Headspace and reloading

peterk123

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So I have been trying to adjust my full size die so I end up 1 to 2 thousandths headspace. But no matter how much I adjust the die I can't get there. I swear my shoulder is actually going in the wrong directing if anything. What could I be doing wrong?

This is an rcbs die on a hornady progressive. Is the shell plate the issue?

Is it possible that I'm not getting full expansion in the chamber with the first round shot out of the brass? I'm not getting consistent brass measurements before resizing.
 
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Do you have case gauge? Preferably an LE Wilson. Drop your fired cases in one and that should tell you where you stand, The RCBS precision mic is another. I use a Wilson gauge to set up every rifle sizing die I have.
 
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FWIW 1 to 2 thou’ is tight, and you need good tools to even measure that. I use the Stoney Point comparator, now sold by Hornady.

I would only go that tight on precision bolt actions, using good Forster or Redding type dies. On one really ‘tight’ F-Class rifle I need to use those various height ‘competition shell holders, in a set sold by Redding; dies setup ala Eric Cortina.

You’ll need more setback for a semi-auto, 3-4 thou’ anyways.

I also have to question if a progressive press is even capable of repeated capability for headspace that tight, but I don’t use progressives myself, at least for bottleneck cartridges.
 
FWIW 1 to 2 thou’ is tight, and you need good tools to even measure that. I use the Stoney Point comparator, now sold by Hornady.

I would only go that tight on precision bolt actions, using good Forster or Redding type dies. On one really ‘tight’ F-Class rifle I need to use those various height ‘competition shell holders, in a set sold by Redding; dies setup ala Eric Cortina.

You’ll need more setback for a semi-auto, 3-4 thou’ anyways.

I also have to question if a progressive press is even capable of repeated capability for headspace that tight, but I don’t use progressives myself, at least for bottleneck cartridges.

"I also have to question if a progressive press is even capable of repeated capability for headspace that tight"

This.

Most precision rifle loaders use a robust single stage for a reason no?
 
FWIW 1 to 2 thou’ is tight, and you need good tools to even measure that. I use the Stoney Point comparator, now sold by Hornady.

I would only go that tight on precision bolt actions, using good Forster or Redding type dies. On one really ‘tight’ F-Class rifle I need to use those various height ‘competition shell holders, in a set sold by Redding; dies setup ala Eric Cortina.

You’ll need more setback for a semi-auto, 3-4 thou’ anyways.

I also have to question if a progressive press is even capable of repeated capability for headspace that tight, but I don’t use progressives myself, at least for bottleneck cartridges.
"I also have to question if a progressive press is even capable of repeated capability for headspace that tight"

This.

Most precision rifle loaders use a robust single stage for a reason no?

Yeah, agreed, I don't think a progressive is capable of the repeated precision the OP is looking for.
 
"I also have to question if a progressive press is even capable of repeated capability for headspace that tight"

This.

Most precision rifle loaders use a robust single stage for a reason no?
I was wondering if I was asking too much of my progressive. The weak point in it is definitely the rotating shell holder.

Maybe I'm just over thinking this.
 
So I have been trying to adjust my full size die so I end up 1 to 2 thousandths headspace. But no matter how much I adjust the die I can't get there. I swear my shoulder is actually going in the wrong directing if anything. What could I be doing wrong?

This is an rcbs die on a hornady progressive. Is the shell plate the issue?

Is it possible that I'm not getting full expansion in the chamber with the first round shot out of the brass? I'm not getting consistent brass measurements before resizing.
Yes, it is possible to not get full expansion of the brass on the first firing. This leads you to be unable to push the shoulder back 1-2 thousands as the die just cannot push back once it bottoms out.

I was shooting 30-06 and had this problem through the first couple firings. I thought I was going crazy since everyone says to bump back only 1-2 thousandths. Turns out that sometimes you can’t. I don’t have super fancy dies though but I do have an RCBS precision mic to measure.

Rounds chambered fine and shot fine (not shooting super hot loads, which may contribute to the lack of expansion).

I’ll add that I can bump back range brass with the die so it really is just my rifle that does not epand tge brass as much
 
I wouldn't mind adding a good single stage press to my arsenal. I certainly load enough to justify another press. Currently I have the hornady progressive and a Lee turret. The Lee is only used for depriming. I would happily sacrifice the Lee since it's so sloppy. The progressive would then be used for my high volume handgun rounds. The single stage would be for my rifles. I really use the progressive as a single stage when loading rifle. And I use a beam scale to individually measure every load. So speed is not a priority.

What is good single stage that has no slop?
 
Yes, it is possible to not get full expansion of the brass on the first firing. This leads you to be unable to push the shoulder back 1-2 thousands as the die just cannot push back once it bottoms out.

I was shooting 30-06 and had this problem through the first couple firings. I thought I was going crazy since everyone says to bump back only 1-2 thousandths. Turns out that sometimes you can’t. I don’t have super fancy dies though but I do have an RCBS precision mic to measure.

Rounds chambered fine and shot fine (not shooting super hot loads, which may contribute to the lack of expansion).

I’ll add that I can bump back range brass with the die so it really is just my rifle that does not epand tge brass as much

Some chambers are tight. My Tikka, 2 thousands bump = new brass sizing.

@peterk123 are you expanding the neck before reloading? ... I have read that neck tension can push a bullet up a little. I don't know if this is true or not, but I expand mine. Makes it easier to seat the bullets. I also dry lube the bullets and brass.
 
You don’t say what caliber you’re reloading. I assume it’s once fired brass. You may need to trim it. It might be to long.
 
Some chambers are tight. My Tikka, 2 thousands bump = new brass sizing.

@peterk123 are you expanding the neck before reloading? ... I have read that neck tension can push a bullet up a little. I don't know if this is true or not, but I expand mine. Makes it easier to seat the bullets. I also dry lube the bullets and brass.
The full sizing die, I believe, is expanding the neck. Seating the bullet is easy. But I'm not getting that far. This is at the sizing stage. I'm not bumping the shoulder. I have some twice fired brass. Maybe there is more expansion with those.

You don’t say what caliber you’re reloading. I assume it’s once fired brass. You may need to trim it. It might be to long.
6.5 Creedmoor and 308. Yes once fired brass.
 
The full sizing die, I believe, is expanding the neck. Seating the bullet is easy. But I'm not getting that far. This is at the sizing stage. I'm not bumping the shoulder. I have some twice fired brass. Maybe there is more expansion with those.


6.5 Creedmoor and 308. Yes once fired brass.
The expander doesn't expand it enough. Unless you have one of those you can change the mandrel.

For example, I use a .2635 mandrel for expanding 6.5cm.

I don't know anything about 308.
 
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I wouldn't mind adding a good single stage press to my arsenal. I certainly load enough to justify another press. Currently I have the hornady progressive and a Lee turret. The Lee is only used for depriming. I would happily sacrifice the Lee since it's so sloppy. The progressive would then be used for my high volume handgun rounds. The single stage would be for my rifles. I really use the progressive as a single stage when loading rifle. And I use a beam scale to individually measure every load. So speed is not a priority.

What is good single stage that has no slop?
I've read the most favorable reviews of the Forster Co-ax. I'm sure there are better that are more niche but the Forster is widely available.

I use a Lyman T-7 turret press for rifle that I got in a package deal.

I know others here get good results with a progressive on rifle.
 
I wouldn't mind adding a good single stage press to my arsenal. I certainly load enough to justify another press. Currently I have the hornady progressive and a Lee turret. The Lee is only used for depriming. I would happily sacrifice the Lee since it's so sloppy. The progressive would then be used for my high volume handgun rounds. The single stage would be for my rifles. I really use the progressive as a single stage when loading rifle. And I use a beam scale to individually measure every load. So speed is not a priority.

What is good single stage that has no slop?

I do the opposite where I have a universal decapper on my single stage and use the turret for pistols and small caliber rifles only. I will use the single stage for large caliber rifles. You can lose the "sloppiness" from the turret when you set up the dies by taking the lift into consideration. The turret lifts about a 1/16th under pressure so set your dies with a little downward pressure on the handle. I also remove the center bar and rotate by hand doing things in batches as like a single stage. You can also cause some set back by slipping a mechanics feely gauge between the shell holders bottom and the shell causing it to be higher in the die. Go digital with your charges and you can get down into the hundredths for weighing.
 
I wouldn't mind adding a good single stage press to my arsenal. I certainly load enough to justify another press. Currently I have the hornady progressive and a Lee turret. The Lee is only used for depriming. I would happily sacrifice the Lee since it's so sloppy. The progressive would then be used for my high volume handgun rounds. The single stage would be for my rifles. I really use the progressive as a single stage when loading rifle. And I use a beam scale to individually measure every load. So speed is not a priority.

What is good single stage that has no slop?
Rock chucker
 
What rifle/barrels (6.5 Creed & 308)? What chamber?
The rounds you have loaded; do they not chamber at all?

I believe there is too much thinking going on. My opinion is that the bullet to lands distance, is more important than how perfectly the loaded round fits the heads pace of the chamber.
 
What rifle/barrels (6.5 Creed & 308)? What chamber?
The rounds you have loaded; do they not chamber at all?

I believe there is too much thinking going on. My opinion is that the bullet to lands distance, is more important than how perfectly the loaded round fits the heads pace of the chamber.
I agree. I'm just thinking too much about this. Reload, shoot, repeat.

Problem is though, I'm a reloader. We measue in 1/10 grain increments. It's in our nature to over think 🤔
 
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Buy one of these and you'll know where you fired brass stands and you can set up your sizing die. I use a Redding Big Boss 2 for all rifle rounds, in 30+ years of reloading I've never done not even one rifle round on anything other that a single stage press. Shit, I do most all of my magnum revolver rounds on the Big Boss as well.
cartridge case gage-3.jpg
 
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I've read the most favorable reviews of the Forster Co-ax. I'm sure there are better that are more niche but the Forster is widely available.

I use a Lyman T-7 turret press for rifle that I got in a package deal.

I know others here get good results with a progressive on rifle.

Rock chucker

KM Arbor press with Wilson seating die for the win.
 
OP, have you considered neck sizing only?

I went down the "precision reloading" rabbit hole years ago. Farthest I can shoot around here is 300 so nowadays I just FL size everything. I got more money tied up in shit I don't use with respect to reloading tools. Neck reamers, flash hole de-burring tools, competitions shell holder sets, meplat trimmers, case concentricity checkers, neck sizing dies and bushings, can't forget the bushings, etc. I hardly use any of it....but it all made sense at the time lol.
 
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OP, have you considered neck sizing only?
I have, but everything most I've read leads toward full sizing. My primary focus with the rifles is hunting but my practice is taking me out to 600 yards. Plus, I find these little reloading challenges fun. I learn a lot by tweaking things. I'm like this with everything.
 
I have, but everything most I've read leads toward full sizing. My primary focus with the rifles is hunting but my practice is taking me out to 600 yards. Plus, I find these little reloading challenges fun. I learn a lot by tweaking things. I'm like this with everything.
Yes, you want full sizing.

Only enough to bump the shoulder back 2 thousands.

With my 6.5, 2 thousands is literally back to new brass specs. The rifle is accurate AF, so I don't care. I too only use it for hunting, but like to get 1/4 - 1/2 MOA out to 600. Because I can.

If the ammo is accurate, don't think too much about it. Precision long range shooting can drive you crazy if you let it.
 
Funny, I should sub-F class, 308 limited to 600-yards @ Reading R&R, loading on an old Lee turret press ( Reading dies) that now has the 4-hole turret, and is 1/2-MOA or better all the way baby …

Using loads developed by Dan N.’s ‘OCW’ method, that’s 10-shots @ 200Y, of which I have corrected the left to right dispersion, which was caused by shoulder pressure on the bipod …

Like others said, you can make the turret work, it is far too easy to go down a rabbit hole or to overthink this!


0872D467-D41E-4F63-8F2D-9D37AC504616.jpeg
 
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