Sizing Brass and Case Life

Nodak Hunter

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Just kind of curious how some of the "powderheads" (we called the car guys in high school "motorheads", so I made up my own term for reloaders) on this board size their brass.

Full length resizzing will definitely shorten case life, I learned that when I first started reloading. I'm curious how some of you set up your sizing dies, and how many shots you get out of your rifle cases. Do you neck size only, partial length size, or full length resize every so many shots?
 

WDSWIFT

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Nodak, whether it is the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, I full length resize every time. I know it shortens case life and all, but a long time ago I had 60 rounds that I had to completely take apart and full length size because they wouldn't chamber properly. That was such a nerve racking experience that I decided to just go ahead and full length size them and be done with it the first time.

From what I've seen case life for me seems to depend on which rifle, which brand of cases, and of course how much I'm hot rodding that particular rifle/load combination.

Here is sort of a rundown on about what I get out of some of the loads I do.
Out of my 223 with winchester brass, around 7-9 firings, out of norma brass; over 12 cycles.
The 243 with winchester brass, 5-7 cycles.
The Swift with winchester brass, 4-6 cycles, with norma brass 6-7.
The 22-250's I load for get around 3-5 out of Remmington brass and 4-5 out of winchester.
WD
 

1_pointer

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A question: I only have the nickel plated Winchester brass, will that last longer?? I will be full length resizing. (BTW- is a .338 Win. Mag)
 

Nodak Hunter

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WD,

I don't think there's any right or wrong way to do it, as long as one understands (and you do) about full length sizing working the brass more, and accept shortened case life.

1_pointer,

Full length resizing every time does two things:

1. It forms the case back to standard dimensions, thereby allowing a little more "slop" in the chamber, helping to ensure proper feeding.

2. It works the case over it's whole length, compressing and stretching it everywhere. This in theory (and pretty much for real) shortens case life.

What I do depends upon what the caliber is. For my big game cartridges (.260 Rem on up), I partially resize them. That is, I set the die so that it will resize the entire neck, but not set the shoulder back. This also squeezes the upper 1/4 to 1/2 of the case body somewhat, depending upon the exact chamber dimensions of the specific rifle. This helps to ensure proper feeding, yet doesn't excessively work the brass. I usually anneal the case necks after six shots, and have gotten between ten and fifteen firings from cases before I discard them.

For my varmint rigs (.223-.244 Rem), I neck size only, not allowing the die to touch the body of the case. I also neck anneal these after six shots. I full length resize after twelve. I have gotten up to twenty reloads from .223 brass, and usually get about fifteen from my .22-250 and .220 Swift, which both are loaded to, shall we say, "max" pressures.

In answer to your question, I have found that nickel plated cases tend to get brittle more quickly than non plated cases, especially if you full length resize every time. Other than that, they're fine to use, and they do make for a nice looking cartridge.
 

danr55

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I full lenght resize the first time, then back the sizing die out about 1/8 turn and use it like that as long as I am shooting the same brass in the same rifle. I have 6.5X55 Norma cases that I have been using for 9 years. They've probably been reloaded 12 to 15 times and they still work fine in my Winchester. I found that if I shoot them in another rifle, the necks split. That has worked with 6.5-06, 7mm weatherby, 7mm Rem Mag., several wildcat cases with radical shoulders on them, 223, 243, 250 Savage, in fact, the only case it hasn't worked for is 6mm Rem. Those cases tend the work harden faster than the others for some unknown reason. They get full length resized every time then get replaced after 5 loadings.

:cool:
 

1_pointer

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Just making sure that I am reading this right. You guys are not fully pressing the case into the die, but only putting it in partway, right?? Just wanted to make sure that I was following this correctly. Thanks for all the help.
 

Nodak Hunter

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1-pointer,

Yup. The way I do it is to screw the die in so that it touches the empty shellholder, then back it out about three turns. Now place a fired case into the shellholder, and run it up into the die. Inspect the case neck, you should be able to tell how far down the neck the die has sized the case because it will be a little shinier than the rest of the case. If the shiny part doesn't extend all the way down to the shoulder, screw the die in half a turn, and do it again. Inspect. Keep going until the whole nick is shiny, but the shoulder isn't touched by the die.

With my partial resizing, I see the entire case neck is shiny and resized, plus the upper 1/3 or so of the case body will also be shiny. That means it's been squeezed down a bit to facilitate feeding, but I haven't set the shoulder back any, so headspacing will be positively on the shoulder and not the belt.

It will be a little more difficult to see where you're at with nickel plated brass vs. standard, but if you look closely enough, you should be able to see.

I use dry mica lubricant for the case mouth, and a TINY bit of liquid lube on the body for this procedure. A little goes a long way if you're not full length resizing.
 

MLM

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Ok, I agree with every thing here so far. One thing left out, for us owning HUNTING and VARMINT rifles. Like every one else I full body resize my hunting rifle cases, no reason to take a chance on feeding problem. And belive me it can and happen (murphys law) if there is a chance in a million , it will happen. Now on my varmint rigs, where every case stay with the same rifle, no chance of buddy leaving his shells at home and using your 30-06 ammo and so on, I just neck size. It is just something time and hard work has showed me. Now have fun and sort out all of this info , funny thing is . It is all correct!
Mike Murphy :cool: :D
 

danr55

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If anyone would know about "Murphy's Law", it would be Mr. Murphy himself. I have been hunting with the same partner for many years and we kind of have an informal agreement. We rarely if ever hunt with the same caliber. It seems that when we first started hunting together, one of us grabbed a box of 25-06 cases thinking that they were 25-06 cases that had been renecked to 6.5-06. (Can you guess who that might have been?) Anyway, we found that one way to avoid that was not have the same headstamped cases in camp. So if I hunt with a 6.5-06, Glen hunts with a 280 or something. If he hunts with a 7mm Rem, I choose a 264 winchester, and so on.

Murph brings up an interesting possibility though. Has anyone else ever grabbed the wrong ammo and started out into the woods only to find out that it wouldn't fit??

:cool:
 

Michaelr

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My dad grabbed my 280 shells and loaded them into his 06, He said that it was a little hard to close the bolt. He didn't relize what he had done until after he had shot a nice little three point.
Good thing the critter was only about 50yds away.
 
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