Can you have too much head space?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Calpster, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. Calpster

    Calpster Member

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    Hello all,
    I'm new to longrange shooting forum and have an issue with reloaded brass (norma brass). Is it possible to bump the shoulder back too far and bolt won't engage the shell base? The shell falls out of chamber but will not be extracted by the bolt. No sticking in chamber just will not "hook up with extractor".
     
  2. lancetkenyon

    lancetkenyon Well-Known Member

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    What type of extractor? More than likely, you have an extractor problem. R700 factory extractors can do this quite often. I have seen it 3 times on 3 different rifles.

    I have seen some new virgin brass on non-belted cases as short as .014-.017" before fire forming to a particular chamber, and still have no issues extracting the live round from the chamber.

    A little more info like rifle, cartridge, etc. might help.
     
  3. eklarsen

    eklarsen Well-Known Member

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    You are saying the bolt will close with the cartridge inserted but upon opening the bolt it will not extract? I have never heard of that but the answer to your title is yes, yes you can have too much headspace.

    I would agree it sounds like a broken extractor issue but we need to see more here, can you provide pics and measurements of the brass as well as the cartridges info.
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    There are so many reasons that this can happen that you need to take it to a reputable Gunsmith to be checked out, To much head space is definitely bad but unless it is beyond .006 or .007 it is probably not the problem. If it has a broken extractor, then it could also be the problem.

    There are many cartridges that are similar and if placed in the wrong chamber would not extract even if the bolt closed. The chamber could be labeled wrong also. (I have seen this more than Once)

    I would not recommend firing the rifle until this problem is solved because it could be very dangerous.

    Have it checked out buy a Smith that has the tools to do a proper job.

    J E CUSTOM
     
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  5. bigedp51

    bigedp51 Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever fired this rifle? Is the rifle new or left over from WWI?
    Does it have a Mauser type claw extractor.
    What make/type and caliber rifle?

    My money is on the extractor and not a headspace problem. ;)
    NOTE, the extractor worked very well below, see arrow and center case and the amount of primer protrusion.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  6. Calpster

    Calpster Member

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    Sorry for the lack of info,
    Copper model 52 long range 300 rum bolt closes freely just will not extract the shells I reloaded Sunday- all other reloads work perfectly from same batch of norma brass. Other spent/ fired shells it will with no extractor issues as well. There are just a batch of 15 that I reloaded Sunday that do this. I must have done something wrong in my process. Every other new factory or reloaded case loaded or fired and reloads I did before this batch work fine no loading or extractor issues. I think I will start over and disassemble these 15 shells and just eat the cost and by more brass. Just wanted to know if I shot them would it mess up my rig. I cant figure out what I did or did not do so I'll toss those pieces of brass.
     
  7. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the sized brass became too short just like you suggest in your first post.

    Perhahps you are not setting up you full length sizer die correctly.



    Please share with us how you set up the sizer die. As an example on how not to do it, I refer to RCBS's instructions on setting up the FL die. Using RCBS's method the sized brass will fit the chamber, but it can often be over sized and very short. The brass will not last long with this setup. It will eventually cause case head separation.

    I wrote some information below which may pertain to your situation.



    Here is RCBS's instructions on setting up FL die:

    5. Install the Sizer Die
    Thread the sizer die into the press until the die touches the shell holder when the ram is at the top of the press stroke. Raise the press handle and turn the die down another one-eighth to one-quarter of a turn and set the large lock ring. If you’re using a carbide sizer die, leave a 1/16” gap between the bottom of the die and the shell holder.

    link:
    http://rcbs.com/Resources/Introduction-to-Handloading/Step-by-Step-Reloading.aspx

    Proper way to setup a FL sizer die is to start with a 3/16" to 1/8" gap between the die and shellholder. You want to see where the neck is sized so it is useful to cover the neck with a sharpie to see where the die sizes the neck. Lube and size one piece of brass, wipe it off and try it in the chamber. Progressively lower die 1/8 turn at a time and repeat sizing. At some point the die will be close to sizing neck but case won't fit in the chamber. This is because the body taper is beginning to be removed lengthening the case. Continue sizing case until there is a little resistance to closing the bolt. For hunting I prefer to adjust the die a bit more so the bolt will close with no resistance. When this setting is found you will probably see a small gap between the die and the shellholder. You can lock the ring or better yet use a feeler gauge set to determine the actual gap and write it down for reference.
     
  8. bob4

    bob4 Well-Known Member

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    Not knowing whats wrong I would not fire them.
     
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  9. dfanonymous

    dfanonymous Well-Known Member

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    You can have to much of pretty much anything. That’s a life rule
     
  10. kiwikid

    kiwikid Well-Known Member

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    A couple of years ago I had a similar issue to what you are having. I had a new 223. rifle and 100 new Lapua Match cases. I seated a projectile into three of the empty cases so they would engage the rifling and seat the bullet as I closed the bolt to find the COAL. Once I had measured them I seated the projectiles .020" deeper and smoked the projectiles and ran them back into the chamber to check that they were not hitting the rifling. One of the three cases would not extract. I checked the rifle with head space gauges and it was all good. I scratched my head for a while and then ran all the new cases through a .223 Wilson cartridge case gauge and found 10 of the 100 cases were under size to the point where they were well below the minimum mark on the gauge. None of those 10 cases would extract. This was a factory fault as I had only chamfered and deburred the cases.

    So to answer your question, IMO yes it would be possible to bump the shoulders back too far and then the cases would not extract.

    As bob4 and JE Custom have suggested I too would not fire those rounds in your rifle.
     
  11. 26Reload

    26Reload Well-Known Member

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    Could you not RE-FIRE FORM those pieces of brass...COW..
     
  12. bigedp51

    bigedp51 Well-Known Member

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    Calpster
    Do you have a Wilson type case gauge or any way to measure the case from shoulder to base.
    The only dies that I know of that can push the case shoulder back far enough for the extractor not to grab the rim are some Whidden dies. Or dies that have had the bottom of the die ground down shorter than standard.

    WARNING
    Failure to adhere with below warning could result in damaged
    and unsafe brass!

    The Whidden Gunworks Sizer Die is engineered with a shorter
    overall length (OAL) compared to other manufactures of sizer
    dies. This means you can set the shoulder back further if
    desired based on your specific application. This die is not
    intended to be used while bottomed out or screwed flush with
    the shell plate. Doing so will result in the shoulder being set
    back too far, possibly rendering the casing unusable. During
    initial setup screw the die flush with the shell plate then back
    off 1-1 1⁄2 turns, NOTE: Each full turn of the Sizer is approx. .071”
    so it does not have to be turned very far to make a noticeable
    adjustment. Instructions are included with each die set and can
    also be found at www.whiddengunworks.com-reloading-dies-
    instructions.

    I would inspect the case rims on the cases that failed to extract for diameter and thickness. And also check the extractor spring, meaning can you move the extractor with just finger pressure.


     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  13. Calpster

    Calpster Member

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    First and foremost, thanks to all who took the time to help out and answer my questions/issues with this post.
    I'm using Redding competition bushing neck sizing die set in 300 Rem Ultra Mag.
    I believe my issue comes from self inflicted ignorance/stupidity on my part.:mad::mad::mad:
    I set the middle (body die) with too much cam over at the bottom of the stroke on my RCBS single stage press, I know that there are competition shell holders that aid in setting up shoulder bump - but I guess I thought I was smart and was just going to "bump the shoulder back a bit more" by adjusting the Redding body die closer to the standard RCBS shell holder (#38) for the rum. I will not do that ever again!!!! I went back through my steps for setting up all (3) dies, neck sizing die, body die and bullet seating die and every thing seems to be good now. Because I thought I knew what I was doing, I actually wasted (25) pieces of brand new Norma brass - not just the (15) I loaded that were too small - I have (10) more empties that where staged for running 220gr ELD-X's through for load development. Well now that I took a hit in the wallet I learned a valuable lesson - follow instructions and take baby steps. I'm off to purchase more brass, funny, I tell my kids to follow instructions and do what you are told, I guess I need to listen to my own lectures :(.
    Thanks again to everyone on this forum, you guys are great and very helpful- the advice was much appreciated!!!
     
  14. bigedp51

    bigedp51 Well-Known Member

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    You could seat your bullets long and jam them into the rifling with a mid-range load. This would hold the case against the bolt face and reform the shoulders.