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Tell me if I've got the right idea re: neck sizing

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Rmeju, May 5, 2013.

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  1. Rmeju

    Rmeju Member

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    I'm not new to reloading, but I'm new to bolt rifle reloading. Specifically, I've never neck sized before. I've looked through some old posts, and I want to see if I have the right idea. The loads I'll be working up first are for target use. 7mm RM if it's important.

    Here's how I think it works:

    When I get new brass, I should check the headspace using a gauge. If the brass is virign, in theory it should all fit my chamber, but I may want to FL size the first go around in order to set the proper headspace (if necessary... perhaps not required with Lapua/Nosler/etc brass). If the brass is 1x fired, I'll want/need to FL size, both so it fits the chamber and to ensure proper headspacing. Trim after any FL size. Subsequent loadings can be done with a neck sizing die. You can sorta neck size with your FL backed out, but the preferred method is really just to buy the NS die (Why?). Neck sizing only requires the dry lube on the inside of the neck. Every few loadings (5? more? less? Depends on the caliber?) I should FL size again to ensure proper headspacing. Neck Sizing will lengthen my brass life, and improve accuracy. Accuracy improvements are gained by having the brass fire-formed to your chamber. Case life is prolonged because I'm not working the brass too much and won't be trimming off worked brass frequently.

    Does that sound about right?

    EDIT: Please see post #16
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  2. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    That's about my understanding, but it is chamber size, not so much headspace. The fired brass takes on the dimensions of the chamber of the gun it was fired in, thus limiting how much it will stretch in subsequent firing, which is why brass life is extended.

    Use the neck sizing die because it is the right tool for the job, and not a huge investment. I'm not sure all FL dies can be adjusted to neck size.

    FL size when the brass becomes too tight in the chamber. That may be 2 shots or 6 or 8, but 5 is a common average, depending on how hot your loads are.
     
  3. kingmt

    kingmt Member

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    Sounds right. I never FL after the first time with new to me brass for my bolt rifles. Best part it's no need to lube & no stuck cases.
     
  4. StretchNM

    StretchNM Member

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    Rmeju, you have a good understanding and have answered your own question. The problem with using an FL die and adjusting it to neck size only is...consistency. The Lee Collet dies are NOT expensive and are the best thing out there, in my opinion. I bought a Redding die for 300 Savage because Lee didn;t offer any. The Redding is a very handsome die and it works just fine, but at about 3 times the cost of a Lee, it is at least three times over-priced.

    On my bottleneck rifle brass, I anneal the cases after every five firings and then full-length size the brass. Trimming brass can occur at any time during the firing "stages", whether neck sizing or FL sizing. I check mine for proper length after each firing. You'll no doubt find your own method for keeping track of brass life, but I have a method that I think is foolproof. If you want it, let me know.

    NEW, bagged or boxed brass generally doesn;t need any sizing. Always check several to make sure they'll chamber, then check for trim length. Almost always I'll chamfer the inside of the case mouth. If you look at the mouth of new Rem or Win brass (which is all I use), you'll see they're pretty rough around the case mouth.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  5. 918v

    918v Member

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    You cannot neck size 99% of bottlenecked rounds with the FL die backed out due to geometry. The rifle chamber allows the case to expand about .005-.010" at the shoulder. A FL sizing die sizes the body of the case by about .005". The FL die will size the body before it even begins sizing the neck (unless you are resizing a giraffe like a 30-06, .270, etc.) When the die puts the squeeze on the body, the shoulder angle changes and the shoulder/neck junction is pushed forward, thereby changing headspace. You will not be able to close the bolt on a round neck-sized using a FL die.
     
  6. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I hand load 19 Badger,.222, .223, 22-250, 6mmBR, .243, 25acp, 25-20, 25/35, 250/3000, 257 Robert Ackley Improved, 257 Robert Ackley Improved rimmed, 260Rem, 6.5x55, 270, 7x57mm, 7mm Rem mag, 32acp, 32sw, 32S&WLong, 32-20, 7.62x25mm, 30-30, 303Sav, 300Sav, 7.62x39mm, 308, 7.5Swiss, 30-06, 300WM, 303Brit,7.62x54R, 8x57mm, 338WM, .380, 9x19mm, 9x23mm, 357 Sig, 38 sp, 357 mag, 38sw, 40sw, 10mm, 10.4mm, 401 power mag, 44mag, 45acp, 45Colt, .410, 45/70, 50CB and 12 ga.

    So far I cannot ever remember having a problem partial neck sizing with a FL die.
    I know I have done it a lot with 257RAI [slow body taper] and 7.62x54r [fast body taper].

    So far I cannot remember 918V ever being wrong about anything.
     
  7. 918v

    918v Member

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    Neck sizing, by definition, is sizing only the neck.

    What you are doing is sizing the neck and the body and the shoulder, therefore not neck sizing.
     
  8. StretchNM

    StretchNM Member

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    You CAN partially neck size and the round will still fit - I've done it many times. But you're right, you are doing more than neck sizing. And, at each loading you're experimenting with the adjustment of the FL die and, therefore, are sizing inconsistently, even though the round will fit each time.

    A dedicated neck sizer is designed to do just that, and no more.

    If a guy reloads and FL sizes as many calibers as Clark does, well, I believe you could become very expert at adjusting the die. But me? I need a neck sizer.
     
  9. 918v

    918v Member

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    The whole point of neck sizing is sizing only the neck and leaving the rest of the case fireformed to the chamber. This is not only done to prolong case life, but also for alignment. A fireformed case is perfectly aligned with the bore. This is why neck-sized cases produce more accurate groups downrange.

    A FL die cannot accomplish this: sizing only the neck and leaving the body alone. It just can't.
     
  10. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    The good thing about neck sizing is you don't need any lube.

    The bad thing about a collet sizing die is if your brass has a lot of variation in neck thickness, this can affect the consistency of neck tension.
     
  11. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    I FL size all my brass and still get 5-8 loading out of them. Most times I don't need to trim any. So some will say that neck sizing will prolong your brass life. But I get as many loads out of mine as a neck sizer would.
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    You cannot neck size with a FL sizer for the reasons 918v put forth. You can partial full length size, which is just bumping the shoulder back a small amount. This will size all of the neck and size the body a little as well. You can adjust it up farther, but all you accomplish is partial neck sizing, and the body will still be touched a little. Nothing wrong with doing this if it floats your boat, but it isn't neck sizing. Neck sizing is sizing only the neck.

    New brass is basically full length sized as it comes. If you want to neck size, buy a neck size die and go for it. At some point in time the brass will likely get hard to chamber and you will either have to size the body a little, or bump the shoulder a little, or both to get the brass back to where it will chamber easily.

    For neck sizing I suggest the Lee Collet die or the Forster Bushing Bump die.

    I prefer the Redding FL Bushing die set to barely bump the shoulder.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=176290&d=1355794205

    http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=181779&d=1364057403
     
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Belted Magnums - Neck sizing.

    The belted magnum head spaces on the belt. When neck sizing with a neck die, head space is always on the shoulder. This gives 0 head clearance. The area of the brass directly in front of the belt, towards the mouth, becomes unsupported by as much as .015" . This unsupported area, will at times, separate prematurely. The results look almost like a case head separation, but is not, Also, case life is cut short at times by splits or problems in the neck area. Eliminating the expander is the best way to gain longer brass life. Or custom dies that do not overwork the brass. http://www.saami.org/PubResources/CC_Drawings/Rifle/7mm%20Remington%20Magnum.pdf :)
     
  14. StretchNM

    StretchNM Member

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    NOT if you're only getting 5 to 8 firings you aren't. But! - I suppose alot depends on what caliber you are shooting and loading. No - you won;t last as long with FL sizing, at least not under normal circumstances with standard caliber bottleneck brass. Maybe there's a few exceptions in caliber selections out there. Clark might have some input here....

    All of the following have been neck sized with Lee collet dies, and ALL are still in loadable condition (no signs of pocket enlargement, inc. head separation, cracks in the neck, vertical cracks in body, or other maladies):

    20 pieces of RP brass in 22-250 that has been loaded 16 times, and annealed and FL sized three times. (I just know this brass is near the end, but I show no signs of it yet!)

    20 pieces of RP in 25-06 is at 13 times, with 2 annealings and FL sizings.

    20 pieces of WW in 30-30 that, after firing this time, will have been loaded 9 times and still going strong.

    EDIT: 20 pieces of RP in 30-06 that has been fired 10 times and is on 11th reloading. It has been annealed and FL sized twice. I can distinctly remember getting at least 13 firings out of a previous set (RP brass) before discarding.

    20 pieces of RP in 300Sav that has been loaded 6 times (not yet annealed). I'm using a Redding neck sizer for this brass and I expect that I might only get 1 or 2 more loadings, but that is unknown yet.

    20 pieces of RP in 35Remington that is on its 11th loading (will be on 12 after firing). Never annealed or FL sized.

    I could go on, but some calibers will last virtually forever, IF neck sized and treated right. None of those loads above are light either - all are loaded to maximum (except 300 Sav, it's down about 5 to 7% from maximum).

    That is just what I show in this particular spreadsheet. One or two of those calibers above have fired brass beyond what I show right now. All of the above are doing fine, with the exception of 300 Sav, and that is due to an oversized chamber and throat. If I FL size that brass, they will seperate, or show signs of seperation, after 2 firings. With neck sizing, I'm up to 6.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  15. StretchNM

    StretchNM Member

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    When you FL size bottleneck brass, you are manipulating the body of the brass between head and shoulder of the case. This area doesn't get annealed but it does get sized with the FL die. Plus, I think it is thicker than the neck (not talking about the head, which is certainly thicker, but the body). So you're manipulating thicker brass that's never annealed.

    Then, when fired, it is of course fire-formed before you take it home and FL size it again. I cannot see where, since neck sizing does nothing to the body or head, FL sizing could best or even compete with neck sizing concerning brass life.

    Of course, the only scientific evidence I have is in 300 Sav cases for one of my Model 99's. It is explained above. With FL sizing, I get two firings. With neck sizing, I'm on 6 and still going (knock on wood). ((:)D))) Maybe there is some scientific evidence if you were to say "Yes. I shoot 25 and 30-06, and I FL size, and I only get 5-8 loadings before they must be discarded". I get many more than that with neck sizing, and I'm confident that others do too, so that could be counted as evidence.

    Neck size and extend the life of your brass.

    ...
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  16. Rmeju

    Rmeju Member

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    @243: I get that the 7mm RM headspaces off the belt, but I don't understand why this makes neck sizing inappropriate (I mean, I understand your description of how the case will fail, but I don't understand why).

    Should I not use a neck sizing die? I thought having the expander plug was a necessary part of any sizing operation, whether FL or NS... Am I misunderstanding something?
     
  17. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Rmeju, The case may fail because its unsupported when fired. It takes more than a few loadings. It may not happen at all. The chamber would have to be on the maximun side & brass undersize. Like Walkalong posted >
    No expander is used with these 2 methods.
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, as long as you are going for extended case life, why use a neck die that will squeeze the neck undersized and then use an expander (dragging screaming through the case neck) to push it back out. Use a collet or bushing style neck sizer.

    Besides, expanders were invented by the devil to pull shoulders forward, ruin concentricity, etc.
     
  19. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    ^^^^^^Plus 1 ^^^^ go with the bushing dies,
     
  20. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    FL size new brass, just to be sure. trim to length, uniform the primer pocket, deburr flash hole. Chamfer and deburr mouth. Prime, powder and seat bullet. Shoot. Neck size, chamfer mouth, prime, powder and seat bullet. Repeat until the bolt gets hard to close. Trim and FL size if necessary. How often depends on a lot of things, but usually 4-5 times before you need to trim or FL size. This works for me, has for years. Oh, and big yes on the bushing dies, they are great. Carbide bushings, easy on brass. If you are careful, brass lasts a long time.
     
  21. Clark

    Clark Member

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    OK, I put a fired 7mmRM case in a die, and the shoulder touched and the neck was a ways away from making contact.
    So I moved on to a faster taper cartridge, the 7.62x54R.
    It makes contact with the neck of the die first.
    The neck is ~ .325" long and I can partial size 0.125" of neck without changing the shoulder.
    In the pic I took a fired 7.62x54R Lapua case, cleaned it, painted it with Die Chem, and then partial neck sized it in a Forster Full Length sizer die with no decapping stem.

    What does it all mean?
    Some cases can be partial neck sized without changing the body.
    Some can't.
    It depends on the taper of the case and the length of the neck.
     
  22. Innovative

    Innovative Member

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    Just the facts ......

    • Reloading a belted magnum cartridge is different from non-belted calibers.
    • Handloads must be headspaced on the shoulder (not the belt).
    • Accurate FL resizing is by far the best way to go.
    • Cases bulge during the reloading process (not in the chamber).
    • Handloads should NEVER fit tight in your chamber.
    • Unreliable chambering is never an option.
    • Case head separation is always avoidable.

    There are a dozen pages on my website that covers this specific subject.
     
  23. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    I know the OP only mentioned target use, but it should be mentioned that necksizing is not recommended for hunting ammo. I didn't know this when I bought my necksizing die, which now makes a nice paper weight.
     
  24. Innovative

    Innovative Member

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    The 7mm Rem Mag can be a real tack driver, but it's definitely no benchrest caliber. However, most benchrest shooters use full length resizing dies.
     
  25. mdm

    mdm Member

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    Why?
     
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