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Old January 24, 2012, 10:24 PM   #76
Brian Pfleuger
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It'll work harden the necks.
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Old January 25, 2012, 09:04 AM   #77
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wander if that is why some bullets seat slightly different than others
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Old January 25, 2012, 12:00 PM   #78
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Anything that pushes the brass around will work-harden it. It's just that the less you push it around, the longer it takes. Sizing the neck in a conventional neck die with expander will work the neck portion just as much as an FL die. It just won't work the shoulder with it. A Lee Collet die only pushes in and never expands out, so it works the brass roughly half as much, plus it doesn't swage it rearward which seems to work it less, too.

If you go to drill out a seater stem on your own, check the OD of the stem to be sure it has as much metal as you need to remove. You can't drill a hole bigger than the diameter of the seater. I'd just drill to leave about 1/16" thickness all around, then lap as I described. Any good fit you get to your bullet is better than stock.
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Old January 26, 2012, 02:24 PM   #79
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Unclenick: how far back should I adjust FL die once I get my headspace gage to measure fireformed brass? Noticed some rounds today that have been reloaded several times were getting alittle tight when closing the bolt(think I need to bump them back like you mentioned previously). .001" or .002"?

Ordered the Hornady headspace bushing and comparator and body. Hopefully it will be accurate because never used it before
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Old January 26, 2012, 11:09 PM   #80
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The Hornday tool is the one designed by Stoney Point, whom they bought the design from. It works just fine. They have both bullet ogive and case comparator inserts (bushings) available for the adapter that goes on your caliper. Just remember the adapter has a slight offset so you can use the bullet inserts in conjunction with the Overall gage, which needs that offset. I don't know if you ordered both comparator and the Overall gage, but the system works pretty well. It will be as repeatable as your caliper is, and that's what matters because you are looking for a difference between your tight case before and after you've set it back.

Just measure the tight case and record the number. If the caliper is digital, it is a good idea to close the jaw on the gage and zero it before each measurement. The only thing to watch out for is to offset the case head on the caliper jaw by the same amount as the adapter is offset to get the case really square. Any error in how you line things up makes the measurement bigger, so the smallest number you get with wiggling is best.

Set the shoulder back .001" for singly loaded neck sized rounds, and .002" for rounds that need to feed reliably from a magazine.
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Old January 26, 2012, 11:31 PM   #81
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I only got the headpace bushing and the bullet comparator and the comparator body that attaches to the caliper


I was wandering should there be expansion around right where the body ends and meets the shoulder and also at the bottom of the body right before it dips in for the extractor groove? Tried to draw a quick diagram to show exactly where I was mentioning
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Old January 27, 2012, 05:39 PM   #82
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What you got is fine, but the adapter will still have the slight offset (the slot that clamps to the caliper jaw isn't centered) for working with the gage you didn't buy. If you get one at some later date you'll immediately see why.

Seeing lighter shiny and slightly scuffing in areas you drew is normal. The brass expands in the chamber except for the solid part of the head, which usually runs about 0.2 to 0.25" inches forward from the bottom of the head. That's why it's wider ahead of that place. It also gets thin there and has a little less spring back from fireforming to the chamber because that's where the brass stretches after the case body sticks to the chamber wall, but before the head has moved back against the breechface to take up excess headspace. Even though you are neck sizing, that stretching action will have happened when you or someone else fired the new case the first time and before it was chamber length. When you do full length resize, that thin place, called the pressure ring, it is always slightly wider; hence the shiny mark.

The shoulder start is the corner of an angle. That makes it more rigid and harder to compress inward than the sides of the case body are. As a result, there, too, it often shows more shininess and can spring back more after resizing than the middle of the sides do.
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Old January 30, 2012, 09:53 PM   #83
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used Hornady Lok N Loade Headspace bushing tonite for firs time. How do you measure cases by using avg headspace or what? My unfired new brass avg(7 cases) was 1.627, my once fired brass was 1.624 and my reloads that have been done 10 times were 1.628". Is that normal? So if setting up FL sizing die how would I go about this?
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Old January 31, 2012, 10:07 AM   #84
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The absolute value of your readings should be expected to be a little small, as the small inside radius of the hole in the insert (bushing) is normally setting the reading back a few thousandths. The 0.400 diameter one I have reads 1.620" when I have an actuall 1.630", so mine's radius is big enough to set it off a full -.01" from absolute, and yours is apparently off less.

The only way I know to get a tight absolute reading is to use a good quality headspace gage to zero the caliper on. The cheap ones I've found to be off by as much as 0.002", so if you want to do this, get a good one from Dave Manson, Pacific, JGS, or Clymer.

The way the specs are written, unless you go to absolute readings, there is no way to know what the once-fired vs. new is telling you. There is 0.006" tolerance in new case length. Once-fired that has been resized can easily be shorter than new brass for that reason. I've seen new as little as 0.000" different from a minimum headspace chamber, and SAAMI allows it to be 0.004" longer than a minimum chamber, expecting the bolt to be able to squeeze it out into the extra diameter available in the chamber. Indeed, Hatcher observed that rapidly working the bolt on an Enfield could shorten .30-06 cases as much as -0.006" just on chambering and before it was fired. So that's not as off the wall as you might expect.

The number you want to pay attention to is the 10X number. Averaging was a good idea for this, as there is always some variation. For neck sizing only, you want to set the sizing die so the cases come out averaging right at that same number to -0.001", like you got for the new cases. When a case goes into an FL die it is first squeezed narrower, which lengthens the distance to the shoulder, then the shoulder runs into the die shoulder and is pushed back, which flows brass up into the neck, lengthening the neck, which is where case growth for trimming comes from. So, if your cases come out the same length at the shoulder as they are now, they will actually have been pushed back a little at the shoulder after lengthening during narrowing and will be narrower than they were going in.

That narrower width will make room for the case to chamber (no longer tight) and to gradually fireform back out with successive reloadings. If you go further and push the shoulder back the additional thousandth, too, some feel that helps the case self-center on firing and it should give you a few more rounds before tightness sets in again. Don't forget to trim after FL sizing.
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:07 AM   #85
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so FL sizing would I set it up based on the longest reading out of the 7 cases I used or the average I got? If I set it up on the longest case to bump to length I am looking, will it work the cases that are shorter headpsace the same ammount or only to that length?

For instance if the longest reading was 1.625 and set it so it bumps it back to 1.623.....if some cases are 1.623/1.6225 will it move them back or not?


Went back and it appears fired cases shoulder is 0.004" longer than virgin brass:
Reload 10x =1.625"(these are the ones that are tight chambering now) and virgin brass 1.621"

Last edited by browninghunter86; January 31, 2012 at 01:46 PM.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:47 PM   #86
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Those numbers are more typical.

I would average the 10X cases again. Remember it is possible through misalignment of the brass in the caliper to make it read too long, but not possible to make it read too short, so errors tend to be on the high side. I would therefore set the die until the longest cases you read come down to the size of the shortest one, or .001" smaller.

You can measure a case and rotate it's position to see if that affects the reading. If the bolt face isn't perfectly square to the case, you may not get the exact same reading all around. It's a candidate for lug lapping if you get that.

In setting up the die, you can lube one of your long cases, then turn the die down until it just starts to contact the case. Withdraw and measure the case again, then turn the die in a little, take the case out and measure again. Keep doing that until you get what you want. You should first see the case grow as it is squeezed narrower, the start to shorten again as the shoulder of the die starts to make contact.

To know how much to turn the die in, you can mark one of the threads near where it enters the threads in the press with a Sharpie. You'll find the die shoulder moves in about one and a half thousandths for each 1/16" at the outside edge of the die that you rotate that mark clockwise. Just lay a ruler on the press next to the mark and roughly tangent to the circumference of the die to measure this. Another approach is to print and cut out a scale that you set on the press around the threaded die hole, wet with a little oil to keep it in place while you screw the die in initially. Then any mark you place on it can be used with the scale. Scale template for printing attached.
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Old January 31, 2012, 08:10 PM   #87
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very frustrated at this point. Set die up until it kissed the shell holder then backed it out slightly. Lubed a case that was tight in the chamber and ran it through the die. It was still tight so I barely moved the die and checked again. still tight. barely turned and then repeated. did this in very small turns until I got the case to chamber without being tight. Ran the ram up and secured die. now when I read the headspace using the gage it is saying 1.618-1.620!!!!! I am very confused. Am zeroing the caliper each time so I have no clue. NOt sure if the gage is just acting up somehow or if I screwed something up??
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:29 PM   #88
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1.618 is only .003" smaller than what you posted the virgin brass is... about the thickness of a piece of paper.... I wouldn't think thats enough to get worked up about...
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:33 PM   #89
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this was the reload 10x brass that was 1.625". So 0.007" just want to be sure it is safe to reload. Tried looking online but not finding much
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:36 PM   #90
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so that info means my rifle has .003" headspace. Virgin brass vs once fired?
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Old February 1, 2012, 01:45 PM   #91
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Browninghunter86,

When you say you turned the die in by small amounts, how small? If you didn't use a scale, keep in mind that only 1/10 of a rotation (36°) will be -0.007". Also, try using the last setting on just one of the 10X cases in just one stroke and see how it measures before and after. Multiple strokes can over-resize.

There is also another way to go about this, if you want to make the investment. You can buy Redding's competition shell holder set which is 5 holders that are thicker than normal in 0.002" increments up to 0.010" extra thick. In Reddings numbering system, #1 is for .308 size case heads. Those will let you bring the sizing die into full contact with the shell holder and still size long. Just start with the thickest one and move down one at a time until the cases fit properly. Some folks accomplish the same thing with shim washers, but these have to slipped over the case after it's in the shell holder, then moved to the next case, so it's slower.
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Old February 1, 2012, 02:22 PM   #92
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like barely moved the die. and repeated and tried again until I got it to chamber. will those be unsafe to reload? remeasured again today and it is same 1.618".

On found brass from the range I deprimped and tumbled them. If I FL size these will adjusting the die in until it touches shell holder resize to factory std? That is what lee says and seen other posts about that? Or should I adjust die in until i get a reading of 1.624(once fired brass measurement from my gun or do I want to take it less and let it fire-from? say 1.621"?

I am going to retry this here in a few to see maybe I turned die in too much
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Old February 1, 2012, 05:43 PM   #93
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You're perfectly safe shooting the shorter ones them. The Ackley Improved chambers are significantly bigger at the shoulder than their parent cartridges, but the parents are safe to fire in them. The brass will just form back.

One thing I've told people before is that if you run a sized case into a die more than once, even without changing the die, you often get a couple thousandths more shoulder setback (especially if you let it rest a few seconds in the die before withdrawing it). I'm wondering if that's what happened as you adjusted. It might have been better if I'd suggested you run the case into each die position until it stopped moving back, then made the next adjustment.

I can't tell you for sure the case you found at the range will go fully back to factory size. I have a military .30-06 chamber that's about at maximum {+0.010" in that chambering) and the sizing die typically only gets the case back about .005" to .007" from the stretched length. A small base die would do more. That's still back plenty for shooting in the same gun, but the amount of spring in the brass is why it doesn't go all the way back without annealing. So, if the brass you found at the range was fired in a loose chamber, it may not make it all the way back to new size. If it was fired in a tight chamber it will almost certainly be as small as new or smaller.

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Old February 1, 2012, 08:19 PM   #94
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I dont measure my cases, but I can tell you that If I seat a bullet, bring the ram down, measure the bullet, then without any adjustments run the ram up the seater die again it will be seated deeper... sounds reasonable the same would happen to brass on sizing...
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Old February 1, 2012, 09:24 PM   #95
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Well not "factory size" but I FL sized them and then headspace now measures 1.623" so that is right between the virgin brass I have and the 10x reload measurements I took. I never checked chambering before FL sizing them but I did after finishing sizing them and trimming and cleaning primer pockets and they chamber in my rifle.ONly one out of the 20 something chambered tight and just re ran it in FL die and it chambers just like the others. So I understand better your information about sizing but how do I know if these are ok to shoot in rifle?


Brass is same as what I have been reloading. Winchester 308 brass
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Old February 1, 2012, 10:26 PM   #96
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Isn't 1.623 exactly what you wanted?

The longest fired in your gun case was 1.625, correct?
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Old February 1, 2012, 11:35 PM   #97
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correct. I was making sure I did it correctly never FL sized or used found brass.
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Old February 2, 2012, 12:07 AM   #98
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Sounds like you have it perfect now then.

I don't use found brass but that is my decision.

If you wanna take a chance on using brass that someone may have sized it 10 times improperly, then discarded it, that is your decision.

You are now setup to properly fl size. Most guys just use the turn it in 1/4turn past touching method and call it good. This leads to over working the web and can cause head seperations after repeated sizing.

Some would say overly cautious. I say why chance it.
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Old February 2, 2012, 12:27 AM   #99
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well that is the method used on the found brass and it was giving me the reading I was looking for. I didn't know if I should have sized it to the length of the fired brass from my gun 1.65 so I just took in lower to be safe.

What are your thoughts on how to FL size? To the exact size of fired brass or slightly below(0.001-0.002")?
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Old February 2, 2012, 01:41 AM   #100
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Just take the longest fireformed brass you have and aim at pushing the shoulder back .001" to .003".

I think you are making way more complicated than it needs to be

Any piece of brass can't go longer than your longest piece so go off that one.

Once you have the die set, set it and forget it.

Unless you are shooting really hot loads that are making the chamber expand and give false readings, but you would probably have a stuck bolt if that were the case.
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