My findings: Expander mandrel vs bushing die

frost1235

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So I've put a little experiment that's gone on for around 2000 rounds and I wanted to share the results thus far.

Instead of a bushing fl resizing die, I used a fl sizing die and expander mandrel and dry neck lube.

- My groups have been constant, with an SD of 7 when I am lazy, and SD of 3 when I'm focused. (Sorting by volume)

- While I haven't had to trim my brass in over 5 reloads, I have noticed that the brass is getting significantly harder to expand. I don't plan on annealing this brass, since my primer pockets are definitely loosening up at this point. (300 to 225 pieces at this time.)


Just something I wanted to share with people just on case they were wondering!
 

Dev L

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Im confused. What die are you using? A full length standard die with decapping rod and expander ball removed, a Redding bushing die minus expander, or a dedicated body die? Is the "body die" a specific size honed neck? No neck sizing? A particular bushing but no expander?

What mandrel size/type are you using?

What caliber and model of rifle?

Why are you not annealing every time?

What lube are you using on the body of the cases for resizing?
 
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TheOfficeT-Rex

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Can you expand a little?
Caliber, brass, which dies, rifle, etc?

I am interested in the setup and results.
 

frost1235

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Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor, LRP (Why? I couldn't find any SRP at the time.)

Die: Full-length sizing die with no expander ball. (Non-custom)

Expander: 0.263 expander mandrel/die

Why am I not annealing? I honestly don't see the point for LRP. The biggest argument for annealing is to repair/reset the work-hardening that happened to the brass. For LRP, the failure point isn't going to be the neck/shoulder, but would more likely be due to loose primer pockets. Considering how I've 50 rounds going on 7x reload with no annealing, and still holding respectable SD's/groups (granted a good amount culled) I haven't the need to anneal anything. Switching over to SRP, I'll definitely test something out when I can save the money for a decent annealer and new brass.


I'm all for sharing knowledge, and just wanted to pass on word that might be useful to somebody.
 
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TheOfficeT-Rex

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So you've just moved to an mandrel and bushing - you didn't actually compare two lots of brass prepared differently?
 

supercorndogs

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I use the Lee collet die for my 300wm still. I don't use it on anything else anymore. I have loaded the same 100 pieces of 223 brass with one 3 times in one day. Ravaged some prairie dog towns on my bosses land, before anyone else could get there. It was a pretty neat experiment...err what you call that. Not experiment.....Thing I did. I thought I would share that knowledge with you...err not knowledge...What do they call that......anecdotal information....... :sneaky::poop::ROFLMAO:
 

TheOfficeT-Rex

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Reading the above it sounds like he just removed his expander from the FL die, and uses a mandrel instead.

...my point being, this is less an experiment and more one man's statement of his process.

Also it lacks detail that would make this useful to someone else : brass used, bullet used, rifle used, group sizes, multiple data points, etc.
 
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Winny94

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Why am I not annealing? I honestly don't see the point for LRP. The biggest argument for annealing is to repair/reset the work-hardening that happened to the brass. For LRP, the failure point isn't going to be the neck/shoulder, but would more likely be due to loose primer pockets.
did this strike anyone else as an odd justification, or am I just not understanding this correctly?
 

918v

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did this strike anyone else as an odd justification, or am I just not understanding this correctly?
I understand it to mean that a LRP case will fail due to primer pocket expansion before the neck cracks due to work hardening.

And this is true given the pressures everyone is running.
 
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Huskydriver

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I understand it to mean that a LRP case will fail due to primer pocket expansion before the neck cracks due to work hardening.

And this is true given the pressures everyone is running.
Except it's not. I run lrp 6.5 brass and anneal every firing... Guess what.... On my 15th reload today. This brass owes me nothing.
 
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spife7980

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I understand it to mean that a LRP case will fail due to primer pocket expansion before the neck cracks due to work hardening.

And this is true given the pressures everyone is running.
But that ignores the other benefits of annealing. I dont anneal to keep my necks from cracking, thats just a side benefit.

I find the logic of not annealing because the primer pockets might eventually fail akin to not wiping your ass because eventually you will die anyways.
Sure its gonna expire in the end but that doesnt mean you have to make/keep it shitty.

If he had said he cant justify the expenditure than thats perfectly understandable, its the faulty reasoning provided thats weird.
 

antithesis

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>snip<

And this is true given the pressures everyone is running.
That’s because you don’t run the pressure the op is running.
Can we pick one or the other?

I call BS regardless. Brass gets work hardened. The way to relieve it is to anneal. The better statement may be not everyone shoots well enough to benefit. The brass is sure as heck going to size better after firing a few times if it has been annealed. If I think a batch of brass is going to get its last load before going in the round file, it still gets annealed.
 
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lash

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Only cavemen use those.
Ugg no like anti caveman rhetoric. Ugg resemble such remark and still use Lee collet die carved from rock. Work good for Ugg.

I understand it to mean that a LRP case will fail due to primer pocket expansion before the neck cracks due to work hardening.

And this is true given the pressures everyone is running.
Ugg no run high pressures like everyone else. Ugg like annealing, like results, like fire. Fire...fire... 🔥
 

918v

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Can we pick one or the other?

I call BS regardless. Brass gets work hardened. The way to relieve it is to anneal. The better statement may be not everyone shoots well enough to benefit. The brass is sure as heck going to size better after firing a few times if it has been annealed. If I think a batch of brass is going to get its last load before going in the round file, it still gets annealed.
I call BS on people getting 15 reloads on lrp brass when running high pressure, the kind you need to get 140s past 2800 FPS which is what everyone boasts about when you read these threads.

It’s not about picking one or the other. Stop playing these stupid nitpicking games.
 

Huskydriver

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I call BS on people getting 15 reloads on lrp brass when running high pressure, the kind you need to get 140s past 2800 FPS which is what everyone boasts about when you read these threads.

It’s not about picking one or the other. Stop playing these stupid nitpicking games.
Well it's happening chief...2830 fps to be exact.
 

Steel head

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I call BS on people getting 15 reloads on lrp brass when running high pressure, the kind you need to get 140s past 2800 FPS which is what everyone boasts about when you read these threads.

It’s not about picking one or the other. Stop playing these stupid nitpicking games.
I have Winchester cases just now dropping primers after 30+ firings pushing 140 and 147’s at 2800.
Those cases killed 1 260 barrel and have almost killed a second
 

Winny94

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I call BS on people getting 15 reloads on lrp brass when running high pressure, the kind you need to get 140s past 2800 FPS which is what everyone boasts about when you read these threads.

It’s not about picking one or the other. Stop playing these stupid nitpicking games.
well, you can call whatever you want, but it happens - regularly.
 

antithesis

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I call BS on people getting 15 reloads on lrp brass when running high pressure, the kind you need to get 140s past 2800 FPS which is what everyone boasts about when you read these threads.

It’s not about picking one or the other. Stop playing these stupid nitpicking games.
Elevation matters. Powder choice matters. Higher elevation + powder that fills the case = fast loads with a reasonable brass life.
 

jsthntn247

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I loaded 10 up with a mandrel run through the neck before loading and 10 up with just a bushing die and no mandrel. The mandrel group shot 2x as big as the bushing only at 600 yards.
 

Skunkworx

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I loaded 10 up with a mandrel run through the neck before loading and 10 up with just a bushing die and no mandrel. The mandrel group shot 2x as big as the bushing only at 600 yards.
Assuming your setting the same neck tension why would there be a difference? You’d think a bushing would invite more variables into the mix due to brass neck thickness variations and therefore variations in neck tension.
 

Winny94

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I loaded 10 up with a mandrel run through the neck before loading and 10 up with just a bushing die and no mandrel. The mandrel group shot 2x as big as the bushing only at 600 yards.
Are we to read this as you ran it through the sizing die w/ no expander ball? So now were talking about variable neck tension, so that wouldnt be an apples to apples comparison.
 

antithesis

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Are we to read this as you ran it through the sizing die w/ no expander ball? So now were talking about variable neck tension, so that wouldnt be an apples to apples comparison.
Guessing you read that correctly. If so, that is exactly the way I would have compared them. Expander buttons stretch the brass so they get yanked, and also diminishes the point of using a bushing to begin with - the busing gets things where you want it, where the button can open that sucker back up. Your point is valid however, in that we don't know if the mandrel opened it up to match the bushing used which is how it should have been setup.

I believe the intent of the overall question is does making the inside of the next uniform with an expander, vs. making the outside uniform with a bushing make a difference rather than a neck tension question. Personally I use the bullet to make the inside of the neck uniform, assuming that is a real thing. If the case mouth and necks are where they should be (no galling of the bullet, reasonable tension) the bullet is capable of moving the 0.005 variation that you might have in good brass.
 
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jsthntn247

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Guessing you read that correctly. If so, that is exactly the way I would have compared them. Expander buttons stretch the brass so they get yanked, and also diminishes the point of using a bushing to begin with - the busing gets things where you want it, where the button can open that sucker back up. Your point is valid however, in that we don't know if the mandrel opened it up to match the bushing used which is how it should have been setup.

I believe the intent of the overall question is does making the inside of the next uniform with an expander, vs. making the outside uniform with a bushing make a difference rather than a neck tension question. Personally I use the bullet to make the inside of the neck uniform, assuming that is a real thing. If the case mouth and necks are where they should be (no galling of the bullet, reasonable tension) the bullet is capable of moving the 0.005 variation that you might have in good brass.
To add a little more info. I did a complete load work up on my F Class rifle to where it's one holing at 100 yards and in the center of a node. I moved back to 600 yards and only changed neck tension and found what shot best which was .001 tension and 30 lbs on my seating force gauge. This produced sub 2" 5 shot groups at 600. I have numerous mandrels for my f class calibers. I used a mandrel that gave me 30lbs of seating force and .001 neck tension. I loaded 10 rounds with the bushing die only ( no expander) at 30lbs of seating force and .001 tension and 10 rounds by using a .001 smaller bushing and then expanding up on a K&M expander that yielded .001 tension and 30lbs of seating force. Took those 20 round to the range and the bushing only shot groups again sub 2.5" and the mandrel group shot sub 4.5". Took both loads to an Fclass match and the bushing only easily outshot the mandrel on 20 shot strings. I have seen this on both my flcass rifles. Can't explain it but I no longer use mandrels before loading. Not sure why everybody is commenting about expander buttons, that's a totally different subject than what the OP asked.
 

frost1235

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I'll definitely have to try out bushing dies, if anything to cut my reloading time down and range time up. My whole thought process on an expander mandrel/pin gauge was because I did NOT have a tight chamber, and because I didn't I felt that the internal diameter of the neck was WAY more important than the OD of the neck in terms of bullet tension/interface fit.

Again, my whole point to bring up, I just wanna put info out there for people to use or not.

The can of worms that is annealing. I hate getting into these conversations with anyone in the outside of industry because of 90% of the conversation revolves around guys trying to justify their own purchases to themselves/others. For me, I personally don't think annealing is worth the money or time for the return on investment. For the price of an induction annealer, $300 to build by yourself, to $1500 for the AMP, I feel the money would be better spent on brass/bullets/ammo.

My original assumptions were just that my case necks would outlast my primer pockets.
Researching into it beyond fudd talk...

- If we look at the articles AMP did on the effects of annealing on case hardness, they DID NOT have a standard. Out of those three articles, I think there were only two or three attempts at comparing unannealed brass vs annealed brass. Most of these attempts weren't more than just one use unannealed. The articles did make good points on other topics.But in terms of the benefits of annealing versus not annealing, they had no data. This leads me to assume that though the hardness of non-annealed brass increases, it stays relatively similar and grows harder minutely once it reaches its "peak" hardness from firing.

- Peterson did 10x firing and talked about case neck tension. Looking at the data, the case neck tension would rise but then taper and remain constant, confirming my earlier assumption.

- In 32 firings by peterson, they reloaded a case 32 times. The end result was a 1.5 inch group at 100, with primer pockets opening 0.002 in 308. I am trying to confirm if this was annealed or not. I will update, but if it wasn't annealed, this pretty much craps on a ton of the benefits of annealing. CONFIRMED! During the testing, the brass was not annealed/load developed, and just jammed into the neck @ 9/9/19 10:30AM

- Ryan Stevenson's research found that flame torch annealing was inconsistent. His primary opinion was to drop annealing all together. The secondary opinion was to use cartridges that haven't been annealed in competition,and to the flame annealed cartridges for practice only. Biggest finding was the suggestion to use an induction annealer with accurate control of time and temp as well as annealing on a consistent basis, not every other time because the hardness would return as if annealing hadn't occurred. He also made mention that neck turning could probably be more of an effect to case life than annealing

- John Klein's paper, I looked at the data for non-annealed brass and saw that it looked logarithmic.

From just dissertations and research papers, I ended up getting these points to bring up:
1.) For precision reloading, where consistency is key, flame annealing is not enough. (I'm not taking away for wildcatting, or for ease of resizing, etc)

2.) If annealing, induction is the only way to go. This leads to the GinaErick ($300 if you had some parts, +$400 if you had to buy all the wood and maybe even tools), Annie (484 for just the machine, no coils), or AMP annealers($1500 for the machine, no pilots).

3.) Case hardness probably tapers off and remains relatively constant. Most of the articles I had read only went up to 10 or so, but the data showed that it was building to be a logarithmic function. At the point where it approaches max infinity, like my original thoughts, its either a cracked neck/shoulder or loose primer that will junk the round.

4.) For the price of 500 pieces of Peterson brass at $370, it would be $0.74 per piece of brass. At 5x firings/2500 rounds fired, it would be $0.14 per round, and if you made it to 8x firings/4000 rounds fired (pretty much where I am at now, with the same SD/group size as when I started) it would be $0.00675 per round. At this point, the cost of an annealer could have been used to pay for the new barrel and gunsmithing associated.

5.) On pack 4 of the second article of Under the Microscope by AMP, they brought up the use of dry or spray lube on the neck. Because I use an expander mandrel to expand the ID of my necks, I use dry and sometimes spray lube to prevent galling. Possibly this has helped to counteract the hardness/increased springbuck of my ammo and kept my SD's down.

Reference:
John Klein, Recrystallization Behavior of 70/30 Brass
Ryan Stevenson, Characterisation study of brass cartridges for high-end competition target shooting
Annealing made perfect, "Under the microscope"
Peterson Cartridge "32 Firings"
Peterson Cartridge "What happens to Case Neck Tension after repeated firings?"
"Cold working of 70/30 brass"



Now, in summery, I am in process of using what I learned from these articles/papers, to develop an "actual" experiment to determine the effects of annealing vs not annealing brass, but it's expensive in time and money. I gotta get the arbor press with gauge, the seater die, the reloading components, and volume/length/weight sort the cases/bullets/primers, and other materials. Unless people are willing to crowdfund and support, it's going to take years to get the data, but I'll definitely pass it on when I do get it.

Basic run through:
10 Cases of
- Annealed
-Non annealed

15x firings, taking note of bullet seating pounds, cases with loose primers, SD, group size with magneto speed on.
 

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Anthonyc

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I’ve ran similar tests using neck turned/annealed brass 6.5 CM. I measured concentricity instead of group/Sd. Used 3 different brand bushings/bushing dies, tried the expander ball out of die/carbide mandrel combo using 2 FL dies and then 3 FL dies with the expander in them.

The second best result was using the mandrel after Forster FL resize (no expander) and the Forster FL with expander (no mandrel). About .001 runout or less for both methods.

The best was using a FL mightly armory die with the expander at less than .001 runout consistently. I’ve used this ever since and put away all my other resizing dies for 6.5 cm. I just wish I they made more options. They only offer (rifle) FL dies for 6.5cm, win 308, 233 and 300 blackout.
 
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antithesis

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@frost1235 if you get an arbor press with a pressure indicator, you will find that all kinds of things work negatively against seating pressure. Consistency of carbon (none, minimal, hardened), what was used to clean the brass, brushing, how long ago the necks were brushed before seating (hours/days vs weeks/months -- think tarnish), chamfer angle and depth, FB vs BT, etc. Of course, you also have the tension of the case neck.

If you go the other way-- I have not done this but have read a couple of articles that mentioned it -- testing the bullet tension by measuring the effort to pull the bullet reveals that what was/was not on the bullet or inside the case neck, as well as how long the bullet has been seated, and how it was stored, have an impact on release tension.

As you research annealing, one thing you may want to keep in mind is that it is not all about case life and neck tension. Look at shoulder springback as well. Case life for me is the least of my concerns, and I have been annealing with an AMP for a couple of years but have only been measuring seating pressure for less than a year. Meaning I cannot say if annealing does or does not impact neck tension because of the order that I started doing them. However, I do see a far more consistent shoulder bump with annealing vs without. Annealed cases come out of the press with the same shoulder. I use a L.E. Wilson gage that has a resolution of 0.001 to check shoulder bump. Not every case comes out dead-on, but visually I would say the max spread is 0.0012. With that, I have seen results on target for that tolerance vs. 0.0015 up to 0.002. At 200 yards with a 6mm, shooting a good node at around 2700 fps does not see much change. However, using a good node around 3000 fps shows the groups open from .3" to over 1". The original test was purely unintentional as the lock ring on my die had come lose (seating tension was not impacted) and my groups went all over the place. Once I found out what was different I ran a actual test to confirm.

I believe what reloaders using a mandrel to expand after sizing are seeing is more consistency, not necessarily the best load. With effort it is possible to get consistency, at multiple seating pressures (20, 30, 50, 70, whatever psi), and then use the one that works best for the load.
 
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Winny94

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- In 32 firings by peterson, they reloaded a case 32 times. The end result was a 1.5 inch group at 100, with primer pockets opening 0.002 in 308. I am trying to confirm if this was annealed or not. I will update, but if it wasn't annealed, this pretty much craps on a ton of the benefits of annealing.
Curious how you came to this conclusion. 1.5" @ 100 is non starter for many of us
 

frost1235

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Curious how you came to this conclusion. 1.5" @ 100 is non starter for many of us
If you actually looked at the pictures, it looks more like a single flier and a group of 4/3 touching. If they adjusted bullet seating depth, I'm pretty sure it'd be well under an inch.

Now, going on to due diligence since the picture had low resolution, if not just going above liberal levels of peer reviewing.

If anyone actually bothered to look up the article, it wasn't a developed load. It was JUST loaded at max saami spec. For the 32nd firing, the case was loaded "with a somewhat lighter load."


Since it seems that most people are just going to TLDR:

Using information from the article to back up my statement:
1.) Because Peterson was only testing for longevity of the brass.
2.) For 31 firings, they loaded at saami spec.
3.) On the 32nd firing, they loaded a lighter load.

My conclusions:
Because it was referred to as a longevity test, I doubt any brass prep aside from chamfering/deburring occured. Especially since there was no load development and the accuracy firing was done in a separate rifle all together, a 1.5 inch group at 100 with non prepared/load developed brass/ammo is pretty much okay for me.

It might be pushing it, but logically, because the article sounds like it was just "deprime, resize, prime, load max, seat, shoot," rather than"develop a load for this rifle that'll will shoot puppy sized buttholes at the distance of the moon" if there was any chance of the neck being work hardened to affect Group size, it was would have shown after 31 firings at max saami spec. Even with a lowered powder charge, not annealing a charge still got a barely acceptable group, with poorly loaded rounds.

To add into my earlier statement and response, non prepared/load developed brass/ammo, that wasn't annealed after factory manufacturing, that holds a 1.5 inch group at 100 yards is shows annealing does not give a good return on investment for both time and money.
 

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frost1235

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@frost1235 if you get an arbor press with a pressure indicator, you will find that all kinds of things work negatively against seating pressure. Consistency of carbon (none, minimal, hardened), what was used to clean the brass, brushing, how long ago the necks were brushed before seating (hours/days vs weeks/months -- think tarnish), chamfer angle and depth, FB vs BT, etc. Of course, you also have the tension of the case neck.

If you go the other way-- I have not done this but have read a couple of articles that mentioned it -- testing the bullet tension by measuring the effort to pull the bullet reveals that what was/was not on the bullet or inside the case neck, as well as how long the bullet has been seated, and how it was stored, have an impact on release tension.

As you research annealing, one thing you may want to keep in mind is that it is not all about case life and neck tension. Look at shoulder springback as well. Case life for me is the least of my concerns, and I have been annealing with an AMP for a couple of years but have only been measuring seating pressure for less than a year. Meaning I cannot say if annealing does or does not impact neck tension because of the order that I started doing them. However, I do see a far more consistent shoulder bump with annealing vs without. Annealed cases come out of the press with the same shoulder. I use a L.E. Wilson gage that has a resolution of 0.001 to check shoulder bump. Not every case comes out dead-on, but visually I would say the max spread is 0.0012. With that, I have seen results on target for that tolerance vs. 0.0015 up to 0.002. At 200 yards with a 6mm, shooting a good node at around 2700 fps does not see much change. However, using a good node around 3000 fps shows the groups open from .3" to over 1". The original test was purely unintentional as the lock ring on my die had come lose (seating tension was not impacted) and my groups went all over the place. Once I found out what was different I ran a actual test to confirm.

I believe what reloaders using a mandrel to expand after sizing are seeing is more consistency, not necessarily the best load. With effort it is possible to get consistency, at multiple seating pressures (20, 30, 50, 70, whatever psi), and then use the one that works best for the load.

How would you go about to quantify bullet pulling pressure? I have a hornady cam bullet puller, would there be a gauge that'd attach to it? I'm up for anything that would produce good data.
 

Winny94

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If you actually looked at the pictures, it looks more like a single flier and a group of 4/3 touching. If they adjusted bullet seating depth, I'm pretty sure it'd be well under an inch.

Now, going on to due diligence since the picture had low resolution, if not just going above liberal levels of peer reviewing.

If anyone actually bothered to look up the article, it wasn't a developed load. It was JUST loaded at max saami spec. For the 32nd firing, the case was loaded "with a somewhat lighter load."


Since it seems that most people are just going to TLDR:

Using information from the article to back up my statement:
1.) Because Peterson was only testing for longevity of the brass.
2.) For 31 firings, they loaded at saami spec.
3.) On the 32nd firing, they loaded a lighter load.

My conclusions:
Because it was referred to as a longevity test, I doubt any brass prep aside from chamfering/deburring occured. Especially since there was no load development and the accuracy firing was done in a separate rifle all together, a 1.5 inch group at 100 with non prepared/load developed brass/ammo is pretty much okay for me.

It might be pushing it, but logically, because the article sounds like it was just "deprime, resize, prime, load max, seat, shoot," rather than"develop a load for this rifle that'll will shoot puppy sized buttholes at the distance of the moon" if there was any chance of the neck being work hardened to affect Group size, it was would have shown after 31 firings at max saami spec. Even with a lowered powder charge, not annealing a charge still got a barely acceptable group, with poorly loaded rounds.

To add into my earlier statement and response, non prepared/load developed brass/ammo, that wasn't annealed after factory manufacturing, that holds a 1.5 inch group at 100 yards is shows annealing does not give a good return on investment for both time and money.
For someone so adamant about empirical data, you make too many assumptions. If you don't like mandrels and annealing, you're free to not use them . I will continue to do both.

FWIW, a 1.5" group @ 100, even with zero load dev, is still a very poor group IMHO...but maybe that's becuase I anneal and use mandrels ;)
 

frost1235

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For someone so adamant about empirical data, you make too many assumptions. If you don't like mandrels and annealing, you're free to not use them . I will continue to do both.

FWIW, a 1.5" group @ 100, even with zero load dev, is still a very poor group IMHO...but maybe that's becuase I anneal and use mandrels ;)
But like everyone else, I'm just trying to find a good balance between benchrest level reloading and decent enough precision level reloading. The assumptions are all I have until I can test it out. :D

If the data says annealing isn't a big benefit, I'd hope most of the companies would drop the prices a bit. But if the data says other wise, I'd also hope that more companies start development of annealers as well.

But about Mandrels? Oh hell yeah I use them. I've had nothing but good results from it.


I'm open to trying new ideas and methods, and know that sometimes there are things that we can't explain that just happen.

But I am also well aware of the snake oil/pitfalls of certain popular ideas and methods from my testing experience in the firearms industry.
 
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47guy

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But like everyone else, I'm just trying to find a good balance between benchrest level reloading and decent enough precision level reloading. The assumptions are all I have until I can test it out. :D

If the data says annealing isn't a big benefit, I'd hope most of the companies would drop the prices a bit. But if the data says other wise, I'd also hope that more companies start development of annealers as well.

But about Mandrels? Oh hell yeah I use them. I've had nothing but good results from it.


I'm open to trying new ideas and methods, and know that sometimes there are things that we can't explain that just happen.

But I am also well aware of the snake oil/pitfalls of certain popular ideas and methods from my testing experience in the firearms industry.
im curios...what makes you think a mandrel is any better than an expander on the de-capping rod?
 

pmclaine

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im curios...what makes you think a mandrel is any better than an expander on the de-capping rod?

Expander balls have a tendency to create runout based on their floating nature and your "negatively" supporting the case as you pull the ball through the neck.

I run a Dillon S1050.

I do use a size die with expander in station 1 for straightening out neck that have been whacked by a Garand op rod or otherwise boogered prior to going into the Rapid Trim size die in a following station and getting trimmed.

After the rapid trim I run an expander mandrel because the Dillon rapid trim squeezes necks down reediculously tight.

The expander mandrel should enter and exit the case on a much more centerline attitude than a floating expander ball and the case is "positively" supported as its pushed down into the shell plate.

It gets my necks the .001 grip people like.
 
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