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Overworking the Brass?
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

Actually when I type 10 times I felt a bit of a conflict.
Because I definitely reloaded a set of brass much over that number.
OTOH, some work their brass harder than others.

If you remember to lube the brass, if you do not shoot over pressure, if you use CLEAN and good condition dies, if you ensure that your brass is clean before stuffing it into the die, if...
A set of brass can be used almost indefinitely.
Heck, I reckon some of my pistol brass has been on their centenary reloads..
And my Whisper brass, they have been used almost 50 times, and almost good as new..
Then again they are loaded lightly and handled gently.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

Ominivision1 wrote:
I made an anneal tool years ago when working with wildcat cartridges ...

OV1, I almost forgot. That is one slick set-up for annealing!

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

gelandangan wrote:
Actually when I type 10 times I felt a bit of a conflict.
Because I definitely reloaded a set of brass much over that number.

I know some AR shooters who do not reload more than 3 times so there is no chance of a case separation.

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English Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
gelandangan wrote:
Actually when I type 10 times I felt a bit of a conflict.
Because I definitely reloaded a set of brass much over that number.

I know some AR shooters who do not reload more than 3 times so there is no chance of a case separation.

Semi auto's are a different kettle of fish, as they're a lot harder on the brass & often require full length sizing with a small base die in order to chamber a round consistently.
I know the L1A1 I shoot gives brass a hard life, even though it's headspaced very tight.
I've some .270 brass that's been fired six times now & I'm minded to anneal it before I reload it.
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Dawgdad
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
gelandangan wrote:
Actually when I type 10 times I felt a bit of a conflict.
Because I definitely reloaded a set of brass much over that number.

I know some AR shooters who do not reload more than 3 times so there is no chance of a case separation.

I am careful with the set back on the shoulder(-0.003")
and have a lot of almost 1000 Winchester brass that is on its 9th firing in my AR....

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

[quote="Dawgdad"]
slimjim wrote:
I am careful with the set back on the shoulder(-0.003") and have a lot of almost 1000 Winchester brass that is on its 9th firing in my AR....

Dawgdad, isn't Winchester brass pretty thin and hard to begin with?

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woods
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
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.

The simple answer to your question would be that sizing an additional .007" (.300"-.293"=.007") and then re-expanding that an additional .007" will certainly work harden the neck brass a lot more. It will also exacerbate the amount of springback to where the neck ID will exhibit more variation. IOW your neck brass has a thick side and thin side in almost all cases, and the additional stress and work hardening will cause the thick and thin springback differences to be greater and show up earlier.

But I am a little confused with your measurements. You say both of the resizing dies leave the OD of the neck at .302". Assuming that most dies leave at least .002" bullet grip then the OD of a loaded neck should be at least .304". That means that if you subtract the diameter of the bullet, .304"-.270"=.034" which means each side would average .017" thick neck brass. That is very thick for that caliber.

I suspect that if you take actual measurements with a ball micrometer



or took ID dimensions with a set of pin gauges



then your measurements might be different. If you are just measuring OD of neck with a set of calipers then you are not getting as detailed a measurment as you need.

If you are concerned with work hardening the neck from sizing then the best option would be to get a Lee Collet Neck Sizer. During sizing it work the neck brass only once since it presses the neck brass inward onto a mandrel. One direction, not one direction inward and a return direction outward like an expander ball die (twice as much work hardening). Also the Lee Collet mandrels are typically only .002" below caliber so sizing is minimal. The ancillary benefits are manifold like: no lube in neck, no jerking the neck out of alignment, better concentricity since the mandrel floats and not moving neck thickness variation to the ID.

When you need to push the shoulder back Redding makes an excellent Body Die that will work hand in hand with the Lee Collet neck sizer.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

My .243 brass is inspected religiously before reloading, and that includes checking the area in the vicinity of the web for thinning. I do this with a small tool I made out of a simple paperclip. I carefully squared and smoothed one end, then bent a short length (about 2mm) at 90 deg. I use this to run up the inside of the case to feel is there is a groove or lip starting to form. Yeah, I know, its not very scientific or exacting, but you can actually feel if the brass is stretching away from the web of the case.

At the moment I anticipate maybe 6 - 8 safe loadings using my current sizing die.

I currently use a set of LEE sizing dies with the ball expander for the neck, but I intend buying a LEE Collet die as soon as funds allow.

Cheers, Vince

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:53 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

ah Vince the good old feeler gauge aye.. a very good piece of equipment no reloader should be without. I had once fired new brass loaded by a sports shop seperate at the web and have ALWAYS checked with a feeler guage and loaded my own since.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:11 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

woods wrote:
if you subtract the diameter of the bullet, .304"-.270"=.034" which means each side would average .017" thick neck brass.

.270 Win bullet is 0.277" which should make neck thickness calc more in line.

woods, nice tools and useful comments. You mentioned springback. I noticed that when measuring some of my older cases. Think I'll retire them.

I'm going to take the Hornady Dies back. The amount of force required to get the expander ball back up through the neck is excessive. It was not even possible to do without lubrication. The first case I tried without lube on the inside of the neck got stuck. Fortunately, the Hornday die design made it easy to get out. Even with plenty of lube, it was a two arm workout or I had to slam the handle to get the expander ball back up through the over-constricted neck. Nothing smooth about it compared to resizing with the Redding Dies. I was disappointed in Hornady response when I contacted them about my troubles. They told me if I didn't like it to go with someone else which I'm going to do.

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Dawgdad
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:11 am    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

[quote="slimjim"]
Dawgdad wrote:
slimjim wrote:
I am careful with the set back on the shoulder(-0.003") and have a lot of almost 1000 Winchester brass that is on its 9th firing in my AR....

Dawgdad, isn't Winchester brass pretty thin and hard to begin with?
Not in my experience. just starting to get some neck splits on 10th firings and I have never annealed the lot.
Now FC brass--- I have had some weak brass from them. the LC and NATO stamped FC was ok but the regular FC was real weak and springy.

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
The amount of force required to get the expander ball back up through the neck is excessive. It was not even possible to do without lubrication.

Thats the reason why you should use lube INSIDE the neck as well as outside the case.
Otherwise you can always lube the expander ball.

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woods
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

slimjim wrote:
woods wrote:
if you subtract the diameter of the bullet, .304"-.270"=.034" which means each side would average .017" thick neck brass.

.270 Win bullet is 0.277" which should make neck thickness calc more in line.


Of course you're right! Had a senior moment Sad

Haven't loaded for a 270 since I turned mine into a 280AI about 5 years ago.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

Thanks for all the support. I took the Hornady .270 Win dies back to Cabela's. They were very supportive, also. Their reloading guy and the floor did say that Hornady dies do this on several calibers.

Break-break (not talking .270 dies any more). Got a bullet puller while I was there and they had Hornady ultrasonic cleaners on sale. Got one of those plus some Hornady one-shot. Came home and ran 100 .223 cases through the Redding dies in a blink of an eye. The one-shot was quick, easy, and smooth as butter. Had some time left so dump them in the cleaner - WOW. So I'm $200 poorer but my brass is in fine shape!

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Overworking the Brass? Reply with quote

IMHO the least worked brass would be sized on a LEE Collet dies.
No stretching, rubbing etc, the neck is pushed into shape with the collet.

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