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Learning to neck turn

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Unread 09-15-2004, 07:37 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Burley, Idaho
Posts: 1
Learning to neck turn

I'm just learning to neck turn. How do you know how much to take off???
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Unread 09-15-2004, 12:32 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 896
Re: Learning to neck turn

first of all if you are turning necks for a
factory chamber or SAAMI spec. I would recommend just turning enough to make them uniform but if you are turning necks for a tight neck chamber I would recommend .002-.003 under neck dimension. I have turned too .001 but every once in awhile you will get one that doesn't chamber.
without God their is no hope for this country
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Unread 09-15-2004, 02:19 PM
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Re: Learning to neck turn


I tell my customers to follow these steps. This for turning to fit a tight necked chamber.

Take a fired case from your chamber. Measure the expanded neck diameter, say for example you have a 6mm-06 with a fired neck diameter of .2755".

Now take a dumby round loaded with the bullet you have decided to try. With this bullet loaded in an empty, unprimed case, measure the neck diameter with a seated bullet.

Say that measurement comes out to .2750".

Basically you have 0.0005" total clearance for your case to release the bullet on firing. Total clearance is not the real figure we want to look at, we want to know how much actual distance will be between the bullet and the case when fired.

To find this you simply divide the total clearance by two and this will give you the actual clearance all around the bullet and case neck when fired.

So in this case it would be 0.00025". Much to tight. As a rule of thumb, the absolute minimum actual clearance youwant is 0.00075" between the bullet and case.

This translates to 0.0015" total clearance. Anything tighter then this will result in possible pressure problems from bullet diameter variations as well as variations in the necks you cut. While small there will be variations.

Like I said, I believe this is the absolute tightest you should have.

I much prefer to have 0.001" clearance on each side of the bullet and on big game rifles 0.0015" to 0.00175" is preferred as hunting bullets are generally not held to the strict tolerances of match bullets.

If you have to remove alot of brass, remember that you will get more accurate cuts if you take off a little at a time. This will depend onteh turning tool you have but I prefer to take off 0.00075" to 0.001" at the most per cut. Makes for a much more accurate case neck.

If you are just turning your necks to improve concentricity and neck tension from load to load. Find the thinnest neck in the lot of brass you have. Use some common sense here. IF you have 500 rounds of brass and 475 of them are 0.015" thick or more in teh neck but there are a couple that are 0.012" thick. DO NOT TRIM THE ENTIRE LOT TO 0.0115" to true all of them up.

USe the thin necked cases for sight in loads or something else. This will save you hours on teh bench as well as save on your turning tool as well.

When you do turn jsut for better consistancy, take off, 0.0005" at a time. Remember that there will be 0.0005" taken off both side for a total of 0.001" off the total diameter of the neck.

Only cut enough to jsut true up the case necks.

If you take off to much with a SAAMI spec neck, you will actually negatively effect the accurcy of your load because the neck will be very loose. Only take off enough to true the neck up and thats it.

Also, if you make the neck to thin in a standard chamber, you will increase the work hardening of the case neck as a result of the greater stretching on firing and necking down when resizing. This will result in premature case neck splitting.

Something youreally do not what when you jsut spent all that time carefully turning your necks.

Hope this helps some,

Good Shooting!!!

Kirby Allen(50)
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

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Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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Unread 09-16-2004, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Wallaroo, South Australia
Posts: 201
Re: Learning to neck turn


Fifty Driver as always provided excellent advice on neck turning, and 30 years ago, wish I had him to give advice, when like you I embarked on turning necks for the first time.

However, there is one aspect which doesn't seem to have been mentioned, and hopefully it might prevent you getting caught like I did when neck turning my cases on my .22/284 in 1972, and later with my .224 Clark in 1988.

I believe that you should measure the dimensions of the case neck after sizing the case with both/either the neck sizing die and full length sizing die.

The danger is that you might (like I did the first time with both the 22/284 and .224 Clark) take off too much brass in cleaning up the neck, and then find that the sizing die has no effect.

This creates the situation where you have no neck tension, and the bullet after seating will slide up down the neck. I have learnt from experience that hundreds of grains of powder are a nightmare to remove from the chamber when in the field.

If you find that sizing die does not work after turning the case necks to give the desired clearance of about .001 per side (as Fifty Driver mentioned), then apart from taking off less brass, you will have to get a die custom made to fit your circumstances.

As an example, I now do the following measurements with the case necks on each rifle that I own so that I know what is happening. The measurements of the case necks (Remington) on my 22/250 AI after using an RCBS neck sizing die:
Diameter without expander ball- .2465
Diameter with expander ball - .2515
Diameter of loaded case neck- .2530
Diameter of fired case neck - .2555

Although I am not turning the case necks on this rifle, if I did, obviously I would not want to turn then under .1375 inch thickness or the neck sizing die would not work with the expander ball in place.

Good luck, and hope the above helps. Regards, Brian.
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Unread 09-16-2004, 06:38 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 806
Re: Learning to neck turn

Isn't that what they make bushing dies for?

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Unread 09-16-2004, 06:44 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 1,104
Re: Learning to neck turn

What I do is divide neck into quarters and measure each and whatever is the smallest thats what I turn the necks to. Sinclair Int will say if only difference is .001 no need to turn necks of course that is on a factory rifle. I use only bushing type dies so I'm more concerned with neck tension than most. I've never found a hard and fast rule on neck turning for a factory rifle except don't cut more than the thinness side. If my high side was .016 low was .014 I turn my neck .0141. I also use a feeler gauge to set my neck turner and have some over sized mandels from Sinclair sure help from having the neck binding on the turner even using wax. I also use two neck turner one for the first and another for the final and have found the Hart and Pumkin best for the final and Sinclair and K&M for the first. Holland shooting supply makes a pretty nice ball mike for the necks can measure all the way down. Don't know what caliber you are turning for but after firing and see what that measurement is might want to try some nickle case they have alittle thicker neck I've got a 22-250AI and 6mmremAI and found some nickle case and have almost made a tight neck out of those case. One of the most important thing to remember on turning necks you will increase the flow of brass up the neck and get the (dreaded donut)so need to get an inside neck reamer and do that from time to time. Most tight neck rifles are between .008/.010 neck thickness and that cover from the 22,6mm,6.5 and 30 cal. I started turning neck in that late 70's for some Br rifles and the equipment sure has gotten better. Well good luck.
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Unread 09-11-2009, 03:24 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 27
Re: Learning to neck turn

Start by only taking off .001 or .002 at the most. Taking off to much can result in the case neck spliting after firing or low neck pressure when you resize the fired case. Remember to use a case neck thickest gage and don't be to concerned if the turning does not turn the complete neck most do not. Then check for bullet run-out after seating the bullet and correct as necessary. Remember to turn your necks before trimming as this wiil true up the necks with the cutting head. Hope this helps. Capt kurt
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