I am like a dog, chasing his tail....

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Indy Bob, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Indy Bob

    Indy Bob New Member

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    I am going round and round trying to figure out a "sticking bolt" after firing "SOME" rounds. I had another thread about this but I have still not figured out what is wrong.

    I have been to the "explaining headspace" thread and I do understand it. What I don't understand is WHY not all of my rounds cause the bolt to stick after firing. Some do, and some don't stick.

    The barrel is not shot out. Long story about this rifle I will spare you the details.
    I will try to explain what I have or have not done;

    I started reloading and shooting again in 2012 .... (Last time in 1988)
    Old brass I had was all fire-formed brass, with a mix of times fired. (No records).
    98% is Winchester brass ..... visibly ALL in good condition. All of this brass was tumble cleaned, neck sized ONLY, (Lee collet dies), cases trimmed to 1.902".. trim length specs, then flash hole clean-up tool with used.
    Bullets: 53 gr Hornady Match HP, pushed by 38.0 grs of H-380. I use a balance beam scale and the weight of powder is all right on.

    ALL BELOW are empty brass and the bolt being closed.
    My newer brass is new Remington 40 count, and 20 Federal, twice fired-formed.

    OLD Brass Here is a test I did. I kept notes on which rounds caused bolt to stick last time out.
    On my bench at home I chambered that old brass...... and bolt was harder to close than the other old brass that did not make bolt stick. These were ALL the used Winchester, fire-formed brass from years back, as explained above.

    I then chambered the BRAND NEW, never fired Remington brass and bolt closed fine.
    I then chambered the ONCE fired Remingtons and bolt closed OK, about the same.
    I then chambered the TWICE fired Federal and the bolt closed pretty good, but very slightly more effort to close on the Federal brass.

    MY QUESTION .... FINALLY, :rolleyes:
    IF my older brass was fire-formed, and brass trimmed and prepared with care, WHY would some rounds cause the bolt to be hard to close...... and some NOT?

    Why would all the new brass chamber and bolt close OK ..... if indeed headspace was in question??

    PS. No brass...even older ones .... have no cracks or signs of damage.

    Hope someone has an answer because I am getting dizzy "chasing my tail!~:D

    Thanks,
    Indy Bob
  2. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Hopefully LD Bennet or Alpo will be along to offer some advice.
  3. Twicepop

    Twicepop Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your brass has work hardened from repeated firings. My experience with the different brands that you mentioned, the Winchester seems to be more prone to do this that the other two brands. Winchester brass is a liitle thicker than either Federal and Remington,this means less internal capacity. A load worked up in either the Federal or the Remington brass will have slightly higher pressure in the Winchester case, which could lead to the brass hardening quicker. The Winchester brass appears to have a slightly different appearance than either the Federal or Remington brass which could indicate a slight difference in the ammounts of copper and zinc used in its manufacture. Also by some accounts, brass will slightly harden as it ages. All of the above factors could have come into play to cause the difficulties in opening and closing the bolt. Running you brass through a full length sizing die, and/or annealing the neck and shoulders of the brass could cure the problem. Every now and then neck sized brass needs to be ran through a full length sizer to stem the problem of sticking a bolt handle, it could be as simple as doing this. Another option would be to toss the old brass, and replace it with new.


    those who beat their guns into plowshares, will plow for those who didn't
  4. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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    Ok lets break this down to Chambering issues and Fired issues, two different animals.

    Chambering. You are neck sizing your brass, correct?
    Every time a round is fired it expands to fit the chamber walls, it then springs back a thou or two so the case will extract with ease. Repeated firings will cause the case to grow and grow, eventually it will not chamber or extract and must be Full length sized or given to me.

    Sticky bolt lift.
    How sticky? Do you see extractor marks on the head?
    My guess your answer is "Not real sticky" and "no extractor marks". That brings me back to Neck sizing. You are neck sizing, at some point you will have to Full length size or send it to me. You are on the edge with some of your old and newer brass. To solve the problem, set up your Full Length sizing die and bump the shoulder back a thou or three on all of your brass.
  5. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    You can also see some expansion just forward of the web of the case over time, which is not removed by neck sizing. This can make for sticky bolt CLOSE. I don't know if it would account for sticky bolt LIFT after firing.

    I agree a full length sizing is in order to see if the problem goes away. You might also think about annealing your cases.
  6. Indy Bob

    Indy Bob New Member

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    Steve,
    You asked how "sticky", and did I see extractor marks on the head?
    The sticky bolt varies from a "firm lift needed with fingers" ...... to a smack with the heel of my hand on the tough ones. On the tough ones there is a "scrape" on the head, probably from the Mauser extractor as you asked about.

    I will try the full length sizing die procedure. I am going to have to buy a full length sizing die for my 22-250 problem cases. When I ordered my loading "stuff" earlier this year I opted for the neck sizing set from Lee. (no full length r/s die).

    I did not know better and know about the problem described by you guys.
    This is my 3rd purchase of loading equipment ..... one in 1966, in 1987, and now in 2012.
    Needless to say I sold the early sets. Things are slightly more expensive now!! :rolleyes:

    I have learned more from this forum than total things learned in previous stints. Of course we did not have the Internet then.

    Thanks to all.
    Bob .......in Indy
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    Are you having problem when chambering the rounds or when you are extracting the fired brass? It sounds like when you insert the loaded ammo into the chamber and are having a hard time completely closing the bolt.

    If that is the case, it sounds to me like you are slightly deforming the shoulder of the brass when you seat the bullet. If that is happening, you need to back out your bullet seat/crimp die about a quarter of a turn each time until the problem goes away. I had that problem when I started loading .223 for my bolt action.
  8. 243winxb

    243winxb New Member

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    You need to full length size your brass that chambers hard. Its that simple. :)
  9. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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    I don't think you can purchase a Lee FL die separately. No matter, you can do better. You have the Lee Collet die which IMO is the best neck sizing die available. You don't really need a Full Length die that will size the entire case and the neck. Get a Redding Body Die.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/394097/redding-body-die-22-250-remington

    It sizes only the case body and shoulder and does not affect the neck. Of course you will still have you size the neck with the Lee die.
  10. Indy Bob

    Indy Bob New Member

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    What timing. I just discovered I could not buy the Lee full length sizing die separately by looking at Midway AND the Lee catalog.
    I WILL have to "bite the bullet" and get that Redding die. I am serious about good groupings even though I don't hunt anymore, (knees), or do competition shooting.
    As always, thanks,
    Indy Bob
  11. JohnTheCalifornian

    JohnTheCalifornian Member

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    Hold on minute, I think the full length sizing die comes with the neck sizing die in the set. Or am I wrong? I have 2 neck sizing sets, 30-30 and 223, both came with full length sizing dies.
  12. JohnTheCalifornian

    JohnTheCalifornian Member

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    Okay, I wasn't wrong. Here is a link to the LEE "Deluxe Rifle Set" for 22-250.
    Here

    Edit:

    I now read that you got the 2-die set. Never mind my drivel then......
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
  13. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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