Let's say that a friend of mine - a not very experienced reloader like myself - has just stumbled across a rather embarrassing potential problem with his reloads and faced the prospect of having to deconstruct and rebuild most, if not all, of the rounds he's got stored in the cabinet.
A sensible person in this position would turn to the experts on the Stalking Directory to see if there was any way of avoiding the onerous work this involves, or whether the rounds could perhaps be used anyway.
So we'll assume that that's what my friend has asked me to do on his behalf... ;-)
The embarrassing problem in question is that my "friend" appears to have worked up a good number of reloads with the sizing die incorrectly set. He's discovered this problem whilst working on his latest reload: all of the rounds constructed with brass he has sized show some degree of resistance to bolt closure - some of it significant.
Conversely, a couple of dummy rounds loaded using unfired factory brass taken from deconstructed rounds, with the same bullet / OAL as the new reload, give very little to no resistance more than closing the bolt on an empty chamber. This makes me think it's something to do with the brass, and not resistance from the bullet entering the lands, for example. The absence of rifling markings on the bullet jacket supports this theory.
In all cases, the bolt will close on the rounds made from the resized cases, but the resistance to closure is more than it should be. The degree of resistance is consistent within a single lot of brass - for example, using RWS brass makes it very difficult to close the bolt, but Sako brass gives very little resistance at all. Other case lots sized by the die give resistances in between.
These symptoms leads me to suspect that the sizing die used was set such that the shoulders of the brass were not pushed back sufficiently far to fit into the chamber, and that when the (dummy) round is chambered, the chamber itself is resizing the brass to fit as the bolt is closed.
1) Is the diagnosis above plausible? I have identified a source of error in the sizing die set up which appears to have left it too far "out" of the press: when it said "turn it a ¼ turn further" in the instructions, I believe I've been turning it in the wrong direction, bringing it "out" of the press, rather than "in".
To add some more information: Unfortunately, I don't know when the sizing die was first set incorrectly. Although I have now reset it properly, it is likely that it's been in the press since it was last cleaned, which was some months ago. This potentially means that all reloads constructed during that time suffer the same case resizing issue.
2) Is there any way I can get away without unloading, decapping, resizing and reloading all of these rounds (70-100 probably)? To avoid re-weighing all the powder charges, they'll all have to be done one by one which is slow. Apart from anything else, that's a lot of live primers to remove and re-insert.
3) Could I get away with resizing the cases with the decapping pin / mandrel removed from the die? I suspect I know the answer to this one, but I thought I'd ask.
4) Would not sizing the case shoulders far back enough cause any safety / pressure issues? I'm wondering if this has been a long-term error and has caused difficulty with reaching published maximum loads? (I have managed this in only one of my four worked up rounds.)
5) Helpfully, there's a thread I started elsewhere which may illustrate this issue - see here:
I don't know if that picture shows what I'm describing, but it does look rather like the sized, unfired case in the image has its shoulders further forward than the fired case...
Of course, the friend in question was actually me as you're all no doubt aware. My only excuse is that no-one's ever shown me how to reload - I had to learn it from the usual books. I think I've been an idiot, but I'd rather admit that and find out what to do to fix it than carry on regardless and blow myself up next time I fire the gun.
Many thanks for any advice you experts can give,