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Harder to close bolt with fire formed brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by supertech, Sep 23, 2008.

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  1. supertech

    supertech Member

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    Is it normal to have a bolt that is harder to close if using fire formed brass. I just started reloading for my .308 Howa 1500. I set my Lee die to neck size by leaving a gap about the thickness of a penny between the die and the shellholder. The sizing marks on the neck cover tabout 2/3 of the neck. When I go to chamber the case, there is some resistance upon closing the bolt. Is this because of the fire forming or am i doing something wrong. This is the first time sizing these cases and it is Federal Brand Brass. I have noticed that federal brass is a bit soft from previous experienced with loading for my AR 15s. Could it be that the brass is too stretched from firing?:confused:

    Thanks for taking the time to read this post.Any insight is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Yes, it is normal, especially with neck sized brass. Essentially, fired and neck sized brass is now very close to the length and diameter of the chamber it came out of, as opposed to the rattle fit of new or fully sized brass, so it makes sense that it should take a bit more effort to close the bolt on the chamber-sized case. This is normally a good thing, as it eliminates the variables caused by a rattle fit.

    You do, however, now need to take special care to ensure that the overall length of your brass does not exceed SAAMI specs. You may not be able to tell by feel -- ie. by resistance to bolt closure -- the difference between snug case fit vs. a dangerously long case neck being crimped into the leade. The former is great. The latter can blow up your rifle and anyone near it.
     
  3. ClarkEMyers

    ClarkEMyers Member

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    Two issues (1) fire forming (2) Partial NOT necksizing.

    Two issues (1) fire forming (2) Partial NOT necksizing.

    (1) Fire forming

    Redding and RCBS - and others - make nice little tools to measure a fired case - Redding suggests fired 3 times - so as to get some idea of the chamber length to the shoulder in a given firearm. Once the chamber length to the shoulder in a given firearm is determined than the shoulder can be bumped appropriately to suit the shooter. (there are tools to measure head to shoulder on the fired case and also ways to assess both total chamber length including the case neck and also bullet to throat clearance - see e.g. Sinclair's loading book or the one from Precision Shooting or any other of choice) Measure cases before shooting, after shooting, and after sizing then after loading - bullet seating can change the case too - obviously when the neck crumples but less obviously when the case shortens and bulges.

    (2)Partial not necksizing.

    Again two issues - leaving a gap may result in more run out than squaring the die against the shell holder or perhaps not. In any event a true neck sizing die - ideally a bushing die - can be screwed down to the shell holder and never touch the case body below the neck. Again Redding offers a set of shell holders in graduated heights for precision work.

    Resizing changes the case A conventional sizing die not screwed all the way down will in almost all cases still touch the body of the case below the neck and so change the case in some way. This is more likely to matter in gas guns - Forster offers National Match dies in .308/7.62x51 and perhaps others which are no more precision than their other dies but bump the shoulder more - by design - to ensure proper feeding in the gas gun. Partial sizing may prove to be a very good way to load for a given firearm because it's snugger or it may not.

    Without measurements it's hard to be sure exactly what is happening though results on the target may justify any particular system of loading.

    Brass flows and necks may thicken and lots of other things can happen and might properly be measured. Many people, I'm one of them, emphasize ease of loading and most important extraction in hunting loads over any possible benefit of a snug fit.
     
  4. Griz44

    Griz44 Member

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    On all my fire formed cases I check length with a trimmer gauge, then run them through my action to make sure the shoulders are OK, snug but not too tight. Then proceed with loading.
     
  5. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Kinda, you are trying to Neck size with an FL die. As soon as the die touches the case body, you are no longer neck sizing, but partial full length sizing. If the FL die is not set just right the shoulder on your PFL sized brass will actually move forward.

    If you want to neck size get a neck die, better yet get a Lee Collet die.

    Oh, I almost forgot. How does you "fire formed" brass chamber before you attack it with the die? If it chambers fine, then you know it is how you have your die set up or the expander button pulling the shoulder forward.
     
  6. supertech

    supertech Member

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    I never tried chambering a spent case before resizing. So given that my cases are below the max length and I use the lee collet die to neck size, is there anything else I need to worry about. This is my first time loading for accuracy in a bolt gun so forgive my nooobness.
    To clarify, i can still work the action without really moving off target, its just not as easy as working the action with a factory round. Thanks for the input.
     
  7. cliffy

    cliffy member

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    Shoulder Sizing after Neck Sizing

    The shoulder is what causes bolt closing problems. Get vicious and resize the shoulder. Personally, I resize the entire case to prevent such problems. Brass is very pliable, so what's the harm? With Remington and Lapua brass, I expect ten full-size reloadings because the first to go is always the primer pocket's tendancy to slop-up with stout loads. Some other brasses are not so amiable regarding LOOSE primer pockets. cliffy
     
  8. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Is this an FL die?

    Is this a different die than your first post? If you are using a Lee Collet Die with a gap between the die and shell holder it will not work, not at all.
     
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    If this is a full length resizing die, you can NOT do that. The case does NOT have enough taper to it for this to work. A case like the 303 British round MAY be sized using a FLRD. Look at the drawings of both 308 and 303 you can see the difference in the taper. http://www.stevespages.com/page8d.htm Buy a neck sizing die for both.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  10. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    steve4102, I believe he was only laying out a speculative situation should he use Lee Collet dies in the future, at least that's how I read it. I also am only assuming that he is using FL dies currently.

    NCsmitty
     
  11. USSR

    USSR Member

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    And, unless you are using a small base FL sizing die, your necksized reloads will never chamber as smoothly as factory ammo.

    Don
     
  12. supertech

    supertech Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys. I was using a full length sizer to gapped at the shellholder to try to neck size but it wasn't working so I just full length sized all the cases and will neck size on the next batch with a lee collet die. Thanks for all your input. All of you guys have been a great help.
     
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    If you neck size fire formed brass with only a Lee Collet Die you will be fine.
     
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