Handloads cycling an AR15

Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby student » Mon, 05 May 2014 21:07:25

I finished my first handloads of 223. When I started with shooting a single one, it fired fine and locked the magazine open. Shooting multiple rounds gave me trouble. I loaded one, shot it, and it ejected the spent round. But it didn't load another round in the chamber from the magazine. I had to manually charge each new round after the previous round was shot. Some American Eagles fired afterwards from the same magazine were fine.

What is this telling me? Do I just need to increase the powder to get more gas to the action, or do I need a faster burning powder? This is my first handloads ever so I'm not sure where to go here. thanks for any help!

details:
18.2 grains HR 4198 powder with Hornady V-Max 55 grain bullets.
In a 16 barrel with a mid length gas system.


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Re: Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby NovaHunter » Fri, 30 May 2014 14:29:16

Sounds like you could be a little underpowered. What reloading manual are you using for your data?

If you go to the IMR website (http://www.imrpowder.com/) and go into the Reloading Center you'll find this data table for a 55gr bullet IMR 4198:

Bullet Weight 55 GR. SPR SP
Manufacturer IMR
Powder IMR 4198
Bullet Diameter .224"
C.O.L. 2.200"
Starting Load
Grains 18.8
Velocity (ft/s) 2,885
Pressure 41,600 PSI
Maximum Load
Grains 20.4
Velocity (ft/s) 3,122
Pressure 53,600 PSI

Make sure you are using published load data, and always start low and work your way up while looking for pressure signs.

Hope that helps.

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Re: Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby jdonovan » Fri, 30 May 2014 16:44:54

I'm with nova, seems like your load is a bit light.

I'll assume you don't have a chronograph? I find the chrono a useful tool to measure another data point on my reloads.

It tells me a few things.
Velocity, and consistency of velocity. How my firearm matches up to published data.
In your case, if the chrono was showing me 2700 FPS, then I'd have a good idea that the load was light.

But from the published data I could find it does look like you are a bit on the light side.

You didn't mention OAL but that can be a factor in how much velocity a load develops.

I would try loading 3-5 cartridges bumping up 0.3-0.5 grains per charge and then take them to the range for function testing. Based on the published data above, I'd use this load plan:

18.8
19.1
19.4
19.7
20.0

General rule of thumb is 4-6 loads from min to max. This will give you a range of charge weights to test for function/accuracy. Once you've found a range that works you can then adjust other things, like OAL, crimp, and finer variations of charge weight to dial in your load.


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Re: Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby M1A4ME » Fri, 30 May 2014 18:13:21

1. Not sure how H4198 compares to IMR 4198 in burn rate.
2. Quite a few people report issues with IMR4198 causing cycling problems in their AR15
3. I've used IMR4198 for years, no issues in any of my AR15s
4. You'll find different "max" loads if you look at different reloading manuals, lots of reasons for that (different brass used, different primers used, different bullets used, rifles are different.)
5. Take the suggestions from the previous posts and start increasing your powder charge


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Re: Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby NovaHunter » Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:02:48

FWIW, my AR loads have been using 69gr Sierra bullets over 23.2 grains of IMR 4064. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I think the COAL was 2.235in. Out of a 20in rifle with rifle length gas system the load runs very smoothly and has been consistently 3/4 moa or better at 100 yards.

I have a bunch of Xterminator and 55gr bullets at home that I plan on loading someday, but to date I've only reloaded 69gr bullets so far....
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Re: Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby NovaHunter » Wed, 04 Jun 2014 10:10:42

M1A4ME,

Good catch, I did use IMR 4198 data now vs. the OP saying he had H4198. I'm not sure if there is a real difference since Hogdon owns IMR powders now?

On the Hogdon/IMR reloading data center website they have the following data for H4198:

Bullet Weight 55 GR. SFIRE
Manufacturer Hodgdon
Powder H4198
Bullet Diameter .224"
C.O.L. 2.220"
Starting Load
Grains 18.0
Velocity (ft/s) 2,852
Pressure 42,700 PSI
Maximum Load
Grains 20.4
Velocity (ft/s) 3,084
Pressure 51,400 PSI

jdonovan's work up starting around 18.8 should be a good place to start still.
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Re: Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby jdonovan » Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:32:42

NovaHunter wrote:Good catch, I did use IMR 4198 data now vs. the OP saying he had H4198. I'm not sure if there is a real difference since Hogdon owns IMR powders now?


Yes, they are still different propellants.

The only powder I know for sure is the same:
A4100 and Ramshot enforcer. I've seen emails from Western powder that confirm they are the exact same powder.

There is strong evidence that W296 and H110 are the same.

There are a few ADI powders that are the same as some Hodgon powders (ADI makes powder for Hodgon) so that makes sense. I can't remember the cross over. But ADI isn't sold in the USA, so its not really important to US re-loaders.

There used to be big bold warnings in several loading manuals about not interchanging H and IMR data for the same ####. While close in speed/density, the data is not interchangeable.


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Re: Handloads cycling an AR15

Postby M1A4ME » Thu, 05 Jun 2014 05:53:05

Thought to look up the powder burn rate chart I downloaded off the internet some time ago.

It was organized as fast to slow (top to bottom). It appears H4198 is a faster burning powder than IMR4198. I copied a small section showing powders on either side of the 4198s.

85 AR2207 (ADI)
86 H4198 (Hodgdon)
87 N133 (Vihtavuori)
88 4198 (IMR)
89 BM1 (ADI)

Even IMR4198 is claimed to be on the fast side for AR15's, though all my guns work with IMR4198. I have 16, 20 and 24" barreled AR15's just for reference. Just remember that between different manufacturers and parts tolerences and powder/primer/brass differences lot to lot, etc., etc., etc., some people's ARs still may have issues with rounds that work great in other rifles.

Good luck with your efforts.


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