FLS belted magnums

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by sjadventures, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. sjadventures

    sjadventures Well-Known Member

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    I know I seen this posted once somewhere but couldn't find it so please bear with me.

    If I understand this right. I take one of my fire formed 300wm belted cases and measure the head space with my little head space gauge thingy and set my FLS die to that measurement and everything should work OK and the head spacing should be correct? Has anyone experiance the bulge I have read about that some say developes right above the belt when you FLS belted magnums after about 3 shootings?
     
  2. trebor

    trebor Member

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  3. sjadventures

    sjadventures Well-Known Member

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    I have already been to that site but not sure yet if that is necessary or not. I have been investigating this issue and so far many have said the collet is not necessary but some claim it is. That is what I am trying to find out. Do you use that collett on belted magnums? Are you affiliated with them in any way?
     
  4. trebor

    trebor Member

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    bulge

    No I'm not affiliated with them at all,I just know it worked on my .300wm.
     
  5. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I am not sure of the question you are asking.

    Head space is the distance from the base to the front of the belt.

    Bulge is just the part immediately in front of the belt being too large in diameter.

    For bulge you can grind off the bottom of your FLS die a little so it goes down further to the shell holder. But it will move your shoulder back by that amount also. If your loads are already over max then you may eat your bolt which will cost a lot of money at the orthodontist.

    For bulge, another trick is to take a spare FLS and cut it off below the shoulder and grind the base down a little. This way it will not move the shoulder but will remove the bulge. It has a few side affects but they are minimal. You will ruin a few hacksaw blades trying to cut the hard steel.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  6. sjadventures

    sjadventures Well-Known Member

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    I haven't ran into the bulge but I have read that a bulge can develope right above the belt on a belted magnum because the FLS die will only go to the belt and no lower. I was just wondering if anyone here who reloads belted magnum have experianced this bulge. The collett die trebor is talking about is suppose to get rid of the bulge and does get good reviews from some but others say it is not necessary. You use the collett die by innovated technolgies after you FLS with your normal die and it is said it will get rid of the bulge without setting the shoulder back. I guess you FLS and set the shoulder back to the desired specs and then you use the collett die to get rid of the bulge but without disturbing your already bumped shoulder. I have several belted mag reloaders tell me though that they don't have any trouble with any bulge by FLS their belted magnums, so I am hesitant to spend $90 on the collett die unless I truly will need it.
     
  7. johnnyk

    johnnyk Well-Known Member

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    SJ,
    I've been shooting the 7mmRM for about 15 yrs and I have never had a problem with that bulge appearing above the belt. I'm not saying it doesn 't happen, just hasn't happened to me.
    Several years back I was fortunate enough to purchase 500 virgin Remington brass for $20.00 at a gun show. The first thing I did was FL resize them all, as I loaded/needed them. I kept them segregated as I shot them. On the next two loadings I only necked sized, some were a tight fit but I shot them anyway. I started over on that brass for a 4th loading (FL resizing again) but traded out rifles. I probably loaded at the higher end (hot) most of the time. That first barrel went south, the brass? they are still sitting in my closet (smoking, lol)!
    No split necks, bulged or separated bases that I've seen from that lot. I saw the IT collet when it first came on the market and thought "I had to have it". I tried my best to talk myself into needing it, but I never could. I measured alot of my brass before and after resizing and decided the die was doing a sufficient job.
    Do you "need" the collet? That's your call. I didn't then and don't now. JohnnyK.
     
  8. Stormrider

    Stormrider Well-Known Member

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    I always figured that I'd buy it if I got to where I needed it. I've never needed it. All my brass works just fine.
     
  9. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    Ok, sjad, you have good questions. This is "Reloading 201, Beyond the Basics" stuff.

    First, that "bulge" above the belt; people who have a minimum tolerance chamber and a max tolerance sizer may have difficulty chambering rounds that have been reloaded several times because that bulge becomes swells too large. If that's the case, the fancy collet body sizer will help but so will a less expensive modified FL sizer, as Buffalobob describes. More info on this in the closing note below.

    Understand that if your rifle chamber and the die fit is proper, neither the $80 collet die nor a modified sizer is needed.

    Second, to get your headspace right, ignore both the belt AND the conventional "touch the shell holder with the bottom of the die" instructions for adjustment. For best case fit and longer case life, you need to adjust the die down only far enough to set the shoulder back 2 or 3 thousanths.

    To do that, first adjust the die down conventionally and then back it OUT a quarter turn (that being about .018" high). Then fully size a fired case and try to chamber it; it shouldn't go easily, if at all. Now, turn the die down in tiny 1/32th turn steps (NO MORE!), that being about 2 1/4 thousants per step, and repeat the test fit. It probably still won't go at first. Keep this up until you can close the bolt with little or no resistance, your choice, and go no further.

    Lock the die ring so you don't have to repeat the adjustment and do the rest of your loading normally. And always use this method to adjust any FL sizer for any bottle neck case; belted, rimmed or rimless.

    Using an RCBS Precision Case Mic, Stoney Point or some other tool to measure the head to shoulder length of fired and sized cases is somewhat easier but no more accurate than using your rifle's chamber as a gage for your sizing progression.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    ** Personal Notes on modifying a FL sizer for belted case bulges:

    I don't think you will be able to cut any case hardened sizer with a conventional hacksaw. But, I have drilled out the forward part of a die with an inexpensive (Walmart) 1/2" carbide masonary type drill bit.

    I found a .300 magnum FL sizer for $2 at a garge sale and took it home. Took out the top guts and clamped it upside down in my drill press vise and drilled clear through the die, entering from the bottom. That removed a short section of the body and ALL of the shoulder/neck portion. Then I chucked up a short section of 3/8" dowel with 400 grit black sand paper snuggly wrapped around it to smooth the drilled section.

    Now I use the modified die to size down the dreaded case bulge on most belted mag cases easily without moving the shoulder at all, no expensive collet die needed!

    Well, it almost worked. On one set of cases I still needed to grind off just a few thousants of the bottom (maybe .003"?). After that it worked fine to restore normal case diameter just above the belt on everything I've tried it on.

    I see other FL sizer dies standing alone on ebay from time to time> Some are too expensive for this mod, some are not. But it's fun to do things different, still get the job done right and save money too! :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  10. Charles B

    Charles B Well-Known Member

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    I load two belted mags and have not seen the bulge yet. When it does I'll consider the IT sizer, but until then I'll neck size until the case needs the shoulder bumped back and then I'll FL size.

    Boomtube explains it better. We were both posting at the same time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2008
  11. sjadventures

    sjadventures Well-Known Member

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    By this your meaning after it touches the shell holder screw it back in 1/4 turn so it doesn't touch? I have the Hornady Head Space gauge with the comparator. Good info boomtube.
     
  12. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    I never full length size anything including belted magnums. I use Lee Collet dies and all it does is size the neck. I never bump shoulders. My brass seem to live forever. I load for 257Wby, 7mm Rem Mag, 300Wby this way. On the 338-378 I load for I back the die up to partial full length size. If I push my stuff the primer pockets go away long before I ever get a neck sized case that won't rechamber.
     
  13. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    This is correct and this is the only time I have run into the problem.


    I never lie, but sometimes I do not divulge all of my secrets at once. To cut a die with a hacksaw you need to get a notch started with a bench grinder. It seems to soften the steel as well as help get the blade started. The soft blue blades won't do anything, you need the expensive silver ones.

    P.S.

    The rule I follow about headspacing is with a minimum SAAMI chamber, I headspace on the belt. With a sloppy loose chamber I headspace on the shoulder. You will duly notice that I never win any competition shooting events so my advice might not be anything to follow.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  14. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    Buff - "I never lie, but sometimes I do not divulge all of my secrets at once. To cut a die with a hacksaw you need to get a notch started with a bench grinder. It seems to soften the steel as well as help get the blade started. The soft blue blades won't do anything, you need the expensive silver ones."

    I didn't mean to imply that you lie, just that it's virtually impossible to cut case hardened steel with anything other than a carbide tool or a grinder.

    Your explaination makes sense, what I suspect you are doing with the grinder is getting below the hardened surface and into the "soft" steel below it. Then, a GOOD hacksaw blade has a chance! I haven't tried that but it seems likely that your success is due to the saw teeth lifting and breaking away the brittle cased skin in small bits after a start has been made. Still, that's hard to do I'd bet!

    Drilling a case hardened die with a cheap carbide masonary bit in a drill press works quiet well.

    But now, I wonder if one of those carbide hacksaw blades, the coated steel wire type that's sold for cutting ceramic tile, would also work to cut cased steel. ?? If anyone knows, sing out, please!