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Questions about using Wilson case gages.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by the count, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. the count

    the count Well-Known Member

    I have 2 Wilson case gages, one for .223 and one for 9mm. I noticed that with factory ammo the rounds drop in perfectly flush. With my reloads some do and some do not (using the same die/press, etc). Note sure why that is. The ones that are not flush with the 9mm gage I further test by dropping them into a Glock 19 barrel that I took out of the gun. Most just drop in with a 'plink' sound and fire just fine.

    Fast forward to the .223 gage. The ones that are not perfectly flush will not fire reliably in my AR15 but work fine in a CZ527, don't have to force the round in or anything...

    So, my questions are basically whats going on here and what do I have to do with my dies so that all round fit flush into the gage....?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Adjust your sizing die to put the case shoulder back where it came for on the .223.

    Adjust the crimp die on the 9mm to measure .356" at the case mouth on a completed round.

    If you are trying to use mixed head-stamp brass however.

    You will always be tilting at windmills.

    Because unlike American citizen's, all factory brass is not created equal.

    Some is harder then others when new, and some will just plain will not cooperate or be happy, no matter what you do.

    And some brass has been fired & sized more times then others so is work hardened.

    Just like American citizens.

    Sort it first, and figure out which brands are the problem.

    Yes, I know that is racial profiling in the case world.
    But you gotta do what you gotta do if you want them all to slide in place nicely in the gun.

  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Adjust the sizer down until the brass fits the gauge, as in flush or below, but not below the lower step in the die.

    If you are using an assortment of brass some of it may be dead soft while other of it can be work hardened or simply tougher cases which do not get the shoulder pushed back as far as the softer brass.

    Try checking each case in the gauge after sizing to see if some brass is sizing less than the others. Mine will run the gamot of right at the lower step in the gauge (Max headspace) up to ever so slightly above flush for a few cases. My guns don't seem to mind the ones that are slightly above flush, so I don't worry about it.

    Now, if I was making defensive ammo, or rainy day ammo that just had to function, every single case and then loaded round would be checked and only those within spec would be used.
  4. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's cuz anything will drop into a G19 chamber.

    Sounds like you might need to turn your 223 sizing die down a quarter turn.
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Adjust the crimp die on the 9mm to measure .356" at the case mouth on a completed round.

    You told the last guy .375" which I think is correct.
    I don't believe you should mash the case mouth clear down flush with the bullet.
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    For the 223.
    Wilson instructons.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  7. the count

    the count Well-Known Member

    Great tips, everybody. Thanks.
  8. RainDodger

    RainDodger Well-Known Member

    One more thing to check, that I discovered one time. I couldn't figure out why some .243 cases weren't going all the way into a Wilson gauge..

    Check the case rim. The smallest burr from and extractor can prevent the case from sitting flush. It can be a burr that you can barely even see. One touch with a file on the burr and it's perfect.
  9. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    If your dies are adjusted correctly its because the rim is imperfect. On a glock barrel nothing comes in contact with this part of the case.

    This is why I don't like using barrels as case gauges. They all "pass" then you get "mystery" malfunctions because they hang up going into the breech face.

    This is why roll sizers and push through sizers exist or many times you can just insert the rim into the case gauge and give it a twist or two and fix the problem.
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam


    Actually, .376" is correct.

  11. the count

    the count Well-Known Member

    Just had a short reloading session. Adjusted both the 9mm and .223 die somewhat. With the 9mm I also use a Lee factory crimp die. Here is what happened. Some cases would like stick out like 2 mm no matter what I did. This with optimal resizing and FC die settings. They would still chamber without any hesitation in several 9mm barrels I have so I will shoot those rounds.

    Readjusted the sizing die somewhat but essentially is was OK before. After de-priming and resizing I would insert it into the Wilson gage. Most would fit flush and some would not. The ones that did not were of various brands incl. Norma brass I bought and had only reloaded once. Now I could have made two batches (one flush and one non flush but not way to high) but decided to just throw those away (before wasting a primer on them) in order to have rounds where I know for sure they will work in my AR15 and bolt guns.
  12. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Well-Known Member

    Try inserting some of the "bad" .223 cases into the gage backwards - head first. You may have dented heads that are out of round.
  13. the count

    the count Well-Known Member

    I just tried that, and some will fit into the gage head first with some wiggling. But they still do not fit flush when inserted the right way, so what does this prove if anything?
  14. mstreddy

    mstreddy Well-Known Member

    It proves, that you may still need to adjust the die down a "smidge" more.
    As some have mentioned, you need to sort the brass, particularly the rifle brass as it will behave differently when sizing. The same is true in 9mm as well. I can tell a difference when sizing FC, Blazer, Win, Speer, etc...
    I had a similar issue with 223 on a LNL AP using RCBS dies.
    I just couldn't get the die down enough to "fully" resize some of the cases and they weren't sitting in the gauge correctly. I've since switched to resizing on my RCBS Rockchucker single stage and have the die down to size perfectly according to the Wilson gauge.
    In 9mm I had some issues with my Lee dies in my LNL AP and some brands of brass. Some of the cases were not sized down enough and would not plunk in the Lone Wolf barrel for my Glock 17. I switched to the Hornady dies and have it set now so that it sizes all 9mm cases down to fit in the LW barrel with no issues.
    I do believe that you need to sort the rifle brass and check your sizer adjustments.
    As someone mentioned, the Glock has generous chambers and just because it fits there, it might not fit in the Wilson gauge.
    Which dies and press are you using?
    BTW, don't throw the Norma brass away -- that is some very good brass.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  15. the count

    the count Well-Known Member

    I have a Hornady LNL AP and a LEE turret press. The reloading work done today was on the Lee press and there is just no way to adjust the .223 size die further down without messing up the rest of the case. PMC and WIN cases work fine. FC are iffy plus many of them have crimped primers. You know what, no big deal, so I threw away 10 out of 100 cases. I pick up brass at the range for free anyway.

    PS also used a STEYR M9 barrel besides the GLock. All AOK.
  16. 243winxb

    243winxb Well-Known Member

    223- Best to have them all at or below the gage maximum. Head first checks the rim for a burr that may have been put there by the extractor on ejection. The firearms chamber is the final judge.
  17. mstreddy

    mstreddy Well-Known Member

    Count - which dies are you using?
  18. the count

    the count Well-Known Member

    9mm - Hornady
    .223 - Lee
  19. HJ857

    HJ857 Well-Known Member

    The drop in style gauges are useful but can be deceiving. A case may have been sized properly in terms of headspace, but still not fit into a drop in gauge. As stated by others, some pieces of brass simply will not size and those should be thrown into the recycle bucket.

    The trick is to determine if the headspace sizing is wrong or if the problem is with the base or rim of the case.

    You can get the Hornady headspace gauge, which attaches to a caliper and measures the distance from the base to the datum line on the shoulder, and gives you an actual hard number that you can use to determine if your sizing is correct. This method keeps you from blindly screwing down the sizer die and hoping it's correct.

    So, if a piece of brass does not fit flush in the Wilson gauge, your next step is to use the Hornady gauge to get an actual measurement of the headspace. If that number is correct, then it's definitely a base/rim problem, which probably can't be fixed. And really, for range brass there's no good reason to try to fix it. Recycle it and move on.

    Another thing to try is to use a small base sizer die, I used to have quite a bit of trouble with range brass jamming in AR's. Since switching to a small base die, most of my sizing problems went away.
  20. the count

    the count Well-Known Member

    Ordered the RCBS small base sizer die in .223

    Will give y'all an update once I have tried her out. Has good reviews on MidwayUSA. Seems to have solved the sizing problem with AR15's for a bunch of guys.

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