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Old February 3, 2013, 01:59 PM   #1
Daekar
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Reloading 22 Hornet on Hornady LnL AP

So, I've been researching things while waiting for two more reloading books to arrive (ABCs of Reloading and one other), and just for kicks I pulled up a video of the Hornady Lock-n-Load Ammo Plant to show my wife. She thought it was awesome and encouraged me to buy one if I liked them!

So... I've been trying to figure out if it's actually advisable to try to reload 22 Hornet or K-Hornet (haven't decided if I'll ream out the CZ 527 yet) on a progressive press. In no particular order I have been thinking:

1) I want to neck-size only for accuracy and to keep from over-working the brass.
2) Even if I managed to find a carbine neck-die the case is so thin I'd probably want to lube it on the neck anyway.
3) I'm hoping for 1 MOA accuracy once I find the right load... hoping with 40gr bullets with Lil Gun.
4) I'm not worried about super speed. If the gun likes shooting 40 grain bullets at 2600fps that's fine, and will make the brass last longer.
5) Would love to be able to truly use the press as a progressive. For non-trimming loads this would be: tumble, hand-lube the case necks, decap+necksize, reprime, charge, powder-cop, seat. Undecided if crimping is necessary in a bolt-action, have read it isn't.
6) If the above won't work, considering: tumble, hand-lube case necks, decap+necksize. Retumble briefly. Reprime, charge, powder-cop, seat, crimp.
7) Flexible on using a powder-cop once I get things running smoothly.
8) Is the Hornet case just too damn squishy for progressive reloading? Some people make it seem like it will dent if you sneeze on it.

What are your thoughts on progressive reloading for a Hornet? I've seen other threads around the internet and people seem split over a number of issues that come along with bottlenecked cases, including lube issues and primer pockets.
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Old February 3, 2013, 02:35 PM   #2
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You might want to look at the RCBS progressive machine. It has 5 stations, but is the only one I know of that uses the first station for a lube die, with the sizing die at the second station. Case lube is simply not cleaned off until the round is fully assembled. At that point a rag with a little mineral spirits will do well enough.

A second consideration: though you have to trim once before using it, RCBS also makes and X-die in .22 Hornet. This will full-length resize, but controls case growth so the progressive process does not need to be interrupted by removing the the cases to trim them after sizing, as is normally done.

If you are going for neck sizing, more issues are involved, as you have the trimming come back into play, though not every load cycle, as a rule, and the Lee Collet die doesn't seem to grow necks at all. However, you eventually have to put even neck sized cases through a FL sizer because they start fitting the chamber too tightly. It may be possible to use the X-die with a reduced expander and set it up for shoulder bumping only, rather than sizing all the way back. Many feel this produces better accuracy than neck sizing alone will do, as it slightly narrows the case to give it room to self-center in the chamber before firing. You would then expand the case mouth separately with a Lyman M type profile type die at the expander/powder feed position. That helps bullets go into the case more straight anyway. I'd have to play with the setup to see how to make that happen as I envision it, but you'll probably have to consider at least a bit of customizing of the die setup to accomplish this.
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Old February 3, 2013, 03:22 PM   #3
Daekar
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I will definitely take a look at the RCBS progressive! Although the price is definitely intimidating compared to the Hornady. Maybe a lube-die in the Hornady would work.

I was ass-u-me-ing that after an initial full-length resize and trim that I would be able to go 3 or 4 mid-pressure loadings using neck-sizing and no trimming, and that after a point I would need to trim each case back into spec.

The reason I am planning to neck-size is that many people report spotty accuracy from 22 Hornet rifles without that kind of precaution, matching the round to the rifle. That, and I figured it would help avoid case fatigue.

A gunsmith friend recommends that all loaded-for-accuracy rounds just barely be a crush-fit (by 0.001) in bolt-guns, as he says that this helps with repeatability and prevents brass growth (or minimizes it, anyway). Since that made sense to me, I was planning to take that advice to keep case-prepping tasks to a minimum. Thoughts?
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Old February 3, 2013, 03:48 PM   #4
michaelcj
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I have no experience with progressive reloaders, but would expect that leaving the case to 'its own devices" might end up with some damaged cases.

I reload on a single stage RCBS.

The .22 hornet is my favorite of all to reload and shoot, and my experience is that it is far from finicky.

My standard load is a 45 grain sierra over 12.8 grains of lil-gun with small pistol primers. I do full length resize.

These particular loads shoot sub[-] MOA all day long out of my 60+ year old Winchester #43 and equally well out of my friends CZ "international". {3/8 to 1/2 groups at 100 yards are more common than not}

I wouldn't over think this cartridge too much, but I would probably be a bit hesitant to do it on a progressive loader where I was relying on "automatic" feeding rather than hand 'guiding" each operation.

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Old February 3, 2013, 09:16 PM   #5
Daekar
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OK, well that narrows down a few things then:
1) It looks like using it as a full progressive isn't a good idea. What do you think of:
tumble -> hand lube/lube die -> neck-size (Lee collet?) + deprime -> check length + trim + chamfer + deburr -> quick tumble -> universal decap (double-safety for media in primer pocket) -> prime -> charge -> powder cop -> seat

I don't think I forgot anything there, but I might have. Obviously things will vary depending on whether or not FL sizing is necessary or whether or not the brass has been fire-formed.

Since my brass will all be single-headstamp and sorted into 50 round lots after initial forming/trimming/chamfering/deburring, I should be able to take a small sample-size of case lengths, and if they're in-spec, then I should be able to do:

tumble -> Lee collet necksize (no lube required) + deprime -> prime -> charge -> powder cop -> seat

...which will work 100% progressive.

2) I get the impression from the reading I'm doing that the weak point of many progressive presses is their powder measure. Is there any reason to believe that a progressive press measure is any worse than any other powder thrower? (excepting the thrower/scale digital combinations, of course)
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Last edited by Daekar; February 3, 2013 at 09:46 PM.
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Old February 3, 2013, 09:28 PM   #6
LE-28
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Quote:
You might want to look at the RCBS progressive machine. It has 5 stations, but is the only one I know of that uses the first station for a lube die, with the sizing die at the second station
I don't understand what this means, would you explain why an RCBS progressive would be any different than any other 5 station progressive presse? What does it matter weather you put the resizing die in the first or second station?

I'm not arguing, I just don't understand your statement.
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Old February 4, 2013, 11:13 AM   #7
schmellba99
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If you are going for gnat's bottom accuracy, I'd suggest a single stage. Mostly because that's what I and most everybody else uses for loading rounds that exceed the quality and consistency of any factory match rounds.

Most progressives are capable of producing very high quality ammo, but my opinion is that they simply aren't capable of producing as repeatable results as a single stage is capable of - more moving parts means less chance of true repeatability. That is not to say that a LnL, Dillon or RCBS cannot produce very high quality ammo, because they can, but I wouldn't use one for any of my hunting ammo or if I was shooting in a match with a good rifle.

Concerning using a lubing die, the LnL has 5 independent stations - you can use them for whatever you want. There is no rule that says station 1 has to be size/deprime.

RE: neck sizing, there are different schools of thought on that one. I used to neck size, but don't do it anymore. Use good lube and a good sizing die and you don't overwork your brass unless you have a larger than normal chamber in your rifle. But we could start 27 different threads concerning the opinions on neck versus full length versus small base versus shoulder bump sizing.

For better than factory plinking or hunting ammo, a progressive is the ticket. For shooting 1 hole groups at whatever range you are looking for, I'd advise to use a single stage.
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:30 PM   #8
LE-28
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^^^ That's pretty much it.

As far as an ammo plant goes, I have the LNL-AP and started out with the base machine and added the case feeder later.

From all the comments I've read on the 3 forums I belong to, about the Hornady press, the most of the comment are that we prefer to set our own bullets instead of using a bullet feeder.

Just so you know, you can't run lead bullets through Hornady's bullet feeder, so if you decide to use it for pistol bullets also and want to shoot lead instead of jacketed, the bullet feeder is a waste of money.

The case feeder though, on any of the progressives, Orange, Blue or Green are a reel asset if setup correctly IMO. Mine works really well and probably doubled my output.

Like said by Schmellba99 and others, if you want the most possible for accuracy, use a single stage.
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Old February 4, 2013, 10:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LE-28
I don't understand what this means, would you explain why an RCBS progressive would be any different than any other 5 station progressive presse?
It's the station sequence. I am unaware of any progressive press design that allows you to shift which station priming occurs at. A standard progressive sizes and decaps at the first station and primes at the second station and dispenses powder there. The RCBS progressive waits for the third station to do that. If you were to install a lube die in the first station and the sizing die in the second station of any other make of progressive press, it would be trying to install a new primer into a primer pocket that was still occupied by a spent primer.
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Old February 4, 2013, 11:05 PM   #10
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Not sure you need to lube a 22 hornet for neck sizing. Brush the inside of the neck. I processed a couple thousand 22 Hornet cases and they can be a bit easy to crinkle when you first start sizing them. After a hundred or so you will get the hang of it and do fine. Hornady seater die is a nice unit. RCBS neck sizer die worked really good for me. I never could tell any difference between crimped or non crimped (using the Lee Factory Crimp). Remington 6 1/2 primers were gold for my gun. 40 gr. Vmax over 13 gr. Lil Gun produced about 2900 fps and sub MOA.

Case life was variable. Some cases could last 5 or six reloadings. After the initial FL sizing, never did anything but neck size. 22 Hornet is a sweet little caliber. Have fun!
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:00 AM   #11
Daekar
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That's exactly what I was planning on doing regardless of what caliber I end up choosing to reload first. The press and other paraphernalia (sp?) are going to be a big enough outlay, it will be a while before I get around to adding the case feeder. I don't really plan to reload pistol, at least not for a while, and then only revolver cartridges, so no lead would be a problem. Thanks for the heads-up!

The ABCs of Reloading arrived in the mail yesterday, so I'm going to be reading a bit, but I think I'm ready to pull the trigger on the press pretty soon.
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Old February 5, 2013, 03:44 PM   #12
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The lubing was premised on using the X-die for sizing to eliminate the need to trim, but it will size the whole case. That's actually a good thing for accuracy if done properly, which is by setting the die up so it narrows the sides of the case while setting the shoulder back just slightly so the cartridge headspaces there instead of on the rim. This tends to let each cartridge self-center the bullet in the chamber neck. A number of benchresters find this produces more accurate ammunition than neck sizing-only will do.

Neck sizing-only can be done on a regular progressive. It may not cause enough growth to matter as long as you keep tracking it and trim as needed. If you are going to neck size in a progressive, look at various bushing type dies for which nitride coated bushings are available and you may be able to eliminate the lubrication step altogether. The Lee Collet Die is a good tool, too, but it depends on the user applying appropriate force to the handle that can cause its position to vary a little with variations in neck wall thickness. It is therefore better in a single stage or turret press than in a progressive where the simultaneously operating stations require the stroke to be complete each time, and not graduated.

One of the issues with .22 Hornet that comes up a lot is the thin case neck and the small case volume make it prone to having the bullet unseated by the primer before the powder burn gets fully underway, thereby causing irregular ignition that affects precision on paper. To limit that, you want the mildest primer you can find. The Remington 6½ was made for this type of application, but the Russian small rifle primers (TulAmmo and Wolf) also seem to be mild and very consistent. The Federal 205 is the next mildest candidate I am aware of.
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