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I measure a number of my cases (headspacing) with a RCBS headspace micrometer. My die headspaces very consistently. I believe the worse I've seen is about 0.002" and more typically right on or within 0.001".

It's hard to believe a match grade die is sizing so erratically that it's producing 100 or so fps spreads. But, it's certainly worth looking at. I'll do 25 cases and measure the headspace - that seems like a worthwhile thing to do/know!
I wouldn't think it was the die as much as differences in the brass hardness and the amount of "spring back" it may cause. The die "should" be repetitive in dimensions, the reaction of the brass not so much. Each firing/resizing cycle will change it slightly, the use of annealing.

I've read of annealing being more for extending case life than neck tension, etc., but I imagine it would have an effect on all aspects of the shoulder/neck area. I think annealing after every firing is a bit obsessive. I've always felt it was cheaper to buy more brass than invest in a quality annealing machine, but for those who are really into that, they probably feel differently.
 

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Your die should be fine, but occasionally they aren’t.
 
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Well here's the results - the Hornady Match die and the RCBS SB die. The good stuff, avg, max, etc. are at the bottom. It is interesting that the RCBS has the smaller ES, but the Hornady has the smaller SD. Certainly worth the time and effort to check; glad I did this.

I don't see anything that would even come close to accounting for the velocity extremes I see, but at least we know what it's not! :tongue:

It doesn't show up in the table but the Hornady has a variation, i.e. max length to min length of about 0.283%; the RCBS has a variation of about 0.212%.

 

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My head hurts again...Your reloading posts @Tangle are like a train wreck...I know I shouldn't look but I cannot help myself.

Glad you're on your way to finding reloading peace!
LOL! My job is not to drive the train, my job is to clean up the wrecks! :tongue:
 

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LOL! My job is not to drive the train, my job is to clean up the wrecks! :tongue:
(Note he did not mention causing the train wreck.)
 

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Well here's the results - the Hornady Match die and the RCBS SB die. The good stuff, avg, max, etc. are at the bottom. It is interesting that the RCBS has the smaller ES, but the Hornady has the smaller SD. Certainly worth the time and effort to check; glad I did this.

I don't see anything that would even come close to accounting for the velocity extremes I see, but at least we know what it's not! :tongue:

It doesn't show up in the table but the Hornady has a variation, i.e. max length to min length of about 0.283%; the RCBS has a variation of about 0.212%.

Load up the brass that was sized in the rcbs die and shoot it! Not unfired brass of course!
 

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Discussion Starter #88
Of all things...

Just last evening I received an email from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Among the ads was an article entitled, "RELOADERS CORNER: Velocity Consistency, Part One".

Here are some excerpts from the article from Midsouth Shooters Supply:

"I got a letter just before doing this article asking about reasons for seeing high velocity deviations. This fellow, a loyal reader of my books, was using the same component combinations and tooling advice I take myself and also publish, and not getting good results. As a matter of fact, his results were horrid. He was seeing deviations, shot-to-shot, in the vicinity of 100 feet per second (fps), plus. That’s huge...

100 fps difference is not likely to come from a propellant charge level variance...

My letter-writer’s huge velocity deviations were solved by a change of primer, and, mostly, a box of fresh primers. I kind of knew that was the component-culprit because he was having the same results or effects from different propellants..."


Wow! Maybe double wow, because there are a couple of things here. In the article, he talks about not leaving powder in the dispenser or primers in a non-airtight container. He says when we finish loading, we should remove the powder from the dispenser, whatever that may be, and return it to an airtight container and the same goes for the primers - airtight container.

I'm guilty of both offenses, I leave powder in my hopper, but it's always in an air conditioned environment, and I minimize how much powder I put in the hopper. I put enough to fill the cases with a little left over, not enough to do another set so more powder would have to be added to that. However, I load almost every day so the powder rarely sets out more than a day or two - and again it is in an air conditioned environment.

IF he's right that primers need to be kept in an airtight container, then there's my problem - all my primers are bad because I leave them in the original boxes/containers they were shipped in. He says you should remove the primers from the feed tube and place them in a airtight container.

OTOH, I think of all the boxes of primers on retailer's shelves NOT in airtight containers. Air conditioned environment? What about on the delivery truck, they setting in air conditioning in the truck?

Then, to me, he waffles a bit when he says, "...velocity deviations were solved by a change of primer, and, mostly, a box of fresh primers...". The troubling part here is, "... mostly, a box of fresh primers...". Was it actually changing brands of primers or was it that the primers were fresh. It just seems like he's saying the fresh primers did the trick - "mostly".

I did a search to see who it was that suggested I try different primers but couldn't find the post. But, in response to that post I bought four different brands of primers the next day, Remington 7-1/2, CCI 450, CCI 400, and Winchester WSR. They're still setting unopened and untested - that will change - soon!

My PRSB also recommended a primer change. He said he saw his ES/SD drop significantly when he switched to Federal GM205M primers - guess what I was using when he told me that? Federal GM205M primers.

Although, I will try each of the four primer brands, starting today, it is quite possible the author of the referenced article had the person switch from whatever he was using to Federal GM205M primers - or it could have been from any brand to any brand, and then there's that "fresh" qualifier.

Anyway, I've got some work to do; my plan is to shoot my normal 5x5 ladder using each brand of primer and see what happens - that's 200 rounds just to test primers. That pales in comparison to how many I've shot trying to resolve this problem.

And, I'm out of 77 gr SMKs, but I have plenty of Nosler 77 gr CC bullets. But then, that's changing two things at once and that can change the whole test outcomes in a direction that's not helpful. But, the good news is, I'll have 500 77 gr SMKs arriving today - just not in time to load them and go to the range today :frown:

And, it looks like I'll be using Sig cases. My Lapua is getting up in reloads, my Hornady's aren't clean, and I've been getting good results with Sigs. At least for primer testing all the cases will be one brand, that should be fine.
 

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I admire your tenacity. No doubt, you will get this sorted out.
 
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Here's the test layout for testing primers. Also note that I have weighed the cases, measured the Case Base To Shoulder, and Case OverAll Length. In addition, I have calculated the stats for each 5 shot charge and overall stats for the weights, CBTS, and COAL.

The cases are ready; primed with Winchester WSR primers - oops! I see I'm showing Federal GM205M primers in the table - I'll correct that later.



I'm thinking about numbering the cases and re-weighing them after cleaning to see if there is some residual combustion products in the case changing the weight/volume.

Addendums:
I could not use the RCBS sizing die. It bottomed out - hard - on the ram before I could get the shoulder to 0.003" under chamber size. So, I used the Hornady Match die instead. If you look at the table above, and can read it :ticking:, it shows that for 25 cases, the CBTS varies by only 0.0015".
 

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If primers were your only problem you wouldn’t have a consistent decline in performance based on number of firings through brass.

As far as your rcbs die, if you didn’t, you might want to do a google search for using the rcbs die. I don’t use Hornady does, but I think they are longer? So the rcbs die may have to be set up different, but it should be doable. Are you bottoming our on the lock ring or the die itself into the press?
 

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...As far as your rcbs die, if you didn’t, you might want to do a google search for using the rcbs die. I don’t use Hornady does, but I think they are longer? So the rcbs die may have to be set up different, but it should be doable. Are you bottoming our on the lock ring or the die itself into the press?
Thanks!

The bottom of the die is contacting the shell holder in the ram. I thought it was a hard to size case and tried doing a cycle without a case in the shell holder, The cam-over was way too heavy, and the case shoulder still wasn't where it should be.

BTW, since I was out of 77 SMKs I thought I'd just play today and loaded up some Hornady 73 gr ELDs. They were awful!
 
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Thanks!

The bottom of the die is contacting the shell holder in the ram. I thought it was a hard to size case and tried doing a cycle without a case in the shell holder, The cam-over was way too heavy, and the case shoulder still wasn't where it should be.

BTW, since I was out of 77 SMKs I thought I'd just play today and loaded up some Hornady 73 gr ELDs. They were awful!
If the die is hitting the shell holder, can’t you just back it out? I can’t see what you can do maybe I’m picturing something different.
 

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I'm going to withhold judgement on this primer theory until you can run your testing. If this proves out, then I think you're back to something you cannot control unless you have a source that provides primers fresh off the assembly line.

Only recently have I bought primers in bulk--bulk, in my case, being defined as a 1000-count carton--so long-term storage conditions and age weren't really considerations for me. I've bought the 1000-count boxes because I'm doing more reloading for my Mongoose than ever before with other guns.

I don't think primers are at risk of "going bad" if kept in an air-conditioned storage. No maker that I know of ships their primers in hermetically sealed boxes, so the simple fact is--they have been exposed to the elements since manufacture.

Now that does not mean one should keep them in the backyard storage shed where humidity drips off the ceiling, but inside the air-conditioned house should be fine for a long period of time. In fact, "sealed" containers may do more harm than good unless some type of desiccant in the container is included. As for just "aging," I cringe a bit when I hear of those who mention have "thousands" of primers stored "just in case."
 
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If the die is hitting the shell holder, can’t you just back it out? I can’t see what you can do maybe I’m picturing something different.
I believe he's saying he needs a bit more resizing but the die is stopped by the shell holder. It may be a mismatch of shell holder and die. I know my Hornady and RCBS shell holders differ in external dimensions. An option would be to machine a few .001s off the top surface of the shell holders. I've heard of that being done before.
 
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On the primer thing...I don’t know of anyone who keeps their primers in airtight containers. Primers aren’t shipped in air tight containers. I believe that if the elements were that much of an issue, like they are with powder, there’d be airtight packaging for primers.

In fact, an airtight container around an explosive would be a bomb if one went off, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #98
If the die is hitting the shell holder, can’t you just back it out? I can’t see what you can do maybe I’m picturing something different.
The problem is the die bottoms out before the shoulder gets set where it needs to be.

I set the die by running the ram fully up and then screwing the die in until it made contact with the shell holder. I backed it off about a quarter turn. I measured the shoulder of a case at +0.003". It needs to be about -0.003" for my AR. I put the case in the shell holder and cycled the press. I measured the case shoulder again and it had not changed. I lowered the die a bit and cycled it again. I repeated this process until the shoulder was at 0.000" and at that point the die was contacting the shell holder pretty hard and the case shoulder was still too long. The only way to get the case shoulder shorter would be to lower the die a bit more, but it's already hitting harder than I'm comfortable with.

I rotated the turret to the Hornady sizing die, cycled the press and with little effort the case came out at -0.003".
 

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I believe he's saying he needs a bit more resizing but the die is stopped by the shell holder. It may be a mismatch of shell holder and die. I know my Hornady and RCBS shell holders differ in external dimensions. An option would be to machine a few .001s off the top surface of the shell holders. I've heard of that being done before.
Yeah, that makes more sense now. I’ve never tried to run a mix of dies before so that’s not something I’ve ever thought about.
The problem is the die bottoms out before the shoulder gets set where it needs to be.

I set the die by running the ram fully up and then screwing the die in until it made contact with the shell holder. I backed it off about a quarter turn. I measured the shoulder of a case at +0.003". It needs to be about -0.003" for my AR. I put the case in the shell holder and cycled the press. I measured the case shoulder again and it had not changed. I lowered the die a bit and cycled it again. I repeated this process until the shoulder was at 0.000" and at that point the die was contacting the shell holder pretty hard and the case shoulder was still too long. The only way to get the case shoulder shorter would be to lower the die a bit more, but it's already hitting harder than I'm comfortable with.

I rotated the turret to the Hornady sizing die, cycled the press and with little effort the case came out at -0.003".
Ok, that makes sense. That’s not what I thought the issue was.
 
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The problem is the die bottoms out before the shoulder gets set where it needs to be.

I set the die by running the ram fully up and then screwing the die in until it made contact with the shell holder. I backed it off about a quarter turn. I measured the shoulder of a case at +0.003". It needs to be about -0.003" for my AR. I put the case in the shell holder and cycled the press. I measured the case shoulder again and it had not changed. I lowered the die a bit and cycled it again. I repeated this process until the shoulder was at 0.000" and at that point the die was contacting the shell holder pretty hard and the case shoulder was still too long. The only way to get the case shoulder shorter would be to lower the die a bit more, but it's already hitting harder than I'm comfortable with.

I rotated the turret to the Hornady sizing die, cycled the press and with little effort the case came out at -0.003".
I’d grind the top of the shell holder before I’d mess with the die.
 
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