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5.56 Neck Troubles

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by MichaelStrick9, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    So I've begun to reload rifle rounds now, after starting off with pistol calibers. I bought the RCBS X die for .223 to use on my pile of LC 5.56 brass. It appears as though the necks have expanded too much outward? I set up the die on my Hornady LNL, by running it to the shell plate, then locking it down. Without the primer puncher/neck expander part in, the brass will not fully go into the sizing die. It will start to go in, but once that neck hits the neck part of the die, it stops. (Unless I'm supposed to just crank on the handle with all my might?) Looking at the brass that comes out, it starts to shrink the neck, but then it just stops after a 1/16 of an inch or so. I tried inserting a loaded LC 5.56 into the die, and it definitely goes a lot further in than the spent brass. And yes, I am using lube, Lyman MICA, dry powder lube.

    Am I doing something wrong? Is the brass expanding too much after it leaves my chamber?
     
  2. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    So I tried some Hornady One Shot lube, and now it appears that the operation is working. I still have to crank down on it, but it does resize the neck now, and they do come out skinnier than the unsized necks. I guess MICA is for neck resizing dies only. The neck portion of the die still doesn't go all the way down to where it angles into the shoulder, but it comes real close. It looks more like a soft curve into that angle now. And also, I'm sure it's just the lighting or an illusion, but it seems like the neck is a little crooked?
     
  3. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    It appears that you have enough lube on the case now. The adjustment of the sizing die is important. Just adjusting it to the shellplate and locking it is rarely enough unless you have a press that has ZERO flex. That would be a rather large and heavy press. In reality, under sizing pressure, the press flexes and the case isn't fully sized. The trick is to paint the shoulder of of the case with some "sharpie" marks and then continue adjusting the die down until the sharpie marks show contact from the die. This will show you when the "shoulder bump" begins. This is often adequate for a bolt action but for a semi, you may want to go all the way and just crank the die down to contact with the plate then give it another 1/4 to 1/2 turn. If you do this, there should be no gap between the bottom of the shellplate and die when the ram is at it's maximum stroke. Give it a check with a .001" feeler gauge rather than relying on the eye.

    As for mica, I prefer graphite but only for the inside of the case neck. The outside of my cases get Hornady "Unique" when using the single stage and Dillon spray case lube when running through the progressive.
     
  4. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    The X die is designed to lessen the effect of the case length increasing over time. Other than that, it is a full length sizing die, unless they also make a neck size only die as well (I use a small base, full-lenght X die for my .223 on a single stage press). The cases have to be trimmed to all the same length and lubed for it to work correctly. All of the steps in the instructions need to be followed for the die to work correctly. When I first set it up, it was a bit tricky to get all the adjustments of the die and mandrel correct. From the description, you might have the mandrel set too far in. It is designed to push face of the neck opening back down after a few thousands of stretching from use.


    elsie
     
  5. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Mica and the dry lubes are not for full length resizing, you will stick a case in that die faster than you ever could have imagined (usually the first time) stick with the one-shot, or the lanolin based lubes.

    In most cases, a sizing die will make the case neck smaller than bullet diameter, and pulling the case down back over the expander ball will make it back to the correct size for seating a bullet.
     
  6. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I can't speak to your die issue because I haven't owned that model of die, but it looks like deadshot2 covered it. Here's hoping you get it sorted out.

    Personally I avoid abrasive lubricants because I don't want them shot down my barrel or getting into my action. Mica is a mineral which is used for sandpaper (abrasive paper) in the electronics industry especially.

    The reason it is slippery when piled together is that it is formed in tiny platelets which are smooth on the flat sides. Because they are also fairly hard, they will easily slide against each other. However the edges are sharp and I don't want that in my gun.

    Also, dry lubes are often used for dipping the neck into for the expander, and not used for outside resizing - usually. IMHO this is done for speed - just a quick dip.

    Now, this is just my preference to not use any abrasives. YMMV and it's just my $.02 and probably not worth that much, LOL.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    There are apparently some misunderstandings about Mica, especially Dry Ground Mica which is what is commonly used by Reloaders. Here is an excerpt from a Mica Supplier's website.



    When I neck size only I use a Lee Collet Die. No lube at all required with this die although it only neck sizes. No shoulder bumping or body sizing at all. I've found that using this die has limited case length growth to almost nothing. Even though I trim cases every time I find that about all I'm doing is scraping any carbon off the case mouth and squaring it up. At the worst I take .001"-.002" off each operation.
     
  8. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Double post.
     
  9. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry but I'm not buying it "yet". Mica is mica unless someone can show me that there are different types of mica, and then I'd be receptive to the idea.

    Have you ever had a chunk of natural mica in your hand? Rock collectors find it somewhere around here and I had a softball sized piece of it. It's off-white, and can easily be broken by hand because it is in very thin layers. When it is processed for industrial use, it is hammered and ground up into various sizes depending on what is needed. If you pound a small piece of it with a hammer you'll get these small thin glass-like pieces which when rubbed together are very slippery.

    It is for a fact used to make abrasive paper and is used in a slurry as a polishing abrasive. I have no idea how someone can say it isn't abrasive. Are there different types of mica?

    "Dry ground" is how they grind it. I'm not yet impressed. Yes it is a bit flexible because it is so thin. So is glass. I can push on a picture window in my house and cause it to flex, but I can't hit it with a hammer. :) If you hit mica with a hammer it will break. If you grind it, it will break.

    Unless I learn (and I'm open to that) that this mica is a different mica, then I'm telling you that it's an abrasive and widely used in industry for lubricants and abrasives. Its edges are sharp and abrasive while its flat surfaces slide easily against each other and can be a dry "lubricant."

    miaa.jpg

    miaa2.jpg
     
  10. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    There are 7 different kinds of mica:

    Mica Minerals,Mica Properties,Mica Mineral Information,Mica Suppliers

    Feel free to read at your leisure. Please note that one of the uses for dry ground mica is that of a lubricant. If you're a rock hound or have taken apart a couple of toasters, yes that's one form of mica that splits well. When ground into a fine powder it makes a wonderful lubricant and no more abrasive than other "flaky" solid lubes like Molybdenum Di-sulfide.

    Feel free to avoid it if you wish but among most "gunners" it's so popular that the suppliers are constantly sold out. The carbon, as a byproduct of your firing a round is more abrasive than mica in the form we use it.
     
  11. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    OK, I studied it and didn't learn anything different. The different types of mica are different only because they contain additional minerals which are actually contaminants. Some of them are even more abrasive, including vanadium and iron oxide (rust.)

    It actually breaks down to two basic types of mica - useful mica and junk mica. Only the useful or muscovite mica is what we see commercially. India is the leading producer, and we don't have a lot in the US.

    The waste mica left from manufacturing - the scraps - are ground into a fine powder. That is used both as an abrasive and as a lubricant. The sheets which are hand split are used for the various electrical and heat insulations.

    I have no argument with anyone else who uses it for neck expanding. I just don't want it in my guns or around my equipment, but that's just me. :thumbup:
     
  12. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Gunner,

    There is a lot more to what is "abrasive" and what is not, since priming compounds contain salts and powdered glass, I don't know that I would be too quick to blame powdered mica for all that throat erosion you're having :)

    Also, I've used powdered mica, and talc for years to keep bullet lube from sticking to things when feeding cast bullets through collators. Mica and Talc also work well when you sprinkle just a little bit into a freshly cleaned vibratory primer filler (like the dillon or ammo-load).

    One of the things to remember about material science is that there are two factors that impact how something behaves, first is the material, and second is the form it's in, there is a world of difference between graphite, carbon fiber and diamonds, even though they are all the same base material, each one of them has it's own specific (and vastly different) properties based on the form it's in.

    The trick I use for case-neck lubrication: teflon powder mixed with parting wax
     
  13. MichaelStrick9

    MichaelStrick9 Portland Member

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    Well, getting back on topic here, after cranking out my first bunch, I've noticed that the cannelure of the projectiles is sitting farther out than the end of the case. Is this a big deal? I'm going on the long side of OAL, 2.260", and since the cases are trimmed to 1.740", this would make sense. From what I gather, the longer I can make OAL, the more accurate it will be, providing that it will cycle in my AR. The projectiles are 55 grain Hornady, and my starting charge is 25 grains of Varget. My Lyman book says 2.260" for OAL, the Hodgdon site says 2.220", the stock Lake City's look to be between 2.245" and 2.250".
     
  14. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    There won't be any issue with the bullet crimped below the cannelure as long as the OAL is not beyond the reliable magazine feed length of 2.260". As for accuracy, the 55 gr is no shining star for accuracy out of an AR. Longer bullets are usually required to close up the groups. If your barrel is marked "5.56"
    it has a longer leade than a .223 so it's doubtful you'll see any benefit from longer OAL's on cartridges that will still feed from the magazine.
     
  15. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    For 55gr FMJ-BT M193 stuff, stick to loading at the cannelure, depending on the type of crimp die you use (I tend to default to the Lee Factory Crimp Die for bottleneck cartridges) you will get more assured seating and crimping by giving the case mouth somewhere to go when you put that crimp on. Otherwise the case mouth will crimp into the bullet jacket and deform it slightly, this usually destroys accuracy.

    I'll be honest, I've loaded long, and loaded short, with all variety of cartridges, the biggest factors that affect accuracy are the load, the primer, and the selection of bullet. I usually load XM193 at about 2.245" because I want reliability, and it usually patterns at about 2-3" at 100 yards, which is 1 minute of bowling pin at that distance. When I load up 69gr SMK's and load them to a 2.250" OAL, they regularly deliver 1-1.5" groups at 100 yards even with a very similar powder charge. For Semi-Autos you're never going to load long enough to get benchrest accuracy out of the rifle, load what feeds good, mess with the load if you want more accuracy, not the OAL.