Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Reloading

Reloading Techniques For Reloading


Reloading belted cartridges

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-13-2011, 05:58 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 865
Re: Reloading belted cartridges

Originally Posted by larrywillis View Post
4xforfun .......

You're right about not pushing the FL die too far down on a case. However, there's no benefit at all to having a belt on ANY case except the H&H Magnums. In fact, due to "newbe" reloading techniques they can be more dangerous to reload than non-belted calibers.

Here's why:

Belted magnum handloads absolutely MUST headspace on the shoulder - never the belt. The fact that belted magnums will always have a belt to rely on is meaningless, because if the shoulder is pushed back too far the fired case expands to fill the chamber, and the case gets stretched.

So what?

Case stretching is repeated at every firing, and it soon makes the case paper thin just above the belt. (That's what causes headspace separations.)

What makes belted calibers different?

Factory loads always headspace on the belt. If you compare one of your fired cases to a factory round, you'll see that the shoulder has to stretch -.020" to .030" when it's fired. That's quite a stretch! Especially when you consider that this always happens on the very first firing. Belted cases are already seriously weakened.

What can you do about that?

You can limit future case stretching by accurately measuring the exact clearance "at the shoulder" that YOUR handloads have in YOUR particular chamber. Then bump the shoulder -.001" to -.002" at the most.

What I recommend ...

I recommend using the Digital Headspace Gauge. It works on ALL different calibers, and it needs no special bushings or extra attachments to operate, and it reduces case run-out. Your brass will last longer, and you'll never see a headspace separation.

Good Shooting,
Larry Willis
Every new piece of belted brass ever made headspaced off of the belt when new. So no, belted manums do not absolutely need to headspace off of the sholder. Is it better to headspace off of the sholder? YES. Does brass last longer when it is headspaced off of the sholder? That is a HELL YES!!!
The fact that a belted case with the sholders pushed way to far back will headspace on the belt....the fact that the case will strech and blow out to conform to the chamber is my point......It doesn't create excessive bolt thrust that can be dangerous....all that happens is the casses stretch. Everytime I fireform for my dasher I am blowing out and streaching brass.

You are right...there is no bennifit (other than stated above) to have a belted case...I never said that there was.

But there aren't any accuracy drawbacks, either.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2011, 07:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Casselberry, FL
Posts: 190
Re: Reloading belted cartridges

4xforfun .........

Actually there is something that happens when rifle cases stretch too far. The brass soon gets paper thin, and headspace separations occur. In fact, this happens quite often, and it can happen with almost ANY rifle cartridge - including your Dasher.

The first firing is especially tough on belted magnum calibers because of the excessive shoulder clearance with factory loads, but these cases always survive the first firing when the brass is still soft and maliable.

However, repeated loadings with excessive shoulder bump will stretch, harden, and thin the brass.

Case stretching leads to headspace separation.

From an article on: www.larrywillis.com

This picture shows a belted case that had the shoulder bumped a bit too far back, and it was loaded three times. This case had no signs of wear on the outside, but as you can see the wear begins on the inside of the case. The next firnig would rip this case apart.

What I'm saying is this is "case stretching should be avoided as much as possible, and your cases will last a whole lot longer."

Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 11:03 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 865
Re: Reloading belted cartridges


We seem to agree on everything....except....

Let me ask you a question. What is the worst case senarieo when a 30 06 is handloaded with the sholder pushed way to far back and fired? Worst case.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 12:25 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Casselberry, FL
Posts: 190
Re: Reloading belted cartridges

4xforfun .......

Well .... as you know the 30/06 is not a belted magnum, and that's what this thread is about.

"What's the worst thing that could happen if a 30/06 shoulder was bumped back too far?"

That depends .....

--- It is possible that the blow from a 30/06 firing pin might be absorbed if the case was allowed to be pushed forward into the chamber. The rifle might not fire. I guess a wounded bear might want to eat some unlucky hunter that was unable to take a follow-up shot.
(NOTE) Due to the extremely shallow shoulder angle on the 300 H&H Magnum, it became one of the first belted cases, and its belt was designed to stop forward movement of the case to ensure reliable ignition.

--- If a 30/06 shoulder was pushed back too far on the FIRST or second firing, everything would probably be just fine, because unlike belted magnum calibers, the 30/06 factory ammo has a far tighter shoulder clearance than any belted magnum caliber. (Most shooters are not aware of this.)

--- However, when the chamber clearance (at the shoulder) of a 30/06 is repeatedly pushed back too far at each reloading, the brass becomes thinner, brittle and weak enough to get ripped in half when fired. That's a headspace separation that can blast hot chamber pressure gases to back through the action into a shooter's face.

I'll bet we both agree on this information.
Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 03:46 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 865
Re: Reloading belted cartridges

I gotta ask.....this may sound like a stupid question...especialy coming from a guy who has been reloading for a million years....Does excessive headspace...really excessive.....cause bolt thrust problems? I have always been under the impression that this was a "worst case" senarieo......a blown up gun. I understand all about the case seperation...I have had and seen enough of them, due to repeatedly bumping the sholder to much.

Again...sorry for the dumb question....but i may be arguing about something that does not happen.

If that is the case...the.....NEVERMIND!!!
Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 04:26 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Casselberry, FL
Posts: 190
Re: Reloading belted cartridges

4xforfun .......

This is an excellent question to better understand the importance of correct headspace and the effect from not limiting shoulder clearance.

Bolt thrust is caused by a glazed finish on the chamber wall, or by failing to remove all resizing lube from your handloads . . . . or by an actual case head separation.

When fired, the whole case expands. This forces the largest surface of your case (the body) tight against the chamber wall as it grips and seals the chamber with the full chamber pressure inside the the case. That limits most of the rearward force on your bolt . . . . that is . . . . unless a weakened case separates when it's fired.

- Larry
Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2011, 07:06 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 865
Re: Reloading belted cartridges

Good enough.......

Like I said...I know all about the causes and effects of case head seperation.....OK...not ALL, but lots. Looks like I was all wet on the bolt thrust thing.....My bad.

So.... I will have to fall back on your wounded bear theory....the belted magnum goes BANG, and the non-belted case is desert after the bear eats you!!!.

The belted Mag wins.....The bear looses!!!
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads for: Reloading belted cartridges
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Belted magnums reloading, from scratch Nvhunter Reloading 39 08-11-2009 10:33 PM
Belted Magnum Cartridges Slopeshunter Rifles, Bullets, Barrels and Ballistics 10 11-08-2006 06:08 AM
Reloading belted mags. cjp45 Reloading 16 02-28-2006 08:17 AM
Seating depth for boat tail bullets in belted magnum cartridges Lee in OH Rifles, Bullets, Barrels and Ballistics 4 04-07-2003 03:59 PM
Belted case versus beltless case cartridges Len Backus Rifles, Bullets, Barrels and Ballistics 0 05-02-2001 10:37 PM

Current Poll
How Many Different Cartridges Do You Reload For?
ZERO, all factory ammo - 7.99%
350 Votes
1 - 2.79%
122 Votes
2 or 3 - 14.52%
636 Votes
4 or 5 - 20.37%
892 Votes
6 or 7 - 14.87%
651 Votes
8 or 9 - 8.65%
379 Votes
10 or more - 30.81%
1,349 Vote
Total Votes: 4,379
You may not vote on this poll.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:40 PM.

Powered by vBulletin ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Management Powered by vBadvanced CMPS
All content ©2010-2014 Long Range Hunting, LLC