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Old October 18, 2002, 02:59 PM   #1
RevNate
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.22-250 headspace problems

I've just begun to load some .22-250 cartridges for my brother and have come across an unusual problem. After loading the first 20 rds, I sent them to him for test-firing, etc. The rounds would not chamber in the rifle. When we sat down together with the rifle, here is what we found:
factory loads chamber with no difficulty.
Once-fired brass chambers as well.
re-sized brass (full-length sized, from same lot as factory ammo) will not chamber.
An occasional re-sized case will chamber with difficulty, but there are clear abrasions left on the case head from the bolt face turning as it is locked.

The problem is obviously headspace, but my question is- why do I end up with a longer headspace after full-length sizing than with the once-fired, unsized brass? I've adjusted my sizing die as short as possible, but I still can't get a proper fit in the chamber. I have cleaned the chamber, but it made no difference.

I'm using Win. brass and Hornady New Dimention Dies.

Ideas?

Nate
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Old October 18, 2002, 03:31 PM   #2
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His chamber is on the short side, and your chamber is on the long side. You're probably the one with the headspace problem. I was you, I'd buy some new cases, fireform 'em with the bullet jammed into the lands (holds the case head against the boltface, and then minimally resize 'em (do a search for one of my posts on how to do that - I'm tired of typing it).

He may have to buy his own set of dies for his rifle, and if they're too "long," have a machinist take a few thou off...
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Old October 18, 2002, 03:57 PM   #3
444
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Not to hijack the thread, but I also have a problem loading .22-250. Maybe Bogie can give me some expert advice. I fire a factory round; no problem. I resize the case and it won't hold the bullet.
The bullet simply falls into the case. I have tried both full length resizing and have tried using Lee Collet Dies. What gives ? The only thing I could figure out is maybe I need to anneal the cases ?
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Old October 18, 2002, 04:15 PM   #4
RevNate
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Bogie-
Just for clarification- all the once-fired brass was fired in his rifle. His is the only .22-250 I reload for. When I took the brass fired in his rifle and full-length re-sized them, they came out of the re-sizer with too long a headspace.

Nate
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Old October 18, 2002, 04:32 PM   #5
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RevNate...expander ball REALLY hard to pull out?
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Old October 19, 2002, 07:28 AM   #6
kurt IA.
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Rev Nat check the shoulder for a buldge, I had the same thing happen on a 6MM rem, die would collapes the shoulder when screwed down to touch the shell holder.
To the guy that can't hold the bullet. Remove the exspander ball and see if that works.
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Old October 19, 2002, 08:18 AM   #7
C.R.Sam
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I'm with Steve on this one.

Expander plug could be too big in both cases...RevNate and 444's problems.

Look for the simple things first.

Sam
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Old October 19, 2002, 10:14 AM   #8
Steve Smith
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kurt's idea is not bad either. I've seen a guy at a match have to stop shooting because of that. He had "a friend" load his Garand rounds, and some wouldn't chamber during his offhand stage. I was scoring, and grabbed one when he ejected it. Sure enough, a ring at the shoulder from over-sizing. He was a pretty sad character that day.


Sam, you read my mind.
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Old October 19, 2002, 10:39 AM   #9
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Even an unlubed case neck can cause the expander ball to "pull or stretch" the case making it too long to chamber easily.
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Old October 20, 2002, 06:51 AM   #10
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RevNate...

The cases could be stretching over length. The front edge of the case mouth may be jamming against the end of the chamber mouth and pinch the bullet. Hot rounds like the 22-250 have enough heat and pressure that the brass actually flows forward during firing. More brass ends up around the neck area and the case around the base will get so thin that it blows out. I'd only use the cases maybe 5 times before discarding.

Check the length of the case with calipers after resizing and trim to length. Lee makes a nifty little trimmer that's cheap and works.

If you're just getting reloading, check out Varmint Al's site. He has a ton of good info on reloading and particularly case prep.

If this info is too basic, please pardon. When it comes to reloading, I try never to assume anything. Good luck.
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Old October 20, 2002, 03:27 PM   #11
RevNate
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Thanks to all for the ideas. It seems like the most likely problem is the proposed scenario of over-sizing, causing the "bulge"mentioned above. There is no visible bulge that I noticed, but I wil do some measuring tomorrow to be sure.

I know the case neck is not the poblem since I trimmed the case neck off of a couple of sized cases that would not chamber and they still would not chamber.

I've been reluctant to full-length size the .22-250 anyway because of brass-flow issues. However, my deal with my brother (the .22-250 shooter) and a few other folks is that if they buy the dies and the components, I'll load all they want for free. He bought the full-lenth die.

I'll see what comes up and get back with more questions if the problem isn't solved.

Thanks again,
Nate
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Old October 20, 2002, 03:41 PM   #12
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What I trhink it may be is that you are not REALLY full length resizing the brass.

When the die is screwed into the press, make sure that the shell holder makes FIRM CONTACT with the bottom of the die. Otherwise the press will flex (sometimes) and you will be producing brass with a long headspace dimension.

Take a good look at the area between the shell holder and the die after you have pushed the case into the die. You just might be able to see a little light. It won't take much, just a few thousandthe will suffice to cause a problem.
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Old October 20, 2002, 07:01 PM   #13
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I think Redhawk has the right idea. When you are at the top of the stroke on re-sizing, the die should be adjusted to still have some pressure as the ram "rolls over" the pivot point of the press.

I usually buy a case guage for each caliber I load, it gives a "drop in" visual idea of what's up.
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Old October 20, 2002, 07:49 PM   #14
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Another thing to do is to "smoke" a case with candle smoke (carbon) and try to chamber it............it the carbon is messed up on the shoulder its in the sizing die, or the adjustment thereof. A gauge is a good idea too as JohnKirk mentions................the Forster is a good one.............its a combination case gauge and a case length gauge.
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Old October 21, 2002, 06:48 AM   #15
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NRA Handlaoders guide discussed a problem with shooters wanting to neck size with their full length sizer. Just back off a mm or so and the shoulder won't be touched for less case working. Sounds good, right ?

Nope. The sides of the case are sized in this situation, the material has to go somewhere, and it goes FORWARD, increasing shoulder to base length. Ouch. Won't chamber, or hard chambering.

Set properly, that shoulder is returned to the proper headspace, and every thing is OK.

I think you're not sizeing enough.

With a new rifle, I usually take a 20 rd. box of fired cases (in my rifle) and gradually lower the sizeing die with each case. Try the empty case in your chamber (clean the case first). You keep dropping the die until you get the first EASY chambering, no more.... Lock that die ring, and you're homefree. Usually, but not always, die base will be in SOLID, hard contact with the shell holder.

If the rounds won't chamber with the die really hard on the shell holder, case OAL is OK, the bullet is not seated so far forward it's in the lands, and your necks are not oversized, send that die home so RCBS, Lee or whoever can check it out.
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Old October 21, 2002, 09:24 AM   #16
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A Stoney Point headspace gauge would be oh-so-handy right now wouldn't it?
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Old October 21, 2002, 09:43 PM   #17
RevNate
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Problem solved

Redhawk 44 hit the nail on the head. It seems that the Rockchucker, the dies, or a combination of both are allowing enough "give" that the cases were not being adequately sized down. Even though all the cases were fired in the rifle for which they are being reloaded, it appears that the partial sizing stretched the case wall enough to put the brass out of specs for the chamber and the shortened stroke was not adequate to push back the shoulder. I kept adjusting the die down until I got a reliable and repeatable fit in the chamber. All of my mistakes aside, it seems this particular rifle (Howa Lightning) does have a very tight chamber after measuing some once-fired unsized brass. The expansion was almost negligible.

Thanks to all for the help.

Nate
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Old October 21, 2002, 09:59 PM   #18
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RevNate...
Thanks for the de-brief.
Glad it was an easy correction.

Sam
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