Reloading belted cartridges

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by pyroducksx3, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. pyroducksx3

    pyroducksx3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    782
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Well I have been roloading for a couple years for my 300 wsm and will be acquiring a 7 rem mag. The pocess I use for sizing my 300 wsm brass , no belt, is as follows for fired brass. To determine how much resizing I want I put the resizing/de-priming die in but screwed way off the full length sizing. I run the case through the press and the then check it in my rifle. The bolt always closes stiff the first time. I continue this process making very small turns and re-checking how the bolt closes. I do this until the bolt closes with what I feel is just right resistance so that I can cycle rounds smoothly as this is a hunting gun. I then clean the flash holes and chamber/deburr, then they go in the tumbler, then prime, charge and seat bullets. My main question is this method appropriate in gereral and if so for the belted cases as well. I heard that people have been spacing belted cases of the case heads and not using the belt, is this is true is this how you would do that? So any input as to if Im doing anything wrong or ways to improve my reloding would be appreciated. Thank you
     
  2. Moosetracker

    Moosetracker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    I use a different technique to set up my resizing dies using Larry Willis' "Digital Headspace Gauge". I set it up for a .002" bump on the shoulder using the following procedure:

    1. I take a case fire formed in my firearm. The case should be a tight fit so that it's as close as possible to chamber dimensions.
    2. Set the case in the Digital Headspace Gauge and zero the gauge (can use Hornady or RCBS gauges). Here's the link:
    Innovative Technologies - Reloading Equipment
    3. Insert a .003" shim on the FL or redding body die and screw the die in the press till it's snug on the shellholder. Here's the link for the set of shims:
    SINCLAIR INTERNATIONAL : Skip's die shim kit - (7/8-14) (22-400 ) -
    4. Resize the case with that set up.
    5. Place the case in the Digital Headspace Gauge and get a measurement of the amount of shoulder bump.
    6. If the bump measures .005" all you need to do is replace the .003" shim with a .006" shim and you get a .002" bump.

    The beauty of this set up is that you don't need to touch the die even if you have multiple guns of the same caliber - you just change the shim in accordance with the bump you need. Also you can use another shim if you want more or less bump.

    Occasionally, you get a minimal dimension chamber where you can only get less than .001" with the FL or body die. When this occurs, I use a dedicated shell holder which I sand on a flat surface to take off .001" or so.
     

  3. jimbires

    jimbires Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    923
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    I size a belted case just like a nonbelted case . push the shoulder back .001 or .002 and it's good to go . Jim
     
  4. eaglesnester

    eaglesnester Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    You are doing it right. Nothen like getting in the field and finding that your rounds either will not chamber or you got some brass that you have to cram which is very very hard on the bolt lugs, chamber, and your rifle in general. I use the Redding competition shell holders and a full length resizing die. The shell holders are in .010, .080, .060, .040, and .020 thickness for shoulder push back. Use the .010 first and try to chamber, if no chamber go to the next etc. You set up your full length resizing die as per normal with the shell holder tight against the loader with a cam over. The shell holders take care of the proper case size. Simple, quick, and no more worries. This system works for all belted as well as non belted brass. I reload everything from 22/250 - 30/30 Winchester to 338/378 Weatherby.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  5. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,595
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    "My main question is this method appropriate in gerera..."

    Yes, you're doing good. Belted, rimmed, rimless are all the same to a reloader. The frequent agonising over how to accommodate different methods of "headspacing" and how it's measured are silly to us, just make the cases snuggly fit the chamber and we're done.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  6. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    I do all of my die setup just like you. Make sure that as you are checking your brass in your gun.......be sure to size a differant piece of brass each time you make an adjustment.....just put the long ones in a pile to do again later. Make sure that most or all of the lube is off of the case before you chamber the brass.....a buildup of lube in your chamber will skue your test....and will be downright dangerous if shot without being cleaned.

    Also, for better feel I remove the firing pin.

    Just forget that the brass has a belt and you will be just fine. A belt has zero effect on accuracy.

    On the other end of the spectrum......belted casses are actually SAFER to handload than non-belted....Take the newbi....doesn't have a clue....turns the FL die all the way down to the shell holder. He may have just bumped the sholder 20 thou.....that may be trouble with a non-belted case, but not with a belted case....you always have the belt there to headspace on.
     
  7. larrywillis

    larrywillis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2002
    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
     
  8. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    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.
     
  9. larrywillis

    larrywillis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2002
    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.

    [​IMG]
    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."

    Larry
     
  10. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    LARRY,

    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.
     
  11. larrywillis

    larrywillis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2002
    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.
     
  12. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    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!!!
     
  13. larrywillis

    larrywillis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2002
    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
     
  14. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,253
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    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!!!:D