A gracious member here had shown his idea for a short pull lever for the Forstner Co-Ax, he offered to send one off, which I took him up on, it arrived yesterday. I used it to decap a pile of brass today and really like it.
All my messages to this person disappeared, not sure why, doesn't matter I guess.
Thank you fellow shooter! And, rest assured, I will pay it forward.
This pertains to my Browning X-bolt 6.5 Creedmoor 28" rifle.
H4350, CCI BR-2, Starline brass.
A few weeks back I'd run a 10-shot velocity ladder using Hornady brass. At that time my notes indicated harder bolt lift starting at 42.3 and smiley's at 42.5. At that time I Jerry's keen eye picked off a node between 41.5 through 42.1.
Here were the velocities: 41.5 2817 41.7 2795 (outlier) 41.9 2814 42.1 2820
Next, I ran a similar 3-shot, 10-shot test, average velocities below: 41.5 2806 41.7 2816 41.9 2813 42.1 2835
Then I switched to Starline brass and was impressed with the target load of 41.8 accuracy, As Jerry pointed out though, changing brass might bring into question the validity of the load because of case capacity and neck tension. No velocity data available.
So, today I ran all Starline brass loaded with 41.8 gr H4350. I had 3 distinct groups of handloads, as below:
New Starline, Lee collet sized: Max Min Avg ES SD 2848 2830 2836 18 7.0
New Starline, Redding bushing sized: Max Min Avg ES SD 2853 2828 2843 25 10.8
Fire-formed Starline, Lee collet sized Max Min Avg ES SD 2897 2845 2865 52 19.2
Here's what I found odd, one round of the fire-formed load presented hard bolt lift, that got my attention. While it was the only round with notable bolt lift effort, further inspection shows light smileys on quite a few pieces of brass, both new and fire-formed.
The only big difference I can see with my original estimate of maximum charge of 42.1 gr H4550 is these were all seated 10 off whereas the others were seated 50 off, and off course the Starline brass today and Hornady brass previously.
Either way, the velocities have clearly gone up over the initial testing. Accuracy today, even without the Magnetospeed attached, was ho-hum, MOA-all-day, I couldn't break 1/2 MOA,.
So, I turn to the experts. Could I be jamming the lands and creating my own pressure problems? Or is Starline sufficiently different from Hornady I need to start over? Or maybe back down until I get back into the original velocity node?
Right now I clean brass in a dry tumbler with walnut media, then decap and run the primer pockets through my Frankford Arsenal prep station. I get the cleaning part, if nothing else it looks nice. Frankly, I have no idea why I'm "cleaning" the base of the primer pocket; yes, it looks nicer in that carbon has been removed, is it flatter? Is the flashole base closer to 90 degrees from the case wall? I guess my question is why am I doing this? I'm doing it because it's in the instruction manual.
So, I got excited a bit about wet tumbling since it allegedly leaves the pockets clean, necks clean and maybe other benefits. But now I see slop sinks, magnets, ovens and assorted other accoutrements associated with wet tumbling that I don't have to deal with now.
Then I got to thinking, like most other things in life, a piece of brass probably has it's best day.
What does the performance life cycle of a piece of brass look like? I think if I knew what the perfect piece of brass was, I could strive to make every piece look like the champion, unless it's virgin brass of course.
Getting to the finer points of brass prep, I'm wondering what you all use to prepare primer pockets and flash holes?
Presently I use a Frankford Arsenal prep center with the pocket cleaner head. I always shoot for holding the brass so it doesn't wobble and keeping it on the head until it gets a shine on it. I do examine the pocket and will run it a second time if carbon is obvious.
I don't do any prep on the flash hole other than to make certain there's no walnut media stuck in it.
I received my Redding Type S FL die and a bushing today. After reading the instructions and looking over the internal parts of the die, I have a few questions I'm hoping the experts here can help me with.
Referring to the picture, the die body is on the left, got it, fully understand.
Decapping stem is next. Looking at the bottom stainless assembly, that looks as if it may be the expander ball and the decapping pin. There's a knurled area where the pin exits the expander, and the entire stainless assembly appears to be threaded to the blued decapping stem. I tried to twist the stainless assembly as if to remove it but it won't budge using fingers only. Is that stainless assembly designed to be removed from the stem?
The stem itself appears to be threaded into the stem body and there's what looks like a knurled lock nut, I tried to twist the lock nut as if to remove it but it won't budge using fingers only. Is the stem designed to be removed from the stem body?
Next is the bushing, got it.
Finally, the package included the blued part on the right, I have no idea what it's purpose is, there was no reference to it in the instructions. It is threaded in and looks as if it would screw on in place of the expander/pin.
When I recently loaded up some new Starline cases I noticed the neck O.D.s were small enough so as to result in an inordinate amount of neck tension. So, I used my Lee neck sizing die to open up the necks which resulted in a predicted 0.003 of neck tension.
I have a Redding type S FL sizing die and bushing inbound, am I correct in assuming that I cannot use this die to neck size the new Starline brass because the die can only make a neck smaller, not larger?
If my assumption is correct, what would be my options for resizing the necks of this brass that may improve on what is possible with the Lee die?
I wanted to burn this last batch of Hornady brass so I decided to see if a hybrid 10-shot velocity test with 3-shots per charge weight might improve the test. And, even though I was using my Magnetospeed I figured I'd also overlay this by shooting targets more along the lines of a classic OCW.
Since I'd already run a 10-shot velocity ladder for this X-bolt, I culled the endpoint charge weights whittling it down to 7 charge weights that straddled previously identified nodes. So, 7 charge weights of H4350 from 40.9 to 42.1, 3 rounds each.
Before I get to the graph and pictures, I decided to load two 5-shot groups at 41.8 gr in new, neck-sized Starline brass, this charge was suggested by Jerry, I named it Jerry's Load The first group was seated 10 off the lands, the second seated 50 off the lands. My previous experiment with seating depth indicated 50 off the lands as the sweet spot, but I'd never tried 10, so what the heck, give it a try.
All rounds except Jerry's Load were shot with the Magnetospeed installed. RIfle is X-bolt 28", ladder test run with H4350, CCI200 primers, Hornady brass, 140 gr Hornady HPBT bullets. Jerry's Load used CCIBR2 primers and new Starline brass.
Considering the chart, I plotted each of the 3 rounds velocity's along with the average velocity for the group. My thinking here is, if this were really a 10-shot, single shot ladder, are we able to read the nodes from the first 10 shots, the second 10 shots, the third 10 shots, or the average of the 10 shots, or all of them?
Considering the targets, are we able to see the same nodes there as we see in the velocity data?
I had fun doing it, it'd be interesting to hear thoughts and comments.
Finally, the two 5-shot groups with Jerry's Load are the best two I've shot so far with this rifle during load development. Thanks Jerry!
No matter how careful I am, I have little powder "accidents" once in a while. It may be where the funnel neck didn't empty completely, a case about to be placed in the holder tips a bit, even the powder throw machine loses a few grains from time to time. And no, I don't drink while I'm loading
Anyway, I've always taken the cautious road and discarded the powder I clean off the bench as I'm not sure if I might contaminate it, or maybe I forgot to clean up last time so now there's a tiny bit of Varget with a tad off H4350, and whatever else.
It's not much ever, but the cheapskate in me doesn't let go easily.
Most ranges I've been a member of, including the current one, have a indoor area set aside for tweaking loads in the field. I was blown away to see the range I shoot at has a public Co-Ax press available already mounted to a bench, in a heated room
So, with prepped brass in hand, if I bring along my dies, my hand primer, some bullets, I could make 5 rounds on the fly to test a theory, or whatever. I burn one hour of time to get to and from the range, I hate it when I'm on my way home with a nagging question; "I wonder if another .002 would've done it?".
The one thing I haven't figured out is how to throw powder on site, especially now I'm spoiled by the precision scale , auto-trickler and auto-throw, obviously I'm not packing that beast in my range bag.
I can't be the first shooter who wished to fiddle in the field, anyone here thought about it, or does it? How do you handle throwing powder?
Being a glutton for punishment, and wanting to test the Auto-trickler, I decided to try the 10-shot ladder over a chronograph.
Actually, I loaded up a few more than ten to see if I could also use this to find my maximum charge.
The real change from the Cortina OCM method I ran last time is the bullet; I switched to Hornady 140 gr HPBT instead of the SMK 143 gr bullets, mostly 'cause I'm a cheapskate, especially while I'm trying to master a whole new level of hand loading.
The only real surprise I see with this ladder is at 40.9, that could have been a slip up with the powder drop even though I tried to be extremely careful. Velocity measured with a Magnetospeed. Bullets seated 50 off the lands.
I hate to read more into data than is really there, but that flat spot from 41.1 to 41.3 is pretty much the same as we gleaned from the Cortina OCM I ran a couple weeks ago. I ended up with an extra round at 41.3, at the end of the test I shot it and made note it was only 7 FPS faster than the first one.
Special thanks to gman47564 for teaching me what to look for with respect to pressure signs; that smiley from the ejector pin plus the heavier than normal bolt lift is where I stopped.
Table and graph attached below.
I'm thinking 41.2 is where I'm going to play with this rifle. Thoughts and comments gladly accepted.
I used two different techniques today for finding the lands in my X-bolt 6.5 CM.
I'm working with Hornady brass and Hornady 140 HPBT bullets.
1) Using the Hornady bullet comparator I seated the bullet firmly enough so that I had to tap the bullet out with a rod. I then recorded both the OAL length and the length to the ogive using the appropriate insert.
2) Using a piece of fire-formed brass that was tumbled and de-primed, I inserted another bullet and barely seated it in the press, just enough so it was straight and true in the case. I chambered the round and closed the bolt, opened it, ejected and repeated several times. The bullet is in the case tight enough where it extracts and ejects time after time and measures the same length, yet not so tight I had to force the bolt closed. I recorded the OAL length and length to ogive as above.
Preferring to work with the length to ogive measurement versus OAL, I compared the differential between the OAL and ogive measurements between the two techniques and noted a 0.004" difference. In other words, if one bullet was 0.004" longer than the other, that would explain the entire difference. If ogive measurements were 0.004" different that would also explain the difference. Take your pick
On to bigger and better things.
Considering the ogive:
1) measures 2.271". 2) measures 2.295".
The difference is 0.0235".
Some points I'm pondering:
I think 2) is what Erik Cortina calls the "jam".
I've always used 1) as my value to base how far off the lands (OTL) I'm seating.
I wonder which one is really the proper one to use when deciding how far OTL my bullet is seated? If using 1) as a reference point is incorrect then when I think I'm 30 OTL, l'm more like 53 OTL
I'm trying to find a starting point for managing shoulder bump by measuring the base to shoulder length using the Hornady headspace gauge. If I take 10 pieces of fired, cleaned and de-primed brass, I see about 0.001" of variation for the sample. When I mark the brass so I know who's who, I can re-visit each piece and reliably get the same measurement as last time, I think that means the tool and my technique produce repeatable results.
Given this is Hornady brass reloaded 7x and annealed after the 6th time, is 0.001 a reasonable spread for fire-formed brass?
My second question concerns my Lee FL die. When I compare, using the same Hornady gauge, some fire-formed specimens above with their FL sized counterparts where I followed Lee's recommendation for setting up the die in the press, on average I see about 0.006" of shoulder setback with the sized brass. Is it valid for me set the height of the Lee die in the press so as to reduce the amount of shoulder bump without upsetting some of it's other functions, like properly sizing the body?
I'm not opposed to a different sizing die setup but for now, the Lee is all I've got.