Me or the equipment...

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Infidel762, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. Infidel762

    Infidel762 New Member

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    So I am setting up my dies for my .223 Target rifle. I have read, re-read, and watched countless videos about setting up dies and adjusting for head-space. I understand what head-space is and where it is measured on the shoulder datum. However, I have come across something I can't figure out but think I have an idea.... I have a digital caliber I purchased from Midway USA a couple years ago (I think) and I am using the Hornady bullet comparator and head-space gauge kits. The directions call for the 330 bushing with the head-space gauge for .223. I think my gauge is off..the numbers I get do not make sense because even a factory loaded round (unfired) is below minimum head-space of 1.463.

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    I have closed the caliper and made sure it is zeroed.




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    I install the the Hornady case gauge per directions and close calipers. I have heard the reading SHOULD be 2 inches...however mine is reading 5 thousandths short...(I will come back to that a few pics down).

    [​IMG][/URL] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]

    I zero the calipers on the Hornady head-space gauge.


    [​IMG][/URL] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]

    I put an unfired factory round into calipers making sure it is properly centered by spinning the round a few times and making sure all slack is out of calipers. notice the factory round is well below the head-space minimum of 1.463 per SAAMI. If I add the ~4.5 thousandths I was short before zeroing the caliper I get 1.464 head-space. I think my calipers of now "off" because my seating die has not been changed from my last batch of loads which worked flawlessly. This is my third batch of rounds in the same gun. First batch was new unfired brass that I trimmed and ran through sizing die and loaded. Then I neck sized once with no problems for the second batch. Now I am attempting to "bump" the shoulder back but my readings are off. My calipers show all brass to be well under minimum head-space.
  2. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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    The Hornady Gauge is a "Comparator" Meaning it is use to compare. Compare your fired brass to your sized brass. It is not designed to "compare" to SAAMI specs as it does not land on the exact datum of the shoulder.

    The 330 is designed to work with the 17 Rem, 222 Rem Mag, 223/5.56, 220 swift and 221 fireball. If it was designed to be an exact datum measurement then Hornady would have to make a Bushing for each and every cartridge made. It is a universal comparator, meaning close enough for you to set up your dies to fit your rifle, but not exact enough to compare to SAAMI chamber/reamer specs.
  3. 243winxb

    243winxb New Member

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  4. 243winxb

    243winxb New Member

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    It takes at least 3 firing for the brass to fully expand to the chamber when neck sizing. At time, brass measured to the datum will become shorter on firing. Strange but true.
  5. Infidel762

    Infidel762 New Member

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    That helps. Thanks.
  6. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    Infidel,

    I would recommend a different approach, take 20 fired cases from your gun, measure and write each down, then average the measurement. This will be YOUR headspace calculation that represents your gun. Now Subtract .005 from your average headspace measurement; this is where your should resize for a semi auto. A bolt gun needs little .001 setback on the shoulder.
    Set your resizing die to touch the shellholder at camover, then back the die off 1/2 turn.
    Place a lubricated, fired case in the shellholder and run it through the resizing die, then measure with your gauge to see if you are setting back the shoulders at all. Thread die down slightly (1/16 turn) increments and resize and repeat until the shoulders are correctly pushed back to your calculated measurement from the beginning steps.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  7. 243winxb

    243winxb New Member

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    NO.
  8. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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    Agreed, .010 is way to much shoulder bump. Are you sure you didn't mean .001?
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb New Member

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  10. 312shooter

    312shooter Active Member

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    Yep, post corrected!
  11. Infidel762

    Infidel762 New Member

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    I confused myself more since using that gauge. I think I have it set now after spending a few hours tinkering with it. I found the length that still closes in my rifle, but now I have another question.... Is it normal for brass to grow during resizing? Also, a few pieces of brass won't re-size like the others for some reason. It stays longer now matter how many times I run it through the press while 95% of the rest goes to the correct length I set. I would understand it more if the effects were consistent.... Perhaps my problem is I ran my brass through the die once already but at the wrong setting... I am glad this is my cheap brass I collected from my ranch rifle or I would be pissed! More brass for my .300 Blackout =)
  12. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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    Yes, brass will grow when FL sizing if the die does not make contact with the shoulder of the case. You need to screw the die into the press just a little more so the die contacts the shoulder and bumps it back back.

    Different brass can size differently due to number of times fired or headstamp. The more brass is sized and fired the harder it is to re-sizes. It's called work hardening.
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Infidel762:

    A couple of things:

    Brass grows in length as it is sized as the die makes the cases smaller pushing the neck out. For that reason NEVER trim brass until is is sized.

    The process you are using is an advanced technique. The manufacturers of the sizing die make it so that it makes cartridges that will fit all guns that meet SAAMI specs when the sizing die is installed in the press per their instructions. That makes ammo that will work in a semi-auto and a bolt gun or any gun for that matter. The process you are using is best used in bolt guns. For my purposes that is the only guns I use it for. For semi-autos I follow the instructions for the sizing die which is usually to allow the die to seat on the shell holder and be able to cam over the press operating handle. This assure that in guns without the added mechanical advantage of the camming a bolt gun has, the ammo will always fully seat into the chamber.

    There are several calipers on the market, made in China, that are cheap and are NOT stellar performers (not all that accurate for absolute measurement). They tend to be in the sub $50 class, Midway's and Harbor Freight's are prime examples. For accurate electronic caliper you have to buy better ones. The best source is a machinist supply house. The good ones start at $100+. The ones sold by reloading manufacturers are rarely if every of this higher precision level. The Harbor Freight ones I have for roughneck garage measurements eat batteries alive and suffers from lower accuracy but I have two other better calipers that I use for reloading and lathe/mill work.

    Finally the comments about "comparitor" are right on. Even those less expensive calipers are adequate for comparison readings that you do with the tooling you are using.

    LDBennett
  14. 243winxb

    243winxb New Member

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    Cartridge Headspace to Match Chamber Headspace.

    Will it chamber in the rifle? If no, the FL die needs to be adjusted down more. If yes, the brass has expanded to the chamber fully.
    To make the cartridge head to datum longer, the brass needs to be fired at least 3 times with the die fixed at the correct setting.
  15. Infidel762

    Infidel762 New Member

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    I went looking for some yesterday but only found cheapos. The brass I am sizing now is to shoot in my target rifle (bolt gun). Thanks for the help guys, I appreciate the tips and suggestions.
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