How can you assure you have enough neck tension?


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Luggernut
November 19, 2007, 01:22 AM
I've been reloading for a little bit now and have run into many common reloading issues but recently I noticed something just by chance. I pick up my brass at the range but sometimes when I'm shooting with others the brass gets mixed up. Anyway- tonight I was loading a couple hundred .45ACP and when I inserted a bullet into one of the cases I noticed it seemed to go in more than the others (after I put a slight bell on the brass I usually place the bullet in and give it a little push into the brass). After the seating stage I removed the cartridge and tried to push the bullet in more with my thumb to see how solid it was. Well I could push the bullet into the case without much force! I checked a bunch after this one and none were like this one.

How do you guys check for enough neck tension?? I would imagine this could pose a problem if I tried to fire that round.... no? There wasn't much tension on the bullet so I can't imagine that any setback could cause much more pressure though.

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NuJudge
November 19, 2007, 01:50 AM
For myself, I want the cartridge to have a certain wasp-waistedness. I size cases small, and then bell (but not expand) the cases. Some older Remington brass has given me problems, but no other brass.

I like these custom Lee undersize size dies:
http://egw-guns.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=40&products_id=40&osCsid=332e348f4ed1e776a68a465a294ede69

I test them not just by pushing down on the bullet of a cartridge, but feed several of the first of a lot of ammo through a pistol for every lot. I expect some movement, but not much.

CDD

Luggernut
November 19, 2007, 09:02 AM
CDD- ironically the one round that I noticed this with was Remington!

Walkalong
November 19, 2007, 09:15 AM
Remington .45 brass in thinner than most. My first RCBS sizer would not size them enough while other brass was fine. I called RCBS and they sent me a new sizer. No problems now. I think the Lee under sized die is overkill for the .45, but it will assure PLENTY of neck tension.

Take a loaded round and push it up against your load bench or other solid object. If you can't push the bullet deeper, you are OK.

The .45 is very forgiving being a low pressure round. A bullet driven a bit deeper in the case is not that big of a deal.

A regular Lee sizer should work just fine..

Luggernut
November 19, 2007, 09:19 AM
Walkalong- that is what's I'll do to check them. Do you do this for every round you reload though? I agree- the under sized die seems like overkill for .45ACP in most cases. With this problem round... the cartridge easily fit inside the case gauge so I just suspect a weak case.

armoredman
November 19, 2007, 09:48 AM
Lee Factory Crimp Die, resizes everything as a last step, no more issues.

jmorris
November 19, 2007, 10:19 AM
+ 1 on the Lee FCD. After case gauging and loading 100 rounds, bullet down, in one of the plastic cartridge holders I press check them row by row (that usually catches any amerc that slipped by).

Luggernut
November 19, 2007, 10:24 AM
jmorris- I like your idea of the press check in the platic cases.

however- how does a FCD help with the neck tension?

Walkalong
November 19, 2007, 10:32 AM
Do you do this for every round you reload though?No. I can tell when I seat a bullet, even in my Projector progressive press, when a bullet seats "too easy" and I will check those. I periodically pull one to check O.A.L. anyway. I have three .45 sizers and all three carbide rings are a bit different in size. I don't use the tightest one usually.

If your gun is slamming them down into the feed ramp and causing issues with setback, you have other problems anyway. Gun problems. Does your gun go "Ka Chunk" instead of "Schlick" ? (just made "schlick" up) Anyway, it should be smooth.

Jim Watson
November 19, 2007, 10:34 AM
It doesn't. You cannot crimp a loose bullet tight. We had a guy at the IDPA shoot Saturday whose $3000 Nighthawk would not handle his sloppy reloads with insufficient bullet pull. Lee makes and EGW markets an undersize sizing die that will bring the brass down smaller. Hopefully that will be enough for the thin stuff. Remington seems the worst offender but it used to be worse than it is now.

Luggernut
November 19, 2007, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the posts... good info and I'm always learning.

Walkalong- I think I've been fortunate to not have run into any problems feeding my .45 reloads. I've checked all my other rounds and they seem to be fine.... the challenge now is to make sure that one doesn't "slip" by me going forward. I'll continue to be observant when I place the bullet in the case and follow up with press checks when the loads are complete.

SDefender
November 19, 2007, 12:41 PM
I read somewhere and this is what I do intermittently during a regular loading session or for each high end round: turn the bullet bullet end down and apply about 50# pressure using both thumbs on the back of the case. If it slips ANY, there is a problem. On occasion I also measure a round, cycle it through the chamber once and then measure it again.

I do not use range pickups since I can't guarantee the history and only use my once fired or new Starline brass. The only time I have had any slippage is with Berry's bullets in my 45 auto. I need to do more testing to decide if it is the bullets of just one of those things that can happen...

jmorris
November 19, 2007, 01:26 PM
Luggernut, if your bullet has a Cannelure (crimp grove) you can roll crimp pistol (collet style crimp with rifle) and even if loose before it will then stay (unless you have a crack). It’s when loading pistol ammunition using cast, plated, swaged, and jacketed projectiles with out a Cannelure that I’ve found the Lee FCD improves the likely hood of the finished product going through my firearm not in the trash.

Walkalong
November 19, 2007, 01:36 PM
This is a touchy subject and some folks love them, but the Lee FCD is a solution for a non problem and can actual ruin good neck tension. If you have to mash your reloads to make them chamber there is another problem that should be fixed so they won't need to be "mashed" into shape.

Do a search. You will find some lengthy threads about this.

RustyFN
November 19, 2007, 07:09 PM
I agree with Walkalong. If you have to rely on the FCD to fix the round then you need to stop, read and learn how to set up the dies correctly. Having said that I use the FCD for reloading. I only use it to crimp because I don't like to crimp in the seating die. After loading thousands of rounds I have only felt the post sizing ring size two cases.
Rusty

rg1
November 19, 2007, 09:45 PM
One thing to watch for when expanding the pistol brass is if your expander offers absolutely no resistance, or you "feel" nothing then you may not be sizing your brass down enough, should your expander punch be correctly sized. I have had this problem with .38spec. more than any other caliber. Some .38 brass is much thinner than others. A special die to size all the brass a little more solved my problem.
I had to send a carbide 40S&W/10MM die back to the manufacture because it didn't size down enough to hold bullets tightly.
Another reason I still use a single stage press is for the feel. My test is to push the bullet against the bench and remeasure for a possible loose bullet. You'll get very erratic velocities with loose bullet fit and others with proper fit. A loose bullet in .38spec always caused very low velocity compared to the correct or tight fit.

Stinger
November 19, 2007, 10:22 PM
I'm with Walkalong and Rusty 100%. The pistol FCD is completely unneccesary. It is used to mask problems within the reloading process. A properly sized and expanded case will not need any post-sizing. If you desire a crimp and prefer to do it in a separate station then I think the FCD is a-okay.

There are generally two camps on this issue. Those who use them and those who don't. Those who don't will give the aforementioned arguments, and those that do use them get upset/angry and disagree. Silly, really.

Lee certainly sells a bunch of them, and I think that their marketing has been very effective. Practically, however, there is no need for them.

Jim Watson
November 19, 2007, 11:35 PM
I use a Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die when loading cheap bulk cast bullets in cheap mixed .45 ACP brass. Cuts my gauge rejects by about 3/4 and almost eliminates malfunctions even when shooting the gauge rejects for practice. I guess the problem it masks is my trying to economize on ammunition for high volume, short to medium range shooting... like IDPA, which is my main game.

I don't use it for loading jacketed bullets in military match brass.

gandog56
November 20, 2007, 12:37 AM
If it's an auto pistol, make a regular reload, but leave out the powder. Use a set of calipers and measure it well. Put the shell in the mag and slingshot the slide to chamber the test round. Rack it again and grab the ejected shell. Measure it again and see if there is a difference. If there is, you probably need to fine tune your dies a bit.

Walkalong
November 20, 2007, 09:29 AM
I use a Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die when loading cheap bulk cast bullets in cheap mixed .45 ACP brass. Cuts my gauge rejects by about 3/4 and almost eliminates malfunctions
The first sound reason I have heard for using one.

JDGray
November 20, 2007, 10:35 AM
RP brass is good stuff, but is thin. I can always tell when seating a bullet in RP 45 cases. Just dont over flare the brass, and give it the push test. You'll be suprised that even the easy seating rounds can still hold a bullet firm, and those cartridges never even touch my Lee FC die. Just going through the motion.:D

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