Need some professional advice guys! I've heard that some benchrest shooters only resize the the first 1/8" of the neck for better bullet to bore alignment. I've tried this by pulling the expander ball assembly out of my full length die and gauging 1/8" by feel in the press stroke. I've measured a .002" tighter neck than I normally get by leaving the expander ball in. Has anyone tried this and what were your results??
I shoot benchrest, and never heard that. In the first place, your bullet needs more bearing surface than 1/8" to stabilize. Many BR shooters full length size each loading. Many use the Wilson sizer die with an arbor press, which will neck size down about 2/3rds of the neck. This is what I use and is very common.
I have experienced this, particularly with RCBS FL and NS non bushing type dyes. These dyes will oversize the neck on the downstroke of he press, then, using the expander on the upstroke, bring the neck up to a larger size. This can be .002-004". The bigger issue is that unless the stem is perfectly straight, you can get high runout. It also overworks the neck requiring frequent annealing and shorter case life. I have found that partial neck sizing is best accomplished with the competition, bushing type dyes, with a micrometer adjustment for neck sizing. The other alternative is to have a custom dye made. With my hunting and tactical competition rifles I generally don't partial size my necks other than leaving about 1/16th or a little less of an inch of unsized neck measured from the shoulder, and rarely use an expander. I get good accuracy, little runout, and good case life using this approach.IMO.
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What are you shooting? As you note, that's a BR method (and not a lot of them do it) so if you have a BR rig, try it. But, my guess is you have a factory rifle and are a new reloader. If so, forget necksizing at all and FL size normally, that will do just as well - or better - for you.
I am new to reloading, and love it. What a great past time and sense of pride in creating a load for your own rifle. What is annealing? I don't shoot benchrest but am very particular in creating as accurate a load as possible and doing all that's necessary to accomplish that. I weight sort my brass and bullets, use a micrometer when needed and have been able to put 9 out of ten shots with one particular load inside an inch at 100yds off a bench. Is neck turning as important as some people say it is? Thanks for all the input guys! I'll take all the advice I can get Oh, and I shoot a Browning A-Bolt in .270 Win