Hand Loading for Precision Rifle (Pic Heavy)

Deadshot2

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 4, 2011
1,705
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The Convergence Zone
#51
Im surprised you don't neck turn your brass- Im worried about a "donut" forming inside the brass screwing up the amount of grab on the bullet.
Just use an RCBS Pilot/Neck Reamer. When I think a donut is forming, I just size then run this pilot/reamer into the neck. It's designed to replace the pilot on the RCBS Trimmer lathe cutting tool. A touch of neck turning lube, a couple of turns while Trimming, and "donut? What donut?

FWIW, most bullets are seated far enough out that the pressure ring (where the bearing surface meets the boat tail) is above it. Only time the donut is a real issue is when seating a Loooong bullet and you have to stick a lot of it into the case so you can chamber it.
 
Jun 15, 2003
301
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Lockport, IL
#53
Just use an RCBS Pilot/Neck Reamer. When I think a donut is forming, I just size then run this pilot/reamer into the neck. It's designed to replace the pilot on the RCBS Trimmer lathe cutting tool. A touch of neck turning lube, a couple of turns while Trimming, and "donut? What donut?

FWIW, most bullets are seated far enough out that the pressure ring (where the bearing surface meets the boat tail) is above it. Only time the donut is a real issue is when seating a Loooong bullet and you have to stick a lot of it into the case so you can chamber it.
Thats a great idea. I was thinking of buying a .222" reamer to cut down the doughnut when it appears on my .223 loads.
 
#54
Hey guys, quick question on bullet batch, or lot.
I just opened another box of my 175 SMK and when I went to measure the OAL to the ogive I noticed a .030 difference in the lots. how will this affect the load?
I know I should have purchased the bullets in a larger lot but at the time 100 round boxes was all that was available.

Thanks
 
Mar 23, 2011
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Gilbert, Arizona
#56
I believe Sinclair makes a tool that clamps onto the other end of the caliper with a hole cut out for the primer so the case head rides in "the groove".
Thank you so much for the write-up sir. This should be a sticky. I have learned a lot from this.

However, I would be even more grateful if you were able to find the product you mentioned here. I have always been annoyed by this and even though it generally isn't too difficult to just deprime, I would still like to have this tool at my disposal.
 

Deadshot2

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 4, 2011
1,705
2
0
75
The Convergence Zone
#57
Hey guys, quick question on bullet batch, or lot.
I just opened another box of my 175 SMK and when I went to measure the OAL to the ogive I noticed a .030 difference in the lots. how will this affect the load?
I know I should have purchased the bullets in a larger lot but at the time 100 round boxes was all that was available.

Thanks
Two problems are possible. Seat using OAL to ogive and you'll have varying seating depths. Seat using OAL, case head to meplat and you'll have varying "jumps".

Of the two, the seating depth into the case will have the least effect on accuracy.

I buy in lots of 1500 or so and just sort by base to ogive length. If I had only a box of 100 I'd still sort and segregate, then use the case head to ogive measurement to seat. That way at least each group of cartridges would have the same characteristics rather than one or two with deeper seating depth/greater jump and another few with the opposite, all while trying to group the 5-10 shots as close as possible (either in group or score).


I've found this to be the cause of my "3 in one hole, two in another hole" groups. The variations cause speed changes which shift poi.
 
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Feb 24, 2013
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Madison, Wi
#60
Threads such as this one are what differentiates the HIDE from other forums! Lots of very detailed experience written out in a way that even beginners...like myself, or others with years of experience can read this and walk away with some new found knowledge. Thanks!
 
Aug 22, 2009
797
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Ft.Worth, TX
#61
Remember that you must readjust the die to touch the top of the new shellholder when changing between say +.004 and +.006. The thickness on the top of the shellholder varies, not under the cartridge. Just changing the shellholder will not change the headspace sizing.
It ABSOULTELY will change the head space and is the entire point of getting the shell holders! Going from a 0.004 to a 0.006 will not becasue you are going backwards. Going from a 0.006 to the 0.004 will. And if it has not then you have not found the correct shell holder yet move on to the 0.002. If that still has not moved it then you need to screw the die in just a touch more and start again using the 0.010 holder.
 
Dec 10, 2012
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Las Vegas, NV
#62
Hondo I rub it on and run it through the press.

Caccitore I see the shiny ring and can't tell you why it is there but I did not deburr the flash hole. I just cleaned the pocket. Debuting happens from the opposite side anyway. To deburr you would run the tool through the neck.
that shiny ring is from the primer pocket uniformer, the flat part uses the base of the brass to set the depth so that spinning on there causes that ring.
 
Nov 14, 2013
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San Diego, CA
#67
The part I'm still missing is determining the bushing size needed if you don't have a loaded round. I have once fired brass and the bullets, so I just took the width of the brass times two added the bullet diameter then subtracted .002, is this sufficient?
 
Aug 22, 2009
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Ft.Worth, TX
#70
Thank you so much for the write-up sir. This should be a sticky. I have learned a lot from this.

However, I would be even more grateful if you were able to find the product you mentioned here. I have always been annoyed by this and even though it generally isn't too difficult to just deprime, I would still like to have this tool at my disposal.
I do not actually have or use something like this I was just told that it did exist. But I did find this and it seems like it would do the trick because it appears there is a recess in the center for the primer to fit even if it was sticking up proud. Davidson Seating Depth Base Pieces | Sinclair Intl
 
Mar 22, 2014
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Central Texas
#74
I love the pictures, they are easier to "read" than a reloacing book. I've reloaded in the past but not for precision. I'm about to get back into it. Thanks for the info.
 
Feb 18, 2017
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#78
Barney88PDC
Thanks for this write up.. I am using it for reference at the moment and would also like to see this put back as a sticky..
 
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JRodMT

New Hide Member
Feb 21, 2018
23
17
3
#86
There was a brief mention of the expander ball undoing the effectiveness of the neck bushing. Also, there are neck thickness inconsistencies unless you’re turning and/or reaming necks. I believe that if you’re running a bushing on unturned necks, you’re also pushing those inconsistencies into the inside of the neck which potentially makes for non-concentric tension around the bullet. If you have dings or flat spots in your necks, a bushing alone generally will not fix this. When you account for brass spring-back, I disagree that seating a bullet will fix it. The area in which the flat spot is may potentially grip the bullet tighter on that edge creating an inconsistency.

By over-analyzing the process, that is my theory anyway. Yours may differ but I’ve added another step to aid in neck tension consistency and peace of mind. Also it has reduced my SDs and tightened my groups.

I use the Sinclair expander die with a mandrel .001” smaller than bullet diameter and run all of my brass back though it. I know there are varying opinions on this but in my application it’s helped significantly.
 
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vitalemj

Sergeant of the Hide
Jun 4, 2011
107
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Fort Pierce, FL
#87
I use the Sinclair expander die with a mandrel .001” smaller than bullet diameter and run all of my brass back though it. I know there are varying opinions on this but in my application it’s helped significantly.
JRodMT I was talking with someone about this a little while back. If wanting to skip neck turning altogether it does make sense. When you say you added a step does that mean you use a bushing die to set neck tension and then run an expander mandrel?

How much difference did it make to average SD's and or group size over just running a bushing die?
 

JRodMT

New Hide Member
Feb 21, 2018
23
17
3
#88
JRodMT I was talking with someone about this a little while back. If wanting to skip neck turning altogether it does make sense. When you say you added a step does that mean you use a bushing die to set neck tension and then run an expander mandrel?

How much difference did it make to average SD's and or group size over just running a bushing die?
Yes, the step added was to run the necks over the mandrel and after the bushing die. I’ve done quite a bit of different load development since then so I don’t remember what the SD change was, but I do remember that particular rifle went from an HONEST 1/2 MOA rifle to a 1/3 MOA @ 300yds. When I say honest, I mean I always take it to the range before a match to foul the barrel after cleaning and to confirm zero. After 5 fouling shots it will consistently shoot 1/3 MOA so I’ve stuck with this practice.

In the coming weeks I’ll be working on a new 6 Creedmoor. After I come up with my load, I’ll run a test between using a mandrel and not running a mandrel and post my results.
 
Dec 2, 2017
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#89
MissouriTrapper,

Again with any non bushing die you cannot set neck tension due to the fact that you cannot vary the amount the neck is squeezed by changing out a bushing. In your case the amount the neck is squeezed down is set by the dimension of the die itself, not a bushing. So in your case it does not matter as you can't do what I recommend anyway.

With bushing dies with a proper bushing selected if you have the expander ball installed which would mean you would feel resistance on the down stroke of the press as the brass is being lowered out of the die, as the expander ball passes through the neck then yes. You have just ruined the neck tension set by the proper bushing. If you have a bushing die take out the expander ball and put in just the decapping pin holder.
Great post! I have the same Redding dies. After reading your post, I can see how the "pull" of the expander ball, on the down stroke, would pull the shoulder back out after you had just bumped it back. But what is the expander ball for? Just to return a deformed neck to round? Would the shoulder on the inside of the die not hold he shoulder as the expander ball came back out and assured wall thickness and roundness?
Also your explination of how to use the precision case holders make perfect sense and I am going to go back and use your method to set up my sizing die.
 
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Aug 22, 2009
797
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Ft.Worth, TX
#91
This is what I do and I have several rifles in multiple calibers that all shoot single digit SD and usually mid-teen ES or lower. All my rifles are 1/2 MOA or better and usually shoot 5 round groups in the high 0.3XX" center to center from a bipod and rear bag with me on the gun. Not a 30# bench rifle sliding in bags. This was intended to help a new reloader who is getting started to produce very good ammo with brass resized and tailored to their own chamber. Not the n'th degree of what is possible at a reloading bench.

What I am loading for is PRS matches where our typical engagements are on a 2 MOA target at various distances and props. I can guarantee you that these methods, with a little bit of load development, will yield accuracy superior to anything you buy in a box. Now if this is for bench-rest then perhaps more work at the loading bench will yield higher scores and tighter groups. However, for PRS style shooting using that added time dry-firing off barricades at 1 MOA targets will improve your scores more than neck turning or mandrel sizing an ID. I also stick to Lapua brass, where I can, so that certainly helps. For any type of field shooting, PRS style, Hunting, Plinking, Ect. Anything more than these methods are wasted effort IMO. Benchrest, maybe more work yields tighter groups but I don't play that game so I can't say.

In regards to Annealing. I am still not convinced annealing is required but I try to do it every other loading on a Giraud Annealer.

Again, leaving the expander ball just uniforms the ID of the neck to "round" but ruins the proper neck tensions set by the proper bushing because it opens up then neck slightly. It does nothing to the shoulder or the wall thickness of the brass.
 
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Jun 27, 2017
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#94
Remember that you must readjust the die to touch the top of the new shellholder when changing between say +.004 and +.006. The thickness on the top of the shellholder varies, not under the cartridge. Just changing the shellholder will not change the headspace sizing.
This is good to know. i figured the shell holders would have the same overall height...well i changed the shell holder and kept getting the same value when i measured. Haven't had a chance to try this yet.

everyone have the same experience? changing out shell holder will have to re-adjust the die to touch the shell holder again?
 
Jun 15, 2003
301
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Lockport, IL
#95
I'm sorry DDR, I was mistaken. You don't have to readjust the die between shellholder changes. Just set the die to touch the top of the .010" SH, and progressively go down towards the .002" SH, until you arrive at your desired shoulder setback. Sorry for the confusion....
 
Likes: DDRH65CM
Jun 27, 2017
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#96
Thanks so much Fatelvis. after resizing, headspace measurement got longer, tried all the shells and it stayed the same @ 1.5295. it went from 1.5280" to 1.5295" (6.5 Creedmoor 1X fired Hornady brass)

Seems like a short chamber, this was from a Remington Magpul 700 in 6.5 Creedmoor. I noticed my Barrett MRAD measurement was a tad longer. And my AIAX-SA was even longer than the Barrett. Will have to try 1X fired Brass from each chamber and try "bump sizing" again with the shell holders.
 
Aug 22, 2009
797
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28
Ft.Worth, TX
#98
Thanks so much Fatelvis. after resizing, headspace measurement got longer, tried all the shells and it stayed the same @ 1.5295. it went from 1.5280" to 1.5295" (6.5 Creedmoor 1X fired Hornady brass)

Seems like a short chamber, this was from a Remington Magpul 700 in 6.5 Creedmoor. I noticed my Barrett MRAD measurement was a tad longer. And my AIAX-SA was even longer than the Barrett. Will have to try 1X fired Brass from each chamber and try "bump sizing" again with the shell holders.
It will get longer. That is because you are making the OD of the case smaller, which stretches the case longer, but your case has not contacted the shoulder in the die yet. Since you have tried all the shell holders, loosen your lock ring on your die, screw the die in another 3/8 of a turn and start with the 0.010 shell holder and re-measure. Then go to 0.008, then 0.006 and so on measuring each time and stop at the holder that gives you a 0.0015" to 0.002" set back. In your chamber that would be a 1.526" to 1.5265" measurement.
 
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Jun 27, 2017
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#99
Thanks Barney!

I think the issue i had was the headspace of the brass was slightly short...or not fully fireformed (1X fired factory). Based on the attached files (chamber and cartridge measurements) the brass fired out of one of my rifles seems to have a chamber on the short side. Thus causing the brass to 'grow' when I FL sized.

Recently measured some 4X fired Norma brass and it was ~1.5365". I used the .006 shell holder and was able to bump the shoulder back down to 1.5350"

I'll continue to monitor my progress on this.
 

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Racegunnr

For Sale Access
May 15, 2018
30
5
8
Great post, thanks! It has been years since I've reloaded and reading this has taken the jitters out of me starting back up again. I just got a forster with micrometer seating die and full lenght sizer for 6 dasher, but I'm curious about the shell holders, havent seen any for the forster press?