.223 crushed shoulder


October 14, 2010, 10:42 PM
First, thank you to all that try to help us newbies. I am fairly new to metallic reloading, have had some great success with .223. Some of the reloads have a minute indication of a crushed shoulder. Just doesnt look like it is at the right angle. Fits in Hornady Go gauge. Hornady manual says it is from mis-adjusted bullet seating die??? I barely need any pressure to seat the bullet.
Any suggestions what could cause crushed shoulders?
Second, I recieved some annealed .223 brass. Some of these cases have a more "rounded" shoulder. Is annealed brass softer?
Thanks for you help on this great site.

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October 14, 2010, 11:13 PM
Annealing brass softens it, which also takes some of the "spring" out of it.

Too much lube can cause dents in the shoulder.

If the cases were fine before you seated the bullet, then yes, that is when you buckled the shoulders. Trim the brass, deburr and chamfer, which will help the bullet start in the neck if it is a flat based bullet. Then make sure you are not applying too much crimp. Too much crimp is what buckles shoulders more often than not.

October 14, 2010, 11:53 PM
The cases were not "crushed" by resizing. Deformation is uniform around the shoulder, and it isnt dents in the shoulder. All cases were resized, trimmed, chamfered and deburred. They were not crimped. The bullet seating is very "soft", and I dont' know how I could have crushed shoulders. The seating die should not touch the shell holder, correct?
Thanks in advance.

October 15, 2010, 01:10 AM
Without seeing it, it sounds like the die body is set to deep and it's applying a crimp before the proper seating depth is reached and crushing the case. Try readjusting the die with no crimp and see what happens.

Yes, annealing softens work hardened brass. If it wasn't done right and got too hot, that brass could be useless and dangerous. Was it done by a manufacture or in someones basement?


ps- if the bullet seats okay and all looks good with no crimp, you can always crimp in a seperate step.

October 15, 2010, 07:14 AM
If some non-annealed brass works with out the same problem ... then it is the brass.

Have you compared the die setup using non-annealed brass? Give it a try, then you'll know.

Jimmy K

October 15, 2010, 01:02 PM
Run a bunch of your trimmed cases up into the seating die WITHOUT a bullet in them, or powder, or primer. Pay close attention to the last little bit of movement of the case up into the seating die. I bet you find a couple that are resisting that last bit of movement into the die. If you feel one resist, then take a look at it after you remove the case. It will have a bit of crimp applied.

If you're using bullets without a cannelure, then the crimp has nowhere to go. So it bulges the top of the case, just under the shoulder.

October 15, 2010, 01:10 PM
Better yet, unscrew the seating die a couple of turns.
Then run a sized empty case up in the die full ram travel.
Then screw the seating die down until you feel the crimp shoulder in the die contact the case mouth.
Then back it off 1/8 - 1/4, turn and lock the lock ring.
Now adjust the seating stem for proper seating depth.

That will insure no case contact and unintentional crimp, no matter if the brass is trimmed or not.

If you insist on crimping, buy a Lee .223 FCD die to crimp with.
It is not dependent on exact case length to prevent shoulder bulge.


October 15, 2010, 08:06 PM
I have a Lee FCD, but these cases were crushed before that step. Not just the annealed cases crushed the shoulder, but they seamed to all crush. Great idea putting them in the bullet seater before charging the case.

October 15, 2010, 10:28 PM
Here's another tip for ya... once you get a the bullet seating die set to the correct length using that empty case (no primer or powder). Keep the dummy round with your dies so you can use it as a reference for the OAL if you have to monkey with the dies for some reason.

October 15, 2010, 10:43 PM
I had this problem 2 weeks ago.

RCmodel hit on the solution already.

The bullet seating die was creating a bulge in the case just below the shoulder. I unscrewed the seating die from the press and lowered the bullet seating adjuster to get the bullet to seat at the right depth.

I didn't notice it until I had seated about a quarter of my batch. Is there anyway to fix these without pulling the bullet?

October 16, 2010, 12:12 PM
Is there anyway to fix these without pulling the bullet? No.

My solution years ago was to shoot them in my Mini-14.
I could kick the bolt handle shut with the heel of my boot!


October 16, 2010, 12:51 PM
My Mini will take case gauge rejects (within reason of course) without even kicking it. It ain't picky at all.

October 16, 2010, 01:43 PM
I did the same thing a few years ago with my 284win I loaded the ones that buldged and fired them in my browning a bolt,the bolt closed with a little resistance but once closed and fired the case was reformed.

November 3, 2010, 11:30 AM
funny..i ran into the same problem this morning..backed the die out and used a soft approach and all went well...my problem comes from batch processing...ill process all of my brass in stages...all calibers at the same time..ie..ill resize and deprime all of my brass all at the same time...223, 308, 30-06, 243, 38, 454, 30-30...then ill trim and chamfer/debur....i try to keep it all at the same stage of the process that way i dont end up repeating myself...well, after 600 pieces of brass last week, i justt i just got to used to bearing down on the ram during resizing, and i must have forgot to go easy when bullet seating..lol..

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