Small Base Die - Worth the Money?

436

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Mar 22, 2009
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OK, my 300WSM could use more resizing to chamber properly or I could just back off loads ;) since that is not happening my question is will a small base die set reset the brass dimension at web area better than a body die or will it REALLY help salvage brass? They are pricey so this is a decision maker process. Appreciate the response on the small base die question.
Thx as always to the LRH brain trust!

Perhaps I missed it; what model rifle are you shooting this cartridge in? It would seem if the brass came from that rifle that you could just neck size and bump the shoulder a bit using an RCBS X die to help case life. Must folks I believe use SB for pumps, levers, and semi-auto's, yes, I'm sure a few will as well for bolt guns. Good luck
 

GLTaylor

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Cedar Bluff, Al
Perhaps I missed it; what model rifle are you shooting this cartridge in? It would seem if the brass came from that rifle that you could just neck size and bump the shoulder a bit using an RCBS X die to help case life. Must folks I believe use SB for pumps, levers, and semi-auto's, yes, I'm sure a few will as well for bolt guns. Good luck
I imagine most folks here FL size and shoulder bump for their bolt guns.
 

gerrybaker1960

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newark
Guess I have been lucky since 1960. never had all these issues with any rifle regardless of action type.

If course I don't try and make a 30-06 into a 300 WSM !
 

highdrum

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Nov 30, 2008
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I have this issue with 300wsm, 6.5 prc, occasionally with 30 nosler. It only rears its head after 3-4 firings. The norma brass is soft, it'll swell at the web on one hot charge. ADG takes several before it becomes an issue. Small base dies aren't available for many of the newer cases that have come out in the last 10 years. Namely the biggest problem is 6.5/300 prc cases. The adg brass takes a lot of pressure prior to ejector marks and pockets loose. So obviously the cases can handle it, but the web area about 0.200-0.300 ahead the bolt face starts to swell, and it won't come back with a min saami spec die. Work hardened brass gets quite tough obviously. I orderd a custom 7-300prc reamer and ordered max saami spec at the 0.200" line, unfortunately that's 533, which is what saami chambers already are, I'm a bumba$$ for not getting 535 back there to eliminate clickers and let my die size the brass to usable dimensions after a handful of loadings.
I've asked a well known smith about honing the last 3/4" of chamber with a 180 grit flex finish hone, then use a 400 grit to smoothen it all up. He said that'd sounds like a horrible idea. I also know another high end well known benchrest smith who will take an extra thou or two out of the butt end after chambering, no problem.

So.......whats really right? Using tight as heck dies to size the lower portion of case more, or have a bigger chamber at the end by a thou or 2 to leave room for standard dies to do their job properly. Sounds like 6 in one, half dozen in the other.

Taking a die, and removing a quarter inch off the bottom and cutting off the shoulder will essentially make a small base die, I hear of guys having success with this, but it's Facebook, who knows if it's true, and then the naysayers start screaming you'll damage the brass and have case head separation and stuck brass in your chamber. Could it happen? Maybe, will it? By sizing the brass down an extra thou or two, I kinda doubt it.

A universal small base push through die that takes different inserts to size different family of cases sounds like an outstanding idea. Patriot Valley Arms had just this setup yet now they've quit making the inserts, I've been asking about it for a year almost and I get the same runaround every time.

This is just my lack of 0.02¢ input on this scenario, I never really gave any advice, but just elated more of the problem and possible scenarios to maybe eliminate the issue while sitting on the jon, God bless!
 

cohunt

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Jan 21, 2016
Messages
2,505
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
I have this issue with 300wsm, 6.5 prc, occasionally with 30 nosler. It only rears its head after 3-4 firings. The norma brass is soft, it'll swell at the web on one hot charge. ADG takes several before it becomes an issue. Small base dies aren't available for many of the newer cases that have come out in the last 10 years. Namely the biggest problem is 6.5/300 prc cases. The adg brass takes a lot of pressure prior to ejector marks and pockets loose. So obviously the cases can handle it, but the web area about 0.200-0.300 ahead the bolt face starts to swell, and it won't come back with a min saami spec die. Work hardened brass gets quite tough obviously. I orderd a custom 7-300prc reamer and ordered max saami spec at the 0.200" line, unfortunately that's 533, which is what saami chambers already are, I'm a bumba$$ for not getting 535 back there to eliminate clickers and let my die size the brass to usable dimensions after a handful of loadings.
I've asked a well known smith about honing the last 3/4" of chamber with a 180 grit flex finish hone, then use a 400 grit to smoothen it all up. He said that'd sounds like a horrible idea. I also know another high end well known benchrest smith who will take an extra thou or two out of the butt end after chambering, no problem.

So.......whats really right? Using tight as heck dies to size the lower portion of case more, or have a bigger chamber at the end by a thou or 2 to leave room for standard dies to do their job properly. Sounds like 6 in one, half dozen in the other.

Taking a die, and removing a quarter inch off the bottom and cutting off the shoulder will essentially make a small base die, I hear of guys having success with this, but it's Facebook, who knows if it's true, and then the naysayers start screaming you'll damage the brass and have case head separation and stuck brass in your chamber. Could it happen? Maybe, will it? By sizing the brass down an extra thou or two, I kinda doubt it.

A universal small base push through die that takes different inserts to size different family of cases sounds like an outstanding idea. Patriot Valley Arms had just this setup yet now they've quit making the inserts, I've been asking about it for a year almost and I get the same runaround every time.

This is just my lack of 0.02¢ input on this scenario, I never really gave any advice, but just elated more of the problem and possible scenarios to maybe eliminate the issue while sitting on the jon, God bless!
A push through die would be nice, I use them for my 10mm pistol brass occasionally and they work well
 

25WSM

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Oct 17, 2011
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2,628
Location
New Castle PA
Highdrum you can easily take a couple thou out of a chamber with just fine sandpaper. Just spin it up in a lathe and hit it with 600 grit and oil and keep moving the paper in and out I would do 30 sec and measure at a time. If you think about it most factory dies work with factory chambers because factory chambers are usually bigger than custom Chambers. It's not the reamer so much for this fact as it is the precision of alignment of the bore that custom smiths do. So essentially by making your chamber a couple thou bigger your making your die a couple thou smaller. It's easy to take a little more out of your chamber but pretty dang hard to put some back in the die. I've only had to do bigger chamber dimensions on 2 cartridges one was a 6slr that I was running lapua brass in. Reamer was spec for rem/win and another on a 35 wildcat I do based on a full length 223 case. Yes I was building 350 legends long before Winchester. Except I build mine on 358 barrels so you have the full lines of hunting bullets available. I also throat mine out so they are 2.8 inches long and they go 400fps faster. Mine was designed to go into a bolt action and doesn't have to fit in an ar mag. My first reamer was a little too tight and needed some more body taper so I just sanded it till it worked and sent a chamber cast to jgs for the new one.
Shep
 

Chrsm

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Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
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N.east
All depends on the contact of the brass. You could take a shell holder and trim it down .003-00...instead of getting a small base die that would correct the head space. I’ve gone that route in a couple of tight ones. But I like the other inputs on cutting a die leaving the shoulders and neck unsized. Never thought of that. Combine operations the sky’s the limit....
 

AZShooter

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Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
2,647
Location
Tucson Az
HighDrum you described the issue perfectly!

I think some cartridges require greater difference between the dimension of the chamber and the die. Those cases we are having problems must be using thicker case walls and or a thicker web. I firmly believe it is not a pressure issue. As you put it the brass get work hardened and won't return to a useable dimension without some extra sizing. The usual chamber/die dimensional difference near the web isn't enough once the brass is fired a few times.
 

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