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Old September 16, 2010, 04:41 PM   #1
Join Date: June 7, 2009
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Sizing die question & more

As I am about to get into reloading I have a few questions.
After a recent visit to a local gun store I was told that it is not necessary to full lenght resize a case after being fired if it is going to be used in the same rifle as it has been shaped to your chamber, do you just need to resize the neck in that case???
Also with speed of loading not being an issue is it more accurate to measure a powder load on a electronic scale or beam scale??? & if using a powder thrower do you periodically need to check the weight of a charge on another scale??
Also is it necessary to tumble cases after each use??
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Old September 16, 2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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Neck sizing for the same bolt action rifle is fine. It may even be better than full length for both accuracy & case life.
however You will eventually need to full length re size after several loadings as the brass will expand a tad & it'll eventually get hard to chamber. After one full length re-size you go back to neck sizing only again.

I switched to an electronic scale, but more for convenience than accuracy, both types will measure to 1/10 Gr.

Once you get a consistent technique a volume thrower is every bit as accurate as weighing every charge, till then there will be some variation. When throwing a volume charge with a meter check every 10 rounds, but not with a single throw. Throw 2 & check the weight of a charge X2. (this allows for minor inconsistencies).

Yes you should clean every time. Hard abrasive firing ash will build up & eventually mar the brass & the chamber.
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Old September 16, 2010, 05:02 PM   #3
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If you are using something like a bolt action rifle which has serious leverage over the case, you can get by with only neck sizing and in fact, many find that it not only saves time, saves wear & tear on the brass but it also makes more accurate ammo. You can typically get away with it if you have a single shot also.

If you are using a lever action, pump or semi-auto rifle, you'll likely need to full length size your brass after each firing.

More accurate -- beam or digital, without being worried about speed? Well, if your digital is quality and working properly, it should be just as accurate. A beam scale is almost always accurate as long as you zero it and you haen't bumped it or bashed it somehow. Either works just fine and a digital scale (if checked often with a known quantity) will work perfectly well. Just check it often with a known weight.

Necessary to tumble cases? Maybe not, but it sure makes them look better and it's also better for your sizing die to not run dirty brass up in to it. If you are looking to skip buying a tumbler and go on the cheap, it would be my opinion that you could, but life is so, SO much better with one.

I tumble every single time no matter what the caliber, load or platform. I always will.
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
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Old September 16, 2010, 05:19 PM   #4
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Quick Answers:

If you plan to rleoad a case and shoot it again in the same rifle, you don't need to FULL LENGTH resize the case IF the gun is a BOLT ACTION. However, if it is an auto-loading rifle, a lever action rifle, or a break-open action, you probably will need to full length resize.

For the bolt action guns, you will still need to resize the case NECK, so that it reestablishes the grip on the bullet. You can do that with a full-length sizing die that is screwed out a bit from the position where it full length sizes, or you can buy secial neck sizing dies.

Scales need to be able to make REPEATABLE measurements. Good (not necessarily expensive) beam or electronic scales are capable of doing that, while poorly made ones aren't. Also, poor technique, air currents, and other things can make measurements vary even with good quality scales. So, you need to make sure that whatever you choose is working adequately THE WAY YOU ARE USING IT. Some inexpensive electronic scales tend to have problems that are hard to resolve and can be large enough to cause problems with small charges of fast powders. So, I normally recommend that beginners start with a beam balance scale and check their techniques out carefully.

Yes, you do need to use a scale to check charges thrown by powder measures, scoops or any other volume type measuring devices. You need to do it often enough that you detect when the volume-measured charges have changed weight, so that you can avoid making a lot of wrong-weight charges that need to be redone.

You don't NEED to tumble cases at all. The exception is of cases that have been thrown into the dirt by an auto-loader or by hand ejection from a bolt action such that they land on the ground. YOu DEFINITELY want to avoid getting grit from the ground into your dies or your gun. Washing cases is an option when you have dirty cases and no tumbler.

One thing that I feel that I need to suggest to you is that you buy at least TWO reloading manuals that explain the reloading process in some detail, as well as providing some pressure-tested data.

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Old September 16, 2010, 07:56 PM   #5
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Regarding powder scales

When I'm reloading handgun ammo I adjust for the desired weight in the powder thrower and go at it, only occasionally checking the weight of a single powder charge on the scale to be sure I'm not getting too far off. Not so with rifle ammo.

With rifle ammo I set the powder thrower for a weight slightly lower than the actual weight I want. I then place the thrown powder charge on the scale and use a "powder trickler" to slowly bring the powder up to the exact desired weight. The powder trickler allows for total control over the amount that will go into each shell.

I use a balance beam scale but this method should also work with an electronic scale.
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Old September 16, 2010, 08:50 PM   #6
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Welcome to the asylum, Aushunter. The answers to those three questions have been the subject of interesting debates here and at my local gunshop. Only right answer is whatever works for you and your rifle.
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