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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
EDIT: Shortened it cause too much noise.

Started with about 80 3F cases. LC M118LR brass. Brass head to shoulders out of the chamber are 1.626 give or take a thou. Ready to resize. I am loading for AR10.

Setup:
Rock chucker with a precision shell holder and using a brand new Redding 308 Win B/Fl die ie FL bushing die. .002 precision holder set to just touch the die. Just enough cam to know its there. The .002 case holder should theoretically give me a 1.623 shoulder. At least that is what my calculation said.

This is what I ended up with after resizing with the new die. All .0005" are rounded down for simplicity.
5x at 1.620
22x at 1.621
23x at 1.622
23x at 1.623
8x at 1.624

If I call it 1.622" I can then say 90% came out within +- one thou.

So I am fairly happy with results considering my newb status. Previous sessions were varying MUCH MORE so the precision holder kissing the die definitily helped. That's why I bought them. However, Some had to be run more than once as they were long, and I still have a spread of about .005". I had two at 1.6195 I lumped them in with the 5x 1.620s.

I did notice a couple things. A few went right in with hardly any tension and those seemed to be all the ones that came up on the short end. *shrug* On the contrary, the ones that went it hard seemed to come out long and needed a few runs to shorten them.

Opinions on what was yielded or suggestion on how to get more consistency? Get better brass is pretty obvious.

Brass coming out of AR10 chamber at 1.626". Is bumping to 1.621" getting too short?
 

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What are you using to measure ten thousandths? Is your setup consistent enough to eliminate that variable?

short answer: don't sweat it too much. IMO brass life is secondary to safety in semi-autos. So bump the shoulders back at least 3 thousandths and I personally gauge each case with a wilson type case headspace gauge to confirm shoulder setback. Different types of brass, and even brass from the same lot, will often have different "springback" after sizing. Some gauge after the first trip through the die, and some require another trip with the die turned down a bit. I size to the lower step (and make sure you seat primers below flush). Your measurement method is much more accurate than mine. And I'm not using bushing dies either.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I just have a fairly cheap digital caliper. $50-$60. However it does show the half thou from .0003 to .0007. At work our cal lab has a set of certified Starret calibration/verification blocks. They go down to .0001" increments. I used those to verify my caliper and its spot on. My cheap caliper isnt as heavy or smooth as the Mitotoyos we use at work but then again the Mitotoyo 6" calipers from work cost about $400 each.

I use a Hornady .400 datum gauge thing for measuring headspace bump.

P.S. I decided to re-bump everything 1.6235" and up. So I will have about 70 cases that are all 1.622" plus/minus one thou. Good enough. Now to trim.
 

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.005 in my experience is not too short but about right for a gas gun. I try for .002 in a bolt gun. I go .004-5 in gas guns for reliability. What lube are you using? Sometime inconsistent lube can cause an issue. I’ ve switched around some, for speed/consistency I currently use the 9 parts 90%+ alcohol and 1 part liquid lanolin which I believe is the Dillon lube. Some use isoheet which is 90%+ alcohol. Alcohol is the carrier and the reason for 90+ is less water and the alcohol flashes off, lanolin is the lube. There are quite a few YouTube’s if you’re interested. You’ll also need a quality sprayer to apply. Additionally Whidden makes a quick to use case gauge for shoulder setback. Good luck, reloading can be a rabbit hole....
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I am now using Imperial Sizing Die Wax. Just drag my finger across the tin and rub it on. Sometime I get a tough one that seems to drag coming out. Those are the ones that seem to come out long. I am wondering if the neck is dragging and pulling the shoulder back up on the way out. I usually have to hit the base and neck again with more lube and run it again. I have noticed if I go a bit heavier on the necks, double dip and relube the neck, they come out of the die easier. Instead of longer.

As I mentioned I re-bumped everything over 1.6235" and got rid of a few that were 1.621 and under. So All remaining were 1.622" +/- one thou.
Unfortunately M118LR brass is short to begin with. Like 2.001 to 2.003" short. So I called the case OAL at 2.0015" and trimmed everything +/- 1.5 thou. So my absolute range is 2.000" to 2.003" OAL on cases. Tossed anything under 2.000" ended up with about 55 cases left.

Hodgdon H4895 ladder from 40.0 gr to 41.8 gr in .2gr increments. 5x at each weight. I have run this exact same ladder before; I just want more data. I am just not that good so I could have a good load but I cant shoot for sh|t. lol
All bullets seated with my new micrometer seating die. Every round is seated head to ogive at 2.233 to 2.236". Was shooting for 2.240" but ended up with a bunch that 2.233 - 2.234 is so i just shortened everything to keep them all consistent. Call it 2.2345" +/- 1.5 thou.

The Redding micrometer seating die was fairly inconsistent as I had way more spread then anticipated. I ended up having to dial it back out and slowly increment it back down in to re-seat the long ones. Only way I could control the depth. Might be inconsistent bullets or something but I ended up originally with an extreme spread of 2.231 to 2.238 head to ogive. However, I do like the mic seater as I CAN control the depth that way without having to "guess" like I did with a regular seating die. Now that I know; I will just seat them all a bit long and dial them in one or two thou at a time until I hit my desired length.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Here was the results from shooting today. It looks like 40.2ish grains is a possible node. However, I had some rounds sitting around that I was using 41.4gr and varying the seating depth. These 41.4 grainers were based off of sessions 3 and 4 ago. The 41.4 looked promising. However that was before I put on an atlas bipod. The 2.255 head to Ogive shot well.

My analysis is based on looking at the 40.2 gr from this session and last session from 4 months ago. Also the 40.4 which has 4 in a .75" grp and one flier.

Keep in mind I am still a fairly new shooter and I think I need to run this ladder a time or two again to gain consensus. However, I can tell i am getting better. DAMN! IT Was hot today too!
 

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I am now using Imperial Sizing Die Wax. Just drag my finger across the tin and rub it on. Sometime I get a tough one that seems to drag coming out. Those are the ones that seem to come out long. I am wondering if the neck is dragging and pulling the shoulder back up on the way out. I usually have to hit the base and neck again with more lube and run it again. I have noticed if I go a bit heavier on the necks, double dip and relube the neck, they come out of the die easier. Instead of longer.

As I mentioned I re-bumped everything over 1.6235" and got rid of a few that were 1.621 and under. So All remaining were 1.622" +/- one thou.
Unfortunately M118LR brass is short to begin with. Like 2.001 to 2.003" short. So I called the case OAL at 2.0015" and trimmed everything +/- 1.5 thou. So my absolute range is 2.000" to 2.003" OAL on cases. Tossed anything under 2.000" ended up with about 55 cases left.

Hodgdon H4895 ladder from 40.0 gr to 41.8 gr in .2gr increments. 5x at each weight. I have run this exact same ladder before; I just want more data. I am just not that good so I could have a good load but I cant shoot for sh|t. lol
All bullets seated with my new micrometer seating die. Every round is seated head to ogive at 2.233 to 2.236". Was shooting for 2.240" but ended up with a bunch that 2.233 - 2.234 is so i just shortened everything to keep them all consistent. Call it 2.2345" +/- 1.5 thou.

The Redding micrometer seating die was fairly inconsistent as I had way more spread then anticipated. I ended up having to dial it back out and slowly increment it back down in to re-seat the long ones. Only way I could control the depth. Might be inconsistent bullets or something but I ended up originally with an extreme spread of 2.231 to 2.238 head to ogive. However, I do like the mic seater as I CAN control the depth that way without having to "guess" like I did with a regular seating die. Now that I know; I will just seat them all a bit long and dial them in one or two thou at a time until I hit my desired length.
I may have missed it but what bullet are you using and are you measuring velocity. If you’re measuring velocity I’d load 5 or 10 ensuring your seating was exact as you described and then load 5 or 10 just loading them as they come out of the seating die. Shoot them and compare what kind of difference in ESs or SDs your getting between them and decide if the precise seating is worth the improvement.

Did I mention hand loading was a rabbit hole? 😀 Imperial size wax is second to none. I experienced similar issues I first tried dry Neck lube that worked, I used the Redding. It didn’t work well enough for me so I have progressed to using a separate expander die, Redding S or Whidden Bushing size die without the expander, I then use a separate expander die, with TIN or Black Nitride expander from 21stCentury Reloading. Arbors and Mandrels. As I mentioned I use the alcohol/lanolin for lube, size them, then I use walnut media in a vibratory cleaner to clean them before I seat bullets. Did I mention reloading is a rabbit hole? When you’re spending more time reloading than shooting there’s a problem, I’ve been there. Most handloads produced with reasonable care will be more accurate/consistent than factory ammo.

If you’re interested “Top Grade Ammo” by Glen Zediker is a great book. It’s available on Amazon but I think it’s cheaper direct.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am using 175 SMK. I also have a box of 168 SMK B-Tips's but haven't loaded any of them yet.

I have a pro chrono. Only used it once so far. Back in March. Tried to set it up by myself in the snow. I got it close. Only took about 5 shots for me to shoot one of the rods off. LOL
 

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I am using 175 SMK. I also have a box of 168 SMK B-Tips's but haven't loaded any of them yet.

I have a pro chrono. Only used it once so far. Back in March. Tried to set it up by myself in the snow. I got it close. Only took about 5 shots for me to shoot one of the rods off. LOL
Know the feeling with rods on a chronograph, I work up a lot of loads so I finally bit the bullet and bought a Labrador. To confirm consistency I rely on the chrono to verify my loads. I want an ES less than 20 fps and an SD in single digits.
 

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