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Old December 28, 2012, 11:21 PM   #1
5whiskey
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Neck only sizing...

After years of wanting to get started, I have finally begun reloading. I have one quick question. I'm reloading once fired brass (fired out of my .270), neck sizing only. When I go to load my rounds in the rifle, I've noticed that they're very snug in the chamber when I push the bolt down. I don't have to manhandle the bolt or anything, but it is snug. I understand that the brass is fire formed to the chamber and it will be a perfect fit, therefor may be snug. I think it's okay, but I'm new to reloading. Am I wrong in thinking this? Is this okay? I appreciate any help.
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:29 PM   #2
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If you don't have to "force" the bolt forward or "force" the handle down you should be good to go. Just a good firm closing. If it gets really hard check your OAL, Over All Length. After a few firings you will need to trim cases.
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:47 PM   #3
5whiskey
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Quote:
If you don't have to "force" the bolt forward or "force" the handle down you should be good to go. Just a good firm closing. If it gets really hard check your OAL, Over All Length. After a few firings you will need to trim cases.
Yeah, I wouldn't call it "forcing." Just firm. I checked the bullet seating with a sharpie (sound's ghetto, but it works). There are no marks from lands or groves made, plus I'm under the max OAL. I feel okay about it, I'm just confirming my feelings with solid wisdom from others.
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Old December 28, 2012, 11:51 PM   #4
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Right on Target

That what I've been doing for more than 40 years. Your brass will last much longer.
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
I understand that the brass is fire formed to the chamber and it will be a perfect fit, therefor may be snug.
What are you using to neck size with? If you are using a FL sizing die and just not taking the case all the way into the die to neck size, realize that you are probably moving the shoulder forward. If this is happening, you are reducing your headspace and thus the added force to chamber.

If you don't understand why the shoulder moves forward, I would be glad to explain.
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:17 AM   #6
5whiskey
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Quote:
What are you using to neck size with? If you are using a FL sizing die and just not taking the case all the way into the die to neck size, realize that you are probably moving the shoulder forward. If this is happening, you are reducing your headspace and thus the added force to chamber.

If you don't understand why the shoulder moves forward, I would be glad to explain.
I'm using a Lee Collet (neck size only) die. I don't understand exactly what you're talking about (neck sizing by partially using a full length die). I would ask you to explain, but I take it that this is not proper technique so I don't care to use it.
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Old December 29, 2012, 12:25 AM   #7
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5whiskey
check the sholder, it may be slightly buckling from seating/crimping force, enlarging sholder slightly
DaD
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Old December 29, 2012, 09:07 AM   #8
Bart B.
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5whisky, your rifle's bolt face may be out of square enough to make the case head enough out of square when it's fired. Rechambering that round with the high points of bolt face and case head together will cause binding. There's not enough room in the chamber to allow that case's longer dimension between the head's high point and shoulder to fit in without the bolt closing hard.

Most benchresters stopped neck sizing their fired cases some years ago. They moved to full length sizing with dies having a bushing that sizes the neck just enough to hold the bullet. After depriming fired cases and cleaning them, they set the full length bushing die in their press to set the fired case shoulder back about 1 thousandth. The die also sizes the case body down about the same amount. The sized case now fits the chamber without binding.

Two wonderful things happend witht their accuracy when they started using such dies. One is the bolt never binds on a chambered round. Anyting that happens, the bolt does not seat in exactly the same place for each shot. The other is there's a bit of clearance all around the case body (except at the back end where they all are pressed against the chamber wall by the extractor) as the case shoulder perfectly centers in the chamber shoulder when the round's fired. The other is the size of their largest groups got smaller. Their smallest ones (those that win the matches and sometimes set records) remained the same size. So the overall accuracy of their ammo got better; the most it missed their aiming point got smaller. Their aggregate scores (average of all fired groups) got better.

Competitors shooting rifles in positions where they rifle's held to their shoulder (not free recoil, untouched by benchrest folks except for their trigger finger) in standing, sitting and prone have been full length sizing their ammo for decades. And some have shot test groups smaller than current benchrest records properly testing their ammo.

The best dies one can use today for their bottleneck cases are those full length ones made by Redding and RCBS with a bushing set to size all of the neck down so it's a couple thousanths smaller than a loaded round's neck diameter. Even a standard full length sizing die, set up and used right, typically produces better accuracy than any neck only sizing thing. Sierra Bullets uses Redding dies of this ilk resizing their fired cases testing their bullets for accuracy. Their best match bullets shoot 1/4 MOA in their 200 yard test range from cases so sized.
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Last edited by Bart B.; December 29, 2012 at 09:12 AM.
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Old December 29, 2012, 06:27 PM   #9
Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
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5whiskey,

First and right up front, I am not a Lee fan in most cases.

Get your self a set of good, RCBS, Hornady even Lee etc., full length dies and properly adjust them and you will do just fine.

The key here is, "properly adjusting" the dies, which may not follow the manufactures instructions.

The situation here is Manufacturing Tolerences which comes down the the fact that there is a +/- factor in manufacturing of rifles/chambers/dies and you need to not only be aware of this, but know how to adjust for it.

For example, your chamber might be on the "+" side and your sizing die on the "-" side or it could be just the reverse, so while one size fits all instructions for sizing die set up may very well produce usable ammo, it is seldom optimum when it comes to consistancy and long brass life.

I've expounded so many times on the subject that I finally just made of a file document on proper die set up and why, and I'll gladly send it along to anyone interested. Just send me a PM (personal e-mail) with your home "E" address and I'll gladly send it along.

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Old December 29, 2012, 06:55 PM   #10
5whiskey
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I guess the take away and consensus is to full length size. I have a Lee full length sizer, I guess I got sucked into their propaganda that the collet die is the way to go if your firing the brass in the same bolt rifle. I've read competing arguments for and against elsewhere (including here), but I've never put any of this to practice until now. Thanks for the advice gentlemen. Ol' Coot, I would love to have your document on setting up dies. PM sent. Thanks again.
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Old December 29, 2012, 06:58 PM   #11
4V50 Gary
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Neck sizing is fine so long as you're only firing it in one gun. Your brass will enjoy longer case life.
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Old December 29, 2012, 07:37 PM   #12
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I neck size 308 cal. for a Rem 700 LTR, only for target shooting. Now I'm trying partial neck sizing, only sizing about 1/8 down. Are you using hot loads. I have resized my winchester caseings 9 times already without any hard chambering. I'm loading 42.0 Grains of IMR 4064 168 Gr. Sierra HPBT that is about middle of the powder range. I mark my cases to keep the same position when reloading & chambering a round, it's sits in the same position each time. Maybe overkill but I try to keep everything exact, even chambering the round in the same position time after time. How often do you clean your rifle. Snug is OK but hard after 1 firing, shouldn't be IMO. Hope I helped in some way. Be Safe Chris
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Old December 29, 2012, 08:58 PM   #13
Bart B.
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4V50 Gary, is several dozen reloads on the same case with full length sizing dies enough?

cw308, snug (any amount of the bolt binding) chambering is not popular with folks winning matches and setting records any more. That idea went away back in the 1930's when a few top level competitors found it out. All it does is seat the back end of the case and bolt at different places for each shot. What makes you think snug chambering is OK?

And neck or partial neck resizing died the same death in the 1950's. Even benchresters some years ago stopped that and started using full length sizing dies with bushings sized just right for their cases.
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Old December 29, 2012, 09:41 PM   #14
5whiskey
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Bart, I think they're saying that neck sizing only is safe and may extend case life. They're not trying to make the argument that it is more accurate. I do hear that from some sources. I am, however, looking for the most accurate ammo I can make. I'll probably try a few rounds of my neck size only, but also try the full length method during my work up. As long as snug is safe, I'm okay... even if it's not as accurate. I do understand what everyone is saying about neck sizing though. Thanks for all replies! I'm quite sure I'll be asking more advice, and frequently.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:18 PM   #15
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I'm not a Lee lover or hater. I use what works best for me.

The Lee collet die offers some unique features vs. other dies:

- It is less hassle to use since no lube is required
- Typically it produces resized brass with less neck runout than using other non-bushing dies for sizing. Expanders can pull the neck off center when they are pulled back through.
- Brass life can be longer since the neck is worked less than running it through a typical sizing die then expanding it

If you use a bushing die with the correct bushing for your brass neck thickness, you get most of the same benefits but at a higher cost.

The Lee collet die does take some learning since it works differently than other dies. It helps to take it apart before you use it and check for chips or other reside left by the manufacturing process. I polish the mating surfaces between the collet fingers and the taper they contact against. Lube this surface to prevent galling. And do not operate the die without a cartridge in place. It can cause the collet fingers to reduce the opening and can buckle the shoulder of your brass when you try to size it.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:19 AM   #16
Bart B.
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5whiskey, shoot at least 20 shots per test group with each sizing method else the results you get won't have any statistical significance. If you shoot several groups with the same ammo and they're not all the same size (within 10%), you've not shot enough rounds per group for them to be meaningful.
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Old December 30, 2012, 10:32 AM   #17
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Neck sizing in my rifle works great. I'm not using a custom barrel with tight chamber,just a stock Remington 700 LTR that is very accurate. My way of thinking is the less movement in the chamber the better,that is without binding. I've tryed slight changes in OAL, Remingtons have alot of free bore on stock guns.Listing for 308 168 gr HPBT is 2.800, my range was 2.775 - 2.820, for some reason my rifle likes 2.780 with a medium load of 42.00 gr. of IMR 4064. I use a RCBS neck die & a Reding competition seating die. That combo works for me. Right or wronge it's safe & when someone is looking for advise, I let the know what works for me. I'm sure the post will try different loads and find what works for his rifle. Thats the fun of it. Keep your rifle clean ( I'm old school) Be Safe, Hope I helped in some way. Chris
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Old December 30, 2012, 10:41 AM   #18
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Endless number of threads on this...
If you neck size only, you will STILL need to FL size eventually.

Best is what Bart suggested. FL size with bushing dies tailored to your chamber.
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