crimp out of the primer pockets. Seems like the CH4D primer pocket swager is highly recommended. I ordered one today.

    However, I did shoot factory ammo in the Sport 2 yesterday. A guy with me had a new Rock River AR. The RRA was a nice rifle, but with free float tube, carrying handle, and other stuff, it was noticeably heavier than my Sport 2, and I didn't shoot the RRA any better. I've already grown very used to the lightweight of the Sport 2.

    So far, I'm very very pleased with this rifle. I will be more pleased once I've figured out all of the handloading for the caliber, but that's just part of the process.

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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:07 am

    It takes a few batches of reloading 223 to get used to and overcome all the nuances of loading that wonderful little cartridge. Crimped primers, finding a good case lube, trimming brass, and finding a sizing die/process that works for your gun. As you run into weird stuff, feel free to ask--I feel like I have a good process established for my friends and me.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue May 17, 2016 8:45 pm

    So I've got the CH4D primer pocket swager, and it works as advertised. I'm still getting use to the overall technique, but instead of have enormous primer seating problems, now I'm only having trouble with around 1 out of 50 cases.

    I've started messing around with different amounts of Ramshot TAC, and might've found the sweet spot for my rifle. 25.3 grains with a 55 grain fmj bullet resulted in 20 shots all going into a 3 inch circle at 50 yards with iron sights from the bench. About 3/4 were within 1.5 inches of each other.

    I still want to get better with the iron sights. Starting to think about maybe adding a red dot later this year.

    All in all, I'm having a heck of a good time with this handy, lightweight little AR. And I fully acknowledge that I've had a serious mindshift on this. Up until I got this rifle, I thought AR's were interesting, but not necessary. I now agree that every good American should own at least one.

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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue May 17, 2016 9:26 pm

    Glad to hear things are going well with the AR. How about the metering properties of TAC, eh? Pretty hard to beat how well it shoots and meters.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed May 18, 2016 11:19 am

    You were right about TAC and how it meters. Never seen anything like it. The pellets are big enough that it doesn't seem to get everywhere (like AA powders), but small enough that I get the same measured amount every single time.

    I wish pistol powders had the same qualities.
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    Re: Question for you AR guys regarding Stripped Lowers

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed May 18, 2016 5:50 pm

    I've heard some people use TAC for some of their 308 loads. Sometime, when I have the time, it would be nice to develop a TAC load for 308.

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