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Resizing rifle brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by captain awesome, Aug 18, 2018.

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  1. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    A while back I posted how I had trouble with full length rifle brass resizing. The problem was across the board with any bottle neck cartridge I load for, bolt guns it doesnt seem to matter, I can always chamber them, but with my semi autos it was hit and miss some rounds would chamber in the same rifles, some would not, some rifles it was an issue, some it wasn't. My solution after exhausting several other ideas, though it bothered me to do, was to take a couple thousandths of an inch off the bottom off my resizing dies which allowed me to bottom them out on the presses a little more. It fixed the clambering issue, but again I didnt like that solution and thought it strange that my problems would not be more widespread without me doing something wrong. So I am revisiting the issue.

    Here is what I know;
    Shell plates were all verified to be within spec. I was surprised that "spec" varied as much as it did. I thought it would all be within 1/1000 of an inch...its not but they are within spec.

    The dies were bottomed out to the point of the presses camming over hard, and I still had problems.

    Brass, particularly the 308 and 556 was mostly military, but mixed headstamped. Possibly fired through machine guns.

    308 brass especially was very difficult to resize.

    I lubed brass with hornady oneshot case lube (aerosol).

    I noticed that after the press had cammed over when a case was present in the die, I could slip a piece of paper between the edge of the die and shellholder. Normal??

    Any thoughts? I am wondering if the one shot just doesnt work well enough, or maybe I need to use more of it? I never get stuck cases but since it is so difficult I wonder. I like the one shot because its quick and easy and powder doesnt stick to it, but it's not cheap stuff. What do you do for high volume rifle reloading? I like using my case feeders and progressive presses....
     
  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    sometimes when u cam over a press all the way it will cam so much it will start to pull away from the die. think of a train wheel the are to turn the wheel is your cam and when the are on the wheel goes past the cam just a little it will go the other way. thats what is happening with your press. just screw your die in more so the press does not fully cam over.if u do not like grinding on your dies or need more sizing grind your shell holder this will push the case more in to the die body. u can also us more lube then normal to size a tiny bit more. i use lee paste the one shot is very thin and will give less push on the case then a thicker lube.
     
  3. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    Two related thoughts: have you checked case length? (Especially if really fired from an MG.)
     
  4. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    I've loaded for at least 8 different semiautos chambered for bottlenecked cartridges and have never had to modify my sizing dies. Some thoughts:

    1. If you are crimping the cartridges, stop it.
    2. You may need to use a small base die.
    3. In my opinion One Shot is TERRIBLE stuff. I'm surprised that you haven't gotten a case stuck in a die. I recommend Imperial Sizing Wax.
     
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  5. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    In answer to questions, case length though not consistent, is within specs stated in my reloading manuals. Part of the process would be trimming but none have needed it this far.

    I am Not crimping

    I have also used small base dies in 223 and 308, did not solve the problem.

    I have read about the Imperial sizing wax, I know people love it but are you able to use it in conjunction with a case feeder when batch loading several hundred rounds through a progressive press? From what I understand it has to be applied one case at a time? That would negate any advantage a case feeder would give me. But if there is a better method I am all ears.

    For what its worth i agree that I should not have to take material off the bottom of a sizing die...I just didn't know what else to do. I did that on 3 dies, I honestly want to purchase new ones and figure the issue out so I don't have to use modified equipment.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    If you really need to screw the die all the way down to touch the shell holder you must do it while actually sizing a case.

    You should not have to "cam over" hard. It won't go any farther and stresses everything.

    I have had one sizer I had to remove a tiny bit off the bottom. If you think you have multiple ones that need it something else is wrong. Often times screwed all the way down to hit the shell holder/plate is too much.

    It is very cheap to try another lube, although if you used enough OS to get the sized case back out of the die I can't see how that is the issue.

    Do you have case gauges? Another way to measure where the shoulder is like the RCBS Precision Mic?
     
  7. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    It sounds to me that your flexing the press without the brass going all the way in to the sizing die. I would apply a little more OS and see of that helps, remember to let it dry first. I use OS on all my 223/556 general blasting ammo loaded on my LNL-AP w/brass feeder.

    OS is a thinner film lube than most all the lanolin based lubes. I use Imperial Wax on all my hand loads used in my SS press for my BE loads. Even with it if you don't use enough it will get harder to size. I'm the one that does not force things. If it seams too hard, I apply a little more lube. Problem solved.

    Another thing that will make the sizing easier is to anneal the brass. This will help tremendously on sizing brass that has been shot in MG. None of my dies are SB, despite what most think they are not needed 99% of the time. All of my AR's have min spec chambers, too. If I turn off the gas system you can drop the spent brass back into a case gauge and swears it fits. There is only a 0.0005" of the base above the gauge. Can not see it or feel it, though a metal straight edge detects it. You can measure it with a depth gauge though.
     
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  8. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Hornady lock n' Load AP?

    No. The platform may be flexing. It may need shims? Hornady did supply shims for older units.

    The die holder may need shims also.

    Google shims Hornady l&n ap www.ar15.com Here is 1. There is another.https://www.ar15.com/forums/Armory/...y-Lock-N-Load-AP-progressive-press/42-414607/

    But could be a brass problem?
     
  9. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    I don't have any case gauges or mics, perhaps I should get some.

    I sold off then LNL AP a couple months ago in favor of a Dillon 650. I havent tried 308 on the 650 yet. But I did experience the same issue loading on my 1050. I have tried sizing on a single stage and turret, and got somewhat better results with the Forster Coax and using the Dillon carbide trim die on 308 for sizing (I wasnt trimming just sizing, and I didnt shave any material off the bottom of that die). On a side note the thing that clued me into the possibility that my lube might not be working well enough was that I broke the handle that came with the Coax press while sizing 308, and replaced it with solid steel bar stock.
     
  10. Allen One1

    Allen One1 Member

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    This sounds like a die issue to me. How are you cleaning the dies? Do they have a rough finish on the inside? Does the resizing process make a terrible noise? I clean mine with Hornady One Shot Gun Cleaner & Lube and blow them out with air to dry them. I then shoot some Hornady One Shot Case Lube inside the die to get some lubrication on that inside surface as well as the lube on the case. When I first got my 6.5 dies they made a terrible noise when resizing, after a few hundred rounds went through it settled down and seems to work fine.
     
  11. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Some people will fl size rifle brass on a single stage press, then finish reloading on a progressive. Best if brass needs trimming.

    I suggest using all RCBS , Rock Chucker press, dies and lube. If sizing brass not fired in you 1 rifle, i suggest small base dies.
    RCBS will "cam over" , i dont know about others.

    Why RCBS? Because i have had no problems.

    I can not say the same of my old Dillon RL-450 progressive, when loading 223 ammo. The shell plate got me. Do use a comparitor to check sizing at each station.
     
  12. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I looked at your 2016 post Expiriences with reloading semi auto rifle cartridges and it is obvious to me, that you need cartridge head space gauges. You cannot control a process unless you can measure a process. All the rest is philosophy and speculation. The lowest priced case gauges are the Wilson type, they measure base to shoulder length. These are useful in that they will allow you to measure bolt gun fired ammunition, before sizing, and have an excellent idea of the chamber headspace. I will discuss later why you cannot do this with gas gun ammunition.

    ODsYmCL.jpg

    This Sheridan gauge is dimension ally correct for length and width, as they are cut with SAMMI minimum reamer, so you can tell if something is off, that is something is worn, with a sizing die. Fat cases happen.

    XOHUEzE.jpg

    Since you are sizing gas gun cases, you cannot make any sort of a reasonable estimate of chamber headspace from a fired case, because gas guns unlock and start to open while there is residual pressure (less than 650 psia) left in the chamber. This is to help pop the case out during extraction.

    This is from Chin Vol IV and is a pressure curve illustrating how a blowback action works:

    OvuSHJk.jpg

    This is a pressure curve from a prototype M14 gas system:

    oMRSvid.jpg

    Because the action opens while there still is pressure in the barrel, the case will stick to the chamber walls, and due to this, the brass will be elongated during extraction. Such as these lubricated cases show, which were fired lubricated, from an M1a. Because I had lubricated the cases, and fired them lubricated, there was no side wall stretching, because the case was not adhering to the chamber, and yet there was case elongation. This was due to the shoulder moving forward, under pressure, as the case was extracted, under pressure.

    TqQrriR.jpg

    SBbRam1.jpg

    In all of this is the assumption that the cartridge was fired in chamber that was properly cut to depth. If some Gomer reamed the chamber without chamber headspace gages, and there are characters who do that, then the chamber headspace of the weapon is unknown.

    You use the cartridge headspace gages to determine if your sizing dies are pushing the shoulder back to a proper base to shoulder length. As for your concerns about removing material from the bottom of a sizing die, I don't see the problem, as long as you have the ability to measure what you are doing. I have had to remove material from several Lee sizing dies, one I remember was an obsolete military cartridge, and the factory die was simply too long. I have also done this in other calibers, can't think of them right now, but sometimes the combination of press, shell holders, dies, create a tolerance stack up, and unless you remove material from the bottom of the dies, you will not be able to sufficiently size the cases. But in all situations, you must have the ability to measure what you are doing.

    I do believe that sometimes there is military brass, fired in such huge chambers, that regular sizing equipment will not swage the cases down sufficiently to be within SAAMI dimensions. This is when you buy a roll sizer:

    http://www.casepro100.com/

    upload_2018-8-19_10-32-29.png

    Why don't you buy some case gages, measure what you are doing when you size your brass, so in a year from now, you don't post the same problem again ? :scrutiny:
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    After the first sizing using a single stage press, trim brass .020" shorter then maximum. Buy and try a RCBS X die. Follow instructions. No more trimming.

    I loaded 223 on the old & slow RL450 .
    Station 1. Size, deprime, install new primer.
    2. Drop powder.
    3. Seat bullet.
    4. Wipe lube off.

    Never used an X die. Just trimmed back .010" Brass never seemed to grow enough to be dangerous. Did check trim length every 10 or 20 rounds. Same lot of brass, ok. Mixed range brass, not a good idea, as they grow at different rates. Here the X die may help?
     
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    There was some very good advise in that thread.
     
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  15. Captaingyro

    Captaingyro Member

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    Reloading bottleneck rifle cases on a progressive press can be done, but it requires some additional thought and some minor adjustments to the process you'd use for bulk handgun cartridge reloading.

    1. When sizing big rifle cases, a moment of "dwell time", where you pause at the top of the press stroke and leave the brass fully inserted in the die, gives the brass a chance to flow and stabilize. The sizing process is really a method of moving and re-shaping metal, and yanking it out of the die too quickly sometimes allows some spring-back, where the case partially returns to it's previous shape. It may only be a matter of a few ten-thousandths in any direction, but that's sometimes enough, especially if you're sizing cases that were seriously blown-out in a machine gun chamber.

    2. If you adjust a sizing die in a progressive all by itself, without accounting for the resistance caused by rounds in the other stations, you're not really getting an accurate depth adjustment. In your case the seating die on the opposite side of the shell plate is providing some added resistance to the upward movement of the ram and your 650, being made of aluminum, will flex a tiny bit. (You will also notice that you get a tiny difference in seating depth when sizing at the same time vs. not sizing.) This, along with a not-so-great lube, may help explain the paper-thin gap you experience between die and shell holder.
     
  16. denton

    denton Member

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    If annealing is your answer, here's my method:
     
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  17. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    Thanks for the advise guys. I reread that old thread, there really is some good information there.
     
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  18. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger member

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    Step 1 obtain case gauges. Adjust die accordingly.

    Step 2 use Dillon spray lube, it works about 1000% better than Hornady One Shot which is complete garbage.

    I also load on an XL 650, have no issues at all.
     
  19. SamT1

    SamT1 Member

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    I’d try a different lube. If your having trouble with 2 or 3 calibers something in your process is messed up. Spray some Pam cooking spray on one to try if you don’t have anything around.
    A case gauge shouldn’t be needed when small base sizing. The only time I’ve actually found one handy was making sure oversized lead bullets would chamber.

    I setup my progressive 308 with a rcbs small base die in #1 set to bottom out pretty good and a Lee sizing die with no pin in #2 set to almost bottom out. I get 2 chances to size them, if they don’t spring back the first time #2 barely touches them. If the spring back #2 makes sure they chamber. Never have issues with machine gun once fired 308 brass anymore.
    I do have 1000 rounds of LC once fired brass that I sized in a Lee sizer that won’t chamber in my AR10. It really makes me mad, I sized and trimmed and chamfered and reamed pockets in it all and was using it in several 308 rifles. Buy an AR10 and can’t even foreward assist them in. Have to size them all again. I’ve been working with virgin once fired stuff since I’m mad about those not being ready to load, but they do run through really easy round 2. And the AR10 does close on a go gauge.
     
  20. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger member

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    A case gauge is mandatory when reloading for a semi-auto, don’t kid yourself. Spend $25 and get a case gauge.

    I know for a fact that the Dillon XL650 will allow you to bump the shoulder back too much and give excessive headspace, I’ve experienced it.

    Then I bought a case gauge and adjusted the small base die to render correct dimensions for safe reliable operation.
     
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  21. SamT1

    SamT1 Member

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    I load and shoot thousands of rounds in 223, 308, 45, 9mm with no gauges. Mandatory? Yea right. You guys keep recommending gadgets and all the newbies are so confused they can’t even setup the basic equipment properly.
    That one the other day where a guy bought comparators and measuring tools before a loading press. My gosh.
     
  22. Coal Dragger

    Coal Dragger member

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    Are you loading on an XL650?

    Are you familiar with the dimensions on the shell plate of the XL650?

    The answer to both of those questions is probably no. So here’s a tip: the shell plate on an XL650 has enough clearance to allow the shoulder of a case to be bumped back below headspace in the resizing die body.

    Dillon specifically instructs the user to set the resizing die with a case gauge for that reason. At around $25 for the gauge it’s not a huge expense, and they’re very easy to use. Dillon recommends a case gauge to properly set a resizing die on that press for loading ammo for a semi-auto.

    By your own admission you can’t make some of your brass work right on your setup to function in a semi-auto. Man I wonder why?

    Loading thousands of rounds doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it correctly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2018
  23. SamT1

    SamT1 Member

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    Mine work just fine after sizing with rcbs small base , issues I had were in a single with different die not capable of sizing machine gun fired brass.
    BTW you wouldn’t speak to me like that if you knew me. Internet makes everyone a tough guy or a jackass
     
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  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Point made, now let's all be nice. :)
     
  25. SamT1

    SamT1 Member

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    ok so let’s recomend a guy buy a tool so he can be 100% sure his rounds won’t chamber.
    Then he can come full circle to my solution of double stamping them with a true small base die. (Lee is “small base spec” but sure seems like a lot of guys can’t small base size with them as good as a RCBS small base die, myself included)

    The case gauge may have let him know he had a problem before he ever tried firing the rounds, but it does nothing to help him solve why. He already knows what it would tell him (the rounds won’t chamber)

    Something is wrong in the setup or all his brass is machine gun and needs serious sizing.

    No experience with a Dillon 650, but sounds like if the guy is setting the sizer to cam over or touch the shell plate on the 650 he’d have no issues with chambering rounds, but he’d have case life issues and maybe light strikes if headspace got way out of hand. The opposite of current issues. Just guessing though since I’ll admit I don’t own or run a 650 until I find one real cheap at a garage sale or something.
     
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