Optimal neck tension for hunting

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Kris C, May 18, 2009.

  1. Kris C

    Kris C Member

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    I spoke with Lee today and told them I was having issues with neck tension on some of my loads. The mandrel in ever one of my dies is -.002 less than the caliber. The bullet is seated well but you can push it in if you want by hand. I did a test with loaded rounds in the magazine and one of the rounds in my .257 WB pulled out some. I have used the factory crimp dies and they tear up the case. It needs to be trimmed alot everytime. I got away from using them and I am just concerned with the bullets staying put when in my pack or magazine. I loaded some Bergers today and have spotty tension. I read an article on this site by Jerry Teo that said Lee dies will give you "that 4-5 thousandths of neck tension you need'. So I took the mandrel out of my .280 die and honed it down from .282 to .280. This obviously gives me 4 thousandths neck tension. I cannot move the bullet by hand. This is the same kind of tension I have experienced on factory amo that is crimped in a canelure. Lee said I could hone the die down for more tension but said I should use the crimp die. Seems to me honing it down does the same thing but keeps your brass in better shape. Any feedback??? What do you guys use for neck tension?
     
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    How many times has the brass been fired?

    Are you having trouble with neck tension on once fired brass?

    Is the Lie die catching the shoulder?
     

  3. nheninge

    nheninge Well-Known Member

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    Are you neck turning the brass? Too much neck turning on some cases will decrease neck tension on factory dies. Also, no neck turning at all leads to variance in neck tension. Cases with thin brass will have less tension than cases with thick necks. The goal in consistency. Even if my brass is at 0.002 neck tension, I can't push in the bullet without at least a fair amount of effort. How accurate are your inner and outer case readings? Maybe you really only have 0.001 thou neck tension or less?

    I hate expander balls, and if neck tension is an issue, switch to a bushing die so you control the tension.
     
  4. Kris C

    Kris C Member

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    Brass has been fired 4 times. Not turning the necks. Have not checked the inner diameter. What tool would you use for that? There is a fair amount of effort to seat the bullet now that I took that mandrel down .004. But I don't think too much. No cosmetic effect to the bullet. There is no expander ball. This is a collet that squeezes the neck onto a madrel. I havent them yet to see if there is any difference. I have read on here that 3-4 thou is not that unheard of to keep a bullet seated properly. How much accuracy are we talking here between 2 and 4 thou neck tension? Could this be huge or are we talking micometer size???
     
  5. woods

    woods Well-Known Member

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    Best thing I have found is a set of pin gauges from CDC tools

    CDCO Machinery Corp.

    for $55.00 you can get machined pins from .251" to .500". They will tell you a lot about inside dimensions and are particularly useful for finding do-nuts and partial do-nuts and gauging springback.

    In my dealings with Lee they insist that the low bullet grip of .001" to .002" is essential to keeping runout down. I have ordered undersized mandrels from them for $5.00 each and with the one that is .003" less than caliber I did not find any additional runout, bullet grip improved and group size stayed the same.

    YMMV
     
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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  7. Kris C

    Kris C Member

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    Thanks for the ideas. I will look into both of these suggestions. Right now the mandrel I have for the 284 is at 280 so I guess if you figure for spring back I have 3 thou neck tension. I will be shooting these this weekend and will see if their are any issues with accuracy. If so I will just order another mandrel that isn't so tight and/or try annealing. Thanks again.
     
  8. Casing

    Casing Well-Known Member

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    Kris C,
    I had the same problem when I started reloading years ago. I took care of the problem by switching to Redding dies with a neck bushing which allows you to set the tension to fit your application. The neck bushings are interchangeable to allow you to change the tension. For my hunting ammo I measure a loaded round and subtract .002 and use that size bushing for my brass. That usually allows for the right amount of ''spring back'' when sizing the necks. You can use them in a version of the full length sizing die or a neck die. A good way to check to see if the tension is too loose is to take a finished round and hold the tip of the bullet against your work bench. Push it gently against the bench, if it goes deeper into the case it is too loose. You can also ''learn'' the feel when seating the bullets, if the fit is too loose or too tight. Go to Redding's web site and this is described there also. This cured my problem hope it helps you.
    Casing
     
  9. Kris C

    Kris C Member

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    That helps. I have been loading for a coulple of years now but always crimped. It was tearing my brass up and figured there had to be a better way. Even if you just lightly crimp it squeezes brass up and it has to be trimmed off everytime. Since I started not crimping I hardly have to trim. I will check out the Redding dies. Do you size with out the expander ball? Seems like most guys that use the bushing dies don't. Thanks for the info.
     
  10. Casing

    Casing Well-Known Member

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    I use the carbide sizing button which is an additional piece to purchase. It seems to make sizing smoother and you do not have to use neck lubricant. Some people do not use them but I have had very good luck sizing my cases this way. I check my cases for concentricity and with the Redding dies they are almost always perfect.
     
  11. TOM H

    TOM H Well-Known Member

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    If you can mike the outside on a new 257Wby case it more than likely be .280/.279. I use bushing dies with out the expander saves on having to work the necks too much. I use a .280 bushing for the 257Wby cases I have so far have 5 firing on some cases neck tension still good.
     
  12. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I prefer .004 smaller for the expander because it gives me the same results as crimping
    without the wear on the brass.

    And with spring back it still has enough tension to hold the bullet for consistent ignition.

    If you seat against the lands then it is not necessary except to hold the bullet in case you
    have to extract a loaded round to prevent dumping powder in your action.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  13. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I use the button too on my Redding neck die. Do you put a rubber "O" ring on top of it?
     
  14. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    BB, I know of a lot of very expeirenced and accomplished shooters that swear by annealing and I also had a conversation with a very well known and accomplished custom die maker that told me not to anneal because everytime you anneal it's like starting over. He is also a shooter and says he has used his brass for 40 cycles or more without annealing.

    Any thoughts?

    -MR