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Thread: 30-06 sizing issues

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    30-06 sizing issues

    I'm having a problem re-sizing some 06 cases purchased from a member here. This in no way refers to the gentleman I traded with, but was told it was once-fired and probably from a machine gun. I believe that is irrelevant to the problem, but that is the history of the brass, and as this person was in the military and picked it up himself.

    Now to the actual problem:

    First step was de-prime, then ss tumbled with citric acid (1/2 teaspoon in about 5 quarts of water with 1 teaspoon Armorall premium wash and wax. So far, so good. 250 cases with 10 lbs pins and ran for 1 1/2 hrs. Rinsed and dried in the sun.

    I used the old RCBS case lube in the green and white tube. (I have a bunch of this stuff, and want to use it up before switching)

    To lube the inside of the necks, I used graphite mixed with shot and dipped the necks three or four times in an old pill bottle.

    I then ran them through an RCBS full length sizer with the expander ball in place and the die adjusted correctly. (To the best of my ability)

    My runout gage was being used for something else when I sized these, bt when I started checking them, the necks varied from one to seven thousanths out of concentricity.

    I thought maybe something was wrong with the die, so switched to another die, also RCBS. It did the same thing. At that point, I borrowed a friend's bonanza die thinking I would try something a bit different. It didn't change anything, so called RCBS. They sent me a new expander ball, stem, and the threaded nut that holds the stem in the die. The old one in the first die was off center, but the new one wasn't. It still didn't change anything.

    next step was to change lubes for the neck. We keep coconut oil in the house for other purposes, so tried that on the inside of the neck with a nylon brush. That made the expander ball go through a little easier, but with the same results of out of round. Not only are they out of concentricity, but are angled to the side. I have also tried rotating the case three or for times, sizing them as I go, but still, no change.

    Next step was to anneal the neck and shoulder area. This didn't make any difference, either.

    Next step was to remove the expander ball and decapping rod and sized without expanding back to size. This time, cases came out within 1/2 to one thou max, but were still under-sized.
    at this point, I made a hardened steel pin with a pilot that would pick up the under-sized neck and hold the case concentric and piloted while bringing it back up to proper size. This helped, as the cases now were running from zero to two thou out on about two- thirds of the cases, but some were back out three or four thou.

    This has been frustrating, to say the least. I am now in the middle of building an annealing machine, as this seemed to help some, even though it didn't completely cure the problem.

    I have been considering a neck sizing die from Wilson, but can't do that for my wife's Garand anyway. A lee collet die would probably make them straight, but still would not be acceptable because of the Garand.

    If anyone has any ideas, I would sure like to hear them. I have more than 750 of these things to try to fix, and am starting to get frustrated. By the way, I've been reloading for a long time and have never had this happen before.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    If this is a proven press this would not be the problem. A neighbor that I recently helped get into reload had the same issues. We ultimately tracked it down to a bad 1 1/4" to 7/8" adapter on his brand new RCBS RC. We did actually the same steps as you.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I am using a rockchucker. I have two of them and both are more than 40 years old. I don't remember if I tried the other one with this problem, but won't be hard to do as they are mounted side by side.

  4. #4
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    I bought 100 30-06 cases (Federal) once fired for my American Enfield at oncefiredbrass.com. Good guy to buy from. I am tired of brass that no one knows how many times fired or the age of the brass.Dont like to waste my time and money.............Shooting should be fun not a PIA ( just my 2 cents worth)
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  5. #5
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    You say you have 750 more, does that mean those are not resized yet? What is the runout on the un-resized cases? If it starts out as much or more as your results, that's the problem- garbage in, garbage out.

    The best way to correct eccentric brass is to fire it with a good, stiff load in a concentric chamber, but I'll give you another option for dealing with eccentric brass. You'll need a sharpie. It will help you determine if the problem is your press or your die, and may give you a new option for straightening cases.

    How to Index a Die

    Lock your die ring in the press, draw a line on the front. Do the same with the decapping stem, lock it down and draw a line on it. This is your die and stem "index line".

    Take 4 of your worst runout cases, preferrably ones that have not been sized yet. Use a Sharpie to mark the high sides with a line, the runout in thousandths, and mark them Front, Left, Back, and Right. Run each through the sizing die with the high side at a different orientation (front, left, back, right). Measure runout on each and compare to the original runout. Did the runout position change? Was runout reduced or enlarged?

    If all cases have slightly reduced runout with unchanged orientation, your press and dies are operating about as well as you can hope. However if some have worse and some have better, you have a problem to sort out... and a new tool.

    Repeat by sizing another 4 new high-runout cases, indexing the high side by 1/16 turns around the die side that corrects the most. Measure runout on each, narrowing down where the exact position is on the die that corrects runout the most. Draw a line at that spot on the die. You could stop here if you like, and just use that line to correspond with the high side of the case to correct each for runout. This has the drawback of having to measure runout before sizing each case.

    How to Determine the Source of Eccentric Sizing

    If you wish it find and correct the source of the problem, rotate the die to make the index line 180 degrees from where it was (preferrably screw down, but if the shell holder prevents this, then screw back). Try again with 4 new cases as at the start. If runout correction reverses, the problem is in the die and/or decapping stem. If the problem stays the same (resizing introducing more runout), the problem is in the press/ram/shellholder.

    Repeat the process while indexing the decapping stem (this is possible but not so easy with the Lee die, easy with most other brands), to determine if the stem/sizer ball is the issue.

    If necessary, repeat the process while indexing the shell holder.

    Fixing the problem

    If the problem is the die stem and sizer ball, it might be crooked, or not. If not, please realize that you're run into a limitation of standard sizing dies. Factory dies, even Neck Sizing dies, over-resize the case neck and then the expander ball pulls the case neck eccentric, even when lubricated. To avoid this, you can use a die that sizes the neck less, such as a bushing die (Redding or clones) or a custom lapped neck die (available from Forster or other vendors on request).

    Shell holders are easy to replace, if replacement fixes nothing it may be the top of the ram or the press head is crooked.

    If it is the die, you may wish to keep it from eccentric brass correction, and buy another in the hopes of getting a straighter one.

    Caveat

    Using fresh fired brass (not yet resized since firing) is best for this process, because sizing the same case over and over again causes it to work-harden, increasing the spring-back and reducing the runout correction or enlargement.
    Last edited by HangFireW8; 05-31-2016 at 10:15 AM.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  6. #6
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    Personally, I fail to see the attraction of fifty plus year old brass. Especially if it was fired from a machine gun.

    Other than that non-helpful statement, have you measured the neck thickness of the brass? Seems to me that if it is thicker on one side when pulled over the expander ball, that side would be out of round.

    Robert

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk42gunner View Post
    Personally, I fail to see the attraction of fifty plus year old brass. Especially if it was fired from a machine gun.

    Other than that non-helpful statement, have you measured the neck thickness of the brass? Seems to me that if it is thicker on one side when pulled over the expander ball, that side would be out of round.

    Robert
    Bingo! We have a winner!

    Every piece of 30-06 brass, or most every other caliber as well, won't have uniform neck thickness to some degree. Now throw in military brass that has been MG fired and you have guaranteed uneven neck thickness.

    Even with brand new unfired high quality brass, match shooters turn the case necks for uniform thickness. Highly unlikely you have a die or press problem. Those pull through expanders are the kiss of death anyway for accurate loading, they stretch necks, make the case mouths uneven and all sorts of nasty things to the case neck. I have not used them in many years. I size the cases with no pull through expander, and then expand with a plug type expander and seat bullets in a straight line seater (Vickerman). Depending of case neck thickness variation, I also turn the necks.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I'm not an advocate of loading old military brass, but I can understand wanting to use your brass if possible. With regard to neck-turning, I would take three batches of ten each. Remove only a little brass, covering about half the neck area with the first batch. Remove enough to barely cover the entire neck area with the second group. With the third, remove just a very little more than the second group. Use a known accurate load for your rifle and fire some groups. With at least one of the batches, runout should improve considerably.

  9. #9
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    First, it might not be quite 50 years old. The US made a large amount of '06 for the Republic of Vietnam until they were overrun in 1975, then they were stuck with a huge surplus. I bought some of that surplus a few years back, but mine is new pulls.

    It might be uneven neck thickness, but I really haven't had the problem with Lake City (I'm guessing it's LC). A little uneven, yes, surface irregularities, definitely... but I suppose it's possible. My few thousand are an infinitesimal sample set of what was produced. What I have seen is uneven annealing, it's pretty obvious when you can see the annealing color be darker and go further down one side than another.

    I have had several dies that needed indexing to compensate for their eccentricity. Maybe I am a statistical anomaly.

    I have experimented extensively with comparative neck thicknesses. What matters most is not the neck thickness (within extremes), but rather consistency of bullet pull (neck tension). Many others have reached the same conclusion. In tight necked rifles necks of a certain thickness provide a bushing-like centering mechanism, but factory chambers are all too large to care. For a factory chamber, what matters most is concentricity and consistent bullet pull only.

    Frankly making 4 sets of neck-turned cases is a waste of time. If eccentricity is the problem, the first cut deep enough to make it concentric will fix that set of problems (after a fire-forming, anyway). Better to invest in a cheap tube micrometer than waste time on progressive neck turning sets of cases.

    I have processed military brass to the point it equaled the finest commercial brass in accuracy... it was just more work to get there, and more culling of rejects. Again, for a factory chamber, once you master concentricity and bullet pull, there's no reason not to enjoy cheap plentiful military brass, as long as you accept the extra effort.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Agreed, four sets of neck-turned brass would likely be a waste of time. Three sets (as stated) might not be, particularly if you didn't have a tubing micrometer handy.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    If this is machine gun brass also look for bent rims and burrs on the brass's rims as these firearms are a viloent extraction. set a case on a flat surface and look for light and an angle to the body at rest. This may or may not have an effect but if it dosent enter straight it wont be when sized. Having sectioned several cases with neck wall runout it tends to frow to the case head .002 at the neck can become .004-.005 above the head. Machine guns are known for larger chambers / headspace and this additional sizing can be part of the issue. From your description the removal of the stem from the die proves out the die body press as good. Youmight try a small oring under the decapping expander rods lock nut, this should hold it in tension but allow it to "float" a little. Adjust it up just below the shoulder so its working when the case is still fully supported but not where its causing a bind between neck brass and expander, pinching brass. You may not decap with this setting though.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    If this is machine gun brass also look for bent rims and burrs on the brass's rims as these firearms are a viloent extraction.
    Good point. I had to toss a bunch of 5.56mm brass with this problem, obviously fired in a dirty chamber.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I believe in trying old brass as long as I think it is safe to use. I have a large quantity of USGI SL-54 .30-06 brass that was fired in machine guns. Many of the cases have bent rims. In spite of all the issues this has been very good brass for $.01 each. It has been used as .30-06, 7.65 Mauser, 8X57 Mauser and for many die set up and tests.

    On the whole I would rather use first quality commercial brass but this brass has been very good.

    After reading your epic journey I would ask have you ever tried shooting any of this brass? I use my machine gun fired brass in a iron sighted Mausers mostly and it works fine.

    Two things that you have not tried that would probably help if you are obsessed with runout.

    1. Have a Forster FL die lapped out to .002 smaller than your loaded round neck diameter. Forster will do this for about $10. There is no way such a die (If the neck is kept on center to the body) can produce an eccentric neck. This lapped out die will NOT use or need an expander.

    2. You can try using a Forster or Redding FL bushing die with a bushing that produces a neck with .002 interference on the bullet. This set up may still permit some eccentricity. Some of that is because the bushings do not have a long lead in chamfer or radius. I think the lapped out FL die is a better idea.

    Finally with the huge neck of any military barrel you get a lot of expansion. The first time you squeeze this down the neck may get off center just from all of the sizing.
    Have you checked the eccentricity of the machine gun fire brass as is without sizing it? The sizing process and expanding process might be doing all the damage.

    If you get this brass to work and then shoot it in the normally generous military chamber you will need to keep an eye on the run out every time you load it.

    Here is how to lap a FL die if you have a die to risk.

    https://rickaverill.com/projects-pas...eloading-dies/
    EDG

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    If any of you guys have a lot of once fired Lake City or Frankford Aresnal 30-06 brass that was made prior to about 1965, I will be a buyer. I want it unpolished with the anneal marks still on the necks and shoulders. I hold this stuff in higher regard than you folks do. It can go back to the 20 and 30s if you have it.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  15. #15
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    I didn't mean to imply that I wouldn't use brass such as this, especially if I found a deal such as EDG's at a penny a piece; but I don't think I would go looking for it to make match quality brass from either. For plinking, blasting, or normal hunting ammo it should be fine.

    Robert

  16. #16
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    OK,,,50 year old brass....well here is my tale:
    about a month ago I was at the range with my buddy and there in the dirt / mud was a mess of spent 30-06 cases that hadn't been there the week before. I picked several up and noted the date 1943 manufactured. My buddy agreed with me that the primers were original so we figured someone had a lot of old ammo that they shot up. I took that old brass home cleaned it, sized it, checked its length, took the crimp out of the primer pocket and cleaned up the flash hole. I felt good about getting this old brass back on line. It shoots fine...I don't think there is anything wrong with reclaiming old brass, especially that old GI brass which was some of the best made.
    atr
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    I am still working on a pile of 30-06 mil brass that is headstamped as TW 53. Never had a problem with it; I probably have a lifetime supply. Came from my stepfather before he passed on.

    Wayne
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  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I use a bunch of old LC and it is good brass.
    For lubing the inside of the necks of my brass I use the RCBS case lube on a Q-Tip and use the same for the outside of the case. To remove the lube I use hot water and a little dish soap then dry them in the sun.
    I would check the thickness of the necks and also the concentrically of the body to base. I have had brass fired in a self loading gun that was bent.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    I must note that the more money we spend on reloading gizmos, the more we discover problem we didn't know existed. Many, if not most of these gizmos are purchased because somebody told us we needed them. We were happy banging away at targets, producing good targets, before somebody told us our ammo was bad. We were told we could shave 1/4" off our groups with the newest gizmo. So we bought the gizmo and maybe or maybe not the average of 25 targets shrunk 1/4".
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    I must note that the more money we spend on reloading gizmos, the more we discover problem we didn't know existed. Many, if not most of these gizmos are purchased because somebody told us we needed them. We were happy banging away at targets, producing good targets, before somebody told us our ammo was bad. We were told we could shave 1/4" off our groups with the newest gizmo. So we bought the gizmo and maybe or maybe not the average of 25 targets shrunk 1/4".
    Very, very true!
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check