More Lake City once fired brass problems

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by LDBennett, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    If you followed my previous posts then you know of the black corrosion I found on about 700 LC cases that were military range pickup. The problem was mine as I left RCBS sizing compound on them for 7 years. Black spots appeared all over them. Even with 30 hours of aggressive walnut shell vibratory cleaning, the black corrosion would not totally remove. Only polishing would remove it all. I elected to leave some of it on the brass.

    The next problem was removing the primer pocket crimp. I tried to use the Dillon machine, even making an anvil that avoided the internal flashing material from the piercing of the primer hole. No luck…when I attempted to prime the cases some went in fine others smashed a bit. The only procedure that completely removed the crimp was with a chamfering tool. That required removing about half the depth of the primer pocket.

    I gave up because creating reloading problems during the reloading of 700 cases would take all the fun out of the reloading of those cases. These cases would end up being a problem and who knows if they have been damaged by the corrosion still on them or that was once on them. I determined it is not worth it. They are going to the metal salvage.

    I found that you can buy NEW Lake City cases as sold by Federal in 100 count bags. I bought 5 bags from Natchez. It is not cheap but is good brass. Since I developed my universal 308 (7.62 x 51 NATO) load in those original LC cases (7 years ago when those range pickup cases were not corroded) I needed to compare the average case capacities between the old LC cases and the new ones. A random sampling of ten each showed the average internal water capacities to be identical to a tenth of a grain. So now I have 500 new LC 2015 cases to reload.

    While this was an economic disaster, the thought of fighting 700 damaged cases with primer pockets only half deep pushed me to just buy new cases. I think it a good decision, considering. I am not a fan of range pickup brass but I created the corrosion problem. The military created the primer crimp removal problem and the Dillon tool flat does not work (their instruction admit as much!). Other crimp removal tools and processes I tired left me unimpressed and some made me worry that the primer may back out and some others might cause primer crushing during reloading.

    I’m off to start reloading. Since I have several Military type 308 (7.62 x 51 NATO) semi-auto's, I want to build up a good supply as the ammo supply goes fast on field shooting trips. This exercise has been long and drawn out and I am finally ready to reload!

    LDBennett
     
  2. Don Fischer

    Don Fischer Well-Known Member

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    Last bunch of Lake City case's I got I've had several of them split necks. Some right up the side and some around them. Never seen the around one's before. Kind of disappointing as I really like LC case's.
     

  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Don, thank you for your comments.

    There is witness discoloration on the neck and upper case body that Federal and Lake City say indicates proper annealing of those areas. Cases not annealed in those area are prone to splits. Cases reloaded too many times are prone to splits. But just because there is a discoloration does not mean it was done right. Possibly the cases you saw were reloaded too many times. Maybe it was just a bad lot. Of the many people who report here, you are the first I recollect that has disparaged Lake City brass. But if that is your experience your have every right to question any Lake City brass and we have the right to decide whether, in the light of your point, to buy new Lake City brass or not.

    Most brass for modern rifle cartridges, in my experience, eventually splits or burns through the case neck...especially magnum cases or modern cartridges that are loaded to the 50 to 60 thousand PSI levels. Without special sizing, magnum cases will have head separations in a few reloadings. Rifle cases are not forever, unlike some straight walled pistol cases. I have some 9mm cases that are 30 years old and have been reloaded countless times and are still reloadable today.

    As an aside, most suppliers of brass remove the discoloration from annealing before shipping their brass. So lack of that discoloration on other supplier's brass probably means nothing.

    LDBennett
     
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  4. Kvasir

    Kvasir Well-Known Member

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    For those crimped primer pockets I use a Lyman "case prep center" after resizing.
    It has a powered reamer, a cutter to set consistent primer pocket depth, and inner and outer neck bur reamers. It makes case conditioning incredibly fast, and very consistent.
     
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  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I used that tool (among others) but it did not remove all of the crimp making seating primers without crushing them somewhat an IFFY thing. The new LC brass of course has no crimp to remove. Believe me when I say I exhausted most all methods of removing those crimps in the case head for primer retention the military needs. I don't need them and they impact primer seating unless total removed.

    LDBennett
     
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  6. Kvasir

    Kvasir Well-Known Member

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    That's odd. When I use it it actually bevels the mouth of the primer pocket a bit.
    I used the same reamer on a hand tool before I bought the case prep center. That was slow and painful!
     
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  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    My primer pocket reamer and truer (by Lyman, I think) is on the RCBS motorized Prep Center. I verified the crimp removal with a .209 inch plug gauge and still some of the 50 primers I installed in 50 case (as a test) ended up slightly crushed or not full seated. I never have that problem with my Dillon RL550B with any other commercial cases. The .209 inch plug gauge would not fit in the primer pocket of cases done with the Dillon swage tool. Note the primers are spec'ed at .210 inches. I had no problem getting the .209 inch plug gauge in to primer pockets done with a chamfer but half the depth of the primer pocket got removed in the process.

    I have an old adjustable RCBS tool made for crimp removal only but it too could not remove enough of the crimp. I bought their latest one but it was not adjustable and removed even less of the crimp. I'll not be buying any more range pickup LC brass in any caliber. Life is too short to have to hassle with cases with primer pocket crimps that are hard to remove, if at all.

    LDBennett
     
  8. Krong of Belsnarf

    Krong of Belsnarf Member

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    I have had some experience with the Dillon crimp remover that might shed some light on your situation. I bought about 1,000 unfired pulled LC 308 cases from Widners (I think) several years ago and decided to treat them as I would any once-fired cases even though they had never been fired and still had the primers in them. (The main pain in the neck was the sealant in the neck.)
    I used my Dillon crimp swager with no problems and was able to seat the primers just about as easily as with new commercial cases.

    On the other hand, I have used the Dillon swager on lots of LC 5.56 military brass with crimps with less success. I suppose I tried to swage the pocket too much, but the bottom of the primer pocket was frequently deformed to the point that a primer would not go in all the way. I got a slam fire with one of those cases in a Mini 14 because of a high primer. I adjusted the anvil out a little and uniformed the primer pockets of all the deformed cases to get them all to the same depths. That solved the problem.

    The anvil for the 223 is not as big in diameter as the primer pocket, so some of the primer pocket was not being supported. The one for the 308 is larger than the primer pocket so all the pocket is supported. I wonder if your modification to the anvil could have allowed the primer pocket to be deformed? Have you tried just using the anvil that came with the tool?

    I have pretty much gone to reaming the pockets on 223 cases but still use the Dillon almost exclusively with 308 and 30/06 cases.
     
  9. Kvasir

    Kvasir Well-Known Member

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    Wow. I've never run into that. But admittedly I've only used about 300 or so LCB. Maybe I've just been lucky.
    It might also be a difference in the primers themselves, or the primer seating tool.
    If it helps any I use CCI primers, with a Lee hand primer tool.
     
  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Here is the problem with the Dillon primer pocket swager.

    LC brass like all brass has the primer hole pierced not drilled. That operation can leave uneven flashing inside the case on the edges of the primer hole. The Dillon long anvil covers the hole and the flashing. The tool sometimes mashes the flashing down and often over the primer hole, blocking it. The similar tool by RCBS has an anvil with a dish in the end that misses the flashing by straddling the primer hole and any potential flashing from the primer hole piercing. I made a long anvil similar to the RCBS tool. The anvil was about 0.300 inches in diameter (so it would fit through the neck of the case) and the dish left about 0.060 inches on each side (like a rim). It worked better than the Dillon anvil.

    But there is another problem for which there is no solution with the Dillon tool (and I suspect with the RCBS primer pocket swaging tool too). It pushes from the inside of the case on the backside of the case head against a fixed part of the tool body. The swage is round and comes out of that fixed part of the tool body. It relies on the case head thickness of the cases to be the same. But LC does not control that dimension and it varies all over the place from lot to lot, year to year. So a setting of the Dillon anvil length is always a compromise between the thick heads and the thin heads. Dillon points this out in the instruction and offers no fix. The 1000 once fired cases I got were from various unknown lots and from many different years.

    I too tried chamfering the crimp away but it left the primer pocket half as deep. I tired four different methods, both swaging and cutting material away and either the tools did not completely remove the crimp or made the primer pocket too shallow for my taste. The result using any of these methods was not uniform from case to case. I did load up 50 and had several mashed primers that did not seat in the primer pocket correctly. I enjoy reloading but I do not enjoy having to deal with problems like these. I reload on a Dillon RL550B progressive and everything has to be right to avoid problems using the press and interrupting the “progression” of the press. Life is to short to fight cases with this problem. I just progressively reloaded a hundred of the new case and every one was perfect. That is the way it always is if the components are correct.

    My reloading is ALL done on the Dillon RL550B (30+ different cartridges) for the last 25+ years. I have no desire to hand prime cases. I have no desire to load on a single stage press either. I do occasionally use the Dillon as a turret press but only rarely.

    LDBennett
     
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  11. Kvasir

    Kvasir Well-Known Member

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    I can understand that. I'm not as interested in speed. Reloading is one of my hobbies that helps keep me from going insane during the long northern winters. I'm more interested in precision than I am in kicking out 1000 rounds in a single evening. I have nothing against progressive presses, and I know people produce excellent ammo with them. But I actually enjoy the process of sorting by weight, trimming by hand, and all the other tedious steps that most might call OCD.
     
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  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I am not after large volume speed in reloading. I load progressively to get the job done to be able to do other things. A reloading session for me is done in about half to one third the time it would take single stage reloading. I do not enjoy the minutiae of super precision reloading that gives results only slightly better than I get from my progressive press. I would not reload at all if it were not for loading progressively.

    My reloading history stated in the 1960's on a friends single stage. I did not enjoy the drudgery of that effort. When I returned to shooting in the mid 1980's and saw progressive presses, I bought a Dillon Square Deal (pistol calibers only) right away. I struggled with a LEE progressive to do rifle cartridges but it broke every time I used it. I had the same problem with the Hornady shotgun progressive...both are gone. Dillon took back the Square deal in trade (full value after a year of use!) for the RL550B I have used for the last 30 years to reload for 30+ different cartridges. For a couple years I used the giant RCBS single stage press to reload for 50BMG. For various reason I gave up the 50BMG and the reloading press and supplies for it.

    Seriously, if forced to use a single stage press for all my reloading, I'd give up reloading. To each his own.

    LDBennett
     
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  13. Avirginian

    Avirginian Active Member

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    I have used the Dillon Super Swage 600 on thousands of cases, mostly 223/556 but on some 308 also. I have never had a problem with the thickness of the case head. As you can see in the attached photo, if I were to bottom out the swager piston, the angled portion would severely deform the primer pocket. As the crimp is only around the edge of the primer pocket it isn't at all necessary for the piston to completely enter the primer pocket.
    As far as the flash hole getting covered, that has never been an issue for me.

    Just my .02 worth.
     

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  14. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    The instruction with the Dillon swager point out the problem with variations of head thickness. The result is non uniformity of the results from case to case. Now, if all your Lake City cases are from the same lot then it is no problem.

    I did see the flashing folded over the primer hole on a few cases. RCBS recognized the problem and dished the end of the rod to straddle the primer hole and its flashing. Dillon did not. I eventually made a replacement with the end dished.

    I ran 700 cases through the Dillon tool and tested each one with a plug gage. At first I used a 0.208 inch plug gauge and that went in fine but re-testing with a 0.209 inch plug gauge failed on all cases. The primer is 0.210 inches. When I reloaded about 30 cases some cases resisted the primer seating and flattened the primer. I suggest those primers are questionable for firing. This approach is not the way to make reliable ammo for me. If it works for you great. Your results varied from mine. I decided rather than suffer problems during reloading (which is fun for me if there are no problems) and with the corrosion question, that I would discard the brass and just buy new LC brass. I loaded 200 so far with ZERO problems. Every finished cartridge is perfect. There were no issues with the Dillon RL550B press used progressively. That was about an hours work at a pleasant pace. I made the right decision.
     
  15. Avirginian

    Avirginian Active Member

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    Reloading is fun. Sorry you're having problems.
    I seriously doubt there is more than a thousandth or to differences in web thickness on LC brass, other brands may vary a bit more but not by a lot. Dillon, like many others in our hobby, was probably just covering their rear end.
     
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