Neck tensioning sequence

Hyphen

New member
Joined
Feb 24, 2022
Messages
19
Location
San Antonio, TX
I'm struggling a bit in my reloading process, specifically in how to efficiently neck tension. I currently am F/L resizing every round, am not annealing, and am not using bushing dies (but maybe should be). There must be a more efficient way to expand or tension case necks for initial turning, load development, and then loading. I feel I am working the necks back and forth unnecessarily during my process, as follows for new or factory brass:
  1. De-prime, clean brass, ream primer pockets and debur flash holes.
  2. Full-length size (Lee non-bushing F/L die without mandrel), bumping shoulder to -.002”. This should resize neck to 30-06 SAMMI spec 0.340” OD.
  3. Expand next with K&M Expand Mandrel to fit on neck turning pilot. K&M 30 Cal Expander Mandrel leaves 0.3085” ID.
  4. Trim necks to length with Lee Quick Trim.
  5. Turn necks with K&M turner to not less than 0.0125” thick.
  6. Tension necks using either mandrels or modified pin gages, as desired during load development. I must re-tension the necks since they were expanded for turning. I start by re-tensioning using either a standard or undersized mandrel in the F/L die, depending on the tension desired, and then expand as needed with pin gages:
    • Add undersized mandrel to F/L and contract neck to 0.3035” ID (0.0045” tension without spring-back). If needed, expand to either 0.0030 or 0.0025 tension with pin gages in Hornady bullet puller in press.
    • Add standard mandrel to F/L and contract neck to 0.3055” ID (0.0025” tension without spring-back). If needed, expand to either 0.0020 or 0.0010 tension with pin gages in Hornady bullet puller in press.
Once I have done the initial brass prep through turning, and have settled on neck tension, I can just F/L resize to bump shoulder and contract neck and then expand neck if needed for loading. I'm also going to add annealing.

My questions are:
  1. Is there a better way to do this using what I have?
  2. If I moved to a F/L bushing die, would I use it in Step 2 (I would think so)? After using it to bump the shoulder and tension the neck some, the K&M Expand Mandrel would make the inside of the neck uniform and ready for turning. Then I assume I would only have to tension with bushing as desired, saving the expansion.
 

Mthuntr

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
5,355
Location
In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
What were you seeing that had you start being concerned about neck tension? Have you tried just resizing with the factory mandrel and just loading ammo? I very successfully reload without bushings or swapping dies or messing with stuff. I do start with premium brass and bullets but otherwise I'm still using factory dies and often have no idea what my neck tension is.

You could also try using Lee Factory Crimp die but so it only touches the brass...raise case/ram all the way up, screw in die till it touches then go 1/16-1/8 turn more.
 

VikingsGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
9,303
Location
Twin Cities
Is this for a hunting round or target competition round?

If for hunting I wouldn’t worry about neck tensioning or neck turning. It is chasing a level of precision that is not necessary, and frankly unlikely to actually be seen with a typical hunting rifle due to pencil barrels, etc.

If for target competition, you really should be annealing in concert with neck sizing, as the value is consistent pressure on the bullet, which is more than just neck size - it is also brass hardness/resilience - a feature that will change batch to batch without annealing.
 

mtmuley

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
10,773
Location
montana
Is this for a hunting round or target competition round?

If for hunting I wouldn’t worry about neck tensioning or neck turning. It is chasing a level of precision that is not necessary, and frankly unlikely to actually be seen with a typical hunting rifle due to pencil barrels, etc.
Yep. mtmuley
 

Don Fischer

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
2,237
Your not gonna like this but you need to quit reading as much as you do on loading sites and read your manual. My idea of loading is to learn to make good ammo first then go after better. Sounds to me like you went right after the best and now your confused. Just for kicks, what kind of groups are you getting?
 

Bigjay73

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Messages
2,441
Location
Denver
I use a bushing die and size the neck in 2 stages to get the tension I want. I'd have to check, but I believe I start with a .335 bushing and then run the brass again to with a .331 bushing for a .001 tension with nosler brass. Very simple and I can produce some insanely accurate loads for my 06 that way. You would insert that into your step 2.
 

N2TRKYS

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
1,056
Location
Alabama
I use RCBS full length sizing dies. I’ve never had a neck tension issue with them. I size and deprime at the same time. Seems like a waste of time to do them separately.
 

Hyphen

New member
Joined
Feb 24, 2022
Messages
19
Location
San Antonio, TX
Guilty as charged. This is about hunting rounds in factory barrels. I haven't loaded for this rifle yet so don't know group sizes. I'm using once fired Hornady brass and ABLR and TTSX bullets. I'm seeing very good consistency in the neck thicknesses between cases. I starting turning some other brass thinking it would help with neck tension, although I was having no issues with neck tension.
I've been testing loads by varying charge weight, seating depth, neck tension and then primers if needed. It'll be a relief and use less materials not worrying about neck tension.
 

Greenhorn

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2000
Messages
9,316
Location
MONTANA
Some things that might help, I think.

Forget about turning necks..
In your case forget about annealing at this point. That’s only after several firings and then still a maybe might not be needed.

Seating depth could matter but not anal wise. Start at .010 off lands and only start tweaking if you’re seeing troubles. Just keep all your tests the same.

Neck tension and headspace might be important. Use bushing dies, and pay attention to head space from your fired vs. full size brass. Keep it as minimal as possible .. .001-.003”

FYI I don’t know shit, but know a bunch of guys that seem to.
 
Last edited:

Hyphen

New member
Joined
Feb 24, 2022
Messages
19
Location
San Antonio, TX
Thanks all. I'm pushing shoulder based on once-fire cases in that rifle. I have many and they vary in base to datum so I know what the max is that still allows the bolt to drop easily. I then bump .002 from that max. I have found seating depth really matters in my other -06 as that load likes more jump.
I have two rifles on backorder so I'm trying to refine the process since they will not be in until late summer and if one is going for elk, I will need to hustle on load development.
 

VikingsGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 2, 2017
Messages
9,303
Location
Twin Cities
Seating depth could matter but not anal wise. Start at .010 off lands and only start tweaking if you’re seeing troubles. Just keep all your tests the same.
Lots of good points, one suggested tweak. If OP is using mono bullets, it is usually better to start .050 off the lands as a starting point - they typically need/like a bit of a jump.
 

Hyphen

New member
Joined
Feb 24, 2022
Messages
19
Location
San Antonio, TX
Lots of good points, one suggested tweak. If OP is using mono bullets, it is usually better to start .050 off the lands as a starting point - they typically need/like a bit of a jump.
Right. As I said above, the TTSX in my other -06 liked more jump. Enjoyed all the input!
 

N2TRKYS

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
1,056
Location
Alabama
I’ve never had to play around with seating depth for any of the rifles I load. I load to the recommended COAL in the load data and it has proven to be very accurate.
 

AlaskaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,442
Location
interior Alaska
Anneal for more consistent neck brass.
Remove expander ball and use an expander mandrel.
Seating with a Hydro Press by 21st Century and LE Wilson inline die to gauge seating pressure.
Of these three, use of an expander mandrel likely is simplest and most bang for buck in terms of improving consistency.
 

Hyphen

New member
Joined
Feb 24, 2022
Messages
19
Location
San Antonio, TX
Anneal for more consistent neck brass.
Remove expander ball and use an expander mandrel.
Seating with a Hydro Press by 21st Century and LE Wilson inline die to gauge seating pressure.
Of these three, use of an expander mandrel likely is simplest and most bang for buck in terms of improving consistency.
I do use mandrels rather than balls. I have an undersized and standard for each die.
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
102,468
Messages
1,651,784
Members
32,004
Latest member
Bowhuntn50
Top