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Optimal neck tension for hunting

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Unread 05-25-2009, 03:17 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
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Re: Optimal neck tension for hunting

Originally Posted by Buffalobob View Post
I am not any expert on competition shooting nor annealing. I have only been annealing since Kirby told me I had to do it with the 7AM. I made the video to get practice with the video camera and to show how easy annealing is. I expected that there were a lot of people like me who had avoided it most of their lives. I managed for a lot of years by the old fashioned method of "shoot it until the case neck splits". Having split my share of case necks in my life, I recognize the symptoms.

I do not know anything about custom chamber dies and how they will stack up against regular dies and annealing.

I know that a Lee neck die and a Redding body die with regular annealing produces very good results with good brass and good bullets. You can check the runout numbers and if they are good then you will get good groups. I also know that with proper care in setting up the die you can get good results with a FL die with an expander ball but you need to spend time on setting up the die. If ones objectives are to kill some animals at long range then that is very doable without custom dies. I do not think I have any bushing dies but there are plenty of people who kill plenty of animals at long range using them.
I am by no means an expert either, not by any stretch. I see some guys annealing with good results and some that dont with good results. It would seem to make sense that annealing would lead to longer case neck life. But if I can figure how to do it well without annealing, that would be my preference.

He also mention tightly machined neck chambers which would reduce the expansion of the neck when fired which would reduce the stress from expansion and then resizing.

I may run a little experiment and shoot one or two cases multiple times without annealing and with annealing until I see them wear out.
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Unread 05-25-2009, 04:10 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 1,101
Re: Optimal neck tension for hunting

Many years ago Fred Huntington (RCBS)wrote an article on case life. He took two Win and two Rem cases fl sized using 58gr/IMR-4350 with 150gr bullet @ 2895fps in a factory Win model 70 30-06.

One Rem case split at 36 firing other 52. One win case split 50th firing other 55. Article is in P.O. Ackley book vol 11 page 79.

If you need .002 or .004 neck tension you have to turn neck to get those # or is the varation in neck thickness not figured in. If your not turn neck thicknes to get .002/.004 tension what are the + - numbers?
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Unread 05-26-2009, 01:22 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: South Africa
Posts: 422
Re: Optimal neck tension for hunting

This is how most people express it - in my understanding.

You can measure the loaded round (OD). The amount by which the sized case is less than that (OD) is the "tension". You need to measure to determine how much you are geting; IMHO measuring is what relaoding is about, otherwise we are just feeling around in the dark. Having baselines on things helps you get back to the root cause when things suddenly all go to pieces and you wondered what the hang changed?! A bit of measuring can help you. (My bad habit is to try changing two variables at once! That doesn't help much.). So while one can guess how much springback you'll get, say 1 thou etc., you really need to measure it to know. And as brass hardens over time that will change too.

To achieve the desired tension you can use appropriately sized bushings (in a bushing die) or have sizing dies honed to the correct internal dimensions. Yes, neck wall thickness does influence this as it is the internal dimension that determines neck tension finally. If you have die with an expander that passes through the inside of the neck last, then that determines the ID diemsnion. In that case neck wall thickness does not determine tension. (Although I still think it may have an effect on release of the bullet, but I've no experience with which to back that up).

The thing is that as the necks harden as they are worked and springback changes, the bushings that got you X tension before will now get you Y. Annealing helps with this (although I still need to learn enough to say that I've got it fully worked out).

That said, I haven't experimented with neck tensions. I 've loaded as little as 2 thou and as much as 4thou in my 300 WM and a few in between, all with good results.

I've certainly found anything that finally sizes from the inside to be more consistent - why? Probably because the neck wall thickness is then less of an issue. I've turned necks and sized with bushing dies with success too.

My results are currently as good as the best they've ever been and I'm using a Lee Collett die. I have done a very slight neck turn as well. It's not even 50%, I just touched off the high spots on the necks, which are sorted WW.

I'm sure their are guys with way more experience and knowledge who will chip in and there are lots of previous posts (which is where I got started).

Last edited by LRHWAL; 05-26-2009 at 01:31 AM. Reason: Added some detail
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