I reload a few calibers, mostly .223 Rem and .30-06 (I’d like to start reloading 9mm and .45 ACP, but will probably need to get a progessive press to make it worth my time).
Recently, my .223 reloads have been giving me a bit of trouble. I’m shooting ex-military bullets from demilled ammo, and while they generally work fine, there’s a few that are out-of-round. It looks like the bullet-pulling machine mashed a bit of the bullet so it’s flat. The vendor, RVOW, ran them through a die so there’s no part of the bullet that sticks out beyond the expected radius, and that all the round parts are round, but there’s nothing they can do to un-mash the flat side.
These slightly-mashed bullets have a minor side effect: when placed in the seating/crimping die, the case neck is fitted to the bullet, which means that one side of the case neck is slightly flattened. When being chambered in my rifle, the case neck doesn’t fit all the way into the chamber, and so the bolt doesn’t go into battery. When fired, the bullets swage to the barrel properly, and fly as true as I’d expect ex-military bullets to fly. There’s no signs of increased pressure or other issues. Remember, these bullets are just slightly out of round; I’d never attempt to fire a seriously out-of-spec cartridge.
Fortunately, I found a few ways to work around this problem, and a few that don’t work:
If the bolt was not allowed to slam home, one can usually pull the charging handle and eject the offending round. However, if the bolt closed with a bit more force (like after firing the previous round), the cartridge is usually stuck quite firmly, and one cannot exert enough force on the charging handle to extract the round.
Smacking the forward assist isn’t always helpful either, as one can’t really exert enough force to force the round into the chamber.
What does work for me is to put a small bit of padding (so as not to scratch the forward assist; a soft rifle case usually works well) on the concrete bench, hold the rifle vertically, and bumping the forward assist soundly against the padding, thus applying enough force to chamber it. Firing the round seems to be the most effective (and most fun) method of extracting the cartridge.
Annoying, to be sure, but it’s not a big deal now that I’ve figured out how to deal with it. This is clearly “range ammo”, not “anti-zombie” or competition ammo. I’ll use better bullets for those purposes.