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Old August 28, 2016, 02:10 PM   #1
badkarmamib
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.270 wsm

I load .45ACP, .40S&W, and .30-06 with no problem. I am using Lee dies on a Lee Challenger SS press. I am also loading .270 WSM for my father, and it doesn't go so well.

I understand the WSMs are harder to load for. With new Winchester brass, loads are perfect. With the same brass, once-fired, they were all but impossible to chamber. I am using the same amount of lube that I use on .30-06 (only on the body, none on the shoulder), and have my die set to cam-over.

When I mic'd the brass, the only thing I can see is that the shoulder is not getting pushed back far enough. I pulled the bullets, and slid a 0.018 feeler gauge between the brass and shell holder. Now, the shoulder is closer to specs, and chambering easier, but not like factory ammo. It still takes more pressure to close the bolt than it should.

So, do I need to shave some material off the bottom of my die, so that the brass will go in further, or is there something else that I am missing?
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Old August 28, 2016, 02:36 PM   #2
tkroenlein
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Sounds like your current set up isn't bumping the shoulder back enough. Redding makes shell holders that do the "adjusting" as opposed to taking material off of the die, or you could take .002" off of the shell holder and see if you get what you're looking for.

You are touching the bottom of the die with the shell holder, correct? Not sure how the feeler gauge could effect the relationship of die to shell holder.


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Old August 28, 2016, 03:54 PM   #3
badkarmamib
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Yes, the die is touching the shell holder. I am using the feeler gauge to take up the space under the brass, to push the brass to the top of the opening for the case head.
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Old August 28, 2016, 04:17 PM   #4
JimKirk
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Normal shell holders are 0.125" thick ... they do vary slightly ....

The Redding Competition shell holders are 0.127", 0.129", 0.131", 0.133" & 0.135" Thick ... these increase the length of the sized brass ...."base to shoulder length"

This is just the opposite of what the OP needs ... he needs to move the shoulder back or decrease the length from base to shoulder....

By his putting the feeler gauge under the brass ... he has shortened the base to shoulder length .... or in effect thinned the shell holder ... by the thickness of the feeler gauge ...
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Old August 29, 2016, 09:06 AM   #5
Blue68f100
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Are you using a case gauge to check your sized brass or just the rifle? Mark up a sized cartridge and chamber it. Then examine it looking for where it's hitting. Do you have a way to measure the shoulder?

If it's sizing hard use more lube and see if that helps. Also make sure you put a little on the inside of the neck so the expander is not pulling the neck back out. You say your press cams over, do you have clearance between the shell holder and die when the ram is up? Is so crank it down a little more till this goes away or the brass is sized correctly.

If a new set of dies make sure your using the sizing die. I had a set come in that had the bodies swapped between the sizer and seating die. Making it hard to size the shoulder with a seating die.
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Old August 29, 2016, 09:15 AM   #6
badkarmamib
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I am using the rifle to check sizing. It is scuffing the face of the shoulder. When I check the shoulder with a set of calipers, the meeting at the body is close, the meeting at the neck is off about 0.010" from max SAAMI. It is not sizing abnormally hard. When I retried them, I took the expander out since I was using charged cases, so the expander wasn't a factor. The die is pressed tight against the shell holder at full stroke. And yes, it is the sizing die. I have a machinist here at work that has offered to take 0.030 off the base. That should get me dead-on without the shim under the brass, and I can fine-tune it with feeler gauges if still needed.
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Old August 29, 2016, 09:53 AM   #7
Bart B.
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I've heard similar reports on Lee dies.

I'd contact then ask them what you should do.

Or, at least, have a few thousandths removed from the die's base.

If you don't have a case headspace gauge, you can measure that on cases with a nylon bushing 3/8" inside diameter and a caliper; this .30-06 case is an example:



Compare the case headspace on cases to compare them; new, fired and full length sized.

It's normal to set fired case shoulders back about .002".
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Old August 29, 2016, 11:03 AM   #8
zb338
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I'm not sitting at your loading bench, but could you
be getting spring in the press when you go all the
way down with the handle? If this is the case then
just screw the die all the way down so there is no
spring. If you aren't getting any spring there are only
two ways to go, another set of dies or take a few
thousands off the bottom of the die with a lathe.
Zeke
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Old August 29, 2016, 11:10 AM   #9
badkarmamib
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After hitting the shell plate with no brass, I turned the die one flat at a time until I ended up with a full turn, and still can't get it to size down far enough, I am jammed against the shell holder. The obvious answer is that the die is too long, I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't a less-obvious (to me) answer. I am hoping to get the die shaved today, may be awhile before I can try it out. Thanks.
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Old August 29, 2016, 12:21 PM   #10
JimKirk
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The Sinclair Hex nut can also be used in the manner that Bart B. uses the nylon bushing ... it is a collection of different size holes ... also used to set COL when seating a bullet ...





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Old August 30, 2016, 09:07 PM   #11
badkarmamib
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Got it set up this evening, pulled the rounds and resized them. Chambered easily, all set now!
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Old August 31, 2016, 08:00 AM   #12
Craigman
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Glad to see you got it. What was it?

Also to note, I've had a problem in the past where matching brands of the shell holder to the die fixed this issue.

Ex. Lee shell holder in with RCBS die didn't like each other for some reason. Maybe a one-off, but worth noting.
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Old August 31, 2016, 08:12 AM   #13
badkarmamib
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All of my equipment for this round is Lee. All I could tell was that the die was bottoming out before moving the shoulder back far enough. I asked the machinist here at work to shave 0.030" off and re-chamfer the end. Bottoming out the die now provides perfect chambering.
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Old August 31, 2016, 01:51 PM   #14
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Good deal. Weird that the body was cut too long. Shoulda had him hone your neck out while he was at it. Easy enough to do yourself, though. I used 800 grit wet sand paper wrapped up on the pilot of a Lee hand trimmer.
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Old August 31, 2016, 06:48 PM   #15
JohnMc
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I had similar trouble with a .25 WSSM; both Lee and Hornady dies. I bought the Hornady sizing die because it just had to be the cheap Lee die. Wrong. I sanded a bit off the top of the shell holder, both dies work fine now. I wrote down "about 10 thousandths."
FWIW, the Wilson case gage (their spelling) also wasn't right. The RCBS Precision Mic set was very helpful.
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Old August 31, 2016, 07:56 PM   #16
badkarmamib
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I thought about taking material off the top of the shell holder, because it is a $4 piece if I screw it up, but that is where all of the stress is when removing the brass from the die, so this seemed to be the logical thing to do.
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Old August 31, 2016, 08:12 PM   #17
JohnMc
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A friend who has been reloading a lot longer than me advised me to mess with the $4 part. He's also the one that suggested the RCBS Precision Mic set.

Last edited by JohnMc; August 31, 2016 at 08:13 PM. Reason: added smilely
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Old August 31, 2016, 10:19 PM   #18
Savage99
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The headspace and case life of my WSM handloads is very good.

My RCBS #43 WSM shell holder measures 0.115" with my dial caliper.

Last edited by Savage99; August 31, 2016 at 10:25 PM.
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Old August 31, 2016, 10:23 PM   #19
Savage99
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~!!

Above Jim Kirk wrote:

"Normal shell holders are 0.125" thick ... they do vary slightly ....

The Redding Competition shell holders are 0.127", 0.129", 0.131", 0.133" & 0.135" Thick ... these increase the length of the sized brass ...."base to shoulder length" <---Wrong, they would not do that, they would do the opposite!!!

My RCBS WSM shell holder is NOT .125" thick! It's only 0.115"!!!

Thus it does not push the case up too far into the FL die!

Last edited by Savage99; August 31, 2016 at 10:45 PM.
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Old September 1, 2016, 03:36 PM   #20
JimKirk
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Please note ... I said "normal" .... I also said "they vary slightly" .... so I covered myself ....

Your .115" shellholder is pushing it farther than would a .125" would ....


And you did not read what I typed .... I said "Redding Competition" ....
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