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Discussion Starter #1
I sized and primed 500 starline cases last night.  One thing I noticed from the get go was that the Starline brass feels "warm" coming out of the sizing die...this stuff is thick!  Much more to my surprise was running them through the expander die and then trying to get the expander plug to pull out of the buggers!  Man, I had to REALLY PULL UP HARD on the handle to get the plug to release from the case.  Something ain't right ....  what gives and what needs to be done?  My dies are Lee Carbide.
 

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Alan,

All brass is not created equal!  You put your finger on the difference, the Starline Brass is thicker!  It is even thicker than Remington brass.  

Try weighing a Starline case, then compare the weight to that of a Federal, Winchester and Remington of the same cartridge designation.   You'll find the Starline brass much heavier!  It surely isn't your imagination.

Now, about what to do.  Just keep in mind, if there's more brass, and it's thicker, that it won't have the same internal case capacity of brass of thinner construction.  Consequently, you'll have to watch your loads, and work up as pressures indicate.  (A top-end all out max load in a Federal or Winchester case will most likely be well into the red-zone of hazardous when loaded directly into a Starline case)

Now, for an up-side to all this!  Starline is some of the most uniform of new brass being manufacured today.  It is extremely uniform not only in dimension, but weight as well when compared case to case, and even lot to lot of brass.  Too, the brass they use is of very high quality, and the life of Starline Brass is excellent!  It can be loaded many, many times without failure, cracked or split case mouths or incipient head separations (provided proper headspacing and die adjustment)  Starline is great brass, make no mistake about it.  For most everyday loads, Starline is a logical choice, the brass is reasonably priced, and it is always available.

FInally, because of the somewhat limited case capacity of Starline brass, it isn't necessarily a good choice if you are looking for top end loads, due to it's somewhat impaired case capacity.  Generally if you are doing top-end load development, either Winchester or Federal is the brass of choice, due to its typically thinner brass and greater case capacity for a given cartridge.

The last word... Starline is great stuff, don't worry about the thickness of the brass, especially for mid-pressure loads.  Also, consider it a blessing having the thick brass if you shoot a Ruger revolver... it will help fill up the genereous chambers that Ruger cuts in their cylinders. :smile:

Hope this helps!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Alan,

I have two Dillon 550B presses and to reduce my switch over time from developed bullet/powder combinations, I also have 4 extra die/powder platforms I leave set for favorite loads.  And I've used many thousands of Starline brass and have had the same problem --- but with only one set of dies, the other five sets don't have that problem. So, I've always assumed I had a set of dies that are slightly out of wack -- or my set-up for that particular set of dies is.

Also, I've found that while the Starline brass is slightly thicker than my Winchester brass, the new Starline brass is also wider, thus requiring more "working the brass" when you size it -- and creating more heat. My new Starline brass when sized lengthens .0026" which again is more than the Winchester. So I suspect some of your "warmth" may be coming from the amount of sizing required and not just the case thickness?

If you discover the problem, would be interested to know the solution.

Dan
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Here's some help for the sizing operation....

Rub a few drops of bullet lube into your hands, kind of like lotion.  Lanolin works well.  Just a dab, so your hands barely feel greasy.

Then paw around in your empty brass.  Don't have to touch every single case, just distribute the tiniest bit of lube on some of the cases.

This makes the sizing go easier and should not leave hardly any lube on the cases.

Sorry don't have an answer for the expander problem.
 

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alan, as others stated the starline is thicker and does indeed hold up very good, as to the expander plug your case mouths probably need to be de-burred inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gentlemen - the feedback is most appreciated.

Jim - I did not debur the inside of the case mouths.  I'll try that when I get home.  I haven't had a problem at all with R-P and WW brass.  Sizing is not a problem at all (sticky cases) but the upstroke on the expanding die is a BEAR!  I'll need to do something regarding the expanding die or I'll wind up looking like a fiddler crab with an over-developed right arm  :biggrin:  

Marshall - I plan to use the Starline brass for loads 1100 fps and under.  I'll use the WW brass for full snort loads.
 

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Alan,

I'll throw a mud ball at your sticking brass/expander situation.

1) The NEW Brass has less lubricity on the inside of the neck.(more prone to galling)
2) The herky jerky expander tube in the Lee die tends to magnify the condition.
3) I'll bet when you reload this brass after firing it once, the deposits of carbon, excess graphite and such on the inside case surface will tend to alleviate this problem the next time you go to expand the case mouth.
4) You may also try to give the expander tube a little polishing job to make it a bit slicker.
5) As Jim stated, debur the inside and outside case neck.


FWIW,

Ray

(Edited by Contender at 3:30 pm on July 19, 2001)
 

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Alan,

You're getting some good advice from these guys.  I'll throw in my &#36.02 worth for good measure.

I'm not sure what caliber you are talking about, but I'm guessing it's forty something.  Most of my sizing dies are steel rather than carbide, but even when I do use a carbide die I still use lube.  It just makes everything go easier, and with the new spray lubes it is lots less problem.  I spray the cases with the mouth up, so some of the spray goes into the case mouth.  Not only does it make sizing easier, but it also lubes for the expander.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Me thinks I've found the culprit.  It's the new sizing die from Lee.  About a month ago, Lee replaced my sizing die due to a scratch in the old one.  (An atta-boy for Lee products - free of charge even though I told them the dies were used and that I wasn't the original owner.).  Anywho, after sizing the Starline brass, I used my dial caliper to measure the length of the cases and they were all at 1.280" (no need to trim cases).  Well this evening I sized 100 new WW cases and these guys always need trimming (all of my WW brass mouths need squaring).  Here's where I learned the sizer was the problem.  I use the Lee case length gauge/cutter combo.  I chuck the holder in a drill and have at it.   Well, the plug that fits into the case mouth is stuck tighter than a drum on the first case!  I've tried using wrenches to break it free while holding the lock stud in a vice and I'm hear to tell ya that bugger ain't moving.  No wonder the expander plug was such a bear to get out of the cases.

The sizing die and case length gauge complete with a new but untrimmed WW 45 Colt case are off to Lee in the morning  :biggrin:
 

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Alan,

You had better throw Mr Murphy out of that basement apartment right away! I'll have to make sure I'm never standing next to you in a lightning storm! :biggrin:

I have had the pilot on Lee Trimmers fit rather snugly in a resized case at times. Depends on the case thickness/springback rate or your expander might be a bit on the small side. I usually chuck the pilot shaft in a drill press and hit it with a little fine emery paper for a bit then check fit it in a case. Takes a couple minutes to fix up.

Have you tried inverting the stuck casing and carefully  clamping the rim in a vice? Then take a suitable size pin punch and tap the center pin out through the flash hole. Sounds like it was snug to start with and by spinning it, you galled it tight. I like to use a small drop of a light oil on the pilot shaft every 5th case or so. Keeps things from galling and eliminates any chatter from spinning it in a drill. Best to use a slow speed drill also, like a cordless.

I doubt very much there is a problem with your sizing die. Take a little case lube and apply it to the expander tube in the expander die or a little in the case neck. Also as I stated above. The Lee expander tube SLIDES in the die which tends to magnify the problem. It needs to, to operate the Disc Powder Measure when you use it. The powder funnel adapter in the die lets it slide too when your using the die that way also.

Have Fun,

Ray

(Edited by Contender at 10:19 am on July 20, 2001)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ray - I've been trying to get my hands on ol' Murphy for years - a sly one he is - always just out of arm's reach.  I'll thump his gourd but good if I ever catch up to him  :biggrin:

I've sized better than a 1000 cases with the old sizing die and never had a problem with the case length/cutter gauge or the expanding die like I do now.  Until I received the Starline brass, I haven't used the new sizing die (I built up a good supply of sized and primed cases.)  I have sized R-P brass from the old sizing die that work just fine in the expanding die.  I took one of the "older" sized R-P cases and ran it into the new sizing die and then into the expanding die....same problem (sticking on the expanding plug though not as bad as the Starline).  I tried polishing the expander plug with a flitz and  jewler's rouge paste.  No difference.  I've also tried a bit of the case lube on the expanding plug and inside the case mouth and while it does help, I never had to do that before until I received the new sizing die.  I'm convinced it's the die.  
 

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Secret surveillance tapes recorded at the Lee and Ruger factories clearly show an employee calling his manager over to look at the mistake he just made.

Audio tape reveals the manager in both cases uttering the statement, "Don't worry about, we'll just sell it to Alan."

:biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
LOL!!

I've got similar tapes revealing the same from Ruger, Ford, Sears, Remington, Minolta and Kenmore!

I L-O-V-E a goooooood conspiracy theory!

While I understand that when life hands me lemons I should make lemonade....it'd be nice to receive an icy cold Porter every now and then  :biggrin:

(Edited by Alan at 10:12 am on July 20, 2001)
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Alan/Marshall,

Some of my Winchester/Starline experience is a little contrary to yours. My Winchester brass has been in spec and doesn't vary much -- typically .0015" on lenght at most. And as you can see from my new post "To Trim or not to Trim" in the "Handloading Procedures" category, my Starline brass isn't as consistent.  As referenced, the Starline brass is short and length varies .005"  -- and then my question is, do I need to trim or is .005 not significant?

Certainly no disagreement that the Starline brass is well constructed and a bargin for the shooter. But with that said, I'll admit to being a little concerned about their process control, or the possibility that a cost reduction is involved?  Or maybe they know .005 is adequate?

Respectfully,

Dan
 

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DOK,

In all honesty, .005" variance in brass length is really an infantesimal amount for a brass case made on automated equipment. Provided it's not overlength which can be corrected easily. Literally the thickness of 2 pieces of paper.

The main reason I trim cases is to square up the case mouths to have an even roll crimp. Also to check that the brass is not over length. A case that is slightly short does not really concern me as long as all the cases are the same length within reason after trimming or not.

One should always back off on charges a bit prior to using new cases for a known max loading anyway.

The main quality issue that concerns me with brass is the proper annealing, correctly dimensioned primer pockets, flash holes, rim thicknesses, durability etc.

The variances in the mechanism of the gun have more influence on how well it shoots rather than a percieved problem with a minute difference in case length.

Most new cases I buy no matter what brand they happen to be, I fully expect to trim them to at least square up the case mouths and check the lengths. I term them raw brass cases for that reason. That's the nature of the item. As long as the other critical dimensions I mentioned earlier are good.

I fully expect someone to not be willing to do these steps with new cases. That's entirely a personal preference. And as you noted from your excellent post on the tests you did, at times it doesn't make too much difference.


Regards, Ray
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Ray,

I am witness to the fact that measuring the case length with the micrometer isn't particularly easy -- primarily due to the mouths not being square. I'd measure, then twist the brass around to see if that measurement fit the rest of the mouth. And it seldom did. My wife asked me what I was muttering about -- and I was in the basement and she was upstairs. Typically, the  "squareness" varied by .002/.003 with a few even larger.

Shoot good and safe,

Dan
 

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Now to play devil's advocate after singing the accolades of Starline brass earlier.  The only brass that I've ever had a qualm about is their .32-20 brass.  It is so short, as it comes from Starline, that with certain brands of dies, you can't even adjust the seating/crimping die to put a crimp on the case after seating the bullet!

I surely don't know what they are doing in regard to their .32-20's, but I dumped a whole 1,000 count box (minus a dozen cases) at a local gun show at a pretty hefty loss just to be gone with them and to recoup part of my investment.  I've talked since with at least two of our customers with the same experience.  I don't know if they have addressed the issue, but this was about five months ago that I received the short .32-20 brass.

OK, I've ranted enough on the subject... the rest of Starline's products that I've used have been top-drawer quality in all respects... we all stumble occasionally! :smile:

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Marshall,

That's a real shame about that brass. You should nave gotten right on the phone and relayed your problem to them. That for all intents and purposes is a defect.

A number of years ago I bought a few hundred 445 SMag cases from them. They were made for large rifle primers at the time. A while later, they sent me a totally unsolicited notice stating that they had changed over to large pistol pockets and offered to exchange my lot of brass for the new kind.

Being I had yet to use it, I sent my lot back and recieved the new cases all postpaid shipping.

Shows me that they keep track of who is buying their brass to address these problems.

Remington has similiar service in my experience. Twice I have sent a defective case back to them to call attention to a possible production problem. One with a "fold" in the middle of the case body and one case that was stamped out with a broken swaging punch. In both situations, albiet after about 6 weeks and an examination by their tech dept., I recieved a check for the amount of approximately &#3620 toward the purchase of new brass or whatever and a short letter of thanks for alerting them to the problem. Totally unsolicited. I also still had the other cases in the lot that were fine.

That's excellent customer service in my experience.

Hope you are doing well,

Ray
 

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Ray,

That's good counsel and so true.  Most companies that cater to the shooting sports are, as a general rule very receptive to customer input.  I've not dealt with Starline customer service folks at all.  In all fairness I should have contacted them, but I'm not one to complain too easily.  An upcoming gunshow wasn't too distant, and they went away without nary a hitch.  I didn't even contact them, so I can't say what their response would have been.

I'm surprised that Remington was that responsive.  One time I contacted them about some Remington Thunderbolt (read cheap) .22 LR ammo that had some serious problems... about five cartridges per box wouldn't fire (even with reorienting in the chamber so the firing pin would strike a different place on the rim), and then the rest of them when shooting would go pop, bang, pop. ffssst, pop, click!  Or something like that!  You get the picture.

The problem was is I had purchased an entire case of this stuff, and all they told me is that it was promotional ammo, and that if I wanted premium performance, I should purchase their better quality lines of .22 ammo.  This was 12 years ago, and it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.   I even gave them lot numbers , and included the end-flaps from the cartons of the defective ammo.   I'm glad to hear that the folks at Remington are once again paying attention to customer input!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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"if I wanted premium performance, I should purchase their better quality lines of .22 ammo."

That IS BAD.  I never knew that going "bang" on a consistent basis qualified as "premium performance".  Makes me glad I don't have their stuff in my defense guns...  <!--emo&:(--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':('><!--endemo-->
Good shooting
Mark
 
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