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Thread: "Neck" sizing wheelgun brass

  1. #1
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Default "Neck" sizing wheelgun brass

    For sizing my wheelgun brass I use a Redding titanium carbide die. It's a beautiful die, and even dirty brass cycles through it like butter. There are of course pros and cons to using carbide ring dies. The primary con is that they can't provide a tapered sizing; they size the entire length of the brass down to one unnecessarily small diameter, removing even the tiniest amount of taper and unnecessarily working the brass... Not long ago I decided I didn't want to work my brass so much, so I started only sizing as much as necessary for bullet grip; essentially "neck" sizing my 45 Colt cases. I like the results. The positive aspects are pretty self evident, and thus far I haven't encountered any downside.

    Of course there's never much new under the sun when it comes to reloading and I was not at all surprised to learn from a little poking around that I wasn't the first one to think of doing this. And I found this piece that does a reasonable job of describing the die dilemma: http://www.riflemagazine.com/magazin...d=460&magid=33

    Is anybody else here neck sizing their 'straight wall' brass? Have any negative implications come to light?
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    The only negative I can think of is if you are using brass fired in another gun it may not fit yours unless FL sized once. It may even help with case alignment to the bore as there should be less slop in the case/chamber fit. I doubt that it will help with brass life though as the case mouth where belling and crimping takes place is where the splits start. I can't see that it would hurt anything so why not?

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    Taiga, I do the same thing. Started with my Bisley 45 Colt because of the reputation of oversized chambers, to reduce the working of the brass. Here is a picture (worth a 1,000 words!) which shows the double bulge left by "neck sizing."


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    I am sizing my .45 Colt brass just enough to however deep my bullets are going to seat. There was a guy here doing it that gave me the idea, I just spent a few minutes looking for the thread so I could give him props, but I can't find it easily.

    First I took a cylinder full of spent brass and put each of the six empties one at a time into each of the six chamber holes, but they all fit. I was concerned that maybe one of my chambers might be enough bigger than the others... but a recently fired piece of brass from any of the six chambers fits all six of the chambers in my gun, so I am good to go.

    I have my sizing die set up with the primer plunger sticking waaaayy out so I can deprime and size just the mouth end of the cases in one step.

    Doing that tightened up my groups a little tiny bit, but it isn't a cure all. My 45 Colt loads look a little bit like 44-40.

    The 45 Colt cases I have scrapped were all from split necks...

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    Default Steel dies

    I've brought up the issue of carbide dies creating cylindrical cases several times on this forum. Steel dies work just fine except on nickeled cases, gritty dirty cases, or where you are running large amounts of cheap cases like the 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP etc. I use the Lee water soluable lube and have no issues with steel dies even though some of mine date back to the 60s. If the cases are really dirty from firing I size and decap and then expand them before running through my ultrasonic cleaner. If they are really dirty i.e. range pickups - I'll decap them and ultrasonic clean them as step 1.

    I haven't tried one of the .45 LC yet, but the Lee factory seating die should ensure that any cases that are oversized will fit in about any gun. The Lee dies have a carbide ring that only sizes the finished round to maximum size so they should fit about any standard chamber.
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    I remember reading, one time ago, and I think it was something from RCBS, that this was the Recommended Way to adjust a Carbide Sizing Die.

    I dunno because they don't seem to be including that in their current instructions, at least all of them. Possibly, it was in a set of RCBS 44 Mag. dies that I no longer have.

    I confess, I've never done it. I load only 38/357 and 44 Mag. handgun ammo. Never had a problem, with those.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I'm not really concerned about case life, I suppose my not wanting to "overwork" the brass is more just the principle of the thing. (Although I do shoot pretty stiff loads, and that is a contributing factor to the overall equation, as it takes the 'spring' out of the brass a lot faster. (Realizing full well that case mouth splitting is ultimately the limiting factor regardless)). What I do appreciate tho, is twofold: First, I don't have to 'mess' (pun) with lube at all. Not ever. Second, neck sizing requires a lot less energy input into the press handle. That cuts time, and wear and tear on my arm. As a bonus, although my cylinders are not really oversized, I do get a cleaner cartridge to cylinder fit and better alignment. (Although admittedly, I can't shoot well enough to tell the difference in group size, if there actually is any). It is interesting to note tho, that identical loads in necked brass vs. full sized brass vs. new soft brass 'feel' distinctly different when fired. It would be interesting to know, just for trivia sake, exactly what difference results with regard to internal ballistics, pressure curve, etc.
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    I believe energy is used to obturate the case to the cylinder walls, so the closer fitting the case is to the chambers, the higher the velocity with any given load. May only be a few feet per second, but what the heck . . . velocity ain't a bad thing! Seems to be a little more accurate, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I'm not really concerned about case life, I suppose my not wanting to "overwork" the brass is more just the principle of the thing. (Although I do shoot pretty stiff loads, and that is a contributing factor to the overall equation, as it takes the 'spring' out of the brass a lot faster. (Realizing full well that case mouth splitting is ultimately the limiting factor regardless)). What I do appreciate tho, is twofold: First, I don't have to 'mess' (pun) with lube at all. Not ever. Second, neck sizing requires a lot less energy input into the press handle. That cuts time, and wear and tear on my arm. As a bonus, although my cylinders are not really oversized, I do get a cleaner cartridge to cylinder fit and better alignment. (Although admittedly, I can't shoot well enough to tell the difference in group size, if there actually is any). It is interesting to note tho, that identical loads in necked brass vs. full sized brass vs. new soft brass 'feel' distinctly different when fired. It would be interesting to know, just for trivia sake, exactly what difference results with regard to internal ballistics, pressure curve, etc.
    Well now, you got me thinkin.

    If the cases fit my chamber better in my 44, maybe they wouldn't get so sticky and dirty ?????

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