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Need help on how to reduce the shoulder of my 308 brass?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by brickman, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    I am having trouble figuring out how to knock back the shoulder of some twice fired .308 Lake City brass. I just installed a new Redding type S bushing style full length sizing die on my (don't laugh) Dillon 550. I threaded it down to the shell plate holder just like the instructions said to. My flash-fired brass head-space measures 1.6250" averaging ten rounds. I want to take this down to 1.6230 or at least 1.6240 to be one or two thousands off. I believe that is right? After re-sizing ten rounds that were all from 1.6250-1.6260 I ended up with some that were 1.6230 and others that had grown to 1.6275. What exactly is it I need to do to make this adjustment? I cannot crank the die itself down anymore or it will crush the shell holder. I have only been attempting to reload precision rifle rounds for a few months so I just don't have the experience to know what to do next. Surely this is not that big a deal, can someone give me the answer or at least some suggestions?
     
  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    With the brass all the way up into the die with your current adjustment you'll likely find/see that the shellholder is no longer actually touching the die. Adjust it so that it does/is at full resizing stroke while sizing.
     
  3. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    After I adjusted my die down onto the shell plate I inserted a case and run the press up to the top then tightened the lock nut down. You say there still may be space between the die and the shell plate? I will go and check it out. If there is I guess I would be able to take the die down a bit more. I will let you know.
     
  4. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    I just tried three more brass to no avail. The die and shell plate seemed to be touching. I could not get a .002 feeler gauge between them but I did go ahead and turn the die down 1/6 of a turn just to check. The next lift up I could see the shell plate flex just a little bit so I do not think I should go any lower. All three cases grew by .002 from what they measured just before resizing. Not sure what next.
     
  5. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    How to Adjust Reloading Dies

    "Here is how to adjust the resizing die to full length resize cases. First, run the ram to the top of the reloading press stroke with the proper shell holder installed. Second, screw the resizing die into the press until it stops against the elevated shell holder. Third, all play must be removed from the system. To do this, lower the ram and turn the die 1/8 to 1/4 turn farther into the press. Check the adjustment by returning the shell holder to the top of its stroke--you should feel the press cam over center. Now set the large lock ring and your die is adjusted to properly full length resize cases."

    --

    Also, you size and then trim bottleneck cases, especially when full length sizing.. as this (full length sizing) stretches them.
     
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  6. Papercidal

    Papercidal Vancouver ,Wa Active Member

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    I had a hard time getting my .223 sizing die to go low enough on my 650 without a lot of cam over so I removed the decaping pin chucked the die in a drill (A drill press would be best) and slowly ran it flat on a diamond sharpening stone shortening it up by about 3 thousandths allowing me to adjust it down just that little bit more without flexing the shell plate excessively.
     
  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    That toolhead plate has necessary "slop" in it so it'll slide in and out and the ram head may well have some canting/torqueing propensity (I don't really know as I don't own one). However, the press is essentially an "O" type press and I'd consider the toolhead plate "sacrificial" as it'd likely break before something unfixable broke. anyway, you gotta have it adjusted such that all slop is taken out.. and then some.. see post #5
    A Lee cast turret has spinning slop in the head but is still an "O" type press.. I don't really worry about breaking/damaging the toolhead when adjusting mine properly.
    Anyway, good luck
     
  8. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Dillon's 550 manual states: "Screw your sizing die into the toolhead with the toolhead securely fastened to the machine. Raise the platform and screw your die down until it touches the shellplate. Then back it off 1/2 turn. Insert an empty round of brass and check it for sizing and depriming. If it looks good, tighten the lock ring on the die and tighten the decapping stem with a case still in the die. This will deep everything centered."

    Some die manufacturers say to add a quarter or half turn to cause a 'cam over' effect.

    The case WILL stretch after sizing, and will have to be trimmed. Perhaps this is what is causing you a concern.
     
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  9. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    Okay, thanks for all the advise. Today was a new day and I was not so frustrated like last evening. I just cranked the die down a little at a time until I bumped the shoulder. It works just like it is supposed to (well almost). My fear yesterday was over getting a case stuck in my new die. I got one stuck in one of my Dillon dies before, what a hassle. This new Redding die is crazy tight. I ended up using much more Imperial case lube than I have before but no cases got stuck.
    Even though I am much better off today than yesterday not all my cases are sizing down to my desired shoulder but I am just separating them out and will make a tiny adjustment later by themselves. I really need to get a simple strong single stage for this precision reloading. My guess is a single stage has less problems with precision loading. The Dillon was and is great for my bulk 9mm and bulk 223, hell it paid for itself in 9 months when we first got it. It was a gift from my wife. I have been keeping my eye open for an inexpensive Rock Chucker. Those look pretty simple and strong. Thanks for all the help and I am always open for more.
    Oh, and yes, I will be trimming some.
     
  10. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Brick, the problem is not the press. I have used the heck out of my 550 on rifle as well as pistol rounds. Having said that, I also use the heck out of a single stage, and would not have it any other way. A rifle round requires more attention to case preparation than does a pistol round.

    Personally, for rifle brass I decap, tumble, lube, resize (on the single stage), tumble again, trim, deburr, chamfer, swage (if necessary), and seat my primers on my single stage. I take the primer assembly off the Dillon before I add powder, seat, and crimp (again, if necessary).

    It takes some practice, but hang in there, and check in here if you have any more questions. Between all of us, we have made every mistake possible, and hopefully we can save you some frustration.

    Enjoy!
     
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  11. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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  12. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    for all resizing dies, lowering the die against the shellplate is not enough. you actually have to do anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 turn extra "past" the shellplate.

    raise the shellplate, screw the die all the way down firm against the shellplate. lower the shellplate. give the die an extra 1/4 turn. resize a case and see if it passes the gauge. if not, give the die an extra 1/4 turn at a time, until it passes the gauge.
     
  13. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    Yes, I now do believe that you need to lower the die more than what the instructions say to get the desired case.

    And to rick, I bought my brass loaded new from Bulk Ammo (if my memory serves me right) last year before a MagPul training course and before I started reloading 308. I purchased 1000 rounds and planned on using that brass after first firing to begin my reloading. I also purchased 500 new Lapua 308 brass at that time. It is still sitting in the box for now. I want to do all my stupid mistakes to this current brass before I start with the really good stuff.
     
  14. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Brick, as I re-read the posts in this thread, it occurred to me that I did not address your question properly, and for that I would like to apologize.

    Please allow me to ask a question or two. When you said you needed to "knock back the shoulder" on the case, what exactly did you mean? Also, are you utilizing a case gauge? The gauge would give you instant feedback as to correct adjustment of the die. When you put your case into the gauge, you will see and be able to feel if the case falls within specs.

    Each time you fire a round, brass will flow toward the mouth of the case, making it a bit longer. The reloading manual will give you minimum (trim to length) as well as maximum allowable length. The case may very well require trimming after sizing.

    I hope this helps...I am sure there are You tube videos covering this topic.
     
  15. brickman

    brickman Tualatin Member

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    evitwn, sorry it has been so long to respond. I just haven't rechecked this a quite a while.
    To answer your questions, I have been trying to give myself ~.001-.002" knock-back on the shoulders from some flash-fired brass. Isn't that called the headspace? I am not trying to be smart-bubblegum, I really am not 100% sure of all my reloading terms. I understand that is the best way to preserve the life of the brass. I believe the problem is that I am using a Dillon 550 press instead of a single stage. I am actually in the market for a ss now and I am seriously considering the rcbs rock chucker. Yes, I do use a case gauge on every round of every caliber I load. Woops, time is a bit short I gotta go to work. Thanks for all the help and again sorry for the delay in response.
     
  16. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    my 1,2,3,4,5... times fired brass from my 308 stretches every time it gets fired. more so when it is full length resized (when i get brass from a buddy i full length size it) rather than just neck sized. (shot in my gun and only my gun) that being said everytime i resize i trim too. i trim my brass back down to 2.005. saami spec. it sounds like you need to trim your brass. i always keep my rifle next to me when i reload for it just so i can put a properly sized and trimmed case in it and close the bolt. you will know if its right or if something isnt right by the feel of your bolt closing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
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  17. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Just to add a little to a "cobwebbed thread", I found that I get the best, and most consistent sizing results by cranking my sizing die down to the point where is jammed tight against the shell holder when sizing a lightly lubed case (I use brass I intend to throw away due to loose primer pockets or imminent head separation for this setup process). I usually end up with a piece of brass that has the shoulder pushed back far more than the ultimate "headspace" measurement but at this point my goal is to eliminate any flex of the press. When I have determined what the headspace measurement on the sized case is, and it's consistent, then I determine how much I have to increase it for an optimum final measurement.

    I then take one of my Redding competition shell holders that is graduated in +.002" increments that will give me the desired shoulder bump/headspace. There's no "flex" involved that can be increased or decreased by the amount of, or lack of, lube.

    The shell holder sets aren't all that expensive but it turns your sizing die into a "dead length" die with no variations in case measurements.
     
  18. JRuby

    JRuby St. Helens Oregon Well-Known Member

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    How about a set of small base dies?
     
  19. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Why? If the cases are chambering OK, nothing is to be gained by sizing the case farther into the case head web. SB dies won't yield a more uniform headspace measurement when the cause is in "press flex".
     
  20. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I don't use my progressive press anymore for reloading bottle neck rifle cases. Yes.....problems could be waiting for you given the amount of flex and stacking of tolerances.

    I currently stick with my RCBSockchucker for loading rifle ammo.

    Hints:

    1) Mount your machine on a really sturdy bench.....you don't want bench flex.
    2) You could shave the shell holder or the bottom of the die. Single stage shell holders are cheap.
    3) Cam over....yup, some people just don't know about it and complain about headspace.
    4) Get some measuring dies or tools to check the headspace of your ammo. It could be as simple as a pass/fail die or a complex tool that actually measures stuff down to miniscule measurements.

    Aloha, Mark