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Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Edshock300, Feb 4, 2014.
should the die touch the shell holder when full length resizing
Yep! Some techy's will tell you to screw your die to the shell holder, let off your ram and give it a 1/4 turn more. I've crushed shoulders and removed stuck cases yrs. ago doing that. I just bring the ram up and barely touch it with the die and back off a split hair....Never had a problem since. Don't forget to lube your cases ... Hornady one shot makes that a piece of cake.. Want to add that this info is my opinion and I'm sure someone will disagree... 28 yrs. of reloading and I still have heated debates with an older brother about what I'm doing wrong.
Yes and no. SOP is a touch on the shell holder but, it's going to depend on how much you want to set back the shoulder (non-belted case). An important note is NEVER contact the base of a pistol die with a shellholder. Pistol dies are usually made with a carbide insert and it's very brittle. Contacting the base with a shellholder during a resize operation will fracture the carbide and make the die unuseable.
Even a non bushing die is capable of setting back the shoulder depending on how far the brass is inserted into the die when resizing and the height of the shellholder in relationship to the bottom of the die itself.
Dies are machined to SAMMI case specifications but that don't mean all are exactly at those dimensions which, is why you need to compare a fired case to a resized case (shoulder datum) to ascertain the setback (usually 0.001-0.003 to allow for easy extraction after firing (in a bolt gun). Semi auto's aren't that touchy and don't require a datum measurement. Just bang them out and don't get excited. The sloppy semi auto action requires no extra effort.
You'll find that most all my reloading dies will be ground off a couple thousands at the base end just for setback.
That is the factory answer to ensure it will chamber but almost guaranteed to shorten case life and lead to case separation pretty soon.. That works but the norm is to push shoulders back way too much.
For long case life and best accuracy yes come back off the shellholder and come down a 1/4 turn at a time until the case will just chamber without you feeling it. Now if you are measuring the shoulder setback you can fine tune to get the ideal .001 to .002 setback.
FWIW it is impossible to crush the shoulders like that but be ok screwed down. Think about it. In fact by pushing back the shoulders too far they will push out at the case shoulder junction and not even chamber.
Just to be sure you understand, it is best to fine tune the depth of the full length sizing die to the individual rifle's chamber.
Best procedure as stated by last poster is to adjust the sizing die with a space between the shell holder and end of die. How much? Start with a 1/4" space. Lube and size brass. Wipe off brass and try closing the bolt with the brass in the chamber. Most likely there will be resistance about the same as if you put the fired case into the rifle without any sizing.
Adjust the die 1/4 turn lower and size , and try in rifle's chamber. Repeat this process adjusting the die lower by 1/4 turn and trying in the chamber. At some point it will become more difficult to close bolt. This is because you have actually lengthened the case by partially sizing the taper. Continue to move die lower incrementally. Eventually you will get to the correct adjustment where the brass will fit without any bolt closure resistance. You could even move the die upwards very slightly for a hint of bolt closure which some prefer. At this setting you will get long brass life.
While you can tighten the lock ring for future sizings I prefer to use feeler gauges to measure the gap between the die and shell holder. I have a box of loose feeler gauges and will put the necessary gauges in the box for future adjustments. A note on the inside of the box with a sharpie would also suffice.
In my early days of handloading I over sized the brass which eventually caused case head separation! As I fired the round gasses vented through the hole near the receiver of my Ruger. When I opened the bolt only the case head came out with the bolt. The body was still in the chamber! I had to go to a gunsmith where he was able to remove the stuck piece of brass. Not only was this dangerous with the hot gasses venting near my face but it was inconvenient as well. Imagine if it were during a big game hunt!
I sincerely hope the procedure makes sense. If not please ask more questions.
I have also made this mistake when new to reloading and have paid much more attention to headspace and the advice from wiser reloaders.
Forget rules of thumb and book numbers.
You need to adjust the die until your sizing is correct w/resp to YOUR chamber.
Normally I raise my ram and screw the die down until it touches the ram and that is good enough. However I have a 243 that I had to do lik the instructions say, screw down until it touches ram then lower the ram and give another 1/4 turn. The new brass that I fire formed in the gun chambered fine but when my friend gave me some brass from another gun it would not chamber until I gave it that extra turn.
You see, you can't go by set instructions because our chambers are all a bit different.
I think BountyHunter's advice is best. It's an approach that will dial you into correct sizing.
With the die set in my normal manner the fire formed brass chambered fine, but I bet I was almost kinda neck sizing. Not bumping the shoulder any. But on the brass he gave me that was fired in another gun I had to give the due that extra 1/4 turn like the instructions to get the shoulder bumped back far enough. I guess my gun is spaced really tight for a factory gun.
It could be the gun is headspaced differently, it could be the temper of the brass or even the thickness. Thats why mike is instructing to set the die up the way he is. Because it doesnt matter what causes these problems if you creep up on the correct size for a particular batch of brass for a givin rifle.
Generally you want to avoid too much play in the press leverage. So, begin your setup by first touching die to shellholder, then turn die down another 1/8 to ¼ further. Doing so will cam the press over center for concentricity reasons. This only gets you a starting point since all chambers are different, and preferences in handloading vary.
You will want to index your headspace especially on a new rifle so that you can monitor where your headspace is on a sized case vs a fired case. That gives you the knowledge on how to fine tune your die setup for better headspace variances and optimum brass life.
If this point is past -.002" past the required headspace to fit your case back into the rifle you are reloading for, you have already overworked the brass. If the die is touching the shell holder ,with the slop removed, when sizing a case how much farther can you push the case into the die?
This is proper procedure for exact fit and longest case life.