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Thread: Neck Tension

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    Default Neck Tension

    Gentlemen:

    Let me preface my question by saying that us seasoned handloaders all know, if we've been salted, that when we load some rounds, the bullet is looser in the case neck than later. After some time? Having discovered this when we have occasion to pull a bullet from an Older loaded round.

    It seems that the bullet can become VERY tight, and very difficult to pull.

    I was advised to seat the bullet a bit deeper to overcome this problem, because the bullet is then broken loose and easier to pull.

    That's all fine and dandy, BUT say you load a few rounds and take them to the range shortly after, How long I can't say, and you shoot them, sight in your rifle, because you like the load.

    Now, the question. Since there is, or at least, Can Be, a quite noticeable difference in Neck Tension of Fresh Loaded Rounds versus Older loaded rounds,,,,,,

    Has anyone noticed a difference in the shooting of same. (I note that Neck Tension is given an important place for handloads used in competition. )

    Thanks, I'm just curious about this. I've seen nothing on it so far.

    Smitty of the North
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    While I don't doubt that it occurs, I've not noticed this with any of my own loads (perhaps because my loads and I have been insufficiently salted(?)). Regardless of the oxidation, or dielectric reaction, or whatever causes this bonding, I would think it takes quite a loooong time to occur to any significant degree(?), and I don't let my loaded rounds sit around for a loooong time. Interesting question tho. Certainly, it must have some effect, however small, on pressure and velocity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    While I don't doubt that it occurs, I've not noticed this with any of my own loads (perhaps because my loads and I have been insufficiently salted(?)). Regardless of the oxidation, or dielectric reaction, or whatever causes this bonding, I would think it takes quite a loooong time to occur to any significant degree(?), and I don't let my loaded rounds sit around for a loooong time. Interesting question tho. Certainly, it must have some effect, however small, on pressure and velocity.

    This question alone has become the holy grail of reloading……I have heard many guys swear by first necking turning their weight sorted and prepped brass….then from that time forward they control the neck tension with neck sizing bushings' and some guys even going as far as anealing to Re-soften the hardened brass…..these guys also use hand seaters with a pressure gauge if the seating is to soft or tough….that round is discarded…

    at some point I found I had to keep my sanity intact along with my checkbook…..I have a lot of sub moa loads I've worked up for my rifles…. I don't have the time to explore these added benefits…Im sure theres a rhyme to the reason…. I simply don't have the money and time to figure it all out right now.

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    I will also note that I have several hundred 30-06 rounds as loaded by my father in the late 80's. these were fire formed for a rifle i still own and the load data printed right on the box….these loads always shoot consistently to themselves….. but won't match a fresh reload I make with identical components today… Go figure……there are so many variables it would be a full weeks test to try and isolate the variables

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanTides View Post
    This question alone has become the holy grail of reloading……I have heard many guys swear by first necking turning their weight sorted and prepped brass….then from that time forward they control the neck tension with neck sizing bushings' and some guys even going as far as anealing to Re-soften the hardened brass…..these guys also use hand seaters with a pressure gauge if the seating is to soft or tough….that round is discarded…

    at some point I found I had to keep my sanity intact along with my checkbook…..I have a lot of sub moa loads I've worked up for my rifles…. I don't have the time to explore these added benefits…Im sure theres a rhyme to the reason…. I simply don't have the money and time to figure it all out right now.
    Oh, I hear ya. I very much enjoy contemplating the physics of internal and external ballistics, and meticulously making accurate ammunition, but the practical application of my scientific curiosity and anal retentiveness stops well short of the level you just described!

    Anyway, Smitty is obviously asking about something wholly different than normal mechanical neck tension....
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    I haven't noticed effects from a change in neck tension, myself. If the premise is correct, it is there.

    My guess/hope is that it happens pretty quick but doesn't get much worse with much time.

    I have hunting loads from several year ago, but I always check the sight in before I take them hunting.

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I was advised to seat the bullet a bit deeper to overcome this problem, because the bullet is then broken loose and easier to pull.
    Pretty standard stuff, really. I won't bother with loads that have been sitting around up to a year, but then I "bump" the bullets on older loads. Doesn't take much, just a kiss of the bullet with the seating plug.

    Dunno how to explain it and never tried to find out. It works, so I do it. I'd worry about it more if I was shooting max+ loads, but I don't do that. It's more a matter of accuracy, and I can certainly see the difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanTides View Post
    I will also note that I have several hundred 30-06 rounds as loaded by my father in the late 80's. these were fire formed for a rifle i still own and the load data printed right on the box….these loads always shoot consistently to themselves….. but won't match a fresh reload I make with identical components today… Go figure……there are so many variables it would be a full weeks test to try and isolate the variables
    I wonder if that has more to do with a change in component construction, I haven't been reloading long enough to see it but some claim differences in performance between lot numbers of the same powder.



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    There are a lot of things that do make a bit of difference. Neck tension isn't one of those things I worry about much. Bench rest shooters do all kinds of neat little things that tighten groups a few thousands. One of my hunting rifles shoots 5/8" to 3/4" groups fairly consistantly and some of that is me and some is the hunting rather than target scope. I have better things to do than worry about neck tension.

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    OK, dat's good.
    SOTN
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    Smitty - I have this urge sometimes to load up a bunch of rounds for a good hunting load so I've got some stashed away (a "guy thing" I'm told) A time or two or three I've had year + old rounds stored away in a sealed plastic bag or an ammo box that will have a patina or discoloration around the case mouth/bullet area and when I first encountered it long ago I pulled the bullets and did notice a distinct stickiness upon extraction - I have always been wary enough of the presence that I never have accuracy tested the ammo for fear of an over pressure round, guess maybe I shouldn't be such a chicken about it - Story .... quite a while back I was visiting an old gunsmith in Lostine Oregon with a buddy of mine who was good friends with this gentleman, Jim Zamm - He spoke often of being a good friend of Mr Hart (Hart barrels) and seemed to be quite an interesting fellow given the little bit of time I had the privilege of being around him, he had spent a career in the Marine Corps as an armoror and apparently had worked with or for the Marine shooting team for a long time during his tenure - As it happened he and my buddy were discussing some handload incidents concerning this very thing, he had loaded up some practice rounds well ahead of time and just prior to a shoot had discovered patina or electrolysis at the case mouth and the bullets were really stuck tight, it had spooked him quite noticeably - This was some time back when I heard the conversation and even longer back when it happened so I have nothing to add to the story personally, only that it must be some kind of fairly common occurrence given the right environment - I wonder what ammo would do if stored in vacuum packed containers ? I'm no metallurgist but I have experienced metals doing some pretty weird things at one time or another

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    back country:
    Again, I've noticed no problems with neck tension in firing. But what I've noticed in trying to pull bullets with my Hornady Collet puller tells me that the Neck Tension has increased, in some I've pulled, and I know that Neck Tension is a consideration for consistant/accurate loads.

    I just wondered if others had noticed problems.

    Normally, I brush the inside necks before sizing brass, BUT I haven't done that with SOME of the loads I've used. Currently, I'm making sure I don't forget that First Step. Of course, I ALWAYS wipe out the Inside Necks to remove the lube. (I believe in lubing the necks inside.)

    Still I'm wondering IF there could be some residue left in the necks that could cause the bullets to STICK over time. ????

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
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    To follow up, I'd like to say that Handloading is a constant learning activity. For me, anyhow.

    I'm always noticing things that I never noticed before, or experiencing things that never happened to me before.

    When there is a problem, or difference, from the norm, I think that sometimes it is attributed to the wrong thing. Or, we don't know which effect to blame it on.

    Here, we are talking about Neck Tension, and we know how to control that, but an INCREASE in Neck Tension, after the round is loaded, That's another thing.

    This is why I appreciate this Forum. For the different ideas, and the more things to consider.

    Thanks for your indulgence.
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Now, the question. Since there is, or at least, Can Be, a quite noticeable difference in Neck Tension of Fresh Loaded Rounds versus Older loaded rounds,,,,,,

    Has anyone noticed a difference in the shooting of same. (I note that Neck Tension is given an important place for handloads used in competition. )

    Thanks, I'm just curious about this. I've seen nothing on it so far.

    Smitty of the North
    Smitty, I haven't fired enough older ammo to make a worthwhile observation and judgement. But it is an interesting subject so I'll check in and keep watching.
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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I have noticed older rounds being tighter then new ones. Not enough to effet pressures or accruacy. On the same token, we always compare our shooting to benchrest shooting and there is a big difference. A couple thousands tighter group at 100-200 yards is minut, but at long ranges to 1000yds or farther, it makes a huge difference. If your not seeing pressure issues and there still shooting good groups for your distance, I would continue to use and just keep inspecting for pressure issues. I would be curious to hear from some competition shooters and see how long they may keep loaded ammo before a match. Is it loaded the day before or for no longer then a set time frame.
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    Some similar metals do grow together if held together under pressure over time. Some metals have a looser outer valance shell in their molocules and literally combine on a molecular level with a similar metal in close contact. It's kind of like forge welding except not nearly as complete from lower pressure and heat. I'm not a scientist so my terminology may be a bit off. So yeah, really old ammo can and does develope more neck tension. What affect does this have? I would guess that it takes more pressure to break the neck tension which probably equates to a better powder light off. I doubt it affects max pressure much if any. All this though is a SWAG and worth about what you paid for it.

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