Bolt is hard to close with new handloads


Well-Known Member
Sep 15, 2009
SW MT or noVA

I'm new to this site aswell as reloading. Today I fired my first reloads using the load tuning method descirbed on the site, worked like a charm! As for my problem, when I load the rounds in the bolt requires a rather large amount of force to close, opening is easy, i loaded Sierra 168grain matchkings over reloader 15 and wolf magnum primers. OAL was 2.805" my manual said minimum is 2.8" so I don't think they're too long. Any ideas what could have caused this would be much appreciated.

I think the answer will be around bumping the shoulder back.

Do you use a neck sizer or a full length sizer ?
Using the full length sizer, crank that die into the press frame 1/2 turn more so it will reset the cartridge shoulder back and try the ammo in the rifle not to shoot, just for size.

You could also measure the shoulder diameter of a fired case vs. a handloaded one that is hard to chamber. lightbulb

JM .02
I only use a neck sizing die. Won't bumping the shoulder down revere the fire forming?I'm reloading brass that was first shot in my rifle
It's a rem 700 sa left hand and factory ammo works flawlessly. Can I bump back the shoulder with a neck sizing die? I have the lee collet one.

Can you use a NS die. The answer is no, that is why it is called a NS die.

You are going to have to use a FL size die or Redding body bump die to bump the shoulders back!

Too many people get hung up on NS only thinking it is the miracle accuracy cure when it is not. Over half the short range BR shooters use FL dies, 95% of the LR BR shooters FL size at least every 3 times fired in not every time. Hint Hint That should put it into perspective there.

A properly adjusted FL die only minimally sizes the sides and if set right you can bump the shoulder back .002 and have perfect loading and cases that are close to chamber dimension s.

alright thanks bountyhunter and everyone else, im working on adjusting my lee collet full length sizing die to just bump it back enough so that i can comfortably chamber the round. I have only fired this brass once though, that's why im wondering why i already need to full length size it. It was remanufactured brass when i bought it so it has been fired twice but was full length sized between the first and second firing, most of it is mixed LC brass and some is IMI, maybe it is just soft? i will be buying some virgin winchester brass soon and hopefully i wont have to run my brass though the full length sizer as often.
I have adjusted my full length sizing die now so it's about 1/4 turn in from touching the shell plate. I have lubed my cases and die but I cannot get the whole casing into the die, the bottom end seems to be too wide, how is this possible? I can't pull the lever on my press all the way down but this bumps the shoulder back making the case easier to chamber but it still requires a little extra push, is this alright?
Just want to make sure you did not miss the obvious. Did you trim the brass below max sammi case length.
No I haven't trimmed it but it is still below the max length. I am not able to get about the last centimeter of the case into the die not milimeters, quite a large amount is below the rim of the die.
It is possible your chamber dimensions are to large or the die is undersized. I would measure capacity of a fired case using water and then I would compare to new or resized brass. I would also measure the diameter of a fired case vs unfired at the point you are binding on the die to verify how much the brass is moving.

If possible try to FL size an unfired case to see if die is undersized.

How are you lubing the brass? are you lubing the sides of the case etc.
I'm using hornady one shot to lube them, spraying the cases in and out and also have the inside of the die well lubed. I will take the measurements when I get home from school (I'm in 10th grade) and post on here.

I'd definitely double and triple check that the brass is trimmed before you load it. I had some that I sized but didn't trim because I didn't think I would need to after one shot (Remington factory ammo that I shot then re-used the brass). I set up my dies to do a light crimp but when I was loading these they were just a little too long and the crimping action bulged the neck. It wasn't enough to see but just enough so that it wouldn't chamber easily. Didn't notice until I took it up to the range and had 20 rounds that wouldn't chamber! I believe that was right around my sophomore year by coincidence!
Warning! This thread is more than 14 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.