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Sizing

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by sterzenbach, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. sterzenbach

    sterzenbach Bend Oregon Active Member

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    Hey guys I'mlooking for some advice on sizing. Small base sizing , full length sizing, neck sizing. When to do what and when? Which is easier on brass? Which is preferred?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Each has its own purpose. Kinda like what is better, a car, an SUV, a truck or a motorcycle?

    I tried to find a link that talked about all the differences in one spot, but could not find one. Any of the standard reloading manuals, which everyone that reloads should have one, will have this information in it. Obviously you can search each one and see their use.
     
  3. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    neck sizing is best used for bolt guns as the bolt 'cams'into place and will chamber a stubborn round better than a levergun or semi auto will.
    Small base dies are for semi autos like Ar's,they size just a bit more near the base of the brass,the tough part of the brass case.
    Fl sizing <can> work fine in some semis,varies by gun. Will work great in bolt guns and lever guns.

    I never liked neck sizing,maybe I was doing it wrong,too many loose feeling bullets,and for sure they fought my lever gun the few times I tried them.

    imho,ymmv

    btw,all these comments are referring to rifle brass.
     
  4. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    The more you work the brass the shorter its life.
    Neck: least sizing.
    FL: next.
    Small base FL: most.

    You can (and some do) neck size where possible and must use small base dies where necessary, generally like Savage lever guns (springy actions and powerful bottleneck cartridges) and such.
     
  5. rrojohnso

    rrojohnso Vancouver, WA Member

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    Typically a new store-bought round has been sized to work in any kind of action for that caliber: Semi-auto, bolt, pump, lever, etc. Each chamber is slightly different enough to allow the brass case to expand upon firing. Once the case ejects, we have options. You need to, at a minimum, neck-size the brass in order to accept a new bullet and hold it snug. If it's a bolt gun, you're done (if you chose to be) - this is where I finish most of the time. These cases tend to be more consistent in future firings because the gas expansion of the case to the chamber is minimal (and arguably more consistent) allowing the gas to push the bullets down the barrel at a more consistently velocity. This results in more consistent performance down range. If you take these rounds that have been neck sized and move them to a different gun of the same caliber, they probably wont chamber! So if you neck size, be sure you use them in the same gun, or at least try them in the next rifle of the same caliber before you get to the range. An example would be 5.56 brass fired at a range with a group of friends - all brass is collected, simply neck sized, and when split among the friends to re-fire in their semi-auto guns. They didn't chamber.

    For actions other than bolt, you have more 'moving parts' to contend with. In a semi-automatic chamber, is usually running hotter, and with the force of the rounds being fed and ejected, you should really consider a full length resize which returns the case to spec.

    For my bolt action rifle, I neck-size unless there is a problem with a piece of brass or I recently purchased the brass. Once I full length size them, I shoot them, then neck size and trim - they're good to go for my bolt gun for many more firings (I think my cheap win brass has been up around 15 times and counting without neck splitting or wall thickness issues).

    Hope this helps.
     
    HotRod61 and (deleted member) like this.
  6. HotRod61

    HotRod61 Happy Valley Active Member

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    Yeah what he said.......HotRod
     
  7. sterzenbach

    sterzenbach Bend Oregon Active Member

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    Great thanks. All the info I was looking for and more. I've been full length sizing all my brass every time. Definitely going to invest in some neck sizing only dies. Just picked up thi beat up Remington 788 in 22-250 that I comepletly restored, the reload book suggested neck sizing only after initial full length size.
     
  8. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    If you back your FL sizing die out a bit and don't bump the shoulder back you are neck sizing. Also, you may well not have to use the expander ball/button depending on the gun/your wants and load/components etc.
     
    orygun and (deleted member) like this.
  9. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If you pay close attention and work the FL die down a little at a time on one case, you will see where the die has sized to and can work it right up to the point of touching the shoulder.
    At least you can with most dies. I had one rifle/die set combo that would not work that way and the cases had to be full length sized with those dies.
    Make up one case or round and try it in the gun before doing a whole batch.
     
  10. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    If you don't shoot hot loads, you can get away with neck sizing for quite a few reloads. I've gone more than 10 neck sizing without any chambering issues in a 6mmBR and several .223s.

    For serious hunting, meaning deer or elk or anything that requires you invest $$$ into tags, I FL size my brass because when it counts I don't want any chance of a case not chambering. Hunting big game animals don't require tack driving accuracy so the downside to FL sizing is not a factor for me.

    FL sizing should be done in conjunction with a tool that lets you measure how much you are bumping back the shoulders. Hornady makes a nice kit for not a lot of money. If you follow the directions given by RCBS on how to set up a FL die, and go with the cam over advice, you could be bumping the shoulders back a heck of a lot more than you really need. As mentioned already, over-working you bass will cause it to fail much sooner, and excessive headspace will degrade accuracy.

    The current school of thought with short range benchrest where accuracy is everything is to FL size every time, bumping back the shoulder .001 to .002 only. I do this on a target rifle, but honestly I don't see any more accuracy than on another target rifle where I neck size. The theory is with minimal FL sizing all the brass is exactly the same size. Again in theory, with neck sizing you have no assure, due to variation in the brass, that every case is exactly the same size. Consistency is the key.
     
  11. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    Like Orygun said, if you do a partial resize, it will save quite a bit of work on the brass. I have some 338-06 brass that started out as .270 brass with 2-3 firings, then went to 30-06 for 3 firings and now in the 338 caliber, they have 8-9 firings with very few failures. They were only neck-sized for the .270 and -06 (well, FL sized to get from .270 to -06, then 06 to 338) but in the .338 cal, they only get the partial resize. They were annealed between calibers, but I haven't annealed them since they were made to .338 and out of 50 pieces of brass, I've had 1 split neck and 1 that had a crack in the neck that started at the shoulder but didn't make it to the mouth of the case.

    I use the small-base, FL dies for the .223 because that's my wife's rifle, and if she ever HAS to use it, I like to know the rounds are going to feed and function the way they're supposed to.
    I also use NS for my 03A3, and have to make sure I properly mark the boxes so I don't try to load them in the 742. It's a PITA to get out in the woods and realize you brought ammo that won't chamber in your rifle!!