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Thread: 30-06 cases tight in chamber

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    30-06 cases tight in chamber

    I just started reloading 30-06 and I have a Rcbs JR3 press and I bought a set of Lyman All-American full length dies. I have a Lee shell holder. When I set my die, I raise the ram all the way up and screw the die down until it contacts the shell holder hard. After I size the cases and put them in my savage axis the bolt will barely close. It seems I need to bump the shoulder back a few more thousandths. Could I just grind a few thousandths off the end of the die to allow for setting it a little closer to the shell plate. I am a machinist so I would be using a precision grinding machine.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    What does your rifle do with factory ammo? Have you tried a few brands?

    Take a layer of cellophane tape over the head of an unfired factory load. Does that make your bolt tighten up some if there is no resistance with un altered factory loads (with tape)?

    Do you have another brand of cases to size with your current handloading dies.

    Are the cases that you are having trouble with fired from your Axis rifle or from another gun?

    Bottom line: It could be the brass, the rifle or the dies or a combination of these.

    I do a fair number of barrel swaps with Savage bolt guns and if your rifle has a rather short headspace you could ease up on it yourself.

    Another thing to try before cutting on your sizing die is to use a black marking pen and color a well degreased but sized case. The bright marks will tell you where the bind is.

    Good luck!

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I'd draw all over one with a sharpie, chamber it, pull it out and see where it's dragging, and go from there.

    Usually you don't have to set the die quite all the way down to hit the shell holder.
    If the brass is from the same rifle, you often don't even have to size the whole case, just 1/4" or so down onto the neck.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master



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    Before you modify anything try sizing a case without the expander ball. Sometimes pulling the expander ball back through the neck will pull the shoulder out. If needed nothing wrong with removing a couple of thou from the die but if you have to do this the die is out of spec and replaceable under warranty..
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  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    I have brass I bought from different gun shows and it is different manufactures but it all does the same thing. The cases seem like they were fired from a gun which was way looser than mine. A factory round chambers fine even with tape on the head of the case. When I cover these cases with black marker and chamber them, they are only making hard contact on the shoulder. I tried sizing without the expander in the die and still the same result. Could this just be a problem with using lyman dies and a Lee shell holder. I suppose I could just grind the top of the shell holder off a few thousandths also.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    You're not accounting for the press spring. When you set your dies, the press has no stretch in it. When you size a case, it stretches. Size one and when the ram is all the way up, check to see if the shell holder is touching, I bet it isnt. The solution is screw the die in more until, when the press is stretched, you get the clearance you want.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazoo View Post
    You're not accounting for the press spring. When you set your dies, the press has no stretch in it. When you size a case, it stretches. Size one and when the ram is all the way up, check to see if the shell holder is touching, I bet it isnt. The solution is screw the die in more until, when the press is stretched, you get the clearance you want.
    I screwed the die down until it touches the shell holder and then gave it another 1/4 turn. I can just barely get the press to cam over even without a case in the shell holder. When I size a case, its still extremely hard to close the bolt in my savage axis. The only way I see to get the shoulder to bump back a little farther is to grind a few thousandths off of either the die or the shell holder.

  8. #8
    Hello Jim,

    Do you have a buddy with a different sizing die?
    If not, I'd probably try modifying the shell holder.
    A little cheaper than a sizing die.

    AntiqueSledMan.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Stupid question, Is it a full length sizing die? They come in full length and in neck size only. Full length will size the whole case except the last 5/16" or so. Neck size will only size the neck but not the shoulder or farther down.

    If it's a full length die, it will normally be marked FL. All my Lyman dies are marked such.
    Last edited by Bazoo; 02-27-2021 at 07:07 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim P. View Post
    I screwed the die down until it touches the shell holder and then gave it another 1/4 turn. I can just barely get the press to cam over even without a case in the shell holder. When I size a case, its still extremely hard to close the bolt in my savage axis. The only way I see to get the shoulder to bump back a little farther is to grind a few thousandths off of either the die or the shell holder.
    Does the shell holder still touch when yor size a case?

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    The die is a full length sizing die. The problem is not the diameter but rather the length from the head to the shoulder that is too long. The shell holder still hits the die when sizing a case.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Well, it does sound like it needs shaving of the die bottom or shell holder. I'd shave the die and not the shell holder. The same shell holder works with many calibers, and later on you might want it stock. Give the inside edge a very slight radius.

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    Have you measured case length? They may need trimming.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by recumbent View Post
    Have you measured case length? They may need trimming.
    Yes, what he says. Also after sizing the brass turn it 90 degrees and size it again.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueSledMan View Post
    Hello Jim,

    Do you have a buddy with a different sizing die?

    AntiqueSledMan.
    Yah, very first thing to do is to try another die from different mfgr. It is entirely possible that one die could be wrong, but next to impossible that two dies would both be wrong the same way.

    If you shave the shellholder, grind a flat or a notch on it so it will be easy to identify. That shellholder number does the entire .30-06 / .308 family. It mustn't be used together with anything but that one .30-06 die.
    Eleutheromaniac

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    I checked the overall length and it is ok. I am going to a gun show today. I will see if I can find another die. If I have to I will grind the end off on this die.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Jim, post your location. More than likely there is a member within reach.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    The shell holder is the cheaper and easier to fix or replace part. Rather than grind off the die I'd chuck the shell holder in the lathe and face it off a tiny amount and try it. If that solves problem mark the shell holder and put it in the box with the dies and a note explaining what was done and why. If it doesn't solve the problem throw it away and buy a new one.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Jim try screwing the die in another 1/4 turn, that should give you a cam over on the press handle and may be all that is needed to bump the shoulder back another thou. It sounds like you may have a nice min headspace chamber, if it is concentric usually helps with accuracy. Best of luck
    Charter Member #148

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Test it with a feeler gage slide a few thousands under the case in the shell holder than resize .

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