Neck Sizing for hunting loads


RDA 226sig
September 6, 2009, 07:21 PM
I am in the process of working up some hunting loads for my 338 Winchester Magnum and am considering Neck Sizing the brass to get a little better accuracy. I have always full length sized brass when working up hunting loads because I was concerned about temperature variations affecting the function of the ammunition; brass I fire at the range in Tennessee in July may not function as well in November in Colorado.

Does anyone have any experience with using neck sized brass for hunting? Good or bad.

If you enjoyed reading about "Neck Sizing for hunting loads" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 6, 2009, 07:46 PM
I have always read and done so myself when loading hunting rounds was to full length resize. function is paramount to and accuracy second. you do not loose to much in accuracy to notice with hunting loads anyway.

September 6, 2009, 07:54 PM
I agree. Full length size for hunting ammo. :)

September 6, 2009, 08:02 PM
IMO, neck sizing is not an option when prepping your hunting ammo. You need the ability to rack your shells without worrying about tight fitting ammo. The differences in accuracy between the two methods will generally be negligible in a hunting situation.
Good luck on your hunting endeavor.


September 6, 2009, 08:07 PM
Try neck sizing and fit some bullets and see how the rounds and action flow. If you are happy with that, then go for it.

I full length size semi-auto and lever rifle ammo. 375H&H I fl-size because that is the die I have.

September 6, 2009, 11:44 PM
IME, I neck size only my 260 for coyote and deer hunting...never a problem.

Full length is probably the best guarantee though...

September 7, 2009, 12:14 AM
I neck size mine. But I run them trough the action before I head out just in case I need more then one shot.


RDA 226sig
September 7, 2009, 07:31 AM
Certainly don't want to need a follow up shot but don't want to be yanking and banging around with a bolt while my quarry is exiting stage left.

September 7, 2009, 11:10 AM
Gotta go with the offering up the idea that perhaps going with your gut instinct is the best idea. But, there is the idea that you could go with getting a Type S FL Bushing die to bump the shoulder and control the neck sizing with the bushing.

September 7, 2009, 11:53 AM
Depends on what you are calling full-length sizing, and neck-sizing.

I probably use what some call neck sizing, but in reality it's "partially-full length" sizing.

I size the neck and the body of the case in a full-length die, and only "kiss" the shoulder with the die. This allows free chambering but with minimal dimension changes from fired round head-spacing. This usually gives accuracy equal to just neck sizing and dosen't compromise reliablity. Using the die screwed all the way down to touch the shell holder which I call "full length sizing" will cause excessive headspace with several of my firearms, and will result in brass that is ruined within 2-3 loadings. (.30/30 and .22Hornet, and .35Rem to mention several....) However, I DO fully size .45/70 brass as with the essentially straight size cases, it head-spaces on the rim, so fully sizing maximizes ease of chambering/feeding.

Also, it depends which rifle and game being hunted. I do the above with all "big game" cartridges and loads. With varmint loads/cartridges, I usually use a Lee Collet type die which is IN FACT a true neck sizer. It only sizes the necks. After 2-3 loadings it can be necessary to run the cases back through a full-length die to get reasonably easy chambering. /

Either way, I seldom have to shoot more than once when hunting, but, you just never know when a follow-up shot may be necessary.

September 7, 2009, 12:31 PM
I necksize all ammo, but the ones that will be used for hunting are test cycled through the action to ensure smooth feeding.

Bart B.
September 7, 2009, 01:19 PM
Full length size your belted case ammo; it's best for both total reliability in loading as well as accuracy. Folks on military teams shooting the magnums winning matches and setting records tried partial full length sizing, and it didn't work too well although it was better than any neck sizing technique produced. In fact, they ended up always using new cases which shot the most accurate. One of the 1000 yard benchrest records was recently set with new .300 Win. or Wby. magnum cases

I've worn out four 30 caliber magnum target barrels and none shot worth a hoot with neck sized ammo. Occasionally, I would get a really tiny group, but not often enough.

Best accuracy with belted cases requires the fired case body to be sized completely all the way to the belt. It takes a special die to do this. will get you on to one of his collet dies. We used to cut the middle part out of full length sizing dies then use it to size the case a second time all the way to the belt (reducing it back to new case diameter) after a conventional full length sizing die set the fired case shoulder back a few thousandths, but this collet die does the same thing.

RDA 226sig
September 7, 2009, 03:15 PM
Bart, you make an interesting point with regard to this being a belted cartridge. The case wall bulges above the belt and the RCBS sizing dies do not restore the brass in this area. Attached are two pictures, the first is once fired brass and the second is virgin brass.

When you use the bushing die to size all the way down do you find the brass life to be much better? The claims made in the link are pretty strong. (20 reloads from a belted magnum?)

September 7, 2009, 04:15 PM
I was fortunate to grow up in a time and place when game was plentiful. I have hunted antelope at 90 degree plus weather in late September; elk and deer at 40 below; deer, elk and Grizzly in rainforest conditions.

I have killed more deer in one day than most people will kill in a lifetime. Through my association with game wardens and my ability to shoot accurately, I was asked to be a shooter in several crop damage ďhuntsĒ where deer swarmed into winter pastures with cattle. The ranchers didnít want members of the public to be shooting deer in amongst their cattle.

I necksize with a full length die, just barely bumping the shoulder. Every round is cycled through the weapon for which it is intended, before being boxed. The only round I have had that didnít chamber in the field was when I was 14, and that experience taught me what trimming was all about.

I prefer to work up winter hunting loads at around 25 degrees, and prairie poodle loads when in the 80ís to match the field conditions. At 40 below I have experienced noticeable reduction in velocities with smaller capacity cartridges (6mmRem). More important than necksizing /fl resizing is your weapon itself. Actions that are well lubricated slow down dramatically and some will not fire. I was standing beside a hunter with a 340Wby when he pulled the trigger it went kkkklllllllllliiiiiiiiikkkkkkk. Preparing you actions for cold hunting is done by removing all lubrication, except for lubricant that is designed for sub-zero shooting.

Bart B.
September 8, 2009, 10:54 AM
RDA 226sig, the most reloads I've got from .264 Win. Mag, .30-.338 (both standard and long neck version made from .300 Win. Mag. cases) is 14. I've shot a lot of new belted cases getting the same accuracy. And I've had enough of them so the reload per case count ain't very high.

If your chamber's a standard (minimim spec) SAAMI one, I believe one could get over 20 loads per belted case from a proper full length sizing die plus a body die I described above. The full length sizing die's neck has to be lapped out to a few thousandths smaller than a loaded round's neck diameter so one of those "neck bender" balls doesn't come up through the sized down fired case neck. And the fired case body needs to be sized down only a few thousandths. In other words, you're returning the fired belted case back to virtual new dimensions.

A few years ago, I got a new barrel for my .30-.338 Keele (long neck, but .338 Win. Mag. SAAMI dimensions for body) and sized 15 new .300 Win. Mag cases and 15 once fired ones used to check two loads for pressure signs and get a basic zero. Both had case necks turned to about 13.5/thousandths. Loaded round neck diameters were .335 and the throat was .344; lots of clearance. Put 64 grains of 4350 under a Sierra 200 HPMK in the new cases and 65 grains of 4350 under a 190 HPMK in the once fired resized cases. Bullet runoout was no worse than 2/1000ths for both. Shot them all at 1000 yards early one morning; first the resized fired ones then the ones with new cases. All 30 shots in about 20 minutes. The 190's grouped about 6 inches wide and 5 inches high. Same group size for the 200's except they were centered about 2 inches below the 190's group. All 30 shots were in a 7 inch composite. Not too shabby considering my hold area on the target was about an inch or so shooting slung up prone with a bag under the forend and another under the stock's toe.

I refuse to shoot neck only sized cases if accuracy's important; new or proper full length sized ones only.

September 8, 2009, 04:45 PM
I have hunted with 30-06 neck sized ammo. The brass was only on its' 3rd or 4th loading and I chambered all of them first to make sure I wouldn't get any hangups. I didn't have a problem and I got my deer. If I was hunting something bigger than deer, or on an expensive hunting trip, I would definitely only use FL sized cases since functionality is more important than gaining a little accuracy.

Robert Wilson
September 8, 2009, 07:00 PM
I rarely get more than a quarter inch reduction in five shot hundred yard groups by neck sizing. This is meaningless for most hunting, so I exchange it for the reliability of FL sizing.

If you enjoyed reading about "Neck Sizing for hunting loads" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!