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Thread: How do you work with shorter than trim to case lengths

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Question How do you work with shorter than trim to case lengths

    About straight walled revolver cases, all my load manuals show a “trim to case length” which I believe is the case length used in their published load recipes.

    I reload 45 Colt, 38 Special and 357 Magnum. My problem is I’m lucky if I get 5 cases at or over the “trim to length” out of the whole 100 case bag. Most cases are up to 9 thou shorter that the trim to length. There are a very few that are over the trim to length.

    So far I’ve been dealing with the bullet seating by eye, by making small adjustments to the micrometer seating stem on the bullet seater die to get the case mouth at the crimp spot. This custom adjustment on each case makes the whole bullet seating step rather slow and tedious. It would be nice if these cases grew on firing/resizing like bottle neck rifle cases.

    I could just trim back all cases to match the shortest case in the bag, but that will alter the pressures from the load manual.

    How should I deal with miss matched case lengths?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I trim all the cases to the shortest case length to get the same roll crimp. As with any change to a reloading component you should go the starting load and work up the load.

    As far as loading manuals, is your gun the same gun and barrel length as the one the used for the loading manual?

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy

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    I have been loading and casting for nearly 40 years. I used to worry about case length in pistol/revolver brass. The old guy who taught me all those years ago
    told me to quit worrying about it. I was in my teens at the time and he told me that unless you are shooting loads in the max. limits that the brass will not grow
    that much. I have .45 Colt cases that are nearly 40 years old and have only been in the trimmer once. Those old brass are shot until they split.

    I don't shoot .45 Colt as much as I used to but they are still worth shooting. I haven't checked the case length on those in a long time.


    Now bottle neck rifle brass, that is a different matter.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I actually just ran into the same issue. Im new to reloading 38 special and found all my brass is below the trim to length. Found the shortest of a hundred cases and stuck it in the trimmer to set the cut length. The rest of the cases were barely kissed by the trimmer but are all a consistent length now. I don't shoot anywhere near max loads with this old Colt so the brass shouldn't grow appreciably.

  5. #5
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    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    I don't trim pistol cases. My observation is that most don't stretch much at all, in fact, some of them actually shrink in length.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    .009"??? Trim away if you like. I would load away myself.

    Again I mean no hurt, harm, anguish or turmoil by my post I have posted on this posted subject. I am not baiting, trolling or calling out anyone. I am making a post based on my experience, knowledge and/or belief or opinion. That is all.
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    .010 of variation in the 100 bag of cases is too much. Back when I used range pickup I would trim to the shortest good case. I buy cases direct from Starline now and total variation is like .001". A wildfire got most of the old brass and the trimmer and people just don't leave 44 Mag brass like they used to. Anyway for pistols the brass manufacturers should do all the trimming and it should be within .001" either way.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    With a revolver and a roll crimp I would trim all of them to match the shortest one. That will probably be the last time that you will ever need to trim. They just do not stretch like bottle neck cases do. In an auto with a taper crimp I would load and shoot them. Unless I was a Master class bullseye shooter competing at the higher levels. Which I'm not!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I trim to shortest case in most calibers, rifle or pistol, for rifle I measure chamber length and trim accordingly, most are .010" to .025" longer than 'book' trim lengths. Haven't trimmed 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP using light taper crimp. I do start with a lot of new brass and keep lots separate based on make and times fired. Handgun brass really doesn't stretch much, if at all.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    I have found that the cases on import ammo runs on the short side. I don’t know if is a metric thing or what. When I get new from starline, they usually run somewhere between the trim length and the max length.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Go with a tight tolerance gun and you will have issue as far as crimp causing a bulge in the case because it is not in the crimp groove.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Look up the minimum trim length at SAAMI. It may be different then what you think.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    greenjoytj, From the sounds of it, you're buying new cases. If you're not already doing so, you should resize the cases before trimming and loading the first time.

    I've bought some starline 44 mag cases, and upon measuring them, found them to be too short. I resized them, and that stretched them a few thousands. A couple, I ran through the sizer several times to get them to stretch.

    If it was new brass, say starline, remington or winchester, hornady, I'd complain. See if they'd make it right. If they wont do anything. Then i'd do one of 2 things. I'd either settle on trimming everything in that caliber .015 shorter than max, or i'd trade the brass off and get more.

    What I do with used brass, is trim them all .010 shorter than max length. Any that I find that are shorter get put aside. If its .001 or .002 thousands, i'll go ahead and put it in the batch as this isnt enough to affect my crimp. Anything shorter gets put in the trash or the trade bag.

    I will keep an eye on the cases after firing and sizing a few times to see if any are stretching, or shrinking or staying the same. Most of the time, i've found that a few shrink a few thousands, a few stretch a few thousands, and most stay right at the same. My general rule is, .002 short, or .001 long gets ignored, any longer gets trimmed, any shorter gets set aside. Kinda pends on the mood im in what i'll let go though.

    I dont see how folks that dont trim revolver brass have any consistency of crimp or ballistic uniformity.

    Like lightman, I trim revolver cases that get a roll crimp, and generally dont trim auto cases that get a taper crimp. I set the crimp by measuring some, and finding the shortest one, set the crimp to just barely remove the flare and ad a tiny bit of crimp, then anything longer will get a crimp, and all of them will feed.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



    skeettx's Avatar
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    Trim??
    I shoot light loads in most guns so not an issue with crimping.
    If I need a hot 38 I go to 357, if I need a hot 357 I go to 41 Mag
    If I need a hot 41 Mag I go to 45 Colt, and if I need a hot 45 Colt
    I go to 44 Mag. and those hot ones are rarely used and crimped.

    In auto guns, same thing and they are taper crimped so even less
    of an issue.

    Mike
    NRA Benefactor 2004 USAF RET 1971-95

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    For conistancy I trim to the shortest length, you need the same length and square case mouths to produce good crimps and the most accurate ammo.

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold


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    I size new revolver brass and then trim to .0015" less than the published trim to length. Anything shorter gets placed in a separate container to be trimmed to the minimum SAAMMI trim length. Then I only have two different roll crimp settings to keep track of. In my case, new brass for auto's is what it is; it doesn't get as much respect.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I just load straight cases till they split ,tried trimming didn't notice any difference in accuracy and they never seemed to lengthen enough to trim .I'm lazy so I stopped trimming them.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenjoytj View Post
    About straight walled revolver cases, all my load manuals show a “trim to case length” which I believe is the case length used in their published load recipes.

    I reload 45 Colt, 38 Special and 357 Magnum. My problem is I’m lucky if I get 5 cases at or over the “trim to length” out of the whole 100 case bag. Most cases are up to 9 thou shorter that the trim to length. There are a very few that are over the trim to length.


    I could just trim back all cases to match the shortest case in the bag, but that will alter the pressures from the load manual.

    How should I deal with miss matched case lengths?
    Starline brass, right? I had the same problem with a couple of batches with over and under-length 357 Magnum brass.

    Inquired of Starline, and got a huffy email from Herr Standartenfuehrer of Customer Service, that SAAMI "allows a +- .010 variance", and they'd be happy to replace all cases outside those parameters. Of course, none were. Ah, well, won the battle, but definitely lost the war! Hopefully, they have corrected the problem.
    My shooting isn't good enough to take advantage of utmost precision, soooo... I decided since a couple of thousandths is not much in the real world, and lots of knowledgeable people say they don't ever trim revolver/pistol cases, I'll trim what I can, use those that are within .002 shorter than recommended trim-to, and set my crimp die somewhere in the middle, or use my taper crimp die, and don't worry. After all, except for competitors, this is supposed to be fun/relaxing/enjoyable, right?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    The KISS principle is what I have used for at least 48 years. While I may seperate brass by brand to keep the crimp the same as possible not that it really matters but I do it.
    Slight variation in crimp length will cause No Worthwhile Differnce.
    When one considers the other variables such as changes in lot numbers in primers and powder, temperature ETC. you will see what I am saying.
    Since most of you guys like to experiment profusely one way to prove the minute difference in case length among one brand of brass is to do this, trim some cases and work up a good load using the trimmed brass.
    Take a good sample of the brass that hasnt been uniformed and load the same load in it and try it for accuracy. Now lets say the trimmed brass is somewhat more accurate. Take the trimmed sample and the untrimmed sample and load them again using your good load, take them to the range and shoot a cylinder or magazine full each standing, kneeling, ETC. not using a dead steady rest. Measure the groups that were obtained in the less than dead steady rest situation, measure the groups get the average and see if you are good enough in field shooting situations to tell the difference between trimmed and untrimmed brass. I hope you are good enough but reality can be an ugly thing and I would say that you and a whole host of shooters on here aren't.
    Wallet groups are good to show and brag about but in reality doesnt in and of themselves mean much in the real world of field shooting. I have seen to much of the brenchrest wallet group shooters that severely had a problem when up and off the bench. And Ive seen that reality with my own eyes. One was a good friend.

    Again I mean no hurt, harm, anguish or turmoil by my post I have posted on this posted subject. I am not baiting, trolling or calling out anyone. I am making a post based on my experience, knowledge and/or belief or opinion. That is all.
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Trim straight walled revolver cases? Hear that sound? That's a whole bunch of 'ol time reloaders laughing.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

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