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Old January 11, 2015, 03:24 PM   #1
sirgilligan
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First Time Reloading Part 3 - Case Resizing (Starting over from scratch)

This is a continuation of these threads:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=757660

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=758721


This is a running history from someone learning to reload. it might be helpful to some.

In my first run at resizing .223 REM once fired brass I did not have a way to check the head space of the resized cartridge. I became concerned with this thought and bought a gauge to check the head space and the over all length.

I had setup my resizing die (RCBS Full Length) by put the shell holder on the ram and running it to the top. Then put the die in and turned it until it touched then turned it 1/8 of a turn. That 1/8th of the turn was too much.

So, I started from scratch again. From step one. I took the die out and took it apart and cleaned the inside of it. Made sure the decapping pin was 3/8" of an inch poking out.

Put the shell holder on the ram and running it to the top. Then put the die in and turned it until it touched then turned it 1/16 of a turn.

Then I sorted my brass by head stamp. All the brass had been cleaned. I put the 5.56 brass with a crimped primer into another bin and only took .223 brass for this session.

I got out the lube pad and applied just a little lube and worked it into the pad. After I had the pad the way I wanted it I took a case and rolled it on the edge of the pad so that the shoulder and neck was hanging over the pad and not touching the pad. Then I took the case and held it at an angle something like 75 degrees, and did a twist to put some lube on the neck but not near the shoulder. Then I took a cotton swab with the cotton part mostly removed and ran it on the lube pad and then did a few circles inside the neck.

Put the case in the holder and pulled the lever slow and steady. A slight camming was felt and the primer popped out. I lowered and removed the case and dropped it into the case gauge (go/no go) and it was just below the high mark and just above the low mark.

Things that I didn't do right:
  • I thought I had tightened the little brass lock (the one you tighten with an allen wrench) tight enough but when I took the die off it was loose and the big "depth" nut then moved. I will have to readjust it. How tight can you turn that lock?
  • I had forgot to tighten the depth nut with a wrench. It was still finger tight but that oversight would have caused trouble if I had resized a lot of cases.

Next steps in case preparation is prep the primer pockets. Check the length and trim if needed.

In my previous session I made three cases to use as "keys" for the length. One is the maximum length, the other minimum, and one in between. I use those to set my case trimmer. I will get those three cases out and review the lengths and get things straight in my mind and then I will trim any cases that may need it. The case gauge is going to make this faster than the first time doing so where I took each one and put them in calipers. I will double check with the calipers but will use the case gauge for a quick check to see if trimming is needed and afterwards if trimming was correct.
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Old January 11, 2015, 03:56 PM   #2
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Really, you are WAY over-thinking this whole process. You have been agonizing over this for about 7 months now. Resize the brass, prime the case, charge the case, seat the bullet, shoot the round. Then do it all over again...
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Old January 11, 2015, 04:37 PM   #3
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You are obsessing over the "whole " resizing thing. If you set your dies up to fully resize then you cannot resize too much, unless you are trying to "bump" size the cases, then get a neck sizer and use the brass fired from you rifle. If it a semi auto you are reloading for, not fully resizing may cause issues with the bolt not closing. As far as the set screw on the lock ring, I always put a small piece of lead under it so as to not mar the threads of my dies, bird shot works as well.
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Old January 11, 2015, 06:16 PM   #4
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I have not been agonizing. I have a full time job, I run a software company on the side where I write all of the code, do all of the graphics, write the tutorials, etc. I hardly have anytime to learn new things. But I do what I can to expand my knowledge and such.

As a matter of fact I thought it had been at most 8 weeks since I last was working on resizing cases.
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Old January 11, 2015, 07:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notaglockfanboy View Post
You are obsessing over the "whole " resizing thing. If you set your dies up to fully resize then you cannot resize too much...
These are small base dies and I have learned that you can resize them too much and make the distance from the case head to the shoulder too short.

Thanks for the idea of the lead.
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Old January 11, 2015, 08:02 PM   #6
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I am not sure where you found that information, but it is untrue. Sounds like you are new to reloading and are trying to process WAY too much information from WAY too many unreliable sources.
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Old January 11, 2015, 08:17 PM   #7
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I put the RCBS small base die into the press, ran the ram up with a shell holder. Turned the die until it touched, then turned it 1/8th to 1/4th of a turn more and locked it down. Resized some 223 once fired brass and when it came out the distance from the middle of the shoulder to the case head was out of spec by about 2000th of an inch.

So today I set it up again and only turned the die 1/16th of a turn and the case came out in spec.

So, I am not sure why you say what I have done is impossible because I know it is possible because I did it.
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Last edited by sirgilligan; January 12, 2015 at 11:21 AM.
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Old January 11, 2015, 11:14 PM   #8
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unless you have a fired case

you're working from book specs not your rifle and honestly, .002 short is not going to be an issue at all.

Are you loading for 1000m + match shooting?

If not, set the sizer to the shell holder + a tich, size a case and chamber it.
does it chamber smoothly and easily?
It does, prime it charge it and seat a bullet, than go shoot it.
it doesn't, turn the sizer down a tich more.

Measure it then, see if it is within spec
if something is out of spec then you need to play, odds are you don't. And if it is, the problem is the rifle, not the reload.

Only if you do do you need to go further.

Honestly, worry more about correct charge weights and over all length than a .002 case length variance.

It will have more effect on accuracy and safety.

imo, small base dies can be a godsend for semi autos but really are not needed for anything else and they work the brass to death. I use one for .223 brass that's new to me, from there I use a standard die unless the ammunition will be used in other rifles.

This is a fun and amazingly interesting hobby in its own right, just like shooting is, hell sometimes I think I only shoot to reload. Don't over think the process and destroy the fun for yourself worrying about the things you don't have to.
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Old January 11, 2015, 11:36 PM   #9
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poco loco,

I have three different 5.56 chambered rifles. These loads are to be used in any of them.
Two are semi-automatic, and the other is a bolt action rifle.

The brass is once fired and was not kept separate, so I don't know which rifle shot what. I can tell by the dents or extractor marks and make a guess.

The reason I started over was not a case length concern, but a head space concern.

Thank you for the advice, I will be very careful with the powder charge and over all length.
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Old January 11, 2015, 11:38 PM   #10
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When I size, I run the die all the way down to the shell holder and then some. If that doesn't "oversize" then nothing will. I don't even use a case gauge because IMO is just adds an unnecessary step for general reloading. I size, prime, and load. And I verify the length with the trimmer every couple of reloads.

I have to agree that you are overthinking it a little. Overthinking is not always a bad thing, but when it gets out of hand it makes the process frustrating, laborious, and takes the fun out of it.

I wouldn't stress minute variations from spec. Its not going to be enough to make a difference. I've seen that kinda variation in brand new factory cases. They still shoot just fine.
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Old January 11, 2015, 11:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gojuice101 View Post
When I size, I run the die all the way down to the shell holder and then some. If that doesn't "oversize" then nothing will. I don't even use a case gauge because IMO is just adds an unnecessary step for general reloading. I size, prime, and load. And I verify the length with the trimmer every couple of reloads.

I have to agree that you are overthinking it a little. Overthinking is not always a bad thing, but when it gets out of hand it makes the process frustrating, laborious, and takes the fun out of it.

I wouldn't stress minute variations from spec. Its not going to be enough to make a difference. I've seen that kinda variation in brand new factory cases. They still shoot just fine.
Thanks.
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Old January 12, 2015, 12:05 AM   #12
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.002 is not going to give you any issues unless you are loading for a bolt gun and trying to get the absolute most accuracy, but you are using small base dies so I have to believe you are reloading for a semi auto. As I said before, you are way over thinking this simple process. I know you are looking at a book and using the numbers listed, but you should really use your rifle as your "spec" dimension. If you resize a case and it chambers in the rifle then prime it, weigh your charge, seat a bullet, and you are good to go. I attended Marshall County in western Ky, I believe you were up in the eastern part of Ky. Nice to see a fellow blue grass boy here, hope you get some rounds loaded up and have fun shooting your reloaded ammo.
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Old January 12, 2015, 02:43 AM   #13
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multiple semis in the same caliber then a

small base might be s good choice but I interchange mine between a mini and an ar with no issues. it all depends on the rifles.

Also on multiple semis, unless you have measurements from all 3 (which I'd rec) a tich under might be a help rather than a hindrance.

if I was in your shoes I'd gauge all 3 then set up for the shortest. The ammo will run fine in all 3 and as said earlier, unless shooting at distance for extreme accuracy, you won't notice much difference at all...might be harder to find a projectile/powder combo that likes all 3. I have to load light bullet for the mini while I load heavier for the ar, faster twist rate.


i just noticed one was a bolt gun, you might want to segregate that brass and use a little more care as you aren't as limited by the magazine and those can be pretty accurate rifles..the mini is what it is, never shot a scar so can't compare it. My guess rereading your 3 rifles is for best results you will have to run different projectiles for each rifle. For range plinking not so much but to hold good groups at distance you have to match the weight to the twist and those are 3 very different rifles.
A quick google shows the scar as 1-7, the mini anywhere from 1-10 to 1-7 depending on series and the cz again depending on year either 1-12 or 1-9.

My problem is I keep adding calibers dang it. The die cabinet is needing an addition.

Have fun and be safe, imo it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys and really fun when trying to make something oddball and a 100yo work right.
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Last edited by poco loco; January 12, 2015 at 02:59 AM. Reason: add paragraph
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Old January 12, 2015, 11:30 AM   #14
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The FN is 1:7, the Ruger and CZ are 1:9.

The CZ shoots everything I have ran through it well. So I don't worry about it. The other two just need to be predictable is all.
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Old January 12, 2015, 11:34 AM   #15
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Thanks for the advice to all. I made this post so others that are just starting out can read it and maybe gather some piece of information that helps.

I want to learn to set things up so that I can make the very best cartridge possible. I can learn about tolerances and where there is some give or some slack with experience, but I have to start out trying to be in spec, I just don't see any other way.
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Old January 12, 2015, 01:50 PM   #16
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Unless you have issues chambering a round, or are loading for extreme accuracy at long distances (in which case you wouldn't be talking .223) those variations won't matter.

Finding a charge/bullet combo for your rifles is most likely going to get you more accuracy than fussing over the case. All this assumes of course that the guy behind the trigger does his part and knows how to shoot.

In your case, the CZ probably has the highest potential for being very accurate, the mini not so much. No idea about the FN, but suspect its in the same ballpark as any AR15.

If I had a 223 bolt gun, I certainly wouldn't load for it the same as my AR. Separate brass, separate neck-only die, etc. Different game when trying for very accurate ammo on that vs using a rifle that is most likely 2MOA at best.

Last edited by JonB; January 12, 2015 at 03:29 PM.
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Old January 12, 2015, 02:04 PM   #17
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Yeah you're over thinking this a lot. Especially for brass that's just getting FL sized. Sort, resize, tumble to remove the lube, prime, charge, seat, shoot!

It isn't rocket science!
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Old January 12, 2015, 05:13 PM   #18
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Okay, I am confused. What am I over thinking?
Is making sure the resized brass is within the .223 REM specification over thinking?
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Old January 12, 2015, 05:50 PM   #19
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess your profession is some sort of engineer.

Relax, load, and shoot. This over thinking is going to kill you at an early age.
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Old January 12, 2015, 06:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by FMJBT View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess your profession is some sort of engineer.

Relax, load, and shoot. This over thinking is going to kill you at an early age.
What about under thinking? It might get me killed quicker, or maybe just put my eye out. :-)
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Old January 12, 2015, 07:35 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by notaglockfanboy View Post
I am not sure where you found that information, but it is untrue. Sounds like you are new to reloading and are trying to process WAY too much information from WAY too many unreliable sources.
Not quite, never say never. Assuming the die and the shell holder are withing spec, it shouldn't happen, but you can push shoulders back too far in some situations.

Better to go slow and careful than the other way around.

sirgilligan is busy and just being careful as he gets time to work on his new hobby. Y'all give him a break.
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Old January 12, 2015, 09:11 PM   #22
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First Time Reloading Part 3 - Case Resizing (Starting over from scratch)

I was like you too when I started. Checking and rechecking everything and being paranoid about every little measurement. But you'll soon find that all that checking and rechecking takes a long time and gets old fast. Remember most of us telling you you're over thinking things are seasoned reloaders, match winners, and life long shooting enthusiasts. We know what we're taking about

Soon you'll find what you can eyeball and relax about and what you really need to pay attention to.
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Old January 12, 2015, 09:34 PM   #23
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I sure hope I haven't seemed ungrateful to anyone or just plain old bull headed. I know you all have done this to the point you have an innate feel for at, you just know what is good and what is bad. If I have come across like a smart alec I am sorry.

The amount of free time I have it will probably be 20 years before I get to the 9mm dies and learn how to do that.

Seriously, thanks all.
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Old January 12, 2015, 09:40 PM   #24
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#22 that right there. Relax and enjoy rolling your own OP. We are in no way trying to criticize you, I was there at one point and time. The fellow who taught me the basics of reloading would only use two different powders, still has no idea what neck sizing helps and uses 3 in 1 oil as case lube, so all I have learned is by trial and error and from watching forums like you are. I have been loading for 23 years and try to help guys new to the process.
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Old January 12, 2015, 09:47 PM   #25
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Quote:
it will probably be 20 years before I get to the 9mm dies
Now that is going slow!
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