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Case Expansion Questions


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#1 novaman64

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:06 PM

So picked up a couple new Tikka T3's a while back a 223 and a 7 mag. Anyways, hadn't shot them much, been slammed with work, good news is, boss noticed the hard work and I got a nice little bonus. So bought so new reloading stuff; 7 mag Forrester Bench Rest Full Length Die set and a Lyman DPS 1200 DPS 3. Anyways, loaded up some rounds for my 30-30, 223 and 7 mag and headed off to the range to test them. The 7mag, started with 58 grains of H4350 and worked up to 60 grains in .5 increments, also did H1000 starting at 68 grains, worked up to 70, no pressure signs, and the more H1000 the better my 168 Grains Berger VLD's fly. WIth 70 grains I am shooting .48" 3 shot groups at 100 yards. Prior to loading I was shooting the Hornady Superformance GMX in 139 grain.

Anyways, now that you have background, time to get to the question. Measuring case diameters, before and after I am getting some expansion. For instance, just behind the shoulder, I am .006" expansion, about midway down, I am .004" and just above the belt I am at .002". Is this normal? The main reason I noticed, was when I went to re-size my shot cases, and nock out the primers it was a dog with the press, like I thought it was gonna tear the press off the bench or get the case stuck in the die. I measured my cases, both the factory Hornady loaded ones, to the hottest loads I had shot for the day, against the lightest loads, all shot cases were measuring the same. I guess my chamber is just loose, is this anything to worry about? Is there a way to make re-sizing them easier?



PS, love this new Lyman DPS 1200. Got my Winchester 1894 30-30 (passed down to me by my grandfather) shooting great with FTX bullets. Still playing with the 223, have some 40 grain VMax and some Hornady 68 gr Match BTHP to work out.

#2 OrneryOlMofo357

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:52 AM

The chamber in My Tikka is more loose than My Howa, so maybe thats a trait with a Tikka? As far as sizing the cases, I have found that the expander ball in the die needs some lube on it from time to time.If I get a stuck shell, that is usually the culprit. I notice it the most with the larger cases. JMO
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#3 stephen722

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:25 AM

try the empty cases's back in the same rifle, if they fit try just resizing the neck, but may not fit in other rifles, have fun stephen

#4 novaman64

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

The chamber in My Tikka is more loose than My Howa, so maybe thats a trait with a Tikka? As far as sizing the cases, I have found that the expander ball in the die needs some lube on it from time to time.If I get a stuck shell, that is usually the culprit. I notice it the most with the larger cases. JMO


I tried it without the ball and decapper in it, still super tight, think its how much the case enlarged due to what Im guessing is a slightly larger chamber...

What caliber is your Tikka in? I need to go home and check some of my .223 cases and see what they mic out at.

try the empty cases's back in the same rifle, if they fit try just resizing the neck, but may not fit in other rifles, have fun stephen


I put 3 empty cases in my magazine, they all cycled through fine...

#5 tawnoper

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:23 PM

Resizing always shrinks them down a little, that's why it's called resizing.

If the cases are properly lubed they shouldn't be too tough to cycle through the press. I'd be more concerned with headspace. Depending on the chamber, setting it back too much can give you problems. Set your dies so it only sets back your shoulder maybe .002".
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#6 novaman64

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:59 PM

Im aware it shrinks them, a little, but this seems like allot, never had my 260 or 30-30 expand this much or been this difficult to full length size.

The case is getting super tight with about 1/2" still sticking out, so its not getting anywhere near the neck at that point. I tried a couple different types of lube, didnt help. And I believe head spacing inst determined from the shoulder, but off of the belt, on belted magnums (7mm Rem Mag).

#7 OrneryOlMofo357

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:24 PM

My Tikka and Howa are in .223. Maybe you should see if a friend has a set of dies that you can try in the same caliber? I have read where Guys have polished the insides of their dies with flitz polish to smoothe out any rough spots. Just an idea.
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#8 novaman64

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:30 PM

My Tikka and Howa are in .223. Maybe you should see if a friend has a set of dies that you can try in the same caliber? I have read where Guys have polished the insides of their dies with flitz polish to smoothe out any rough spots. Just an idea.


None of my buddies reload, they all just buy box ammo. I actually just joined the El Dorado Rod & Gun Club, next time I am down there I will check and see if anyone has a 7mag FL die.. I just ordered up a RCBS neck sizer die, Im guessing since the ammo cycles fine, should be fine neck sizing, then the brass wont have to go through shrinking and expanding every time I reload it, hopefully get some more life and accuracy out of it...

#9 tawnoper

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:40 PM

Never a good idea to set the shoulder way back on any bottleneck case (rimless, rimmed or belted) if you want them to last very long. If you set it back too far on a rimless like your .223 they might not go off or at the least will probably separate very quickly. Obviously they make neck size dies for belted cases so setting the shoulder back isn't required. True, in theory they headspace off the belt...on the first shot with new brass. After that it's conformed to your chamber and better for your brass to just slightly .002 bump back the shoulder. Even if it's still HS off the belt, the case doesn't have far to go.

You could have a large chamber as well. You can look into a bump die as well. Bumps back the shoulder and sizes the neck...but that's how I usually setup my FL dies. Neck sizing almost always requires the shoulder to be bumped back eventually.
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#10 Kephers

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 03:06 PM

The spend cases will fire form to your individual chamber, meaning they will expand to fit your chamber. Normally they only require a neck sizing and not a full length till after about 2-3 fires and maybe a case length trim a little. Of course you would measure but I would say the expansion is completely normal. So long as you dont see wear signs or signs of cracking or some sort of case head separation mark starting, I believe you should be ok.
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#11 Desert Fox

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:58 PM

I suspect you have a bit oversized chamber and using the Forester Full Length die compound your problem, since they're usually reamed at minimum spec. I have a 300 Win mag that have had the same problem. I gave up full length sizing the brass in that rifle because it collapsed the brass shoulder every time. I wasted hundreds of brass on that rifle that it's not even funny. Three firings and the brass was toast. I should have re-barreled it earlier if not for the fact that the rifle was so darn accurate.

Send it to your smith and have the barrel set back about an inch. That will clean up the old chambering.
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#12 novaman64

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 09:50 PM

Wow, talk about hitting the nail on the head. I actually have 1 case I collapsed. And this thing is darn accurate accurate, I really dont wanna screw with it, and I just about have a load ironed out for it... Though, I could get a traditional recoil lug put on, which would prolly help a little more with accuracy.. hmmmmmm

#13 Desert Fox

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:32 AM

Call Forester and see if they're willing to honed your die to conform to your chamber spec.
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#14 tawnoper

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 06:11 AM

IMO...Before doing anything too drastic like rechambering I'd at the least try a different die or maybe some different brass. Maybe even some different case lube.

I have an old 22-250 that has an upper end saami spec chamber. Depending on what lube I use it can take a bit of muscle to cycle one through the press. I usually use some imperial sizing wax and that gets things moving.
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#15 novaman64

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 07:33 AM

Tried different brass (Hornady and Remington), same effects. Also tried different lube, will try a different die. Also will call Forrester like DesertFox suggested.

#16 Desert Fox

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 05:39 PM

Another alternative you have is to use the Forster Neck Bump die. I think that will solve your problem. Ask the people at Forster when you call to ask about honing your full length die.
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