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Discussion Starter #1
I'm reloading 6.5 Creedmoor, and I'm having a couple of issues. I'm using Hornady Custom Grade FL reloading dies on an RCBS single stage. I have Hornady, federal, and Winchester brass.

#1 The first problem I have is setting the die to bump the shoulder correctly. I am trying to get .0015 - .0025" but my results are not consistent. I'm getting .0000-.0035". How consistent should I expect? How should I be setting it up? Previously I just ran the die down until it touches and then just a wee bit more. I've had two cases experience partial case head separation, and several cases showing signs of case head stretching. So far it has only happened with Hornady brass, on the 3rd or 4th reload. I believe I have been overworking the brass when resizing.


#2 The second "problem" I have is the expander ball is sticking in the case neck on the way out. I've been able to remedy this by lubricating the neck. I've remedied this with lubrication inside the neck. I've used graphite, Dillon resizing lube (lanolin and alcohol), and Lee resizing lube, all seem to work. I'm just curious what everyone else is using. Hopefully there is a better way.
 

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Graphite on the inside of the neck is good.

Follow the die makers instructions as far as sizing. Don't over think it.

Best of luck
 

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When setting the FL sizer to just bump the shoulder back, its normal to get inconsistent results. The amount of resistance each case offers will vary the results. How I get around that is to use a shim between the die and shell holder. Feeler gauges work just fine for this. You may have to adjust the die closer to the shell holder to pinch the shim/feeler gauge.

If you are thinking the brass is work hardened, may be time to anneal.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Yeah. Each case springs back a little different than the previous one. There is going to be a bit of a range. Get rid of the expander ball and see if that helps.
 

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At what position of the die does the case chamber in the rifle? That is where it should be set. It sounds like you have excess headspace and FL sizing is over-working the brass.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the responses.
When setting the FL sizer to just bump the shoulder back, its normal to get inconsistent results. The amount of resistance each case offers will vary the results. How I get around that is to use a shim between the die and shell holder. Feeler gauges work just fine for this. You may have to adjust the die closer to the shell holder to pinch the shim/feeler gauge.

If you are thinking the brass is work hardened, may be time to anneal.
I don't know if it's work hardened or not, I've wanted to start annealing and meant to this last time, but I didn't realize it was supposed to be done before resizing, so I will next time.

I'll give the feeler gauges a try.


Yeah. Each case springs back a little different than the previous one. There is going to be a bit of a range. Get rid of the expander ball and see if that helps.
Won't getting rid of the expander ball make it too tight to seat a bullet?

At what position of the die does the case chamber in the rifle? That is where it should be set. It sounds like you have excess headspace and FL sizing is over-working the brass.
If I am measuring correctly, .001-.002" of bump allows the bolt to close without resistance.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Yes, it may make bullets difficult to seat. But, if it solves the problem of inconsistent shoulder position, then you now can decide what to do about it. Either lube the inside of the case necks, or go to a 'push into' neck expander (like the Lyman "M" die).

In any case - no pun intended - you need to figure out why you aren't getting consistent results from the sizing die. Then you can move on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, it may make bullets difficult to seat. But, if it solves the problem of inconsistent shoulder position, then you now can decide what to do about it. Either lube the inside of the case necks, or go to a 'push into' neck expander (like the Lyman "M" die).

In any case - no pun intended - you need to figure out why you aren't getting consistent results from the sizing die. Then you can move on.
Thanks, I'll give that a try. Worse case scenario, I can run them through again with the expander ball in place.
 

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Get a set of compition shellholders..
..and they'll be perfect. ..start with the no.10shell holder and work your way down till the bolt closes with the proper residents then chuck the one that works in your die box and use it ever time you resize. part no.11601. Redding
 

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If I may; (I am going to anyway :) ; The only way you can experience case head separation is by sizing the brass too much. Your case length from the base to shoulder should be kept within .003" of the guns chamber length. You need to measure the length of a fired cartridge (one that will chamber easily in your gun after firing and before reloading) put that measurement in you book and then push the shoulder back no more than .002" and record that length. After sizing trim your case to the length from base to mouth that you use and reload. You can make these measurements with a couple different tools that attach to a good set of calipers. These measurements are only reference numbers that are valid with your specific tools and in no way represent actual chamber dimensions. If your fired case length from base to shoulder increases then you have to revisit your measurement and adjust your dies to fit keeping in mind that you only want to size your brass the minimum to allow the case to feed properly and fill the chamber as much prudence allows.

If you fire a case in your rifle and the case will not chamber easily then you have other problems of which the most common is over pressure for your gun. Back the load down and continue from there.
Paul
 

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....Worse case scenario, I can run them through again with the expander ball in place.
Just be sure to use plenty of lube in the case necks if you do this as shoving an oversize expander into a fully sized case neck may be a challenge depending on the shape of the expander. In the photo the top and bottom the expander have different tapers, here the bottom of the ball - which will enter the sized neck - will give higher resistance when shoved into the neck. An elliptical ball like Hornady offers will be easier to use.


.
 

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I've always hated expander balls and frequently run without them. Annealing the brass is always a good idea but that takes some know how that early reloaders don't usually do carefully enough. But that aside you're sizing the brass too much if you're getting head separation at anything less than 8 or 10 case cycle reloads.
I've had brass that I've reloaded dozens of times and wondered why it was still holding together. Take a piece of scotch tape and tape across the back surface of the head of a factory case and see if it chambers easily. Be careful and trim around the edges real good too. I suspect it will. If it does you need to be extra careful with that rifle or possible take it to a gunsmith and have him check it with real headspace gauges. Scotch tape is a down and dirty way to get a quick handle on things before you take it to someone. Once you determine your headspace is within limits you can start narrowing down the other problems. Rule out one thing at a time.
 

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A sticky expander ball can be caused by dirty necks, a gummy ball, a rough ball or a mismatch between the ball and the sizing die. These things are mass produced so they work with tolerances and it is always possible to get a die with a minimum neck size and a maximum diameter ball.
First use a nylon brush to clean the case necks. Then take apart the die and thoroughly clean the die and expander plug. At this point if the plug looks unpolished use a hand drill and some 1000 grit emery cloth to polish the ball "ramps". At the same time you can slightly radius where the ramps and sizing portion of the ball meet. Clean it again and lightly lubricate it with light oil and then wipe it "dry" with soft cotton cloth. An OLD t-shirt works well. Your wife won't like it if you use the one you are wearing. :)
Reassemble the die and try it again using some graphite lube in your cleaned case necks.
If the cases have been fired and reloaded more than a few times you may consider annealing the neck and shoulder.
Since this is happening in conjunction with case head separation it may be that you are pulling the expander through the thicker metal of the shoulder that has been sized into the neck - make sure you are not over-sizing your brass first.
 

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MY process is to measure the OD of the neck on a loaded round and buy a neck sizer bushing .002 smaller in varmint rifles and .003 smaller in hunting rifles. I never use an expander ball for any rifle caliber.
BUT, I buy brass in bulk for one rifle only. Different brands of brass have thicker or thinner necks and the above trick doen't work (as well).
Dies can be diamond lapped just like chambers and be made to size however much you like, but it sure helps to have a lathe.
 

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I'm reloading 6.5 Creedmoor, and I'm having a couple of issues. I'm using Hornady Custom Grade FL reloading dies on an RCBS single stage. I have Hornady, federal, and Winchester brass.

#1 The first problem I have is setting the die to bump the shoulder correctly. I am trying to get .0015 - .0025" but my results are not consistent. I'm getting .0000-.0035". How consistent should I expect? How should I be setting it up? Previously I just ran the die down until it touches and then just a wee bit more. I've had two cases experience partial case head separation, and several cases showing signs of case head stretching. So far it has only happened with Hornady brass, on the 3rd or 4th reload. I believe I have been overworking the brass when resizing.


#2 The second "problem" I have is the expander ball is sticking in the case neck on the way out. I've been able to remedy this by lubricating the neck. I've remedied this with lubrication inside the neck. I've used graphite, Dillon resizing lube (lanolin and alcohol), and Lee resizing lube, all seem to work. I'm just curious what everyone else is using. Hopefully there is a better way.
I've been loading the creedmoor for about six years now. case life seems to be 2-4 loads.
If you are shooting less than 800 yards backing off the full charge loads about 5 percent helps with case life. With Lee dies I don't have to inside lube the necks. Again with Lee dies I don't worry about the shoulder. As long a loaded round chamber easily and I always use the crimp die☺
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Just be sure to use plenty of lube in the case necks if you do this as shoving an oversize expander into a fully sized case neck may be a challenge depending on the shape of the expander. In the photo the top and bottom the expander have different tapers, here the bottom of the ball - which will enter the sized neck - will give higher resistance when shoved into the neck. An elliptical ball like Hornady offers will be easier to use.


.
I am using the elliptical Hornady expander ball. That's what I was getting resistance on. Kind of a chatter if you will. So far, just about any kind of lube has helped. Maybe it's just dirty dry case necks.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've been loading the creedmoor for about six years now. case life seems to be 2-4 loads.
If you are shooting less than 800 yards backing off the full charge loads about 5 percent helps with case life. With Lee dies I don't have to inside lube the necks. Again with Lee dies I don't worry about the shoulder. As long a loaded round chamber easily and I always use the crimp die☺
What issue are you seeing first that indicates that the case life is over? Also, what kind of brass?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If I may; (I am going to anyway
; The only way you can experience case head separation is by sizing the brass too much. Your case length from the base to shoulder should be kept within .003" of the guns chamber length. You need to measure the length of a fired cartridge (one that will chamber easily in your gun after firing and before reloading) put that measurement in you book and then push the shoulder back no more than .002" and record that length. After sizing trim your case to the length from base to mouth that you use and reload. You can make these measurements with a couple different tools that attach to a good set of calipers. These measurements are only reference numbers that are valid with your specific tools and in no way represent actual chamber dimensions. If your fired case length from base to shoulder increases then you have to revisit your measurement and adjust your dies to fit keeping in mind that you only want to size your brass the minimum to allow the case to feed properly and fill the chamber as much prudence allows.

If you fire a case in your rifle and the case will not chamber easily then you have other problems of which the most common is over pressure for your gun. Back the load down and continue from there.
Paul
This is basically what I have done at this point. I believe my case head separation issue should be solved now(although I need to get back out and shoot to confirm), the issue is about consistency. I can set the dies up and lock everything down, but the results are not consistent. The .002 bump I am aiming for is under on some, and over on others. I believe annealing is the next step.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've always hated expander balls and frequently run without them. Annealing the brass is always a good idea but that takes some know how that early reloaders don't usually do carefully enough. But that aside you're sizing the brass too much if you're getting head separation at anything less than 8 or 10 case cycle reloads.
I've had brass that I've reloaded dozens of times and wondered why it was still holding together. Take a piece of scotch tape and tape across the back surface of the head of a factory case and see if it chambers easily. Be careful and trim around the edges real good too. I suspect it will. If it does you need to be extra careful with that rifle or possible take it to a gunsmith and have him check it with real headspace gauges. Scotch tape is a down and dirty way to get a quick handle on things before you take it to someone. Once you determine your headspace is within limits you can start narrowing down the other problems. Rule out one thing at a time.
A sticky expander ball can be caused by dirty necks, a gummy ball, a rough ball or a mismatch between the ball and the sizing die. These things are mass produced so they work with tolerances and it is always possible to get a die with a minimum neck size and a maximum diameter ball.
First use a nylon brush to clean the case necks. Then take apart the die and thoroughly clean the die and expander plug. At this point if the plug looks unpolished use a hand drill and some 1000 grit emery cloth to polish the ball "ramps". At the same time you can slightly radius where the ramps and sizing portion of the ball meet. Clean it again and lightly lubricate it with light oil and then wipe it "dry" with soft cotton cloth. An OLD t-shirt works well. Your wife won't like it if you use the one you are wearing.

Reassemble the die and try it again using some graphite lube in your cleaned case necks.
If the cases have been fired and reloaded more than a few times you may consider annealing the neck and shoulder.
Since this is happening in conjunction with case head separation it may be that you are pulling the expander through the thicker metal of the shoulder that has been sized into the neck - make sure you are not over-sizing your brass first.
I have not tried any annealing yet, but I intend to on the next firing. I kept all my over worked brass to practice on. And I've got several thousand .223 and .308 cases to play with until I get it right.

I will probably start with the propane torch, cordless drill, and socket method. Unless you guys have a better idea. I don't have the money or space for a good annealer right now. Too many irons in the fire at the moment.
 

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When I anneal I just hold it with my fingers. (That way you know the head didn't get too hot) when the neck gets heated up just drop it into cold water. Turn it a little while your heating. The brass will turn a funny color and you will eventually know when to drop it before you burn your fingers. Been doing it that way for years.......
I've never heard of the cordless drill and socket method....How does that work?
But annealing the neck just stops neck cracking and doesn't help case head separation. Case heads crack because of chamber slop and headspace problems. If the case gets annealed far enough back to stop case head separation the case got way too hot and the tensile strength of the head was reduced enough to make the case unsafe to fire.
 
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