First high-dollar brass and neck sizer... need some tips


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ny32182
March 9, 2010, 11:19 PM
So I have recently been shooting my "budget special" bolt gun for groups. Here are the stats:

-CZ 550 American .308
-Warne medium height rings
-Simmons 2.8-10x

So far I have been using brass that came from some factory Winchester hunting loads, and FL sizing each time. I have been shooting 155gr SMK's, and have got the following groups in limited load testing:

44.9gr H335, 2.778" OAL - six rounds in 1.315" group
41.8gr TAC, 2.778" OAL - five rounds in 1.272" group

I don't know if that is "good" for my setup or not. Even off a rest my hold is not perfect, and I suspect that those groups could have possibly been MOA from a perfect machine rest.

Anyhow... in search of more accuracy, I thought I would try some quality brass and neck sizing since that is what people seem to recommend most for bolt guns. Today I recieved:

-100 new Lapua cases
-Hornady .30 cal neck sizing die

My questions:

1) What prep should be done on this new brass? FL size? Neck size? Trim to "trim to" length?

2) About the die:
-The directions just say to keep screwing it down 1/4 turn at a time until the whole neck is sized, but not to far, or you will crush the shoulder. How do you know when "the whole neck is sized"?
-Is lubing the necks really neccessary? The directions say yes, so I guess I will do it, but I swear I remember reading somewhere that lube wasn't required for neck sizing. I don't want to get one stuck in the die of course.

Am I likely to see any real accuracy improvement with this setup? On one hand I'd like to keep searching for the requisite "MOA rifle"; on the other hand this isn't really a target rifle in the first place, so I don't know what to expect in terms of what the actual practical limit would be. I'm not a hunter, so "it is accurate enough to kill a buck" isn't really a factor for me. Thanks.

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GJgo
March 9, 2010, 11:42 PM
What is the twist on the CZ?

I recommend trying Varget powder.

For Lapua brass, just fire form it, trim to length, and shoot it. No reason to obsess on prep.

You'll see the die marks down the neck as you screw it down & try it out. Stop when it gets to the base of the neck. Unless you have some kind of a nitride bushing you'll want to use lube.

JimKirk
March 10, 2010, 06:14 AM
Smut the neck with a candle, then you can see what has been sized and what has not.

Have you played with the seating depth of your bullets, sometimes there is more accuracy gain there than just neck sizing? Tried different load amounts?

Jimmy K

otblue
March 10, 2010, 06:53 AM
The Hornady NS die is OK but a better way to go is the Lee Collet sizer. The Hornady is a generic short 30 die that doesn't support the case at all.

Lapua brass is usually good to go with minimal preparation except for a neck sizing to even out any shipping dents.

Need to play with seating depths and loads. My preference is also for Varget.

CZ rifles are usually a bit better than your figures suggest.

You haven't said what seating die you use. The Hornady is OK for 308 or shorter cases, not so good as the case length increases. Needs care in setting up to ensure concentricity.

The best is the Forster seater.

otblue
March 10, 2010, 06:58 AM
Forgot to mention the scope.

I'm not knocking the Simmons brand but they make a range from awful to excellent. The market is huge and probably most of the market is price rather than quality sensitive.

A low end Simmons will affect your groups sooner or later. An older Aetec or Whitetail Classic will probably be good.

243winxb
March 10, 2010, 07:19 AM
IMR 4895 powder. Redding FLRS die Type-S Bushing die. Size 1/2 of the neck only. Neck turning not needed on most factory rifles, but can help. And do some of this. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_4_48/ai_83483904/

243winxb
March 10, 2010, 08:51 AM
Is lubing the necks really neccessary? Lube the inside of the case neck with any die that has an expander button. A small amount of lube on the outside neck is ok. This looks like a bushing die? http://www.hornady.com/store/308-Win-Match-Grade-Neck-Size-Die-1-Each/What one did you buy? Match Grade Rifle Dies

For ultra-precise alignment and match-winning performance from your press, you’ll want Hornady’s Match Grade New Dimension™ Dies. The neck size die features interchangeable, self-centering neck size bushings (available in .002” increments) that eliminate the chance of oversizing your case necks and overworking the brass.

Some calibers are available in two styles: full-length sizing and shoulder bump neck size. Both styles feature interchangeable neck sizing bushings. Select the bushing your cartridge requires to complete your Match Grade Die.

ranger335v
March 10, 2010, 09:30 AM
You raise a lot of questions!

1. As said, don't agonise over prepping that brass, it's already done and you paid for it.

2. There is no point to neck sizing below the base of your seated bullet.

3. Neck sizing MAY help accuracy a tad, but it's no certainty.

4. Lubing necks (outside) will reduce/prevent brass galling onto the die, so do it.

5. I'm sure the Hornady neck die will do okay, but I also much prefer Lee's collet neck instead of any "bushing" die for factory rifles. The "Match Grade" and "Competition" labels on any dies but Forster and Redding are hopeful delusions, IMHO.

6. Sounds like your bench technique may need more work, that may improve the accuracy of your loads than anything else.

ny32182
March 10, 2010, 09:37 AM
To address some of the items brought up (and keep in mind I know little about bolt guns or loading for them, so bear with me):

What is the twist on the CZ?

The only twist reference I've been able to find says 1:14. I haven't tried to measure my actual barrel.

I recommend trying Varget powder.

I have some I can try, but haven't yet.

For Lapua brass, just fire form it, trim to length, and shoot it. No reason to obsess on prep.

Do people trim all the way down to the "trim to" length for bolt guns? Is the brass length a notable factor in accuracy?

Have you played with the seating depth of your bullets, sometimes there is more accuracy gain there than just neck sizing? Tried different load amounts?

I have not played with the seating depth; just stayed very close to the book length so far. I have varied the powder charges. I have been working with 25 cases, so for each of the powders I listed, I just took the listed book range, divided by 4 in one instance and 5 in the other, and loaded up 5 or 6 (or 7) rounds of each. The groups I listed were the best ones I recorded from that effort.

CZ rifles are usually a bit better than your figures suggest.

This would not surprise me at all.

The sizer die I got is this one:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=116484

The seater die I am using; I highly suspect it is this one, though I bought it as part of a two die set with a FL sizer as well:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct/?productnumber=182414

Forgot to mention the scope.

I'm not knocking the Simmons brand but they make a range from awful to excellent. The market is huge and probably most of the market is price rather than quality sensitive.

A low end Simmons will affect your groups sooner or later. An older Aetec or Whitetail Classic will probably be good.

It is an Aetec from probably around 2003-04 or so. It isn't a great scope by any stretch. I own ACOGs, and have looked through several NF tubes, and this thing is a POS by comparison in terms of light transmission and image quality... but my goal here was to get started learning about bolt guns without dumping a ton of money, and I already had this scope... so on it went. Is there an easily measurable way to see if it is affecting my groups?

Lube the inside of the case neck with any die that has an expander button.

Definitely a good call on that one; I wasn't thinking. Lube, it definitely is.

I'm gathering that it is not crucial to get the neck size all the way down to the front of the shoulder.

Thanks for all the input so far.

ny32182
March 10, 2010, 09:48 AM
6. Sounds like your bench technique may need more work, that may improve the accuracy of your loads than anything else.

This is definitely a possibility.

243winxb
March 10, 2010, 09:59 AM
Rate of twist is 1:12 in. on CZ website. Do people trim all the way down to the "trim to" length for bolt guns? Is the brass length a notable factor in accuracy? Its not a big factor in accuray, but some short neck rounds need all the neck they can get. Your neck sizing die needs lube inside, outside your choice. Dies that use an expander , flsr or neck, will shoot the same accuracy wise IMO. In fact my tests with standard dies show the flrs ammo to be more accurate.Bushing dies are the best. But testing is the only way to know for sure.

Seismic Sam
March 11, 2010, 03:52 AM
One important caution which I learned about the "hard" (meaning it cost me nearly $300 to learn something) way concerning neck resizing:

If you take a fireformed case that is concentric throughout its long axis (meaning 1 mil or less of runout) and neck resize it, there is NO guarantee that after neck resizing the runout will still be 1 mil or less. It can be as much as 5 mils in some cases. :cuss:

Long story short, I was doing accuracy loading for a JP Custom .338 Remington Ultramag, and got a Lee Collet die. Looked simple, looked foolproof (most of Richard Lee's inventions are...), but I went through hell and wound up buying lots of powder, and 300 grain Matchking bullets $, and a runout indicator $$, and then neck turning equipment ($$$) trying to get concentric resized cases. Finally tabulated the runout of each case before and after the collet die, and discovered that it was going from 1 mil to 3 to 5 mils. Sent a smoking hot letter to Lee with the die and got my money back, but never any apology or explanation.

Since then I have discovered that Redding Type S neck dies can do exactly the same thing with concentric fireformed cases. In watching this happen, I have come to the conclusion that there are at least TWO methods by which this can happen, with the first one being friction. With a case where one side of the neck is shiny and one side has powder fouling, the TiC neck ring will preferentially size one side of the neck more than the other, which throws the neck off the case body axis. The other I think may be due to an uneven distribution of brass in the case SHOULDER, (and this is the area of the case where they probably have the least control of wall thickness) and when you resize the neck the assymetrical forces from the shoulder pull the case neck towards the thick side of the shoulder.

My solution for all this expensive misery was to set up an old Bonanza-type Full Length bench rest die, and to do this you take a FL steel die, and run a carbide expander ball all the way up the threaded shaft until it is just a few mils shy of the case neck of the die. then, when you run the case into the die and start to withdraw it, the expander button is expanding the neck while still being held by the neck portion of the die. The result is a nice, concentric case, typically with under 1 mil runout. For problem cases, you can just run it through the die three times and rotate the case 120 degrees each time, and that always solves the problem.

I'm sure this is information that a lot of people may not want to hear (or believe), but the numerical data from runout measurements doesn't lie. Neck resizing a concentric fireformed case does NOT necessarily keep the reformed neck on the same axis as the case body.

farscott
March 11, 2010, 06:40 AM
Since then I have discovered that Redding Type S neck dies can do exactly the same thing with concentric fireformed cases. In watching this happen, I have come to the conclusion that there are at least TWO methods by which this can happen, with the first one being friction. With a case where one side of the neck is shiny and one side has powder fouling, the TiC neck ring will preferentially size one side of the neck more than the other, which throws the neck off the case body axis. The other I think may be due to an uneven distribution of brass in the case SHOULDER, (and this is the area of the case where they probably have the least control of wall thickness) and when you resize the neck the assymetrical forces from the shoulder pull the case neck towards the thick side of the shoulder.This may explain what I have been seeing with my .17 Fireball loads that I have been neck sizing with the Redding Type S neck die. I have been playing with the bushings and making little progress, but this may be my issue. I need to measure my runout to see if it is an issue.

ny32182
March 11, 2010, 09:57 AM
Thanks Sam, sounds like I will need to be a bit more advanced in my knowledge and loading techniques before that is useful, but it might come in handy down the road.

GJgo
March 11, 2010, 09:58 AM
Seismic Sam- Did you neck-turn the brass in your case? I've found that this may be necessary for allowing bushing type dies to work optimally. Just a thought.

OP- if it's a 12 twist, I'd try te 168 or 175 SMK in front of some Varget.

Seismic Sam
March 11, 2010, 12:55 PM
Seismic Sam- Did you neck-turn the brass in your case? I've found that this may be necessary for allowing bushing type dies to work optimally. Just a thought.

OP- if it's a 12 twist, I'd try te 168 or 175 SMK in front of some Varget.

Yes, in trying to find the gremlin in my case sizing process with that :fire::cuss::banghead: Lee collet die, I went out and bought all the stuff necessary to do neck turning, and turned all my case (about 250 of them, all from one lot of bulk brass.) necks. In the end, I wound up removing about 3/4 of a mill from the case necks to get them uniform, which means that I probably wasted my time and money to begin with.

Yes, Redding Type S dies CAN resize necks concentrically on SOME cases, but on others that look the same they fail miserably. Like I said, any irregularity on the neck that could cause a friction difference could be one culprit, and I think a small difference in shoulder thickness could be the other culprit. My Redding Type S die still fails about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the time, even with my turned case necks.

And FWIW, when this problem will really bite you hard in the ass is when you start loading benchrest rounds where the bullet is 20 mils off the lands. With a long ogive Sierra 250 or 300 grain MK, if the runout on your case neck/bullet is more than about 3 mils, one side of the bullet will rub hard against the chamber as it is shoved all the way in, and you can feel it when you rotate the bolt handle down. Needless to say, your accuracy goes down the toilet about this point, along with your confidence if you don't know what's happening.

ranger335v
March 11, 2010, 01:09 PM
Sam, all six of my Lee collet neck dies do very good work for me. My (one) Forster BR FL and (one) Forster BR neck dies do almost as well. All of my conventional sizers, of all brands, on average do about the same as yours. No seater can load concentric ammo in bent-neck cases.

I've never known of serious competitive BR shooters loading with any brand of threaded dies, not after case forming anyway. ??

Seismic Sam
March 11, 2010, 06:57 PM
Sam, all six of my Lee collet neck dies do very good work for me. My (one) Forster BR FL and (one) Forster BR neck dies do almost as well. All of my conventional sizers, of all brands, on average do about the same as yours. No seater can load concentric ammo in bent-neck cases.

I've never known of serious competitive BR shooters loading with any brand of threaded dies, not after case forming anyway. ??

Well, I'm not a competitive BR shooter, just a handloader who wants to try to get his rifle accurate enough to try some 1,000 yard shooting someday. The 6mm PPC and the .338 Ultramag exist in totally seperate universes. I'm glad to hear that your Lee collet dies are working for you, because I would hate for other people to be going through what I did. Perhaps there is something different about those big .338 cases that makes this happen - I have a friend starting in on 338 Lapua who hit the same wall.

Maybe the people who make the PPC brass know what a demanding bunch of customers they have, and go through some extra steps to ensure a higher standard of uniforimty.

GJgo
March 11, 2010, 08:33 PM
Maybe the people who make the PPC brass know what a demanding bunch of customers they have, and go through some extra steps to ensure a higher standard of uniforimty.

Yes, their name is Lapua.

Seismic Sam
March 11, 2010, 09:25 PM
Oh, I appear to have my foot in stuck in some brown, viscous substance!! My comment still stands, however. Sucessful companies tailor their products to the needs of their customers. You can't assume Cadillac or Corvette quality control specs on a Buick that is primarily driven by elderly Midwestern people who have their pants pulled up to their chest and a small, cloth porkpie hat stuck on the back of their head.

Even from a technical brass forming standpoint, there is simply too much distance between a 22 or 6mm PPC and one of the big .338 calibers to assume equivalency. If you'd like me to ship you my type S die and a few dozen rounds of my fired brass to process and publish the results of your resizing efforts, please PM me.

ranger335v
March 11, 2010, 09:53 PM
"I'm glad to hear that your Lee collet dies are working for you, .. Perhaps there is something different about those big .338 cases that makes this happen "

Everyone I know who uses them correctly have found them the same as me. I rather think your die may have been defective. It happens to all makers, they (usually) make it good.

Seismic Sam
March 12, 2010, 11:40 AM
"I'm glad to hear that your Lee collet dies are working for you, .. Perhaps there is something different about those big .338 cases that makes this happen "

Everyone I know who uses them correctly have found them the same as me. I rather think your die may have been defective. It happens to all makers, they (usually) make it good.
I suspect you are right. At the time I got it, it WAS a custom order, so maybe a machinist let the lathe wander off a bit while turning the collet fingers.

However, I'm still troubled by the thought that if the neck can go off center with a type-S neck die, why couldn't it do the same thing with a collet die? The case body is not supported by the die, so when you resize the neck it would remain in line with the metal rod going all the way down to the primer hole, but the case body could go off axis relative to the neck, so you wind up with the same runout problem when you measure it.

It's maddening when you see behavior like this and can't conclusively prove where the gremlin is. I'd be tempted to try buying another collet die, but my retro setup Bonanza co-ax die works fine and allows me to shoot .3 MOA with the Ultramag on a day when I'm doing my part, so I'm hesitant to let my curiousity drag me back into the swamp that I already got out of.

USSR
March 12, 2010, 11:51 AM
Seismic Sam- Did you neck-turn the brass in your case? I've found that this may be necessary for allowing bushing type dies to work optimally. Just a thought.

This is another one of those Internet fallacies. It is not necessary to neckturn your brass to take advantage of bushing dies. I have been shooting in 1,000 yard competition for the past 7 years using bushing dies with non-neckturned brass.

Don

amlevin
June 4, 2010, 10:59 AM
Buick that is primarily driven by elderly Midwestern people who have their pants pulled up to their chest and a small, cloth porkpie hat stuck on the back of their head.

Seems you've met my ex-Father In-Law (substitute Pioneer Seed hat for porkpie)

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