March 16th, 2018

Reloading Gear Review: Lyman Case Prep Xpress

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.

The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.

Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.

In the 5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons

GOOD Features
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Compact Footprint

Not-So-Good Features
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty

Reviews by Verified Purchasers

“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.

“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis

“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule

“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles

Lyman Case Prep XpressYou can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $100.00 at Amazon and under $120.00 at Brownells, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs over $450.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.

Case Prep Xpress $99.99 at Amazon
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Amazon, which sells the Lyman unit for $99.99, with free shipping.

Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 2nd, 2018

Add 3-Way Case Mouth Cutter to Your Forster Trimmer

three-way three in one cutter

We know many of you guys have a Forster case trimmer (hand lathe) sitting on your reloading bench. This tool does a good job of trimming cases to length. But did you know that an inexpensive accessory will allow your Forster case trimmer to chamfer while it cuts? Here’s the skinny on the 3-way head for the Forster case trimmer.

Tool Cuts Brass to Length, and Chamfers Inside and Outside
Forster’s 3-in-1 Carbide Case Mouth Cutter works with all existing Forster case trimmers. This unit does three jobs at the same time. It trims the case to length, it puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. It does this all quickly and efficiently — in a matter of a few seconds. We tested the new tool ourselves on a few cases. The tool is solid and well made. The carbide cutting tips do perform a very clean cut. Be aware, however, if you have turned your necks already, you may have to reset the blade positions before you start trimming your brass.

Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 case trimming/chamfering tool in the video above. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter). The actual cutting time, per case, is just a few seconds. The tool has an MSRP of $88.00, but it sells for around $65.00 to $70.00 at major vendors. Forster’s 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool works with all existing Forster case trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter. The unit fits over the cutter shaft and secures with one set screw. The 3-in-1 cutter is available for five (5) calibers: .224, .243 (6mm), .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and .308.

Forster Case neck trimmer chamferer

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January 17th, 2018

For Smoother Bullet Seating — Try Dry Lube Inside Case Necks

Forster original caseneck case neck brass dry mica lube lubricator system

If you want smoother bullet seating, inside neck lube can help. Forum member Ackleyman II likes to add a little Mica powder inside his case necks before seating bullets. This is easily done with the Forster three-brush neck lube kit. Ackleyman tells us: “Many loads that I have will not shoot well with a dry neck compared to a neck that is cleaned and lubed with this [Forster Dry Lubricator] — the best $15 you have ever spent.”

The Forster Case Neck Lubricator features three brushes attached to a tough, impact-resistant case with holes for bench mounting. The brushes accommodate all calibers from 22 to 35 caliber. The kit includes enough “motor mica” to process 2000 to 3000 cases and has a cover to keep dust and grit from contaminating the mica. By moving the case neck up and down on the correct mica-covered brush, the neck can be cleaned and lubricated at the same time.

Function: Lubricate case necks for easier resizing
Contents: Kit with base, lid, and three nylon brushes
Lubricant: Includes 1/10 oz. of Motor Mica, enough to process 2000-3000 cases

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
November 16th, 2017

The Custom-Honed Full-Length Die — Why You May Want One

Honed FL Forster Whidden Full-length dies
For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die. Shown here are three Forster full-length sizing dies, with necks honed to three different dimensions: 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.

The Honed Full-Length Sizing Die Option

There are many good options in full-length (FL) sizing dies. Most precision hand-loaders prefer FL dies with neck bushings. These let you adjust the “grip” on your bullet by using larger or smaller bushings. FL bushing dies are available from Whidden Gunworks, Forster, Redding and other makers.

Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. But many conventional non-bushing FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively.

There is another effective option, one that promises extremely low run-out. The honed FL die is a full-length sizing die that has the necked honed to provide a precise fit to the case-neck. When done right, honed FL dies produce extremely straight ammo — as there are no issues with bushing alignment (or bushings that are not perfectly concentric). This Editor owns honed dies from Forster, Redding, and Whidden. They all perform extremely well, delivering match ammunition with extremely low run-out measured with a 21st Century Concentricity Gauge.

In one of the most popular articles we’ve ever published, Bugholes from Bipod, California shooter “Froggy” explained why he prefers honed dies for his tactical ammo.

Q: Do you FL size every time? Do you use custom dies?

Absolutely, I full length resize all of my brass every time I reload. And guess what? I’ve never had a feeding problem.

I do use a modified sizing die, without bushings. My FL resizing die has been custom-honed in the neck area to give .0015″ press fit on the bullet. I also put a slightly larger radius at the neck shoulder junction. I feel that this helps to seal the chamber. With this die, I get consistent neck tension every time–without bushings. Bushings are useful when you’re fishing around for a good load. But once you find the right amount of sizing for ideal neck tension, you can do this better with a customized FL die.

6.5 Guys Review Forster Honed Full-length Dies
The 6.5 Guys recently reviewed honed FL sizing dies from Forster, explaining the pros and cons of this type of reloading die. They explained that, if you load a wide variety of bullets from different manufacturers, you many want to stick with a Bushing FL die. However, if you have settled on a particular bullet and found the “ideal” neck tension, then a honed die may make sense.

In this Gear Update, the 6.5 Guys discuss a service offered by Forster Products to custom hone the neck diameter of its full-length sizing dies to the customer’s specifications (to the thousandth). Whidden Gunworks also offers custom-honed FL dies.

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January 3rd, 2017

Cortina’s Corner — Video Review of Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

Co-ax Forster press

Forum member Erik Cortina has produced a series of YouTube videos about reloading hardware and precision hand-loading. This week we feature Erik’s video review of the Forster Co-Ax® reloading press. The Co-Ax is unique in both design and operation. It features dual guide rods and a central handle. You don’t screw in dies — you slide the die lock ring into a slot. This allows dies to float during operation.

Erik does a good job of demonstrating the Co-Ax’s unique features. At 1:00 he shows how to slide the dies into the press. It’s slick and easy. At the two-minute mark, Erik shows how sliding jaws clasp the case rim (rather than a conventional shell-holder). The jaws close as the ram is raised, then open as it is lowered. This makes it easy to place and remove your cases.

At the 5:20 mark, Erik shows how spent primers run straight down into a capture cup. This smart system helps keep your press and bench area clean of primer debris and residues.

While many Co-Ax users prime their cases by hand, the Co-Ax can prime cases very reliably. The priming station is on top of the press. Erik demonstrates the priming operation starting at 4:20.

Co-ax Forster press

Smart Accessories for the Co-Ax from Inline Fabrications
Lapua’s Kevin Thomas also owns a Co-Ax press, which he has hot-rodded with accessories from Inline Fabrications. Kevin tells us: “Check out the add-ons available from Inline Fabrications for the Co-Ax. I recently picked up a riser mount and a set of linkages for mine and love the results. The linkages are curved. When you replace the original straight links with these, the work area opens up substantially and the the press becomes much easier to feed.” CLICK HERE for Co-Ax Accessories.

Inline Fabrications Forster Co-Ax Accessories

Forster Co-Ax Curved Side Linkage
(For Better Access)

CLICK HERE

Forster Co-Ax Ultramount
(Riser plus Bin Support)

CLICK HERE

Co-Ax Roller Lever (Short)

CLICK HERE

Dual LED Lighting Kit for Co-Ax

CLICK HERE

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November 19th, 2016

Cortina’s Corner: Using the Giraud Power Trimmer

Trimming and chamfering brass are tasks hand-loaders grow to hate. Those chores are time-consuming and tiresome. Thankfully there are faster, better alternatives to manual trimming/chamfering. In this article, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to use the Giraud tool which trims and chamfers in one operation. Erik has his own YouTube Channel dedicated to precision reloading and accurizing. Here we feature Erik’s video about the “mother of all brass trimmers”, the Giraud powered case trimmer. Erik says: “If you do volume reloading… this is the only trimmer to get. It not only trims to length but it also chamfers your case mouth inside and out.” In his video, Erik offers some very clever and useful tips that will help you get the most from your Giraud.

This is a manufacturer’s photo showing an older model.
Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud trimmer is very precise. When set up correctly, it can trim brass with amazing consistency. In the video, Erik trims five pieces of brass in 15 seconds (6:32 mark). He then measures all five with precision calipers (7:00-8:08). All lengths are exact within .0005 (half a thousandth). Erik notes that the Giraud trimmer indexes off the case shoulder. As long as you have fire-formed brass with consistent base-to-shoulder dimensions, you should get very consistent trim lengths.

The secret to the system is a 3-way cutting head. This cutter can be swapped in and out in a couple minutes with wrenches provided with the kit. Erik has three different heads; one each for 6.5mm, 7mm, and .30 caliber. The video shows how to adjust the cutting heads to match caliber diameter (and to get the desired amount of inside/outside chamfer).

To trim and chamfer cases, you simply insert them nose-first into the cartridge-specific case-holder. Erik offers a smart tip — He uses a die locking ring to position the cartridge holder (3:15). This can be locked in place. Erik says die locking rings work much better than the hex-nuts provided by Giraud (with the hex-nut, one must re-set cut length each time you change case-holders.)

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud can be used in either horizontal or vertical modes. Erik prefers to have the trimmer aligned vertically, allowing him to push cases down on the trimmer head. But the trimming unit has twin sets of rubber feet, allowing horizontal or vertical orientation.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Improved Case-Holder Made with Chamber Reamer:
For his .284 Shehane, Erik had to create his own case-holder (Giraud does not make one for that wildcat cartridge). Erik used his chamber reamer. To his surprise, Erik found that the brass was easier to trim in the custom case holder (compared to the Giraud-made spring-loaded holders). With a perfect fit, trimming and case extraction went more smoothly and the process was easier on his hands. (See 9:00-10:00). Based on Erik’s experience, you may want to create your own custom case-holder.

Trim Bullet Meplats Also
With a special bullet-holder fitting and meplat cutter head, the Giraud power trimmer can be used to trim bullet meplats. Trimming meplats can help make the Ballistic Coefficents of a batch of bullets more consistent. Uniforming meplats is also often done as a first step in the process of “tipping” bullets to improve BC.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Giraud Power Trimmer

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November 8th, 2015

Reloading Press Comparison: Rock Chucker vs. Co-Ax vs. Summit

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target Shooter

“The press is the heart of the handloading operation, also traditionally the most expensive single tool employed…” — Laurie Holland

British competitive shooter Laurie Holland has reviewed three popular, single-stage reloading presses for Target Shooter Magazine (targetshooter.co.uk). Laurie bolted up a Forster Co-Ax, RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme, and RCBS Summit to his reloading bench and put the three presses through their paces. These three machines are very different in design and operation. The venerable Rock Chucker is a classic heavy, cast-iron “O”- type press that offers lots of leverage for tough jobs. The smaller RCBS Summit press is an innovative “upside-down” design with a large center column and open front. It offers a small footprint and easy case access from the front. The Co-Ax is unique in many respects — dies slide in and out of the upper section which allows them to “float”. The cartridge case is held in the lower section by spring-loaded jaws rather than a conventional shell-holder.

READ Laurie Holland Reloading Press 3-Way Comparison Review

If you are considering purchasing any one of these three presses, you should read Laurie’s article start to finish. He reviews the pros and cons of each press, after processing three different brands of brass on each machine. He discusses ergonomics, easy of use, press leverage, smoothness, priming function, and (most importantly), the ability to produce straight ammo with low run-out. The review includes interesting data on case-neck run-out (TIR) for RWS, Federal, and Norma 7x57mm brass.

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target ShooterReview Quick Highlights:

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
“My expectations of the antediluvian RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme’s performance weren’t over high to be honest as I mounted it in the place of the Summit. As soon as I sized the first of the stretched RWS cases though, I saw why this press has been such a long-running favorite. The workload was considerably reduced compared to the other two presses and doing 40-odd cases took no time at all with little sweat — it just eats hard-to-size brass.”

RCBS Summit Press
“Despite its massive build and long-stroke operating handle, [the Summit] took more sweat than I’d expected, even if it was somewhat less work than with the Co-Ax. Although the Summit is apparently massive, I noticed that the die platform would tilt fractionally under the heaviest strains[.] It is nevertheless a very pleasant press in use and bullet seating was a doddle — the few examples tried proving very concentric on checking them afterwards. The optional short handle would be valuable for this task.”

Forster Co-Ax
“[On the Co-Ax], the operating handle is above the machine, located centrally here [with] twin steel links at the top end of the press dropping down to the moving parts. The Co-Ax incorporates a number of novel features, principally its automatic and multi-case compatible shell-holder assembly with spring-loaded sliding jaws, very neat spent primer arrangements that allow hardly any gritty residues to escape and foul the moving parts and, the snap-in/out die fitment that allows rapid changes and also sees the die ‘float’ in relation to the case giving very concentric results. I own this press and it meets my handloading needs very well.”

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
August 16th, 2015

Case-Neck Chamfer Tools — Pick Your Angle

There are a wide variety of reloading tools designed to cut a slight chamfer in case necks and deburr the edge of the case mouth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for an effective tool. A basic “rocket-style” 45° chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad (or steel wool) to smooth the edge of the cut. The $17.49 Forster chamfer tool, shown below, is a nicely-made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers.

forster rocket 45 degree neck chamferer chamfer tool

Many folks feel they can get smoother bullet seating by using a tool that cuts at a steeper angle. We like the 22° cutter sold by Lyman. It has a comfortable handle, and costs just $10.45 at MidsouthShooterssupply.com. The Lyman tool is an excellent value, though we’ve seen examples that needed sharpening even when new. Blade-sharpening is easily done, however.

Sinclair International offers a 28° carbide chamferer with many handy features (and sharp blades). The $29.99 Sinclair Carbide VLD Case Mouth Chamfering Tool will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. This tool features a removable 28° carbide cutter mounted in the green plastic Sinclair handle. NOTE: A hex-shaft cutter head power adapter can be purchased separately for $14.99 (Sinclair item 749-002-488WS). This can be chucked in a power screwdriver or used with the Sinclair Case Prep Power Center when doing large volumes of cases.

K&M makes a depth-adjustable, inside-neck chamferer (“Controlled Depth Tapered Reaper”) with ultra-sharp cutting flutes. The latest version, which costs $45.00 at KMShooting.com, features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. In addition, the tool has a newly-designed handle, improved depth-stop fingers, plus a new set-screw adjustment for precise cutter depth control. We caution, even with all the depth-control features, if you are not very careful, it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. We think that most reloaders will get better results using a more conventional chamfer tool, such as the Forster or Lyman.

K & M K&M neck chamferer reamer controlled depth

One last thing to note — tools like the K&M and the Sinclair chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers. That is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 22° or 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though — so long as you make a smooth cut.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 8 Comments »
February 20th, 2015

Forster Co-Ax Presses are In-Stock at Grafs.com

If you have been patiently waiting to acquire a Forster Co-Ax® reloading press, now’s the time to strike. These popular presses have been out-of-stock for months, but now Grafs.com has Co-Ax presses in the warehouse and ready to ship. Price is $319.99. That includes shipping charges (but there is a flat $7.95 additional handling charge per order).

Grafs.com Graf sons sale coax co-ax forster press sale

If you aren’t familiar with the unique design and function of the Forster Co-Ax Press, watch this video by Forum member Erik Cortina:

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 19th, 2014

Tips on Case-Trimming from PMA Tool

The folks at PMA Tool, makers of arbor presses, neck-turning tools, and other case-prep tools, offer some good advice about case trimming on the PMA Tool Blog. Here we reprint a PMA blog post that explains case trimming basics and helps you choose the right case-trimming tool for your needs.

Case Trimming Basics
Trimming the cartridge case to the proper length is a crucial step in case preparation that should not be overlooked or underestimated. The cartridge case or the rifle can be damaged, or even worse you get badly injured. In most instances cases should be trimmed after firing and sizing. Trimming new brass is necessary for a lot of wildcats and can be beneficial in some instances, but by and large, trimming new brass is not necessary for most situations (unless you are neck-turning). Cases should be trimmed after you have sized the case, because the expander ball on the decapping pin can (and will) stretch the neck. Those of us who neck size should get into the habit of trimming after sizing as well. This is a good rule of thumb to go by, and hopefully it will keep you safe during the reloading and shooting process.

There are so many case trimmers out there that work, deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Even though I have trimmed thousands of cases, using about every method possible, I can’t answer the question of what case trimmer is right for you because of all the variables that may be involved. I can, however shed some light on the subject.

Wilson Micrometer Case Trimmer

The two most popular designs of trimmers either index (1) off the base or the head of the case, (2) off the shoulder or datum line of the case. There are pros and cons to each and it all depends on what you are willing to live with.

Indexing off the Base (Case Head)
Let’s talk about the first one I have listed, indexing off the base, or the head of the case. The pros to this method are that you can achieve a very accurate over all length and that is after all, what it is all about. The cons to this method are that you can get some variation doing it this way. Let me explain, the base is not always square to the body or can be damaged during firing especially if it is fired through a military style rifle with a very aggressive ejector. These cases should be discarded, but sometimes they can be overlooked. This condition can lead to an over all length that is incorrect. The case head being out of square will be corrected upon firing, however that case will wind up being shorter than the rest of your cases, possibly creating a difference in the neck tension on the bullet. The more you can do to eliminate variables in your reloads the better off you are going to be. This method can also be very slow, and if the user gets careless the result will be a inconsistent over all length.

Forster Case Trimmer

Indexing off the Shoulder (Datum Line)
The second method I mentioned, trimming off the shoulder or the datum line of the case, has its pros as well. I have found this to be the quickest of the methods and very accurate as well. After the case has been sized through the die the dimensions (particularly the headspace) of the cases are usually very uniform and exact, this allows the case to be trimmed by indexing off the shoulder. This method can be done very quickly, by hand, or by powering either the case, or the trimmer. You also don’t have to worry about the case heads being out of square with the body using this method. Generally the trimming time is cut in half, and this leads to greater focus on the job, without becoming careless. [Editor’s Note: The World’s Finest Trimmer (WFT) is one power device that indexes off the shoulder datum. It works fast and is very precise. The new WFT 2 Model with interchangeable trim chambers works with multiple cartridge types.]

Little Crow WFT

Summary
The choice is yours to make. I hope that this was some help to you, whether you are looking for your first trimmer or looking to replace the trimmer you have. Just remember to always put safety first and accuracy second, and you will start making little bug holes in no time.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. User Submissions are welcome.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
December 17th, 2012

Full-Length Sizing Die Set-Up — Tip from Sinclair International

How to Set Up Your Full Length Sizing Die
by Ron Dague, Sinclair International Technician
From Sinclair’s Reloading Press Blog

At Sinclair International, we are often asked for a fool-proof method to set up a full-length sizing die, and begin reloading our fired cases. The method used by many target shooters today is to set up your full length die to closely match your rifle chamber and minimally full-length size your cases –as little as .001″ for bolt-action rifles. I prefer to use this method for all of my bolt-action cartridges.

STEP ONE
I like to de-prime five (5) cases (de-prime only, do not full length resize) and measure from the base of the case to the shoulder with our Sinclair Comparator Body (09-1000) and Bump Gage Insert(09-10200). We refer to this as our headspace measurement. Our Electronic Caliper (#MIC-14) works well and may be pre-set at .000” making this headspace measurement easy to capture. The Sinclair Comparator/Gauge Body and Bump Gage Inserts make this task fairly simple. L.E. Wilson Tools & Gages, Hornady Manufacturing, and RCBS all make similar units to achieve your headspace measurement.

-"HornadySTEP TWO
With your full-length die threaded into your reloading press, loosen the lock ring and run the press ram up toward the full length die with a shell holder in place (with no case). Then, screw the die toward the shell holder until it stops. Back the die out of the press and away from the shell holder one full turn and set the lock ring finger tight.

STEP THREE
Lubricate each of the cases with your favorite sizing lube (my favorite is Imperial Sizing Die Wax) and resize a case. Again, take a headspace measurement from base to shoulder. [When running the case up into the die, be sure the press ram moves the full limit of its upward travel.] If there’s no change in the measurement from the fired dimension, loosen the die lock ring and turn the full length sizing die downward 1/8 of a turn. [Editor’s Note: You’ll need to use smaller turn amounts as you get close to the desired amount of bump. We suggest moving just a few degrees of die rotation at a time once you’ve reached the point where the die hits the shoulder without moving it back.] Now repeat the sizing process with a second lubricated case and take the measurement again. Keep rotating the die downward gradually (in small increments) and repeat the case sizing process until you see approx-imately .001”-.002” reduction to your fired headspace measurement. We prefer a headspace reduction of approximately .001″ – .002″ for bolt action rifles and .003″ – .005″ for semi-auto rifles. You can adjust to your rifle as to what works best. Don’t forget to load 10 rounds or so and try them from the rifle’s magazine to make sure they function properly.

Full-length Sizing vs. Neck-Sizing
Just a quick word on neck sizing…..I have personally never been a big fan of neck sizing. Often times when I put neck sized cases back in the rifle, the bolt would close with some drag, or it would be a bit “snug”. This was mostly recognized with factory rifles. I didn’t have any problems with accuracy, just with cycling the action for a follow up shot. If your rifle is custom chambered with the action straightened and trued, neck sizing will work well on 4-5 firing’s and then you will need to full length size or use a body die to set the shoulders back when the cases begin to “stick”. Hope these tips help make the use of a headspace gauge and full length die set up much easier.

Ron Dague
Sinclair Tech and Reloading Instructor
800-717-8211
rond@sinclairintl.com

Reloading Tip Courtesy Sinclair Int’l; Story Sourced by Edlongrange
Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
November 15th, 2012

Bushing Dies and Honed Full-Length Sizing Dies

Redding Titanium TiNi BushingsWe were recently asked: “What size neck bushing is best for Lapua 6mmBR brass in a ‘no-turn’ chamber?” The questioner planned to purchase a Redding Type ‘S’ full-length sizing die with neck bushings. The quick answer is that one should probably get 0.265, 0.266, and 0.267 bushings and see what works best.

Using current “Blue Box” Lapua brass, a loaded 6BR round with an unturned neck will typically run about 0.2680-0.2685 (depending on the bullet). A 0.266 neck bushing, after springback, will give about 0.0015 tension which can work well in a bolt gun. NOTE: With the older “Brown Box” Lapua Brass, the neckwalls are slightly thicker, so you may want to start with a .267 bushing. Remember, however, that with either older or newer Lapua brass you may want to experiment. Some bullets prefer more tension than others. And, you may find that it is useful to tweak neck tension slightly if you make major changes in seating depth during load development. In a gas gun, such as an AR15, you probably want .003 or more tension.

Alternative to Bushings — Honed Full-Length dies
Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die — so long as the neck tension is correct. But many FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively. Forster offers a simple, inexpensive solution — honing the neck diameter to whatever size you want.

If you purchase a Forster non-bushing, full-length sizing die, Forster will hone the neck dimension to your specs for $12.00 extra (plus shipping). This way you can have a FL die that provides the right amount of tension for your particular load. (The max amount of diameter change Forster can do is about .008″) Forster dies are relatively inexpensive so you can afford to have a couple of FL dies with necks honed to different diameters — such as 0.266″ and 0.267″ for a no-turn 6mmBR. The die itself is fairly inexpensive — currently Sinclair Int’l charges $33.99 for a Forster 6mmBR full-length sizing die (Forster Part # 018121).


Forster FL dies, necks honed to .265″, .266″, and .267″.

Steve Rasmussen of IowaHighPower.com gave this a try. In fact, he had three dies made — each with a different neck dimension. Here’s his report: “My original Forster 6BR FL die sized the necks down a lot [to about 0.260″]. I sent my die in and asked if they could supply two more FL dies (for three total) to have the necks honed to 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.” In addition to the purchase cost of two more FL-sizing dies, Steve paid $36 ($12 per die) for the three dies to be honed, plus about $12 for return shipping.

The table below shows the neck diameter range of 10 sized cases using each die. [NOTE: This is with older “Brown Box” Lapua brass!] Brass springback after sizing is running 1 to 1.3 thousandths. My loaded rounds are running 0.2697-0.2699 using Lapua I bought last year. So far the dies are working well. I sized 80 cases with the 0.266″ necked die. The shoulder is running 0.4582″ and 0.300″ up from the base is 0.4684". I spun 20 of ‘em and 16 had a runout of one thousandth (0.001) and the other 4 at 1.5 thousandths (0.0015).”

Die Diameter Sized Brass Springback Neck Tension
0.267 Die 0.2683-0.2684 0.0013 0.0014
0.266 Die 0.2672-0.2674 0.0013 0.0025
0.265 Die 0.2659-0.2660 0.0010 0.0039
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 8 Comments »
May 14th, 2012

Specialized Products for 50 BMG Shooters

Alliant 50 BMG PowderAlliant’s Powder for 50-Caliber Applications
In 2009 Alliant unveiled Reloder 50, a new powder designed for long-range, 50-caliber rifle shooters. According to Alliant, the burn rate is “a little slower than Winchester 860″ and the powder is showing excellent lot-to-lot consistency. Load density is optimized for the 50 BMG and similar cases. Like Reloder 17, Reloder 50 employs a process which penetrates the kernels with the burn-rate-controlling chemical. This should allow a longer, flatter pressure curve, yielding more velocity than conventional powders can deliver. Alliant says that Reloder 50 offers “superior velocity and the ability to burn cleaner (with less residue).” Reloder 50 comes in both 1-lb (#150527) and 8-lb (#150528) containers.

Giraud 50 BMG Case/Bullet Comparator
Giraud Tool makes a comparator for 50-Cal cartridges. The double-ended comparator is quite versatile. In one orientation you can measure base-to-ogive bullet length and also measure cartridge OAL from rim to bullet ogive. When reversed, you can use the comparator to measure cartridge headspace. The $30.00 Giraud 50 BMG Comparator gauge is constructed of 303 stainless and fits most any vernier, dial, or digital caliper. CLICK HERE for more info.

Giraud Tools 50 BMG comparator gauge

Lyman 50 BMG AccuTrimmer and Forster 50 BMG Trimmer
50 BMG enthusiasts asked for a reasonably-priced 50 BMG case trimmer and Lyman responded with an Accutrimmer designed specifically for that cartridge. Easy-to-use course and fine cut-length adjusters are positioned on the right side (by the handle). The shell head fits into a special holder which centers the case. The unit comes complete the 50-Caliber neck pilot. This case trimmer, including pilot, costs $59.99 at MidwayUSA.com.

Lyman 50 BMG AccuTrimmer

Forster Products also makes a dedicated 50 BMG trimmer. Forster’s cutter tip is much sharper than the cutter on the Lyman AccuTrimmer. However, with the Forster tool you will pay more for that superior cutting ability — Forster’s 50 BMG trimmer costs $92.95 at Sinclair International.

Forster 50 BMG case Trimmer

Permalink News, Reloading 3 Comments »
March 6th, 2012

Optimizing Neck Tension with Bushing and Non-Bushing Dies

Redding Titanium TiNi BushingsWe are often asked: “What size neck bushing is best for Lapua 6mmBR brass in a ‘no-turn’ chamber?” The questioner planned to purchase a Redding Type ‘S’ full-length sizing die with neck bushings. The quick answer is that one should probably get both 0.265 and 0.266 bushings and see what works best. With the current “blue box” Lapua brass, a loaded 6BR round with an unturned neck will typically run about 0.268″ (depending on the bullet). A 0.266″ neck bushing, after springback, will give about 0.0015″ tension which can work well in a bolt gun. In a gas gun, we recommend running .003″ (or more) neck tension.

Alternative to Bushings — Honed Full-Length dies
Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die — so long as the neck tension is correct. But many FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively. Forster offers a simple, inexpensive solution — honing the neck diameter to whatever size you want.

If you purchase a Forster non-bushing, full-length sizing die, Forster will hone the neck dimension to your specs for about $10.00 extra. This way you can have a FL die that provides the right amount of tension for your particular load. Forster dies are relatively inexpensive so you can afford to have a couple of FL dies with necks honed to different diameters — such as 0.265″ and 0.266″ for a no-turn 6mmBR. The die itself is very affordable — currently Sinclair Int’l charges $33.95 for a Forster 6mmBR full-length sizing die (item FP6BRFL).


Forster FL dies, necks honed to .265″, .266″, and .267″.

Steve Rasmussen of IowaHighPower.com gave this a try. In fact, he had three dies made — each with a different neck dimension. Here’s his report: “My original Forster 6BR FL die sized the necks down a lot, less than 0.260″, .256″ if I recall correctly. I sent my die in and asked if they could supply two more FL dies (for three total) to have the necks honed to 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″. The cost was $10 for my supplied die and $38.50 plus $10.00 honing fee for each additional die. Return shipping was $11.00 via USPS Priority Mail.”

The table below shows the neck diameter range of ten (10) sized cases using each die. Brass springback after sizing runs 1 to 1.3 thousandths. Steve was using the older, “brown box” Lapua brass with thicker necks so he needed the .267″ bushing. The older Lapua 6mmBR brass measures about 0.2695″ with bullet in place. Steve explained: “My loaded rounds are running 0.2697-0.2699 using [brown box] Lapua 6BR brass. So far the dies are working well. I sized 80 cases with the 0.266″ necked die. The shoulder is running 0.4582″ and 0.300″ up from the base is 0.4684″. I spun 20 of ‘em and 16 had a runout of one thousandth (0.001) and the other 4 at 1.5 thousandths (0.0015).” That shows that these honed Forster FL dies produce exceptionally straight sized cases.

Die Diameter Sized Brass Springback Neck Tension
0.267 Die 0.2683-0.2684 0.0013 0.0014
0.266 Die 0.2672-0.2674 0.0013 0.0025
0.265 Die 0.2659-0.2660 0.0010 0.0039
Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 21st, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New 3-Way Case Neck Trimmer & Chamferer from Forster

We saw a cool new product at the Forster Products booth. Forster has introduced a new 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool that works with all existing Forster case trimmers. This unit does three jobs at the same time. It trims the case to length, it puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. It does this all quickly and efficiently — in a matter of a few seconds. We tested the new tool ourselves on a few cases. The tool is solid and well made. The carbide cutting tips do perform a very clean cut. Be aware, however, if you have turned your necks already, you may have to reset the blade positions before you start trimming your brass.

Forster Case neck trimmer chamferer

Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 case trimming/chamfering tool in the video below. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter) and the job is finished in a few seconds. The actual cutting time, per case, is just a few second. The tool has an MSRP of $70.00, but we expect it to sell for around $50.00 at major vendors. It can be fitted on Forster trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter.

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