How’s It Shoot?

For years I’ve been shooting a bunch of .223 rifles; a pair of Ruger Mini-14s, a Ruger Model 77 Compact and a New England Firearms single-shot. All of my reloading chores for them have been accomplished with a set of standard RCBS dies. I often caution anyone not to load up a large quantity of reloads until they actually have the gun they’re going to use the loads in. This was brought home to me again with my latest .223 which I tried to match up with 400 loaded rounds using Hornady, Sierra and Speer bullets. These were not loaded with the AR-style Springfield Armory Saint Pistol on hand, but for my other .223 rifles.

When I tried to use them, all of which functioned perfectly well in the other .223 rifles, I ran into a problem. The round would feed into the chamber of the Saint Pistol, however when the trigger was pulled the result would be a “click” and the round wouldn’t fire. To remove this cartridge from the chamber it was necessary to take the Saint apart.

The solution was a set of RCBS Small Base dies and I added a Lee Factory Crimp die. The problem was solved, and all the new loads using CFE223 powder and the same bullets chamber perfectly. In measuring factory loads, original handloads, and those loads assembled with the new Small Base dies, I found the original handloads to be .0015" larger at the base than the factory loads, while my new reloads were about a half-thousandth less than the factory loads.