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Old August 27, 2008, 10:51 AM   #1
rolyasm
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Do you measuere length on every case?

Just getting started to reloading, the correct way. Before I was just loading from the hip, but I have been learning from books and this site and am ready to begin.
Anyway, looking at all this brass on my counter and wondering if I need to use the calipers on every case? It seems like I would be measuring case-lengths all day. If one case is .001" off from another, does it matter? What is an acceptable variance on length? Do people set them on a flat surface and just "eyeball" them and measure the ones that might be off a bit? If not, how long is it taking you all to caliper say 500 cases?
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Old August 27, 2008, 11:03 AM   #2
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Yes, you really need to measure every case! All it takes is one case that is a little too long, and a high pressure load, to cause damage to yourself, or your gun.

I can measure cases very quickly. Take your dial calipers and set them to .005" less than maximum case length. Say for a 7MM Magnum with a maximum case length of 2.500", and a trim length of 2.490", I would set my calipers to 2.495" and then lock that setting in. Then pick up each case and see if you can pass it between the jaws of the caliper. This makes it a "GO" or "NO GO" gauge. Those that pass go into 1 pile, those that don't go into another. When finished, set up your trimmer and rock & roll on those cases that did not pass.

Of course you know to only measure your cases after sizing them correct?

Once you have trimmed them to the proper length, you can put them with the rest of the cases and move on to Tumbler/vibrator to get them clean.

I mention the 7MM Magnum specifically because I have to trim a lot of them every time they are fired! My .270's & -06's only need trimming after about 5 rounds on average. My point is-watch your belted magnums closely!

And again, for your safety, and the safety of the person shooting beside you at the range, please measure every case and trim where necessary.
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Old August 27, 2008, 11:07 AM   #3
mkl
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For handgun cases, I personally don't worry about case length and never measure unless there is some problem in chambering.

For rifle cases, unless you are into really competitive bench rest or similar shooting, the only thing you need to worry about is the case being too long. Your reloading book will have a "maximum case length" and a "trim to" case length. If a case exceeds the maximum, trim it back to the trim to length.

Once it is at the trim to length, it will take several (or many) firings to grow back to where you need to trim it again.

As far as measuring, the fastest way is to lock you calipers to the maximum allowable length per your manual, and then see if all your cases will fit through the caliper jaws. Those that will not need to be trimmed.

I usually work with batches of 50 or so cases at a time. If I find one or more in the batch that need trimming, I go ahead and trim the whole batch back to the "trim to" length. Make a note on the bag or box in which you keep your cases so you will know when you trimmed them, or use your own method to segregate trim date/number of firings so you don't need to measure the cases every time you reload them.

I check my 22-250 cases after every three or four firings; my 45-70 cases after six or eight.
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Old August 27, 2008, 11:08 AM   #4
Loader9
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If you are crimping and expect to have good results, the brass needs to be the same length. Straight wall cases usually only need trimming the first time as they don't grow like a bottle neck case. Bottle necks, if crimping, needs to be the same length for the same reasons. You can buy a taper crimp die but I just cut them all the same and that way I know they are right. A bottle neck case that you aren't crimping will have a tendency to be more accurate if the length is the same. It's just part of how I load to trim every case every time. Depending on how much I have to cut and if any, as to how long it takes to do it. You can trim brass that just needs a touch up at the rate of 3 rounds a minute. Brass that is going to need a lot of trimming might run 1.5 rounds a minute. It'll also depend on the equipment you have to do it.
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Old August 27, 2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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What cartridges will you be reloading ?
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Old August 27, 2008, 11:21 AM   #6
snuffy
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Quote:
Anyway, looking at all this brass on my counter and wondering if I need to use the calipers on every case?
IIRC from your prior posts, you're loading 45 acp? Correct? Is so then the answer is no you don't need to measure every case. I don't measure ANY 45 acp case I load. In fact, if you do go to the trouble of measuring them, you will find they get SHORTER with age.

You asked a general question, you got a lot of general answers. Ask a specific question, you will get a specific answer. IE, do I have to caliper each and every 45 ACP CASE?
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Old August 27, 2008, 12:56 PM   #7
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In general, you measure a sample of the cases in question. For rifle cases, pick about 5% of your cases to check for length, and mike them. If any are overlength, trim them all. For pistol cases, you can check a few of them if you feel a need, but I never trim pistol brass, so length is not an issue. Unless you are crimping heavy magnum loads, in which case your crimps will be inconsistent unless the cases are fairly close in length.
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Old August 27, 2008, 01:06 PM   #8
darkgael
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Trim

The only cases that I ever trim are for a .416 Rigby because I know that they lenghten appreciably after four firings. Never pistol brass.
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Old August 27, 2008, 01:28 PM   #9
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I size all my rifle cases and Lee has a nice inexpensive case specific trimmer and it only takes a few minutes to do a bunch. It has individual shafts for each caliber and it brings every case down to the exact factory set length you need. You can get it for use with a drill also and its called a Lee Case trimmer and each caliber rod is around 3-4 bucks and the cutter head is around 6 dollars. You only need the the one cutter head and a length gauge rod for each caliber you use.
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Old August 27, 2008, 01:48 PM   #10
rolyasm
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Thanks. I like the idea of locking in the calipers. It will speed it up a ton. Do you you do this with store bought brass as well, just take a sample, say of 5, and if they pass the rest prob. are good? Does the store brass vary a lot?
As far as a specific cartridge, I will be loading a lot of .45, 9mm, a few 380 and then various rifle rounds (223, 250 savage, maybe some 7.62x39, 7.62x54, 8mm and more as the gun collection increases). I have my eye on a savage 308.
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Old August 27, 2008, 02:51 PM   #11
mkl
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Quote:
Does the store brass vary a lot?
Answer for rifle brass only:

Yes, more than one would think.

You need to resize all new unprimed brass before you load it or you may run into one that will not chamber.

After resizing, check the length, and trim if necessary.
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Old August 27, 2008, 03:23 PM   #12
BigJimP
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I don't measure any pistol cases - from 9mm to .44 mag. I would measure rifle brass.

But I also recommend a case gague - as a last step in your process - before you box up the rounds. The case gague will tell you if you have a length problem on a round - and you can get them from Dillon for a .223 , .308 , .30-06 as well as all the popular pistol calibers. Rifle calibers are $22 / pistol calibers are $12.
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Old August 27, 2008, 03:58 PM   #13
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Yes you'll need to trim that rifle brass it grows when resized. As a example I trim my .308 Win brass to 2.10" the max. case length is 2.15". I picked up some new Nosler .308 Win. brass and it was all trimmed to 2.05".
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Old August 27, 2008, 04:13 PM   #14
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I use one of those multi-caliber gages. Too long to fit, goes in the trim pile;if it fits, goes in the good to go pile.

If I'm working on an "accuracy load", each case is measured and trimmed.

NEVER trimmed a handgun case in 30 years.
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Old August 27, 2008, 09:39 PM   #15
joneb
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Quote:
NEVER trimmed a handgun case in 30 years.
I trim my straight walled revolver brass, it's the only way I can get a consistent roll crimp on a cannelured bullet, this is more important for heavy bullets or slow powders.
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Old August 28, 2008, 07:54 AM   #16
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Try the RCBS X die for rifle reloading. You only trim once, then you don't have to trim again...for a really long time.
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Old August 28, 2008, 05:09 PM   #17
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Wise man once said, "Rifle yes............pistol no."
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Old August 28, 2008, 05:41 PM   #18
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I trim to size with Lee trimmer every time for rifle bottle-neck.

Since I have an assortment of headstamps, I try to make each batch Headstamp specific. There are some differences between internal dimensions on different headstamps.

With the Lee neck-sizer dies, I trim less, but still clean them up in the trimmer. .22-250, .223, .270 Win, Rem 7mm Mag, 8x57 and .375H&H. A tear comes to my eye for the Norma 375H&H cases, those puppies are $$$.

I like doing the little extra things, it's my hobby. Cleaning primer pockets, trim/measure brass, etc. gives you extra chances to inspect your work.

I ran .45ACP several shootings and never had to trim, same with 41 mag. Some were max load, some were plinkers. Of course, ACP load is less than half the pressure of some bottle neck rifle cartridges. My new Starline brass is thick, not sure that I will ever wear it out.
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