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Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

 
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  #1  
Old 04-14-2006, 06:44 PM
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Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

I decided to get a headspace gauge so that I could see just how far the shoulders were moving foward and how far the Redding body die was setting them back. Rifle is chambered in 7STW. Here is what I noticed:

New Rem 8mm mag cases = 2.448"
Cases fired several times = 2.468"
Cases after being run through the body die adjusted tight to the shellholder = 2.458"

Not sure where all this leaves me. Anyone else take these measurements on their 7STW?
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2006, 06:29 AM
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Re: Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

Where it leaves you depends on a few other things.

The case is supposed to headspace on the belt. There's only .003-inch spread between GO and NO-GO headspace gages for H&H belted cases. It's been my experience that such belted cases produce best consistant accuracy if the shoulder is set back at least .005-inch but not more than .010-inch to ensure the case headspaces on that belt. Case life will be shortened somewhat by doing this but accuracy sure improves.

If your cases have a tiny step in front of the belt where the body (or full-length) sizing die stops reducing fired case diameter, that step may interfere with the chamber at the same place when the cartridge is loaded. That interference can cause accuracy problems. When I use cases with that step in them, they don't shoot as accurate as new H&H belt type cases. Many other folks notice the same thing.

Few if any body or full-length sizing dies reduce fired case diameter immediately in front of the belt enough to eliminate that step. There's a collet die from www.larrywillis.com that does the trick perfectly. And it'll work on most other H&H type of belted cases.

It's been my observation that belted cases shoot most accurate when all of their body diameters are resized back to almost their original dimensions except for neck diameters which can be adjusted for tension on the bullet. Shoulders should be set back enough to ensure the case headspaces on the belt and not the shoulder.
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Old 04-15-2006, 02:05 PM
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Re: Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

Bart, do you know if dies from Larry are anywhere to be found? I spoke with him a while back and he said the dies were currently not being produced.
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Old 04-15-2006, 02:24 PM
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Re: Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

Thanks Bart - I've got to spend a bit more time taking these measurements into account while observing their effects on accuracy.
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Old 04-15-2006, 03:29 PM
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Re: Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

[ QUOTE ]
Bart, do you know if dies from Larry are anywhere to be found? I spoke with him a while back and he said the dies were currently not being produced.

[/ QUOTE ]I don't know if they're available. But you can make one like I did years ago back in the 1960's when folks first learned about solving the problem.

Get a full-length sizing die for an H&H belted cartridge that has the same body taper per inch, then toss its decapping rod and what's attached to it. A used one's cheap and works just fine. Then modify it as follows:

1. Cut off the bottom of the die about 1/8th inch above the die's belt clearance recess. The die's inside diameter at that point should be a few thousandths of an inch smaller than a new belted case's diameter immediately in front of the belt; about .510-inch.

2. Then cut the top of the die off just below the shoulder. Now you've got a body sizing die ready to finish.

3. Square up both ends of this body-sizing die then polish them smooth.

4. Slightly radius the inside edge at the bottom and top so it won't scrape brass off a cartridge case as a lubed case goes into and out of the die.

Here's how this body die's used.

1. Full-length size your fired belted cases to set the shoulder back several thousandths of an inch. Don't remove the case lube on them.

2. Remove the full-length sizing die from the press and replace it with your new body sizing die. Screw this die down into the press only a few turns.

3. Put a still-lubed full-length sized case in the shell holder and raise the ram to the top. We'll call this case a pre-sized case.

4. Screw down the body die until it starts to size the pre-sized case a bit. Note the distance the bottom of the body die is above the belt in the pre-sized case.

5. Lower the ram, screw the body down about one more turn, then raise the ram again noting how close the top of the belt comes to the bottom of the body sizing die.

6. Repeat step 5 several times but screw the body die down less until its bottom just clears the belt by a couple thousandths of an inch. Using a magnifying glass may help here.

Note: The objective is to size the case body all the way to the belt; not stop some distance above it. If this body die doesn't size case diameter right in front of the belt to the same as a new case, then you need to cut off a bit more and radius the body die's bottom.

7. When the body die's set, lock it into place.

8. Double-size the rest of your pre-sized cases and you're done.
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  #6  
Old 04-15-2006, 06:45 PM
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Re: Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

One other thing that I noticed:

New Rem cases measured .505" just ahead of the belt
Fired cases measured .515"-.516" just ahead of the belt
Cases sized in Redding body die measured .513" just ahead of the belt. I could not reduce the diameter any more with die adjustment.

Based on my measurements, new Rem brass is quite a bit smaller than my chamber and smaller than my dies will return it to, if there was a desire to do that.
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2006, 10:37 AM
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Re: Stoneypoint Headspace gauge

Every chamber is different so trying to compare measurements is meaningless. The new brass measurement also means nothing. Your fired brass verses you chamber measurement are the ones that matter. If you dead set on bumping the shoulders back then I would only go a .001-.002 under your actual chamber size. The farther you set them back the quicker you will have a head separation. My dad was big on full length sizing and he would have a separation between 3 to 5 firing on his 7 Mag. It drove him crazy if our handloads wouldn't interchange between our two 7Mags. To deal with it he just threw them away after the 3rd firings.

Once I moved out I now call the shots. All my rifles shoot best with fired formed brass. On belted cases I just ignore the belt. I have belted brass with over 20 firings and they don't ever get tight due to the belt. I haven't bumped a shoulder back in 15+ years. I use Lee Collet dies on everything I can. The only thing they touch is the neck. If you feel you must bump a shoulder back I would do it by feel, just only bumping enough to get them to chamber decent. If your bolt is closing hard you might be a little high on operating pressure. Even my Weatherby's that have very little camming action close easy. A Stoney Point guage head space guage is a novel toy but I have never felt the need for one.
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