If I'm primarily interested in fireforming some virgin 6.5 Creedmoor brass, anything wrong with using the least expensive components?
I'm thinking any powder listed in the Hornady manual other than hard-to-find H4350, cheapest bullets in the 140 gr class, and non-match primers. Load 'em up at low or mid range from the manual and have at it.
As an aficionado of Lee collect neck sizing dies, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask Lee about their recommendation, for non-Lee presses, to apply 25 lbs to the lever in order to close the collet properly.
Here is the question I submitted to Lee Precision:
Hi Lee Precision,
I use several of your collet neck sizing dies in various calibers. The instructions for using the .308 die for example, with a press other than a Lee press states: "At this point, the lever must be pushed firmly (min. 25 lbs) to close the collet and size the neck".
It seems to me the important number is the amount of force being applied to the tapered collar around the collet in order to close it. 25 lbs at the end of the lever may result in materially different force being applied to the die from one press to another depending on mechanical advantage offered by each press.
I guess my question is how do I know when I'm there? I have no way to measure 25 lbs on the end of a press lever, is there something else I can look at to know better when the collet has done it's job?
The response I received from Lee directed me to a website which offers what appears to be a torque wrench replacement for certain press handles. Looking at the pictures on the website it appears as if the device attaches at the fulcrum which, to me, means 25 lbs gravitational downforce applied to the die itself since there is no leverage at the fulcrum. I think that's what Lee is telling me.
It requires removing the ejector and firing pin from the bolt so that there is no tension when closing and opening it.
The other technique is one we all probably use or have tried; the Hornady OAL gauge, aka the Stoney Point gauge. I won;t go into the details of this technique as it's so widely used.
The bullet used here is a random sample Hornady 140 gr Match BTHP. The rifle is a broken in Browning X-bolt Target.
I measured CBTO with the Hornady gauge 10 times, the results appear in the chart below. Frankly, I was surprised at the spread over these measurements as I consider myself an accomplished OAL gauger, lol, guess I know better now. I included an 0.006 adjustment factor derived by considering the generic Hornday case base-to-shoulder versus the actual case base-to-shoulder.
For the bolt technique I followed the video, seating the bullet down by 0001 until there was absolutely no "feel" or click when lifting the bolt. For CBTO I used 0.001 above this point because that's precisely where the bullet contacts the rifling.
The yellow rows on the spreadsheet show the difference between the two techniques for average, median and mode numbers using the Hornady gauge.
The best case, using the mode, is 0.013 difference versus the bolt method. If we use the average there's a 0.020 difference.
Looking back in my notes I've been using a Hornday gauge measurement for this rifle/bullet of 2.202, how's that for throat erosion?
If I believe the bolt technique is accurate, and I do, that means when I say my rifle likes these bullets seated 0.013 OTL, what I'm most likely saying is it likes 0.000 OTL or jam. That's best case, maybe it likes +0.007 jam.
Here's an interesting side note: I could not use Alpha brass for the bolt technique. Even when body and neck sized they fit sufficiently tight in the chamber that there's always bolt lift click, even without a bullet. I had to use some Starline brass which worked just fine.
A couple weeks ago I was annealing a batch of brass and had a sinking feeling that I'd annealed a piece twice, the second time before it cooled down. Looking at that pathetic pile of brass in the baking tin I use for hot brass, I was filled with anxiety wondering how I'd ever find that piece, if it even existed. I set the brass on a white towel, all in a row and voila, I found ole' charbroil charlie
Fast forward to last Saturday, I get to the end of an annealing session, I know I started with 25 pieces but AMP says 24 annealed. Here we go again After scouring the pin tumbler and my entire reloading room looking for the missing piece with no luck, I decided to count them on the white towel; 25 pieces Upon further inspection, there she is, staring right back at me
I got one of these for Christmas based on recommendations I read here. From a functional standpoint the device works well, I like that. But, this has to be the most bench-unfriendly piece of reloading gear I've come across.
It needs to be mounted to the bench more or less close to the edge, now there's a horizontal handle waiting to gut-gore me every time I walk by.
Then there's the primer tube sticking up in the air just waiting to arm-stab me every time I reach up for something on the top shelf.
I figured out a way to make the handle a non-issue by moving the tool.
The primer tube I think would work if I pull the pin and remove it but, how to do that without half a dozen primers scattering? In other words, is there a way to "unload" the primer tube?
The next time I load this batch of Alpha brass will be #11. It hasn't grown, primer seating feels positive and consistent, and I can't see any sign of splitting or other stress indicators. I pin tumble and anneal every firing, body size with 0.001 bump and collet neck size. No hot loads here. I compete against myself so not the end of the world if I lose a match, I'm used to it
At this point I feel as if I got my money's worth. Would you guys keep running them until the weakest link indicates end of life, or just call it good and retire them to enjoy the sunset years?
While chasing a runaway rabbit down a hole today, I pulled apart Lee and Forstner seating dies so I could get a better feel for the seating stems inside the beasts. Other than the Forstner was naked-eye free of tooling marks inside the stem whereas the Lee was more rough, and they attach to the die differently, I couldn't see any obvious differences.
Is there a seating stem standard which defines the profile inside the stem? Is it caliber-dependent?
I know some manufacturers offer special stems for VLD-style bullets, I'm wondering more about regular bullets.
Choosing the "master" or reference bullet. What's the best way to select this bullet? I imagine if I pull a bullet from the box and it just happens to be the "outlier", it seems to me that might make more work for me than necessary.
When a bullet measures right between say 0.001 and 0.002, so 0.0015, should I round up, round down, or doesn't matter just do it the same way every time?