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Mini 14 Reloading

This is a discussion on Mini 14 Reloading within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Hello Again, my new Mini will be waiting for me Thursday when I get home from work. With the advent of the current ammo shortage/hoarding, ...


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Old March 22nd, 2020, 04:40 PM   #1
 
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Mini 14 Reloading

Hello Again, my new Mini will be waiting for me Thursday when I get home from work. With the advent of the current ammo shortage/hoarding, I've reconsidered reloading for this rifle/223rem. Can you guys throw some advice my way on favorite powders/bullets? It's a brand new mfgd Mini. I have a traded, RCBS Full Length die set in 223rem, on it's way, but that's all I have. I've been reloading strictly handgun calibers the past 15+yrs, so rifleloading's new to me also. Thanks for any help.



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Old March 22nd, 2020, 05:27 PM   #2
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I would look into purchasing several reloading manuals for the bullets you wish to use, hornady, sierra, nosler, etc. You may already have these since you pistol load. Rifle loading is more time consuming than pistol. You will have to trim 5.56 or .223 cases to 1.750" I would also purchase a rcbs small primer pocket swagger and uniformer to remove 5.56 crimp rings. Some rifles require small base sizing to allow the action to close and be fired, Ar's mostly. I can recommend the hornady 55 grain match and hollow point and fmj's. Sierra makes a great 52 grain match bthp. Extreme makes a good 55 grain fmjbt for plinking. I can say varget cfe223, h335, w748, Imr 3031, H4895, are all great powders for .223. i personally use only cci primers in all my firearms by choice.

I run 3 different presses, a hornady lnl progressive, bair 130C single stage and Lee for my 50 bmg. i load all rifle on the single stage bair. I have found most 1n9 twists like the 40 and 55,62 grain bullets the 1n7 and 1n8 mostly perfer the 75 or 77 bullets.

Any questions?
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Old March 22nd, 2020, 05:44 PM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by Tacky View Post
I would look into purchasing several reloading manuals for the bullets you wish to use, hornady, sierra, nosler, etc. You may already have these since you pistol load. Rifle loading is more time consuming than pistol. You will have to trim 5.56 or .223 cases to 1.750" I would also purchase a rcbs small primer pocket swagger and uniformer to remove 5.56 crimp rings. Some rifles require small base sizing to allow the action to close and be fired, Ar's mostly. I can recommend the hornady 55 grain match and hollow point and fmj's. Sierra makes a great 52 grain match bthp. Extreme makes a good 55 grain fmjbt for plinking. I can say varget cfe223, h335, w748, Imr 3031, H4895, are all great powders for .223. i personally use only cci primers in all my firearms by choice.

I run 3 different presses, a hornady lnl progressive, bair 130C single stage and Lee for my 50 bmg. i load all rifle on the single stage bair. I have found most 1n9 twists like the 40 and 55,62 grain bullets the 1n7 and 1n8 mostly perfer the 75 or 77 bullets.

Any questions?
Thanks Tacky. I read on the forums, where if I use Lee Factory Crimp Die, it'll eliminate having to trim cases? Is this true? Is Alliant Power Pro 1200r powder any good, you don't mention it? Alliant states it was designed for progressive loaders, like my Dillon 550. Thanks Again Tacky
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Old March 22nd, 2020, 07:12 PM   #4
 
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Thanks Tacky. I read on the forums, where if I use Lee Factory Crimp Die, it'll eliminate having to trim cases? Is this true? Is Alliant Power Pro 1200r powder any good, you don't mention it? Alliant states it was designed for progressive loaders, like my Dillon 550. Thanks Again Tacky
Most of the new dies have a taper crimp built into them. If you have a long case you will buckle the shoulder if you have the taper crimp dialed in. If you set your die where the taper crimp has no effect on the length of the case and you want a crimp, use the Lee factory crimp die.

I prefer to make my cases a similar length. I have set my Crow WFT to make my cases 1.760" long. Many milspec cases are way longer than this and this is the number I chose to make my cases all a similar length. I then use the factory taper crimp to finish my loaded cases. This eliminates the need for Lee factory crimp die.

I have my Crow WFT set up in my drill press. It greatly simplifies the time I take to trim the cases. The cases will still need the chamfer done and the outside of the case mouths need cleaned up as well. I also cut out my crimps using the standard chamfer tool. I chuck it into my drill press as well. Having a drill press speeds up several tasks. You do not need an expensive drill press to do any of these things.

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Old March 22nd, 2020, 07:24 PM   #5
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Yeah as kwg stated i also have a wft trimmer in .223 and .308 win, if you do bulk cases thats a great asset, but i wouldn't jump straight to that just getting started. Also as kwg said i run my rifle dies 1 turn up from the required setting to keep the sizing die from crimping my case. I found more consistant crimps with the lee factory crimp die, have them for a dozen calibers conservatively speaking.

I personally have not used alliant but 1 cartidge tge 7.62x39, but later switched to benchmark, another great powder in .223. Not alot of alliant here mostly hodgdon, winchester, and IMR which i use.
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Old March 22nd, 2020, 07:38 PM   #6
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As far as the lee die eliminating trimming, i call that a no, you will likely have to trim mostly after first firing and second firing, then they will not likely need to be trimmed until they need to be retired. There is a tool for the dillon that allows for trimming in the press, i have not used one. Most times i toss mine from split cases or too loose primer pockets.

i use the first reload and maybe second for my precision rifles. Then it gets moved to the plinking duty. i can reload on my progressive, but i choose the single so i do not have 5 things to watch at once, the single stage allows me to be more meticulous. I do all standard pistol on the progressive, no trimming, just size, expand seat the primer, drop the powder in, seat the bullet, and crimp, all 5 stages at once. I load 50bmg single stage as well.

Are you using a powder drop, case activated drop, or electronic scale dispenser? i use a hornady scale dispenser, it does fine with powders when you adjust it for it. the rcbs chargemaster is good too. The case activated and powder drops do well with ball powder, not stick or lets say like blue dot for pistol since it likes to chop the flakes, and gives inconsistant charges. Not what you want to see.

On another note i use the hornady one shot case lube in aersol, works great. i dont roll them.

So what else you curious about?
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Old March 22nd, 2020, 07:47 PM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by 45acpskng View Post
Thanks Tacky. I read on the forums, where if I use Lee Factory Crimp Die, it'll eliminate having to trim cases? Is this true? Tacky
No, absolutely false. All it will do is let the mouth of a long case fit. But that is a dangerous situation because the crimp will not be able to open fully to release the bullet. Cases MUST be kept below the maximum length by trimming.

I have found that soft points, OTMs and hollow points are MUCH more accurate in my Mini-14 than FMJs. The difference is unbelievable.
The picture below shows a 4 shot 100 yard group with 55 gr. soft points (all in the bottom bull) and a 4 shot group with 55 gr. FMJs (red lines point to the holes)
Yeah, that much difference!
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Old March 22nd, 2020, 08:15 PM   #8
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Thats interesting Doc. I found that my 1988 mini 14 likes the 75 grain hornady hp match with H4895 at 2.255". It is combat accurate with the 55 and 62 gr. My 2007 mini 14 target likes the 40 grain vnax with h335 and produces submoa, will keep even with my high end AR's that are 3 or 4 times its cost.
Now my mini 30 likes a 110 vmax with a .308 bullet, i reload the cases with a .308 ball in the sizer die, it does not like the 123, or frankly any .311 bullets at all. Discovered that load and stuck with it.
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Old March 22nd, 2020, 09:53 PM   #9
 
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I feed my 583 series (2016) Mini 14 52-55 gr bullets and Hodgdon Benchmark powder in Winchester cases. So far, about 2-2.5" groups at 100 yds. I polished the trigger sears for a pull of just under 4 lbs. I use a Bushnell 1-4x32 scope for load work. With a bit of epoxy bedding in the wood stock, I hope to get down to consistent 2" or under groups. I've already installed an ASI reduced gas bushing and Wilson 1911 blue buffers front and rear. Many new style Mini 14 barrels seem to have a tendency to vertically string shots or cause fliers as they heat up. Mine goes for close to 20 shots before opening up.

Yes, you do need to trim cases and have a dial caliper to measure them, along with a case mouth deburring tool. I use my old hand crank Forster trimmer for all my bottleneck rifle cases.
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Old March 23rd, 2020, 08:22 AM   #10
 
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[QUOTE=Tacky;4496051] ...Some rifles require small base sizing to allow the action to close and be fired, Ar's mostly.... [QUOTE]

The RCBS AR Series Die is great for this. I have a Mini 14 and use this die...
https://www.rcbs.com/reloading-dies/rifle/353963.html
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Old March 23rd, 2020, 03:20 PM   #11
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[quote=geroux;4496419][QUOTE=Tacky;4496051] ...Some rifles require small base sizing to allow the action to close and be fired, Ar's mostly....
Quote:

The RCBS AR Series Die is great for this. I have a Mini 14 and use this die...
https://www.rcbs.com/reloading-dies/rifle/353963.html
Yes I run the rcbs small base dies for my 25-45 sharps AR. I run the redding small base sizer on my .223 remington, 308 winchester, and 243 winchester since I have both AR's and other guns chambered for that round, snall base allows them to be used in any of them without the fear of a failure to load completely. I can recommend both makers products.
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Old March 24th, 2020, 02:02 PM   #12
 
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I have 2 rifle that I know of that does not like the standard RCBS dies. A bolt action Sako and my new Remington ADL. I simply run those rounds through my Redding body die with some Hornady's Unique lube. Everything else goes through the standard dies. Both have tight chambers.

I do keep my 3rd and 4th fired brass in reserve. (EOTWAWKI) I also run that brass through the body die to make sure the shoulder is pushed back. Since it's reserve ammo and I don't know what rifle it's going through (mine or someone else's) I want to make sure it works when the time has come.

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Old March 25th, 2020, 08:14 AM   #13
 
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45ACPSKNS reloading for a 223 Gas Gun is different from a Bolt action rifle. A bolt action can take more pressure than a Gas Gun. With that said pick up at least one reloading manual, if not two, in fact Sierra’s manual has load data for the 223 Gas Guns, as do Hornady. You will need to know the twist rate of your barrel, this will determine how LONG of a bullet, not how heavy of a bullet that will stabilize in your barrel. Once you know what bullet gives you the best accuracy, you wan t to develop your handLoads, using the CBTO measurement using the Hornady OAL gauge, bullet comparator & headspace Comparator. This method will give you more consistent and accurate handloads than the COAL method. A word about brass, do not use mixed headstamps, pick one type either Military (LC) or commercial (Win, Remington, Federal) and stay with it, the same goes for the primers. I have found over the years Military brass has less internal capacity than commercial brass, this will effect the amount of powder and pressure in the case.

Last edited by SirRuger; March 25th, 2020 at 08:16 AM.
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Old March 25th, 2020, 09:54 AM   #14
 
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For .223 I used SB RCBS dies, CFE223, (meters great in my 550) and Hornady bullets, 52’s, 53’s and 55’s.

I wouldn’t bother spending the money on a bullet comparator, you won’t be able to load any longer than what the magazine allows. If it was a bolt gun it would be a great tool to have to find your OTL number and seat your bullets accordingly though.
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Old March 25th, 2020, 10:34 AM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by 45acpskng View Post
. With the advent of the current ammo shortage/hoarding, I've reconsidered reloading for this rifle/223rem.
At the moment components of all types are difficult to find, the bad news. There are so many powders that work well in the .223 you should be able to come up with a usable supply of something. Accurate/Western powders has several options and data for each with several bullets on line. Hodgdon has the newest and oldest options, all are good. CFE 223 is excellent, but everyone has figured that out, and I don't see any available from my list of sources. It's very similar to W748 and BL-C2, and I just grabbed 5lbs of BL-C2 from Powder Valley.
Primers are getting hard to find, but the Mini will run just fine with standard or magnum versions from everybody that sells them, buy a thousand when you see 'em.
Some interesting info on what bullets work with a 1:9 twist, I have several rifles, bolt guns and AR variants, with 1:7, 1:8, and 1:9 twist rates. Some of the lighter weight varmint bullets may be a problem with the faster twists, as there is sufficient centrifugal force to literally shed the jackets in flight. The Blitz and SX bullets from Sierra and Hornady 50gr and 55gr are a problem in a couple rifles, but not all. There is no point or purpose with those for the most part in a Mini 14. Anything from 55gr to 69gr will work well, the 68gr and 69gr Match bullets are not cheap. The 55gr and 62gr bullets are reasonable for cost, and there are supplies of those out there if you look.

For the most part the .223 is very easy to load for, and the Mini comes with a conventional .223 chamber. Don't exceed the OAL specs for a given bullet, and you won't have problems. You don't need to crimp anything for the most part, (after all, none of the Match bullets even have a crimp groove and that tells you something), but keeping your brass trimmed below the max 1.760" is a good idea for a lot of reasons. The Lee factory Crimp dies work well, and I use them for several rifle and handgun rounds, but it's an extra step, and if case lengths are all over the place, it's not magic.

Good luck with your new toy.
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