Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

Nov 5, 2007
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Tennessee
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

Great write up on sizing brass but I have a question.
I've been resizing once fired Lapua .308 Win. brass.

I used the Sinclair comparator to measure the fired headspace length and most of the cases are within .001" of one another.

However, there are some cases that are .002-.003" longer than the rest. Since all these cases were fired in the same rifle, shouldn't they all be the same or almost the same ?

Now the second part of the question. I set my full length re-sizing die to bump the shoulder back .002" on the shortest measured case. For most of the cases, no problems. But what about the cases that were longer ? Even after sizing, they're still .002-.003 longer than the normal 'after sizing' measured headspace length.

What am I missing ? Am I doing something wrong ?
 
Nov 12, 2010
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Florida, United States
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

I used to neck size and now I partial neck size. The idea of bumping the shoulder seems like it would not give the greatest accuracy compared to a fire formed case.

You stated: "It has been my experience that when it comes to shooting a match with a match grade (read "tight tolerence") weapons and the match is hot and fast for generally 66++ rounds- you will start having issues with "fitted" cases."

You mentioned that you fired 66 plus round and started having issues. Are you saying that the reason you bump the shoulder is for competition reasons - when you fire 50 rounds or more and the gun is hot - the bumping helps the rounds chamber? If that is true, what are the other advantages of bumping the shoulder over a fire formed or fitted case?
 
Nov 12, 2010
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Florida, United States
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

I read through the remainder of your posts on reloading and you have some really good information. If I lived closer to you, I would video tape these lessons for you. There a few things that get a little complex and a video might be easier. Thanks for all the good stuff you are putting out. Is this part of a book or article you are writing?
 

Grump

Gunny Sergeant
Oct 23, 2008
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: johngfoster</div><div class="ubbcode-body">One small detail I didn't notice, but may be important is to trim your necks before deburring the flash hole. Deburring tools index off the mouth and if you have varying case/neck length, it will affect how deep and how much metal is taken off the web around the flash hole. </div></div>
My Sinclair flash hole deburring tool, bought in the 1980s and still going strong, has built-in depth control at the drill/countersink end.

The end at the case mouth is cone-shaped and serves only to keep that end of the tool centered.

It was brand new back then. I was expecting the other system you describe.

So, no such worries for me.
 

kwak

Sergeant
Dec 13, 2010
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MI
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

This is very good information. Thank You, but how can I load 500-700 rounds per hour taking all these steps? Is Knoxville in Knox county?
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

No you can't load 500-700 HIGHLY PRECISE rounds in an hour...period.

You can't even sort 700 projectiles in an hour for uniformity, and you still have'nt even touched a piece of brass..

Load/shoot fast & sloppy or
load/shoot slow and precise.

You can't have both.

In time you'll find your personal compromise of speed/precision that your okay with.




Yes




 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


Lank: Thanks!

P Pepper: No no book, but nor am I looking for the articles to be bought/published.
While I was already a short and long range rifle competitor, this website is where I learned quite of bit of expedient field shooting math as well as technique for unimproved real world long range hunting in unimproved/crude at best shooting positions.

I have learned a lot from the generous people on this website. My reloading articles and what little I know being shared in general is my version of giving something back.

260A:
Thanks.

Thanks for the kind words everyone.
 

CMH

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 17, 2010
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Billings, MT
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

As I was deburring necks last night I was wondering how others keep that process as consistent and repeatable as possible. Good information here - going to try it on next batch and some of you other tricks as well.

Thanks for a great primer (pun!)

Casey
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


AWESOME question C. Your thinking precision & consistency in every detail.
KMH makes a deburring tool that actually indexes off the head of the case inside. It only lets you deburr the mouth so far....
 
Jan 24, 2011
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

is it safe to resize with the tempilaq still inside the mouth of the case or should you clean it out before bumping the shoulder back?
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


It's certainly safe, but not a good idea if your looking for best consistency/accuracy.
 

Target In Sight

Where my shots go?!?!?!
Jun 3, 2009
441
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Cali
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: TresMon</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
AWESOME question C. Your thinking precision & consistency in every detail.
KMH makes a deburring tool that actually indexes off the head of the case inside. It only lets you deburr the mouth so far.... </div></div>

First of all, great write up. I also want to share a good product that I recently purchased, that helps on this subject. The Forster 3-in-1 case mouth cutter. http://www.forsterproducts.com/catalog.asp?prodid=700216

Not only it speeds up my trimming, chamfering, and deburing process (all 3 actions at once), it also cuts very consistently and square.

Just thought I share it and hope others can be benefit from it too.

Thank you,

Dyl..
 
Nov 22, 2008
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West Wales, UK
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

Great post, thank you.


My question is about deburring the inside of the case mouth. I have always followed the typical reloading manual's advice of lightly chamferring the inside and outside, trying not to convert the case mouth into a cookie cutter. However, your technique cuts the bevel on the inside of the case until it goes almost to the to the outside edge of the case.

Why is this please ?
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep



Because the standard reloading manual assumes the average reader/loader is going to shoot an average bullet- a flat base or a minor boat tail.

However we here on this site and many others are LONG range shooters shooing long sleek boat tailed bullets. So if you do a minimum inside chamber, you'll still shave copper off a long boat tail bullet.....

Fellas I have drug these articles over to my brand new website. Stay tuned there for additions and brand new articles: WildernessMeans.com
 
Nov 4, 2005
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Atlanta, GA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

Excellent information here, read 5 of your posts here in one sitting, trying to fill in the gaps of what I thought I knew about load development.

Annealing is something I have just started doing, but am confused about throwing the hot brass in a pan or bucket of water as many people describe in their process. I remember a science experiment we did in school where we took hair pins and heated the tightly curved end in a Bunsen burner. One we heated for five seconds or so and then quickly dunked in water to cool it rapidly. The other, we heated for the same time, but then moved it up away from the flame to allow it to cool very slowly. We then pulled the ends to straighten the pins. The one cooled rapidly (tempered), snapped in two almost instantly. The one we cooled slowly (annealed), bent apart and had to be bent back and forth more times than a non-heated pin before it finally broke.

You have much more experience in this than I do, but wouldn't it be better to withdraw the brass from the flame slowly and allow it to cool in the ambient air?

Thanks again for posting these articles, I think the information here is going to help me a lot.
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

Cpappa,

I appreciate you writing and your analagy.

But you must compare apples to apples. Brass is an apple and steel is a baboon.

Brass in several areas does the exact opposite of steel. Heat steel and it will get hard/brittle. Heat brass and it will get softer and softer and softer.

As far as I know the whole heat brass and throw it in water deal is to protect the body of the case as well as the head of the case form being softened. You only want the neck/shoulder to soften. For the head to soften is quite dangerous, not to mention it will burp out the primer upon firing.

I imagine the whole dump it in water is 1. a legal disclaimer & 2.- brass is a great conductor. it will draw(wick) the heat applied to the neck <span style="font-style: italic">towards</span> the head of the case- so I imagine if annealing the necks of tiny cases, say 22 hornet? sufficient heat could be drawn from the neck to soften the head as well. Dunking in water would prevent this.

However when I anneal my .223 cases and bigger, the heat dissipates to the air faster than it travels to the head- so I have never had a problem with air cooling for .223 cases and bigger. And I prefer to let them air cool so as to not shock the just softened neck of the case.

Hope I've helped!
 
Jan 25, 2009
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Ventura County, Ca
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

So, if you go through the process of sorting your brass by weight, you end up with many small piles. I sorted 500 rounds of Lapua 6.5x47 and was surprised at the variance in weights. I can get together a shootable number of cartridges of the most common weights, but what do you do with the rest? Do you just arrange in the cartridge box by weight and get ready to adjust your aim when you move to a new weight?

The other day I shot a group where the cases weighed 160.0 grains, followed by a group of 160.6 grain cases. The second group placed a good 6 inches over the first. I presume that the heavier cases (from the same lot) had less interior room and thus a higher pressure.
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
1,148
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NW USA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


Yeah you can load all the brass, just keep the ammo in segregated lots according to brass weight.

I do it and just shoot 1 batch of ammo per string of the match.
The local 1000 yard matches typically have you shoot three strings or relays.

I shoot one weight sort of brass per string. You get sighter shots prior to shooting for score- so that compensates the zero shift.

Have fun!
 
May 4, 2011
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West Texas
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

I am new to reloading but have never heard anyone say...to develop a load for your rifle can you use new brass or is it best to use once fired?
 
Apr 5, 2010
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Missouri
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Rebel</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I am new to reloading but have never heard anyone say...to develop a load for your rifle can you use new brass or is it best to use once fired? </div></div> I have this same question. I've been using new Lapua brass in my bolt .308. I'm new to reloading but a friend told me not to size the new brass that its a waste of time. After reading this I gather I should full length new brass and then neck size thereafter. And I'm going to get more accurate loads after the new brass has been fired once? Is this right or am I off base? Thanks.
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
1,148
19
38
NW USA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


Yeah, work up a load with brass that is fire formed to the particular rifles chamber.
Thanks guys.
 

1J04

Morale Officer
Aug 7, 2011
8,742
3,067
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PACIFIC NW
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

This is absolute "MUST KNOW" info and should never, IMHO, be removed from where it's at as a "Sticky". Thanks a million for the great insight.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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Georgia
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

I really enjoy this website! there is a lot of great information and I would like to contribute to this discussion, but realize I am no expert. I recently got my first custom rifle made by John Whidden who holds numerous shooting records and I just wanted to pass along his reloading tip. He says the most important thing is neck tension
I do not have the skill to confirm it yet but I believe that may be true. My new rifle shoots very well and I realize now how much my shooting contributes...
I noticed after firing cases that I did essentially what the original post said except I did not weight sort that when I was checking them on a redding gauge for neck wall thickness and runout that only half had the same neck tension. I had neck turned these cases after running them thru a mandrell but after firing cleaning and realizing the interior neck size was not the same so I turned the necks on half of them again.
Hopefully it will not be raining next time I shoot and I can see if the chronograph and my shooting confirm the importance of getting the necks uniform so the tension is the same on the bullet. I can tell that lapua new brass is easily the most consistent by my measurements and although my rifles all love federal rounds that brass is not as consistent as lapua. My measurements would indicate Winchester is next best to Lapua with Federal and Remington far behind.
I can also confirm that the shooter is critical as this new rifle gives great feedback and in retrospect I probably should have used the money to buy lots of bullets and shoot rather than the new rifle. Jason and the instructors on the teaching videos are great and I hope to get some non video based instruction someday.
 
Dec 4, 2008
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SE Montana
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 707electrician</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have a question. Once I have my headspace measurement from my once fired brass, how do I set my neck sizing die to bump the shoulder back that .003"?</div></div>

I too had that question. I thought about buying the shims, but I didn't want to wait for them to get here. So, I grabbed my high tech machining tools and materials (scissors and tin foil) and made some. Tin foil is .001" thick. My fired cases measured 1.556" to datum and my resizing die was spitting them out at 1.547". So I needed to adjust my die out .006" so I used six pieces of tin foil as a spacer between the shell holder and the bottom of my die. I loosened the die and backed it out, raised the ram with my fancy shims, and then screwed the die down on the shims. After about 20 min of trial and error I've got my die set up to bump .003" on the dot. By the way it was Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Match VLD Foil. Thanks Tres for such an awesome set of articles. I've got everyone of them printed off and saved.
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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NW USA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


You adjust your dies as per normal to get the correct shoulder bump back. Loosen the lock screw on the die ring, adjust the die in and out to get correct bump back and snug the lock ring. it -may- have moved the setting a thou or two when you snug the lock ring down so it might take 2-3 times to get it right.

The store bought assorted die shims are:
1. so people who sell retail reloading stuff can eat steak for dinner instead of pasta.
2. a luxury thats not really needed
3. a pain in the neck to remember what thicknesses of shims went under what die for which setting???

Just set your dies lock ring right, once and your GTG.
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
1,148
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NW USA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


I use a Forster. Really though a case trimmer is rarely used and so long as it is piloted and indexes in the neck of the case you should be good to go with any of the most common brands.
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
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NW USA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


Heck no!!


I hate to have to trim my brass. Trimming brass removes that much more neck support of the bullet which makes it that much easier for the bullet to get knocked out of alignment on the loading cycle which induces that much more inaccuracy....
 
Feb 21, 2010
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Baton Rouge, LA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

TresMon,

Great series of posts, thanks a bunch for taking the time to help others out. I have a question about head-space. For the last few years I've been targeting once fired case dimensions to set up my Redding body die in 308 for a bolt gun. You suggest bumping the shoulder a few thousandths back from this point. I always thought that a once fired case will not exactly match the chamber since the brass has some elasticity and it will "spring back" a bit after firing. Hence a once fired case has the necessary clearance for reliable feeding and extraction. So I don't start bumping the cases until after the second firing. Up till now I haven't experienced any problems with this SOP but you are obviously way more experienced at this than I am.

So my question is: Do you think it's OK to continue this practice since I haven't had feeding or extraction issues OR even so would it be better to bump the shoulder back a bit more? Are there any other issues besides feeding and extraction, like accuracy maybe that might be in play here?

Thanks again!
 
Nov 24, 2011
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Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

To become a fisherman you have to think like a fish.

This is my attempt to think like a shell casing.

When a shell is fired, the brass expands to fill the chamber, the web section of the brass is unsupported by the chamber to a large degree so the strength of the case does all the work there. After the pressure is released the case springs back slightly, say a thou or 2, which allows the casing or brass to be extracted. You can neck size, reload and fire the shell again and again and if pressures are not excessive this can be repeated quite often. If you full length resize after each firing the die will size or squeeze the brass to the shape of the die and when the brass is removed from the die it will spring back by a thou or 2. The shoulder may not be set back at all, it may in fact be pushed forward depending on the die dimensions and the fired brass dimensions.

If you want to know exactly what is happening you have to measure:

http://larrywillis.com/
http://www.hornady.com/store/Bullet-Comparator-Kits/

If, for instance you have a rifle with a snug or min headspace and a shell chambers with some resistance it will come out shorter (headspace dimension) after firing. If, a low pressure load is fired it will also come out shorter. If, you have a rifle with generous headspace (still safe, after all nobody would want to knowingly fire a rifle that had excessive or service headspace) the brass will be longer than it went in.

For the most part, if you buy a new gun or 2 and buy good quality reloading equipment and supplies you will in all likelihood never have any problems and really won't understand what all the fuss is about. But if you buy a fair number of gunshow rifles or used ones you will get an education. I've had the fun of experiencing first hand excessive headspace, oval chambers, dimensionally small dies, short dies, crooked barrels, barrels installed crooked, stepped and improperly machined bolt faces, oversized firing pin holes, sharp primer piercing firing pins and some stuff I have forgotten.

The 101 and 201 posts in this section are a good read, they explain all this better than I can.
 
Sep 11, 2007
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new mexico
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep

okay so i just got in my chamber length guage.


my factory remington 700 chamber, 308, measures at 2.05

thats ALOT longer than the max case length.

so should i not trim until i get close to 2.05?

if so, its gonna be while until i trim again
 

TresMon

Gunny Sergeant
Dec 3, 2007
1,148
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NW USA
Re: Hand loading for Long range 1: brass case prep


No, never trim unless you just have to. (after an intial triming of all your brass so that they are all the same length as your shortest case.)
 
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