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Thread: Couple of reloading questions

  1. #1

    Couple of reloading questions

    I've bought myself all the kit to start reloading and am playing around with it at the moment working out how it all works. I've taken some cases from factory ammo that were fired in my rifle and have been measuring to see what the various dies do.

    All the cases fit back into my rifle and are below the max length so I don't think that trimming and full length resizing are necessary. I have however taken a few cases and put them through the full length die to see what it does. These cases now don't fit so well in my rifle, taking a bit of effort to close the bolt. The area of pressure seems to be at the shoulder. I'm confused by this as I would have thought that the full length die would return them to standard. Am I doing something wrong?

    Also, before neck sizing, a bullet is loose in the neck, but on some of the cases even after neck sizing I can push a bullet with a bit of effort right in up to the cannelure and work it free again. It doesn't seem tight enough to me.

    One more question, I've read a lot about seating the bullet just slightly off the lands. I've made a loose fitting case and tried chambering it to see what the OAL measures when it is on the lands. Its longer than the max OAL of the calibre by about 2mm.

    The calibre is 6.5x55 and I know some bullets are very long so assume that its not that important to have them right forwards against the rifling.

    I'm holding back from actually loading anything that goes bang yet until I've worked out all these little things. Its all very interesting though.

  2. #2

    Thumbs up

    Nick drop me a line mate you are more than welcome to pop over with your bits and I will help you get aquainted with the fine art.
    Brgds Pierre
    Anglo deer management and training
    Yet another 7mm 08 user ..................... if Carlsberg made calibers.........................

  3. #3
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    Except in ONE respect re-sizing dies won't make your case dimensions bigger than it was before it was run through the die. So if your fired cases went easily into the cahmber before re-sizing then they should do so afterwards.

    The exception is the neck. Here you re-sizing die, or rather the neck expander part of that dies, may make the case dimension bigger. How? By the part that expands or flares the neck at its mouth being wrongly set up.

    My advice would be to remove the neck expander and re-size some fired cases. If the cases now do go easily into the chamber you know where your problem is.

    You could also use a candle to put soot on your fired case shoulder. Then adjust the re-sizing die (with no neck expander) until that soot is compressed or even lifted from the case. Then just adjust the re-sizer down maybe a quarter turn.

    That should set up the re-sizing die.

    To adjust the neck expander leave the sized case "up" in the re-sizing die and screw the neck-expander down until it can't move. Now bring the case out and turn the die a quarter turn down. Run the case up again.

    Take the case out of the press and look inside the case neck. You should see a small area of bright brass. Adjust the neck expander by repeating the above steps until that area of bright brass extends the full inside length of the case neck.

    You should NOT need to turn the neck expander down any further if using boat tail bullets as they should seat without a flare to the case mouth. Indeed that flare isn't really even required with flat base bullets.

    But if you do want it then adjust the neck expander down a quarter turn at a time until a flat base bullet only just is able to enter the case neck. That is all that is needed.

  4. #4
    I could go on about trimming and seating to the dammned lands, but I'd rather ask if the inside of the necks were lubricated. An expander "ball" can pull out the base of a dry neck causing tight fit at the shoulder-neck junction.~Muir

  5. #5
    Muir, my thoughts exactly!

  6. #6
    I notice that cartridge type was not mentioned and some like the .243 Winchester are easier to crush the neck and so cause a bulge at the shoulder juncture with case wall this will make chambering difficult. It's down to dies incorrectly set up and case not lubricated most likely.

  7. #7
    I replied to this earlier but it seems it hasn't appeared!

    Brithunter, the type is 6.5x55 as in the original post.

    It seems there is more going on with the dies than I realised. I guess I haven't used enough lube inside the neck. I'll have another go tonight and take the full length die apart to see how it all works. The neck sizing dies is a Lee collet type.

    Pierre, I didn't realise you reloaded, I'll drop you a PM later.

  8. #8
    I had a similar problem with my 308 - fired brass would chamber but when I resized it some of the cases would not chamber. I tried measuring the cases but they all came out about the same and I could see no pattern.

    Then I blacked the case up with a marker pen and chambered it and this showed me where the problem was happening. I concluded that even though I had plenty of lube on the necks and so on it seemed that my die was causing the shoulder/body junction to be pushed out slightly. I changed die and the problem was solved.

    Like you I use a Lee collet die for neck sizing and I find that, especially at first, it was hard to get consistent neck tension. I give the handle of the press a good strong squeeze and then turn the brass and do it again. My neck tensions now seem fairly consistent.

    I will attach a photo of the blackened case to see if it might help you a little:

  9. #9
    As a newcomer to reloading my advice would be to, as has already been offered, get some over to your place and spend a couple of hours going over the basics. I tried to go it alone with much help from this site, Muir in particular, but to put that help into practice you really need to seen it done.
    Anyway, enjoy the experience.

  10. #10
    Took the full length die apart last night. The centre post was crudded up with old lube, so maybe that was part of the problem. I gave it a good clean and re-assembled it. I lubed a few cases up properly, paying particular attention to the inside of the nexk and tried again. The results were much better, still a little tight but no worse than some factory ammo.

    I still can't get the neck sizing die to tighten the neck up as much as I think it should. I would obviously prefer to neck size only when possible as it is much quicker, cleaner and easier.

    Thanks for all the help so far, I think, Muir, you were on the money about the lubing.

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