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Old April 2, 2011, 12:25 AM   #1
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Full length sizer not sizing all brass the same

Finally started loading rifle (.308) rounds. I loaded 20 just to get my feet wet, used them in my LR308 and they all went bang.

Now I'm in the middle of loading (.308) for my bolt gun. Don't have any fire-formed to my bolt gun yet but for "practice's sake" I full length sized more cases (will neck size only later). I noticed that 1 out of 10 pieces of brass will not wind up with the shoulder bumped back as far as the others and won't chamber in my bolt gun when I chamber check them.

Brass are Winchester, once-fired in my LR308, press is Forster co-ax, die is Dillon. I have the Hornady Headspace gauge kit (and it confirms that the odd brass out are not getting bumped back as far as the others). I have been raising the shell holder into the die counting to 5, taking it out, turning it 180 deg., and put the brass in again for 5 counts.

What am I doing wrong?
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Old April 2, 2011, 12:49 AM   #2
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For one tip would be to lube every case the same and lube the inside of the necks equally too. If you don't lube the neck id you can pull the shoulder forward pulling the expander back thru the neck. It will make a difference with shoulder set-back especially if you are sizing without firm contact with the die and shellholder. Some brass just has more spring back than other cases too. I'd guess that the chamber of the bolt action is minimal and the other is on the long side of specs. Possibly a little firmer contact with the shellholder and die and hard equal pressure on the press arm at the end of each stroke will help. My Co-Ax doesn't seem to have any problems with press looseness but it does need positive firm pressure on the handle at the end of the stroke for sizing and bullet seating for things to be consistent.

Last edited by rg1; April 2, 2011 at 12:57 AM.
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Old April 2, 2011, 06:23 AM   #3
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Most of my die sets tell you to raise the ram and screw the sizer down to contact the shell plate. Release the ram and screw the die down about 1/8 to 1/4 turn and lock. With no case in the press, raise the ram and you should feel definite resistance when the top of stroke "cams" over.

Carbide dies are NOT set up the same.

That being said, I find not only that some brass is harder, but anything that I run through my M1A is harder to reload to work well in my bolt M700.

It does not seem to make any difference whether I am shooting commercial brass or military surplus.

The rounds I have problems with trying to run in the bolt gun almost always have the typical hard ejection marks on the case that is typical of the M1A.

I do not always do a good job of segregating brass from the M1A from the


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Old April 2, 2011, 08:55 AM   #4
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Take the ones that do not chamber. Screw the sizing die into the press a little at a time and resize until they chamber.

OR-Take the ones that do chamber and fire them. Measure the case with your Hornady gauge. Set the fl die to bump the shoulder back .002 with these fire formed cases.
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Old April 2, 2011, 09:34 AM   #5
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" I noticed that 1 out of 10 pieces of brass will not wind up with the shoulder bumped back as far as the others and won't chamber in my bolt gun when I chamber check them."

It would help if you told us how much difference you are obtaining. ??

But, whatever, it's likely you will do fine by following Steve4102's suggestion.
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Old April 2, 2011, 01:32 PM   #6
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Are you testing the cases in your chamber without a bullet in it? Are you loading them from the magazine? Does you bolt have control round feed? Do you have your sizing die adjusted so that it hits the shellholder plus 1/2 turn down?
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Old April 2, 2011, 06:24 PM   #7
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My log's at home and won't be back til late.
Off the top of my head the brass not getting bumped as far back were in the .020 to .010 more headspace range.

Chamber check done without bullet.
Not from magazine.
I wish was control round feed. Winchester went back to control round feed
after I got my 308 varmint. Darn.
Yes on the die setting. And the setting is working (just not on all the cases).
And it's not happening at the same times either.
I set my brass in rows of 10 and the ones the don't get headspaced the same are in different places in each line.

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Old April 2, 2011, 08:55 PM   #8
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What lock rings are you using, and do they fit tight in the Co-ax?

Never used Dillon dies, but Redding lock rings that come on their dies, and Hornady too I have to change out to Forster rings in my Co-Ax. The little bit of play in the die slot may be giving you trouble if the Dillon rings are skinny.

For my 260 reloading I'm using Redding dies, and 1 in 20 cases would get bumped too far back and crumple a little at the shouoder junction, until I switched to the tight fitting Forster lock rings.
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Old April 2, 2011, 10:59 PM   #9
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Forster rings.
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Old April 3, 2011, 09:54 AM   #10
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What geetarman said...
I had the same problem. Go 1/4 to 1/2 turn past contact with the shellplate. You want to feel solid resistance when it cams over.

I thought I was going to need to grind the bottom of the die...and Hornady offered to do it, until someone suggested I do this.

I believe the dies are manufactured very conservatively to reduce the chances that someone will oversize- and bump the shoulders back too far resulting in excessive headspace. Getting solid and forceful contact with the shellplate as mentioned will often get you those few thousandths, and the consistency, you're looking for.
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Old April 3, 2011, 12:49 PM   #11
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For one tip would be to lube every case the same and lube the inside of the necks equally too. If you don't lube the neck id you can pull the shoulder forward pulling the expander back thru the neck. --Quoted from first post or so.

That really happens. Lube the inside of necks and the expander ball.
Get a Wilson case gage and check each case after sizing. Wilson case gages are just miniture/portable chambers. They check over all length and shoulder.
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Old April 3, 2011, 01:21 PM   #12
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Clifford L. Hughes

Dear Deepcore:

One area that you might check out is chamber pressuer. Are you loading light loads or full power loads? Light loads will push back the shoulder. The reson being is that when the primer fires it pushes the case's shoulder against the chamber's shoulder thus shortening the case. When the powder ignites with a full power load the case is reformed to the chamber dimensions. Low power loads might not have enough pressure to reform the case resulting in a pushed back shoulder. Often, in extremely low power loads the protruding primers are mistaken for over loads.

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Old April 3, 2011, 03:58 PM   #13
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Forgot to mention-
Add a bullet comparator and OAL gauge, will get you the most out of your handloads.
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Old April 3, 2011, 07:32 PM   #14
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You are going from an autoloader to a bolt action with the brass? Use a small base sizing die.
If the chamber in your bolt action is tight and the autoloader is looser, you might be running into a situation where you aren't getting enough shoulder contact. You set your FL die with your headspace guage and find that your first piece of resized brass chambers in the bolt action just fine, so you continue.The first piece of brass may have been minimally expanded in the rifle chamber and you didn't set the shoulder back at all with the resizing die. The next piece of brass was still expanding when it was ejected from the rifle, you resize it and end up squeezing the brass down and blowing the shoulder forward. Not having the die set far enough down, the shoulder makes contact with the die but either isn't sized enough or springs back a thou or so which makes in not chamber in the bolt gun.

When setting up your resizing die, measure 20 or so pieces of brass, and pick the ones with the longest shoulders for setting up your die.
If you already have the dies screwed al the way down and 'cammed over' and the brass doesn't chamber, you need a small base die.

Don't, don't, don't screw down the sizing die so that it cams over as written in the directions unless you really have to- its the wrong way to do it.
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Old April 4, 2011, 11:54 AM   #15
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Will do that.
Already have the brass not "passing" the chamber checking in my bolt gun slated for semi-auto duty (and will keep the brass separate for each).
I didn't get to check my notes this about needing a small base die...
I will check the post-fired headspace (not sized yet) of rounds from my semi compare it the post-sized ones that are too long for my bolt..and if I cannot get them sized by a couple ticks smaller than then post-semi fired headspace measurement then I need a small base die?
I don't have a Wilson case gauge yet. Dumb question: Can you chamber check an AR/LR?
Also working on getting the Redding Competition shell holder set.

Last edited by deepcore; April 4, 2011 at 12:17 PM.
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Old April 4, 2011, 03:55 PM   #16
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By chamber check, do you mean check it with headspace gauges? Sure. But your case comparator should give you some idea of that. Compare a new case with your extracted case. The new ones are usually around 0.002" short of minimum chamber length in .308, but putting the comparator on a headspace gauge to check the difference is your best bet.

To your long brass problem: First, be sure the die is adjusted correctly. For full length resizing, you want die contact with the shell holder when a lubed case is pushed fully up inside the die, and not just without the added resistance of the case pushing up on it. It's little hard to see a crack of light between the die and shell holder on the Co-ax, but a 0.001" automotive feeler gauge can be pushed around the edges of the die to verify it can't slide in to touch the case.

Take the cases that are staying too long and put Magic Marker on the heads of a couple of them and rub them against something flat, like your bench top. That will reveal high spots. Self-loaders commonly bend rims out and that messes up the resizing process and, even when fully resized, can still prevent chambering. The bent rim may tuck under the Co-ax shell holder enough to preserve its bend, so the whole case comes out long. I've not verified that, but imagine it may be possible.

Usually you can spot bent rims because the cases don't stand quite straight on a flat surface. They won't drop in your Wilson gauge, either. The rim will hang it up, and, again, a little Magic Marker will show you where it rubs.

The bent rims will flatten out when firing, but first you've got to get them to fit in the gun. One technique is to get the $16 adapter Forster makes for the Co-ax press that lets you use it with standard shell holders. Collect the tall cases and sepearate them. When you're ready to fix them, take the decapper out of the die and put a feeler gauge into the holder under the case rim. That will let the sizing die set the shoulder back further by the amount of the thickness of the gauge.

If there isn't a bent rim, the possibility mentioned earlier of the expander pulling the necks out or at least off-axis of the sizing die is also real. That's easy to test. Pull the expander/decapper out of the die and resize without it. If the cases then all come out the same, put the expander/decapper back, but just run the case in far enough so the mouth goes over the expander, then back it out. You'll have to decap with a separate Lee Universal decapping die, then, but that's a quick operation. I think the Dillon dies all use carbide expanders, so inside neck lube shouldn't be required, but you can try a little graphite powder anyway.

Have you checked with the case headspace comparator after the cases came out of the LR but before you resized them? If hard extraction is the problem, the trouble makers should show up then.

Oh, one more thing: bent rims usually favor one side. Have you tried rotating the long cases in the comparator? If bent, that will normally cause the reading to change as you go around the clock.
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Old April 4, 2011, 04:51 PM   #17
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Thanks UncleNick.
Will try your suggestions too.
I am using Imperial for the neck and RCBS lube for the bodies.
By chamber checking an AR I mean is it useful (if you can) like in a bolt gun chamber a sized case (no bullet) and check if it fits in that particular gun.

I'm assuming you can't use the bolt on an AR/LR to do it. Was thinking manually doing it without the bolt and using a cleaning rod (maybe better a wooden dowel) to push it out. I could get the Wilson gauge mentioned earlier but it won't be my actual chamber.

I use my barrels in my auto pistols for ex. to chamber check my reloaded rounds. But that's easier because I can take the barrels out.

Last edited by deepcore; April 4, 2011 at 04:57 PM.
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Old April 4, 2011, 05:06 PM   #18
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Unclenick is correct !
All Dillon dies use the carbide expander in them, but I had one that was off center. Dillon replaced it with a smile
I still use light lanolin lube when sizing with carbide is not necessary but a lot nicer.
On bolt guns, I pull the firing pin assembly out and keep resizing brass until I get one that just starts to drag when closing. That is how I set individual die to a rifle.
Some time I use a surface grinder and make a washer for the die if its for more than one rifle.
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Old April 4, 2011, 05:44 PM   #19
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The puzzling thing to me is that it's kind of a random thing, only affecting 1 out of 10 cases. But Unclenick most likely revealed the culprit as the auto rifle that fired the cases first. I don't have any experience with them.

I do know each rifle is very unique though. You might have to do l ike I do and keep the brass separate for the various rifles of the same caliber. I have 2 different 7 mm mag rifles. One of them, a Browning BLR behaves like about every other rifle I load for in terms of sizing brass. No problems at all. The other is a custom job with the chamber custom reamed. When I compare the fired brass to brand new brass, it is only about 0.002" longer to the shoulder datum after I fire it. When I run it through the FL resizing die, it is extremely difficult to push the last 1/4" or so. The die is having to resize the body of the case a lot. But then the die doesn't push the shoulder back at all, no matter how much I adjust it down. I have to insert a 0.005" feeler gauge beneath the case head, between it and the shellholder to get the shoulder bumped back by about 0.002". That rifle and its needs probably scream for neck sizing only. The main thing though is that I don't mix the brass from the 2 different rifles. That would complicate things even more.
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Old April 4, 2011, 07:15 PM   #20
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I had the same problem. Go 1/4 to 1/2 turn past contact with the shellplate. You want to feel solid resistance when it cams over.
Tobnpr: I was experiencing the same thing when FL resizing .308 brass that had apparently been fired thru a MG. I found that my presses (a Dunbar 'H' and a Hollywood Senior Turret) were flexing .02" (as measured with a finger gage) and not resizing them sufficiently. I was afraid to do what you said, but may do so in the future.

My solution was to resize them twice.

I am curious as to what press you were using?
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Old April 7, 2011, 02:48 PM   #21
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Thanks guys!
I experimented using the feeler gauge to get the extra bump and that work for some of the batch I was having trouble with.
But next I backed out the decapper to see if it was pulling the shoulder back out when the brass is pulled out.
I at first didn't pull it completely out, I wanted to see where I could set it at its highest point and still get the neck sized properly.
It was then while: adjust decapper up then size, I noticed at one point some resistance. Felt like sizing. And lo and behold checked the headspace and got the bump I needed.
Sized the remainder of the "bad" batch and they all turned out fine.
The Dillon decapper assembly can be used as a stuck-in-the-die brass remover by screwing the assembly down into the die.
I'm thinking my die left the factory at a setting where for some reason the decapper was low for some brass and i was actually pushing the flash hole against the bulge that would push a stuck case out.
At least that's my guess.
Next stop trimming (and another question about that for another thread)
Thanks again for the help.
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Old April 7, 2011, 04:36 PM   #22
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Ahh! That can happen, too. The crack of light would tell you on a standard press, but it's harder to see on the Co-ax.
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Old April 8, 2011, 02:22 AM   #23
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Learned Something- Thanks

Well...I learned something new to me anyway. I check my 30:06 cases in a
L.E. Wilson headspace and lgth. case gage after sizing and get an occasional one that does not fit in all the way.

I see my problem in 2 posts. Not enough lube in the necks, and the shoulder is getting pulled out. I'm 99% sure that is the problem. Thanks, I apprecaite it.

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Old April 8, 2011, 07:28 AM   #24
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When the neck expander is pulled through the neck the neck expands, when the neck expands the neck gets shorter, when the case is sized the neck is necked down, necking down the neck lengthens it, if a L.E. Wilson case gage was used and there was a problem with the neck caused by pulling the sizer ball through it, the problem would be indicated on the short end of the case (neck) that is because the L.E. Wilson gage measures the case from the shoulder back to the head of the case and from the shoulder forward to the mouth of the case, meaning, if the case neck got longer it would protrude from the case gage top (neck end), not the case gage bottom (case head end).

This information means little to nothing to most, I find it helpful, again, I have a 30/06 chamber with .016 thousand head space, it did not get that way, it came that way, when sizing cases for that chamber I add .014 thousands to the case length from the head of the case to it's shoulder meaning when I place a sized case in the L.E. Wilson case gage, I have .009 thousands protruding from the end of the gage on the case head end and nothing protruding from the neck end of the gage and when measuring the case for length it comes out to 2.508, if I was hard headed I would trim the case to 2.494 or less (trim to).

Cases do not whip my presses, but when they do I reach for the companion tool to the press, the feeler gage, raise the ram, lock over, jam, cram or cam the press and measure the gap between the top of the shell holder and bottom of the die, if there is no gap my press won, if there is a gap without a designed plan the case won, even after a one additional turn of the die (down- .071+) I can apply an additional .012 thousands of additional punishment to the press 'WITH' the companion tool to the press, the feeler gage, but before that I reach for a new case or a once fired case knowing when sizing cases and or forming a case it does not get better than a new case, after that it starts down hill when my press starts to lose it's ability to size the case or my cases ability to resist being sized increases, and again, it is not possible to fire, then neck size 5 times then start over by full length sizing, after all the case has been fired 5 times.

spring back? I have cases that started as 30/06 cases, now some of them are 257 Roberts, 308W, 8mm57, 6.5/257 Roberts Japanease...etc., and none of them have the ability to remember what they were in the beginning or the ability to recover. it seems the hammering the case gets when fired knocks the memory out of them, like pulling the sizer ball through the neck thinking the neck gets longer... who measures? Before and after?

F. Guffey

Last edited by F. Guffey; April 8, 2011 at 07:35 AM.
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Old April 8, 2011, 08:08 AM   #25
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Something I was told on another site, once I started reloading .308s for my M1A...

Regarding 1 out of many has the shoulder setback incorrect... besides setting the die up for optimum performance, not all brass is the same. Now I always resize my 7.62x51 LC brass twice while it's in the die, spinning it around some before the second sizing. They all always gauge "good" in the Wilson after using that process.
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