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Old December 23, 2012, 04:09 PM   #1
CookieMonster
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Issues with reloading

I bought a press quite some time ago, and I have been running into various odd issues. I am not quite sure exactly what is wrong but hopefully somebody can shed some light on this...

Recently, I finished a batch of around 100 .308's. I prep the brass by first tumbling, then lubing, full length resize/decap, trim to proper length, deburr inside/outside of case, clean and uniform flash holes, then re-tumble my brass for an hour or so to help get residue out.
Then I prime, charge, and seat my bullet. I finish with a light crimp on the bullet. Id imagine this is mostly fairly standard.

I usually set my OAL at around 2.800.

The issue I was having was that my hand loaded ammunition wasn't cycling in my rifle properly. The bolt actually will not fully close into battery. My rifle is a DSA SA58 (FAL type) and in great shape. Has no issues cycling any other ammunition.

One possible thing I feel it may be, or this might not have any relation to the problem, but after full length resizing it seems at the very base of the case approximately 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch up from the ejector groove there seems to be a circle going around... as if the die did not completely resize the brass. Its not something you can easily see but when you inspect them I can see the 'ring'. I am mostly sure my die is set right. I even tried adjusting it down a little farther but the die hits my shell plate.

Sorry for the long winded question, but hopefully someone can answer whats going on here! All of the ammunition I put together I will not shoot through my gun before I figure out the cause of the bolt lockup issue.

Equipment:
Lock N Load AP
Hornady New Dimension dies / Hornady One Shot spray lube
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Old December 23, 2012, 04:18 PM   #2
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Have you tried cycling the resized case's with out a bullet seated?
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Old December 23, 2012, 04:43 PM   #3
CookieMonster
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No, I haven't. Im going to pull 10 or so bullets apart and see if they cycle. If not, would I be looking at a die failure or something of the sort?
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Old December 23, 2012, 04:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
One possible thing I feel it may be, or this might not have any relation to the problem, but after full length resizing it seems at the very base of the case approximately 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch up from the ejector groove there seems to be a circle going around... as if the die did not completely resize the brass.
The only way to completely resize the case is to push it completely through a sizing ring. (Like the "bulge buster" sizing die for semi-auto pistol ammunition). The typical shell holder (or shell plate) does not allow a sizing ring to go all the way down on the case, as you have seen.

This is not usually a problem, though, and I am sure not the source of your problem.

Take your calipers and measure the diameter of the cartridge (factory, and your reloads) and see if that gives any clues.

If your bullet's ogive is hitting the rifling, it could be the source of the problem.

Compare the ogive of your reloaded bullets and see if yours are "fatter" (having a shorter "nose") than the ones used in the manual's recipe (which I will call "factory"). You could be hitting the lands if you have a short-nosed bullet. Such bullets will be shorter in overall length than one with a longer, skinnier nose. Pull a factory round's bullet and compare the lengths.

If your bullets are shorter than the "factory" bullets, you can safely seat them to a shorter OAL (by the amount of the difference in length) and not make the BASE of the bullet any deeper. It is the volume UNDER the bullet that is critical for pressure when you are setting OAL. (OAL, then is just a proxy for the case volume measurement).

Follow what JaguarXK120 said. Even better, re-chamber a freshly-fired case and observe how much effort it takes to close the bolt.

Then size that case without the case-neck expander and re-chamber it.

Then size with the case-neck expander and rechamber.

Then seat a bullet and re-chamber.

Separating all the individual metalworking steps like this will let you know exactly which one produces the problem.

Good luck.

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Old December 23, 2012, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
I am mostly sure my die is set right. I even tried adjusting it down a little farther but the die hits my shell plate.
To properly size your brass, you need to measure how much you setback the shoulder. There are many ways this can be done. If you don't measure you risk not setting the shoulder back sufficiently and in that case the bolt will not close - your issue. Or if you set the shoulder back too much, you can experience premature case separations.

The Wilson case gage link

and the Hornady Lock N Load link

Properly sizing your rifle brass is of great importance.
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Old December 23, 2012, 07:03 PM   #6
jaguarxk120
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If you pull the bullets, resize the cases again with out the deprime punch/expander ball. Then check to see if they will chamber correctly.
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Old December 23, 2012, 08:32 PM   #7
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Are you lubing the inside of the case necks with anything before resizing? After you lower the handle all the way to the bottom of the press stroke and you are coming back out is there noticable resistance when the neck is moving over the expander? If so make sure and use some kind of lube inside the necks or at least every other case, a lot of guys use a dry graphite type lube and some use regular lube pad lube, if you use regular lube make sure you get it cleaned out good so not to chance contaminating powder/primers, also when you have the case fully in the resizing die (handle bottomed out) take a flashlight or something you can use to see if the shell holder is actually contacting the bottom of the sizer die, if there is a gap even a tiny one you need to adjust the sizer die down a tiny bit more til it touches and you can not see any gap when case is fully inserted in the sizing die. Hope this helps
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Old December 23, 2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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Try some without crimping. My guess is you're collapsing the shoulder a little when you crimp.

I suggest getting a case gauge. I use Lyman, but the Wilson and I'm sure others would work too. I gauge every case used for my semi-auto rifles after sizing, seating, and again after crimping (which I rarely, if ever, do).
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Old December 23, 2012, 08:48 PM   #9
spaniel
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For all of my bolt guns, I RARELY need to FL size. I neck size only for 5-6 loadings before bumping the shoulder back. So while one cannot say for certain based on the info you provided, I would not say that brass sizing is the most likely issue.

Do you actually know the dimensions of your chamber? Have you made a dummy round and progressively set the bullet back a thousandth or two at a time, until you can close the bolt, to determine how long your cartridge can be and clear the lands of the rifling? If not, you need to do this. You can buy a gauge to do this but I never have and have just done it the "poor man's" way.

With the rounds you try to chamber but the bolt won't go down, can you see any marking of any kind on the bullet from where the bolt tries to force it into the lands?

Brass sizing could be an issue, but I am more suspicious of OAL until that possibility has been eliminated. Remember, the fired brass came OUT of the chamber. It seems unlikely that you'd size it at all, trim it, and not have it go back in, unless your die is extremely mis-adjusted. Trying to chamber a resized brass, as previously suggested, is the easiest first step.
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Old December 23, 2012, 08:51 PM   #10
Kevin Rohrer
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These Things Happen

I'll bet the shoulder isn't back far enough.

A set of Vernier calipers and Hornady's Headspace Gauge will fix that.
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Old December 23, 2012, 09:57 PM   #11
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Ok to answer some of the questions here...

Yes, the inside necks are lubed. There is some resistance when using the press but not too much.

Ill try without the crimp, but I set it to very lightly crimp the bullet. I don't think this is the issue. I've created and fired many rounds with the crimp in the past, also.

I do not know the dimensions of my chamber. It is also not a bolt gun, but it is a semi auto. I have made dummies. In fact, two of the ones in the picture I attached are dummies. I started to seat the bullet slightly deeper thinking that maybe somehow the bullet was preventing the bolt from going into battery. I also have my brass trimmed to what my book says, 2.005 trim to length, with a 2.015 max tolerance. I also cannot see any blemishes on the rounds in any particular area from the failure to feed. My OAL was 2.800 but I have brought that down with seating my bullets slightly deeper. I know this causes more pressure and they will not be fired, it was simply a test.

I also have Vernier calipers, but do not have a headspace gauge. I plan on getting one but I am somewhat confused on how it is used.


How do I check if the shoulder of the case is being pushed back far enough? Is this done with the headspace gauge?



Please note, the round in the middle is where the bulletes were seated before, they are now slightly deeper(two surrounding rounds) to see if that would fix the issue.
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Old December 23, 2012, 10:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
but I am somewhat confused on how it is used
The instructions in either the Wilson gage or the Hornady Lock-N-Load are very clear on how to use them. You are using a reference from a datum point on the shoulder to the head of the case. You can used a round fired in your rifle, and set your loading die to move the shoulder back 0.002" to 0.003" for your semi auto loading rifle.

I have included the SAAMI drawing for cartridge and chamber. The datum is located at the .400" diameter on the neck. Since headspace can and will vary from rifle to rifle, you need to determine how to size your brass. The Wilson gage will also double as a way to confirm your loaded rounds "should" fit your chamber.

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Old December 23, 2012, 11:54 PM   #13
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Don't apply any crimp unless you are seated to the bullet's cannelure.

Don't crimp bullets that don't have a cannelure.

The rounds you picture look like they went into a FL sizing die, but are well short of being FL sized. Make sure you pull the handle all the way down with each stroke for every operation of the press.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg rmiplt.jpg (145.1 KB, 111 views)
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Last edited by Sport45; December 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
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Old December 24, 2012, 01:32 AM   #14
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I don't like that stepped ring at the base at all. My Lee FLD just has a shiny spot at that point, certainly no ring like that. I bet that is your problem.

What dies are you using?
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Old December 24, 2012, 04:01 AM   #15
CookieMonster
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I did not know not to crimp unless seated to the cannelure. Whats the reasoning behind it?
Those rounds were full length resized with my Hornady New Dimension dies. Of course I pull the handle completely, I'm not lazy

And that ring I feel like is one of my problems but nobody else ever seems to think its an issue. I explained that in my first post. A good amount of my brass comes out resized looking like that. It seems like something is stuck in the die but I have taken it apart to check and it looks fine to me. I almost feel as if maybe the die itself is screwed up. Still, I guess I have to figure out how to check if I am rolling the shoulder of my ammunition enough, as I have never done that.
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Old December 24, 2012, 04:17 AM   #16
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When the ram reaches the top of its stroke, is the shell holder contacting (or within .003" of contacting) the base of the sizing die?

If not, you are probably not full length sizing.

To see, take a fired case and paint the neck and shoulder completely with a magic marker. Full length size it and see if you are even touching the shoulder with the die.

The cannelure gives the neck somewhere to go when it's crimped. Without the cannelure you are deforming the bullet or pushing the neck down. Neither are good.
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Last edited by Sport45; December 24, 2012 at 04:31 AM.
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Old December 24, 2012, 04:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep (in post #4)
Follow what JaguarXK120 said. Even better, re-chamber a freshly-fired case and observe how much effort it takes to close the bolt.

Then size that case without the case-neck expander and re-chamber it.

Then size with the case-neck expander and rechamber.

Then seat a bullet and re-chamber.

Separating all the individual metalworking steps like this will let you know exactly which one produces the problem.
What do you find when you try to chamber the case at each of these four points in the time-line of reloading?

About your picture, that third round with what appears to be a belt around the base of the cartridge just looks wrong. My reading of your first post did not appreciate the degree of the problem. I don't know what is happening there, but it ain't right. First thought is that the die is not adjusted correctly or the case is not entering the die fully (but your first post specified the die was contacting the shell holder, so that can't be it).

I'm just puzzled.

Lost Sheep
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Old December 24, 2012, 10:48 AM   #18
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There are no short cuts, it is imparative that you get a better understanding of the reloading process. There are a number of very good reloading books that are available, In my opinion you should have read at least two cover to cover before touching a press. Until you have a better grasp of what your doing I wouldn't touch any thing. I would suggest ABC's of reloading and perhaps a Hornady, Sierra or one of the books available from Midway or another company that sells reloading supplies. Until you have a better understanding of what your doing don't.. William
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Old December 24, 2012, 03:45 PM   #19
CookieMonster
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I don't understand why this is the standard answer. Just because I am new to reloading, does not mean I am ignorant. I own two books that I have read from cover to cover multiple times. I am the type that likes to research before I even start in something new. I knew all about the reloading process before I bought a press. In those books I have never even read that a bullet should not be crimped unless seated to the cannelure. Never even crossed my mind. So I would appreciate help here. I think it honestly might be a die failure at this point from some of the things I am seeing you guys say. If a ring like that is not normal, I think I have an issue with my dies at the least.

And sheep, I am going to do some testing tonight, I'll let you know whatever I discover. The hard part about testing this issue is it is not -every- round that acts like this. It seems very random..

Last edited by CookieMonster; December 24, 2012 at 03:57 PM.
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Old December 24, 2012, 04:10 PM   #20
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Here is a little advice that may help.

First Readjust your sizing die down about another quarter turn. Run a case through it. Wipe off the case lube. Open the chamber of your rifle. Put the case into the chamber, release the bolt. See if it closes. If not relube the case, go down another quarter turn, then try to chamber it again. It may take up to a full 1 and 1/4 turns. This has worked for a lot of people.

Ok for the crimp. Skip crimping completely. Neck tension should hold it in place just fine. Take a round that is the length you want it to be. Put it into the seating station with the die backed out a few turns with the seating stem backed out all the way. Raise the ram to the top of the stroke. So that the round is all the way in the die. Screw the die down till you feel it touch the case mouth. back it out one full turn. Lock it in place. Now screw the seating stem till it touches the bullet in the round. Follow by seating a round, and checking that it will chamber, and also press the bullet into the bench to assure there is enough tension to hold it in place.

Once you have it set up, save a dummy round for adjusting your seating die with. It will save a whole lot of time. Do this every time you use a new bullet type, or weight. Things will go much faster. Label the dummy round so later if you are loading that type, and weight again you can set up for it quickly.
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