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Old 07-30-2012, 11:10 PM   #1
haertig
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Default Reloading: How to determine amount of crimp needed for .223?

The Lee instruction video for adjusting their Rifle Factory Crimp Die says "Raise the ram using approximately 25 pounds of pressure. More crimp can be obtained by rotating the die clockwise."

Well, that really helps a lot! You want enough crimp to prevent bullet setback if the bullet nose drags on the feedramp or meets some resistance somewhere in the feeding cycle (this will be used in an AR15). So how much crimp is enough crimp? They don't even address that in their instructions. How is one supposed to know? I will be using M193 bullets (55gr FMJ boattail with cannelure).



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Old 07-31-2012, 12:39 AM   #2
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I don't crimp .223 for use in AR-15's or Mini-14's.
If they feed right, the bullet never touches anything.
Case neck tension should be enough to keep the bullet from moving anyway.


As for how much if you do crimp?

Look at the cannulure in the bullet.
The crimp goes in it.

It will be just enough you can see it is in the cannulure.

I actually doubt you can crimp too much with the Lee FCD anyway.

The collet will only squeeze shut so far, and it isn't going any further without breaking your press.

rc



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Old 07-31-2012, 12:52 AM   #3
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I don't crimp for my ar either. Only for revolvers.

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Old 07-31-2012, 01:03 AM   #4
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What they said. I never crimp my 223 either and never had a problem.

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Old 07-31-2012, 01:42 AM   #5
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I did some reading on AR kabooms last night. I just happened into a thread on the subject on ARFCOM and then pursued a few other threads.

I came to the conclusion that it is difficult/rare to overcharge a .223 case with enough powder to cause a kaboom (assuming you are using a correct rifle powder in the first place). There just isn't enough room in the case to hold that much of an overcharge. But bullet setback is a different issue, and CAN cause overpressure enough to cause a kaboom.

Quote:
If they feed right, the bullet never touches anything.
And there's the kicker, "IF they feed right..." What if they don't? A dirty feedramp, a softnose bullet that catches, a mis-shapen bullet nose, too loose neck tension, a defect in the feedramp ... I can see all kinds of ways things could go bad. Maybe they aren't typical, but they could still happen. A crimp might possibly help in these rare situations and protect your safety.

So far everyone says there is no reason to crimp. But is there a reason NOT to crimp? I think the added safety, however minor, would be worth it. I am new to reloading rifle cartridges - this .223 in my new AR will be the first rifle caliber I'm reloading. I want to do it right, and safely. I've been doing handgun reloading for about 1-1/2 years now. Not a whole lot of experience there, but I have a decent understanding of the basics.

I had one scary experience at the range. I reload for my .45colt lever gun and revolver. A friend also reloads for his .45colt revolver. It was HIS reload that gave me a scare. He had a few where he did not seat the primers all the way and they were hanging up in his revolver. He gave them to me to shoot in my lever gun. As I was shooting and loading his rounds, happened to notice a cartridge with a significant bullet setback on it's way to being chambered. Luckily my rifle is an 1892 model and you can see the rounds loading from the top. It was dumb luck that I caught this one. I asked him if he crimped his rounds and he said no. So I certainly won't be putting any more of his reloads into my rifle! I trust him to get the charges correct because he is very meticulous. But skipping the crimp step is just dangerous IMHO. It may not be needed for his revolver, but then, his cartridges were being shot in my levergun in this instance. Just because your AR has no feeding issues that might cause bullet setback doesn't mean that you won't hand a few of your reloads to a friend who's rifle might have a feeding issue. And kaboom he goes. I don't like the possibility of that scenario, so I think I want to crimp my rounds. That's just me trying to be safe.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
But is there a reason NOT to crimp?
Your cases will last a lot longer before the necks crack.

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Old 07-31-2012, 01:58 AM   #7
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just like this. doesn't take much pressure.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:08 AM   #8
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I would not put case lifespan ahead of safety. So I guess the real question is, "Does NOT crimping reduce safety?" I am new to the rifle reloading bit, and to high pressure cartridges in general, so I'd like to know the best (safest) way to reload in this new area for me. The fact that Lee's rifle die sets - at least the Pacesetters like I bought - include a crimp die gives me pause to just skip that step without researching why. And also since the military M193 bullets come with a cannalure, that kind of implies that crimping is expected I would think.

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:16 AM   #9
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As I said, if your case neck tension is as it should be, there is no set-back, and no safety issues, if your gun and mags feed right.

I have tested my crimped handloads, and it takes over 70 pounds direct pressure on the bullet to move one in the case.

Just make sure your expander rod is .222" or so and you will have plenty of neck tension.

On the other hand, it sounds like you really feel like you should crimp.
So I would crimp.

rc

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:29 AM   #10
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I'm just wanting to be as safe as possible, that's all.

In one of the threads I read on a kaboom, one of the suggestions was to take your calipers out to the range with you. Measure your cartridges. Hand cycle them through the rifle (not firing them). Then measure them again to see if they shortened any. I think I'll do that with the first magazines through this new rifle. Just to give myself as much comfort in my reloads/crimping (and rifle/mags) as possible. It may be a total waste of time in the eyes of others, but it would serve to boost my confidence.

Thanks for all the replies and help everyone!



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