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Thread: Inconsistant 243 cases

  1. #1

    Default Inconsistant 243 cases

    Last night I reloaded 100 once fired 243 cases. I know they were once fired because I loaded them initially for a friends Savage 110. He shot the bullets up traded the gun and gave me the brass back. Not only that but I use a blue fine permanent marker and make a line across the face of the case and primer indicating that it was my reload and that it was the first go around for that case. Orange for the second go around, green=3, brown=4, slate(black works)=5. Rarely do any make five without getting left lay somewhere.

    I full length sized these brass because they were going to be shot out of a different gun. I seated the bullets to about .025 off the lands. The dies used were the standard Hornady 2 die set.

    This morning when I got to the range I discovered 47 of these hundred chambered like brand new ones. With 48 of them the bolt would close but there was more than normal resistance. With 5 of them the bolt either wouldn't close or I wasn't willing to push it that hard. I shot the 47 that fit like they were suppose to and brought the rest home to be pulled and evaluated to see why they didn't fit.

    Once at home....The bullets were not seated too long. The primers were all seated to past flush! The only tell tale sign on the brass was that the base of the shell that goes against the bolt face was all shined up on the hard to chamber ones. There were no marks on the shoulder etc.

    After pulling the bullet I took two of the brass to the belt sander and sanded the neck clear down to the first bevel thus removing the case neck completely and there was no change...they still chambered hard.

    Then I started looking at the gun. I cleaned the locking lug mortises and the bolt face real good just to make sure there wasn't some crap binding up in there. No change.

    I have had brass before that were shot in a oversize chamber that sized hard as did some of these and even though were full length resized they were still real snug in a tight chambered gun if they would go at all. However this time it's just some of them. Either they should all fit or none of them fit rather being hit and miss.

    The dies were set so that shell holder was coming up against the bottom of the die as the press handle bottomed out!

    Any ideas?

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    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    WOW! Any chance the first loads were overpressured? Maybe expanded the cases in a weared way. I don't know. Sounds like a crazy problem. Someone here will know the answer I'm sure.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Any difference in case diameter measurement just forward of the case head between the good one and the bad ones?
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    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Any difference in case diameter measurement just forward of the case head between the good one and the bad ones?
    Good point, time to get the mic out I'm thinkin. Or maybe the dies are getting worn out from lack of proper lubrication.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

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    There are 2 possibilities that come to mind, the FIRST being that your brass wasn't all sized consistently.

    Not every case is the same as far as how it sizes, no matter how many times it's been sized.

    Even if you adjusted your die as you said, the adjustment can still be the problem.

    Maybe the the case didn't get all the way into the die when you sized it. (There could be some flex in your press.)

    Try chambering the empty cases, now. (They may go in easier, but see if they don't.)

    If they chamber hard, or NOT, I suggest adjusting your die down some more EVEN if it is PAST the point where the die touches the Shell Holder. I've called that "OVER-ADJUSTING. Then, try to chamber them, load them and try chambering them.

    Of course, you could get one of those Headspace measuring tools, and measure the distance from the datum line, (midpoint on the shoulder) to the case head, and compare with the other cases, and get all scientific about it, too.

    I don't think that is necessary. If you do, you can do it on the cheap by using an empty pistol case that has a mouth diameter that is somewhere close to the diameter midway on the 243 case's sholder, putting that over the neck and caliper it to the case head.

    The reason I think that might not be necessary, is I also think doing that, may not help. All you know, at this point is, that the problem cases are too large, SOMEWHERE. It could be the shoulder length, and that's why I say adjust the sizing die.

    As to the OTHER POSSIBILITY, that's a misadjusted Seating Die.

    Assuming you're not wanting to CRIMP, your loads, make sure the body of your seating die is adjusted so that the crimping shoulder is NOT touching the case (AND THEN SOME) when the RAM is all the way UP.

    As you know all cases aren't the same exact length, even when you think you've gott'em trimed that way, and this could be an issue too.

    Anyhoo, if the crimping shoulder pushes down too hard on the case neck when you're seating bullets, it can start to spread the shoulder OUT, too far, making it hard to chamber. (You might see a rub ring around the top of the shoulder.)

    In an extreme case of a misadjusted seating die, the shoulder can actually be buckled, or the neck pushed inside the shoulder.

    Something like that gets your attention, but when its only a slight thing, it can be missed.

    My guess is that this last possibility is the most likely, because neck lengths although they are in spec, may not all be the same, and you might not have touched adjusted anything on the seating die ceptin the Stem, for yars and yars.

    Man, I hope you get it figgered out soon. I'm in suspence wonderin if I'm guessin right, or jist how RONG I am.

    Smitty of the North
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    Did you measure the case length? We loaded some new Win brass and found that 4 out of 50 were .050 over the max length! Almost discovered it by accident as we made up some dummy rounds to check for functioning only to discover two would not chamber. Blame it on me for being to lazy to measure the new brass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Did you measure the case length? We loaded some new Win brass and found that 4 out of 50 were .050 over the max length! Almost discovered it by accident as we made up some dummy rounds to check for functioning only to discover two would not chamber. Blame it on me for being to lazy to measure the new brass.
    Smitty and Snow have good info. I personally for all my hunting loads would mic every case. Just good practice. For target loads, nah, I'm a lazy ars on that like most reloaders probably.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  8. #8

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    I'm gonna pretend I don't know what rifle you're using. But I've run across those exact symptoms several times in 308, twice in 250 and once in 243. All involved Savage 99's, and came anywhere from one to three reloadings down the road. All were "fixed" by investing in RCBS small base dies.

    I'd be inclined to take the micrometer to those cases and determine if the chamber in your friends rifle was a little oversize down where the standard sizing die isn't reaching. If my line of reasoning is sound, I'm betting that if you had reloaded those cases for him a couple of times, none of them would have chambered in your rifle in spite of the full length pass through the standard sizing die.

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    OK, EKC:

    I understand your system, now, and I think I see the problem.

    You did, Blue, Orange, Green, Brown, Slate, but it shudda been, Blue, Orange, Brown, Green, Slate. Or, maybe, Blue, Green, Orange, Brown, Slate. Possibly, even Blue, Brown, Orange, Green, Slate.

    You wouldn't think that just getting ONE PAIR off, would cause that much trouble. Just Buzz the cable.

    Smitty of the North
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I'm gonna pretend I don't know what rifle you're using. But I've run across those exact symptoms several times in 308, twice in 250 and once in 243. All involved Savage 99's, and came anywhere from one to three reloadings down the road. All were "fixed" by investing in RCBS small base dies.

    I'd be inclined to take the micrometer to those cases and determine if the chamber in your friends rifle was a little oversize down where the standard sizing die isn't reaching. If my line of reasoning is sound, I'm betting that if you had reloaded those cases for him a couple of times, none of them would have chambered in your rifle in spite of the full length pass through the standard sizing die.
    Exactly. This was exactly my thinking as well, when I asked if you had measured the case body's just forward of the head... So, have you? What's the verdict?
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Exactly. This was exactly my thinking as well, when I asked if you had measured the case body's just forward of the head... So, have you? What's the verdict?
    Your right! These cases measured .471 at the base(normal). However they should have a straight taper all the way to the shoulder. If I measure the case just a tad further up from the base at the point where the sizing die quits sizing( the sizing die mark is prevalent and I used it for a reference point) The worst one measured .476 ....thats after being sized. I took one of the ones that chambered fine in and was fired in the new gun(Remington 700 VTR) thus was fire formed to the new chamber and measured it. It measured .471. I called to see if that Savage 110 was still at the shop where traded and it was. So I put powder and a bullet in the case that measured .476 and the next worst one which went .475.

    I drove the 3 miles across town to the shop where the Savage 110 was traded and borrowed it long enough to drive a mile out into the country and chambered those two cases...the ones that wouldn't even let the bolt close on the Remington. They chambered with no problem in the Savage so I fired them both and came back to town (we can do that sort of stuff around these parts). When I got them in good light where I could see, it was obvious with the naked eye that they were a little big. They both measured .480 after being fire formed in the Savages chamber. I've never done any fire formed case measuring before so don't know for sure how to relate this other than for the obvious. which is that a case that has been fired in a chamber that is .009 more than the factory specified case dimension is it's own improved version and won't work in a gun with correct chamber dimensions....even after sized. Keep in mind that I don't how to the Gnats ass these old calipers are nor my ability to measure each case at the same exact location. Yet I think it was close enough to paint the right picture!

    I also really question the dies! Smitty I was getting every bit of sizing potential out of those dies that they had to offer and no they weren't crimped. In fact the seat die was adjusted so that the crimper was out of the picture. I thunked of most of that stuff. Also the press is an old Rock Chucker which is an "O" press and since I have always kept a little lube on the ram and moving parts the old girl is still tight with no flex. It ain't quite as handy for cracking nuts as one of those little cheap"C or I" shaped presses but does a better job on it's intended purpose.

    Also the color code thing? This might no make no sense to anybody but Smitty but thats ok....One time about 15 years ago the city was fixen a water main on Christmas day and cut right through a big en. The whole hospital/retirement/nursing home complex was isolated from the rest of the world. 2 hours later I was the only one on the scene and was told they could find me no help. When I jumped down in that hole the first thing I noticed was all of those wires were red and white. So I had the switchman pick out the entire count and I put red and whites together without giving any consideration to anything but gettin my ass home next of the wood stove. Then I went to the cross connect at the complex and buzzed everyone of those pairs back to the switchman and we moved the jumpers and had the whole thing up and running faster than 4 guys would using the tagging board method! Them red and white cables make a feller appreciate the blue, orange, green. brown, slate modernization! Sorry for boring everyone but Smitty with that!

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Ah-hah! Just as we suspected. I don't think there's any cause to suspect your dies EKC. As BrownBear pointed out, normal "full length" dies don't actually work the brass much at the very bottom of the case near the head. It's not necessary, and to do so would over work the brass resulting in premature case failure. The fault here lies with the out of spec over sized chamber in your friends gun. If you want to use this brass in your chamber now, you will have to buy a set of small base dies as BrownBear pointed out. I would just toss the brass however and stick with you regular dies. As long as you're not trying to swap brass back and forth between the over sized chamber and your spec chamber, your regular dies will continue to work perfectly for you just as they always have. Oh, and I think referring to the Savages out of spec over sized chamber as "improved", is giving it way too much credit!
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  13. #13

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    It's pretty rare in my experience (as in never) to encounter a bolt gun with oversize chambers. I've always heard that most levers and a few semi-autos in past decades had slightly oversize chambers to try compensating for the limited camming power. I never questioned it, but as I think about it the ones I encountered were either Savage or Winchester, and never a Marlin.

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    BrwnBear, I have also heard of oversize chambers in Ruger mini-14's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Ah-hah! Just as we suspected. I don't think there's any cause to suspect your dies EKC. As BrownBear pointed out, normal "full length" dies don't actually work the brass much at the very bottom of the case near the head. It's not necessary, and to do so would over work the brass resulting in premature case failure. The fault here lies with the out of spec over sized chamber in your friends gun. If you want to use this brass in your chamber now, you will have to buy a set of small base dies as BrownBear pointed out. I would just toss the brass however and stick with you regular dies. As long as you're not trying to swap brass back and forth between the over sized chamber and your spec chamber, your regular dies will continue to work perfectly for you just as they always have. Oh, and I think referring to the Savages out of spec over sized chamber as "improved", is giving it way too much credit!
    If I got this right.....

    Oversized Chamber, right where it doesn't get sized a lot anyway.

    Fired brass from that chamber is too large to be sized enough THERE, by an ordinary FL die.

    Some rounds, hard to chamber.

    The key would be, the brass was fired in another chamber.

    Thanks, iothetaiga, I'll remember that one.

    EKC sure did a good job of tracking down the other gun, and checking the chamber etc.

    I'm thinking that rounds that did, or will, chamber, even with difficulty, will be fireformed to the more correct chamber, and work OK, thereafter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I'm thinking that rounds that did, or will, chamber, even with difficulty, will be fireformed to the more correct chamber, and work OK, thereafter.
    I'm not sure, but I'll register it as a maybe on the fireforming. More likely, if they aren't so swelled they won't chamber, they're not likely to swell any more anyway. I'm fumbling in the dark a bit, but basing in on experience with other "loose" chambers. Some, like my current Savage 99 in 250 take two or maybe three reloadings before they're so swollen I have to run them through the SB die. Then I can fire them a couple of three more times before another SB pass is needed. I'm real careful about pairing rifles to lots of brass and keeping them that way, so there's little or no chance of cases migrating from one rifle to another.

    Interesting question, and it would be fun to have EKC keep loading and shooting the ones that fit okay, just to see if they eventually swell too much. Dunno.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    If I got this right.....

    Oversized Chamber, right where it doesn't get sized a lot anyway.

    Fired brass from that chamber is too large to be sized enough THERE, by an ordinary FL die.

    Some rounds, hard to chamber.

    The key would be, the brass was fired in another chamber.

    Thanks, iothetaiga, I'll remember that one.

    EKC sure did a good job of tracking down the other gun, and checking the chamber etc.

    I'm thinking that rounds that did, or will, chamber, even with difficulty, will be fireformed to the more correct chamber, and work OK, thereafter.

    Smitty of the North
    You're absolutely correct about that Smitty. The problem though is that apparently, they're too fat right at the base (just above the case head) to get into the chamber now. If you could chamber them, then no problem. Problem is that a normal specification FL die doesn't size the brass that far down the case. In order to size these cases in that spot you would need to invest in 'small base' dies, which will squish the brass a bit more in that area. Probably not worth it for as few cases as he's talking about.
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I stepped on you BB. I'll just sit back and watch....
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I stepped on you BB. I'll just sit back and watch....
    Nah, I'm down to speculating, which is a good time for me to sit back and watch too! But spendy as they are (ouch!) SB dies are the only answer for some guns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Nah, I'm down to speculating, which is a good time for me to sit back and watch too! But spendy as they are (ouch!) SB dies are the only answer for some guns.
    Sounds like in EKC's case though the offending gun is out of the picture now. He should be fine as long as he's not sharing brass with another chamber and remains 'faithful' to his own gun.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
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