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Thread: case prep and over all lenght?

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    Default case prep and over all lenght?

    I have been handloading for a year or so and have a few questions about case prep. This is what I have been doing. I usually buy 100 brass when I get a new rifle. I make sure they are from the same lot number. I run them though the sizer die. I measure all the brass and cut all the brass to the lenght of that shortest piece. I debur the brass then put them though the vibrator. After that they are all clean and ready to be loaded. My question is do I need to measure and cut the brass to the same lenghts if they are not over the max length? Is this a step that is wasting my time? Also I noticed that when the round is put together that not all of them are the exact lenght. Some times they will be .006 different. Is this normal? Those are with RCBS dies. I have been able to get them to the exact lenght with some hornady dies that I use by making them a little longer and shorting them a little at time till I get them all with in .001 or each other. Any insite would be great.

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    Default Case prep

    Unless you are trying to squeeze the last fraction of an inch out of the group or roll crimping the bullets the overall case length just isn't that important IME. In past I've spend a fair amount of time triming but in the end for most rifles it just wasn't worth the effort. Lee makes the factory crimp dies to crimp uniformly with varying case length - I'd give them a try before I spent all the effort trimming for a hunting rifle.

    I really haven't checked the overall length on that many but I would expect the tip of the bullet may be slightly different. Try measuring the overall bullets before you load them and then see how the overall length works out with shorter and longer bullets.


    Quote Originally Posted by swapdonkey View Post
    I have been handloading for a year or so and have a few questions about case prep. This is what I have been doing. I usually buy 100 brass when I get a new rifle. I make sure they are from the same lot number. I run them though the sizer die. I measure all the brass and cut all the brass to the lenght of that shortest piece. I debur the brass then put them though the vibrator. After that they are all clean and ready to be loaded. My question is do I need to measure and cut the brass to the same lenghts if they are not over the max length? Is this a step that is wasting my time? Also I noticed that when the round is put together that not all of them are the exact lenght. Some times they will be .006 different. Is this normal? Those are with RCBS dies. I have been able to get them to the exact lenght with some hornady dies that I use by making them a little longer and shorting them a little at time till I get them all with in .001 or each other. Any insite would be great.
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    Swampdonkey,
    I agree with Tvfinak - unless you are REALLY into target shooting, then you are going to some extremes. I try to trim the cases simply to square them up some for hunting loads - maybe every 3rd loading - I do take new cases and do that if I am going to work up a new load and want to eliminate minor variables.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swapdonkey View Post
    I have been handloading for a year or so and have a few questions about case prep. This is what I have been doing. I usually buy 100 brass when I get a new rifle. I make sure they are from the same lot number. I run them though the sizer die. I measure all the brass and cut all the brass to the lenght of that shortest piece. I debur the brass then put them though the vibrator. After that they are all clean and ready to be loaded. My question is do I need to measure and cut the brass to the same lenghts if they are not over the max length? Is this a step that is wasting my time? Also I noticed that when the round is put together that not all of them are the exact lenght. Some times they will be .006 different. Is this normal? Those are with RCBS dies. I have been able to get them to the exact lenght with some hornady dies that I use by making them a little longer and shorting them a little at time till I get them all with in .001 or each other. Any insite would be great.
    While I agree with the other posters that satisfactory ammo can be loaded without your attention to detail, I do not think you are going overboard at all. Using brass from the same lot number is a very good practice as it contributes to consistency and is a simple step to follow. Your initial trim procedure is not always necessary, but it's not harmful or wasted IMO. Brass that is too long is bad in a number of ways and trimming to one consistent length eliminates any issue. IME brass preparation is the key to great ammo. You can load good ammo without much fuss, but great ammo requires attention to the brass.

    OAL can be frustrating if you want minimal run-out. I suggest that you consider one of the several different tools that will allow you to measure OAL from the cartridge base to the ogive. Bullet tips can be deformed, poorly made, or simply damaged and will change the COAL but may not effect the OAL from base to ogive, which is the significant length concerning accuracy and safety.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    While I agree with the other posters that satisfactory ammo can be loaded without your attention to detail, I do not think you are going overboard at all. Using brass from the same lot number is a very good practice as it contributes to consistency and is a simple step to follow. Your initial trim procedure is not always necessary, but it's not harmful or wasted IMO. Brass that is too long is bad in a number of ways and trimming to one consistent length eliminates any issue. IME brass preparation is the key to great ammo. You can load good ammo without much fuss, but great ammo requires attention to the brass.

    OAL can be frustrating if you want minimal run-out. I suggest that you consider one of the several different tools that will allow you to measure OAL from the cartridge base to the ogive. Bullet tips can be deformed, poorly made, or simply damaged and will change the COAL but may not effect the OAL from base to ogive, which is the significant length concerning accuracy and safety.


    Agreed. While the tipped bullets allow for a typically more accurate measurement for COAL than HP's or others, the ogive is really what's important. The seating die seats based on the ogive, and the bullet interacts with the rifling of the barrel based on the ogive. Grab yourself a Stoney Point or Hornady comparator that clamps to your dial calipers, and you will likely find that your seating depth is more consistent than you think.


    As far as the brass, you are probably overdoing it, but I do the same, and then some (I turn the necks, ream the primer pockets, and uniform the flash holes as well). Is it necessary? probably not, but it's a hobby for me, and I like making the absolute best ammo possible.

  6. #6

    Wink

    With all my new brass I first de-bur the flash hole thats a one time thing. Then size the brass, than I trim the brass to 0.010" less the OCL. Now I have brass thant is all the same no variations and should be good for two or more loadings before I need to trim it again. Always measure the case lentgh to make sure its safe to reload. I only reload for hunting and accuracy is paramount and trimimg is quick and easy to do.

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    One exception for me is cases that will be strongly crimped, whether for levers or big boomers in bolts. You really need consistent case lengths for adjusting crimp dies. I've seen some lots of revolver cases that were so inconsistent that you had to trim them to get consistent crimps.

    There's also the question of when to trim again. Some cases/rifles just need it more often than others. You can minimize/slow case stretch with die adjustment and load selection, but it still comes down to monitoring case length and trimming lots more often for some. One of the "worst" for me was my 25-35 when I first got it. Holy cow! The chamber appears to be a little large for spec, and with standard die adjustment cases stretched enough on single firings to need re-trimming. I adjusted the sizing die out far enough that I got better fit of the cases to the chamber and stopped that nonsense, but I still have to watch carefully and decide whether to trim after three loadings, or if I can get away with a fourth before trimming.

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    1Cor15:19:
    I agree that attention to detail isn't wasted, or at least, it shouldn't be "considered" a waste.

    IME, case length varies, a tiny bit, even when I trim them all with the same trimmer setting. I dunno just why that is. Maybe, not enough pressure on the trimmer, or differences in the way the collet holds the case. ????

    I attribute some differences in OAL of loaded cartridges to differences in brass.

    I think there are variations in how elastic the necks are, or something that causes one bullet to be seated deeper than another. Probably;, the ogive varys on the bullets too. I know that one box of bullets doesn't always have the same shape as another one.

    Whatchew tank bout that stuff?

    Thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    There's also the question of when to trim again. Some cases/rifles just need it more often than others. You can minimize/slow case stretch with die adjustment and load selection, but it still comes down to monitoring case length and trimming lots more often for some. One of the "worst" for me was my 25-35 when I first got it. Holy cow! The chamber appears to be a little large for spec, and with standard die adjustment cases stretched enough on single firings to need re-trimming. I adjusted the sizing die out far enough that I got better fit of the cases to the chamber and stopped that nonsense, but I still have to watch carefully and decide whether to trim after three loadings, or if I can get away with a fourth before trimming.
    BB:
    Thanks for the useful info regarding case stretch. It makes sense to me.

    I hadn't considered the differences in chambers.

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    1Cor15:19:
    I agree that attention to detail isn't wasted, or at least, it shouldn't be "considered" a waste.

    IME, case length varies, a tiny bit, even when I trim them all with the same trimmer setting. I dunno just why that is. Maybe, not enough pressure on the trimmer, or differences in the way the collet holds the case. ????
    Like anything else there are differences in equipment and such. I've used several different trimmers in my life, but settled long ago on a Forster and have not looked back. My brass comes out the same length within the precision of my caliper (.001). I do make certain that the case is sitting flush and square in the collet, but otherwise I simply turn till it stops cutting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I attribute some differences in OAL of loaded cartridges to differences in brass.

    I think there are variations in how elastic the necks are, or something that causes one bullet to be seated deeper than another. Probably;, the ogive varys on the bullets too. I know that one box of bullets doesn't always have the same shape as another one.

    Whatchew tank bout that stuff?

    Thanks
    Smitty of the North
    Neck tension may vary as you suggest, but I am uncertain that it will create variances in OAL. It will/can cause runout, but I don't think it will affect OAL. However if you are using a compressed powder charge then too little neck tension can allow the bullet to come unsettled and move forward due to the powder compression.

    Bullets have tolerances and that may allow the ogive to vary a bit. How it effects the OAL will vary, but any difference will change the OAL a bit.

    Do you anneal your brass Smitty? I anneal every third sizing. I trim before I anneal as the softer brass will not cut as clean. Annealing will help your tension consistency. It may help a little; it may help a lot, but it will make a difference in consistency.
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    1Cor15:19:
    Thanks for your help.

    I use a Forster Case Trimmer.

    Nope, I don't anneal my brass.

    Thanks Again.

    Smitty of the North
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