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Old 12-15-2013, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default Newbie reloading (case length question)

I'm very new to reloading. I've got TONS of equipment (my press is a Hornady progressive Lock and Load) and I have read the MANY reloading manuals that came with my equipment. Regarding all this equipment, it was part of an estate and it was all given to me. I have already made a few thousand rounds of handgun ammo (9mm and 45 ACP) with success. I DO have a few years background as a machinist so most of the concepts are easy to understand. I would have preferred to start with a single stage press, but am not really having any problems with a progressive press. I do go slowly, focus completely, and re-check myself often. I am now trying my hand at .223 reloading. My question has to do with case length. I have cleaned, de-primed, and inspected my brass. I am now in the process of trimming to length (I have a Lyman "universal" hand trimmer with the proper pilot). The "length" is properly set and the case are coming out at my desired length....and I follow that by removing the burr (both inside and outside) HERE'S MY QUESTION: I know that the length may change slightly when I size (full length die) the case. It seemes to me that the case should be trimmed AFTER resizing, however that NEGATES the advantage of a progressive press. Seems to me you can't "progressively" reload if you have to trim to length AFTER re-sizing. Can anyone tell me if I'm correct about this? Thinking about this is driving me crazy. Thanks.



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Old 12-15-2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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Yes , no use trimming before you resize. I have always used a single stage press (R.C.B.S. Rockchucker), so didn't think of that dilemma with a progressive press until you mentioned it.



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Old 12-15-2013, 07:37 PM   #3
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I use my Dillon 450 as a single stage press for my rifle loads. Neck size and deprime for my bolt actions and full size and deprime for the M1A. I case trim to the trim to dimension. You will not have to trim every time especially if you neck size (which you can't do for semi auto). Full sizing does stretch the case quicker. Keep track of the # of times the cases are reloaded. I get around 5 times for 7.62. I don't reload .223 but I don't like to dump powder for the 7.62 or the others. I use a powder tickler.
I end up doing primer and powder outside the press. I find it quick and easy with the Dillon. Much quicker than single stage, especially if you need crimp.
Your case trimmer should have available a drill attachment and carbide bits to make the job even easier.

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Old 12-15-2013, 09:55 PM   #4
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I size and decap then trim cases. Then prime only at station 1 and continue from there. I'm using an RL 550 which manually indexes. My other press automatically indexes and frankly I prefer the manual indexing. Makes it much easier to use the press as a single stage.

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Old 12-16-2013, 12:33 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. While all the rersponses do make sense, I guess I was hoping that someone (who trims to length then loads the cases "progressively) would tell me to just go ahead and not worry about it. By the way, these loads are used for plinking/general shooting, not target/accuracy loads. Here's my latest thoughts: The specified trim-to-length measurement is 1.750 inches, however the MAXIMUM case length is listed at .010 more than that (1.760). I'm thinking if the cases are trimmed to length (1.750) and then run thru the rest of the process progressively (meaning they will not be trimmed again after sizing) then even though the case may lengthen a little from it's trimmed length (1.750) the case will still be LESS THAN maximum case length (which is .010 greater, at 1.760). Am I correct? Again, these rounds are for general shooting/plinking. Thanks

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Old 12-16-2013, 01:04 AM   #6
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Ok. Full size and deprime once fired brass. I use the "one shot" spray lube. It's quick. Spot check case length, to make sure it's under the max. You may want to trim to the minimum so you are starting out all equal. From then on just spot check a case before priming. When they start getting close to the max, start trimming again.
The One Shot lube does not affect primer or powder like traditional lube so no need to wipe the cases. By the way, I do not crimp my 7.62 ammo and have no problem. However, I don't spray and pray either.
Keep a close watch on the reloading. Starting out on a progressive is not a problem if you do.

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Old 12-16-2013, 01:58 AM   #7
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Well if you had a Dillon no problem. Dillion has an automatic trim die and vac that trims and cleans the brass shaving away. If you anneal your brass you will not need to trim as often.
The main consideration in trimming to proper length is neck thickness. The brass flow forward from the case to the end of the neck. This flow obviously is not even. The neck then has thick and thin areas around the neck. This causes off set bullet alignment to the bore and eradict and often dangerous pressure spikes. The OD of the neck must be turned after trimming to eliminate this problem. The internal of the case must be checked for incipient separation. All that brass you trim off weakens the case body.

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Old 12-16-2013, 04:12 AM   #8
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I use a Dillon progressive, but do not use it as intended. I use it as a high volume resizer/decapper. I then process the brass including check length, trim, primer pocket swage/clean, flash hole deburr, aneal, then final polish.

THEN I load.

IF the brass was shot through the same gun, and was from the same lot of ammo, it should be the same length. You could experiment with trimming before sizing and see how much under length you would need to go to get the proper length after sizing. BUT I like to inspect carefully after step one.

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Old 12-18-2013, 12:03 AM   #9
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Thanks to all for the responses and help. My strategy will be to trim all cases to 1.750.....then size a few (full length die) and see where they end up for length. If they all remain within "tolerance" (under 1.760) I'll "run 'em thru" on the progressive press because, again, these will just be for plinking and recreational shooting. Also, as previously stated, the goal is to practice reloading and learn.
I WILL be curious (for the purpose of learning) to see how consistent in length they might be...or to see whether they vary in length (yet still be within tolerance). Someday, after I have mastered the basics, I will try my hand at accuracy loads and I can picture myself spending a lot of time, love and care with each individual case. Finally, I do beleive a turret has some advantages over a progressive press (easier to use as a single stage) but I have found that I can do it on my progresive Hornady by removing the pawls on the press to prevent it from rotating.

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Old 12-18-2013, 01:38 AM   #10
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Will you be able to trim the cases w/o depriming? The Lyman has a centering ball requiring a deprimed case.
Unless you have new brass, you must size and deprime, and then trim if necessary. Not the other way round.



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Last edited by 25-5; 12-18-2013 at 02:16 AM.
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