screwed up some 30 06 brass


May 17, 2010, 02:56 PM
So as the title reads I screwed up my first batch of 30 06 brass a few days ago and thought I would share. Sorry for the long post I will break it up in a few different posts.

So far this has been by first bonehead move in reloading but I'm sure it's not going to be the last. I would like to share so hopefully I get some suggestions and also so others don't make the same mistake I did ruining 100 30 06 cases.

This was my first batch of reloads for my newly re barreled Garand, I was kind of in a pinch for time because I wanted to shoot a Garand match the following day so I put the process in a fast pace yet still pretty meticulous about my reloading as always.

I started out with 100 Winchester once fired brass cases. They were supposed to be tumbled, re sized and trimmed but I decided I needed to do it just in case.

I hit them down with some Lyman's quick spray and ran them through the resizing die. Next I tumbled again to remove the lube. After tumbling I trimmed, chamfer, and deburred all the cases.

This is where things go south. I've read as much as possible on the Internet about the reloading for the Garand, not really about charges and bullets I have plenty of reloading books for that but what had me concerned was the primer seating depth.

I have looked for a hard military type primer locally but the only large rifle primer available was Winchester's WLRM's which I have read are not near as hard as they use to be not to mention a magnum primer. The solution to my problem from what I've read on the Internet and from a few local people was to back down the load and to seat the primer .002 deep.

OK on to preparing the cases. At the new local reloading supply store, I picked up a smartreloader's case prep tool that contained both large and small reamers, primer pocket uniformers, chamfer tool, and case neck brushes.

Before I had been using my Lee chamfer tool to remove the military crimp and the Lee primer pocket cleaner for my .223 reloads with Lake City brass. While the Lee worked it did not really set the primers very deep and some where still hard to seat resulting in a primer that was flush with the case.

So, since I was in a bit of a hurry wanting to develop a load and also test and zero at 200 yds before dark, I chucked the reamer up in my drill and went to town. The way the reamer is shaped it looked impossible to ream too much so I just gave every case a good trigger pull on the drill holding the case in my hand. The brass didn't have a military crimp but in my inexperienced eyes they looked great, a nice and deep 45 degree cut. I then chucked the primer pocket uniformer in the drill and proceeded to hit all 100 cases in the same manner.

Wow I thought the brass looked great, polished, trimmed, deburred, and the primer pockets all looked perfectly uniformed. I loaded up the primer tool, filled the measure with some IMR 4064 ready to drop 44grs, got my box of Hornady 168gr Match bthp's ready to go and proceeded to load the first round.

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May 17, 2010, 02:57 PM
I seated the first primer and to my surprise not much resistance, oh crap. I took a decapping pin and pushed on the primer from the inside. It was in there pretty tight and didn't move at all so I think I'm good. I then proceeded to load 30 rounds, weighing all charges and measuring COL to make sure all are uniform.

With the rounds loaded I headed to the range. I set up at the 200 put in the sled loosen up the schuster gas plug and fired a round. I looked down range through the spotting scope and the round was on target just about 6inches low. I looked for the case but couldn't find it. I tightened up the gas plug and I then loaded up another and fired. This one was 6inches high. *** maybe it's me, for some reason I had groups in my head not brass and proceeded to load another round instead of looking at the brass for any potential problem. Bang, 8 to 10 inches low again, I tightened up the gas plug a little more each shot and then I decided to load up a 8 round en bloc clip and try to put a solid group on paper. I fired seven rounds with the eighth being a misfire. I took the round out and had a light strike. I then re chambered the round and click, nothing. Another light strike. Third time was a charm. Looking through the spotting scope there was no definite pattern, all rounds on target but no particular group just kind of scattered around. Still thinking it's maybe me or the gun I loaded up my Rock River NM A2 and put ten 77gr Matchking's down range. Well, it's wasnt me, softball sized group in the black.

I then started looking for some brass, to my surprise the Garand threw a couple straight forward, maybe one O'clock, several out to three O'clock, and most almost straight behind me at five O'clock. It sure didn't take me long to notice a problem, most primers were very loose in the pockets and a few missing. I took several and knocked them out by banging the case head on the bench. I did find the rest of them though, inside the bottom of my receiver. I know that's bad but would that cause the erratic groups.

May 17, 2010, 03:07 PM
Here are some pictures of a prepared case and some fired. What's your opinion on why they were so loose. I'm sure I probably reamed the cases too much but what about the uniformer? Can you go too deep? It has a shoulder which limits max depth. After looking at the cases closely the reamer went into the cases a little deeper than the small shoulder on the tool, it simply dug in the brass about .002.

Also what about the load? The primers look a little flat but I'm thinking that's from them backing out not too much pressure. Most data in my books show 47gr of imr 4064 as a starting load, except for Hornady's specific loading for the Garand which is what I went by. They show a starting load of 41.5, but I was looking to get in the 2500-2600fps ballpark so I started with 44gr which should be about 2450 with a normal primer. Hornady shows a max with normal primers at 47.2gr. Looking back shortcuts are a bad idea and I should have just worked them up from 42 to be on the safe side. I wish I would have took my chrony and got some readings as well but I didn't because I didn't think I had the time.

Tom S.
May 17, 2010, 05:14 PM
According to a couple of my sources, namely Quickload and Speer #14, you are way under the starting levels for a 168 grain bullet, and what you may be experiencing is there's not enough pressure to seal the primers.

SAAMI specs the maximum pressure at 60K psi and your load computes out to 37.1K psi. Try measuring the primer pocket diameters and see how they compare to an "untouched" case.

May 17, 2010, 05:42 PM
From the looks of the photo, you reamed way too much. I would suggest just breaking the edge of the primer crimp if they are crimped. You need as much of the wall of the primer pocket as possible to hold the primer. If they are not crimped, then I would leave them alone unless you are having problems with them being to shallow. I would measure to make sure they really are before reaming them out.

Jimmy K

May 17, 2010, 05:46 PM
Thanks Tom, I know that 44gr was way below a starting load in most manuals, I looked in Nosler 6th, Lee, Lyman, Speer, and Hornady. I also looked at hogdons online but went with Hornady's because they state loads specifically tailored for the Garand. The Hornady's min load was 42gr and max load for the Garand was 47grs which is close to the start load in all other books so I started midway with 44gr because of the magnum primers. They don't show pressure but it should have been around 2450 fps according to the manual.

I have plenty of untouched cases and I will measure the primer pockets in both to see how they compare.

May 17, 2010, 05:52 PM
OK Jimkirk, I figured I reamed too much, I really didn't pay too much attention to the depth while cutting, I thought the shoulder on the reamer would have limited how much brass was removed making them all perfectly uniformed.

The brass was not crimped in the first place I was just concerned with getting the primers to seat below the case head to prevent any slamfires. In hindsight I think I should have not reamed at all but still used the primer pocket uniformer tool to get them to seat just a little deeper.

May 17, 2010, 06:51 PM
Did you measure the primer pocket depth before hand?

I've never in all my years of loading had a primer pocket too shallow, not to say it does not happen, I've just never had one.

I just looked at a tool by that name, it does appear to be adjustible, does yours have a set screw on the collar?

Do you mind if I ask what you are seating the primers with?

May 17, 2010, 07:15 PM
Were the primers crimped into the once fired WW brass? If not there is no need to ream the primer pockets.....I have never messed with primer pockets and subsequently have not had a problem.

It might help full blown bench rest loads but it seems like a tedious process for not much gain to the average reloader.

May 17, 2010, 07:57 PM
I just looked at a tool by that name, it does appear to be adjustible, does yours have a set screw on the collar?

It looks adjustable but it's not. That's why I thought I could just hit it with the drill without worrying about depth.

Do you mind if I ask what you are seating the primers with?

Just the Lee auto prime on a classic turret press. Very little resistance if any when seating. It was pretty obvious they were a little too loose as soon as I started priming.

Yes Damon555 the brass is once fired Winchester but no factory primer crimp. I understand I didn't really need to ream it, or probably even use a pocket uniformer, I just wanted to get them all uniform and same depth the first time loading which I thought the tools would do without much thought. Like I said hindsight is 20/20, no crimp, no ream from now on. I have plenty of brass so dumping 100 30 06 case is not that big of a deal, wished I would have checked after the first, or tenth or even fiftieth but I was in a hurry to get them all done so I did all 100 before checking.

I guess I can just chalked it up as a learning experience. Like I stated before the idea was to get all the primers to seat just below flush at .002 from the case head to prevent a possible slam fire.

I had used Lee chamfer and primer pocket cleaner before on L.C. 07 .223. Yes it worked but took just as long and seating the primers was not a really smooth operation, some pockets tighter than others, some perfect some almost had to smash in. I know these were not crimped but I just wanted them all to come out perfect.

May 17, 2010, 08:14 PM
This tool won't remove a crimp. It is designed to only cut one way - depth. When it hits the rather substantial shoulder, it stops.

SAAMI depth pockets. No variation possible.

I hardly ever use the handle. I just chuck the tool in a cordless drill.

May 17, 2010, 08:42 PM
This tool won't remove a crimp. It is designed to only cut one way - depth. When it hits the rather substatial shoulder, it stops.

It looks basically like the same thing I was using. I didn't think I could screw the brass up with it. I used the same meathod, chucked in a drill.

Primer pocket uniformer

I don't think the uniformer was the problem, I think I reamed too much. I didn't use the handle I used it in a drill before I used the uniformer. The reamer also has a shoulder to stop though not as big, basically I think I just let it dig in too much not leaving enough pocket material for the primer to hang on to.

This is the primer pocket reamer.

May 17, 2010, 10:16 PM
I don't have any military brass (yet), so I have no experience with a reamer.

I think you are correct in that it can remove too much material.

Looks like I'm in the market for a Dillon crimp remover if I buy a bunch of milsurp -

I've read that some folks use a dull pocketknife to remove a military crimp. I can't see doing that for 1500 or 2000 rounds. :)

May 17, 2010, 11:02 PM
I use a Hornady cutter in a drill. Since it bottoms in the primer pocket, you can't cut the bevel too deep. And if you encounter any old milsurp brass stamped "60A 30 59 (or other year)", it's junk. The pockets are too big after you remove the crimp and primers will fall in then back out.

May 17, 2010, 11:32 PM
I could see how Smartloader crimp reamer would eat away brass in a hurry when chucked to a drill.

May 18, 2010, 02:18 AM
I could see how Smartloader crimp reamer would eat away brass in a hurry when chucked to a drill.

Yeah, I did one by hand and it was fine, I did another with the drill and it was fine too when I didn't apply downward pressure to it. Before I was under the impression that the tip would bottom out in the pocket limiting the depth of cut but obviously I was wrong.

I also used the uniformer again. Both newer cases the one that was just uniformed and also the new one which was uniformed and reamed seated primers just fine. I just got in a hurry and put too much pressure on the reamer not paying attention that it was burrowing out the primer pocket way too deep.

I measured some cases. The uniformer cut less than .002 out of the bottom of the pocket of a new case. I don't think that would cause a problem. Actually that is the extra depth I was looking for to seat just below flush.

Even the reamer just barely took any brass if any out of the inside of the primer hole. The problem was the cases I put pressure on with the reamer dug the 45 degree cut in about .003-.004 deep into the primer pocket that is only .013 deep in turn making the pocket too shallow. That only gave the .012 thick primer a little less than .009-.01 of material to hang on too. If I had not reamed so deep it would have obviously had .013 of material to hang on too.

When measuring the width of the primer I got .0210, and inside both cases cut and uncut at the bottom of the pocket was around .0205 give or take a few thousands.

May 18, 2010, 07:00 AM
Sounds like you got it working the way it should! Looks like they would put a larger shoulder on the reamer so it would not over cut. It's kinda hard to learn the hard way, but at least now you know how they work! I'd hate to have to list the screw ups I've made during my reloading years! Glad you got them going ... now shoot up a storm!

Jimmy K

Ol` Joe
May 18, 2010, 11:13 AM
I`ve used a Sinclair uniformer on all types of brass and it only cuts so deep. The shoulder on the cutter stops against the case head and prevents the cutter from going any deeper.
I`d suspect your problem lies elsewhere, the primer seating wasn`t deep enough, weak striker spring, not enough pin extrusion due to wear or dirt, etc.

The Bushmaster
May 18, 2010, 11:36 AM
Looks like primers that are backing out because the case isn't slaming back against the bolt face to reseat them during firing. Cause: Not enough powder (undercharged). Some of the people on here have stated that loaded them lower then the minimum charge weight. If this is so...Up the charge a bit. Like what the loading manual says...

Tom S.
May 18, 2010, 04:58 PM
Cutting a primer pocket deeper will not cause the primers to fall out. With in reason, the only thing cutting them too deep will cause weak hits by the firing pin. However using a power tool could have caused the reamer to remove some brass from the sides of walls, which would result in loose primers.

Still, I really think the issue here is too little pressure to cause the primers to expand against the sides of the primer pocket. Remember, when you fire the gun, the case not only expands outward against the chamber, it also expands backwards against the face of the bolt. Too little pressure and this doesn't happen, leaving the primer unsupported, which can lead to blown primers.

May 18, 2010, 08:37 PM
Cause: Not enough powder (undercharged). Some of the people on here have stated that loaded them lower then the minimum charge weight. If this is so...Up the charge a bit. Like what the loading manual says...

I did use a manual...and I already posted that earlier but I used Hornady 7th edition load manual for the M1 Garand.
168gr bthp bullet start load imr 4064 41.4 gr.- max 47.2

I was in the middle with 44gr charge and also using magnum primers. Should have gave a velocity of around 2450fps according to the manual. I was planning to work up to 2500-2600 actual measuring with a chrony.

I have several other loading books as well and some of the info for 30 06 (not specifically for the Garand) state higher charges around 46-47gr for imr 4064 as a start load and close to 50gr for max.

May 19, 2010, 08:12 AM

You're a good 2 to 3 grains light in your load, Garand or otherwise.


May 19, 2010, 10:33 AM
You're a good 2 to 3 grains light in your load, Garand or otherwise.

Alright, since the general consensus from the beginning from all you far more experienced guys say too low of a charge, I will try some higher loads and post the results. Like I said this is my first time loading for 30 06 or Garand, I'm not trying to be hard headed just wanted to get all the details out to you that I could.

I will load up some of the brass that I thought was uniformed and reamed too deep, I will also load up some that have been more carefully touched up like I should have done the first time, and some that was just once fired not touching the pocket what so ever except to clean.

So what charge to you guys think I should start with and how high should I go if I see no signs of pressure?

Maybe three rounds of each brass, at 46gr, 47gr, 48gr or should I go higher?

These are target rounds mostly meant for plinking or Garand matches at 200 yds I'm obviously looking for the most accurate round not necessarily the fastest unless that just happens to be the case.

I will also shoot all of these from a bench again only this time I will use a lead sled, shoot at a closer distance so I can hopefully get a clearer sight picture, and also chrony every round.

May 19, 2010, 11:29 AM
Personally, I would load up a few with 46.0, 46.5, and 47.0gr of 4064, and see what your rifle likes. No need to go on beyond 47.0gr.


May 19, 2010, 12:21 PM
Alright USSR, 46, 46.5, and 47 it is.

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