Finer Points of Reloading

jstanton

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Oct 7, 2017
Messages
102
Location
Texas
I would say I'm a fairly novice reloader. Been doing it for a couple years now strictly for hunting loads and recreational target shooting. Last night I was pulling some bullets from some loads I had worked up that got "lost" in a move but recently found and I have since changed brass brands. I noticed that some of the bullets pulled much easier than others so that got me thinking are there more advanced things I should be doing for consistency and brass life? I've never had any issues so to speak with my handloads but always looking to improve.Here is my typical process.

1. Tumble & Clean
2. Full Length Resize
3. Trim Necks
4. Debur Inside/Outside Necks
5. Uniform Flash Hole
6. Clean Primer Pocket
7. Seat Primers
8. Throw, Weigh, & Pour Charge
9. Seat Bullet

I'm using a single stage RCBS press with Hornady Custom Grade Dies for my 6.5CM and 300WM. Using RCBS Competition Grade Dies for my 7mm RM. Lapua brass on the 6.5CM and ADG brass on the 300WM and 7mm RM. Berger VLD and Hornady ELD-X bullets.

I set my dies up following manufacturer recommendations.

As I've been researching and reading online I have a few questions.

1. Neck sizing only, is that better than FL sizing?
2. Bumping the shoulder back .002"? Does the FL die do that or is that an additional step?
3. Neck tension, how do I make that more consistent?
4. Any other recommendations?

Thanks in advance.
 

dfanonymous

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Jul 16, 2016
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1,524
1) No. Neck sizing only can even be dangerous.
2) There are bump dies, also there are caveats but most generally yes, you set a FL sizing die for your shoulder bump.
3) neck tension can be set by buying the appropriate equipment. There are several ways.
Expander mandrel, bushing die, or with good success, lee collet dies. I would look around. This might get you started https://www.longrangehunting.com/threads/how-do-you-control-neck-tension.56993/?amp=1.

4) kiss your bank funds good bye. Also look into annealing, and neck concentricity.
 
Last edited:

Kmccord

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Reilly Springs, TX
You have the process down, I only tumble clean after three or four reloads. I would add the following:
1. Anneal your brass after maximum three reloads.
2. Bump the shoulder on your brass at .002 to .003. You can use your FL sizer die for that. I would remove the expander ball on the stem in the FL die.
3. Use an expander mandrels to set you neck tension, 21st Century has a bunch to use and choose from.
4. Powder weigh with a balance beam if using a electronic powder dispenser, and dump 3gr less than actual weight and use a trickler to bring it up to full charge.

The above is extra on what I do and have pretty good ES and SD following this guideline. I would also say add a Crimper a Lee Factory Crimp die will help set a balance release on the bullet when discharged from the brass.
 

Jud96

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Jun 30, 2013
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Location
Michigan
1.) Stick with FL sizing and add mandrel expanding the necks.
2.) Bump the shoulders .001-.003 but check the brass in your chamber to make sure it closes without resistance before settling on a particular bump. With the dies properly adjusted you’ll get the correct shoulder bump. Use a headspace comparator to find these numbers.
3.) Neck tension gets complicated and seems to be never ending. I would start by using the mandrel die to expand your necks after FL sizing and using premium brass to start.

4.) Your bullets most likely pulled harder because of cold welding of the necks. The copper jacket and brass case react to one another and will begin to corrode. There’s a technical term and description for this, but essentially they weld together. I’ve seen it happen. The only way to stop it is dry lube in the case necks or don’t leave your ammo sit for more than a month or so. I’m currently in the process of testing moly applied as a dry lube inside my case necks. I learned this from reading and watching videos on Lou Murdica’s process.

As far as other techniques. The rabbit hole is endless. I honestly am starting to take some things less seriously and focus more on myself as a shooter and making sure I’m consistent day in and day out. Having your powder weighed to the kernel or your ammunition have zero runout will not help you as a shooter, it won’t hurt either, until you’re able to shoot good enough to recognize those problems. However, there’s the psychological effect in that if you think a certain process/processes make you better and give you confidence, then keep doing that!

I like to advise people to add simple things to their process that won’t cost an extraordinary amount, but will help for sure. The number one thing is a mandrel die. Sinclair sells them for like $30 and you can buy the individual mandrels from them or others for roughly $15 each for stainless and around $50 each for carbide. The stainless is great but you have to lube the inside of the case necks to prevent gauling. I also would get a set of headspace and bullet comparators as well. I also like to run a nylon brush inside my case necks before charging the cases. It has been shown by reloaders much more skilled than me that it helps. Other than that, I would continue doing what you’re doing until you plateau or want to gain more consistency and/or precision. Learn everything inside and out then level up.

If you have deep pockets you can jump right into the most expensive and high tech equipment there is. You may never be able to take full advantage of it, but you’ll never have to question your equipment. There’s many paths to go down. I prefer to do the most I can with the best equipment I can afford. There’s some really good stuff out there that’s relatively affordable that can improve your ammo, save you time, and make reloading that much more enjoyable.

Sorry for being long winded. If you want me to explain more on what I use and what I recommend, or to explain more let me know. I can post it here in the thread or PM you if you’re interested.
 
Last edited:

jasonco

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Messages
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I wear this shirt to the range for fun.
1635638651567.jpeg


Bump size.
Use a mandrel to control you neck diameter.
 

jstanton

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Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
102
Location
Texas
You have the process down, I only tumble clean after three or four reloads. I would add the following:
1. Anneal your brass after maximum three reloads.
2. Bump the shoulder on your brass at .002 to .003. You can use your FL sizer die for that. I would remove the expander ball on the stem in the FL die.
3. Use an expander mandrels to set you neck tension, 21st Century has a bunch to use and choose from.
4. Powder weigh with a balance beam if using a electronic powder dispenser, and dump 3gr less than actual weight and use a trickler to bring it up to full charge.

The above is extra on what I do and have pretty good ES and SD following this guideline. I would also say add a Crimper a Lee Factory Crimp die will help set a balance release on the bullet when discharged from the brass.
How do you use the FL die to bump the shoulder? Does it still full Length size too?

Are the expander mandrels used to replace the expander ball in the die? Or is it a separate die?

I only use a balance beam scale and trickler.
 

jstanton

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Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
102
Location
Texas
1.) Stick with FL sizing and add mandrel expanding the necks.
2.) Bump the shoulders .001-.003 but check the brass in your chamber to make sure it closes without resistance before settling on a particular bump. With the dies properly adjusted you’ll get the correct shoulder bump. Use a headspace comparator to find these numbers.
3.) Neck tension gets complicated and seems to be never ending. I would start by using the mandrel die to expand your necks after FL sizing and using premium brass to start.

4.) Your bullets most likely pulled harder because of cold welding of the necks. The copper jacket and brass case react to one another and will begin to corrode. There’s a technical term and description for this, but essentially they weld together. I’ve seen it happen. The only way to stop it is dry lube in the case necks or don’t leave your ammo sit for more than a month or so. I’m currently in the process of testing moly applied as a dry lube inside my case necks. I learned this from reading and watching videos on Lou Murdica’s process.

As far as other techniques. The rabbit hole is endless. I honestly am starting to take some things less seriously and focus more on myself as a shooter and making sure I’m consistent day in and day out. Having your powder weighed to the kernel or your ammunition have zero runout will not help you as a shooter, it won’t hurt either, until you’re able to shoot good enough to recognize those problems. However, there’s the psychological effect in that if you think a certain process/processes make you better and give you confidence, then keep doing that!

I like to advise people to add simple things to their process that won’t cost an extraordinary amount, but will help for sure. The number one thing is a mandrel die. Sinclair sells them for like $30 and you can buy the individual mandrels from them or others for roughly $15 each for stainless and around $50 each for carbide. The stainless is great but you have to lube the inside of the case necks to prevent gauling. I also would get a set of headspace and bullet comparators as well. I also like to run a nylon brush inside my case necks before charging the cases. It has been shown by reloaders much more skilled than me that it helps. Other than that, I would continue doing what you’re doing until you plateau or want to gain more consistency and/or precision. Learn everything inside and out then level up.

If you have deep pockets you can jump right into the most expensive and high tech equipment there is. You may never be able to take full advantage of it, but you’ll never have to question your equipment. There’s many paths to go down. I prefer to do the most I can with the best equipment I can afford. There’s some really good stuff out there that’s relatively affordable that can improve your ammo, save you time, and make reloading that much more enjoyable.

Sorry for being long winded. If you want me to explain more on what I use and what I recommend, or to explain more let me know. I can post it here in the thread or PM you if you’re interested.
Thank you for the information! Thank you for clearing up the mandrel question I just asked. So it is a separate die, not something that replaces the expander ball in my FL die.
 

dfanonymous

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Joined
Jul 16, 2016
Messages
1,524
Thank you for the information! Thank you for clearing up the mandrel question I just asked. So it is a separate die, not something that replaces the expander ball in my FL die.
That’s why in my 3) response I mentioned buying the appropriate equipment.
 

Kmccord

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Nov 30, 2016
Messages
1,097
Location
Reilly Springs, TX
How do you use the FL die to bump the shoulder? Does it still full Length size too?

Are the expander mandrels used to replace the expander ball in the die? Or is it a separate die?

I only use a balance beam scale and trickler.
You need a headspace comparator take a fresh fired case measurement, then use the FL sizer die to bump the shoulder back .002 or .003. Take a reading after sizing and make the necessary changes until you reach .002 to .003 bump.
 

jasonco

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Messages
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Location
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To keep it on the LOW cost and simplified. try to find/get the Sinclair mandrel die & the appropriate caliber mandrels, they'll work just fine for you, until you feel you need more advanced option(s). Continue to use your one piece dies, to size, but remove the expander ball/decap rod. Decap with a universal decapper.
 

jstanton

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Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
102
Location
Texas
You need a headspace comparator take a fresh fired case measurement, then use the FL sizer die to bump the shoulder back .002 or .003. Take a reading after sizing and make the necessary changes until you reach .002 to .003 bump.
Will order one tonight. Thanks!
 

jstanton

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Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
102
Location
Texas
To keep it on the LOW cost and simplified. try to find/get the Sinclair mandrel die & the appropriate caliber mandrels, they'll work just fine for you, until you feel you need more advanced option(s). Continue to use your one piece dies, to size, but remove the expander ball/decap rod. Decap with a universal decapper.
So with this method I would decap, FL size, mandrel die, and seating die? That means 4 different dies, is that correct?
 
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