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Setting headspace for AR-15 in 223
 Moderated by: Timberghozt, Rockydog, fryboy
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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 02:38 PM
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Jeffersonjbob
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I need help on finding the correct headspace for the 223 that will be shot in AR-15.  How do I go about finding that?

Is each rifle headspace specific (do I need to find that info for each rifle)?  Seems like the military must have a way to set the headspace so it works on all AR-15.

If you were interested in developing an accurate load for AR-15 for long range tartet shooting, how would you guys approach that.

Thanks

Jeff



 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 02:26 PM
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tunnug
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Are you building a rifle or trying to load for one, headspace is used when building, OAL (over all length)is used to reload cartridges.
Also need to know what twist is your barrel and when you say long target shooting what distance are you talking?



 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 07:52 PM
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Jeffersonjbob
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thaks for that advice.  I am just barely getting started so you have helped steer me in a better direction.

 

Jeff



 Posted: Fri May 7th, 2010 03:14 PM
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DesertMarine
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Agree with tunnug.  Need more info from you.  One thing is for sure, you need to load each round as consistently close to each other as you can.  Let us know how you reload and what components you are using in addition to what tunnug asked for.  All of us learn from these discussions.



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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 01:24 AM
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fryboy
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the ar isnt my thing ( and i can admit that lolz ) every rifle will be unique to some extent but as a mainstay the armed forces doesnt usually reload their own ammo,matches are with ammo loaded to certain spec's ,when a rifle fails the headspace or barrel via go/no go/field gauges check it goes to the armory and gets repaired ( or scrapped if needed ) the other match shooters who do reload for matches usually compete in a slow fire and often single load cartridges that wont fit in the mag , for that application it works fine with the heaviest bullets ,as for building/getting a serious target rifle in my case it would be lots of research and serious cash outlay ,here's something ta read
http://www.ar15.com/forums/board.html?b=3



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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 12:01 PM
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OldStuffer
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tunnug wrote: Are you building a rifle or trying to load for one, headspace is used when building, OAL (over all length)is used to reload cartridges.
Also need to know what twist is your barrel and when you say long target shooting what distance are you talking?


Yep.

"Headspace" as you say, depends on what you are doing.

If you are building a rifle, you will set that rifle's chamber size in assembly (within the limits of the parts). Then, you fit the handloads to that rifle's chamber.

Millitary weapons, just the same as production civilian weapons, are built to a standard "range" of headspace, never a single number. That range will function properly with standard-size ammunition. Millitary chambers also tend to be a bit on the "large" or "loose" size, to attempt to function properly when dirty and cruddy from prolonged shooting. Huge difference between being at the range or prarie dog hunting and your very tight-fitted rifle starts to hang up from crud after 50 rounds or so and being in a firefight and the same rifle starts hanging up while Hadji (or Charlie) is still coming over the wire like a flood.

The first pi$$es you off, the seccond gets you killed.

Once you have a rifle that is assembled, you then have to match ammo to that weapon's headspace, partially for reliability (to make sure ithe ammo isn't too large) as well as to maximize brass life (brass that is too small stretches more in firing, weakening it prematurely, making it fail prematurely). The mil. doesn't care about brass life and reusability, they don't reload it, they just buy more.

After your gun is built, you then need 3 or 4 factory rounds or handloads that will fit your chamber, in order to get "once fired brass from your rifle" in order to set your dies to make your ammo fit your rifle as closely as reliability will let it.

Die setting instructions from the die maker will make rounds that fit in your rifle, BUT, will probably be sized to minimum specs, which MAY be smaller than optimum. This is the case on both my 30-cal rifles, 2 dif. calibres, 2 different die makers.

 Adjustment just entails setting a die up "loose" so it fails to size the brass enough, then tightening it in small increments untill you JUST BARELY get it to close easilly and reliably on brass that has already come from it's chamber. After this, anything you run thru that die will just fit that chamber. It's not hard, a tad time consuming (maybe 10 to 15 minuites total), will be, IMO, a pain in the arse with an AR due to the bolt opening mechanism.

Then you have OAL (Over-All Length), which, for an AR, is mostly governed by the magazine, just like my BAR.

Best of luck to ya.



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 Posted: Mon May 10th, 2010 10:26 AM
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Jeffersonjbob
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thanks for all your help. I have a better idea how to get going now. I am doing research now and will keep you all posted on how things are going.

I am trying to reload with a Dillon 550B. I have never reloaded rifle ammo progressively, only with the RCBS rockchucker. I have a feel for that, but my friend shoots so much that I wanted to try the 550B.

I will have to find out the rate of twist of that barrel also and will keep you guys posted.

Thanks
Jeff



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