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Thread: I should have known

  1. #1
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    I should have known

    I Had a range session last weekend fired 59 rds of 140gr Amax though the Sako 6.5x55.
    I neck sized, chamfered etc this morning then looking over the targets again and still not being too happy with the accuracy results thought I might as well resize and have all back to spec for the next time.
    The lapua brass for this batch would now be on it's 5th firing next out of the barrel.

    So I proceeded to F/Length size, chamfer in and out again then on a whim got the Calipers out..., guessed right huh.

    Yes, as I write this I am about half way through hand trimming these cases.
    Now I know ... again,, why I neck size only until I absolutely have to go F/L.
    Never mind, sigh, has wasted a perfectly good day here in the South of New Zealand.
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    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Brass stretching is one of those things that will make groups go bad. Bet the next rounds with the trimmed brass make better groups.
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

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    Re: I should have known

    I'm banking that they probably will as well tennmike, I'm not a fan of F/L each time but either I had had a bad day or my brass did so something needed to be done.
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    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Brass too long in the neck can change neck tension in a very negative way regarding accuracy. Especially if it's long enough to get pinched in the area going into the leade. Makes pressures vary depending on the brass length, and that isn't good for accuracy.

    Neck sizing only for bolt rifles is the way to go, though. Stupid brass still will flow in the neck area, and how much depends on the brass composition.

    I can fire 2 loadings out of new Lapua 6mm PPC brass, and then I have to trim the necks, and then they settle down for 5 or 6 loadings before needing 'a little off the top' again. Lapua is good brass!
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    I full length size my cases each and every time I reload a case. Never had an issue doing so and most of my rifles and loads group better than I am consistently capable of.

    So........tell me again why neck sizing for bolt rifle rounds is the way to go?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

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    Senior Member snake284's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post
    I full length size my cases each and every time I reload a case. Never had an issue doing so and most of my rifles and loads group better than I am consistently capable of.

    So........tell me again why neck sizing for bolt rifle rounds is the way to go?
    Here again, did you try neck sizing only? If not, you may find your usual best improved. Just sayin'.
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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Quote Originally Posted by snake284 View Post
    Here again, did you try neck sizing only? If not, you may find your usual best improved. Just sayin'.
    That doesn't answer my question as to why "neck sizing only for bolt rifles is the way to go."
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith

  8. #8
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Neck sizing only for dedicated rifles was all the rage for many years, but now it seems many have went back to full length resizing and decided it was easier or better to even with trimming more often.

    Bonus is they when FL resized (if within spec) will fire in any rifle chambered for that caliber if you set the OAL and seat the bullets to the nominal depth.

    I have been back and forth on this. I found some RCBS X-dies in a couple calibers in the reloading stuff I inherited from my late brother. I think it says use them once and after initial trimming they are supposed to cut down the needed brass trimming a lot after that???

    Just depends on personal preferences and which way works better for your needs. I know neck sizing only makes sense for some calibers/rifles like the .303 British. So I would use whichever method gives the best results between the two.

    Probably a trade off here in brass life, accuracy and the time and effort you are willing expend.

    Each to his own.
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    Senior Member bellcat's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    I'm a FL sizing guy. My 22-250 is the only rifle/caliber I neck size. I do love the 6.5x55 tho! I shoot a CZ 550 in the Swede.
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    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    I don't, and won't, neck size. FL for me. If after 2-3 or whatever firings you have to "bump the shoulder back", then your case was in a different posisiton in the chamber each time you fired it because it was growing so to speak. Now you bump it back, and start all over. My hunting guns always got FL sized, and even my 16 pound savage bench queen gets FL sized. Of course I've got the chamber set so there's basically zero headspace. So that brass don't grow much anyhow.
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    Senior Member Teach's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    A couple of my elderly milsurp bolt rifles are on the ragged edge of the bolt closing on a NOGO headspace gauge. I neck size those cases to minimize brass stretching. Everything else gets FL sized.
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    Senior Member MileHighShooter's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post
    That doesn't answer my question as to why "neck sizing only for bolt rifles is the way to go."
    In theory, you can make more accurate reloads. If you've got a custom chamber and SAAMI dies, or your factory chamber is a bit wonky i.e. too long or tight, then the brass comes out perfectly formed to your chamber. Just working the neck will keep the brass perfectly sized, for a few loads.

    Another thought on it, you're working the brass less, so less hardening. This can be a cost benefit if using say Lapua or Norma brass trying to get every single load, without working the brass hard or having to in/out neck ream.

    Another, like mentioned, reducing any neck reaming or case trimming until several reloads. This is just time savings.

    If you have a wildcat, you might ONLY be neck sizing, to avoid having to set back to FL parent case, then necking up/ down again, saving time.


    With a factory round, doesn't provide anything but time saved. With a precision rig, it saves time prepping and possibly money on very expensive cases. On a wildcat, it might be the only option outside of having custom die sets made.

    For the most part, it won't benefit 95% of reloaders, unless you want to.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post
    I full length size my cases each and every time I reload a case. Never had an issue doing so and most of my rifles and loads group better than I am consistently capable of.

    So........tell me again why neck sizing for bolt rifle rounds is the way to go?
    Brass is fire formed to that specific chamber. When you fire form for a specific rifle, the case head will be in contact with the bolt face and the shoulder will be against the datum point on the shoulder, so no wiggle room. It's just a way to make a rimless cartridge rifle pretend it has a rim to place each cartridge loaded in the same position. No firing pin striking primer driving cartridge forward, then powder burning and pressure slamming cartridge head back into the bolt face. That's how case head separation starts.

    And like Jerry said, for milsurps that are getting on the ragged edge of too much headspace, fire forming cases for that specific rifle will keep it in shooting condition without having to remove, face off barrel and barrel shoulder, rethread, and pull your hair out clocking the barrel back into normal position so sights are in correct position.

    For semiauto rifles, pump, and lever action, I full length resize because they are picky and don't have the camming force of a bolt action rifle.

    And like MileHighShooter said, neck sizing doesn't work harden the brass.

    And by neck sizing only for those certain bolt action rifles, I can save money because the brass also lasts longer. I'm a tightwad about money on some things.
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

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    Re: I should have known

    I also find it so much less messy, when I F/L size I use a liquid on the case and some graphite in and on the outside of the neck
    Makes for a smooth resize but there's a price paid to clean the cases up
    There is probably a better way but I been doing it that way for years, when I do.
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    Senior Member jbohio's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Neck sizing is an antiquated idea. It leaves too many variables. Namely, the expansion/contraction ratio of the brass.
    If you F/L size it, the brass is exactly the same, every time. Consistent.
    Anneal it every so many firings, you're good to go.

    I used to be a big neck sizing proponent. I get better, more consistent groups from F/L sized brass.
    When I neck sized, my best groups came from brand new brass, and slowly went away.
    Quote Originally Posted by breamfisher View Post
    It might not be more accurate, but why introduce accuracy to a discussion about inaccuracy?

  16. #16
    Senior Member tennmike's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Quote Originally Posted by jbohio View Post
    Neck sizing is an antiquated idea. It leaves too many variables. Namely, the expansion/contraction ratio of the brass.
    If you F/L size it, the brass is exactly the same, every time. Consistent.
    Anneal it every so many firings, you're good to go.

    I used to be a big neck sizing proponent. I get better, more consistent groups from F/L sized brass.
    When I neck sized, my best groups came from brand new brass, and slowly went away.
    Neck sizing only just resizes the neck of the cartridge for proper neck tension on the bullet. The rest of the case fits the chamber much like finger in glove. Expansion/contraction of the brass is effectively taken out of the equation. Consistent fit of cartridge to chamber is the result.

    If you're bored out of your mind sometime I have a project to cure that. I've done it before and it cures boredom like no other reloading job. Get out an inside measuring micrometer, an outside micrometer, and dial calipers. Full length resize 100 cases and neck resize 100 cases.
    1. Measure the I.D. of the necks of the cases.
    2. Measure case neck O.D.
    3. Measure the I.D. of the case at three random points of your choosing. This is simple to do by making three 'gauge blocks' from different thickness steel, aluminum, or hard plastic. Measurement is done with cartridge cases held in reloading press in shell holder, reloading die removed, and using gauge blocks between shell holder and bottom of die hole. You will be unpleasantly surprised at the amount of brass 'springback' inconsistently you'll observe from those 'consistently sized' FL resized cases.
    "Tyranny is wonderfully ingenious in the art of inventing specious phrases to spread over its nefarious designs." From the book Tyranny Unmasked by John Taylor of Caloline County, VA. 1821

  17. #17
    Senior Member jbohio's Avatar
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    Re: I should have known

    Quote Originally Posted by tennmike View Post
    Neck sizing only just resizes the neck of the cartridge for proper neck tension on the bullet. The rest of the case fits the chamber much like finger in glove. Expansion/contraction of the brass is effectively taken out of the equation. Consistent fit of cartridge to chamber is the result.

    If you're bored out of your mind sometime I have a project to cure that. I've done it before and it cures boredom like no other reloading job. Get out an inside measuring micrometer, an outside micrometer, and dial calipers. Full length resize 100 cases and neck resize 100 cases.
    1. Measure the I.D. of the necks of the cases.
    2. Measure case neck O.D.
    3. Measure the I.D. of the case at three random points of your choosing. This is simple to do by making three 'gauge blocks' from different thickness steel, aluminum, or hard plastic. Measurement is done with cartridge cases held in reloading press in shell holder, reloading die removed, and using gauge blocks between shell holder and bottom of die hole. You will be unpleasantly surprised at the amount of brass 'springback' inconsistently you'll observe from those 'consistently sized' FL resized cases.
    I don't doubt that.
    But, my rifles do better with F/L sized brass.
    Quote Originally Posted by breamfisher View Post
    It might not be more accurate, but why introduce accuracy to a discussion about inaccuracy?

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