Help! Hornady Headspace Gauge???

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Professor, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    Okay, so I was GIVEN all this reloading stuff and am a beginer reloader. I've done a few thousand pistol cartridges and am now trying a rifle (bottleneck) cartridge for the first time. I bought the Dillon .223 3-die set (because of the carbide expander feature) and am trying to set up the sizing die. The Dillon literature "strongly" suggests using a headspace gauge to set up the resizing die.
    Among the equipment I was given, I found a brand new complete Hornady headspace gauge kit. The instructions are very limited and not much use (did get some info on Youtube). All right, now I am guessing I can determine the length from the bottom of the case to the "datum" line (yes, I used the correct bushing). As is shown in the pic, that measurement is 1.467. My question (perhaps stupid) is how can this be applied and used to set up my resizing die? Is there some specific measurement I should be trying for? Again, I am new at this.....any explanation or answers are appreciated.
     

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  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Yes that's how its used.

    I believe saami spec is 1.437 for 556/223 from base of shoulder to bottom of rim

    All you do at this point since you have your starting measure is set you die to initial starting point depending on press. With a carbide you raise or lower the arm and screw die down until it touches lock in place. Size the cartridge remeasure. Second measurment tells you if you need to go up or down. You may waste a couple of cases if you size too much
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014

  3. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    So, in other words, I would "lower" the resizing die (turning clockwise) a little at a time and recheck the case with the headspace gauge. If I'm doing this, the datum/base length would be reduced....and I should keep doing this until 1.437 is reached and then lock the die in place? Is this correct?
     
  4. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Yes. You lock the die with sized case all the way in the die. Locking it without the case in gives a false setting. Once its finalized recheck the setting by resizing the die one more time to make sure then size a fresh case measuring before and after. Once done your good to go.
     
  5. mseric

    mseric New Member

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    No do not do this, that will give you a shoulder bump of 30 thousands, way to much.


    You are over thinking this gauge a little. Forget SAAMI specs or any other specs, they have no place on Your bench.

    You got the first part right. That is to measure your fired cases and record.

    The second step is to determine how much shorter (shoulder bump you desire) I like .002.

    THe last step is to set up your sizing die so your sized cases measure .002 less than your fired cases. In your rifle that would be 1.465. If you desired more bump say .003 then your target number for sized cases would be
    1.464 .
     
  6. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Saami spec is the safe setting and should be exactly where a beginner to handloading should be for a while before experimenting with fire forming brass and using those or other accuracy techniques.

    If someone is here asking for help on loading procedures its in that person's best long term interest to learn the basics correctly rather than dive off the deepend.

    The process your describing is not safe practice for any semi auto rifle which should all be full length sized and returned to saami spec.

    Fire formed reloaded ammunition is safe to use only in the rifle it was formed for.
     
  7. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    You're both much more knowledgable and BOTH of you are teaching me quite a lot. I should say that while I'm new at this, I have already learned that reloading can be an addiction ....and not necessarily a way to save money (it seems it can be a way to SPEND money...LOL). That being said, I am reloading because I enjoy it. I enjoy the learning curve the most.
    The Hornady website has VERY little info on this subject, so I went to the Dillon site to look at thier info. The Dillon gauges are caliber specific (looks like a die) with two "steps" where the case should fall in between the two steps. What I DO like about these gauges are that they are "simple", what I DON'T like about them is that they are costly and caliber-specific, meaning I would have to buy a lot of em. I already have the complete Hornady kit. If I can learn enough to use this kit I don't need to buy anything.
    I went to the Dillon site mostly to learn a little more knowledge (thier site is better than Hornady's) so I could ask a more intelligent question on this forum.
    Based on what I've read, the length is a specific number ( Jon's view) rather than a relative number (mseric's view) UNLESS it's fire-formed brass from my rifle. My brass is NOT from my rifle, and my first object is to make safe ammo able to be used for plinking in anyone's rifle. I want to learn the basics first, and I want to not only understand WHAT I'm doing...I want to understand WHY. Later, I can perfect accuracy loads after I master the basics.
    So, based on my objectives, it sounds like I should be striving for that specific (1.437) number so that these rounds can be used in any rifle safely and effectively. Am I correct?
     
  8. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    The light just went on in my head after I made the last post. I DO like the "caliber-specific" (looks like a die) gauge a little more than the Hornady kit because the caliber-specific seems simpler for a new comer and more fool proof and I would feel a little more confident using the caliber-specific type.
    ON THE OTHER HAND, the "light" just went on and (if I'm correct) the Hornady kit is more VERSATILE. In other words, I can use the caliber-specific type to achieve only one length (the SAAMI length), but I can use the Hornady kit to arrive at a CUSTOM length (when I get to that point of using fire-formed cases, etc and making accuracy rounds to fit my specific rifle. Have I learned anything?
     
  9. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    thats exactly right

    yes you are.

    the technique mseric describes is valid but only for specific rifles. saami spec is safe for any gun in that caliber. case gages like the dillon gages are saami spec within the +- determined to be safe.
     
  10. mseric

    mseric New Member

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    NO, you are not correct and this is very dangerous.

    First, The Hornady gauge is not precise enough to compare to SAAMI specs. It is just hole in a chunk of aluminum called a Comaprator. It is used to Compare your Fire brass to your sized brass. Not To SAAMI.

    Second, sizing your cases .030 less than a fired case is almost impossible. If your rifle expands the case +.030 you would have a defective rifle.

    Third, The SAAMI specs for the 223 are not 1.437. In fact the SAAMI spec are never a specific set number, they have a "Range" of number. In the 223 that "Range" is 1.4666 - .007. That would mean the SAAMI spec are 1.459 - 1.466.
    If you wish to use SAAMI specs than your can set your dies up so the Hornady Gauge measures anywhere between 1.459 to 1.466.

    Your fired brass measures 1.467 or .001 more than SAAMI. Setting up your FL die for a .002 or .003 bump will put you right into SAAMI specs.

    A .030 bump will put you over twenty thousands to short.

    http://www.saami.org/pubresources/cc_drawings/Rifle/223 Remington.pdf
     
  11. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    Mseric, YOU are correct and I am not. I'm laughing because I called Hornady tech on the way home from work, and when I get home I saw your post. Hornady said the same thing. The Hornady head space gauge is more for comparison then an "absolute" reference. In other words, as you said it's a peice of aluminum and even Hornady said you would get different readings from different Hornady gauges. It's more for comparing (using the SAME gauge) brass before and after firing in the same rifle.

    Apparantly, to do this right (and that's what I want to do, I'm new and want to learn the right way and do it the right way) I really should get a caliber-specific steel case gauge such as the Wilson or the Dillon gauge.

    Also, interestingly enough, I measured some brand new Hornady rounds and got that same 1.468 measurement as I did from the fired case. So as you said the bump is not 30 thousanths, but only a few thousands.

    Also, interestingly enough, is that the SAAMI drawing shows BOTH measurements....the 1.438 AND the 1.466. So, what's the deal with THAT?

    At any rate, I'm going to buy a (steel) SAAMI caliber-specific head space gauge. Any recommendations as to which brand?
     
  12. mseric

    mseric New Member

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    If you look close you will see that the 1.438 is at the junction of the case body and the shoulder.

    The 1.466 is further forward at the Datum line where the shoulder measures .330 in diameter.. Your "Comparator" has a .330 hole in it and measures off that "Datum" line, not the body shoulder junction.