Newbie reloading (case length question)

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Professor, Dec 15, 2013.

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  1. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  2. sandog

    sandog Member

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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.
     

  3. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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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.
     
  4. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

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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.
     
  5. Professor

    Professor New Member

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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
     
  6. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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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.
     
  7. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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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. :)
     
  8. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  9. Professor

    Professor New Member

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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. :)
     
  10. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  11. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    I also have their auto trim. Damn handy thing. I've found if I don't anneal or anneal at some point bottlenecks split at the case mouth. Annealing they go longer before that happens and like you say some may seperate in the body or neck.


    Not a good idea. If your serious about the hobby and you better be because loading using unsafe practices as you are describing lead to kabooms. Too much length in a bottleneck or a cartridge that doesn't space off the mouth leads to over pressure when the case is overlong which then leads to kabooms.

    There is no shortcut for sizing then trimming on such cases. The round doesn't care if your hunting dangerous game or plinking or going to war, if you use an unsafe practice its going to bite you in the ass at some point
     
  12. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    Cases have all been de-primed and cleaned PRIOR to this step. I used a Lee de-capping die to removed the primers in a separate operation. Some of the brass is military, and I find that the Lee de-capper worked better than the re-sizing die.

    Regarding the good advice on the danger of an overlength case, is that still a concern if the cases are still "within tolerance" (case "trim length" is listed as 1.750 and case "maximum length" (same manual) is listed at 1.760 ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  13. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Neck thickness is very important. The thick neck causes a radical rises in pressures as well as OAL. Necks grow in thickness as they grow in length. Before the neck is sized place the correct bullet in the neck. If the bullet does not fall freely in to the case body the neck needs turning on the ID.:)
     
  14. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    I appreciate all the help. Getting back to case length for a minute, there is a "trim to length" case length (1.750 in this example) and there is also a "maximum" case length (.010 more at 1.760).....can somebody tell me why the "maximum" case length is also listed, and how does this measurement apply to my situation?
     
  15. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    You can be shorter than max or longer than minimum but exceeding either has issues. Too short can have bullets being pulled out of the case under recoil not a real issue with single shots. Too short can also lead eventually to uneven throat wear and stuck cases under some circumstances. To long and you run into over pressure.

    I trim to minimum and segragate over long after sizing into a trim bucket. When I have a lot if too long cases I invite the wife to the loading room for a trim party... Since she shoots 308 and 223/556 it's something she is comfy helping with.

    So while every case gets trimmed they don't get it till they go overlong. That's why I trim to minimum.
     
  16. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    So the question in my head remains.... If the "trim" length is 1.750 (and I trim all cases to that length) and the "max" length is 1.760 (.010 longer) what is the average "growth" when they are re-sized and what are the odds that the case can "grow" .010 or more?
     
  17. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Depends on the powder charge of your load and your indivisual rifle's chamber.

    For example, my wife's savage model 10 has a very tight chamber and cases can go several loadings before needing a trim while my scar17 is a bit looser so the cases need trimming more often
     
  18. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    Thanks, Jon...but it doesn't answer my exact question. I'm talking here about how much the case will "grow" during RE-SIZING.
    Okay, in other words: I understand that I shouldn't "create" rounds where the case length is 1.760 or greater. So I begin by trimming all cases to 1.750 (which is the listed "tim length"). These cases are then sized with a full length die. I do understand that the case may be longer after re-sizing BUT...how much longer will they be DUE TO RE-SIZING? What are the odds that they may be longer than the max (1.760) if they start out at the trim length (1.750). put another way, what are the odds that RE-SIZING them will add .010?
     
  19. 25-5

    25-5 New Member

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    For a plinker and someone who is dumping the powder, you are very anal about case length. I suppose "professor" explains that. Get away from the computer and do some shooting and reloading. And take some measurements.
     
  20. mich1377usmc

    mich1377usmc New Member

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    OP most here de-prime / re-size first then trim length any other way just double works you & the brass Mickey
     
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