Factory ammo brass reload problems?

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Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:07 pm

Up until yesterday I had been reloading only new Starline brass with very few problems.  Yesterday I tried to reload some factory ammo brass (mostly Winchester white box) and found a lot of variation in how the completed rounds fit into the case gage.  Some I couldn't fit regardless of what was done with the crimping die.  All were .45 ACP and done on a Dillon XLO 650.  Is this normal?  Can I expect the same results with the used Starline brass?  And lastly, any suggestions on what I may be doing wrong?

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by mspingeld on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:31 pm

Assuming your 1st die is a resizing/de-priming die, try a case in the guage after going only through that die. If it fits then it's likely the crimp is not closing the powder flare enough. Either too much flare or not enough crimp.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:34 pm

Can you show a picture of the case in the case gage to show us where the case is hanging up?  Is your sizing die screwed down to the point that it just touches the shellplate when the handle is down all the way?

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Jack H on Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:07 pm

Range brass not sizing all the way down?

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:19 pm

I don't use any range brass other than what I shoot.  The cases that I was using were once fired factory ammunition, mostly Winchester white box.  The distance from the resizing/de-priming die and platform below is about .011".  I ran 10 more cases through this die only and they all fit great in the case gage.  I also ran a couple of those through the crimping die and they still fit.  I'm stumped.

Sorry but I already disassembled the completed cartridges that I couldn't get to fit in the case gage.  So, I can't provide a pic.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by AllAces on Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:46 pm

Use a Lee Factory Crimp Die for the final stage.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:07 pm

I did a little more checking and it turns out the case gage is hitting the sides of the LSWC bullet.  It leaves a small impression on it when I put a little pressure on the bullet.  The same bullet was used with the new Starline brass and didn't present this problem.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by STEVE SAMELAK on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:31 pm

Welllll...the first thing I'd do is run a case thru my press without priming, charging, bulleting(???), crimp & see if the processed case fits the gage.  If it does , something happened with your seating stage or bullets to change the oal.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:56 pm

STEVE SAMELAK wrote:Welllll...the first thing I'd do is run a case thru my press without priming, charging, bulleting(???), crimp & see if the processed case fits the gage.  If it does , something happened with your seating stage or bullets to change the oal.
Did that ... read 3 up.  Everything was the same as before the problem except using once fired brass instead of the new Starline brass.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:22 pm

I may have an answer to my problem.  What do you think?  Somewhere along the way I probably set the crimp die too far down and as a result ended up crushing the bullet, which pushed part of the bullet into the cartridge headspace.  I don't know why it didn't happen with the new Starline brass but I didn't check my settings before moving onto the once fired brass.  I assumed that if everything stayed the same except for the brass that my press setting could remain the same.  Lesson learned - I need to check my die settings every time any change in components are made and maybe periodically even if all components are the same.

Solution
For safety sake and more so for my piece of mind I will be scrapping my problem 50 run of cartridges.  Yes, I know ... I should have stopped sooner before cranking out 50 of them.  In starting over I plan to check all of the dies again with emphasis on the crimping die.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Virgil Kane on Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:34 pm

beeser,

You might be right with you assumption. There is sometimes a difference in brass thickness between manufacturers and sometime between different lot numbers from the same company.  It could be that the Winchester White Box brass is thicker than the Starline. Therefore when you have the crimp die set for thinner Starline brass and then switch to a possibly thicker Win White Box brass something is going to get squeezed more and it's usually the lead bullet which would explain why the lead was pushed up into the head-space area. 

I know lots of guys shoot mixed brass but it's been my experience that when I do this I run into problems. It's much easier for me to just use the same manufacturers brass and be done with it. Dies are set and I can just crank out more cartridges without fiddling around with my dies every reloading session.


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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:27 pm

Spot on Virgil!  Vacation time is coming up and I have better things to do than fuss much more with this other than Starline brass.  All of the dies were set again and each station was checked individually.  I ran 3 dummy rounds of the other brass and 3 of the once used Starline brass.  All of the Starlines fit perfectly in the case gage and the others improved slightly but still do not seem right.  Maybe the previous crimp was too tight, maybe not.  Regardless, my original problem is still not solved and I have no clue how to correct it.  So, I'm just going set aside or trash the other brass and stick with the Starline stuff as Virgil suggested.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:13 pm

The Lee factory crimp die also resizes and supports the case while it crimps so it will keep those case walls straight while you crimp.

Try a crimp that you think is too light with that Winchester brass.  I'm betting that you are right about crushing your cases--or you are getting the Dillon "coke-bottle" effect on that Winchester brass. 

Also, keep in mind that a case gage tests your ammo to make sure it meets SAAMI specs--if those rounds fit in your chamber, SHOOT EM!  Most chambers are a skosh looser than your case gage and how the rounds fit in your chamber is all that really matters.

If you were making rounds to sell to others, THEN it would be important to make SAAMI perfect rounds.

Do me this favor--measure your bullet diameter and let me know what they measure to.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:33 pm

Measurements for the Winchester brass with loaded bullet from crimp, just below crimp, middle and end -
.4695
.4745
.4695
.4735

Starline loaded bullet -
.4690
.4735
.4690
.4705

Coke bottle effect?  What is that and what causes it?

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Rob Kovach on Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:56 pm

I was more interested in the diameter of the bullet itself--not the round.  Can you let me know that?

As I understand it, Coke bottle effect is caused by a combination of the Dillon sizing die the shape of the Dillon expander die.  The Dillon sizer makes the case a little bit undersize--but not all the way to the rim--the bottom of the coke bottle.  The Dillon sizing die, and the bullet gives the casing the shoulder of the coke bottle, and the waist of the case makes the skinny part of the bottle.

Unless the rim and the shoulder don't line up or the shoulder is too big for some reason, the case should still fit in your case gage....

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Rich/WIS on Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:17 pm

Take the barrel out your 45 and use it as a case gauge.  If they drop in and out you are fine.  If not can't offer any advice as I only have a single stage press.  I routinely reload mixed range brass and haven't had any problems.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by dan allen on Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:09 am

Rich/WIS wrote:Take the barrel out your 45 and use it as a case gauge.  If they drop in and out you are fine. 
I agree. Using a case gauge is fine but what really matters is the loaded rounds chamber and function in your gun.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Virgil Kane on Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:07 am

One more thing I would check is the length of the Winchester White box brass compared to the Starline. If the WWB is longer and you have not adjusted your crimp die this could also be a reason for crushing and extruding the shoulder of the lead bullet with to tight a crimp.

I sometimes got this same effect and a chambered round would end up with the slide not closing all the way and it would not fire. Usually a push with my thumb would seat the round, sometimes not.

This would happen when I would try to seat and crimp in one station and the crimp was starting before the bullet was seated all the way and a small ring of lead would get pushed up around the cartridge mouth. Sometimes this miniscule ring of lead was pushed in front of the shoulder and sometimes pushed down around the circumference of the mouth of the case around where the crimp is. When it was pushed in front of the case mouth I would get a failure to seat all the way. Rob is right in that most chambers are a slosh loose but again most chambers while being a bit loose in diameter are usually quite close to spec's in length. If your lead is extruded forward over the shoulder then your cartridge will not fit into the case gauge or your chamber and you will get what I had happen with the slide not closing all the way.  I did two things to stop this. One I seated and crimped at two different stations (I'm assuming this is what you are doing too) and I started using the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Since using the LEE FC die for the last 4 years I have not used my case gauge at all unless I switch to a different lead bullet. Then I only use it to check the first few I reload and have not had any alibi's or failures to have the slide close all the way in those 4 years.

Don't know if this helps or not but between all of us we'll get this figured out for ya! Wink


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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by Virgil Kane on Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:27 am

Rob Kovach wrote:

As I understand it, Coke bottle effect is caused by a combination of the Dillon sizing die the shape of the Dillon expander die.  The Dillon sizer makes the case a little bit undersize--but not all the way to the rim--the bottom of the coke bottle.  The Dillon sizing die, and the bullet gives the casing the shoulder of the coke bottle, and the waist of the case makes the skinny part of the bottle.

Unless the rim and the shoulder don't line up or the shoulder is too big for some reason, the case should still fit in your case gage....


Again Rob is right on with this. One thing I would check is to make sure that your case is being seated all the way into the shell holder. If there is any dirt or debris that would stop the case from fully seating into the shell holder or the rim of you Win White Box cases are much larger in diameter that the Starline then you could be getting this Coke Bottle effect that is lopsided and this would stop the cartridge from seating in the case gauge. This would be caused by the case not  seated directly under the sizing or expanding die. If you look at the Coke bottle effect and it's not uniform all the way around the case but is more pronounced on one side then this is what's happening.

On another note I once was using cast bullets from a well known local supplier and had this problem. I finally tracked it down to the mould this caster was using. While most of his lead bullets were fine I would find that 1 out of about 10 bullets the shoulder was a few thousands wider that the rest and when crimping these larger bullets I would get the same effect as you got with the finished cartridge not seating in the case gauge.  This is caused from the mould makers cutting the cherry on the large size so that they don't have to replace the cherry as often as it wears down. Most good mould makers will not do this but every once in a while I've run across this in just about every caliber.  I figure that because you don't have this problem with Starline brass that it's not a factor in your problem. I just throw it out there for you to keep in your hair covered computer for future reference.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by beeser on Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:12 pm

Thanks to all as usual.  Your comments and suggestions have been a big help.  I ended up shooting the 50 rounds and only one was a problem.  It wouldn't extract.  I checked them beforehand in my barrel as suggested and they all seem to fit OK despite the concern after using the case gage.  Another lessoned learned.  I still don't understand why there's a difference between Starline and Winchester once fired brass but that understanding will have to be left for another day.  I looked at some of the info. on the Lee crimping die and think it would be worth buying if for no other reason than to try something different.  As for the other great ideas and thoughts I'll have to reread this thread to more fully appreciate them, which I will do.  Thank again all!

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by marlin1881 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:54 pm

beeser,  I've recently run into this same situation, and the culprit for me was the "bulge" in the brass just below the bullet base in a loaded round.  It wasn't apparent in my SWC loads, as I use bevel-base bullets.  But, it happened quite a bit with my hardball loads, and I had many FTF conditions, where the cartridge was ~1/8" from being fully chambered.  Visually, my loads had the Coke-bottle effect and there was a visual and physical ring just at the base of the bullet.  It looked to me like the bullet was "pushing" a ring into the brass as it was being seated.  I have a 5-stage press, so my seat and taper-crimp are 2 different stages.

The approach I took is to NOT resize so "tightly", so that the bullets seat a bit easier.  I measured a sized brass with a couple different 45acp sizers, which produced .466".  I also have a 454Casull sizer and it produces .468" brass.  I realize this is only .002" difference, but I now make loads that feed flawlessly in my hardball gun.  My experience has been mostly with Federal cases, as they produce more of a "ring" below the bullet, which tells me they are thicker in the case wall.

I taper-crimp to .469, and after observing some pulled-bullets, there is a sufficient taper-crimp ring on the bullet to prevent bullet setback when chambering.  There is still a bit of Coke-bottle effect, but it is minor enough to not produce any "ring" around the base of the bullet on the brass.  Measurements on my 454Casull-sized loaded rounds are:  .469 at mouth, .470 around base of bullet, .468 at middle of Coke-bottle.

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by 243winxb on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:07 am

Set COL by the shoulder on the lswc bullet. The COL can vary as much as .010" on a progressive. Your gap between the  sizing die & shell plate is a good idea. If the die is contacting the plate, the variation may be ever greater. Each station of the shell plate may have a different deck heigth. Not good if the dies contact shell plate. Brass that is a different trim length may need the taper crimp adjusted. The Lee FCD is a bad idea for a lswc bullet. IMO. You dont want to size the lead bullet smaller in the loaded rounds. The hour glass shape is common, but should appear all away around the loaded rounds. If only on 1 side, the bullet is being seated crooked. If crooked, check seating stem for fit and/or flare/bell more or less. Check bullet diameter. Should be no bigger that .452"  

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

Post by 243winxb on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:09 am

Redding Dual Ring Carbide Sizer Die 45 ACP   http://www.midwayusa.com/product/626554/redding-dual-ring-carbide-sizer-die-45-acp

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Re: Factory ammo brass reload problems?

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