Gents, I need a little reloading coaching please

Gregor.Samsa

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So I’ve just begun reloading after quite some time and I’m pretty sure my previous efforts were passable but definitely not precision oriented.
I have just deprived, tumbled, debuted flash holes and resized my Hornady 6.5CM brass (1x fired). I’m using a Forster FL die (non bushing) to bump shoulders back 0.002”. I’d say about 70% of the casings are sized correctly but others are +/- 0.0005”. I’m frustrated by the inconsistency, and am wondering if this is normal and I’m overthinking this. I just want the ammo to come
Out as accurate and consistent as possible considering the investment in time getting there. I’m not the greatest shot so unsure I could shoot the difference, but this will always be in the back of my mind.
Thanks
 

Huskydriver

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Normal. Are you pulling the expander back through the neck or using a mandrel die to open them back up?
 

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There’s several things it could be IMO. Consistency, or lack there of, of lube on the case can and will effect shoulder bump. Brass hardness from work hardening will also effect shoulder bump. Lastly Hornady brass is just harder to work with and get consistent results because it’s just not consistent.
How I solved the same problem you’re having now.

1. Lanolin/Alcohol case lube
2. Anneal every firing
3. Use better brass
My process isn’t always perfect but I usually have a .001 extreme spread in my shoulder bump. I’m sure others that have a lot more experience than me will chime in.
 
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Gregor.Samsa

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Thanks all! Basically looking for piece of mind. I am using the expander ball for now and recapping separately. Down the read I’ll probably send my die off to get honed or get a bushing die to dial in neck tension and work the brass less. I figure I’ll do my leaning with the hornady brass before investing in the nicer stuff.
 

Gregor.Samsa

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Been using the hornady case line on a pad vs. one shot. Seems to work better.
 

Huskydriver

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Using the powdered mica on a brush. Is that good or is there a better way?
I have never used that method personally but I do know from experience that lube can really influence how much the brass is sized.

I run a Forster fl die with the expander removed then run the brass through a expander mandrel to open the neck back up to .002 under bullet ID and have very consistent neck ID and shoulder bump.
 
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Gregor.Samsa

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Should I worry about case trimmin 1x fires brass? Bolt closes with no resistance.
 

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Open you calipers up to .0005 or even .001. Now hold it up and look at it and ask yourself if that is going to matter when you ram the bullet down the barrel at 65k psi.

Making good ammo is not that hard. Use quality components, find your OCW and seating depth, and be consistent without being obsessive. Don’t spend hours on thousandths in size and hundredths in powder. Spend hours finding the correct load and then you will have a large window to work with so you don’t need to obsess. Key is you need to be able to shoot good enough to read your targets confidently and know the result is the load and not the shooter.
 

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So I’ve just begun reloading after quite some time and I’m pretty sure my previous efforts were passable but definitely not precision oriented.
I have just deprived, tumbled, debuted flash holes and resized my Hornady 6.5CM brass (1x fired). I’m using a Forster FL die (non bushing) to bump shoulders back 0.002”. I’d say about 70% of the casings are sized correctly but others are +/- 0.0005”. I’m frustrated by the inconsistency, and am wondering if this is normal and I’m overthinking this. I just want the ammo to come
Out as accurate and consistent as possible considering the investment in time getting there. I’m not the greatest shot so unsure I could shoot the difference, but this will always be in the back of my mind.
Thanks
I'm pretty much in the same boat in that I'm not a great marksman and I do precision loading to take the ammo out of the equation as much as possible along with getting a load set up for my rifle as well as possible to take that too out of the equation as much as possible. This way I can better judge my shooting performances and not say it's the gun or the cartridges fault for not getting me the accuracy I'd like.

Anyway . . . I do those things you do and get the same kind of variance you've stated here. But, I do more, which I've found helps get me really good results. And by results, I'm referring to what my chronograph shows. It's the chronograph that really tell you how well you're loading your cartridges. My goal was/is to get my SD's to single digits and ideally I'd like my ES's there too, but since I load for a .308 the design of the cartridge makes that very, very difficult. So, now I do get my SD's in the single digits and my SD's in the mid to high teens, which give me very good results on paper when I happen to be doing will on my part.

Some of the things that I've come to do to make a difference in getting my loading well tuned it I anneal after every firing. It's something that may not be necessary depending on by type of shooting you do (like not shooting much beyond 300 - 500 yds to hit steel). If one is shooting paper at 1000 yds for small groups, then I feel this step helps in getting the kind of consistency needed for that. Also, I like to uses better brass (like Lapua) so that case volume is as consistent as possible. And also to help get consistence case volume after seating a bullet, I sort my bullets from base to ogive as sometimes there can be significant difference that effects that volume and produces a velocity difference, which effects my goal of low SD's and ES's.

I uniform my primer pockets so that when I seat my primers to the same depth, they have the same amount of crush on the anvil as I try to get as consistent powder ignition as possible. Again, this is one of those things that make a difference is SD's and ES's.

And lastly, I also turn necks in an effort of have as low concentricity as possible. This is especially important for brass that's not produced to such exacting standards where the neck thickness and vary as much as .003. When the neck is turned and you have uniform neck thickness, bullets will seat consistently with low turn out.

My chronograph tells me I'm loading pretty well now. So, when I see poor results on paper . . . I know just where to look. In a mirror. :eek: ;)
 

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Should I worry about case trimmin 1x fires brass? Bolt closes with no resistance.
What trimmer do you have? If it’s something like a Giraud, I’d set it up for the length you want and trim/chamfer/deburr every firing. That way it’s all consistent and it takes another variable and makes it a constant (or close to one).

If it’s a manual or trimmer that takes a bit of time, then I would trim them all to the same length when new and then trim only when needed.
 
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blues2o

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You need to look at the accuracy and repeatability of your calipers your using to measure with. most low cost calipers are going to very in accuracy so +or- .0005 is not a big deal
 
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Gregor.Samsa

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What trimmer do you have? If it’s something like a Giraud, I’d set it up for the length you want and trim/chamfer/deburr every firing. That way it’s all consistent and it takes another variable and makes it a constant (or close to one).

If it’s a manual or trimmer that takes a bit of time, then I would trim them all to the same length when new and then trim only when needed.
It’s a Redding lathe style trimmer. After doing a little reading last night, I ordered the Sinclair chamber gauge plugs so that I can determine the actual chamber length of my rifle before I start cutting. Thanks
 

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Everyone has an opinion, so I thought I'd throw mine in (why not?) :)

I got my 6mm BRA last year and have been shooting the heck out of it. You can't get 6 mm BRA brass, so you have to fire form it from 6mm BR brass. The pic below shows the before (left) and after (right).

6br vs bra.png

Now, when I get everything just right with a fire-formed case, I'm able to get <.25 MOA at 300 yards and below. That's powder charge, seating depth, the right bullet, neck tension, and, yes, shoulder bump.

When I fire form, I'm using a "random" (e.g. not optimized) powder charge with a crappy shooting bullet that's touching the lands (e.g. not optimized) - and obviously there is a LOT of "bump" in that shoulder. I will get in the neighborhood of .4 MOA groups at 100 yards. So, roughly 1.5x... with all the other crap that's "wrong" with the fire forming loads.

Then, there's this shot that a friend of mine made with my rifle at his first time shooting > 1000 yards (1200). This was with fire forming loads going from 8x68S brass to 300 PRC. Talk about "bump" - it "bumps" the shoulder, case diameter...


Do I think bumping consistently makes a difference? I think it all makes a difference. Is it the most important thing? Not by a long shot. And don't get me started on precise trim length... do you really think a thousandth or two difference on a 250 thousandths (or longer) neck is going to make a measurable difference in results? :)
 
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Dthomas3523

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Everyone has an opinion, so I thought I'd throw mine in (why not?) :)

I got my 6mm BRA last year and have been shooting the heck out of it. You can't get 6 mm BRA brass, so you have to fire form it from 6mm BR brass. The pic below shows the before (left) and after (right).

View attachment 7235736

Now, when I get everything just right with a fire-formed case, I'm able to get <.25 MOA at 300 yards and below. That's powder charge, seating depth, the right bullet, neck tension, and, yes, shoulder bump.

When I fire form, I'm using a "random" (e.g. not optimized) powder charge with a crappy shooting bullet that's touching the lands (e.g. not optimized) - and obviously there is a LOT of "bump" in that shoulder. I will get in the neighborhood of .4 MOA groups at 100 yards. So, roughly 1.5x... with all the other crap that's "wrong" with the fire forming loads.

Then, there's this shot that a friend of mine made with my rifle at his first time shooting > 1000 yards (1200). This was with fire forming loads going from 8x68S brass to 300 PRC. Talk about "bump" - it "bumps" the shoulder, case diameter...


Do I think bumping consistently makes a difference? I think it all makes a difference. Is it the most important thing? Not by a long shot. And don't get me started on precise trim length... do you really think a thousandth or two difference on a 250 thousandths (or longer) neck is going to make a measurable difference in results? :)
This logic is how you get tolerance stacking. “It’s just a thou” end ups being a few thou or more after you say that a couple times.

Didnt bump the shoulders all the same, there’s a thou. Didn’t trim them all the same length. Oops there’s another thou.

That happens on a few other processes, then one day when your tried and true load doesn’t work, you have no idea why.

Or, you could take an extra few min and do it all the same all the time, every time. Now when a problem arises, you can diagnose it a bit better.
 

Rocketmandb

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This logic is how you get tolerance stacking. “It’s just a thou” end ups being a few thou or more after you say that a couple times.
I'm an ex-NASA Space Shuttle engineer and I know what tolerance stacking is and when it applies. Tolerance stacking is meaningful when you have a significantly high tolerance multiplied over a number of interacting systems or parts. If the tolerance is low and/or the number of interacting systems/parts is low, then it does not come into play to a meaningful extent.

Some facts:

- A thousandth or two difference on an average case will impact neck tension by less than 1%. Compare that to neck tension differences due to differences in neck thickness, how the brass is prepped etc. It simply doesn't add up to a significant enough factor to spend a ton of time worrying about. NOTE THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR PEOPLE TO NOT TRIM. I am saying that not trimming when a case is out a couple thousandths isn't going to impact you to any significant degree.

- Everyone has X amount of time to devote to prepping and loading brass. X differs person to person. When you spend time doing something that impacts you 1% at the expense of something that impacts you 10%, then you are doing things wrong. Period. If you've got a system that allows you to do a step quickly and easily, then it probably doesn't matter. Not everyone can have that due any number of factors.

- When you're new to reloading, you don't know what impacts you a lot or a little. I see a lot of people new to reloading who focus on the trivial at the expense of the important because they read about it somewhere. When you do that, especially for people new to reloading, then they get a skewed perspective and can end up stopping altogether out of the frustration of spending a ton of time and not seeing significantly better results.

When I help people get into reloading, I tell them to focus on just a few things to begin with. Then, after they've gotten used to the results and are comfortable with the process, introduce something else. See if that something else has an impact. Modify your process and move on to the next, and so on. Trying to get everything perfect right out of the gate can be overwhelming and an exercise in frustration.
 

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I'm an ex-NASA Space Shuttle engineer and I know what tolerance stacking is and when it applies. Tolerance stacking is meaningful when you have a significantly high tolerance multiplied over a number of interacting systems or parts. If the tolerance is low and/or the number of interacting systems/parts is low, then it does not come into play to a meaningful extent.

Some facts:

- A thousandth or two difference on an average case will impact neck tension by less than 1%. Compare that to neck tension differences due to differences in neck thickness, how the brass is prepped etc. It simply doesn't add up to a significant enough factor to spend a ton of time worrying about. NOTE THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR PEOPLE TO NOT TRIM. I am saying that not trimming when a case is out a couple thousandths isn't going to impact you to any significant degree.

- Everyone has X amount of time to devote to prepping and loading brass. X differs person to person. When you spend time doing something that impacts you 1% at the expense of something that impacts you 10%, then you are doing things wrong. Period. If you've got a system that allows you to do a step quickly and easily, then it probably doesn't matter. Not everyone can have that due any number of factors.

- When you're new to reloading, you don't know what impacts you a lot or a little. I see a lot of people new to reloading who focus on the trivial at the expense of the important because they read about it somewhere. When you do that, especially for people new to reloading, then they get a skewed perspective and can end up stopping altogether out of the frustration of spending a ton of time and not seeing significantly better results.

When I help people get into reloading, I tell them to focus on just a few things to begin with. Then, after they've gotten used to the results and are comfortable with the process, introduce something else. See if that something else has an impact. Modify your process and move on to the next, and so on. Trying to get everything perfect right out of the gate can be overwhelming and an exercise in frustration.
This. I am not trying to shoot bench rest. If my ammo shoots .3-.5 moa I’m happy. I do everything methodically when I reload but I don’t sit and nitpick every case with a caliper. Get good components(note I said “good” not the most expensive), get a good process, and most importantly get a good load. Having a good load eliminates the need to be anal about .001.
 

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I'm an ex-NASA Space Shuttle engineer and I know what tolerance stacking is and when it applies. Tolerance stacking is meaningful when you have a significantly high tolerance multiplied over a number of interacting systems or parts. If the tolerance is low and/or the number of interacting systems/parts is low, then it does not come into play to a meaningful extent.

Some facts:

- A thousandth or two difference on an average case will impact neck tension by less than 1%. Compare that to neck tension differences due to differences in neck thickness, how the brass is prepped etc. It simply doesn't add up to a significant enough factor to spend a ton of time worrying about. NOTE THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR PEOPLE TO NOT TRIM. I am saying that not trimming when a case is out a couple thousandths isn't going to impact you to any significant degree.

- Everyone has X amount of time to devote to prepping and loading brass. X differs person to person. When you spend time doing something that impacts you 1% at the expense of something that impacts you 10%, then you are doing things wrong. Period. If you've got a system that allows you to do a step quickly and easily, then it probably doesn't matter. Not everyone can have that due any number of factors.

- When you're new to reloading, you don't know what impacts you a lot or a little. I see a lot of people new to reloading who focus on the trivial at the expense of the important because they read about it somewhere. When you do that, especially for people new to reloading, then they get a skewed perspective and can end up stopping altogether out of the frustration of spending a ton of time and not seeing significantly better results.

When I help people get into reloading, I tell them to focus on just a few things to begin with. Then, after they've gotten used to the results and are comfortable with the process, introduce something else. See if that something else has an impact. Modify your process and move on to the next, and so on. Trying to get everything perfect right out of the gate can be overwhelming and an exercise in frustration.
So, the best F class and Benchrest Shooters in the world have it all wrong and you have it right??
 

Gregor.Samsa

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I'm an ex-NASA Space Shuttle engineer and I know what tolerance stacking is and when it applies. Tolerance stacking is meaningful when you have a significantly high tolerance multiplied over a number of interacting systems or parts. If the tolerance is low and/or the number of interacting systems/parts is low, then it does not come into play to a meaningful extent.

Some facts:

- A thousandth or two difference on an average case will impact neck tension by less than 1%. Compare that to neck tension differences due to differences in neck thickness, how the brass is prepped etc. It simply doesn't add up to a significant enough factor to spend a ton of time worrying about. NOTE THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR PEOPLE TO NOT TRIM. I am saying that not trimming when a case is out a couple thousandths isn't going to impact you to any significant degree.

- Everyone has X amount of time to devote to prepping and loading brass. X differs person to person. When you spend time doing something that impacts you 1% at the expense of something that impacts you 10%, then you are doing things wrong. Period. If you've got a system that allows you to do a step quickly and easily, then it probably doesn't matter. Not everyone can have that due any number of factors.

- When you're new to reloading, you don't know what impacts you a lot or a little. I see a lot of people new to reloading who focus on the trivial at the expense of the important because they read about it somewhere. When you do that, especially for people new to reloading, then they get a skewed perspective and can end up stopping altogether out of the frustration of spending a ton of time and not seeing significantly better results.

When I help people get into reloading, I tell them to focus on just a few things to begin with. Then, after they've gotten used to the results and are comfortable with the process, introduce something else. See if that something else has an impact. Modify your process and move on to the next, and so on. Trying to get everything perfect right out of the gate can be overwhelming and an exercise in frustration.
Thanks for this. I’m trying to avoid paralysis by analysis. There so much information it becomes overwhelming. I just don’t want to fall in bad habits that will hinder me down the road.
 

Dthomas3523

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Trimming and bumping shoulders doesn’t take any significant amount of time.

You can size 100 cases in minutes. And trimming doesn’t take much longer.

If you don’t have the time to do that, shoot factory ammo.
 

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I'm an ex-NASA Space Shuttle engineer and I know what tolerance stacking is and when it applies. Tolerance stacking is meaningful when you have a significantly high tolerance multiplied over a number of interacting systems or parts. If the tolerance is low and/or the number of interacting systems/parts is low, then it does not come into play to a meaningful extent.

Some facts:

- A thousandth or two difference on an average case will impact neck tension by less than 1%. Compare that to neck tension differences due to differences in neck thickness, how the brass is prepped etc. It simply doesn't add up to a significant enough factor to spend a ton of time worrying about. NOTE THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR PEOPLE TO NOT TRIM. I am saying that not trimming when a case is out a couple thousandths isn't going to impact you to any significant degree.

- Everyone has X amount of time to devote to prepping and loading brass. X differs person to person. When you spend time doing something that impacts you 1% at the expense of something that impacts you 10%, then you are doing things wrong. Period. If you've got a system that allows you to do a step quickly and easily, then it probably doesn't matter. Not everyone can have that due any number of factors.

- When you're new to reloading, you don't know what impacts you a lot or a little. I see a lot of people new to reloading who focus on the trivial at the expense of the important because they read about it somewhere. When you do that, especially for people new to reloading, then they get a skewed perspective and can end up stopping altogether out of the frustration of spending a ton of time and not seeing significantly better results.

When I help people get into reloading, I tell them to focus on just a few things to begin with. Then, after they've gotten used to the results and are comfortable with the process, introduce something else. See if that something else has an impact. Modify your process and move on to the next, and so on. Trying to get everything perfect right out of the gate can be overwhelming and an exercise in frustration.
images (5).jpeg

You know how someone's an engineer? They tell you in the first sentence everytime they talk.....smh just like crossfitters
 
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Tokay444

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I’m interested what you’re measuring to half a thou with.
 

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Trimming and bumping shoulders doesn’t take any significant amount of time.

You can size 100 cases in minutes. And trimming doesn’t take much longer.

If you don’t have the time to do that, shoot factory ammo.
To be clear:

- I said nothing about bumping (or not bumping)
- I said that I am not telling people not to trim - only that a 1% difference in neck tension is not worth losing sleep over
- The OP mentioned nothing about F-Class or bench rest. The vast majority of shooters will never do such.

You do a very good job of putting words in one's mouth. Thanks for that.
 

Gregor.Samsa

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I tried measuring my chamber length with the Sinclair chamber gauge plugs with a piece of shortened brass. I had difficulty pulling the round from the chamber as my ejector would kick the shell out and separate it from the gauge plug. I wound up attaching a tiny split shot weight to some leader line and feeding the line through the flash hole. I carefully pushed the shell&plug into the chamber and pushed it in to full seating depth with a dowel. I used the leader line to pull the shell out of the chamber. I repeated this a couple times to verify the measurement. My question is if this is a valid measurement since the shell was not inserted into the chamber using the bolt? Or us this irrelevant and the only thing that matters is the chamber length measurement I took? Thanks!
 

nn8734

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I tried measuring my chamber length with the Sinclair chamber gauge plugs with a piece of shortened brass. I had difficulty pulling the round from the chamber as my ejector would kick the shell out and separate it from the gauge plug. I wound up attaching a tiny split shot weight to some leader line and feeding the line through the flash hole. I carefully pushed the shell&plug into the chamber and pushed it in to full seating depth with a dowel. I used the leader line to pull the shell out of the chamber. I repeated this a couple times to verify the measurement. My question is if this is a valid measurement since the shell was not inserted into the chamber using the bolt? Or us this irrelevant and the only thing that matters is the chamber length measurement I took? Thanks!
Is this rifle you are loading for a factory rifle or custom? If custom, I’d ask the builder for a chamber drawing (or the reamer used) if you haven’t done so already. I get one for all of my builds, it’s nice to have it for reference.

That procedure you’re describing above sounds like a pain in the ass, lol.

Edit: was curious about the tool so found this video; I assume you’ve seen it but posting in the event others haven’t and were also curious.
 

Tokay444

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Not saying my calipers are anthing special, but they’re measuring to the 4th decimal place with a +/- variance of 0.0005”.
They display to the 4th decimal place. They are never going to measure to such discrimination accurately. The nature of their construction prevents it.
 

Gregor.Samsa

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Is this rifle you are loading for a factory rifle or custom? If custom, I’d ask the builder for a chamber drawing (or the reamer used) if you haven’t done so already. I get one for all of my builds, it’s nice to have it for reference.

That procedure you’re describing above sounds like a pain in the ass, lol.

Edit: was curious about the tool so found this video; I assume you’ve seen it but posting in the event others haven’t and were also curious.
yes this is the tool.The rifle is a Tikka CTR in 6.5CM. The ejector plunger kicks the modified case and plug out pretty forcefully separating the two. That’s when I implemented the fishing line and split shot. Just wondering if the case is going further into the chamber with that method than it would had I inserted using the bolt.
Thanks for all the replies everyone.
 

Gregor.Samsa

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They display to the 4th decimal place. They are never going to measure to such discrimination accurately. The nature of their construction prevents it.
Ok. So for all intents and purposes I’ll jut read to the thousandths. Thanks
 
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Gregor.Samsa

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Can you simply pull your bolt apart and remove the ejector?
I pulled the bolt apart and removed firing pin but the ejector requires me to remove a roll pin. I just moved recently and my punches are at another location. Didn’t get that far. Thanks
 
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spife7980

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I pulled the bolt apart and removed firing pin but the ejector requires me to remove a roll pin. I just moved recently and my punches are at another location. Didn’t get that far. Thanks
Have a little nail or brad? Thats what I use, the box of small finish nails on the shelf is more convenient than other packed away tools.
1580308688400.png
 

nn8734

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I must have missed what brought on the need to measure your chambers case overall length? Most pople only worry about headspace unless theres a problem.
Agree, I just use one of those Lyman oal gauge plates to check. Most of the time, trimming isn’t necessary. It’s def not a priority relative to consistent headspace, bullet jump and keeping run out under control
 

Gregor.Samsa

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I must have missed what brought on the need to measure your chambers case overall length? Most pople only worry about headspace unless theres a problem.
I’m trying to measure my chamber length to determine cartridge trim length. Thanks
 
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