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Old August 24, 2012, 09:44 AM   #1
Dwayne
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Norma brass

I'm new to reloading and I have started out with Lee dies and had good results from these dies. My question is this, I bought new Norma brass and after I full length sized I noticed it was 0.017'' short of the Trim-to Length which book calls for. When I make up my rounds I seat and crimp in a seprate process and I don't put a heavy crimp on the case. I used the Lee Factory Crimp Die on this cartridge and noticed my cannelure bullet was seated
0.009'' deeper than I had seated it in the bullet seating die. So I tried to put a roll crimp with the bullet seating die with the bullet plunger making no contact with bullet and this process is still pushing bullets in deep as well. I have had no other issues with the other Lee Rifle Dies I have, when I seat the bullets to the COL and crimp the bullet it stays where I seated it and they have cannelures as well. Is this being done because the Norma brass is shorter than the Trim-to Length or is the Lee Die Set having Issues? Any information would be appreciated.
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Old August 24, 2012, 02:16 PM   #2
Clifford L. Hughes
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Dwayne:

You didn't tell us whether you are loading pistol or rifle ammo. I take it from your post talking about crimping that it's pistol. If you are loading rifle the case necks will stretch after a few loadings. Seventeen thousands in a pistol shouldn't be a problem: just keep the col to specification. There will be no problem when shooting in a revolver.

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Old August 24, 2012, 03:55 PM   #3
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Dwayne,

The question about changing the bullet seating depth with the crimp die deserves more thought.

Can we start with you providing the cartridge you are loading and the bullet you are using?

That may help us figure out why you are getting movement in a component that the dies are not supposed to be touching in the operation where they are moving.

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Old August 24, 2012, 04:15 PM   #4
Dwayne
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I was reloading rifle cartridges for 7.62x54R. I made sure the COL was in check, I also reload 8mm Mauser but the new Winchester brass for them after full length size has to be trimmed to length so they are on the mark. There is one more issue, I'm waiting for answer from Lee Precission, the bullet seat plunger for the 7.62x54R seems to be too small in diameter and wobbles around more compaired to the other Lee dies I have and the rounds I made up for the Mosin has alot of bullet run out with the Norma brass, I think they may have installed the wrong plunger. I sent Email to them to find out what the dimensions of the plunger is supposed to be. Their plungers are pretty generic so this should be a simple fix. Thank you for your reply. Bullets are 174 grain jackted RN BC:.262 SD:.255 with cannelure.

Last edited by Dwayne; August 24, 2012 at 04:20 PM.
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Old August 24, 2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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The Lee Factory Crimp die for bottleneck rifle cartridges should have a sliding sleeve that contacts the shell holder and goes into a cone-shaped section at the top to force the sleeve's fingers closed around the case neck to form the "factory crimp."

I am wondering if the sleeve is somehow putting enough pressure on the case shoulder to slightly shorten the case. (Maybe your sleeve is out-of-spec or you have sized for a longer than standard chamber?)

Can you measure a case before and after crimping, and determine if the bullet is simply being seated deeper in the case, or if the case dimension from the head to the mouth is being shortened by the crimping process?

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Old August 24, 2012, 10:42 PM   #6
Dwayne
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Here is what I done, I checked the case neck like you suggested and it stayed the same after I put a heavy crimp on bullet, but I also seated the bullet cannelure .040'' above case mouth and the bullet did not move at all. The Norma brass is too short. Lee Precision website says the Factory Crimp Die uses .040'' to .050'' of case to apply crimp so any difference in the Trim-to Length comes off that amount and also the Bullet Seat Die uses .006'' of the case when crimping. I can work around this, after a few reloads this brass will stretch to the Trim-to Length for this cartridge and I can switch to a bullet that has no cannelure. I was having some bullet run out issues with this Bullet Seat Die, the bullet seating plug was too loose inside of adjusting screw so I swapped it out with a 8mm Mauser bullet seating plug and that eliminated the bullet run out. Thanks for the help.
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Old August 25, 2012, 10:35 AM   #7
F. Guffey
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I do not have your problems, I do not use Lee dies, I never suggest Lee dies to anyone that is ‘just starting’.

You sized the case and the case shortened? I would have suggested you start with measuring your new cases before sizing, I would have suggested you attempt seating bullets before sizing.

I have sized cases when forming as going from 30/06 to 35 Whelen and 338/06, when the 30/06 is necked up to 35 Whelen the neck shortens, reloaders believe the neck gets thicker and or thinner when forming, not fair, when I neck up the 30/06 to 35 Whelen my case necks get shorter, when forming 35 Whelen my 30/06 cases shorten .035 thousandths. When I form 30/06 to 30 Gibbs my cases shorten .040 thousandths from forming to firing, yes, when I fire some cases 'they' shorten.

If you have new Norma cases that have not been full length sized cases attempt chambering, if they chamber why full length size, if you are using a Lee colet die to size consider the possibility the case is squatting while the neck is os locked into the colet while the bottom of the case is being pushed up. Again, measure before and again after, most reloaders consider this method a bad habit, I want to know the effect sizing has on the case.

Crimp, I am the fan of bullet hold, everyone else uses neck tension, I can measure bullet hold, about the only thing that can be done about neck tension is talk about it.

There is no such thing as too much bullet hold.

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Old August 25, 2012, 01:23 PM   #8
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The military uses bullet pull as its measure. The STANAG drawings for 7.62×55 (.308 Win) show 60 lb pull for both brass and steel cases. Unfortunately most folks don't have an easy means to measure this directly. You can try improvising by using a fish scale to operate your press handle while using a collet type bullet puller in the press. I haven't actually tried this, so I don't know what numbers you'll come up with. They should give you some comparative sense of the effect of your crimps.


Dwayne,

A few things come to mind. One is that the Lee seater may be designed for Spitzer bullets and be counting on the pointed tip to help align the seater ram. I don't know. The way the Lee Dead Length seater works is the stem floats a little to self align.

If you continue to have a problem you need to check the runout of the necks themselves after resizing. You can straighten these just by drilling a hole slightly over neck OD into your bench and sticking the neck in and applying light pressure to straighten it. It takes a little practice, but isn't difficult.

The other thing you can do is buy the Lyman 30L M die for 7.62×54R. This adds a step (expanding) to reloading, but causes bullets to start in straight and tend to stay more straight.

My other thought is about your brass shortening. If you are firing loads below about 30,000 psi, cases can actually shrink rather than grow. Growth depends on the pressure being high enough to stick the brass to the chamber walls so the head has to stretch the brass where it meets the case wall in order to get back against the breech face. Resizing sets the shoulder back from that stretched case body shape, which flows the extra shoulder brass into the neck, causing length to increase. When you shoot at pressures too low to make the brass stick to the case walls, the head is moved to the breech face by the whole case just backing up in the chamber. When that happens you can actually blow the bottom of the neck out into the shoulder a little. That shortens the neck, and resizing may not fully restore length afterward.

One solution to the above situation is to go to neck sizing only. If you are firing at low pressure, then the case won't expand as much as it does firing at full pressure anyway, so you should get good function and longer case life by neck sizing. Because the case shoulder isn't being pushed back by the neck sizing die, a neck sized case should stop backing up and shortening the neck at each firing. Also, this is an opportunity to learn to use the Lee Collet Die, which neck-sizes without introducing neck runout (see this video).
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Old August 26, 2012, 04:47 PM   #9
Dwayne
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The Norma brass out of the box is already short before I do anything to it, when I do full length size it, the case is reduced only .002''. The new question is this, can the other dies out there be adjusted down to roll crimp a cannelure bullet if the brass is too short, because Lee Precision Dies are
Trim-To Length sensitive?
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Old August 26, 2012, 10:35 PM   #10
F. Guffey
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“I bought new Norma brass and after I full length sized....” ?

I am not politely correct, I am not a fan of bad habits, he should have started with “I bought new Norma brass, I measured the length of the case from the head of the case to its shoulder then full length sized and measured again”. That is the only way to determine the effect sizing had on the case after sizing. Case length change while crimping is busy work.

“The military uses bullet pull as its measure. The STANAG drawings for 7.62×55 (.308 Win) show 60 lb. pull for both brass and steel cases. Unfortunately most folks don't have an easy means to measure this directly. You can try improvising by using a fish scale to operate your press handle while using a collet type bullet puller in the press. I haven't actually tried this, so I don't know what numbers you'll come up with. They should give you some comparative sense of the effect of your crimps”

UnclenickI know who “the military” is, I have an ideal who “most folks are”, who is ‘you’ as in “You can try” and “you’ll come up with”?

There is an easy way, convincing the “most folks” is the difficult part.

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Old August 26, 2012, 11:31 PM   #11
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Again, I do not have those problems, I do not use Lee dies, I did not say I do not have Lee dies, I said I do not use them.

At the Big Town Gun Show in Forney TX. I purchases 40 lb. of what appeared to be junk, 2 boxes of case holders for Wilson case trimmers, two Wilson case trimmers, Hollywood Gun shop dies, RCBS dies that went back to the big inning, etc., etc.., and a 30 cal. RCBS bullet puller, chamber gages and case sizers of the hammer in and hammer out type, and Lee dies, I gave the dealer $20.00 dollars then proceeded to remove the Lee dies. Of course he wanted to know what I was going, I explained to him I was giving him the Lee dies. He then explained to me I did not pay for the Lee dies, he made it clear he threw in the lee dies for free.

Crimping bottle neck cases, the instruction reads: If the bullet has a canula crimp on the canula, if the case overall length does not agree with crimping on the canula, forget the canula. I have a canula rolling machine, meaning I can put a canula on a bullet that puts the case mouth at the canula to match the case overall length, I have the bullet rolling machine that puts the canula anywhere I want it, that does not mean I do.

I have full length sizer dies, full length sizer dies are the most versatile of all dies, I did not say I do not have small base dies, neck sizer dies or collet type dies, my favorite die is the full length sizer die because it is the most versatile.


“The Norma brass out of the box is already short before I do anything to it” There are two length when measuring cases, from the head of the case to the mouth of the case and from the head of the case to the shoulder of the case. In the book there are two case length, one maximum and the other is trim to length, I want my cases to cover the chamber, I do not insist, there are times I do not have a choice, again, I do not crimp bottle neck cases, so the difference between maximum case length and trim to length is not something that locks me up.

Back to the other length, the one from the head of the case to the shoulder, again, I know the length of the chamber, sizing a case to fit my chambers is knowing where the shoulder should be to cut down on all that case travel. “Already shorrt” full length sizing your new Norma brass may not have been necessary and I do not agree with using a collet type die on a case without a clue as to the length of the chamber from the bolt face to the shoulder of the chamber.

Again, I could say datum but my chambers and cases do not come with datums, I have to furnish them.

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Old August 27, 2012, 01:18 AM   #12
Dwayne
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Thank You.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FGuffey
UnclenickI know who “the military” is, I have an ideal who “most folks are”, who is ‘you’ as in “You can try” and “you’ll come up with”?
Mr. Guffey,

Hello. The spec I got was for 7.62×51 NATO. It is in the declassified STANAG 2310 (Edition 3) document, originated on 15 November 1976 and with last revision dated 13 April 1982. The drawings are part of the 4 page Annex A at the end of the document (on this side of the pond we would call it an Appendix). Annex A consists of two cartridge and case combination drawings and two longitudinal half-case section drawings with hardness test points and hardness profile plots included. One of each type of drawing are for brass and for steel cases, respectively. These were "Prepared by D.T.A.T. in St. Cloud, France", but are in English and use inch measurements, as the drafting was taken from U.S. drawings. In the cartridge and case drawings, right above the bullet on the cartridge portion it says: "Extractive effort minimum is 60 lbs." This information is repeated in Annex C (the performance specification):

Quote:
BULLET PULL
16. Bullet extractive effort shall not be less than 60 lb.
At The Shooter's Forum, board member Humpy, a retired Aberdeen Proving Grounds Test Director, described in one of his posts doing the pull test in a special gauge they have for the purpose and finding that old ammunition could develop pull up to 600 lb. This was apparently due to "cold weld" formation or else some kind of corrosion bonding. I recall he said it didn't affect its ability to fire safely. I calculate the tensile strength of annealed .308 necks with 0.013" to 0.015" thick neck walls at about 700 lbs-800 lbs typically, so 600 lbs is already stretching it unless it is 1/4-1/2 hard, which is should not be.

Hatcher's Notebook has a brief verbal description of the gauge tool starting at the bottom of page 338 and finishing at the top of page 339, but it doesn't tell you much.

So there you have all the information I do on the subject. If you have any other information to add or know something that contradicts what I have in any way, either way I'd appreciate knowing about it. The military makes a lot of specs that are entirely absent from civilian specs (like those case hardness profiles) and I'm always interested in learning what different authorities have found important.

The "you" I was referring to who can try measuring pull using a collet puller on a press with the handle operated by a fish scale, would be the handloader wanting to measure bullet pull. Seems like a good bit of bother, but it could be tried without owning the Aberdeen type gauge or setting up strain gauges to turn your press into a load cell.


Dwayne,

About case length tolerance:

Case and chamber specifications follow the practice of giving you only the critical number and a tolerance that is only in the other direction. Thus, instead of ± numbers, the chambers dimensions are minimums with a plus (+) direction-only tolerance, so you never make them too small for the cartridge to fit, and the cartridge dimensions are maximum numbers with a minus (-) tolerance so the cartridges are never made too big for the smallest standard chamber. Thus, the 7.62×54R cartridge drawings show a length of 53.72 mm (2.115"), but that's only the maximum. The minimum is 2.095" (-0.020" tolerance). The manufacturers usually aim for the middle of that that range (2.105") so they have a ± tolerance to work with. That middle number is also called the "trim to length" in load data. This is why, if you look in the Hornady manual on load information for this cartridge, the case drawing shows a length of 2.115", but the trim-to length listed under it is 2.105".

Lee makes two types of seater dies, a standard seater (Pacesetter and RGB die sets) and their Dead Length seater. The latter has no crimp shoulder, but they don't make it for 7.62×54R, so this is a moot issue for you. The standard die, which is what you should have, comes in the pacesetter set and does have a crimp shoulder and can be set to put a roll crimp in the case mouth. The set also comes with the separate Lee Factory Crimp die so you can use that type of crimp instead, if you prefer to. So you have both methods available to you, and if your cases are too short for the FCD, then the standard die may still do it It will at least be adjustable to handle the length range of 2.095" to 2.115", but most seating dies can handle even shorter cases. I just don't have 7.62×54R, specifically, so I don't know if your's is an exception.

Anyway, when you wind up with those extra short (0.007" shorter than the usual minimum") cases, it seems likely the seating die can be adjusted to crimp those, too, but it's not guaranteed. You can modify the seating die by having it ground down shorter, but that's a lot of extra effort. I would try one of Mr. Guffey's favorite tricks, and that is to set an automotive feeler gauge (in this case 0.007") under the case head in the shell holder during crimping. This will push the case mouth up where it needs to be if it is outside the roll crimp range.
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Last edited by Unclenick; August 28, 2012 at 09:31 AM.
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Old August 29, 2012, 05:34 PM   #14
Dwayne
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Unclenick,

This is great place for someone just starting out, I have ordered some more toys to help me out on this, but I'm like what Johnny Cash's song went (I HAVE TO GET IT ONE PIECE AT A TIME). I've seen where you mentioned the Hatcher's Notebook, My wife picked it up for me the other day at the library and I've been reading it. I can't stress enough anybody just starting out needs to visit this website and read everything you can get you hands on about reloading. Thanks Guys!
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