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Old October 26, 2001, 10:02 PM   #1
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Accurate loads with virgin brass

I've just bought some virgin Winchester brass for my 22-250 and I'm going to start working up some loads. After full length resizing, should I fire form them, and then neck size, to work up accurate loads? Or can I just use prepped, unfired brass and expect good accuracy results? Or am I just being anal?
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Old October 26, 2001, 11:31 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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I would just load and shoot. I certainly would never full-length resize new brass, unless for some weird reason it just won't go in your chamber. (?) New brass is uniform, so the there oughta be uniform pressure from shot to shot.

Just guessing, I'd think that there's maybe a grain-weight of powder difference between new and once-fired in your chamber.

I never noticed any difference in a .220 Swift in accuracy between new brass and once fired. I haven't loaded all that much in .22-250, but it seems to me they'd be comparable.

I'd neck-size only after the first shot, maybe 3/4 of the length of the case neck. Measure occasionally, to check overall length of the case. The .22-250 doesn't "grow" as much as cases with less taper in the shoulder.


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Old October 30, 2001, 09:57 AM   #3
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What I do with new brass is run the cases into the sizing die just enough to insure the necks are perfectly round. The body of the case does not have to go into the die. Just the neck. Then I check the case length and trim the brass to the "trim to" length just to square the necks. Then I just load and fire away. After that, I neck size only for four loadings, anneal the necks and full length size the cases. I usually check case length and trim when necessary. After the full length resize, I return to the neck sizing regimen for four more loading and anneal and full length again. Seems to be the right thing to do, and I have some brass that has lasted for over 20 loadings.
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Old October 30, 2001, 10:45 AM   #4
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I agree with Paul B, first thing to do with new brass is ensure the necks are round (a neck sizing die is useful here). I also check the overall length because it does vary. I learned this lesson by loading some virgin 38/40 brass that ended up being too long for the chambers in my cylinder. NG Bruce
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Old October 30, 2001, 11:22 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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Y'all are a bit more "precision" than I! I've miked a few virgin-brass cases (.220 Swift; .243) and found they were a tiny smidgen shorter than spec--and so I quit worrying about that particular issue. "Let 'em grow, I'll cut 'em off."

The issue of roundness never occurred to me. I always chamfer the mouth of the neck. Seems to me that (carefully) seating the bullet does the same thing as running an expander through it? I gotta admit that so long as my groups are notably inside an inch for 30-caliber and around 1/4" to 1/2" for the "small stuff", I've always been satisfied.

Were I shooting competition, I guess I'd go "ultra" on precision and uniformity...

Definitely concur about checking length and annealing and suchlike after some number of reloads.

Part of my deal is that the majority of my brass started out as factory-loaded ammo, or was range-scrounged which I full-length resize before loading.

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Old October 30, 2001, 12:21 PM   #6
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My shooting buds are always giving me a hard time about my fanaticism when it comes to reloading, but since I don't like disassembling loaded rounds because something is out of square, I full length resize, trim the cases to minimum overall length and deburr, deburr the flash hole and run a primer pocket reamer so the depth is equal. After all of that is done, I weigh the cases and segregate, and also weigh the bullets and segregate. load up and fire. Maybe its a waste to full length resize new cases, but I get a lot of confidence in the fact that I know all of the cases are as identical as I can make them. I weigh each powder charge and seat to a .001 variance. Might me a lot of work, but it would be hard to blame the loads if the target hole don't look good!
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Old October 30, 2001, 01:41 PM   #7
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New stuff gets full length resized, trimmed/squared (just to start 'em all off at the same length), chamferred/deburred, knock the burr off the flash hole (inside) & sometimes ream the primer pockets (but have found this rarely matters). Just like everything to start off as uniform as possible.

After first firing, for hunting rifles, I'll touch the should just enough to ensure a smooth feed & chambering. For varmit stuff, I'll just neck size.

I do have a load or two that can be fired in any rifle of that caliber so those get the full length resize every time - kinda back to SAAMI specs.
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Old November 2, 2001, 01:24 AM   #8
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I just started to work up some loads for a newly rebarreled 22-250, and I have been using virgin brass to find the approximate load that I will then start to zero in on. So far ,I have shot a .410 5 shot group with virgin brass, Sierra 52 HPBT, and Varget.

I will now concentrate on seating lengths and will use some neck sized brass to see if it helps the groups.
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Old November 2, 2001, 02:52 PM   #9
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First, I'd lose any dies with expander balls - They stretch the brass, and can cause the necks to be off center. I like Redding's bushing dies, and Lee's mandrel dies work pretty well too.

Work up your "virgin brass" load with the bullet jammed into the lands, minimally resize (neck or minimal FL "bump"), and your brass will shoot accurately a much longer time.
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