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Old February 3, 2017, 05:12 PM   #1
Rangerrich99
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Problem with my case trimmer?

So here's my problem:

The other day I was preparing to trim some .223 rem brass on my Hornady camlock case trimmer and several case mouths wouldn't fit over the pilot, making it impossible for the case mouths to make contact with the cutter blade. In fact, the case mouths are so tight they get stuck about a quarter inch from the cutter.

These are mostly federal (FC) brass and they all have been reloaded at least 6-7 times. All brass had been deprimed and full-length resized (6-7 times), and most had been trimmed previously at least twice without issue. I checked twice that I had the correct pilot installed, so that's not the problem. Also, I have other FC brass that I've reloaded at least ten times and haven't had this issue.

I know brass isn't expensive and I've got a couple thousand pieces so this is not a critical issue, I was just curious if this is normal and why exactly this happened.

Is this phenomenon related to how brass flows during the firing event? Or is there something else going on?
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Old February 3, 2017, 06:59 PM   #2
ShootistPRS
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If the same sizing die is being used and nothing in your reloading process has changed then you are getting your brass to the point where it springs back more due to hardening. You can cure this situation by getting a smaller pilot or by sanding the pilot until it fits the smaller case mouth or by annealing your brass.
I prefer to use a slightly undersize pilot but then I make my own. You can use a drill motor and some emery cloth to reduce the diameter slightly so it can be pushed into the case when trimming.
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Old February 3, 2017, 08:05 PM   #3
Rangerrich99
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@ShootistPRS;

Thanks, your answer jibes with the research I've been doing since I originally posted.

Point in fact, I did actually change out my expander ball, as I recently broke the depriming pin in that die about two months ago and had to replace it. The spindle got bent slightly, making removing and re-using the old expander ball impossible. Enter new expander ball.

From what I've been reading, it's possible, maybe even likely that the new expander ball is slightly smaller than the original. Either way, I plan to try making the pilot a few thousandths smaller over the weekend.
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Old February 3, 2017, 08:58 PM   #4
Snyper
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These are mostly federal (FC) brass and they all have been reloaded at least 6-7 times.
You might also want to try annealing the case necks.
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Old February 4, 2017, 01:48 AM   #5
drain smith
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The first thing I would do is measure your old expander ball and your new one.
Now FLASHHOLE nice helpful info in helping the OP. Now please tell us what you have that is better than Hornady.
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Old February 4, 2017, 05:28 AM   #6
1100 tac
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I'm not a big Hornady fan at all! But my Cam Lock trimmer works very well, just needs a carbide cutter, badly.

OP, Federal cases are known to be softer, but after 6-7 loadings? they need to be annealed.

Last edited by 1100 tac; February 4, 2017 at 05:37 AM.
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Old February 4, 2017, 07:41 AM   #7
Nathan
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Now please tell us what you have that is better than Hornady.
First, Hornady makes fine tools. That said, a piloted case trimmer invites bad results. The case holder is providing axial alignment. The pilot tries to do this too. Binding is inevitable.


With a Wilson, the case body provides alignment and there is no pilot, thus no binding.

With a WFT or other "pencil sharpener " type, they work roughly the same way.
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Old February 4, 2017, 09:23 AM   #8
rebs
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I use the Possum Hollow trimmer and have no problems at all. best of all you don't have to lock the case in anything, just hold it in your hand, trim it then go to the Lyman case prep center and debur and chamfer, clean the primer pocket and your done. very fast and efficient system. You only have to handle the brass one time.
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Old February 4, 2017, 10:44 AM   #9
F. Guffey
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http://www.midwayusa.com/product/315...se-trimmer-kit

I do not know, I have a Hornady case trimmer with a universal case holder that rotates.

And then there are case trimmers that cause the reloader to go into mortal combat when sticking the case neck onto the piolet. Years ago I had pilots that had to have been made for fired cases; BECAUSE! it was impossible to stick the piolet into the case neck after firing.

One more time but differently: The pilots were made to fit a fired case and then one day reloaders decided it was more prim and proper to trim after sizing. And I ask: Why is that? Because I have formed cases with form/trim die dies, when I form and then trim a case I use a hack saw and a file first before I loser the ram. The form/trim die does not use a piolet. It is my opinion the trim die is a very accurate trimmer, and I know the case must be full length sized after forming and getting the case to the correct length when trimming has never been a problem for me. And I understand variables, variation and tolerances make reloading most difficult but I do not get into mortal combat when the piolet wants to keep the case, if my pilot is too large for the neck when trimming I trim before I size.

I know; I could grind the piolet as thought the manufacturer made a mistake but I have no hang-ups with prim and proper.

I also have the Wilson trimmer system, no piolet and the crank is so old is made of brass. The Wilson does require a box load of support equipment because they made case holders for fired and sized cases.

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Last edited by F. Guffey; February 4, 2017 at 10:48 AM. Reason: add y
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Old February 4, 2017, 02:36 PM   #10
RC20
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I would just chuck the FC as it mis-behaved.

I don't even bother to pick it up anymore or take it if someone gives me any of it. More annoying to deal with as a separate line of need than anything else.

It also does not help much even with good treatment (that seems to be batch viable) It is very soft stuff.

Can you move the old expander ball over to the new die?

I recently broke one de capper pin and could not get the caliber I needed.

So I just got a 270 pin, took the ball off and moved the ball old ball over to the new pin.
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Old February 4, 2017, 03:19 PM   #11
F. Guffey
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Quote:
I would just chuck the FC as it mis-behaved.
Quote:
These are mostly federal (FC) brass and they all have been reloaded at least 6-7 times. All brass had been de-primed and full-length resized (6-7 times), and most had been trimmed previously at least twice without issue.
I would say the OP is out of warranty, and then there is that thing about starting over by full length sizing; I always ask ; "How is that possible, the case has been fired 6 to 7 times and then come the neck splits and I wonder after 6 firings; how stiff are the necks? I do not have an exemption to work hardening.

I thought I was treated in a manner rather rude by Hornady, I went to see them, we got it straightened out when they blamed their heat treating contractor. I offered to go and visit them while I was there and then they said they changed heat treaters.

It was about that time I ask this very kind lady who the Schnauzer belong to; she said it was her dog and asked me why I wanted to know. I said I was hoping the dog belonged to the person that sits at the desk in the back because the Schnauser is standing on the desk and eating their lunch.

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Old February 12, 2017, 08:22 PM   #12
Rangerrich99
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Quick update:

So I was literally about to try taking a bit of material off the pilot, and decided to take the calipers to the old expander ball for comparison's sake. Which is when i noticed that the old expander ball was a completely different shape from the new one. DOH! Well, it took some doing, but I managed to get the old expander ball off the bent spindle and screwed it on to the new spindle. Ran a dozen cases and 'voila!' Case mouths now slip over the pilot just the way they used to. Problem solved, at least temporarily.

Moral of the story, don't assume that replacement tools/equipment is the same as the originals; visually check!
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Old February 13, 2017, 11:31 AM   #13
Unclenick
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A couple of points:

You may benefit from annealing your case necks. When the gun fires, the case expands to fill the chamber, but the neck only has expansion pressure where the bullet heel (flat base) or boat tail shoulder ends, so expansion of the neck takes longer, rolling forward from the bullet heel location toward the mouth. As the mouth just starts to open, gas begins leaking past it and around any space between the bullet and the bore. This creates a pressure drop from the mouth to the case interior along the thin gap between the expanded neck and the bullet. Because of that drop, there is no longer enough pressure to complete expanding the mouth, so an inward curl remains there, as shown below.



The above image is of a once-fired case. Multiply fired cases do the same thing, but the brass, as mentioned, gets more springy, so you can actually have the case mouth already smaller than a bullet before you even start to resize. It depends how wide the neck portion of your chamber is as to whether or not the expanded lower portion of the neck fattens enough to help pull the mouth open. Even if it is, at the brass work-hardens and the neck no longer stays as close to chamber size, that goes away.

There are several solutions. Annealing is a better one that going to a wider expander. Expanders tend to pull necks a little off-axis, as shown here, and this can adversely affect group size. So the less expander force you have pulling up on the neck, generally the better it is for the brass, and that's why annealing can be helpful.

Another trick is to use a Lyman M die to expand the mouth. It is steel, so inside neck lube is needed. Set it up so the case goes far enough to produces a small step at the case mouth but short of far enough to produce an actual flare at the mouth, unless you are using cast bullets. The step will remove any inward curl that may block the mandrel. It also lets you set the bullet into the neck perfectly upright. When you seat it, you then have no tilt for the seater to try to correct. I can get essentially zero bullet runout doing this with just a standard RCBS seater die. But it does add a step to the loading process.
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