Trouble with ETips - lack of tension

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by davkrat, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    Think I may have ruined some of my brass for mt .308 by not lubing the inside neck enough (or at all) before sizing. I recently read that lack of lube will lead to scraping the interior of the case neck. I've since started using Froggies recommendation to ditch the expander on reloaded brass.

    I don't have a problem with any bullets but the ETips. About 1/3 of my cartridges will not hold any tension on an ETip, I can put a VMax or Partition in the same piece of brass and there's no problem. I only partially neck size but I don't think a lack of bearing surface is the problem. It seems like the Etips might be slightly narrower than the other cup and core bullets and the slight lack of tension affects the cartridge grip. Anyone else ever experienced this?

    I've got a bunch of new brass loaded up to once fire to see if it is a problem with the Etips or if I just screwed up that other batch of brass. I now sort my brass as those that will hold an ETip and those that won't. If it would stop raining I'd go shoot the new brass and try to reload it with an ETip. I don't have a Mic to measure case wall thickness and can't really get a consistent measurement with my dial calipers. I've never had this problem with any other case or bullet.
     
  2. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    I had a similar problem some time back using Barnes TTSX due to the relief grooves. Basically, I was partial neck sizing and using almost too little tension with SMKs and then there wasn't enough surface with the TTSXs.

    Have you measured your bullet OD and neck ID with your calipers or mic?

    The neck should be about .002-.003" smaller than the bullet.

    -- richard
     

  3. Outlaw6.0

    Outlaw6.0 Well-Known Member

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    I would be very curious as to the diameter of the E-Tips in comparison to the other bullets you are using; this is where I would start, eliminate the small things first. Who knows? maybe you ended up with a bad lot# of E-Tips?
     
  4. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    I contacted Nosler a while back and they said the measurements I got were within their specs. Partial sizing might be the problem but on the bad cases I can simply seat and then push the bullet by hand straight through the neck of the cartridge. If I had a bushing die I would order another .002" smaller bushing. I have some once fired cases to load up and we'll see how that works without the .308 expander ball. I did take apart my sizing die the other night to clean it and noticed a bright copper ring around the expander ball as if it had been shaving copper. Hopefully I just screwed up 50 pieces of brass and will chock it up as a learning experience.
     
  5. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt the brass is ruined.

    Clean/polish your expander and resize a few to see if it helps.

    There shouldn't be much guesswork as it's fairly easy to measure the neck and the bullet.

    You may only be off by .001".

    -- richard
     
  6. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    A change of one thou makes a massive change in "tension."


    "I recently read that lack of lube will lead to scraping the interior of the case neck. I've since started using Froggies recommendation to ditch the expander on reloaded brass. "

    The value of 'lubing' inside case necks is overstated by some web gurus. Fact is, no properly made expander is shaped so it can "scrape" the inside of a neck, they all have rolled edges.

    Some inside neck lubing can be nice at times but it's really not all that helpful and it's certainly not required. I've reloaded a long time and rarely do it, nor have I ever seen it more than occasionally mentioned in reputable sources of reloading instructions.

    I don't know Froggie but it sounds like you may have misunderstood what he said. Thing is, die makers pretty well know what's needed to produce good ammo and the expander is part of that formula, it's not useless trash. Unless you have some other way to insure a proper inside neck diemeter you may need that expander. That said, our bullets, case neck thickness and expanders all have tolerances that can stack the wrong way and brass hardness affects neck springback after sizing/expanding. So, IF you have other bullets that seat and hold well it would be hard to say the expander is doing anything wrong all by itself. ??
     
  7. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    It is possible to "ditch" the expander.

    But like Boomtube points out, it's there for a reason. And, without a method to manage the shape, concentricity, and diameter inside your neck, you may be doing more harm than good.

    For example, neck sizing with a bushing die and no expander is just going to act on the outside of the neck. If you don't have consistent neck wall thickness for a given case or lot, then your neck ID's will be inconsistent, non-circular, and/or eccentric. This can be overcome by turning necks which comes with it's own set of challenges.

    Measure your neck-id. Then, chuck the expander in a drill and polish it with 600 grit sandpaper. You don't want to remove a lot of material and cause a lot of neck tension which will also work harden your brass. You mostly want it polished a bit so that it creates less stress on the neck as it passes in and back out. ...a little bit of Redding's dry neck lube can help.

    If you don't measure, you may be going from bad to worse.

    -- richard
     
  8. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    For the Froggy reference I was refering to this article which is the reloading page associated with "Bugholes from a Bipod" Froggy Part II -- Reloading

    Here's a video I did showing that on some of my cases there is absolutely ZERO neck tension. I'm wondering if my sizing die is out of spec? Could the cases be work hardened and spring back out after sizing? Like I said I've never neck turned any of this brass and all of these were just sized last night without an expander ball. There's no way I should be able to hand push a bullet through a neck with no resistance. I've loaded for numerous other rifles and never had this problem. My brother is bringing his .308 up this week and I'm going to play with it as well. I think a bushing die will be ordered shortly!

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhbC85fYakY]YouTube - ‪M2U00343‬‏[/ame]

    Measured some of the bullets and you can see that the ETip is right at .307" if not slightly smaller, the other Nosler bullets were all right around .307" while my other main practice load the 110gr. VMax was more like .3075"

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  9. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    And, the diameter inside the neck of one of your sized cases with and/or without using the expander?

    relative to the measurements you took with your calipers...
    >.306 is bordering on too loose
    .305" would be just about right
    <.304 is just extra work hardening
     
  10. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    They were greater than .306" which is obviously too loose. I'm thinking even the cases that do hold the bullets are probably just barely tight enough. Is there a better way to measure neck inside diameter than using dial calipers? It seems difficult to get perfectly centered in the neck and get a consistent measurement.

    I'm going to get a bushing die and put more tension on them. I had wondered if the monolithic nature of the Etip required them to be on the smaller side diameter wise to avoid pressure spikes.
     
  11. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    Calipers should be adequate. But, you may need to practice your technique to get repeatable readings.

    Did you get .306" after using the sizer+expander? Or, just the sizer with no expander?

    Your sizer die alone should surely take it down below .306" (unless the necks are extra thin). Then, the expander should expand it back to some reasonable diameter. If the sizer doesn't neck the cases to something less than .306", then you may need new dies. Otherwise, your expander is too large and just needs to be sanded/polished down in a drill chuck.

    Otherwise, there's something not right with your brass i.e. too thin, or work hardened.

    -- richard
     
  12. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    Yep with the .308 expander swaped out and a .284 in it's place they were only down to .306" I'll be picking up a new die and some brass next time I head in to town. Seems like a problem that is fixable.
     
  13. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    I use a little powdered graphite inside the neck applied with a Q-tip which helps quite abit and doesn't foul up anything. Powdered moly is even better if you can find it......Rich