To crimp or not to crimp ? the 223 rem.

TexMex247

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TGT Supporter
May 11, 2009
2,263
63
Leander(NW Austin)
Ok, so I like to think that I have mastered the reloading of several pistol cals. However, when it comes to rifle cartridges, I am a bit of a newbie. I currently have only tried a few batches of 223 rounds for my AR and mini14 but have dreams of one day reloading my .280 as well. Anyhow, I see bullets everywhere with cannelures but just as many without. Can someone with experience point me in the right direction ? So far I have batched out only three sets of 20 rds, all loaded with IMR 4198(19-19.5gr), 55 and 60 gr bullets and all without crimps. My first experience with 45LC rounds is that at the lower end of the loading spectrum(near minimum loads), I had poor seal-ability of brass in the chamber and plenty of pressure blasting back at my face when I failed to use a full crimp(1 turn on a lee crimper). Should I expect the same with my 223 loads, or are cannelures and tight crimps just there to keep the bullets seated ? Anyways, any advice is better than blasting unburned powder into my eyes...so I'll take your 2 cents if you have it. - Texmex
 

Bullseye Shooter

Active Member
Apr 28, 2008
510
16
Texas Panhandle
I do not crimp for either my AR or my .308 M1 Garand. Yep, the bullet will creep slightly when it is chambered, but I've never had a problem with cartridges in the magazine. The neck tension from when you seat the bullets is sufficient.
 

cuate

Well-Known
Jan 27, 2009
1,842
36
Comanche Co., Texas
I never crimp .223 , the neck to bullet snugness is sufficient for all rifles I shoot....AR, Ruger, Golani, TC Contender....

I tried to crimp one time and perhaps die wasnt adjusted properly, cases set back and wouldn't chamber.
 

glock9

Member
Apr 28, 2008
91
18
The danger of not crimping in a semi Auto (AR-15) is the risk of higher pressures if there is bullet setback which can lead to KABOOMS
 

Texas1911

TGT Addict
May 29, 2017
10,623
38
Austin, TX
The danger of not crimping in a semi Auto (AR-15) is the risk of higher pressures if there is bullet setback which can lead to KABOOMS
The crimp causes increased burn rate, and higher pressure, in it's own right.

I personally don't see how bullet set-back in the .223 could cause excessive pressure to the point of failure. If there is little to no tension in the neck, the bullet is going to expel as soon as case pressure increases. I've seen alot of complete set-backs in .223 ammo and never a case rupture as a result of excessive pressure. Not saying it hasn't happened, just I've never seen it on the range.

I personally would crimp, or set a high neck tension on, my .223 for a semi-auto, just for reliability reasoning as well as preventing the set-back issue. That and brass is virtually free for me.
 

TexMex247

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May 11, 2009
2,263
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Leander(NW Austin)
Performance of non-crimped bullets

Well, the range results always tell the truth. Unfortunately the truth is that A: either I loaded these too lightly or B: I need to crimp these rounds. After firing off just a few, I had a jam where the bolt did not cycle back far enough to catch the back of the next round. They flew downrange with a wicked 'zing' and great accuracy but my semi-auto became a single shot with regular frequency. It is also true that my loads were near the lower end of the spectrum, so I duplicated those loads with a collet style crimp to finish them off. We will see if these cycle the bolt properly and still group well. I also batched some with progressively heavier loads of powder still all a half grain or more below max. I'll let everyone know how they turn out.
 

Bullseye Shooter

Active Member
Apr 28, 2008
510
16
Texas Panhandle
Crimping will have little or no effect on whether or not your rounds eject properly. Sounds like you have something else going on; possibly insufficient lube or a dirty rifle, but it would take some hands-on time to figure it out. Granted, that is a very light load, but it should still function okay. There are better powders for the .223 like Varget, H335 (my favorite) or RL 15.
 

TexMex247

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TGT Supporter
May 11, 2009
2,263
63
Leander(NW Austin)
Maybe you can tell me where I've gone wrong Bullseye. I typically only oil the bolt, charging handle, sear and lock pins(on lower) when I clean. I never let then gun go through more than 100 rds. between cleanings. I also shot some monarch 55gr brass cased sp bullets in the same session that shot flawlessly. I 'm starting to think it's all powder charge. - Texmex
 

Bullseye Shooter

Active Member
Apr 28, 2008
510
16
Texas Panhandle
I'm scratching my head a little, since if the rifle is relatively clean including the chamber and you fired off some factory stuff okay, even your light load should function okay. My Speer book shows you started with their recommend beginning load (H4198 not IMR 4198), but there are no disclaimers about it not functioning in an AR, which is what you would think Speer would mention. And my Lyman book has the same loads using H4198 and they used a Colt AR as the test rifle and there is no mention of any functioning problems. :confused:
 

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