Inconsistent headspace?

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by John Rambo, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. John Rambo

    John Rambo

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    While sizing lapua 6br brass tonight I'm running all my brass through a hornady headspace comparator aND getting a variation of .001-.003 thousands? Any idea what I could be doing wrong?
     
  2. SmokinJoe

    SmokinJoe Gold $$ Contributor

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    !) How many firings since the brass was annealed? 2) How are you lubricating your cases before sizing? In my experience these 2 items determine consistent shoulder bumping more than any others.
     
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  3. Someoldguy

    Someoldguy Silver $$ Contributor

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    Before the site 'Headspace Police' enforcer comes along, let's be clear. You are resizing your cases and finding that your case length is inconsistent as measured with a Hornady comparator. Savvy?

    First make sure your shell holder and FLS die are clean. This IS a FLS die, Yes? I would then suggest pausing for say, 10 seconds with the ram of your press in the full up position. Then check for variance. The suggestion of trying a different case lube is a good one as well. If you are still not satisfied, you may need to anneal your cases. Annealing is a whole other discipline, and well covered in other threads.

    And make sure your digital caliper or whatever device you are using to measure with is not throwing a fit.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. jepp2

    jepp2 Silver $$ Contributor

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    Consistent application of a quality case lube is paramount in consistent shoulder setback. Folks like to poke fun at me for my attention to detail. I lay my cases on a cookie sheet - all facing me - and spray them with BootLeg case lube. Then I roll them around. Very consistent application and very consistent shoulder movement.

    What did they measure before sizing? Maybe they just haven't all stretched and the variation is due to some being shorter than your chamber to begin with, and even sizing the case hasn't made them consistent yet.

    Case Lube.jpg
     
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  5. Someoldguy

    Someoldguy Silver $$ Contributor

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    It should not matter what the fired case lengths were IF he is FLS them. Unless, of course, he has an out of spec chamber or die. Neck sizing? Well, this thread is off in the weeds then.
     
  6. BoydAllen

    BoydAllen Gold $$ Contributor

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    I have seen this, and although there are several possible contributing factors (inconsistency of amount of lube on cases, different numbers of firings per case within a set, and inconsistent dwell time at the top of the stroke) what we found in our case was that the culprit was inconsistency in factory annealing, Winchester and Lapua. These were magnum cases. Proper annealing (just enough) solved the problem without making necks too soft for use out of a magazine, or losing significant neck tension. If your die setting is such that you are not slightly toggling the press with the die set properly, then one of the Redding Competition shell holders may make things more uniform by getting you to a slight toggle which will tend to stretch or compress your press linkage to a more uniform point. The problem is that as brass hardens the die setting will have to change to maintain the same bump.
     
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  7. jepp2

    jepp2 Silver $$ Contributor

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    When I am firing brass for the first time, most of the cases are much shorter than my chamber length. After firing 1 or 2 times with a moderate load, they are still short of my chamber length. Even FL sizing the shoulder doesn't move forward enough to be set back to the same distance. That has been my experience, maybe yours has been different than mine.
     
  8. Someoldguy

    Someoldguy Silver $$ Contributor

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    Indeed, it has. Interesting. My FLS die sets all my case lengths consistently, provided the cases do not require annealing or the die out of spec.
     
  9. Zero333

    Zero333 Gold $$ Contributor

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    The first cases you size CAN be longer than the 20th or 30th case down the line because the lube accumulates in the die.

    Consistent lube practice and pre-lubing the die can make the difference. I use Hornady One-Shot Case lube the way it states in the Sprays instructions.
    ie... Stand cases up, spray from all 4 directions on a 45 degree angle some 8" away from the cases.

    FlipBrass1.jpg

    Use some card stock....

    FlipBrass2.jpg

    Flip it...

    FlipBrass3.jpg

    FlipBrass4.jpg

    FlipBrass5.jpg



     
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  10. Zero333

    Zero333 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Remove / Slide the card stock out....

    FlipBrass6.jpg

    Ain't that pretty !!!

    FlipBrass7.jpg
     
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  11. Iowa Fox

    Iowa Fox

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    Two very good points Joe. I'd like to add two more to yours if you don't mind. You have to stroke the press with consistency each time, same speed same handle pressure. Some presses just aren't made to give consistent bump. And I'm not talking cheap presses for that comment.
     
  12. jepp2

    jepp2 Silver $$ Contributor

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    My technique might be different. I record for each rifle the datum to case head length that I can just feel the bolt close on the brass. I set my die 0.002" short of that dimension. Unless the loads are max, it can take 4 or 5 firings for the case to reach this point. While many folks set their die to set the shoulder back 0.001-0.002" from the first fired dimension. So I FL resize each firing, but I may not have consistent fired case length for several firings.

    The worst brass I have seen for being short when new is Fiocchi. It was 204 Ruger and some were over 0.010" shorter than others. Even after multiple firings they were still much shorter. Winchester was next, and Lapua was next.
     
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  13. Someoldguy

    Someoldguy Silver $$ Contributor

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    I have noticed that the length of new cases is often a 'crap shoot'. Hadn't noticed it taking several firing to even out, though. Maybe I've not been watching close enough. (?)

    But 'BIG NAMES' on this forum plainly state fire forming cases is a waste of time, money and barrel life. I defer to those individuals.
     
  14. John Rambo

    John Rambo

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    Thanks guys. I'm using a whidden FLS die. I'm going to blame variances in case lube and try again tomorrow
     
  15. 223Randy

    223Randy Silver $$ Contributor

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    Have you tried measuring the same case several times and see if you get the numbers? Could be your calipers or misalignment in measuring
    ??
     
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  16. ireload2

    ireload2

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    Size your cases slowly with a 3 to 5 second dwell at tbe top of the stroke.
    Retract each case from the FL die enough to spin the case about 1/3 turn. Resize again slowly with the dwell. Spin the case again and repeat the sizing with dwell.
    Check every case with your gage as soon as it has been sized.
    You will see variations if you size too fast or use to little lube.
    With enough experience checking your cases you will be able to perfect a technique that will make all of your cases exactly the same.


     
  17. SmokinJoe

    SmokinJoe Gold $$ Contributor

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    FWIW, I think a lot of y'all are going to a lot of trouble getting consistent case lube when there is a simple way to do it that works very well in my experience. BTW, i used to use Hornady Quick Shot, but it just got more & more expensive, so decided to try this other method and it has served me well. First, get your fired brass cleaned up; I know most all of you do this already. To lube the brass, I lay a small white (motel type) washcloth on the bench, pour the brass cases onto the cloth (up to about 100 223 size cases), spray well with one of the 90/10 alcohol/anhydrous lanolin lubes then close up the cloth around the sprayed cases and tumble them in the cloth. After tumbling, I pour them out of the cloth into a pan, wait about 5-10 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate, then size the brass. I have gotten very consistent results using this lube method. I haven't cleaned the washcloth, allowing the lanolin to accumulate in it so it takes a bit less newly sprayed lube now than it did originally. I realize that this is kind of old school lube, but it works. BTW, when I 1st started reloading back in 1961, I used a tin of anhydrous lanolin that was hand applied like Imperial Sizing Wax is done now with great results. If this sounds interesting, give it a try because it will save you a good bit of time and is very inexpensive.
     
  18. Eddie Harren

    Eddie Harren

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  19. carlsbad

    carlsbad Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. Gold $$ Contributor

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    Assuming you're measuring it correctly, I would say it is based on annealed state of the brass. Annealing every firing takes all this variance out. It has tremendously improved my reloading results.

    Without annealing, each case will have different springback. So the stiffer cases will have more springback and measure longer.

    Sounds like you're confident in your measuring technique. Just in case, here are 2 tips:

    1. Make sure you aren't measuring your primer. Do you have any proud primers Do you have any cratering?
    2. With light pressure pushing your calipers closed slowly rotate the shell in the whidden neck fixture. The smallest number you can get is the right one. Once you have it perfectly square and centered, the indication should not change as you rotate it.

    --Jerry
     
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  20. Barlow

    Barlow Silver $$ Contributor

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    How many cases did you size and of the total, how many varied .001 or.002 or.003, and how many were the same? Barlow
     

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