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Thread: Necessary to Resize a Rifle Cartridge?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by iflyskyhigh View Post
    Yup. I love watching people’s brains seize when they see that video.

    I experimented with neck sizing only when I first started reloading.

    Didn’t last long.

    I anneal after every firing, Redding Body Die to bump the shoulder, Lee collet die for neck tension, then Henderson Precision Trimmer when needed to trim. Took me a long time to refine my process. Learned a lot along the the way. Still learning. Met this guy who builds custom long range precision rifles. I’ve learned more from him in the past couple years than I did in my first 10 or so years of reloading.

    I run my stuff pretty hot so I still only get maybe 8 firing a case. 10 some times.
    We're on the same page. In my progression I went from Redding full length bushing dies to the Lee collet neck sizer, Redding body die , and a Forster micrometer seater. Non of the old guys I know neck size only.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaqg4sJvg24
    Last edited by Iowa Fox; 12-10-2021 at 01:07 AM.

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy Brassmonkey's Avatar
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    Anyone have any input for .308 Norma mag without "proper" dies? So far I have expanded the neck of 1x fired 7mm mag brass with a 30.06 expander. I only loaded 5 rounds and still waiting on a good day to try them out. so far have plenty of 7mm mag brass but I'm wondering about how I will go about reusing the brass I have modified as I don't have the proper dies yet. I do have .300win mag dies but haven't experimented yet. They chamber the only rifle I'll use them in just fine.

  3. #23
    Boolit Bub iflyskyhigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa Fox View Post
    We're on the same page. In my progression I went from Redding full length bushing dies to the Lee collet neck sizer, Redding body die , and a Forster micrometer seater. Non of the old guys I know neck size only.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaqg4sJvg24
    Same. I didn’t mention it but I also use the Forster micro seaters. They’re the best. If your going to full length size I also like the Forster full length dies because of how and where they position the expander ball. They have a unique approach and it does lead to less run out.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    When I was shooting single shots in ASSRA Schuetzen events, I made about 100 cases for my bench gun, and after firing them (breech seated bullets) would simply replace the primer, drop a fresh load of powder into the case, top it off with a cork wad and fire it again. Continue until/unless cases got swollen, at which time they were full length resized. Usually got 10+ firings with no “servicing”.

    For offhand I often used a single case over and over, going through the above steps at the bench as I was shooting. Some enthusiastic shooters I knew would get 100 or more firings out of the same case… some using the same case all season!

    The answer to the OP’s question is a definite, “it depends”!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  5. #25
    Boolit Mold
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    Consistency equals accuracy. If you have to do something in an inconsistent manner (i.e. anneal, trim or full length resize every 3rd or 4th firing), you're not getting the most consistency.

    Personally, for my most accurate loads, I will neck size with a Lee collet only until I get heavy bolt-lift after firing or heavy bolt-drop on the most recent firing. I will, however, continue to trim to SAAMI spec during each loading. After the point where the bolt starts sticking, I consider this the limit and use a Redding body-only die to bump the should back 0.001" (or until bolt doesn't stick on a dirty chamber). Measure the shoulder and you have your measurement for a case being used in that that rifle, which is the goal of "Neck-only" sizing.

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy
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    As Froggie says: It depends. Wilson dies for bench rest ONLY neck size and you can't beat their accuracy. Cases last almost indefinitely.
    In general, bench guns are not field guns (though sometimes used for ridiculously long shots on prairie dogs). When it comes to field and hand-held match guns, the basic rule is to full-length size them just enough for .002 push back of the shoulder. That gives them reliable feeding (assuming proper bullet seating) and generally good, repeatable accuracy. After that, the sky is the limit -- especially if you have the time and money for tools and guns like Cortina.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    im a full length sizer since i neck sized for my savage 308 and none would camber without difficulty .lesson learned .

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    I only neck size single shots.. auto loaders are just asking for trouble with anything other than full resize.
    This ^^^

    Even with bolt actions you can have issues feeding unless FL sized. My brother tried neck sizing 300 WSM and cartridges wouldn't make the trip from the magazine to the chamber. Then he FL sized just enough to bump the shoulder slightly and voila, perfect function.

  9. #29
    Boolit Mold
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    Like has already been said, it depends on the rifle. I mostly hand load with a 310 tool for .30-30, .38-55 and .308 W. The hyphenated bullets go for an H&R break action single shot. The .308 is for a Winchester 88. I don't use maximum loads, but what is most accurate in the particular rifle being loaded for. The 310 tool neck sizes only. If necessary, I have full length dies for a Lee hand press but seldom find the need to use it. It gets its most use with range brass (I am amazed how much I find in the trash cans at the range, along with the factory boxes they came out of). I have had no problems with feeding my cartridges into their rifles, but they were fired from those rifles.

    However, many moons ago I had a Remington 788 in .308. The locking lugs are at the back of the bolt and allow cases to stretch. I found to my dismay, that by the third reloading they had stretched so much that it was hard to close the bolt. Stupidly, since this was a hunting situation in Alaska we had boated to, I proceeded to force the bolt closed on a cartridge. It effectively became not a single shot, but a one shot rifle. I was able to force the bolt handle up but not pull it back. Then, instead of stopping and pushing a cleaning rod down to pound the bolt back (probably NOT a good idea anyway), I started beating on the bolt handle with a stout stick. It could not withstand the shear forces and broke off. Exactly what the guy in the video was talking about. My own stupidity caused it. Back in Ketchikan the gunsmith was able to repair the damage which would not have happened if I had full length resized.

    So again, it all depends on the rifle. I get 10+ reloads with neck sizing out of my brass for the rifles I have, then they go into the recycling bin. If I had two of the same caliber and couldn't keep the brass separated for each one I would full length resize. I started this game in the mid 1960s, have tried various ways to hand load depending on which magazine article I had read, and what I do now works well for me. It's not high volume, I seldom shoot more than two boxes of ammo during a range session. At the end of the day I enjoy sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, making cartridges for the next time I go out to play.

    ~Kees~

  10. #30
    Boolit Grand Master


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    The only time I can get away with neck sizing only is when I'm shooting reduced loads in bottle neck rifles, and then only shooting that brass in that rifle. For example, my 308 winchester with Bluedot and cast bullets. The pressure is not enough to keep expanding the shoulder of the case, so headspace is never an issue. I can necksize only, and keep shooting them. If I then take those cases, and with a strong load of 4895, then I won't be able to chamber them the next time because the headspace will have grown to the point it will not fit easily. In a bolt action you could probably get away with it somewhat. I hate bolt actions, and my semi-auto and single shots don't tolerate any interference fit of the case.

    I do believe in minimal sizing though. You really can't help it in a normal full length sizing die. If I were trying to maximize accuracy and case life, I'd be using a body-only sizing die and bumping the shoulder back the minimum I could, and then neck sizing with a Lee collet neck sizing die. I'm not big on bushing dies, but plenty of people use them.

  11. #31
    Boolit Grand Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayF View Post
    Consistency equals accuracy. If you have to do something in an inconsistent manner (i.e. anneal, trim or full length resize every 3rd or 4th firing), you're not getting the most consistency.

    Personally, for my most accurate loads, I will neck size with a Lee collet only until I get heavy bolt-lift after firing or heavy bolt-drop on the most recent firing. I will, however, continue to trim to SAAMI spec during each loading. After the point where the bolt starts sticking, I consider this the limit and use a Redding body-only die to bump the should back 0.001" (or until bolt doesn't stick on a dirty chamber). Measure the shoulder and you have your measurement for a case being used in that that rifle, which is the goal of "Neck-only" sizing.
    Some would argue that starting with a case, firing it and returning it back as close to it was right before being fired would be the most consistent. Versus, just keep on going and letting it degrade to the point it is galling in the action, then doing something about it.

    With bolt action rifles, there is also not a need to size the brass so much, it blows out and needs trimming, even with full length dies. The body of the case is tapered, so all one has to do, is start with the die too high and lower until the case is just slightly under compression when the bolt is closed and the case will last the longest.

    Last edited by jmorris; 01-05-2022 at 12:42 AM.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brassmonkey View Post
    Anyone have any input for .308 Norma mag without "proper" dies? So far I have expanded the neck of 1x fired 7mm mag brass with a 30.06 expander. I only loaded 5 rounds and still waiting on a good day to try them out. so far have plenty of 7mm mag brass but I'm wondering about how I will go about reusing the brass I have modified as I don't have the proper dies yet. I do have .300win mag dies but haven't experimented yet. They chamber the only rifle I'll use them in just fine.
    For my 308 Norma, I run the 7mm Mag brass through my 308 Norma dies and fireform with a starting load of a powder with a burn rate equal to around IMR4895. After that I neck size and check for fit and smoothness of bolt closure. You must remember to brush clean the chamber after a range session because 7mm brass makes a 308N case a few thousandths shorter (neck) than factory brass. I have made 308N brass from 300 Win brass by setting the shoulder back but it still needs to be fireformed and you must remove all the lube from the neck/shoulder area or you will get dents. I couldn't tell any difference in either method with regard to accuracy. You will need 308 Norma dies sooner or later.
    I just checked Graf and Sons website and they have a FL 308N set for $65. That is the best price you will find on Redding dies for this caliber IMHO. I don't think Lee makes them as a regular production item. Ah, the price we pay for the unique.
    Last edited by murf205; 01-08-2022 at 05:17 PM.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it. NONE of us are as smart as ALL of us!

  13. #33
    Boolit Grand Master

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    With all due respect I disagree with your Dad, or maybe you misunderstood what he meant. If you don't resize your brass, either full length or neck size, it will not have enough neck tension to hold the bullet. Neck sizing has been argued over and over. I quit neck sizing but for my tight neck rifles that I have to neck turn for. I saw little or no improvement in neither accuracy or case life when neck sizing. Most case failures that I see are either splits in the neck/shoulder area or loose primer pockets. Neck sizing doesn't address either. A properly adjusted full length sizing die is hard to beat.

  14. #34
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    I neck size for my cast bullet ammo but none of them see much beyond the far side of 1600 fps. I do anneal every five or six loadings and trim as needed. Serious ammo (read hunting) are full length resized and checked for function before heading to the field.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    With all due respect I disagree with your Dad, or maybe you misunderstood what he meant. If you don't resize your brass, either full length or neck size, it will not have enough neck tension to hold the bullet. Neck sizing has been argued over and over. I quit neck sizing but for my tight neck rifles that I have to neck turn for. I saw little or no improvement in neither accuracy or case life when neck sizing. Most case failures that I see are either splits in the neck/shoulder area or loose primer pockets. Neck sizing doesn't address either. A properly adjusted full length sizing die is hard to beat.
    Since you are neck turning, you can use bushing dies to great effect. If you don't do that, it's not hard to beat a plain old expander ball full length sizer. They do an adequate job, but I don't care how careful you are, or what brand you use, you are going to introduce some runout, and some variation in headspace. Because of that variation in headspace, you really have to shoot for .004"-.005" bump. There's only 2 ways to full length resize that I know of, that are both accurate, and allow minimal sizing for maximum brass life. The first is neck turning and a bushing die. You could run plain brass through one, but then you are at the mercy of the consistency of that brass's neck. The second is a body only die and a neck sizing die separate. Both ways are rather slow and painful, which is why people try to neck size only.

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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