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Reloading Techniques For Reloading


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Various Questions:

 
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  #1  
Old 08-08-2014, 03:58 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 37
Various Questions:

First, I would like to introduce myself and thank the moderators and old-timers on this board for the opportunity to participate and benefit from your expertise. With me, please assume no knowledge--when I ask for advice, I do not shoot the messenger!


I reloaded, in a very basic way, for a number of years, up until about 1985. Then, about 5 years ago, while I still made pretty good money prior to retirement, I had two custom hunting rifles built, both on 700 actions, blueprinted, with Lilja barrels, and the whole nine yards. The first rifle is a 5 1/2 pound little Mountain rifle, in 300 Winnie, with 23 inch barrel and muzzle brake and a Swarovski 3-10x42 with the BR reticle. So far, I have only used this rifle with factory ammo on dog-sized Texas whitetails. The second, its big brother, so to speak, weighs about 10 pounds without a scope, and is chambered in 300 RUM, with a 27 inch medium heavy barrel, muzzle brake, and Swarovski 3-12X50 with TDS Plex reticle.


At the same time, I bought all the stuff for reloading, someday, with Rockchucker press and mainly Sinclair and Wilson tools--including pretty much all the tools to ensure maximum accuracy. At the time, (genius that I am), I figured I would be able to obtain 300 Winchester brass anytime so I only bought 100 rounds and I recently found 5 pounds of RL22. For the big rifle, I had the foresight to stock up on 600 rounds of Remington brass, several thousand primers (for both rifles), and 15 pounds of RL25.

I am now working my way through the research and reloading process. I would like to discuss only the 300 RUM at this point and pose some questions: To date, I have inspected and weighed 100 rounds of the RUM brass, de-burred the flash holes, and uniformed primer pockets. I was pleasantly surprised that all 100 cases came within .6 percent plus/minus of the average weight of 268.8 grains. Although I have read you should be closer than that for BR, I am thinking for even long-range big game hunting, I should be OK.


I have ordered some factory ammo so I can fire several rounds to get an idea of what the chamber looks like as far as headspace goes. (I have the RCBS Precision Mic tools for both rifles.) My plan is to wait until I can measure these before setting up my die for resizing. This rifle was chambered somewhat tight, (which I understand is not uncommon with custom 300 RUM rifles). So the builder recommended I purchase the small-based Redding resizing die. I did and plan to use that. I also plan to turn necks, using the Sinclair tool preceded by use of the corresponding expander body/arbor.


Question # 1: My thinking is that I should FIRST, run the cases through the expander body/arbor, followed by turning the necks, and THEN do the full-length resizing in the small based die, having removed the expander ball (in order to avoid over-working the neck). Do you agree with this order of battle?


Question # 2: IF the answer to the above question is "yes", will the expansion due to the expander die be sufficient to seat a bullet with proper neck tension without benefit of having had the expander on the sizing die run through the neck?


Question # 3: (Think like a hunter here), would you recommend continuing to use the full-length, small based sizing die on each subsequent reload of the case OR will it be likely enough just to neck size and then run each round into the chamber to make sure it will fit?


I assure you, I will have other questions in the future and thank you in advance for you help.
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2014, 04:55 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: North Central Valley California
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Re: Various Questions:

1. Yes, I would do it in that order to ensure that all of your necks are the same dimension when they are turned. They sometimes come out of the factory with different neck sizing.

2. For the first firing it should not be a factor. For subsequent loading cycles it will of course depend on the neck sizing die you use and the diameter of the mandrel; assuming that you run the sizing die over the necks before running them over the mandrel. I usually do the neck sizing and follow with the mandrel to ensure even neck tension. Even wall thickness, even neck sizing, equals even neck tension.

3. There are several schools of thought on this subject. Fire forming cases and then only setting the shoulder back and neck sizing seems to work in some rifles but most of mine want full resized cases. Frankly, I find it easier to full length resize than to try running cases through the action to see if the fit than to spend the time with that trial and error method because I understand that if they're not a good fit I have to resize them anyway and then I have brass with different body sizes - not a good thing.
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2014, 11:08 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 37
Re: Various Questions:

Thanks, Fearnowind. I went ahead and ran my first two batches of 50 Remington cases through the expander die in preparation for neck turning. I made what I now know to be the stupid mistake of trying to guide the first round up into the mandrel with my fingers--resulting in a horribly deformed case mouth. After I figured that out, everything went smoothly.

So now I will turn the necks but will wait to run the cases through the small based dies until
I can fire some factory ammo to obtain headspace information on my chamber with which to set the sizing die.

Dinky
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  #4  
Old 08-10-2014, 06:04 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 1,338
Re: Various Questions:

I want to offer a few suggestions which I hope will help you. I have been handloading for over 30 years. In the beginning I made many mistakes which cost me money as I ruined my share of brass due to ignorance. I don't know how much you know and offer the following suggestions on what I read in your first post. Please ask questions if I am not lucid enough.

QUESTION 1:

You didn't mention the rifle's chamber neck dimension. I understand that you are tying to make all cases have very similar neck tension by turning the necks, it is just that you may end up shortening the brass life if the chamber's neck dimension is generous. You will then have to reduce the diameter of a fired case's neck to hold a bullet possibly overworking the brass. Turning the necks may shorten the life of the brass.

I suggest you find out what the chamber neck dimension is from the gunsmith. Then measure the outside diameter of a loaded unturned piece of brass to determine if you have sufficient clearance for bullet release. I will bet you do. It is good to KNOW.

Factory brass is usually sized smaller than what you can do with a standard FL sizer die. I see no reason for you to run the virgin brass through the small base die. I wouldn't use the small base die unless I couldn't get the brass to fit properly after trying to size FIRED brass with the standard FL die. Small base dies are usually used for auto loading rifles to ensure they chamber with no resistance. IMO it is a very rare bolt action rifle that needs a small base die.



If you do turn the necks then run the brass into either a standard FL or a small base FL die without a sizer ball you may or may not get you the neck tension you need. I would say the resultant neck tension you will get without a sizer ball will be too much perhaps in the order of .005" or more!

Most FL dies reduce the neck diameter more than necessary then rely on the sizer ball to open up the inside diameter so you end up with proper neck tension. The reason for this method is to be able to size different brands/wall thickness brass. It is possible to turn the necks quite a bit and use a FL sizer without a ball and end up with a useable neck tension but those necks will be very thin. Shoot them in anything but a tight necked chamber and you will split the necks on the first firing. I know because in my early years of shooting I did it.


I reread your first post and am not sure if you have a bushing die. If you turn your necks you will be better served using one to get the neck tension you require. As for sizing the body a separate Redding body die will size the body and shoulder independently from the necks.

Or you can skip the neck turning and use the standard FL die to get the necks ready for loading. You might be pleasantly surprised when your rifle shoots good groups without neck turning. I use a custom reamer for my 300 RUM and I use the RCBS FL die and it shoots fine with unturned Rem brass.

QUESTION 2:

I would say the expander iron used for neck turning will not get you the proper neck diameter for good bullet grip/neck tension. BR guys sometimes use the expander iron as part of the soft seating method something you won't want to use for a hunting rifle. Recoil will very easily move the bullet in the case.

QUESTION 3:

Like I suggested earlier don't use the small base die unless there is a need for it. A properly setup FL die or a body die can size the body and shoulders just enough for the fit you desire. Most hunters like a fit that doesn't require any effort to close the bolt. The adjustment of the die determines this fit. Just don't over size past this adjustment.

Whatever you do don't just set up the FL die or body bump die to kiss the shell holder when you start to size the brass. Instead set the die away from the shell holder size a piece of fired brass and see how it fits the chamber. Progressively adjust the die closer to the shellholder until you get the fit you desire.
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2014, 11:22 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 37
Re: Various Questions:

Thanks, Arizona! I will digest your very thorough reply and will no doubt have some questions. One quick one: in order to ascertain the neck dimension of the chamber, can I just fire a few rounds and then mike the necks and take the average--or does the brass in the neck spring back enough to invalidate that technique?
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  #6  
Old 08-10-2014, 01:18 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 1,338
Re: Various Questions:

There is spring back. Best way to get the chamber neck dimension is to ask the gunsmith who used the reamer to chamber your barrel.
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2014, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 37
Re: Various Questions:

OK, I plan to call the gunsmith tomorrow re neck dimensions. Should I also ask about any other chamber dimensions?

In the mean time, I have made the decision not to neck turn my first batch of reloads. I bought a tubing mike along with all the other stuff I never managed to try out until now. after fiddle-farting around with it for an hour or so, I have concluded that I would rather be burned at the stake than use it! Until I can either afford a Sinclair digital case neck micrometer, I am either going to skip turning altogether or turn everything in a batch.

Comments welcome!
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