Lapua brass life for 223 bolt action updated and edited

Discussion in 'Small Stuff--22s, 20s, and 17s' started by Dub, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. Dub

    Dub NRA Life member Gold $$ Contributor

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    I purchased new Lapua brass for my Remington 700 5R rifle. I was surprised it required Trimming after 3 firings. Starting to see signs of fatigue and failure after 5 firings. Please share your experience here.
    If it matters I am at 25.1gr of Varget behind a 69gr Nosler Custom Competition and Federal 205M primers.




    NOTE edited to say required TRIMMING not resizing as I originally typed. I full length resize after every firing
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
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  2. rsmithsr50

    rsmithsr50

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    just a guess is you are over working the brass in reloading and the load. il looks like nearly 55000 psi...
    what is the COAL ? HOW LONG IS THE BBL ?
     
  3. Dub

    Dub NRA Life member Gold $$ Contributor

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    CBTO is 1.856, bbl is 24". how do you mean overworking?
     
  4. TAJ45

    TAJ45 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Just maybe pushing shoulder back too far?
     
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  5. Wiskerbizket

    Wiskerbizket Silver $$ Contributor

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    I have been getting 20 accurate reloads then they shoot so so then I chuck them after that. Lapua brass 223 with 24g h335 53g smk. Forster bump die bumping 1.5 thousands
     
  6. rsmithsr50

    rsmithsr50

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    base to tip= is COAL, CBTO does not work in quickload.
    what is cartridge over all length ?

     
  7. sawcarver

    sawcarver Gold $$ Contributor

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    "Required resizing after 3 firings" so you must be neck sizing instead of bumping shoulders? Just trying to understand what you mean.

    I run a fair amount of lapua 223 in several bolt guns. I can get 20 firings out of them if I dont stomp too hard on them. I know guys who have had loose primer pockets in three firings, they are running them really hard with varget and 80.5s
     
  8. Dub

    Dub NRA Life member Gold $$ Contributor

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    Sorry, I meant to say required trimming after 3 firings. Big difference....
     
  9. jepp2

    jepp2 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Can you share specifically what signs you are seeing of fatigue and failure?

    I did a case life test using 20 range pickup LC once fired brass in an AR. I figured this would be a worst case scenario, but I wanted to see how long they would last, and what would be the primary means of retirement. I often "read" that folks toss theirs after 5 loadings for AR brass.

    Well the results SHOCKED me. For the gas gun, I was setting the shoulder back around 0.003-0.005" per sizing (I cycled them through various rifles during the test). So I expected to see incipient case head separations. I paperclip tested them every cycle. Annealed them every 5'th firing. And was shooting a near max load using WC844.

    I had 2 cases I retired from minor cracks at the shoulder, the other 18 failed due to minor through wall cracks in the neck that originated in the root of the gouges the barrel extension was making as the brass ejected (new barrel, I now stone the sharp edges off the two offending lugs). First cases failed at the 24'th firing, last cases made it to the 37'th firing. My reason for sharing this, for Lapua fired in a bolt without being overloaded, I would expect it could go 50 firings or more. I haven't demonstrated that, but see no reason with the much better conditions why they wouldn't.

    What one of the 18 failed cases looked like.
    Typical Gouges.jpg
     
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  10. CharlieNC

    CharlieNC Silver $$ Contributor

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    Dub when shooting new brass, the length grows significantly and variably in my match chamber for both Lapua and LC after the first shot. This as measured on the unsized brass. Interestingly the headspace stabilizes very uniformly at .002. So after an initial trimming, I am able to neck size and shoot thereafter with better uniformity than FL sizing.
     
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  11. Dub

    Dub NRA Life member Gold $$ Contributor

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    Thanks Jepp2 and Charlie NC. here is a picture of what I saw yesterday while processing brass after the 5th firing. I will have a close look at my sizing die settings. I am going to go with a Whidden FL bushing type die soon. the piece of brass on the right has a pronounced line that you can feel indicating separation is imminent. The piece on the left is showing a stress line in the same area. this appears to be a headspace issue to me. I can only assume at this point I am not sizing them correctly?
     

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  12. jepp2

    jepp2 Gold $$ Contributor

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    With almost absolute certainty. You really don't want a complete separation on firing.

    How are you setting up your die? Are you measuring case head to datum of fired cases. You should be able to feel the crack easily with a bent paper clip. I flatten the end of mine to make it more sensitive (at least I think so).
    Bent Paper Clip Tool.jpg
     
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  13. jepp2

    jepp2 Gold $$ Contributor

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    Make sure you watch the Whidden video on how to setup your die and follow John's recommendations. If you screw the die down to the shellholder, it will excessively set the shoulder back. He purposely makes his dies shorter and that is one of the reason he includes the bump gauge with the die.
     
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  14. XTR

    XTR Gold $$ Contributor

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    It's not a headspace issue, it's an over-sizing the brass issue. You are pushing the shoulders back too far every sizing.

    edit:

    When the firing pin hits the primer it pushes the case forward till the shoulder hits the front of the chamber. (the pin protrusion is close to .060) When the primer lights the powder the case expands and grips the sides of the chamber, then the pressure pushes the back of the case into the bolt face, and stretches the brass at its weakest point forward of the case head.

    Push your cases back .010 each firing and it doesn't take long. You have to get a tool to put on your calipers to measure base to a consistent datum line on the shoulder, then bump the shoulder .001 to .002 for a bolt gun.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
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  15. JSH

    JSH

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    In a nut shell, make the brass fit the chamber.
    Virgin brass, on the first firing, then measure.
    I would double check headspace.
    Your die could be a short one for sure, fired brass measured at the shoulder then measure after sizing.
     
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  16. BronzeArcher

    BronzeArcher

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    Remington factory chambers are on the loose side. For me, Lapua brass routinely lasts 12+ firings in a custom chamber and in the Savage model F-TR factory chamber sized with an RCBS factory FL die. It might last longer, but I retire it after 12 or 13 firings. Most brass never needs trimming before 12 firings. My loads are moderate - 23 grains of Varget behind an 80 SMK seated close to 2.500" OAL.
     
  17. Dub

    Dub NRA Life member Gold $$ Contributor

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    Really appreciate the helpful comments guys.
     
  18. rsmithsr50

    rsmithsr50

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    you never listed ACTUAL CARTRIDGE LENGTH.
    my best guess is that you are at 54,000+ psi.
    and you cannot expect brass to last forever if high loaded and sized too much
     
  19. Dub

    Dub NRA Life member Gold $$ Contributor

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    sorry. The COAL is 2.245 on these loaded rounds
     
  20. Ackman

    Ackman Silver $$ Contributor

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    Lapua brass is short to begin with. It's uniformly at the so-called "trim-to" length of 1.750". Factory .223 chambers are very generous, I've measured them at 1.770" up to 1.780" long**. Lots of people love to trim brass and go with the trim-to length thinking it's the thing to do, but it's unnecessary. In short..... don't trim your Lapua brass, the necks may have lengthened a little but they don't need trimming. In fact they'll never grow enough to need trimming. I've often wished there was some way of adding length to the case.

    Don't bump the shoulder back. If a fired case will chamber with no resistance don't mess with it.

    **Sinclairs sells a nice little chamber length plug for about every bore size. With these things you can tell exactly how long the chamber really is. You'd be surprised at how much space is out there in front of the case mouth.
     
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