View Full Version : Newbie question-please help!
February 14, 2008, 12:48 PM
I'm having a problem when I reload used brass, I load it in my bolt action rifle it is stiff and hard to turn the bolt down. I loaded some virgin brass and didnt have that problem. Any ideas, much appreciated.
February 14, 2008, 12:56 PM
Jon 737--First of all, welcome to TFL! Always room for 1 more!
Re your brass problem, we need more info. The used brass you are reloading--was it fired previously in the same rifle or not?
Are you neck-sizing the brass or full-length resizing it?
The virgin brass is made to minimum SAAMI specs, so it chambers nicely in your rifle. (It would chamber in any "standard" rifle of the correct cartridge.) When you then reload that same brass, do you have the problem??
February 14, 2008, 01:25 PM
Thanks for a quick reply Smokey, its factory brass thats been fired in the same rifle, and full length sized. And yesterday I fired some of the virgin brass I just reloaded and had the same problem.
February 14, 2008, 07:47 PM
OK, lets see if I have this straight: When you chamber factory ammo, it chambers easily and fires. When you chamber your virgin-brass loads, they also chamber easily and fire.
Then when you FL size the brass, factory or once-fired virgin, and reload that brass, you have trouble chambering either kind of reload.
If the problem is as I have stated, then the solution is in the dies or shell-holder in your press, not in the rifle chamber.
Easiest thing to check is the installation of the die and the shell-holder. Try re-installing both of those, closely following the directions that came with the press or with the die. Sounds stupid, I know, but it's easy to check for, and it's very unlikely that the die itself, or the shell-holder, was made not to spec. If the die merely needs adjusting to work properly, there you are, home free.
Another possibility occurs to me--are you loading a bullet that touches the lands of the rifling before the bolt is closed, wheras the factory ammo did not do that? Check the OAL of the cartridge against one of your factory rounds, or check yr loading manual--most will state a max allowable OAL for any given bullet weight. If the bullet is too far out of the case, you are finishing seating it when you close the bolt, and that would account for your hard bolt closure.
Failing both of those possibilities, it's time for some serious measurement. Take yr rifle and the FL die to a gunsmith and have him make a chamber cast of both and compare them. The die should match SAAMI specs for a die, which are smaller than SAAMI specs for a chamber. The gunsmith will have SAAMI specs for both, on file, if he's worth his salt. He also might have another suggestion as to what's wrong.
Chamber casts are done with a material called Cerrosafe--it doesn't get hot enough to even come close to harming steel, and it makes a dimension-accurate cast that can then be removed and measured.
You'll have to pay the gunsmith for his time & trouble, but it should isolate yr problem. There might be other ways to check the origin of yr problem, but if so I don't know them.
It's perplexing. I hope you find a solution.
February 14, 2008, 08:01 PM
Have your cases exceeded the max trim length?
February 14, 2008, 08:04 PM
I haven't started reloading rifle rounds yet, so forgive me if this is stupid:
Could it be that his FL-resizer is adjusted too long so the shoulder is set forward a few thousandths? (or the rifle's chamber is too short, and he needs to adjust the die shorter or shim the shellholder to allow more headspace?)
February 14, 2008, 08:53 PM
its factory brass thats been fired in the same rifle, and full length sized. And yesterday I fired some of the virgin brass I just reloaded and had the same problem.
What are your calipers telling you the length on your newly resized case is?
February 14, 2008, 09:38 PM
Smokey Joe is on the right track. When you are at the full up stroke, adjust you sizing die down so it just touches/kisses the shell holder/shell plate. You may be able to resize cartridges that won't or are hard to chamber that you have already loaded. Adjust your sizing die down first then remove the decapping pin assembly. I was able to do this with a big batch of .223 ammo after I discovered several rounds would not chamber. Apparently the sizing die was loose and backed off just a little.
February 17, 2008, 11:26 AM
Does your FL resized brass chamber properly before seating a bullet? If yes, the problem is with loading steps after the resize step.
Is the brass trimmed to the proper length?
W. C. Quantrill
February 17, 2008, 12:57 PM
All of the above then one more question. After you chamber it and fire it, is it difficult to extract, and have you tried rechambering the brass, and how does that work?
Like the previous messages, adjust your FL die down to the shell holder, then mike those cases and trim to proper length.
Do we know what cartridge/bullet combination here?, and are you miking the finished cartridge for overall length?
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