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Thread: Need help setting up a die

  1. #1
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    Need help setting up a die

    I would like to know how to setup a FL sizing die to only have it bump the shoulder back .001-.003. My routine is to neck size until the cases grow to long, and then go back and do a FL size. But I want to work the brass the least i can, and only bump the shoulder back .001-.003. Could I just setup my FL sizing die per instructions, and use the Redding Competition Shellholder to determine how much I bump the shoulder back?

  2. #2
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    Last edited by crb; 08-04-2011 at 03:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    I have a bullet comparator. And I know the OAL of the blown out brass. What I dont know is how to setup the FL sizer so that it consistently only pushes the shoulder back by .001-.003

  4. #4
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    You measure your fired case and then adj the sizing die to end up with the bump you desire. It makes it easier if you get some die shims. Put a .010 shim under the seater die nut and when you start getting close { by lowering the die in the nut } then you substitute a thinner shim. Don't use the same case over and over as you creep up on the desired bump. Use a fresh unfired case each adjustment. When you get the die set the way you want run the long cases back through the sizer.

  5. #5
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    gotcha! thank you very much. Other than neck sizing with a Lee Collet die and only using a FL die when cases start sticking, is there any other way to work the brass less?

  6. #6
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    You can measure a fired case in several areas of the body and then measure one of your resized cases in the same locations and get a rough idea how much your die works the brass. Learn how to anneal cases and the working of the brass becomes less of a concern. I anneal after about 4 or 5 loadings depending on when the bullet seating pressure gets too high. Others think annealing is a waste of time.

  7. #7
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    Take one of your tight cases, knock out the fired primer, measure shoulder to head distance with a Hornady "Headspace Gauge" attachment on your caliper. (I leave the calipers zeroed as they were with the jaws touching, since we are only looking for the difference between two measurements.) Write the measurement down. Start with the die about a dimes thickness off the shell holder, and the decapping stem removed, if your die has an expander, lube the case ligntly, and start turning the die in a little at a time and measuring after each adjustment. (Remember that one turn of the die is worth about .071", so take it easy or you will overshoot.) When you get to your desired bump, wipe all the lube off of the case, and try it in your rifle. If you don't like the feel of the bolt close, (assuming that the case length is within spec's) you need a different die that is smaller in diameter in the body. Another thing that you need to remember is that cases that have different amounts of work hardening will require slightly different adjustments to hit the same amount of bump. After you do all of this, you might want to save your note of the pre-sizing "headspace", and add to it one about what insert you used for the Hornady tool. Undoubtedly some fellow will tell you all about how to strip a bolt and set your die by feel, the problem with this method is that if your die is too big for the chamber, by the time that you get the desired feel, you will have bumped your shoulder back too far, and if you use that setting repeatedly, you may have case head separations. Another good backup measurement can be taken with an automotive feeler gauge set, of the distance between the die and shell holder, with the press ram at the top of its stroke, and the die properly set. This should speed up your next die setup.

  8. #8
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    Additional point to consider

    ALWAYS use the same shellholder with that die set! I put the shellholder in the die box for that gun.

    I have seen .013 difference in heights of two different shellholders.

    Now you can use the die shim method IF you use the same set of dies for two different guns also.

    BH

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BountyHunter View Post
    Additional point to consider

    ALWAYS use the same shellholder with that die set! I put the shellholder in the die box for that gun.

    I have seen .013 difference in heights of two different shellholders.

    Now you can use the die shim method IF you use the same set of dies for two different guns also.

    BH
    BINGO!!!

    This little point is so seldom addressed, instead the manuals and half the people on this board advocate jamming the sizer down onto the shellholder to "cam the press linkage a liddle, this makes sure you get best possible consistency and repeatability"..... as though chambers, dies and shellholders are cloned on a molecular level.

    Ohhh yeahh, and there's always the yahoo who adds the gem of wisdom that "spinning the case a quarter turn 3-4 times makes ammo more concentric.."

    WHADDA'crock

    Thank you for being a voice of reason in the wilderness of precision reloading.

    al

  10. #10
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    Al,
    Years ago, with a standard, one piece RCBS die, that had an expander ball (a type that I now scrupulously avoid) , we did the test where we backed the ram down a little after the first trip to the top of the stroke, and turned the case a quarter turn three times, raising the ram to the top after each, and with that setup, there was a measurable improvement in case straightness, we did this several times. As to the camming, if one has the room, using one of the Redding competition shell holders can allow this light camming to take place, which a friend, who has all the right tools, has found beneficial for increasing the consistency of shoulder bump, when FL sizing 500 case sets for his 22-250 and .223 varmint rifles, with their dedicated Hornady (non-bushing)custom dies (that have had their neck IDs specified. He spent quite a bit of time working on this detail. and did careful work.
    Boyd

  11. #11
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    Yup it finally occurred to me when I got semi-serious about accuracy that having a shell holder for each set of dies was the only way to go. Of course if a person had only one shell holder for each case head size that might solve the problem too, but when priming tools and other tools need shell holders it's just easier to open the die box, pull out the shell holder and die and go at it, rather than spending half an hour trying to find the stupid @#%* shell holder. My wife does NOT appreciate my language when I can't find things that I should be able to find.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boyd Allen View Post

    Al,
    Years ago, with a standard, one piece RCBS die, that had an expander ball (a type that I now scrupulously avoid) , we did the test where we backed the ram down a little after the first trip to the top of the stroke, and turned the case a quarter turn three times, raising the ram to the top after each, and with that setup, there was a measurable improvement in case straightness, we did this several times.
    OK Boyd,

    I wouldn't keep this going with most guys but I know you enough to respect your opinion AND to know that you really think, you will modify your opinion given a different view or different data.

    As will I.

    First of all, my real thrust is that manipulating your way into "straight ammo" is completely fruitless without you somehow manage to simultaneously close all your tolerances up at the same time! All the straightness in the world means nothing when you've got 6-8thou of neck slop and a thou or two of endplay.

    IMO

    That said, let's take the 1/4 turn experiment on it's face..... let's presume that bump-pull/bump-pull/bump/pull/bump-pull DID in and of itself make the round straighter measured on some sort of spin/gaging device. Did the experimenter ever do the test WITHOUT spinning the case? And are we to presume that something was "crooked" in the die? Like the shoulder?

    If so, how? How was the die mfd with a tilted shoulder?

    And if so, did the case chamber without the spinning? If the experimenter incrementally ironed the shoulder into "flat" by working down the high side was the die set such that the case would not chamber before all sides were worked down?

    Now without any widdershinny manipulation a'tall I can guess that ironing a sloppy neck 4 times in a row would tend to work it into some semblence of "straight." It'll also make it fail 2-3 times faster IMO.

    Nawww, I can't get behind it regardless of others' findings. Mine have been at odds with many others' claims. Until a mechanism is provided, a reasonable explanation for an increase in concentricity, and until I can duplicate it I can't get with it.


    FIT is where I'm at, you promote better fit and you'll actually see an increase in accuracy. "Linearity" and "concentricity," whether achievable thru manipulation or not, are irrelevant EXCEPT to gauge the fitness of your system. If your system isn't producing perfectly straight ammo then the problem is FIT of components not "linearity." Besides, the idea of "producing linearity" with sizing dies is ludicrous when springback is considered. Brass must be bent or forced well past where you want it for it to spring back to the desired dimension. IF the caseneck were somehow bent over a thou by the die you'd have to turn around and bend it back two thou for it to (maybe) come back to center. And my experience with bending ammo into "concentricity" using the various tool available has shown me that to straighten ammo takes a whole lot more than subtle .001 tweaks!

    But that's still missing my point.

    Until I'm convinced differently my view of the firing cycle shows the case completely blown out against the chamber walls, completing it's function as a sealing gasket BEFORE THE BULLET ENTERS THE LANDS......the back of that bullet is just hanging there unsupported until pressure builds sufficiently to engrave it into the bore... therefore it WILL be slammed against one wall or t'nuther, entering the lands crooked.

    Straight ammo don't mean nuttin' in a loose chamber.


    opinionsby



    al

  13. #13
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    Al,
    Fellows that are very smart figure out pretty quick that one can reverse the ram just far enough to be able to turn the case, but not so far as to engage the expander ball, and yes that part of my post was entirely about straightness, nothing else, but while we are at it, I have shot a good deal of premium factory varmint ammo thorough a .220 Swift, and the stuff that averaged straighter tended to shoot smaller. In all cases the fit was generous, as was the bullet jump. So, based on actual test, I think that straightness matters, even if the fit is not ideal. The trouble with making flat statements is that they are sooo vulnerable, given that the person making them almost invariably is working with limited data. On the other hand, if one simply reports what has happened...

  14. #14
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    opinions Boyd, opinions

    LOL

    opinionsby

    al

  15. #15
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    You Know BS just perpetuates itself and soon becomes fact. I was having trouble finding a bushing that was marked
    correctly , so couldn't get the neck tension I wanted on a 6.5 X 47. I made an expander button to fit my decapping rod.
    Now, I was not changing things a lot, maybe 1/2 thou. My cases have a total runout of .0003. without it, it was about
    the same. I did gain better uniformity of pressure when seating bullets. Hardly what factory dies and expanders do, but
    its not the expander, rather the dimensions.

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