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FL Sizing Problem

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AFDoc, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. AFDoc

    AFDoc Member

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    Highroad Team,

    I have encountered an interesting problem. A colleague of mine gifted me a large box of .223 and 5.56 brass. I de-primed, wet tumbled, and removed the primer crimp. I set up the T7 with a Redding FL .223 die. I calibrated a Redding Instant Indicator set up right next to the FL die, so I could take immediate measurements. I selected a few cases to set the FL die to size at .001-.002 above SAAMI minimum. I locked the die in, and I got ready to FL size few hundred. Prior to sizing I measured the cases with the Instant Indicator and found them all to be .007 above SAAMI minimum, so I knew that was the length of the chamber on his AR. So good, so far.

    This is where it gets weird.

    I could not get consistent results. After FL sizing each piece of brass, I would run the brass into the Instant Indicator to get a measurement—real time QC. I stopped after about a dozen cases, because my brass was measuring .001-.005 over SAAMI minimum.

    I have an excellent die that is mated securely to an excellent press. What is going on here? Why am I observing this much variance?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    same lot of brass?
    I would think some has work hardened more than others, and would then spring back less than brass that hasnt been worked so much. or different brands may have different alloys, leading to differences in how much the brass springs back.
    Maybe?

    I ran into the same kind of problem.... But, I size more for reliable feeding, and don't worry too much about extreme accuracy or brass longevity, so I gave up on this aspect of it
     
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  3. Rod47

    Rod47 Member

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    I found consistent shoulder height to vary depending on lubrication. Using Forrester dies in a Redding Big Boss I ended up with Forrester lube and old school lube pad. This was LC brass. Spray type case lube wouldn't cut it. Wiped necks and shoulder diwn with a rag to advoid dents.
     
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  4. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    Also - when dealing with unknown brass, and getting inconsistent results, I will resize slowly.

    By slowly, I mean that I will push the brass into the die and wait a couple seconds, allowing the brass to 'flow'. Then I'll pull the brass out of the die, rotate it maybe a third of a revolution, and run it back up into the die again.
    Wait a second or so, pull it out.

    Much better consistency.

    And, as Rod47 stated, lubrication matters (to coin a phrase...).
     
  5. gojones

    gojones Member

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    Was this brass that your friend was going to thrash anyway? Maybe fired many times. Could annealing be part of the solution in this instance?
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Shoulder bump. Head to datum.

    Mixed range brass is 1 cause. Another is brass fired in different gun chambers, will add to the sizing problem.

    Set fl die to contact shell holder when sizing. Forget about the tool. A good die (My RCBS) will provide a safe usable shoulder set back of about .005" Single stage press only. Progressive or Turret types may give a different shoulder bump at each station.

    Case separations dont happen till the case has to stretch more then .010" on 2 or 3 firings.

    Or die setting-
    The head to datum measurement will get longer on the under size brass if you keep the die set for your chamber. After 3 firings the short brass should grow to your preferred head to datum measurement.

    Not all brass will fully expand to the chamber size on 1 firing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  7. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  8. murf

    murf Member

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    I have a 45 lc case with an out-of-round neck (.009" thick on one side and .013" thick on the other). I tried sizing it and got it half way in the die and it stopped. I didn't try to go any farther and retired the case to my reference pile. I believe you are getting different sizings because your cases are not all the same thickness and you are partial sizing.

    suggest you do as 243winxb says and f/l size those cases. you can do a partial size next time and see if the lengths are closer together. if not, repeat the f/l sizing.

    luck,

    murf
     
  9. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    You didn’t say if your brass was all the same head stamp (manufacturer). If you’re running a mixture of different brands, sometimes the same manufacturer but different case lots, you’re gonna run into this. Not all brass is annealed the same and not all brass is the same metallurgical composition either. In forensic terms, some brass is much harder than other brass. For this reason you’ll get different specs when you resize it. If you measure this same brass after it is trimmed you’ll see differences there too. That trim cutter will take more brass of a softer case. It’s kind of like running a butter knife over the top of a stick of frozen butter and then running that same butter knife over the top of a stick of butter that has been sitting on the kitchen counter a day and a half. All things being equal, you’ll get more butter on your knife from the stick that’s been sitting out.

    223 brass is more prone to hardness differences because they make so darn much of the stuff from a wide range of manufacturing facilities and countries. Some of what you’ll come across is harder than my X-wife’s heart. Where you will really notice the difference in case hardness is when you shoot it. If you see powder residue all the way down the side of your case, that case is too darn hard to expand and seal your rifle chamber. Accuracy with that stuff will be non-existent. About two lifetimes ago I ended up with a bunch of 223 brass with the CJ headstamp (Norinco) that stuff was hard as hell with powder residue way back on the body of the case. My groups looked like they were made by a shotgun. Now you can anneal your brass and will likely show some improvement. However, there’s so much U.S. made commercial 223 brass out there at such reasonable prices it’s just not worth the effort IMO. I’ve run into this same hardness problem with Hornady (Frontier) brass in 30-06. I’d bet you five bucks that Hornady had that brass made by PMC. I called them and asked if that were the case. They got pretty snippy about it and just told me to anneal my brass. REALLY Hornady? I got a better idea. I just won’t use any of your brass. Pretty poor for a company that built its business on the backs of individuals that loaded their own ammo!
     
  10. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    This is certainly an issue I would investigate.
    They need to be trimmed AFTER being resized.

    Just my 2¢ worth. Hope this helps.
     
  11. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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  12. AFDoc

    AFDoc Member

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    Thanks for the feedback!

    After reading all of the replies, I think my big mistake was assuming brass was brass, and because it’s brass it will behave in the press no matter the manufacturer.

    I will sort by head stamp and then try again.
     
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  13. GONRA

    GONRA Member

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    GONRA sez if you use a Big Robust Press and STP OIl Treatment or
    TriFlow Synthetic Grease for a case lube, you SHOULD get consistent resized cases,
     
  14. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Should but won't. Different brass has different springback. Even brass of the same lot won't behave exactly the same after several firings IME. some will gauge and some requires another trip through the sizing die with it cranked down a tad.
     
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  15. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    For what it’s worth, if you’re reloading for an AR15 I would highly recommend that you use small base dies. And yes others will point out that you will have shorter case life if you do. That’s true but we’re talking about 223 cases in this instance. Four or five shots and it’s done for anyway. On top of that it’s relatively inexpensive anyway. Get a round hung up in that AR15 chamber and you could easily end up having to take the barrel off, chuck it up in a lathe, cut the head off the case and then reaming the chamber. Quite a bit of aggravation considering the cost of a 223 case!
     
  16. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    Sometimes I'll use a 50/50 of STP and 10-30, and cases size soooo easy. Like greased snot on a doorknob. But, it's a bit messy. I can't help but think that if you're going for dead nuts accuracy, using something like this will surely help.
    But still, metallurgy is playing the lead role in this drama. (but I have a 9th grade education, so there's that)
     
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  17. Rod47

    Rod47 Member

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    Gotta say this. After reloading for 50 years I really see the cartridge case as the one item we have the least control over.
     
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  18. Metal God

    Metal God Member

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    If separating the cases does not result in a more consistent sizing . Then it's press deflection and my bet is this is your issue . I've helped a couple people with there T-7's . The open face turret design is known to allow for more flex/deflection when sizing cases .

    It's a rather long explanation but I have pics and examples to show you if it turns out separating the brass does not work . I'd rather not write a really long post If It's not needed . Please update soon .
     
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  19. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    May be avoided when shell holder contacts the Fl die at top of stroke. But even then, there may be a +/- .001" RCBS cam over seems to cause this. There is hard and soft cam over.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  20. fguffey

    fguffey Member

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    press deflection? If I full length size a case I expect the case to be returned to minimum length/full length sized. If the case is not returned to minimum length/full length sized there should not be a mystery. When the case is sized and the die is adjusted for full length sizing the die should make it down to the shell holder, if the die does not make it to the shell holder the case can not be full length sized. There was a time when I said the case wins or the press wins depending on the case's ability to resist sizing; and then I realized the philosophy of the case having resistance to sizing is a very though sell.

    When I want to know if the case won or the press won I use a feeler gage to determine if the die made it to the shell holder; if the die does not make it to the shell holder the case won. to determine 'by how much measure the gap with a feeler gage.

    If I determined the fired case when measured from the shoulder to the case head increased in length by .007" when fired in a 30/06 chamber I would say the chamber is .002" longer from the shoulder to the bolt face than a go-gage length chamber.

    What works? When I size cases for long chambers I back the die off after contact with the shell holder. And then there is, "by how much"? Back to the feeler gage: I would back the die off .004" for clearance, after adjusting the die I secure the die to the press with the locking nut.

    No ideal what 243winxb is talking about, the last RCBS press I used that cammed over was the A2, that press had .017" cam over. The A2 was a 'bump' press because it bumped twice, once on the way up and again once on the way down. A reloader that did not understand the die adjustment on the cam over press could but a .034" strain on the press every time they sized a case. My Rock Chucker has a limiter, before it cams over it goes into a bind. The bind causes the ram to kick forward at the top and back at the bottom meaning it is impossible for the ram to changer directions when going up and or down.

    F. Guffey​
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  21. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    This is when the shell holder is in full contact with the bottom of the die.

    A tip from RCBS- When the shell holder makes contact with the bottom of the fl die, this squares the die in the press. Lock the die in after cam over.

    Hi Mr. Guffey. :)
     
  22. fguffey

    fguffey Member

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    RCBS is wrong; I am down to 2 Rock Chuckers, at one time I had four. I have 12 Herter presses, all of the Herter presses cam over. I have press instructions from RCBS, in the instructions they claim the cam over press is a 'bump' press. None of my Rock Chuckers 'bump'; therefore the rock Chucker is not a cam over press. BUT: If the Rock Chucker cammed over I could measure the amount of cam over in thousandths.

    Many years ago I purchased a Piggy Back attachment for the Rock Chucker and then I purchased another; one was a Piggy Back, the other was a Piggy Back 11. The Piggy Back 1 & 11 were auto advance; I mention that because RCBS (A tip from RCBS) claimed they built the Piggy Back attachment with a one way clutch to prevent the ram from changing directions. If the ram on the Rock Chucker was a cam over press the ram would change directions when the ram reached the top of its travel. Changing directions on a one way clutch will render it scrap. What does all of this mean? The Rock Chucker is not a cam over press.

    I understand it is not necessary for a reloader to understand the press he is using; RCBS claims the die aligns/squares with the shell holder when they make contact; I should feel cheated because alignment does not happen with my Rock Chuckers unless there is a case in the shell holder when the ram is raised.

    All of my Rock Chuckrs go into a bind because the linkage kicks the ram back at the bottom and forward at the top. For me? Not a problem because I use the shell holder to hold a case; again, the case in the shell holder aligns the die with the shell holder.

    F. Guffey
     
  23. PWC

    PWC Member

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    Guffy - "I realized the philosophy of the case having resistance to sizing is a very though sell." ...means what?

    If the die, in the frame isn't square to the ram there is a problem with the press. When you put in the shell holder you introduce wobble in the head of the ram to shell holder fit. Unless you are trying for extreme accuracy at 1K yds it matters not. Trying for extreme accuracy at normal hunting distances is an exercise in frustration, because the gun can already shoot better than the shooter.

    That said, it is man's inherent drive to tinker with things.
     
  24. PWC

    PWC Member

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    My old Pacific press (and only press) came with an original ram with the shell holder machined into it. I bought an RCBS universal ram so it woulb be more flexible without having to change rams. It's been making ammo for 35 yrs with no problems. I think just for grins and giggles I wil try the original equipment again, when I get back to the bench, and see how it does. Now, I doubt if anyone is, but should they be waiting for results, don't hold your breath, house needs painting and honey do's come first.
     
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  25. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    I would like to see a picture of that Limiter please.
    Also could you please share those RCBS instructions? I’ve searched high and low with no joy.
     
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