August 27th, 2018

How to Expand Cartridge Brass in Stages with Progressive Press

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press
Photos from DJ’s Brass Service.

Have you ever expanded a .22 or 6mm cartridge all the way up to .30-caliber? If so, you know this can be a difficult procedure that stresses the case necks and neck-shoulder junction. A significant neck-size expansion done in one big jump can increase run-out, cause doughnuts, or worse yet, even split the brass. Therefore you want to proceed in increments, increasing the neck diameter in stages. One smart way to do that is to use a Progressive Press. This article explains how…

The most successful short-range brenchrest-for-score cartridge is the 30 BR. That cartridge, as well as 30 BR variants such as the 30 BRX, all start with the 6mmBR Norma parent cartridge, typically with Lapua 6mmBR brass. To get a nice 30 BR case you want to expand in stages, increasing the inside neck diameter incrementally from .243 to .308.

Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service creates thousands of 30 BR cases each year. He has found a clever way to speed up the process — Darrell uses a Progressive Press. He runs his 6BR brass through four (4) separate Hornady neck-sizing dies with expander mandrels. First there is a .257 die, followed by .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and then .308. Then a fifth and final K&M die provides one last, slight expansion so the newly-fashioned 30 BR cases perfectly fit the arbor of Darrell’s neck-turning tool.

So to repeat, the case starts as .243 (6mm), then moves in up stages .257, .264, .284, and .308, with a final “finishing” step prior to neck-turning. You can see the expansion in this video, which starts with 6mmBR brass that was first hydro-formed to 6 BRX:

Watch 6mm Cases Expanded to 30-Caliber (6BRX to 30 BRX)

For this demo video, Darrell expands just one case at a time. However, he can also put multiple cases in the progressive — one per station. This takes a little more effort, Darrell says, but the results are still excellent. Darrell tells us: “I do put multiple cases in the progressive to save time. The results are the same — I just wanted to show a single-step process and how it reduces run-out by not stressing the shoulder with one big expansion from 6mm straight to 30 caliber. Doing the operation in multiple stages avoids binds and helps keep the shoulders concentric.”

This same multi-stage procedure can be use to expand other cartridge types. For example you could take .221 Fireball brass in stages up to .308 to create 300 Blackout brass.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Darrell uses caliber-specific, Hornady neck-sizing-only dies with elliptical expanders. Darrell tells us: “The Hornady elliptical expander has a reduced bearing surface that puts less strain on the brass when expanding the necks to the next size.” The fitting at the bottom of the die is the Lock-N-Load die bushing that allows fast die changes.

These particular cases used in the video were first hydro-formed to 6BRX then expanded to 30 BRX before neck turning. DJ’s Brass offers hydro-forming for many popular wildcat cartridges such as 6 PPC, 6mm Dasher, and .284 Shehane.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
March 20th, 2012

Wow — Claunch Shoots 0.156 MOA, 0.981" Group at 600 Yards

Tim Claunch 6BRX“Holy Mother of Mercy…” was this Editor’s reaction when I saw the “screamer” group shot by Forum member Tim Claunch this weekend in Memphis, at the inaugural MSSA 600-yard IBS match. Shooting his amazingly accurate 6BRX Light Gun, Tim nailed a 0.981″ group, centered up for an impressive 50-2X score. Conditions were favorable, with a light 3-5 mph wind and 70° temps. Shooting on the first target, first relay, Tim took his final sighter with 10 seconds to go, then drilled five shots “right down the middle” in about 20-25 seconds. The results were spectacular. Tim’s 0.981″ group works out to 0.156 MOA, and three of the shots clustered in about half an inch! This isn’t a new IBS small group record (Sam Hall holds that record with a mind-blowing 0.699″/50 shot in 2010), but it is still one of the best centered-up groups ever shot in IBS 600-yard competition.

Tim was shooting the same 6BRX we featured last month in the Daily Bulletin. It has a 26″ Bartlein 1.250″ straight contour barrel fitted to a Borden action in a Shehane fiberglass Tracker stock. Tim was running Varget powder with CCI 450 primers and pointed Berger 105gr VLD bullets. Tim anneals his Lapua brass after every firing though he does NOT uniform his primer pockets or ream flash-holes.


Just how impressive was Tim’s 0.981″, 50-score-value group?
Well, consider this comment from Forum member JeffG
:

A .981″ group at 600 yards = .981/6.2832 = (H#LY $H*T) = .156 MOA…

Try doing that at 600 yards with wind and mirage and who knows how many little flying insects that might potentially disrupt the bullet… pulling the trigger when the crosshairs are at EXACTLY the same spot (give or take 1/10th the thickness of the crosshairs) EVERY TIME.

CLICK Buttons to HEAR Tim Claunch Talk about Shooting his 0.981″ group.
Music Player Format
(1.7 meg)
QuickTime Mpeg Sound Format
(880 kb)

With his 0.981″ small group, Tim did take top honors for Light Gun Group. However, he had one shot go wide on another target that raised his Light Gun Group Agg to 2.335″. You’d think that would be good enough to win, but a shooter from Birmingham, Alabama posted a 2.299″ Agg to claim the best Light Gun Agg for the day. Charlie Macke won Heavy Gun group and HG score. The Two-Gun Overall winner was Forum member Stephen Hall. Congrats to all the great shooters at the inaugural MSSA event.

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
May 4th, 2011

Whitley Offers 6mmBRX Redding Sizing and Seating Dies

The 6mmBRX (6BRX) is an outstanding cartridge that has set world records and harvested many trophies. Just last week Peter White used his 6BRX to win the NBRSA 600-yard Nationals convincingly. Peter loves his 6BRX, but he has one gripe — he must use two different dies to size his cases because a standard 6mmBR die won’t reach down far enough. White uses a .308 Win or .243 Win die to size the bottom of his 6BRX case then finishes up with his 6mmBR FL bushing die.

Redding 6BRX Dies Available Soon
Now 6BRX shooters have a single-step solution — Redding 6BRX dies. Robert Whitley has commissioned a special run of Redding 6BRX dies. Robert will offer a Redding Type ‘S’ full-length sizing die that will size the whole case, with bushing control over the neck. What’s more, Redding 6BRX micrometer-top Comp Seaters will also be available. Robert, who runs 6mmAR.com, expects these special-order Redding 6BRX dies to arrive within a few weeks. This is a very limited run of 6BRX dies, and Redding is not currently selling them through other sources. So if you want a Redding 6BRX Type ‘S’ FL sizer or Comp Seater die, you’d better contact Robert soon. Order through:

AR-X Enterprises, LLC (Attn: Robert Whitley)
Phone: (215) 348-8789
Email: rcw3 [at] erols.com

6BRX Cartridge Basics
The 6BRX is a modified version of the 6mmBR Norma case. The 6BRX has the shoulder blown forward about 0.100″, but it retains the same 30° shoulder angle of the parent case, and the same sidewall angle. You can use “normal” 6mmBR dies for the 6BRX — that’s one of its appealing factors — but the 6mmBR full-length sizer will miss part of the bottom of the case down near the web.

To compensate for this, many 6BRX shooters full-length size their brass first with a .308 Win or .243 Win FL Die, and then switch to a 6BR die. That system works, but it creates unnecessary steps. With a dedicated 6BRX sizing die, you can size the whole case in one pass, so you don’t need to use two dies. The $89.95 Redding Type ‘S’ Full-length bushing die sold by Whitley is one-die sizing solution that works. Whitley will also offer a package of the 6BRX Type ‘S’ FL sizing die plus a Redding Comp Seater for $199.95. That gives you a complete set of dies for your 6BRX wildcat.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 24th, 2009

Lambeth Builds a Tack-Driving Savage Prone Rifle

North Carolina-based gunsmith Nat Lambeth is one of the gurus of the Savage world. He has built many highly competitive match rifles using Savage actions, employing his special accurizing methods. Nat recently built up a 6 BRX prone rifle using Gary Eliseo’s new S1 Savage Chassis. The 6 BRX, a 6BR improved with 30° shoulder, can be a very accurate cartridge, as demonstrated by Nat’s new rifle. Right out of the gate, this gun shot an 0.290 five-shot group during barrel break-in.

Savage Prone Rifle Eliseo

The rifle features a Savage Target action, factory Accutrigger, and a very accurate 32.5″, 8-twist Broughton 5C™ barrel. The load was Lapua 6BR brass hydraulically formed to 6 BRX, 32.5 grains of Hodgdon Varget, Wolf (Russian) SRM primers, and a Berger 105gr VLD bullet.

Nat really likes the 6 BRX chambering in a long-range prone rifle: “The 6mm BRX is like a 6mmBR on steroids. The whole purpose of the 6mm BRX and 6mm Dasher is to make the 6mmBR a better round for 600-1000 yard shooting. The have the advantages of the 6mmBR with a little more velocity. Most folks who shoot a 6mm BRX fire-form their 6mmBR brass by seating the bullets in the rifling and loading the 6mmBR case with a 90% load. The case expands into the larger chamber making a 6mmBR case now a 6mm BRX. [For this gun] I used my new Hornady Hydraulic Forming Die. [Editor: the hydraulic die will form the cases to about 95% of final shape using just the die, a water-filled case, and a mallet.] As you can see, the hydraulic die allowed me to start off with a standard 6mm BRX load from the get go. For optimum accuracy, barrel life, and case life the 6mm BRX seems to have an accuracy node between 3000 fps and 3080 fps.

Another factor is that the Broughton barrels seem to give about 100-150 fps more velocity. Almost every Broughton barrel that I have chambered seem to gain a little velocity after the first 200 rounds. I have chambered the 6mm BRX with most other barrel manufacturers and they all have shot well. This is a very sweet round.”

Savage Prone Rifle Eliseo

If you want to check out this rifle, head to the 2009 F-Class Nationals at Camp Butner, Sept. 30 – October 4. Nat explains: “This rifle will be at Butner for the F-Class Nationals and future matches and practices. I will have it and ammo available for those who would like to shoot it during the practice sessions both as a 6mm BRX and .308 Win.” For more info, call Nat Lambeth at (919) 556-0554 (Home/shop — evenings and weekends), (919) 662-6848 (cell), or email NLambeth [at] embarqmail.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »