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Old October 19, 2012, 01:01 PM   #1
stu925
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Resizing issue

I seem to have developed a resizing issue recently in my 6.5x55 Swede die. I'm not sure exactly what my issue is and need some input. Here's the situation:

I have approximately 200 resized case and about 1/2 of them will not chamber in my rifle or it's hard to close the bolt on them. The head stamps are from various manufacturers (Norma, Lapua, Remington, Federal, Winchester) and were all resized on my RCBS Rockchucker. The vast majority of problematic cases are either Norma or Lapua brass (I have no idea how many time this stuff has been loaded since it came from my father's reloading bench) although all of my head stamps have had at least one case that was a problem. The sizing die is an old (60's-70's era) RCBS full length resizing die. At this point it seems that the shoulder might not be getting bumped back enough but since the sizing die is touching the shell holder I'm not sure how I'd get it bumped back besides grinding the bottom of the die a little bit. Measuring the cases, all my dimensions seem to be off by a thousandth of an inch or 2 (I got the specs from the 8th ed of Cartridges Of The World). Just to make sure it's not my technique I just resized a small batch resetting the die first and making sure the handle of the press is going all the to the bottom and I got the same results, 1/2 of them are hard to close the bolt. I'm fairly certain I can rule out the press itself since this is the only cartridge I load for that I'm having any issues with

Is it possible that my issue could just be old brass at the end of it's useful life span or should I suspect the die? If it's the die, what happened to it that it suddenly won't do what it's supposed to? I've been using this die for 15 years and never had any resizing issues so why all of a sudden?

Stu
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Old October 19, 2012, 01:23 PM   #2
AllenJ
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I had a similar problem with some 264 Win Mag brass a few years back. Screw your die in another 1/8 turn and resize one of the cases that won't fit into the gun, if it still won't fit into the gun try another 1/8 turn on the die. I was very surpised that this worked for the 264 cases, but it did.
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Old October 19, 2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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For starters the cases should have been separated by headstamp, since you have no idea how many times the cases have been loaded you have to assume there is a spring back problem with the cases that won't chamber after sizing. If it were me I would probably discard all the cases and purchase 2 or more hundred cases (New/Virgin) and start over. Keep the cases in lots as you start to shoot them and know how many times they have been fired. I normally will not load a case more than four times, usually at this point the primer pockets are starting to loosen up, I do not want to load a case to the point the primer pocket starts to leak and etch the bolt face. I would think there is nothing wrong with the sizing die, further if you have access to a up to date reloading manual it might be a good idea to do some reading. William
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Old October 19, 2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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Compounding your problem, there is the possibility that all the cases were not fired from the same rifle.
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Old October 19, 2012, 03:28 PM   #5
stu925
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William T. Watts
For starters the cases should have been separated by headstamp, since you have no idea how many times the cases have been loaded you have to assume there is a spring back problem with the cases that won't chamber after sizing.
This was my thought also I know I have loaded all those cases at least twice, my father may have loaded them multiple times though. I should probably dump all my 6.5x55 brass and buy new although that may get expensive. Looks like I'll be looking for brass. Any suggestions on brass would be good, I don't usually buy brass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dahermit
Compounding your problem, there is the possibility that all the cases were not fired from the same rifle.
I'm fairly confident they were all fired from the same rifle since the rifle was my father's also and he gave me all his 6.5x55 stuff when he gave me the rifle. My father didn't have another 6.5x55 so it's about a 98% probability that they were all fired from the same rifle.

Thanks for the help guys.

Stu
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Old October 19, 2012, 03:41 PM   #6
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If you decide to figure out your problem, and not throw away the brass, you may try this,,,,
1. Choose one case that actually fit's the chamber, and find one that doesn't.
2. Get measurements from both and go from there first, to see what the problem may be.
some may need to be trimmed......
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Old October 19, 2012, 05:02 PM   #7
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If it were me. I would first try screwing the die down a bit more first. Then after sizing I would check the length to see if they need to be trimmed. I would also make sure the seating die is not screwed too far down creating a crimp that makes them hard to chamber. Also I would check the COL so assure you are not pusing the bullet into the lands.

If all of those are done, and the results of the measurements are withing normal limits. I would guess that the brass is springing back. Anneling may help in that case. Though new brass would not be a bad idea.
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Old October 19, 2012, 06:57 PM   #8
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The only way I'd be able to screw the sizing die in more would be to grind a little off the bottom of the die. For the life of me I can't think of any reason why that should be necessary. Sizing die is bottomed out on the shell holder so screwing it in more is only going to make the die hit the shell holder before the handle on the press bottoms out. Cases are all trimmed to trim to length. I'm having trouble chambering resized empty cases, COL isn't my issue. Going to a gun show tomorrow I may look around for some brass and buy a few to see if I have the issue with new brass.

Stu
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Old October 19, 2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Stu for some reason that I can not explain it helps to have a bit of cam over screwing the die down just a bit more. The instructions for for my RCBS .223 dies says to bottom out the die, and screw it down another 1/4 turn. My Lee dies say the same thing. For my 7.62x54R I had to go 3/4 of a turn after touching the shell holder to get rounds to chamber in all 4 of my Mosin Nagant rifles.

Try it with one of the cases it will not hurt the die. I have seen countless threads about trouble resizing dies. All were solved by camming over that I remeber.
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Old October 19, 2012, 07:50 PM   #10
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Or you could use some like the Hornady Lock-N-Load Headspace Gage link and try measuring the rounds that will chamber and properly adjust your die so they all will fit. For a bolt action, setting the shoulder back 0.001 to 0.003" is the goal.

It is interesting that everyone measures brass length and adjusts their trimmer so it trims to the correct length. But is willing to just "give the die another 1/4 turn" which could set the shoulder back as much as 0.020" and result in excessive headspace.

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Old October 20, 2012, 08:16 AM   #11
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I Just had this problem as well with my 308 and tighting my die down more helped. I just bought a new press to replace my old lee and the new rcbs press over cams if the die is just touching the shell holder. I screwed die in until it stoped over caming and problem solved. It just needed the shoulder bumped back just a hair more. Hope this makes helps.
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Old October 20, 2012, 08:46 AM   #12
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Your options are:

1) As already stated, take some material off the bottom of the die.

2) Take some material off the top of the shell holder. I've done this a lot. Technique is to drag it across emery paper. Takes a while but it works. If you have more than one shell holder for that case you might measure them and swap them out to see if it makes a difference. I have shell holders dedicated to certain guns with tight chambers.

3) Put a shim under the brass inside the shell holder. I've used aluminum foil and it works well.

All three methods will net the same result ... you bump the shoulder back just a bit more and rounds will chamber.

Also, I suggest you anneal the brass.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:06 AM   #13
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I struck out looking for new brass at the gun show yesterday so I think I'm going to order some new stuff since the Norma and Lapua brass is pretty old. I'll have to try screwing the die in a bit more, seems strange that suddenly I'd have to alter how far the die gets screwed in, maybe caused by the old brass I suppose. I'm looking into annealing brass now, I've never done it before so it might be worth a shot. As a side note comparing rounds that chamber to rounds that are giving me trouble, it seems the measurement from the case head to the base of the shoulder seems to be about .001" longer on the ones giving me trouble. It definitely seems like the shoulder is not getting bumped back on those rounds. Thanks again for the help.

Stu
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:39 AM   #14
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Without reading all the postings above, sorry if this is redundant, here are a some ideas.

1. As brass is fired multiple times, it flows forward, thickening the neck and shoulder area of the case, lengthening it in the process. Could be you've not trimmed it back and those cases are bumping up against the chamber throats...a sure way to radically increase pressures. Check your brass that chambers hard...is it scraped in the neck or case mouth area?

2. As brass flows forward, it also thickens the neck walls, reducing the internal dia. When the round is fired, normally the neck expands to the limits of the chamber, allowing the bullet to pass forward into the throat. If you've got too much brass there, the neck will not expand enough...another potentially severe pressure riser. Check your brass that chambers hard...is it scraped in the neck or case mouth area? The cure here is to inside or outside neck ream your brass. I've had to do this with a .308 Sako with a tight chamber when using US military brass.

3. Military chambers can be somewhat short; tho not often, usually they're long in headspace. With a short chamber, it may be long enough for the first firing or two, but after that your dies may not set the shoulder back enough to allow easy chambering. Grinding the die would be the last resort in that case.

4. Have you changed bullets...i.e. are you using ones now that are not the same dia. as those previously...a check of chambered and ejected live rounds will show you if they're touching or scraping in the throat area due to add'l dia. and a mic reading of your unloaded bullets will show any anomalies.

5. Has your brass been fired in a number of different guns. Chambers vary between makes and even in the same make of rifle. Your dies in that case may not be undersize enough to account for the difference.

6. Is the chamber of your rifle clean and free of rust. Surface problems within the chamber may affect chambering.

HTH's Rod
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Old October 21, 2012, 01:21 PM   #15
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“I have approximately 200 resized case and about 1/2 of them will not chamber in my rifle or it's hard to close the bolt on them”

Back to understanding the battle between the press, die and shell holder when the three are combined to size a case, or in this situation size 200 cases with various head stamps.

The problem is not with the press/die/shell holder combo when the case fails to be sized when the ram is raised, the problem is with the operator of the press and his/her inability to understand the sequence of events, a reloader should be able to determine the success or failure of sizing a case before lowering the ram.

When the die is adjusted down to the shell holder with the ‘additional’ fractional turn of of the die as in 1/4 turn, 1/2 turn or 3/4 turn the reloader should understand the additional turn after contact is adding to the ability of the press to overcome resistance. The resistance comes from the case, the case has resistance to being sized, some more, some less.

Answers, when a press fails to overcome a cases ability to sizing the reloader can measure the amount of the case that does not get pushed in to the die before lowering the ram, if the case whips the press the die will not contact the shell holder, the failure of the die to contact the shell holder will leave a gap between the bottom of the die and top of the shell holder, I do not have a lite thickness gage, I am not good at making wild guestimates, so I use the feeler gage, Redding sells feeler gages as thickness gages, the feeler gage can be used to measure the gap between the die and shell holder, the gap between the die and shell holder indicates the amount of the case that not get stuffed into the die.

If there is a gap and for what ever reason the reolader does not have a thickness gage there is a more elite way of determining the amount of case that is holding the die off the shell holder. Most presses use shell holders that snap in, removing the shell holder is a matter of overcoming the tension of a retaining spring. When removing the shell holder from the ram and case at the same time (simultaneously), rotate the shell holder so the shell holder can be removed from the ram and shell and pull, after removing the shell holder lower the ram then remove the die with the case protruding from the die then measure the the case head protrusion.

Remember, the deck height of a shell holder is .125”, in the perfect world when measuring case head protrusion from the die the protrusion should measure .125” if the case is full length sized to minimum length, minimum length is full length sized, both minimum length and full length sized is the same as store bought, factor loaded new ammo, who measures?

Back to what William T. Watts suggested, reloading forums are full of bad advise that leads to bad habits. Mr. watts is correct, a reloader that does not have the discipline to keep up with with the number of times a case has been fired and does not sort cases accordingly will suggest fire forming then neck size a case 5 times THEN! full length size the case and start over, there are a few of us that know that is impossible, the case can be fired as many as 6 times?? and again I ask, how is it possible to start over by restoring a case to minimum length/full length sized back to new? The case has been fired 5 times at least.

A lot of what I do is a work out for a/the press, there are times my cases do not get full length sized back to minimum length because I start from the other end, I start by moving the shoulder back before firing, sometime as much as .127”, my favorite case is the 280 Remington, after that is the 30/06, then there are thosae trashy old cases purchase from the range, trashy old cases are cases that will not chamber in my chambers because they are too long from the head of the case to the shoulder, bump? sounds like an accident, there is nothing about my methods and techniques that resemble an accident, I place the shoulder where I want it, and I can measure the gap between the bottom of the die to top shell holder to determine the winner, the press or the case.

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Old October 22, 2012, 09:31 AM   #16
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Unclenick, if you're reading this thread, note your die calibrators were also exactly what I made back in the 1960's.

Took a lock ring with one pasted on to the RCBS table at an NRA convention some years ago and the rep said that was a great idea. I suggested they stamp all their 7/8-14 thread lock rings with the .002" scale on one side and the .004" scale on the other. 'Twould be easy for most folks to just twist one relative to a given point on the die threads (mark the index point with a black marker) to make the adjustment. To date, they've not done this. Nor has anyone else as far as I know.

Folks making one today could print it on sticky back paper so it could be stuck on their lock rings.
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Old October 22, 2012, 10:46 AM   #17
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“Took a lock ring with one pasted on to the RCBS table at an NRA convention some years ago and the rep said that was a great idea. I suggested they stamp all their 7/8-14 thread lock rings with the .002" scale on one side and the .004" scale on the other. 'Twould be easy for most folks to just twist one relative to a given point on the die threads (mark the index point with a black marker) to make the adjustment. To date, they've not done this. Nor has anyone else as far as I know” “ the rep said that was a great idea” What else could he say?

Then someone would come along and ask, “WHY?” I do not believe most reloaders are that ‘shop skill challenged’, all the skilled individuals I know would make an adjustment ‘THEN! verify.

VERIFY: An unknown word without a definition in reloading circles. I am familiar with Skip’s shims. Yes, there was a manufacturer that installed an index on their press, it did not work. there is something about an index on an incline devise the the reloader has trouble with. When securing the die to the press the die must not be allowed to turn, the die must be held in place while the lock nut secures the die to the press, secure the die to the press? For too many years reloaders have filled the forums with “I adjust my die then secure the lock ring to the die so I do not have to adjust the die again” I adjust my die to, below or off the shell holder every time, I secure the die to the press with the lock ring, I do not allow the die to turn while securing the die, then I verify.

A reloader that understands the concept of verifying does not need shims and index/draw to lines, after making their adjustment. It also helps when receiving help from any source the perfect case to size is a new case, after new is once fired, after once fired it is down hill, again the cases ability to resist sizing increases with the number of times the case is fired, then there is the load factor, I have fired cases once, some of my once firings used up all the ‘case life’ it had to offer.

Back to verify, why make all the motions of adjusting the die with all the gadgets then verify, make the adjustment with a verifying tool first then skip the shims, fractional turns in degree converted to thousandths. The die height above the press can be measured, reloaders skilled in the use of a height gage or a dial caliper can measure the height of the die above the press, to raise the die rotate the die counter clock wise, to lower rotate the die clock wise, again, measure before and again after, I am the fan of verifying, rather than make wild guestimate turns of the die, I go straight to the verifying tool for adjustments, from the bottom or top.

F. Guffey

Last edited by F. Guffey; October 22, 2012 at 10:49 AM. Reason: add I
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Old October 22, 2012, 11:05 AM   #18
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Then there has to be something wrong with the instructions, there could be a problem with the help reloaders are getting when trying to understand the instructions.

My opinion? HEAD SPACE: Reloaders do not understand head space, not my problem, I measure the length of the chamber from the bolt face to the shoulder of the chamber, I measure the length of the case from the head of the case to its shoulder. A case that is longer than the chamber from the head of the case to its shoulder will cause an interference fit, meaning the bolt will have resistance to closing of it will close. Again, not a problem, with ‘minimal’ shop skills a reloader can determine the difference in length between the chamber and case if the bolt closes with resistance, but first, they must learn to measure before and again after, and they must know ‘where to measure’.

Back to an arsenal in Utah, a well know smith was accused of stretching the actions on M1917 type rifles, he used a field reject gage, he did not use the go-gage, he did not use the no go-gage, my kind of thinker.

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Old October 22, 2012, 01:31 PM   #19
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Bart,

Yep, it's pretty obvious thing to do as a way to quick adjust. (You still have to verify, as Mr. Guffey says, but getting close is the idea with the rings.) I've made those graduated discs for timing barrel threads, as well.

I didn't stick the copyright notice on there because I thought the concept was original, but just to get anyone who wants to use that exact copy will seek permission first. I don't care about shooter's boards using them, but when a commercial operation asks to use one of my illustrations I require that they make a contribution to a veteran's or veteran's family support charity in return. For example, Arthur E. Brown did that earlier this year when they used an illustration of mine in their newsletter.

I like your idea of putting the marks onto lock rings directly. The circular ones would work out great for that, though the hex style is more problematic. An imprinting die would be the main investment.

You've given me another idea for how to do it. The round Forster and RCBS and Redding lock rings all use a standard knurled diamond pattern on their perimeters. Why not use a straight knurl with teeth spaced about 0.060". The closest standard straight knurl I see is a 1.5 mm pitch, or 0.059". That will give 73 teeth on the 1 3/8" diameter ring, which comes out to 0.000975" depth change per knurl; very close to 0.001". They won't even need to change their process to make them; just the knurl wheels. Then if someone knows how to take advantage, they can. If they don't, they don't.
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Old October 22, 2012, 05:14 PM   #20
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1. Have you checked the case length and when was the last time you trimmed them?
2. I bet you have a mixed shellholder and die. Each manufacturer uses a slightly different bench height on their shellholders and if you mix brands you can run into this problem. One thing you can do is remove a little from the top of the shellholder (you should not adjust the dies). It only takes a little sanding with 400 or 600 grit paper.
3. It sounds like some of the cases are getting fire hardened and may need to be annealed.
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Old October 22, 2012, 05:15 PM   #21
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Verifying. Measuring fired case shoulder setback for a given die position in the press. Been there, done that in trump suit and took all the chips every time. Especially after I did all the right stuff.

First time I did that, I moved the die's lock nut around the die about 15 degrees to change die height down by 3/1000ths of an inch. Full length sized five .308 Win. fired cases after that and their case headspace ranged from 1.627" to 1.631". Chambering the longest one had the bolt binding the slightest amount when closed; evidence to me that headspace was somewhere between 1.6300" and 1.6310"; what my 'smith had stated it was.

Sized 10 more fired cases with the same results and then some. Then I got to thinking about how much spring the RCBS Rockchucker press has and what caused the 5/1000ths spread in sized case headspace; way too much for good accuracy. It finally dawned on me; lubricity of the case in the die. I was using RCBS or some other standard thick case lube on an old RCBS case lube pad. And not paying too much attention as to how much lube went on the cases.

After trying varying amounts of lube on fired clean cases, those with the greatest amount of lube got pushed further into the full length sizing die setting the fired case shoulder back the most. Cases with just a smidgen of lube had minimal shoulder set back.

Solution was to figure out how to lube the cases uniformly. Sierra Bullets' ballistic tech suggested I try a home made lube having a 50-50 mix of Hoppe's No. 9 bore cleaner and STP engine oil treatment and somehow tumble the cases to lube them. I cut a piece of 3/8ths inch thick soft foam sheet to fit a coffee can I used to tumble cases in with rice and BB's to clean cases, put 10 drops of my new home made case lube on the foam, put in 40 cleaned cases then tumbled them for 20 minutes. Dumped 'em out, full length sized every one then measured their case headspace.

1.6280" to 1.6295"; a 1.5 thousandths spread. Good enough for excellent accuracy.
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Old October 22, 2012, 07:48 PM   #22
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Ok so here's an update for you guys and by the way, you were all right..... Took a few of those cases I was having an issue with and reset the die, screwed it all the way down to the shell holder and then gave it about an 1/8th of a turn more. Resized those cases and voila they chambered with no problem. I obviously lost my mind at some point and couldn't wrap my head around that extra 1/8th of a turn. I appreciate all the input on this and yes I will be dumping the old brass for new stuff anyway just because I have no idea how many times it's been loaded.

Stu
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Old October 22, 2012, 10:40 PM   #23
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Quote:
1. As brass is fired multiple times, it flows forward, thickening the neck and shoulder area of the case, lengthening it in the process.

2. As brass flows forward, it also thickens the neck walls, reducing the internal dia. When the round is fired, normally the neck expands to the limits of the chamber, allowing the bullet to pass forward into the throat.
This ain't what I observed when I loaded and fired the same case 47 times.

Starting with a new Federal .308 Win. case trimmed to 2.000" length, a max load was put in then fired in a SAAMI spec chamber. The case shortened to about 1.997" and its neck was blackened with powder residue. There was clearance around the case neck when the bullet got pushed out into the rifling. Loaded round neck diameter was .337" and the chamber neck was .344".

Full length sized it and length grew to about 2.001". Reloaded it then fired it. Case length shrunk back to about 1.998"

Sized it again and length grew to about 2.002" After reloading and firing it, length shrunk back to 1.999"

Each firing, sizing, reloading and firing again did the same thing. Each time the neck was blackened with powder residue. When the case grew to 2.010" it was trimmed back to 2.000" and this happened every 9 or 10 cycles.
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Old October 23, 2012, 08:59 AM   #24
F. Guffey
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“Case length shrunk back to about 1.998" We both should know that the length of the case is the most insignificant measurement. ‘pluralistic’ a word not understood or used in the world of reloading.

“ Full length sized it and length grew to about 2.001". “Reloaded it then fired it” keeping up with more than one thought at a time. I am the fan of reducing case travel, there is case flow and case stretch. You fired the case 47 times with flow only? and no stretch? Back to the length of the case from the case head to its shoulder and there is chamber length from the bolt face to its shoulder, now we are talking about your Sammie chamber and full length sized case, in the real world that is a conflict, there should be a go-gage length chamber and a minimum length case, or a full length sized case or a new factory sized case that is = to minimum length/full length sized (who measures before and again after).

I have no exemptions, when the shoulder of the case moves?* forward the first time and the case head is held to the rear of the chamber the case shrinks in length when the case fills the chamber, without an exemption my necks pull back when the case fills the chamber, again, I am a case former, from start to finish some of my cases shorten .040”, the shrinkage? as in the case getting shorter is a must, if the case did not get shorter the neck could get pulled off (separate). In the perfect world the case forms to the chamber and remember there is more than one chamber design.



*“shoulder of the case moves?” We both should know the shoulder did not move, the new shoulder is formed when the case expanded, again, I am the fan of air as it applies to time being a factor, when the case expands and fills the chamber air between the case and chamber escapes, air is a fluid, it flows.


‘pluralistic’ then there is the other chamber used when describing ‘head space’ that is chamber that allows the case to run to the front of the chamber when the firing pin strikes the primer, in that situation the shoulder of the case is at the shoulder of the chamber, as we all should know if that happens there is a gap between the head of the case and bolt face, keeping up with more than one thought at a time, when pressure builds and the case fills the chamber the case locks onto the chamber THEN! the case head moves back against the bolt face, we both should know when that happens the case body is locked to the chamber leaving the case between the case body and case head to stretch, and you did this 47 times with a minimum length case and a go-gage length chamber. If the 47 time fired case was being driven to the front of the chamber by the firing pin strike your cases would have stretched between the case head and case body, you measured case length, had you measured the length of the case from the case head to the case shoulder you could have could have determined the effect the chamber had on the case when it was fired. I determine the effect the chamber will have on the case before firing, as I have said, I am the fan of cutting down on all that case travel.

then there are bench resters, they have all the exemptions, when I do it the way they do it I do not get the exemptions. I am the fan of cutting down in all that case travel.

F. Guffey
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Old October 23, 2012, 09:27 AM   #25
F. Guffey
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Join Date: July 18, 2008
Posts: 2,583
Bart B. I was at a the Market Hall Gun show visiting a friend when a proud owner of one of his guns suggested the rifle he purchased had head space problems? He presented a case as evidence, my friend instructed the proud owner to bring the rifle to the shop for examination, I did not get involved! THEN, the proud owner moved down the isle, and I asked “May I see that case” being more that happy he carefully handed me the sling he was using to transport the case. After examining the case I ask him if that was the only case he had, I ask him if he was firing that one case over and over etc.. I informed him he was lucky the case did come apart when he lowered the ram on his press, things got a little tense, the builder of the rifle suggested he get another opinion, he sent the proud owner to a smith in the building with the instructions he was not to inform the smith what I said nor was he to inform the smith who built the rifle.

Time passed, then the proud owner returned, he was not happy, the smith tore the case apart and measured the case body thickness, his observation, .0025” is a good thickness for paper, it is not a good thickness for a 35 Whelen case body, then he ask “Is this the only case you have , are you firing this case over and over and over etc..??” The proud owner complained the smith did not ask him if it was OK to rip his case apart.

As a good gesture I offered to form 200 cases for his new rifle, all I needed was a chance to measure the chamber length from the bolt face to the shoulder of the chamber. His answer was '”NO!”.

The proud owner did not have an exemption.

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