Reloading: Pistol vs. Rifle


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RugerSAFan
December 29, 2005, 09:45 PM
Purchased my first rifle that utilizes a bottleneck cartridge (Marlin 336, .30-.30).

I have always loaded straightwall pistol cartridges (i.e. 45 "by God" Colt) on a single stage utilizing carbide dies.

What are the differences in reloading steps for a rifle vs. pistol? Are the tolerances different?

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357SIG
December 29, 2005, 10:00 PM
For rifle cases, you need to do extra steps after resizing. You need to trim the case to the recommended length (usually in the reloading manual) and deburr the case rim to remove the metal shavings. After that, you continue as usual.

Rilfe cases must be lubed, even in carbide dies. If not, it will get stuck in the die and can be a real PITA to remove. Spray lube is usually the least messy (do it outside), but you can't apply the lube very evenly that way.

Another important thing is to check your headspacing. The resizing of the case also reforms the shoulder, which is where bottlenecked cases headspace (rather than the case mouth with straight wall cases). When resizing, you actually smash the bottlenecked part of the brass into the die to reform it. As you can imagine, you can smash it too far, or not enough. You use a headspace gauge to check this and make sure it is correct. If it's too far or not far enough, you will have to screw the whole die one way or the other until it is set correctly. Once it is done, crank down the locking ring and never move that die again, or you'll have to set the headspace again.

The Bushmaster
December 29, 2005, 11:12 PM
357sig Don't you mean deburr the mouth of the case instead of the rim???

I load a lot of .30-30 for a mod 94 Winchester. The .30-30 case is a bit tender and can be damaged real easly when reloading it. The most critical step is crimping it. if you crimp it too much the case bulges or crumples. If you don't crimp it enough it can depress the bullet when in the tubular magazine. This can be remedied by using a Lee factory Crimp Die (FCD). You need a resizing/decapping die, a seating die (to just seat the bullet to desired depth which is at the very top of the cantilear) and a FCD for setting the crimp...Like any cartridge you will have to experiment till you are satisfied. As 357sig says about head space. I have my resizing/decapping die set .030" off of the shell holder to allow for the head space on a 57 year old "Jack Handle"...:D My cases are pretty much fire fitted to the chamber.

Might I recommend a good round that works for me both on the range and on the hunt...Prime Winchester or Remington cases with a CCI 200. Drop in 32 grains of W-748 and top it off with a Speer 170 grain FN...:)

Clark
December 29, 2005, 11:40 PM
I like to shoot cast bullets in the 30-30 at the range for fun, and my rifle likes them seated long and into the lands.

As always, I like to do the sizing without the expander ball, but with cast bullets, I need to flair the case mouth.

Ol` Joe
December 29, 2005, 11:46 PM
Try coloring the shoulder with magic marker and screw your die down only far enought to have the die contact and "wipe" most of the shoulder. Start with the die about 3/4 to a turn above the shell holder, it doesn`t take nuch movement between not touching and oversizeing. This will have your headspace problem solved and is quick and easy.
(I wouldn`t be suprised if the final depth of the die isn`t ~1/4 turn to 1/2 turn at the very most from touching the shellholder)
One thing you don`t want to use if you have a lever action is a Neck Sizer. The Levers and semi-autos should be full sized for reliablity purposes. Keep in mind too that Too much lube or build up will dimple shoulders. I would use just a dab no matter what lube you`re useing and only lube the body NOT the neck or shoulder area. I use Imperial Sizeing Wax and highly recommend it. The lube comes in a tin and reminds one of shoe polish. I rub my thumb and first two fingers on the wax and roll the cases between them as I pick them up to put in the shellholder. The little wax on my fingers lasts at least a couple 4-5 cases and is plenty.

BTW be sure to wipe the lube from your cases before fireing. Lubed cases aren`t the best for any firearm as they can cause increased thrust on the bolt/breech. Most lubes are water soluble and wipe off with a damp or dry rag.

klw
December 30, 2005, 12:24 AM
I don't think that I've ever trimmed a cartridge case ever. I've reloaded rifle cases until they have split but never trimmed.

I find that straight walled cases seem to last forever. I loaded by 45-90 brass at least 35 times and never had a problem. I know of a fellow who loaded his 65 times with out ill effects.

Bottlenecked cases, however, seem to split at the bottleneck such that half have failed by the 15th reloading.

Ol` Joe
December 30, 2005, 01:45 AM
KLW I wish I had your luck with bottle neck cases. I`ve never had one go more then 5-6 loadings max with out trimming although I`ve loaded SOME up to 20Xs + without visable damage when neck and partial full lenght sizeing. I generally toss them at 12 loadings just because it seems they do start showing neck cracks after that. ( I don`t anneal nor want to!) Or when they need a 5th trimming, which ever comes first. I also toss the whole lot when I dump them not just one or two cases that show possible damage. This is loading for 11 different bottle neck cartridges.

I`ve heard the RCBS X die will prevent cases from lenghtening but haven`t one of my own so I can`t say if they work or not. Neck sizeing also reduces case growth and I can see a dozen or more loadings without trimming when useing one. I just never get this when full lenght sizeing.

The chamber size (diameter & headspace) has a lot of bearing on lenghtening. The more a case expands the more it grows when it gets sized back down and it is displacing brass. The brass has to go somewhere and up is the only route open to it.

One more thought, try measuring BEFORE sizing and again AFTER. I`ll bet you`ll find a few thousanths difference with the sized case being the longer. Maybe as much as 0.005' again depending on chamber geometry. The proper point in measuring case lenght is AFTER sizing. The case will shorten when it "blows" out filling the chamber and "grow" once it`s been sized back down and had a expander ball dragged out the neck, measuring a fired unsized case can be misleading. Keep in mind the problem with a over long case is the possiblity of pinching the bullet in the leade. The cartridge may or may not show any difference in chambering and still have the bullet pinched because of the rifle bolts camming power. Unless you are looking for it the little bit of tightness may not be noticed even though it`s there.

My finding with straight wall pistol cases does mirror yours though. I have never trimmed one and lose them in the grass usually before they get loaded more then 10 -12 Xs. My dad has cases for his 38 SPCL he picked up in the 60s when he first started reloading or so he has claimed. I can`t verify this but I don`t doubt him. I know he`s as tight as it comes with a lot of stuff, and unless these split or show damage he will keep stuffing powder and lead in them.

The Bushmaster
December 30, 2005, 02:12 AM
klw...Yup...I've heard of people who never trim their cases. I don't mind saying that this worries me some. X-die or no X-die. Cases, whether they are straight wall, tapered or bottle necked, they go through H E double toothpicks during firing and must be checked with a dial caliper. I bet....Do you have a case trimmer?

RugerSAFan. The reason you will need to trim all your cases to a uniform length is because you will need to crimp each and every case and if they are not all the same length you will not have the same crimp on each of the cases. (I trim to 2.035 +/- .001) This will effect not only accuracy, but could have adverse problems when in that tubular magazine. It is a must that .30-30s be as uniform as possible. Don't want to scare you away because when you carry out what is needed to load them it becomes just as easy as any other bottle neck calibre.

robertbank
January 12, 2006, 01:55 AM
Remember straight walled cases shorten not lengthen with shooting and resizing which is different from bottle neck cases. That said I have loaded .45acp cases over 20 times and they are still within spec ie not to short. .45acp cases usually split at the mouth from repeated belling than from shooting.

The Bushmaster
January 12, 2006, 02:36 AM
Robertbank...Remember... .357 magnum cases tend to get longer. May be the only straight wall case that does...:D At least they are the only ones that I have to trim anyway...

renaissance
January 12, 2006, 01:42 PM
357sig Don't you mean deburr the mouth of the case instead of the rim???

I load a lot of .30-30 for a mod 94 Winchester. The .30-30 case is a bit tender and can be damaged real easly when reloading it. The most critical step is crimping it. if you crimp it too much the case bulges or crumples. If you don't crimp it enough it can depress the bullet when in the tubular magazine. This can be remedied by using a Lee factory Crimp Die (FCD). You need a resizing/decapping die, a seating die (to just seat the bullet to desired depth which is at the very top of the cantilear) and a FCD for setting the crimp...Like any cartridge you will have to experiment till you are satisfied. As 357sig says about head space. I have my resizing/decapping die set .030" off of the shell holder to allow for the head space on a 57 year old "Jack Handle"...:D My cases are pretty much fire fitted to the chamber.

Might I recommend a good round that works for me both on the range and on the hunt...Prime Winchester or Remington cases with a CCI 200. Drop in 32 grains of W-748 and top it off with a Speer 170 grain FN...:)

32 grains ???

azredhawk44
January 12, 2006, 02:20 PM
I'm not familiar with W-748, but I use 32.0gr of Reloader15 behind a 170gr Hornady FP.

Winchester's website (http://www.winchester.com/pdf/CatalogPDF/page19.pdf)confirms the charge.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading: Pistol vs. Rifle" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!