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Overworking the Brass?
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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slimjim
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

Ok, still trying to learn here. My first 3 years of reloading, I used only a Lee Classic Loader which only neck sizes and does it from the outside. Its provided more than acceptable results and the process is pretty simple. Now I'm transitioning to a press (RCBS Rock Chucker) and "real" dies for my .223 and .270 Win. The process and details are slightly different. With the "real" dies, the neck sizing is done by first constricting the neck more than is needed and then expanding it back out with a neck-sizing button on the decapping rod. Sizing the neck from the inside of the case should provide more consistent neck tension on the bullet. The Hornady dies compress the neck to about 0.293" for the .270 Win cases (outside diameter) where the Redding dies compress the neck to 0.300". They both expand the neck back out to about 0.302". Is the Hornady die over-working the brass? Will may brass life be shortened by fatigue or work-hardening? It sure makes the return stroke on the ram require a lot of pressure.

Your comments and feedback is appreciated.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

I also noticed two other things.

1. The brass doesn't grow as much (needs less or no trimming to be at the proper case length) with the Redding dies.

2. I don't have to lube the inside of the case necks with the Redding Dies.

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DallanC
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:34 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

Anytime you work the brass it will harden over time. You should look into annealing to soften the brass. Its easy and there are lots of youtube video's demonstrating it.


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TRBLSHTR
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

Very Happy Another thing that you might contemplate is checking the neck thickness on your fired brass.Rounds like th 270,and 25-06 tend to make the brass flow forward when fired and cause the case necks to thicken.You can get rid of this problem by inside neck "reaming,or outside neck turning.This thickened neck problem could also lead to the symptoms you are finding when you pull the expander back thru the neck.FWIW

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

It may be a good idea to lube the inside of the neck anyway, this will reduce scratching that may start a crack in the neck.

I use a cup of tiny steel balls sprinkled with graphite for this purpose.
Simply poke the brass into the cup and the inside and outside of the neck would be coated with a very fine layer of graphite.

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moose2
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

I use graphite also when I neck size. Have never tried annealing, but it sure couldn't hurt to try it out. Very Happy

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:41 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

TRBLSHTR wrote:
Another thing that you might contemplate is checking the neck thickness on your fired brass.

I measured the brass and the many times fired cases have the same thickness as the new brass within +-0.001.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:49 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

DallanC wrote:
You should look into annealing to soften the brass. Its easy and there are lots of youtube video's demonstrating it.

After watching some youtube clips, this is something I could do. At least the simple methods with a torch, bucket of water, drill, and a 12mm long-reach socket.

However, and this applies to all aspects of case preparation, there has to be a point where one decides all the extra equipment you have to buy and the time you spend isn't worth it and you just buy new cases. I'm trying to decide where this point is. Case Trimmers - $100, brass tumblers $150, prep tools, $25, case lube $30. I know, some one is going to say - perfect brass - priceless! Guess you have to love the process.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:51 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

gelandangan wrote:
It may be a good idea to lube the inside of the neck anyway ... I use ... graphite for this purpose.

gelandangan, how do you clean the graphite off so it doesn't get on the bullet and affect neck tension?

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moose2
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

To clean my case necks, I just use a case neck brush for that caliber.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:18 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

+ set of case neck brushes - $15

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moose2
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
+ set of case neck brushes - $15

Still lights years cheaper than the electrician I had to hire yesterday.
I Q-tip would work also. Cool

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Ominivision1
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

Graphite is present in all smokeless and BP powder, it is a deterrent against moisture attacking the powder. The minuscule amount that drops on the powder or stays on the neck is irrelevant.

I made an anneal tool years ago when working with wildcat cartridges (think 250/3000 ackley improved) for my gun before I gave it to my son. It was a 3/8th" diameter soft copper mated with a propane torch (not the self igniting ones) and with a few fittings and the copper tubing bent in a close circle that would cover all my cases I reloaded for. Hence at that time the total cost was under $10.00.

The following picture gives you an idea, my son has the annealing tool now so I could not take a picture of it. Notice the cases are in a pan of aluminum and filled with water up to the bottom 1/4" at the base of the case. When case has been heated to 650-670F. Stop and tip the case over and move to the next one.



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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
gelandangan wrote:
It may be a good idea to lube the inside of the neck anyway ... I use ... graphite for this purpose.

gelandangan, how do you clean the graphite off so it doesn't get on the bullet and affect neck tension?

Mate, the graphite will have almost no effect on the neck tension.
the amount that stuck on the case is less than what you would get if you use a pencil and 'color' the neck.

Otoh, some do clean their brass after resizing (vibrator or ultrasonic or etc)

Slim, although annealing the case would help prolong its life, it could be bad if you overdoing this, you should only anneal them sparingly.
unless you are planning to re use your cases very often, it might be better (and cheaper) just to chuck them brass out as they age.
A set of brass could be used to reload for over 10 times if you do not overwork it.
Annealing may increase the life cycle a bit further, however unless you have a good annealing rig, you may over done it and soften the shoulder.
Thus may end up damaging the case.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:56 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

gelandangan, I've been getting up to 20 loads on a case when I was neck sizing only with the Classic Lee Handloader dies. That is only an estimate as I actually stopped counting and just retired the brass when the case length had to be trimmed. The Lee Handloader dies only size the neck once from the outside vs twice when one uses a die with a neck-expander button. That is probably why I was getting so many reloads. I have plenty of new brass. Maybe i should retire the lot I have and start with fresh brass with these new full-length resizing dies.

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"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein
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