Newbie Reloader, headspace question

swisski

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Mar 3, 2021
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Location
Washington State
Hello team,

First post here. Bear with me as I'm new to reloading, but excited to tinker, learn about the process, and start developing my own loads.

Being an amateur, I didn't realize my once fired 6.5 CM Hornady brass most likely was not fully expanded yet. I've gathered this could take up to 3x firing before reaching that point.

I got all rattled in reading multiple posts about bumping the shoulder back approx .002". Using my FL RCBS sizing die, my headspace was actually growing. Running a case through the sizing die a second time, I then started to achieve a .001" bump at the max. I think I now understand this is likely due to these once fired cases not being at max headspace yet in the first place? The issue is now I have approximately 35 cases that I've bumped too far when measuring against my LE Wilson case guage, they sit right at or just below the minimum headspace line. My question is, are these now unsafe to reload, particularly the ones just below the min. headspace line?

I still have about 80 once fired brass I can just resize and trim as normal (without worrying about achieving any kind of bump) that I'm sure will be fine as they will sit in-between the max/min headspace indicators after a single resizing.

Hope this makes sense, and like I said I'm brand new here so I realize I'm probably making heads turn. Any input, or advice from you long time reloaders is appreciated. Thanks
 

GLTaylor

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Not a problem. Seat your bullets to just touch the rifling and fire again. Drop back a grain or so in powder for the next firing.
Seating bullets to touch the lands will hold the brass against your bolt face while the brass is being properly re-formed. Your pressure will likely be higher than the initial loading charge - hence dropping the charge a little.
When you've fired the brass the second time, you should be able to begin bumping the shoulder.
Do you anneal your brass yet?
And by the way....Welcome!
 

Slick8

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Agreed. That's the same method I used to fireform 22-250Ai brass.

Look at the before and after pictures. Lots of room before fireforming, I jammed the bullet .005 into the lands and ran 2 grains below max.

Btw-i have a hard time with the theory of brass taking 2-3 firings to be fully formed. Chamber pressure is over 50,000 psi and brass is relatively soft.

Screenshot_20200717-093938_Photos.jpg
 

badthirtyone

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Nov 26, 2007
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Denver Colorado
Good info and recommendations from the guys above.

I don't want to derail your head-spacing thread here, but I'll add the following:

Welcome to the forum from Colorado! It is good to have you, and it looks like you are already receiving quality feedback and guidance.

When you get an opportunity you might want to head over to the "member introduction" threads to properly introduce yourself there. It lets everyone here know who you are and what you're into.

https://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/member-introductions.65/
 

Lonewolf74

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May 12, 2016
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520
I would agree it doesn’t take more then 2 firings to fully form the brass to your chamber. I think the problem probably comes more from sizing too much after the first firing so it’s like you take two steps forward one step back resulting in needing 3+ firings to fully form. In the future I would try to full length size just enough to size the neck and not bump the shoulder after your first firing of the brass. Then once you have twice fired brass set your die for .002 or whatever your target bump is from the measurements of the second fired brass.

As for the brass you sized too much already it is perfectly fine to keep reloading them. You can seat the bullet to jam for extra insurance but I don’t believe it’s necessary. Think about factory ammo, wouldn’t be surprised if some have a shoulder -.010 from a given rifles actual head space and I almost guarantee none seat the bullet long enough to jam and they shoot fine (safe).

What I would do is mark the 35 you over sized and not use them to get your head space measurements after the second firing but base that measurement and bump setting off a few of your other 80 cases. It wouldn’t surprise me if the 80 cases measured a couple thous or so longer (base to shoulder datum) then the 35 oversized cases after the second firing.
 

swisski

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Mar 3, 2021
Messages
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Location
Washington State
Thanks a lot you guys, I really appreciate all the helpful knowledge on here.

I ended up taking my Hornady comparator and running some leftover factory Hornady rounds through it, the same type of cartridge the brass came from. Turns out all of those 30 cases I ran through the sizing die twice are basically right in spec with the factory ammo as far as headspace measurement goes. Go figure! It made me feel better about them being safe to load and fire.

However now I'm still puzzled. Before I realized those original 30 cases would be okay, I setup my RCBS FL sizing die just per their exact recommendation in the manual- down to the shell holder, plus 1/8-1/4 deeper, and sized 40 more cases. What I'm finding is that they actually don't chamber that well in my rifle. I removed my firing pin, and chambered a bunch to get a feel, with most having slight and some having a fair amount of resistance when closing the bolt. I would have assumed if the die was setup per their instruction, these would have resized down essentially to easily chamber? I do understand good case lube practice, and even consistency in the press stroke can be at place, but I feel as though I do things pretty consistently. I did recently read you shouldn't lube the case shoulders which I had been doing, so maybe that has something to do with it? Curious on what you guys think.

Thanks again for all your help
 

cdherman

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1) Yes, it can take as much as 3x firings to get new brass fully "blown out to the full dimensions of your particular chamber, especially if shooting relatively modest pressures. I was breaking in a new 7 SAUM once upon a time and I could actually measure the shoulders getting progressively longer as I went up in charge weight. I also shoot an old 6.5x55 swede that I use modest loads in. Takes 3 pops to fully expand a case. Since it has a ton of free bore, seating bullets to the rifling is impossible. I too was confused the first time it happened, having always assumed that at 50,000 PSI the brass was fully stretched.

2) This phenomena occurs more often in relatively straight walled cases. What is happening is NOT that the shoulder is not blowing out. What happens is that the firing pin pushes the loaded case forward to the shoulder, and then the internal pressure upon ignition pushes the wall out and "holds" the case in place. The head does not fully stretch back to the bolt face. This is why it is a good idea to seat bullets in new brass out to the rifling. Then the firing pin cannot push the case forward, and the excess headspace will be taken up by expanding the shoulder.

If I have a new barrel and new brass, I always break the barrel in with bullets seated into the rifling so that I can pretty much be assured that the brass is thereafter blown out to my new chambers full headspace.
 

cdherman

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Oh, and I forgot my last bit. Regarding FL resized cases that don't chamber well: I am assuming you are FL resizing with an expander ball that is pulling back through the case after sizing. What sort of internal neck lubrication are you using? If you have relatively thick walled cases, which in turn means the internal case neck diameter will be quite a bit under the desired value, I have seen the expander ball pull the shoulder of a case out, ie lengthen the headspace. This may or may not be measurable with a headspace comparator. It may be only right up close to the neck and not affect the mid shoulder measurement taken with the comparator.

It more likely to occur with work hardened brass, thick brass, and/or poor internal lubrication.
 

Deputy819

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Bear with me as I'm new to reloading, but excited to tinker, learn about the process, and start developing my own loads.
Welcome.....and have fun ‘tumbling down the Rabbit Hole’. 😉 When you get a chance check out the ‘Precision Rifle Load Development Series’ by Panhandle Precision (Sam Millard) on YouTube.com. It’s a great way to initially get your head around some of the stuff you mentioned in your first post. It was recommended to me by @ShtrRdy a few years ago and I still refer back to it quite often. Cheers!
 

David Emerson

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If your primers are not proud you have no headspace. When sizing have your rifle there and start off the shell holder. Turn your sizer die in a bit at a time until it chambers easy and you are there. I also do not believe it takes 2 or 3 times to get your case to fill the chamber. I would advise you to get a neck sizer. Normally you can get 3 or 4 shots before your cases get tight enough that you need to full length size. Good shooting!! EDIT. The creed is not a low pressure cartridge so the first pop should do it. As others said with low pressure it can take more. Under 45,000 I am thinking.
 

swisski

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Mar 3, 2021
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Location
Washington State
Oh, and I forgot my last bit. Regarding FL resized cases that don't chamber well: I am assuming you are FL resizing with an expander ball that is pulling back through the case after sizing. What sort of internal neck lubrication are you using? If you have relatively thick walled cases, which in turn means the internal case neck diameter will be quite a bit under the desired value, I have seen the expander ball pull the shoulder of a case out, ie lengthen the headspace. This may or may not be measurable with a headspace comparator. It may be only right up close to the neck and not affect the mid shoulder measurement taken with the comparator.

It more likely to occur with work hardened brass, thick brass, and/or poor internal lubrication.
Thanks for bringing that to light. That does make sense. I am using FL sizer with an expander ball. The case lube I was using for these results was Forster High Pressure Case Sizing Lubricant, however I just picked up some Redding Imperial sizing die wax that I plan to use going forward.
 

swisski

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Mar 3, 2021
Messages
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Location
Washington State
Welcome.....and have fun ‘tumbling down the Rabbit Hole’. 😉 When you get a chance check out the ‘Precision Rifle Load Development Series’ by Panhandle Precision (Sam Millard) on YouTube.com. It’s a great way to initially get your head around some of the stuff you mentioned in your first post. It was recommended to me by @ShtrRdy a few years ago and I still refer back to it quite often. Cheers!
awesome, I've actually watched several of his videos for information. I'll have to make sure I check out that whole series. Thanks
 

shawn mcjunkin

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Hi. Thanks for bringing this up. I to am new at reloading and the only person I know for advice that reloads is a Pistol shooter. So is this specific to just the 6.5. Or applied to all brass? I am using once fired factory ammo to get brass. Reloading for 25-06, 270, 28 nos, 300 rum. I have Also watched The millards series and he does bump everything back .002 on his fired brass video. Maybe I will try Fl size with no bump and com pare how brass will chamber and compare.
thanks
 

Deputy819

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I just picked up some Redding Imperial sizing die wax that I plan to use going forward.
Don’t overlook Hornady ‘One Shot’. 😉


Maybe I will try Fl size with no bump and com pare how brass will chamber and compare.
I like to just neck-size only (using bushing dies) until I start feeling resistance when attempting to chamber a round. When that occurs then I’ll full-length size from there on out (with bushing dies or a body-die) and do my best to achieve the elusive .002 shoulder bump 😉. Oh, and I also rip the ‘guts’ out of my sizing dies and run an expander mandrel down through the neck as the last step in the ‘sizing process’. I de-prime (first) in separate step with a Lee universal de-priming die.
 

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