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New Brass prep and new load to develop

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I decided to buy 100 new Lapua match brass for the .223. I intend on trying to load for long range varminting and target.

I was going to full Lenght size and trim them all to the smallest in the lot.

Would you do anything to the flash hole or primer pocket So?

I am now questioning if my dies are up to what I want to achieve.

Neck tension seems to be I want to control more. So would you ditch the Lee dies to a bushing style die?

The Wilson dies look great and was going to up grade to one of the seating die to get a more constant seating depth. The Lee dies I bought were second hand and could do with a service really.

Chose the 77gr TMK for this development. N140 powder. Not chose the primer yet.

Any help would be great on both your method for new brass prep and die upgrade.

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Ok. New brass (Lapua) I use a Wilson primer pocket tool to even out the opening, using this I get a few specs of brass on some cases more than on others so this tells me it is evening things up. Lapua drill and not punch primer flash holes I think so unlike some other brass you don't get a burr or a flake inside the case that can cause ignition variance. I then chamfer the neck and that's about it first time out. Lapua brass is first rate and needs little else doing to it. I sort the brass by weight into batches that I then use to reload. Not sure about how much of a difference it makes but you do get some variance across 200 cases so it may have an influence. This is what I do with 6.5x47 and .308 brass. Yours are smaller and not having re loaded .223 for 10yrs I can't speak with certainty on this cal so I can't help with starting loads etc.

 

I like the Forster BR dies and also I have a Redding micrometer seat die as well. Both are excellent and I have no particular preference. The Lee kit works well but depends on the issues you mention that mean you need to service them. Perhaps a new set?

 

What gun are you using? Custom / factory? Straight pull or bolt? This will determine how far you want to go with brass prep. You might for example if running a single bolt gun choose to neck size only and FL as required.

 

Lots of experience on UKV so others will no doubt shout up who are reloading in .223. Hope this helps.

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I would say unless your shooting top class BR then just load and shoot your Lapua brass out the box

Neck tension is important and the common ways to set it are either use a bushing type sizing die or use a mandrel to set the neck tension after you have sized it with standard dies

I don't use Lee dies apart from for my .357 U/L so cannot really comment

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The rifle in question is a Blue printed .223 bolt action Remington 700. 26" stainless barrel. Bedded, trigger etc

Only been reloading for 12mths or so. The stuff I am turning out has been great in the .204 but the .223 has be just ok. Good enough for hunting and Foxing. Sub moa.

Looking to really see what this semi custom can do so looking to improve my skills and equipment. The dies haven't been cleaned.

I haven't do anything regarding neck tension before. Done a fair amount of reading and watch vids lately and what I can see and read is people dont seem to use Lee dies for precision reloading. What I didn't want to do is start this serious load development with the wrong dies and procedure with the new brass. There is always conflicting opinions on which way to start. Just off the Lands. At Book Lenght. Use out of the box. Trim all and FL size, fire form then neck size for better accuracy. FL size all the time. The more I read and watch the more I don't know what's right and wrong.

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Your plan is exactly as i would do with regard to sizing and trimming to the shortest case length. I always FL size my new brass, Lapua or otherwise, because then, on the second loading, my brass will be as close as I can make it to what it was on the first. If I'm shooting long range rifle, or if I'm in the mood, I'll uniform the primer pockets and flash holes. It's pretty much a one time operation so I just get it done.~Andrew

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Neck tension seems to be I want to control more. So would you ditch the Lee dies to a bushing style die?

 

 

Ditch the Lee for a bushing die ? Depends to a degree on whether you are neck turning. If you turn the necks then a bushing die will be fine, if not, try 1) a Lee Collet die (it neck sizes only) or 2) a FLS die (without the expander), then use a mandrel. As you probably know, Wilson dies only neck size, the Wilson seater die is very good.

 

Regarding your new cases, as a minimum, run a mandrel through the case necks, it should result in greater consistency in neck tension. Use lube on the mandrel and clean inside the necks before reloading. A standard K&M expander mandrel will be fine.

 

Martin

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A very widely used combination amongst top north American 223 long-range shooters (and they know more about this number than most) is the combination of the Lee Collet on the neck and a body die, usually the Redding variety, for the shoulder setting / case-body.

 

I've used a variation of this combination with excellent results. You do usually find unfortunately with recent Lee Collets that they come out of the box with rough collet-tines and sharp edges needing a bit of polishing up before use. The Collet die has a reputation for producing very concentric necks, even 'straightening them up' where needed, but it's no good on its own with a high-pressure load in the 223 or similar cartridges as the shoulder moves forwards in a single firing never mind any more and needs 'bumping'.

 

An alternative is the Forster Bushing-Bump die, a bushing neck-sizer that also resets ('bumps') the shoulder but leaves the case walls untouched. I've used this die in some very hot loads and I'd bin the cases before needing to do a full-length body size.

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I load my Hart barreled 223 with Lee Dies. It shoots quarter inch. If you aren't happy with your rifles accuracy, you need to work it more. It's not the die's fault. Hopping into neck bushing dies and such will just add another few layers of complication.~Andrew

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There's little wrong with Lee dies if set up correctly. The world record for the smallest 1000 yard group was once set by Robert Frey using Lee Collet neck dies. I've used a home made rig using a micrometer to measure run-out pre and post sizing on a number of brass cases, using RCBS, Redding and Lee dies. I achieved the most consistent results using Lee dies, much to my surprise, with runout figures under 0.5 thou.

 

I think you've posted a similar question on another forum, to which there were a good few sensible responses about shooting practice, not additional kit, likely being of more benefit. I know that you've shot a lot, but after 30 years, I often still surprise myself when I go back to basics for things like establishing natural target line-up, correct trigger technique and lots of dry firing practice. That and improving muscle memory for shooting in the field has dramatically improved my shooting where kit wasn't the answer.

 

For new brass, I always full length re-size it irrespective of who makes it, then ensure each case is trimmed to exactly the same length. That, and batching brass by volume can be a useful start to ensuring future consistency. Starting out with even slight differences in case volume may do more to upset single figure SD values than using Lee dies. (I have managed single figure SD's by the way with my Lee dies).

 

As far as primer pockets go, nothing should be needed. I tend to uniform the flash holes from the inside using a Lyman flash hole tool just to remove any small burrs and to make sure each case is the same.

 

I'm also not sure by what you mean about the Lee dies needing a service. They're either worn out/damaged or they're not really. Nothing ought to have been messed with in terms of the collet thread and expander ball position. I just use brake parts cleaner (mainly IPA in a spray can) to clean mine out every other batch, and keep my press etc clean and lubed where needed.

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A very widely used combination amongst top north American 223 long-range shooters (and they know more about this number than most) is the combination of the Lee Collet on the neck and a body die, usually the Redding variety, for the shoulder setting / case-body.

 

I've used a variation of this combination with excellent results. You do usually find unfortunately with recent Lee Collets that they come out of the box with rough collet-tines and sharp edges needing a bit of polishing up before use. The Collet die has a reputation for producing very concentric necks, even 'straightening them up' where needed, but it's no good on its own with a high-pressure load in the 223 or similar cartridges as the shoulder moves forwards in a single firing never mind any more and needs 'bumping'.

 

An alternative is the Forster Bushing-Bump die, a bushing neck-sizer that also resets ('bumps') the shoulder but leaves the case walls untouched. I've used this die in some very hot loads and I'd bin the cases before needing to do a full-length body size.

 

Just out of interest Laurie, would using a standard Lee FL die, followed by the Collet die be a worthwhile exercise, as the shoulders then get bumped and the necks uniformed?

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Lots to think about there. Great help by all the guys on both forums. I have not had time this week to address the neck tension issue and do any reloading. Hope to get some time on Sunday.

Really appreciate the help and suggestions to improve my shooting and reloading.

Thank you

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On 8 September 2017 at 12:56 PM, Laurie said:

A very widely used combination amongst top north American 223 long-range shooters (and they know more about this number than most) is the combination of the Lee Collet on the neck and a body die, usually the Redding variety, for the shoulder setting / case-body.

 

I've used a variation of this combination with excellent results. You do usually find unfortunately with recent Lee Collets that they come out of the box with rough collet-tines and sharp edges needing a bit of polishing up before use. The Collet die has a reputation for producing very concentric necks, even 'straightening them up' where needed, but it's no good on its own with a high-pressure load in the 223 or similar cartridges as the shoulder moves forwards in a single firing never mind any more and needs 'bumping'.

 

An alternative is the Forster Bushing-Bump die, a bushing neck-sizer that also resets ('bumps') the shoulder but leaves the case walls untouched. I've used this die in some very hot loads and I'd bin the cases before needing to do a full-length body size.

Laurie

Thank you for this - I am interested in experimenting with this method to improve concentricity/run out

I have Redding comp die sets for all my main calibers so have the body/bump dies and can get hold of collet dies - What would the process here be - neck size first with the collet or bump first?? Any other tips here ... lubing for example

Many thanks

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I neck-size first then use the body die - no particular reasoning in this order and it'd likely give the same results if reversed. The Collet die doesn't need any case-lube at all, so my cases are decapped and cleaned first then neck-sized. They need lubing for body-die full-length sizing of course, this action often done at a later stage nearer to priming charging and bullet seating etc.

For Forster Bushing-Bump sizing, I've always used the merest smear of Imperial Wax Sizing lube on the neck and shoulder. Whilst the Collet type presses inwards onto a now static neck, I don't like the idea of any unlubed sliding contact between a bushing and the neck. Whether the small amount of lube on the shoulder is really required is debatable, but I've found I get very consistent shoulder set-back between cases using this method. Lightly smeared finger / thumb application and small amounts of lube involved over a limited area make for very quick and easy application / wiping it off afterwards.

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Laurie

Great - thank you, just ordered a collet die for the 308

best

James

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