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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

This is my first time reloading and I came across some problems. I loaded 6.5x55mm for my M96 Swede circa 1915. I used 43.0 gr of Reloader 22 under 140gr Hornady Interlocks with winchester Large Rifle primers and once-fired factory Federal brass crimped with the Lee factory crimping die. I'd like some clarification if possible:

- The biggest problem is the powder charge I used. I read 3 of the 4 manuals I had. The only 2 that listed Reloader 22 (Lyman 49th, Modern Reloading) list starting loads around 43.0 gr, so that why I used what I did. THe Hornady book didn't have RX22. I looked at the Speer 14th after I was done and it listed RX22 MAX load at 40.0 gr for milsurp actions, while the Lyman book lists an M38 Swede as the gun they tested so I'm confused. Is this a safe load?

- One bullet I seated is .035" lower than the rest, and I don't have a puller. Is this ok to shoot?

- I got some shaved copper (very fine) from seating the bullets, is this normal?

- my once-fired factory brass seems to have a ring around the body near the head, and it looks like pictures I've seen when they talk about head separation. I can't imagine this once-fired brass is bad just from one firing. Is that normal?

- I cleaned my primer pockets with a small screwdriver since I was too cheap to buy the $12 tool and some of the pockets look pretty scratched up. Is this a bad thing?

Thanks all, this is kind-of a scary proposition reloading for the first time. I appreciate the help! I'll take pictures when I can.
 

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of all the things that you listed to me the main concern is the condition of your fired brass. most swedes have pretty good chambers but the bolts do get mixed in storage most times so you may want to have the headspace checked.
something else to consider is that in using american brass it is most likely undersized. i've not used federal brass for the swede but the win & rem swede brass that i have used wasn't much if any bigger in diameter than common '06 diameter brass, i now am using lapua brass and it is a much better fit. a dial caliper is not terribly expensive and is pretty darn handy! something else to bear in mind is that the unsupported portion of the case will have a different appearance and again, if the chamber is a little loose and the brass a bit undersized it will work the brass more when you resize it so you may want to back off the size die a bit too...
 

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Most of your concerns have been addressed by the other replies. Couple of my observations acquired over fifty years of reloading especially during last decade. Benchrest shooters might benefit from primer pocket cleaning and reaming but I don't believe the average shooter gains anything but an additional step wasting time. Once the primer is seated no knows it was even done. Does make the brass look pretty up too that point. I've tried it both ways and consider it wasted time better spent on other steps in the reloading process.

Lately I've been reloading for many old time chamberings that have fell into disuse over the years. My conclusions concerning the new wis bang super duper powders that manufacturers are releasing is not good. Noticed many of these older chamberings respond better too the old established powders used for the last eighty years. Most of the new powders appear too do some small thing just a little bit better for a little more accuracy or velocity. Its not worth having canisters of powder on the shelf for such situations. I would try appropiate IMR or Hodgdon powders for the Swede. Frankly I've never found a chambering where the Reloader series of powders has shown anything special over the two mentioned powders.
 

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TGE,

Kudos for being circumspect as you figure out more and more of this reloading thing. :)

1) QuickLoad predicts 43gr of RL-22 and a 140gr Hornady Inter-lock, seated to an OAL of 3.150 will create 35K psi of pressure. If that was your starting load, with a max of say 46 grains, you should be in good shape, presuming your rifle is in good working condition.

2) For any load that is not right on the edge, as far as pressure is concerned, being seated another .035" won't create a "situation". If in doubt, you could buy a bullet puller; if you reload long enough, you WILL need one. (Ask me how I know? :D )

3) A thin sliver of shaved copper is very normal and nothing at all to worry about. In fact, some reloaders are comforted by it, because that's an indication you probably have sufficient neck tension.

4) Sometimes, when you resize a case, there can be a ring around the head of the case, where the die stopped. This is especially true if you leave a thin space between your shell-holder and the bottom of your die, when the ram is all the way up. When you actually do find a case with an incipient head separation, there will be little doubt in your mind of what you're seeing. ;)

5) Scratched primer pocket is probably not a cause for concern, but it's bad form to not use the correct tool. :) With that being said, I rarely clean a primer pocket, unless visual inspection reveals a need. So long as they seat properly and the flash-hole is clear and relatively uniform, scraping off the scale from the primer pocket is purely cosmetic.

I'm glad you're being cautious, but no need to be scared. Take your time, be consistent in how you do each step and double-check everything, as a matter of course. You'll be fine. ;)
 

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I use 44.7 grains of RL22 with the 140 gr. Horandy #2633 in my M96 and get excellent accuracy with out any signs of high pressure.
 

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I'd pretty much agree with what everyone else says.

If your case will chamber after it is fired, it really isn't necessary to full length resize. You'll only need to size the neck to get sufficient tension to hold the bullet. So, try to just size the neck and if the case drops into the chamber easily, you're good.
Also, it sounds like you don't need to crimp. Crimping generally is done to hold a bullet in place during recoil. It will work the neck brass and that, over time, will shorten case life
My online data shows 140 grn bullets with around 48 grains of Reloader 22 as max. There is no reason to go there.
With older military rifles, as has been noted, you may want to have the headspace checked.

Kinetic bullet pullers are cheap and will save you concern if you make a mistake. I've found my regular shellholders work better in them than the holders that came with it. Invest the $15. With the cost of components, you should recover that fairly quickly.

Also, plastic calipers are just about as cheap and will prove valuable.

I like clean primer pockets. With reloading, consistency is what you are striving for, that and safety, of course. Begin with clean brass.

I started reloading to be able to afford to shoot, like almost 50 years ago! I was very cautious and continue to be that way. Never had a problem or accident. However, you can get into problems in unusual ways like using a "too-reduced" charge of a slow burning powder or accidentally mixing powders.
Stick to the guidelines and if your rifle gives you enjoyment and is accurate enough for your needs, just have fun.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Yup - take it from an old Swede reloader, the load you posted is well within the recommended range with that powder.

The ring around the bottom of the case just up from the extractor groove is normally caused by the chamber being larger than the factory loaded case and when first firing it fills out to conform to the chamber wall. As also mentioned, the sizing die doesn't completely size all the way down to the extractor groove, Look at the bottom of your sizing die and you'll see a bevel.

Shaving jacket material comes from not chamfering the neck mouth of the case. You need to chamfer both outside and inside of the case neck to deburr it. Factory cases usually come with pretty square mouths.

With all the dozen or so Swede's I've owned, the 120 to 130 grain bullets (especially the Hornady 129 gr SST's) always performed better than the 140's.
 

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I loaded 6.5x55mm for my M96 Swede circa 1915.
That may be the problem. That ammo is awfully old, now. :D

I agree the basic load should be OK. Federal brass has a reputation for being soft. Dan Newberry considers it not to be reloadable at all because of that, but lots of match shooters use it OK in their relatively tight match chambers. In your military chamber, though, it wouldn't surprise me that the softer brass rebounds less after expanding to the chamber, so it picks up that mark at the widest point during resizing.

In your shoes, I would do the paperclip trick. You unbend a paperclip, bend a short tip down 90°, then this tool to side profile and cut the tip back to about 1/8", but at an angle so it forms a sharp tip from the side. You then stick this into each case and feel for an indentation at the inside of the ring. If you feel a distinct one, toss the brass and get something a little hardier to work with. When you have a loose chamber, buying new brass and firing one squib load 70% filled with Trail Boss will expand the case without stretching a pressure ring into it. After that, you can use a Lee Collet dies and do neck sizing, using single-loading. That will leave the brass in good shape. If you need to use the magazine, then you will at least have started with unstretched brass, and it won't go 100% back to size on sizing, so it still should extend case life.

Also, many countries have rolled 6.5X55 brass and you shouldn't be surprised if some has significantly greater or lower capacity than others. That may account for the discrepancy in starting loads? If you weight one of your fired, but not yet decapped or resized cases empty, then weigh it again with water level to the top of the mouth (no meniscus) and tell us the weight difference and the length of the case, we can give you a better idea with QuickLOAD what pressure range the load will be in?

Regarding shaving brass, as Kdub said, that is caused by sharp burrs left by trimming or chamfering the case mouth. I noticed long ago that a freshly trimmed and chamfered case would completely clean the side of a moly-coated bullet off upon seating. But if, after chamfering, I burnished the case mouth by running it back over the expander in the sizing die a couple or three times, that this shaving stopped almost completely except for maybe a couple of scratch lines. Same for scraping copper.

A little copper scraping does little damage (you'll often see it on commercial loads if you take a magnifier to them), but it likely does contribute to fouling near the throat if you have much of it, so it isn't a bad idea to burnish the case mouths.

Incidentally, if you haven't yet trimmed yet, follow Kdub'd advice to chamfer anyway. Rifle cases aren't normally flared before bullet seating, and the chamfer helps funnel the bullet in (though it still needs to be burnished if you want to keep the bullets really scrape-free).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Long winded post alert!

Summary: I took my gun to a smith to check headspace - it's good (and he said the bore looks really nice too :) ). The brass was once-fired by me (I purchased factory ammo). I have calipers, will get a kinetic puller, but I can't justify $12 for 3 cents worth of steel that a primer pocket cleaner is. I'll have to work something out. I cleaned the pocket out because I've heard sometimes primers won't seat all the way otherwise. The marks on the brass that I'm talking about are from untouched once-fired casings. I'll post a picture when I get one. The first bullet I tried to seat got stuck and ruined the bullet. I chamfered all my necks after that but still got some slight shaving. Thanks for clearing that up. From everything I hear, I'm off to a great start thanks all.

Question: are Reloader 22, RL-22 and RX-22 all the same thing?


Are you sure your brass is once-fired? Either way, look at it closely. You can make a tool for cheap from a coat hanger that you can use to 'feel' the inside of the case for an impending case head separation. I'm hoping you have a vernier caliper to keep tabs on your case length. If so, you can check the case head diameter as well. Also, as you may or may not know there really is no need to crimp for rifles.
Yeah, I'm sure the brass is once fired. I was the one that fired it. :cool: I'll have to do the coat hanger (paper clip) trick. I'll check head diameter, I never thought to do that. I know you don't NEED to crimp, but I hear you need to crimp hunting loads (which I'll be loading later) and Richard Lee said in "modern Reloading" that there is more uniform pressures using a crimp. Meh, i figured it couldn't hurt.

of all the things that you listed to me the main concern is the condition of your fired brass. most swedes have pretty good chambers but the bolts do get mixed in storage most times so you may want to have the headspace checked. . . . a dial caliper is not terribly expensive and is pretty darn handy! something else to bear in mind is that the unsupported portion of the case will have a different appearance and again, if the chamber is a little loose and the brass a bit undersized it will work the brass more when you resize it so you may want to back off the size die a bit too...
My swede is numbers matching so I hope that`s the right bolt. Either way, I took it in and got the headspace checked, as per your recommendation, and it was good. My calipers ARE expensive. I have a machinist friend and he would let me get anything but Mityotoyo`s. :rolleyes: Ah well, I won`t have to buy another one. I think I`ll get a neck sizing die. I don`t think I`ll need to full length size.

I would try appropiate IMR or Hodgdon powders for the Swede. Frankly I've never found a chambering where the Reloader series of powders has shown anything special over the two mentioned powders.
Reloader 22 was not my first choice. It wasn't even my second choice. It was the ONLY powder available at Wholesale Sports that was listed in my books. I wanted H-4895, but life goes on.

I'm glad you're being cautious, but no need to be scared. Take your time, be consistent in how you do each step and double-check everything, as a matter of course. You'll be fine. ;)
Thanks for the encouraging words

Kinetic bullet pullers are cheap and will save you concern if you make a mistake. I've found my regular shellholders work better in them than the holders that came with it. Invest the $15. With the cost of components, you should recover that fairly quickly.
I saw on another forum (I think through a link on this one) the results of a discharged pistol cartridge when used with the regular shell holder, so I think I'll stay with the one that comes with the bullet puller, but yeah, I think I'll get one. Thanks for all the advice. :)

That may be the problem. That ammo is awfully old, now. :D
:p
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Try 4350, if you get a chance. That's been a good one in my 6.5x55 loadings, along with the Nosler 125gr. BTs. Once, I outshot a friend's scoped .270, and me with iron sights. He couldn't believe it... I quit after one group :D
 

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another powder that i've had good results with in the swede is 7828... the 100gr hornady with win 760 will surprise you with its accuracy as well. just the same there is no reason whatsoever not to use RL22, in fact if i recall correctly that is noslers most accurate powder with the 140gr partition...
 

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Piney Woods Moderator
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Reloader 22 is a good powder for the 6.5X55. I shoot 44.0 g under a 140 gr bullet and get excellent results. I have found Varget also does good with 120 gr bullets. My 1913 Mauser prints under .75 inches with 120 gr and Varget.
 

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As the bullets get lighter, the best powder choice changes. For the 140 grain bullets RL22 (RE22, Reloader 22, RX22; I don't know why Lyman uses the "X") is perfectly good. For lighter bullets you may find a something faster or less bulky gives you a little more, but YMMV.

You don't need anything fancy for cleaning primer pockets. I friend of mine puts an o-ring around a Dremel stainless steel brush of the type that has all the bristles pointing forward off the end of the ferrule. He just twists it in the pockets by hand.

Ask your machinist friend if he has a couple inches of #4 drill rod he can give you? It is 0.207" diameter. Use a grinder to square the end, then to grind flats so it resembles a screwdriver blade, but don't take anything off the outside edges. Leave them radiused. Then use a sharpening stone to very slightly round the corners of the new blade so they don't scrape. Drill an axial hole in a length of dowel rod and epoxy the blunt end of your scraper in. Now you have an official cleaning tool. You can even harden it before you glue it if you want to and know how, but it isn't required.

BTW, using a Q-tip to put a little Ed's Red into the pocket a day before you scrape it will soften the residue. Not required, but it helps.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Hodgdon H4831SC is my main go-to powder for the Swede.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks all. I think I have more powder/bullet choices to try than cash to buy them with! It's better than being bored I guess. I'm shooting it tomorrow, so I'll show you how it works out.

I found another source of powder (including the H-4895 I wanted) and they have lots of bullets too, so I'm gonna be doing lots of loading (money permitting). :D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Another question: The batch I'm loading now I lubed excessively. The shoulder is wrinkled a little bit but other than that it is ok. If the cartridge chambers, I'm good to shoot it, right?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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It'll straighten right out when you pull the trigger ;)
 

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Another question: The batch I'm loading now I lubed excessively. The shoulder is wrinkled a little bit but other than that it is ok. If the cartridge chambers, I'm good to shoot it, right?
You've probably already figured this out but... Don't get case lube on the shoulders unless you're using a spray type lube. Hornady makes an aerosol can of one called "One Shot" but I prefer Dillon's pump spay bottle of case lube because it doesn't give me a buzz and is super slick.
 
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