by Carroll Pilant
Q. Some cases chamber easily, others you almost have to crush them into the chamber and they are all the same batch of cases and all been full length sized.
A. The expander ball is pulling the neck / shoulder area up as it pulls out of the case. It usually squeaks as it comes out. Cure - Lube the inside of the case neck better, or slightly decrease the diameter of the expander ball ( about .003 under bullet diameter at the most ) and polish or both.
Q. I have a rifle that has a long throat and it doesn't shoot boat tail bullets very well at all.
A. Try a flat base bullet. They will often shoot better in a long throated or a worn throat gun than the boat tail bullets.
Q. My case necks have a lot of smoke residue all the way down the case neck.
A. This usually comes from a mild load that doesn't have enough pressure to seal the case neck against the chamber wall or the case necks have work hardened and aren't sealing. Cure - Bump the powder charge up if it is a mild load and if the case necks have work hardened, either anneal the brass or replace it with new.
Q. I pick up a lot of brass at the range. Even after being full length sized, some of them will not even begin to chamber in my rifle.
A. You never know what range brass has been fired in, it could be a semi auto, pump, bolt action, etc. Cases that have been fired in a semi auto will not usually size down enough in just a regular full length die to chamber in a lot of bolt action rifles. Plus you never know how many times it has been fired or if it has been fired in a firearm with excessive headspace. Anything you intend to use for serious competition use new brass or brass that you know the origin of and how many times it has been fired. If you use the range brass be sure to inspect it carefully and discard anything that is suspicious.
Q. I have some assorted brass for my rifle that is once fired in my rifle and when I reloaded it, it shot all over the place.
A. So many shooters mix up different brands of brass and expect it to shoot well. Different brands of cases have different internal capacities which in turn gives different pressures and velocities. Neck thickness varies from brand to brand also and a case with a thick neck will have more tension after it has been sized than a thin neck case. Keep your brass segregated for better accuracy.
Q. I have 2 different rifles in the same caliber, should I keep my brass separated or can I just mix it up?
A. Definitely keep your brass separate for the rifle it has been fired in. You can use one brand case in one rifle and another brand in the other or if you prefer to use one brand, you can cut a small notch in the rim to identify them, just in case they should get mixed. Rifles don't have identical chambers and if one has a large chamber and the other a small chamber and you are mixing your brass, all the brass has to be sized to fit the smallest chamber to keep from having problems. If you keep the brass separate, you only need to size the brass just enough to function reliably in that firearm and your cases will last much longer from not being overworked plus you will gain in accuracy.
Q. How can I tell if my case necks are getting too thick?
A. After a case has been fired, before it is sized, a bullet of that caliber should slide easily into the case mouth.
Q. I hear talk of Ballistic Coefficient and I see it listed as numbers but I don't know if the higher or lower number is best.
A. The higher the number, the better the Ballistic Coefficient .
Q. I hear of inside neck reaming and outside neck turning. Why and when do you do it?
A. They are used when case necks are too thick either from necking it down from another larger caliber or from brass flowing from repeated firings. Tight-neck firearms will also have to be turned down and some shooters just want to uniform neck thickness. Inside neck reaming is done after firing before it has been sized and follows the inside of the case neck and takes the excess material out of the inside of the mouth. It is of a set diameter and has no adjustment. Outside neck turning is done after sizing and has a pilot which goes into the case mouth and an adjustable cutter on the outside, where you can control how much material is removed. Like a small lathe, you can remove however much neck material is necessary.
Q. What are the differences in primer pocket dimensions?
A. SAAMI specs for large rifle depth is .125" to .132". Small rifle and both large and small pistol are .117" to .123". Flash hole diameter is .080" on most cases and PPC cases are .060".
Q. I turned my case necks and they worked fine for the first firing, but when I went to reload them, after they had been sized, bullets just fell into the cases.
A. You removed too much brass from the case necks. The inside diameter of the case before it was neck turned was sufficient to hold the bullet firmly, but after neck turning too much brass off, after the case had expanded , when you size it back, the inside diameter of the case mouth is larger because the neck is so much thinner. The brass is pretty well worthless now, because even if you used neck bushings to get the neck sized down where it will hold a bullet, it will probably split when fired.
Q. I have fired some corrosive ammo in my rifle and cleaned it good like I normally do. A couple of days later it was rusty.
A. Regular solvents won't usually work on corrosive ammo. Use hot, soapy water to clean it first, then normal cleaning and finally a light layer of oil. Check on it daily for a few days to make sure it doesn't rust. Better yet, don't use corrosive ammo.
Q. I have some once fired steel cases, can I reload them?.
A. No, just discard them. They are probably berdan primed anyway.
Q. I just bought a bunch of steel jacketed bullets for almost nothing at a gun show. Can I use them in my rifle?
A. Yes, but I wouldn't unless it was a clunker gun or something I didn't care about. I definitely wouldn't use it in a good firearm. They are definitely rough on your barrel.
One incident that often comes around as we receive requests for a trajectory is that the customer does not know the actual muzzle velocity of their rifle/load. Trajectory is a result of velocity, ballistic coefficient, and several environmental factors. With an exterior ballistic program it is essential that muzzle velocity be as accurate as possible in order to provide for a very accurate result. There are several reasons that we can see wide variations in velocity from firearms chambered for the same cartridge. These include variance in chamber and throat dimensions, different brands or lots of cases, primers, and powders. Barrel length can also be a contributing factor. The combination of these variables that exist in the firearm and components that we are using can cause a wide range in velocities. What does this mean? Well, to the competitor, this can be a minimal thing as long as they are shooting at known distances and have had opportunity to verify their scope or sight settings at the distances that they are competing at. If there are unknown distances and/or no opportunity to check zeroes then we will not accurately be able to know what type of sight adjustment is needed. To the hunter, who always has to deal with unknown ranges that shots will be taken, an accurate trajectory is vital for success. This is even more true as distance increases. An example that can help us to understand this: 7mm-08/ 140 SBT at two different velocities will have the following results:
| || ||Velocity ||
This is a very simple example of the differences that can cause us problems when we are afield. We will be glad to help you with any trajectory questions that you might have. Call us at 1-800-223-8799. Remember though, if we have to guess at your velocities, we will only be able to guesstimate at the trajectory.