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Reloading Berger Bullets


precison reloading questions

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Unread 02-21-2009, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 181
precison reloading questions

i have been doing a lot of reading and research about these processes, i just cant seem to bring it all together in my mind and my thoughts are not that organized so here i go.
1. so i use my concentricity gauge and it shows i have more runout than i should? am i just sorting this into groups of rounds that are about the same then shooting them in succession? or can i fix it somehow?

2.i have used my bullet comparator to measure my what? is this simply a culling method or again do i group them up and shoot them together?

3.i use my neck neck sorting tool to do what? i know how it works but what do i do with what it tells me ? does turning necks fix this?

4.once i have turned my necks how do i know that the case neck is square or true with the center of the rest of the cartridge? if it is off do i cull the brass or can it be fixed? (i am shooting a .300 dakota so my options are very limited on dies that i can use but i have switched to redding)

5. i have been mostly full length resizing but would like to only size necks but the only dies i can find are full length dies, i know it can be done with these but i am not sure how to set them up , i read that i should just bump the shoulder a thousanth or do i know that i am only bumping it that much

6.once i have turned a case neck is it good for the life of the brass or does it need done every firing?

7. what else am i missing here?
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Unread 02-21-2009, 09:38 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: MN
Posts: 1,219
Re: precison reloading questions

well, I'll give er a go...
1) you use your runout guage to see if your brass necks are centered perfectly with the rest of the case. It seems that new brass other than RWS lapua, norma has some runout prior to being fired the first time. I have found that my runout reduces significantly after I fire the brass and resize it the first time. I use the runout guage to tell me that my test loads have vertually no runout. That way I can always narrow my tests down to one adjustment (such as the amount of powder) at a time. If I am shooting a load that may have the perfect powder primer bullet combination but have runout, they may not group well and I will likely place the blame on the powder charge or whatever it was that I was trying to test on that particular test sequence. Use the guage to varify that your rounds are true. If they are not true, fire those and try again. If your die is giving you runout than it is probably because of the expander ball. I use a fine steel wool to polish the expander ball. it also helps to lube the inside of the case necks.

2) you use the comparator to know exactly where you are seating your bullets and to check to see if your bullet seating practices are producing consistent seating depths. The whole reason for a comparitor is that bullets measured from tip to base may vary a few thousanths, but the ogive to base should be much much closer. Supposedly, the comparitor will touch the ogive of the bullet...the same part that actually contacts the rifling first. I have noticed significant shifts in point of impact when the bullet seating depth varies a few thousandts. I have since been using the comparator a LOT. I also noticed that the amount of force I use in pushing on the press handle while seating bullets will shift the seating depth by a few thousands. I have since then just gently allowed the press to "bottom out" under minimal force. I used to just ram that handle down till it hit, hard usually.

play with your seating depth to check your bullet's "sweet" spot and record it so the next time you load that combination you can just use the comparator to set up to be IDENTICAL to the batch before.

3) I don't sort by neck thickness, not saying it doesn't pay, just that I don't do it. The only thing I can say is that if you turn your necks to a specific thickness that will make all necks the same. However, I think if you would use norma, lapua or even nosler brass you wouldn't need to turn necks ever. Also, if you are mix and matching winchester and remington and federal brass and trying to turn the necks to all match eachother, your wasting your time. Case volume from brand to brand is going to make much more difference than the neck tension IMHO.

4) If you turn your necks and you have zero runout your case neck is square with the rest of the case. BTW runout is in the case neck.

5). IMO the easiest way to set it up is to take a case that has been fired and gives you a slightly sticky bolt lift and measure it using a headspace guage. Then you take that case and start sizing. Start with the sizing die turned out 1 turn and size the case. Measure the case w/ the headspace guage again and if it is still the same length repeat the process turning the die in 1/8 of a turn. repeat until you have the case shrunk by .001 - .002" from what it was when you had a sticky bolt.

If you don't have a headspace guage you can do it by simply chambering your round and using the bolt "stickyness" as a guage. I have noticed that w/ my 300wsm, just prior to actually bumping the shoulder, the case shoulder will bulge forward slightly causing it to not be able to chamber. The sides of the case are being squeezed in a little causeing the shoulder to flex forward. just food for thought... my little experiences ;)

7)neck turning is a once per case job. Necks will not change.

I hope that this helps, Mark.
I used to re-load but now I "hand-load".
-- Well, at least I try --

Last edited by britz; 02-21-2009 at 09:50 PM. Reason: tried to make 1) clearer
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