Mini 14 powder - Shooting Sports Forum


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Old 03-21-2020, 13:09   #1
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Mini 14 powder

Hello Ruger Mini 14 reloaders. I load strictly handgun calibers, been doing so for the past 15-20yrs, think I got a handle on it. Awaiting delivery of a brand new mfg, Mini 14, and thought I'd break into rifle reloading for this rifle. Any advice on powder/bullet choice? Any tricks/quirks I should be aware of, for this cartridge/rifle combo? Are small base dies necessary? I'm loading on a Dillon 550 press, am partial to Alliant powders over the years, but know that IMR used to be the "go to" powder for rifle loading. Gentlemen, indulge me, and THANKS!
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Old 03-22-2020, 17:45   #2
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Ive reloaded 223 for decades. Never For a mini, so I really cant comment on anything mini-specific.

Ive gotten my Ar's to shoot wonderfully, and even a Savage axis under an inch consistently at 100. So I guess I could offer generic .223 reloading questions, if you have any.

I'm a fan of Hodgdon/IMR powders. Id like to say that's ALL I use... but I picked up a bottle of Reloader from a buddy, once, so there's that. Ive loaded probably a half dozen to 8 different flavors of powder, and over twice as many different types and weights of bullets, for the .223 cartridge. Some shot fabulous, others not so much, and others shot poorly, until they got tweaked, and then shot better, if not pleasingly so. I guess the takeaway from that is you will need to find what your specific rifle really likes, and then fine tune that to your purposes and perfection.

As a reloader, you already know that changing just one variable in the whole equation changes everything... so its a labor of love to find that which works best... GOOD LUCK!

Oh... I use LEE dies in 223. have RCBS in many other calibers. Those are good too, but I'm not fond of the de-capping pin setup in RCBS. Never used a small base die. Never needed to even with multiple AR's in .223 and bolt guns. I have reloaded MANY thousands of rounds on a LEE single stage classic press. yeah, it takes a little longer, but that's the reason I do it. I ENJOY doing it.
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Old 03-22-2020, 18:02   #3
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Hello 45.

As long as you are squeezing the brass down correctly you do not need the small base dies for a Mini 14. Get a quality standard die and make sure the ram touches the bottom of the die every time. Some brass has some "spring back" and that could cause you a problem. But, I have not had that problem with annealed brass like the military brass. Not that the military brass does not have some issues that need resolved. (crimped primers and length)

If you have any doubts about your brass being resized correctly I suggest you get a Redding body die and use it right after the full length resizer. You will know if the standard die is doing it's job if you get little resistance with the body die. Keep in mind the body die is engineered to push back the shoulder of the brass a bit so you may feel a bit of resistance as the brass reaches it's max depth in the body die. The body die is a great way to fix some other issues. Spend the money and get one. Two more items I like is the trim die and the Crow world finest trimmer.

I like fast to medium burning powders. The fast powders would be AA2015 and RL10x. They tend to give me the best accuracy but slower velocities and higher chamber pressures. I have settled on IMR 3031, AA2230 and AA2460 for the medium burning powders and 55 grain bullets. For heavier bullets up to 69 grains I like the 2460 and AA2520. I have not tried AA2495 to comment on it. Get a burn rate chart from the internet and base your favorite powders on them. H4895 and AA2520 are real close to each other if you like a Hogdon powder. Keep in mind that ball powders and some of the mini stick powders meter so much better than the big stick powders like H4895, IMR4895 and IMR 3031. If you are using a progressive reloader go with the ball powders.

I have many times considered the progressive reloaders but I find that several single stage reloaders are more versatile and it makes it easier to find a problem. Two problems I see right now is cutting out a crimp and getting the length uniform. I am not sure a Dillion 550 can deal with all of those issues. I use my reloaders to do different functions and a drill press I can put in my chamfer tool and the Crow trimmer into to address the length, chamfer and cutting out the primer pockets of military brass.

I just threw a lot of stuff at you. If you have questions let us know.

kwg
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Old 03-22-2020, 19:01   #4
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Originally Posted by kwg020 View Post
Hello 45.

As long as you are squeezing the brass down correctly you do not need the small base dies for a Mini 14. Get a quality standard die and make sure the ram touches the bottom of the die every time. Some brass has some "spring back" and that could cause you a problem. But, I have not had that problem with annealed brass like the military brass. Not that the military brass does not have some issues that need resolved. (crimped primers and length)

If you have any doubts about your brass being resized correctly I suggest you get a Redding body die and use it right after the full length resizer. You will know if the standard die is doing it's job if you get little resistance with the body die. Keep in mind the body die is engineered to push back the shoulder of the brass a bit so you may feel a bit of resistance as the brass reaches it's max depth in the body die. The body die is a great way to fix some other issues. Spend the money and get one. Two more items I like is the trim die and the Crow world finest trimmer.

I like fast to medium burning powders. The fast powders would be AA2015 and RL10x. They tend to give me the best accuracy but slower velocities and higher chamber pressures. I have settled on IMR 3031, AA2230 and AA2460 for the medium burning powders and 55 grain bullets. For heavier bullets up to 69 grains I like the 2460 and AA2520. I have not tried AA2495 to comment on it. Get a burn rate chart from the internet and base your favorite powders on them. H4895 and AA2520 are real close to each other if you like a Hogdon powder. Keep in mind that ball powders and some of the mini stick powders meter so much better than the big stick powders like H4895, IMR4895 and IMR 3031. If you are using a progressive reloader go with the ball powders.

I have many times considered the progressive reloaders but I find that several single stage reloaders are more versatile and it makes it easier to find a problem. Two problems I see right now is cutting out a crimp and getting the length uniform. I am not sure a Dillion 550 can deal with all of those issues. I use my reloaders to do different functions and a drill press I can put in my chamfer tool and the Crow trimmer into to address the length, chamfer and cutting out the primer pockets of military brass.

I just threw a lot of stuff at you. If you have questions let us know.

kwg
Thanks Guys! Narrowed it down a little bit, just traded for a set of RCBS Full Length 223rem dies. Is what I'm reading on some of the forums true, if I use Lee Factory Crimp Die, I won't have to trim cases? I'm a believer in the Lee Crimp die for handgun calibers, but skeptical with rifle cartridges. The RCBS Seater die crimps also, why a Factory Crimp die also? Again, many thanks Guys!
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:15   #5
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Full-length size in your favorite brand of dies. Make sure shell holder manufacturer is the same as the die manufacturer. Install shell holder in ram, screw down die until it touches. Lower ram, and turn down die ONE FULL TURN. Raise ram, apply about 10-30 lbs pressure, and tighten lock ring while holding the pressure from the ram on the die. This will eliminate "slop" in the threads of the die, and press, and make die more in-line with the shellholder/ram. This also makes sure you are actually full length sizing, and bumping the shoulder back the appropriate amount. Lube cases sparingly, run them through as a batch, then trim to length. For best accuracy, cases need to be the same length, so trimming maybe necessary after each sizing. Cases expand(bulge) when fired, resizing pushes the bulge back in, and causes cases to lengthen.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:33   #6
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Originally Posted by 45acpskng View Post
Thanks Guys! Narrowed it down a little bit, just traded for a set of RCBS Full Length 223rem dies. Is what I'm reading on some of the forums true, if I use Lee Factory Crimp Die, I won't have to trim cases? I'm a believer in the Lee Crimp die for handgun calibers, but skeptical with rifle cartridges. The RCBS Seater die crimps also, why a Factory Crimp die also? Again, many thanks Guys!
Hello 45
You can choose which crimp option you like the best. The down side to different case length is neck tension and how it affects accuracy. I suggest for consistent neck tension try to get your cases the same length. You can use a trim die and a file or you can use some kind of cutter. I chose the Crow Worlds Finest Trimmer (WFT)

You are getting the combined information on reloading from several sources. Many of us started doing this long before the internet and we had to learn a whole bunch of stuff by trial and error. It's up to you to sort it all out. Like you we started out with nothing but a 2 die set and a case holder. I reload .223/5.56 on several single stage presses and I reload a lot of it. I have gotten it down to a science and to do it I now have 3 sets of .223 dies a Lee factory crimp die, a body die and several other aids I don't recall at this moment.

My primary press is one I bought in the Army PX in 1975. Except for about 15 years I had to put my stuff away when the kids were little, it has been in constant use. I have often thought about a Dillion progressive press but I'd have to divest myself of the single stage presses I already own. I highly suggest you get a single stage press to do some brass prep before you go to the Dillion. If you use military brass you have to eliminate the primer crimp. I cut mine out and others swage it out. Dillion makes the best swager on the market as far as I'm concerned. If you are a young guy now would be the time to pick one up.

Don't be afraid to ask questions.

kwg
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Old 03-23-2020, 17:23   #7
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Check out my recent post in the general RELOADING section. I posted a little .223 reloading info there, along with a couple recipes and pics of the results... Mind you... Those results are specifically in the rifle listed... They May or may not work in your particular rifle. But... It might offer you some insight as to results with some different powders for the .223... And help steer your progress in a worthwhile direction.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:58   #8
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Hello Indy
Could you put a link to your reloading information in the RELOADING section. I went looking for you and only found one post.

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Old 03-24-2020, 09:46   #9
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A load recipe for 5.56 that has been shooting just gangbusters for me is:
F/L sized Rem cases(no primer crimp to remove)
Trimmed to 1.755"
uniformed primer pocket and flash hole
Rem. 7 1/2 primers seated below flush
25.8-26.0 grn Hodgdon CFE-223 powder
sierra 69 grn Match king bullets seated to 2.262"
Crimp lightly w/ LFCD.
These rounds will shoot better than I can hold, and maintain about .7 MOA, regardless of group quantity. I have a target w/ 18 of 20 shots in a .65 MOA group, fired prone with a sling.
BTW- rifle is a 20" DCM profile, 1/7 twist.
While this may not be a direct apples to apples comparison with any mini, it may be a place to start.
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Old 03-24-2020, 17:24   #10
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https://www.perfectunion.com/vb/relo...load-info.html

That's where it is. Not much... But might give you a starting point
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:34   #11
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Most 5.56 American Made Ammo is loaded with BL-C2 /W748. Identical. Ball powder that doesn't cause problems with the powder measure. No bridging.

My standard load for use in 4 different carbines is 25.0 gr of W748, Hornady 55 gr FMJBT over runs.Crimp with Lee Crimp Collet Crimp Die in the cannelure. Lee Lee die is not overly sensitive to case length. I don't trim range pick ups or once fired M193 or LC cases which are pretty common. Just remove the primer crimp and load normally.

This produces accuracy that is acceptable from all my Carbines.

Simple as that.

Randy
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Old 03-30-2020, 13:16   #12
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Randy, you are absolutely right. 5.56 isn't really finicky. It seems to lend itself very well to accurate loading with most all bullet/powder combos. +1 on the factory crimp die. All ammo I load that goes in a magazine, or into some kind of autoloader. Some is crimped more than others, but they all have some crimp.
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Old 03-31-2020, 18:04   #13
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Since I use my .223 loads in several rifles (including some bolt actions) I trim all of my cases to 1.760 or something pretty close. I have loaded cases with Winchester 748 but I prefer to load with something that burns a little faster like RL10x, AA2015, AA2230 and AA2460 with 55 grain bullets. Preferably Hornady soft points. I have used IMR4895 also but I'm just not getting the accuracy like the faster powders. Blazing velocity isn't required. If they shoot well in my Mini they tend to shoot as good or better in anything else I have.

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Old 04-04-2020, 21:57   #14
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RCBS SB X dies purchased this die set for a tight chamber rifle.
Trim once and never trim again, so they say. Seems to work so far , I had a problem with a case getting stuck in the die, the vent hole in the die became plugged.
This die has a special mandrel which I had to destroy because the threaded hole in the die is smaller than the mandrel diameter. To remove the stuck case the mandrel got kinda flattened. I emailed RCBS and explained the problem, they sent me free of charge extra mandrels, screw adjusters and decapping pins. They have changed this die so this is not a problem with the newer dies.

IMR 4198, IMR-3031, IMR 4895 and CFE 223
From 55 grn to 70 grn bullets.
Like Kwg the ammo I load is not to the max velocity. More FPS does not equate with max accuracy which is why I reload.
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Old 04-09-2020, 18:34   #15
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I have shot several M193 wanna be's and I am not getting any pressure signs but between the slow powder (H335, Winchester 748) and the full metal jacket bullets the accuracy is just not good at all. 25 grains of AA2230 and Benchmark and 25.2 of AA2460 are all good. But, AA2015, RL10x and IMR 3031 are the go to powders for accuracy.

As for brass prep, nothing beats consistent length and using the same cases for that little edge. I have a ton of mixed brass and I'll use it up but it just isn't good for accuracy. I have been loading it up to .223 specs and using it in my bolt guns or putting FMJ's in the case for blasting ammo. I occasionally crimp some ammo if I know it's going into a semi auto. I do crimp FMJ's because it's just for blasting.

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Old 04-11-2020, 12:43   #16
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I have a bunch of 5.56 ammo. LC Brass. I used Government powder that a pulled myself from 1K rounds of ammo all the same lot. I pulled every bullet, dumped every round. Weighed the charges on a bunch of them. I then gave the empties to a friend to load for NYS Matches and kept the powder and bullets for myself. I then loaded them at 10% less with excellent results using LC brass that I processed from the year before.
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Old 04-13-2020, 00:07   #17
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Do any of you loaders find LC brass to have wall thickness greater then commercial brass particular Federal?
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Old 04-13-2020, 07:04   #18
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Originally Posted by Marlin 45 carbine View Post
Do any of you loaders find LC brass to have wall thickness greater then commercial brass particular Federal?
Yes, and LC brass is notorious for stretching once fired. I think it's because they have so much extra material. The up side is, it's great brass for at least 4 loads. I run my LC brass through the Crow trimmer (WFT) between every reload to make sure it hasn't grown too much.

I have been trying real hard to get my case length consistent. I'm to the point that when I load the bullet an extra long length case will taper crimp at the top of the cannalure while a slightly shorter case will taper crimp at the bottom of the cannalure or somewhere in between. How wide is a cannalure ??? Maybe 20 thousands of an inch. With the taper crimp I don't have to do an outside crimp.

It's taken a while to develop my technique but I'm getting most of my brass in the 1.755" to 1.760" length with many falling right at 1.757" length. This tends to land the bullet and the case right in the middle of the cannalure. For non cannalured bullets I tend to load them slightly long to get the bullet closer to the rifling.

The upside of the "social distancing" is I have a lot of free time to mess with reloading.

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Old 04-13-2020, 07:54   #19
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Kw-
I have to admit I've never tried the WFT trimmer, but I think it references off the case shoulder. Either your sizing is producing variations in shoulder placement(setback), or the trimmer is simply not repeatable. Again, I've never tried one. I use a forster trimmer, which is based solely on actual overall case length. It is repeatable to .001" with all cases placed in it.
As far as crimping, I only use the Lee factory crimp die. It is the only die that does not require the case neck to be shoved into a crimping shoulder, based on force applied to the base of the case. The FCD is a "guillotine" type crimper. The shell holder applies force to the sliding collet of the crimping die, and the collet is cammed inward to crimp. I am thoroughly pleased with it.
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Old 04-13-2020, 10:15   #20
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Originally Posted by dh1633pm View Post
I have a bunch of 5.56 ammo. LC Brass. I used Government powder that a pulled myself from 1K rounds of ammo all the same lot. I pulled every bullet, dumped every round. Weighed the charges on a bunch of them. I then gave the empties to a friend to load for NYS Matches and kept the powder and bullets for myself. I then loaded them at 10% less with excellent results using LC brass that I processed from the year before.
How much of that powder was in each round? Grains please?

That powder is probably the Govt equivalent of BL-C2 or W748.

Randy
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Old 04-13-2020, 11:52   #21
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Originally Posted by 2rangers View Post
Kw-
I have to admit I've never tried the WFT trimmer, but I think it references off the case shoulder. Either your sizing is producing variations in shoulder placement(setback), or the trimmer is simply not repeatable. Again, I've never tried one. I use a forster trimmer, which is based solely on actual overall case length. It is repeatable to .001" with all cases placed in it.
As far as crimping, I only use the Lee factory crimp die. It is the only die that does not require the case neck to be shoved into a crimping shoulder, based on force applied to the base of the case. The FCD is a "guillotine" type crimper. The shell holder applies force to the sliding collet of the crimping die, and the collet is cammed inward to crimp. I am thoroughly pleased with it.
I am seeing some variation in the case length using the crow trimmer. I think it depends on how hard I push the brass up to the cutter. I agree you are right, it does reference off of the shoulder and if I don't put the same amount of pressure on each case that needs trimmed I could end up with some variations in length. Most of these variations are maybe 1 to 3 thousands of a difference. The short brass does not even reach the cutters so that accounts for most of the case length difference.

The other variable is the press. I have used it for a long time. My guess is there is some wear on the pins in the mechanism of the press and this is causing some variations. The other is the thickness of the necks. The military brass is thicker in the neck and I have wondered if that is causing some variations.

I try to put loads with similar brass together. LC will be loaded for one purpose and commercial brass is probably going to go to loads for my bolt action rifles. This isn't a cure all but I am convinced it helps.

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Old 04-13-2020, 12:18   #22
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1-3 thou shouldn't affect crimp. if your finding that bullet cannelures are seating to different depths, first i would take the seating die apart and clean it out, particularly the seating stem. If it still seats to different cannelure depths, I would suspect the bullets.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:03   #23
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Originally Posted by 2rangers View Post
1-3 thou shouldn't affect crimp. if your finding that bullet cannelures are seating to different depths, first i would take the seating die apart and clean it out, particularly the seating stem. If it still seats to different cannelure depths, I would suspect the bullets.

I haven't cleaned the insides of the dies for some time. You are right, I should take a look at those dies and the shell holders as well. I am using one full length die that I find gives me the best and most consistent squeeze on each piece of brass. I have not made any changes in the trimmer but I see I get brass stuck inside after every use. I probably should make sure that is clean every time I use it as well.

A spray of brake cleaner each time would probably do it. The wild card variable is the brass that is shorter than 1.755. There is not much I can do with that except separate it out and put it with the same brass/finished casing.

All in all, I'm staying inside of the width of the factory cannalure with everything except the shortest brass.

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