Is it possible to screw the case length gauge too far into the cutter just using your hands? I've just bought one of these and tried it out on a once fired PMC 243 case that hadn't been resized yet and it cut a bit off. I thought I would only have to trim after at least a couple of reloads. So have i screwed it too far in??
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March 9, 2008, 11:00 PM
The way they are made you cannot screw it in too far. The length from the face where the cutter seats to the tip of the primer pin should be the correct case length. That is what sets the length. They are set to cut to the minimum SAAMI length like most case trimmers. If you are going to reload and don't have a micrometer, may as well break down now and get one.
March 10, 2008, 01:48 AM
Yes, you can screw them in too far by hand--provided you're godzilla! I have to disagree on the micrometer. There is nothing in reloading that requires that accurate and precise of measuring. A good caliper will do just fine, and much cheaper. Good mics run $150-$200 up, and you need a seperate one for each unit of inch. Time you get to a 2"-3" unit, you're looking at a minimum of $250. You can get a decent caliper for $100, and a lot of reloaders do just fine with $40 cheapies.
If you can screw that gauge pin too far into the cutter, be careful picking up cases. You'll be crushing 'em!
March 10, 2008, 11:29 AM
A manufacturing defect could allow the pilot to screw too far into the cutter. Lee's low-cost manufacturing processes could have allowed an escape. Take a measurement with a caliper.
March 10, 2008, 12:02 PM
I'm just setting up my bench, and haven't ever loaded yet. I screwed mine in holding the gauge with pliers and a piece of rubber, because it felt like it wasn't going in far enough by hand. The cutter began taking some shavings from the gauge (dangit!), so I figured it was seated, heh. I trimmed a case, and it cut it .007 less than max case length, which is what the Lee manual says their gauges should cut. Got away with one there.
March 10, 2008, 12:37 PM
First, don't trim cases before you re-size them.
If you do they will be wrong after you re-size them.
Second, LockTight the parts together and then trim a sized case while measuring it with a dial or digital caliper.
Keep adjusting the length until you get it right and then leave it for the LockTight to set up overnight.
I found that if I didn't use LockTight on the threads, they eventually get loose, and keep getting shorter over time as the rod is able to screw deeper and deeper into the cutter to keep tightening it.
March 10, 2008, 12:39 PM
My apologies. Moosehunt is dead on correct. I meant caliper, but was sitting there at work looking at a micrometer, so guess what I typed ! I think Midway had an electronic caliper no less on sale for like $12 a week or so back.
March 10, 2008, 05:04 PM
Some of the older caliber specific length gauges were made of aluminum, I have one in .22 Hornet, if you get downright GORILLA on it you can force the screw into the sharp faces and shorten it!
But I have learned not to do that with the aluminum ones. I think all the newer ones are of steel.
March 10, 2008, 07:48 PM
I made some mods to the lockstud to make the operation 100x easier (added a screw as a handle for the ring and stuck it on a screwdriver handle). I spin the cutter/mandrel in a drill press.
Eventually, the mandrel will losen (still cut accurately though) and then break off. I buy 2-3 at a pop--they last me about 500rds. But it's quicker this way and a lot easier on the hands.