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Need some very quick help on shortening case bodies

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Unread 05-22-2008, 01:58 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: WA
Posts: 38
Need some very quick help on shortening case bodies

Hi all,

Hey, so the cartridge I spoke about is moving along (behind schedule unfortunately) for the rifle I am planning to take to Africa next month for plains game. As a review, it's based on a shortened 300 WSM case, necked down to 6.5mm and shortened to an overall case length of 1.825 while maintaining the 35 degree shoulder and the standard body taper.

The only wildcat case forming experience I have is making a case larger by fire forming with inert filler to get less body taper & a steeper shoulder angle, and not shortening a case body like I need to do on this one.

I got the forming die (a single die) from the smith tonight.

Here's the problem; I went to start forming cases tonight and lo and behold, when I try to push the shoulder back the necessary .300", it just collapses the case body about and 1/8 of an inch farther down the body. The shoulder just seems to not want to budge! What am I doing wrong?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I looked through Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges (Ken Howell) as well as Wildcat Cartridges 1 and 2 tonight, but can't figure it out. I only have a matter of weeks left and am desperate to get this setup working if at all possible in time!
Scott L.

Last edited by scottl0000@hotmail.com; 05-22-2008 at 01:59 AM. Reason: (Needed to subscribe my email for responses)
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Unread 05-22-2008, 08:41 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,876
Sounds like you're in a bit of a bind.;)

I have the same problem when I misadjust my sizing die and set the shoulder back on the AM cartridge. A wrinkle appears just below the shoulder.

In your situation the shoulder "has" to be pushed back. So: first try resizing wax, just light amount, and go slowly. If this doesn't improve the situation you may wish to anneal the cases to below where the shoulder is going to be.

I'm no expert with this. Suggestions are what I would attempt until....... I usually learn I took the wrong fork in the road a ways back .
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 05-22-2008, 10:37 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: WA
Posts: 38
Thanks! So far I've been using Imperial (now RCBS I think bought them) sizing wax, which has worked great for general resizing work in the past. But again, I've not done this sort of operation. Annealing: ugh, I was hoping to avoid that primarily because Ken Light has been behind on the annealer I and the smith I'm using had ordered... and time until Africa is down to under a month. Sounds like that may be the answer though...

Love to hear any/all other suggestions as time is of the essence right now and I'd really, really like to take this gun to Africa if at all possible.

Scott L.
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Unread 05-22-2008, 11:06 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,232
Roy is right about annealing the brass first but dont go past the finished length
of the sholder (This will help support the sizing process)

The reason it's collapsing the sholder is that it sounds like the die is also
sizing the neck at the same time,this normally wont work.

Two ways that might work, Find some 270 WSM brass and try them(Same size body
as the 300 WSM but a much smaller neck.

The other is to shorten a 300 WSM die by the same amount as the sholder reduction
in length so your only moving the sholder then use you wildcat dies to finish the necks
"NOTE" you may have to trim the necks some before the final sizing step.

Ether way it will take two sizing steps to get you there ( Size the body and then size
the the necks and then trim to length.(3 Steps)

Some wildcats require 4 sizing steps.

And use lots of sizing lube but take the expander ball assembly out so it want trap
the lube and cause dimpling ,plus you will want to clean the dies when you are
through with each step.

After I posted I saw that you needed help with the annealing. It's easy hears how I do it.

1=Talk your wife or girlfrend out of a cake pan about 2'' deep.
2=Fill with water up to the level you want the annealing to stop.
3=Place 10 or 12 pieces of brass in the water standing with the necks up.
4=Take a propane torch and heat each case neck until it changes color(not red hot).
5=as soon as it changes color take a nail/stick and knock it over in the water.
6=Repeat untill done.

I hope this will help

Last edited by J E Custom; 05-22-2008 at 11:22 AM.
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Unread 05-22-2008, 02:34 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 338
Scott, I have done pretty much the same process that you are attempting but with a full 300 RUM case. You cannot move the shoulder back .300 with one form die, annealed or not!! My form die set has three form dies and a full length sizing die.The shoulder must be pushed back in stages from the outside so there is someplace for the brass to flow to. The third die gives you the new neck ( thats about 1/2" too long )which needs to be cut off and requires inside neck reaming at that point to get rid of the Donut at the neck shoulder junction. Now you anneal and full length size, trim to length and neck turn. The necks need to be turned because of all the added brass that flows in during the forming process. 300 WSM brass is already very thick in the neck before you even started the forming. About .018 to .020 I beleive.

GG once posted a pic of the steps in forming my 7mmrhb wildcat on LRH but I don't have the skills to go locate it. Maybe someone can retrieve the pics for you but it won't help you solve your own problems if you're in need of quick help as you've stated. Good luck----7mmRHB
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Unread 05-22-2008, 03:15 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Arkansas (Home of Record)
Posts: 1,945
No experience here but just a question/comment or two. Why shorten the cases instead of just necking the WSM case down? Send it back and have him run the reamer in to WSM specs. Why not make a cartridge by just necking up the WSSM case? Sounds easier, but as stated I have no experience with this.
Courage is just fear that has said it's prayers.

The people trying to say the 2nd Amendment is outdated are probably the same folks that would say the same thing about the Bible.
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Unread 05-22-2008, 03:24 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: on the rifle range in Utah
Posts: 2,704
Here it is:

And a pic of the 7mmrhb next to the 300 ultra:
Find it
Range it
Click it
Pull it
Dump it

If it's not far, it's boring.
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