April 30th, 2014

Tips for Using LEE Collet Dies

For those who prefer to neck-size their brass (rather than full-length-size), the LEE Collet Die is a popular, inexpensive option. It works by having collet tangs or “fingers” press the neck against a central mandrel. The benefit is that you get a very straight neck, which is sized consistently from top to bottom. Canadian shooter Jerry Teo explains: “LEE Collet Dies produce sized cases with very low runout (measured runout is under .001″ using a Sinclair concentricity gauge). You also don’t get the build-up of brass at the base of the neck, as can happen with bushing neck dies. The neck-shoulder junction stays nice and crisp.”

LEE Precision Collet Die

TIP ONE — Adjusting Tension
LEE Collet dies don’t have a specific mechanical adjustment for neck tension. But you CAN easily modify the die to provide more or less tension. If you want to adjust the neck tension using a Lee Collet die, you can simply chuck the mandrel in a drill and reduce the diameter with some sand-paper (to increase neck tension) or you can order a mandrel the next caliber larger and turn it to whatever diameter you want (the larger the mandrel diameter, the less the neck tension). You can also order custom mandrels from Lee sized to any diameter you want.

TIP TWO — Polish and Tune for Easy Case Removal
Some users have complained that their Collet Dies grab the case-neck too firmly, making the case hard to remove. There are solutions to this problem. First inspect the collet fingers and smooth the inner surface up a bit with polishing compound or an extra-fine sanding pad. Second, you can open up the fingers a little bit. LEE recommends that if your Collet Die is sticking, take a steel punch and tap the fingers apart a little bit so that the natural “unloaded” position is wider. Lastly, you should lightly lubricate the outside of the collet fingers (see arrows) before you re-assemble the die. This will ensure they slide smoothly. Also, to prevent the collet fingers from closing too tight, never load up the die with your press without putting a case in place first. Without a case neck between the collet fingers and the mandrel, the collet can clamp itself too tight as you raise the ram.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 14 Comments »
January 26th, 2014

PMA Tool Now Offers High-Quality Carbide Expander Mandrels.

Responding to customer requests, PMA Tool is now offering carbide expander mandrels in popular calibers. These carbide mandrels are listed as .22, .24, .26, .28, and .30 calibers, but they are sized for popular chamberings in .223, .243 (6mm), .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and .308 (7.62mm). PMA’s new carbide expander mandrels will cost $56.95 per item.

PMA’s tool-makers tell us: “Over the past several months we have received many requests to make expanding mandrels from carbide. Due to this popular demand we are now offering expanding mandrels from carbide. Carbide reduces galling and scratching both on the inside of the case neck and the mandrel itself. We still recommend the use of lubricant when expanding case necks to make the operation easier. These mandrels are ground from a 3/8” solid carbide blank and sized properly to expand case necks, preparing them for neck-turning. They can also be used to iron out dings and flat spots on new brass not destined to be neck turned, preparing them for loading and bullet seating.”

PMA Dual Taper Non-Carbide Expanders are Just $8.95
PMA also makes regular steel expander mandrels at a much lower price — $8.95. These regular Expanding Mandrels are designed to fit both the 21st Century Shooting and Sinclair Expander Dies. PMA states: “Our mandrels are longer than other expanding mandrels and feature a special dual taper which expands both on the up and down stroke of the press to more uniformly expand and straighten case necks.” These regular expanders are offered for all popular calibers, from .17 all the way to .338.

PMA Expander Mandrel steel carbide

PMA Specialized Necking-Up Mandrels for 30 BR and 6 PPC
Last but not least, PMA makes specialized “long-taper” expanders designed to expand 6mmBR brass to 30 BR brass, or expand 220 Russian brass to 6mm (for the 6 PPC). Priced at $9.95, these handy, effective tools make it easy to neck-up your brass for 30BR or 6 PPC.

PMA Expander Mandrel steel carbide

PMA explains: “So you want to make 30BR brass quick? Here’s the mandrel for you. A while back, while forming some 30BR brass for a customer’s rifle we noticed that after necking 6mm up to 30cal the neck fit on the turning mandrel was a lot tighter than we wanted. Regardless of how many steps we took to get there we had to run the case necks over the final expander repeatedly to get the fit right. After that experience we decided to set out and make a mandrel with optimum taper and diameter to neck 6mm up to 30 caliber in one step. We think is the best way to expand the necks of 6BR Lapua brass [for the 30 BR]. Remember to always use plenty of lubricant when necking.”

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 26th, 2013

Neck-Expander Mandrels for More Uniform Neck Tension

Lapua brass is so good that you’ll be tempted to just load and shoot, if you have a “no-turn” chamber. However, some minimal case prep will ensure more uniform neck tension. Keeping your neck tension very uniform allows more consistent bullet seating. That, in turn, usually yields better accuracy, and lower Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation (ES/SD). Lapua brass, particularly 6BR, 6.5×47, .243 Win and .308 Win comes from the factory with tighter-than-optimal necks. Before you seat bullets, at a minimum, you should inside chamfer the case mouths, after running an expander mandrel down the necks. The expander mandrels from both Sinclair Int’l and K&M will both leave the necks with enough neck tension (more than .001″) so you can then seat bullets without another operation. Put a bit of lube on the mandrel before running it down the necks — but remove any lube that gets inside the necks before seating bullets.

Sinclair Expander Tool Mandrel

Both Sinclair and K&M Tools make a die body specifically to hold expander mandrels. The Sinclair version, is shown above. This $24.95 unit fits caliber-specific expander mandrels ($9.95) which measure approximately .001″ less than bullet diameter for each caliber. This is an updated “Gen II” design that completely captures the mandrel within the die so the mandrel cannot pull out. It also has an O-ring in the die cap that allows the mandrel to self-center within the case neck. Sinclair now offers three sizes of die bodies for expander mandrels: .17 -.310 Caliber (#849-011-715WS); .357 – .50 caliber (#749-008-843WS), and a special .50 Cal die body for large-diameter presses (#749-009-163WS). All Generation II dies are machined from stainless steel and the standard diameter 7/8-14 dies include the Sinclair Stainless Steel Split Lock Ring.

Once you run the Sinclair expander mandrel down the necks of Lapua brass, after you account for brass spring-back, you’ll have about .002″ neck tension. This will make the process of seating bullets go much more smoothly, and you will also iron out any dents in the case mouths. Once the case mouths are all expanded, and uniformly round, then do your inside neck chamfering/deburring. The same expander mandrels can be used to “neck-up” smaller diameter brass, or prepare brass for neck-turning.

Forum member Mike Crawford adds: “These expanders can also reduce runout from offset seating. Prior to bullet seating, expand the sized necks to force thickness variance outward. With the Sinclair system, the necks will springback fine, and will not be pulled out of center. This leaves plenty of tension, and bullets seated more centered. I do this, even with turned necks, to get improved seating.”

Mandrels vs. Expander Balls on Decapping Rods
If you haven’t acquired an appropriate expander mandrel for your brass, but you DO have a full-length sizing die with an expander ball, this will also function to “iron out” the necks and reduce tension. However, using a die with an expander ball will work the necks more — since you first size them down, then the ball expands them up again. Typically (but not always), run-out is worse when using an expander ball vs. an expander mandrel.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 9 Comments »
September 4th, 2013

Why Carbide Mandrels Work Better for Neck-Turning

If you have ever turned a large quantity of case-necks using power assist, you know that a carbide mandrel can make the job go easier, with better end results. In our experience, when using carbide mandrels (as opposed to ordinary steel), the cases move more smoothly with less heat build-up. Pat Reagin of PMA Tool explains why carbide neck-turning mandrels work better:

Carbide offers several advantages over conventional steel and stainless steel when making any tooling, specifically neck-turning mandrels:

Dimensional Stability — Carbide maintains its dimensions indefinitely during heating and cooling. This eliminates the need to allow the mandrel time to cool every few cases.

Coefficient of Friction and Wear-Resistance — Carbide exhibits a low coefficient of friction value as compared to all steels and wears up to 100 times longer. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the amount of lubricant required.

Galling Resistance — Carbide has exceptional resistance to galling and welding at the surface. This basically eliminates the chance of getting a case stuck on a mandrel due to insufficient lubrication.

Given the benefits of carbide neck-turner mandrels, you may be asking “where can I get one?” Sinclair Int’l offers carbide mandrels for Sinclair neck-turners for $49.99, in a full range of calibers: 17, 20, 22, 6mm, 25, 6.5mm, 270, 30, and 338.

PMA Tools Carbide neck turning mandrel neck turner$49.95 Carbide Mandrels from PMA Tool
PMA Tools now also offers carbide mandrels in a full variety of sizes. At $49.95 each, PMA’s carbide mandrels are priced competitively with Sinclair’s mandrels. PMA offers carbide mandrels in .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm and .30-caliber. These will work with Sinclair Int’l and 21st Century neck-turners, as well as PMA neck-turners. PMA tells us: “We now have carbide neck-turning mandrels in stock. These mandrels are made with high-tech CNC grinding-machinery, and should give you excellent results. We hope to be add other larger-caliber carbide mandrels to our lineup in the future.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
April 7th, 2013

How to Turn Case Necks — Step by Step

On our main AccurateShooter.com site, you’ll find an excellent article by German Salazar on the Basics of Neck Turning. If you’re new to the neck-turning game, or are just looking for good tips on improving your neck-turning procedures, you should read German’s article. Below we offer some highlights and photos from the article, but you’ll need to read the whole story to view all the illustrations and follow all the procedures step by step.

Why Should You Consider Neck Turning?
Let’s assume that your rifle doesn’t have a tight neck chamber that requires neck turning; if you have a tight neck chamber, of course, the answer to the question is “because you have to”. For the rest of us, and that includes the vast majority of Highpower shooters, neck turning isn’t a requirement, but it can be a useful way to bring your ammunition a small but meaningful step closer to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: perfection. I’m not talking about a theoretical improvement, but a real one, an improvement that lies in equalizing and optimizing the neck tension of your loaded rounds. Inconsistent neck tension is a real contributor to increased muzzle velocity variance which itself is a significant factor in increased elevation dispersion at long range. So there’s our basic reason for neck turning: to equalize and optimize neck tension in order to reduce elevation dispersion.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

The Tools of the Trade
Here you see everything I use and a bit more. The press, a cordless screwdriver (always plugged in, turning is tough on the old battery), a couple of K&M neck turners (one set up for 6mm, the other for .30 caliber) an expander for each size, some Imperial lube, an old toothbrush or two to keep the cutter clean, a handle with a caseholder (for those emergencies when the screwdriver dies and there’s just one more case to go!), steel wool and a tubing micrometer finish the list of tools. Hey, I left the dial calipers out of the picture! They’re always handy, keep them around, but they are useless for measuring neck thickness, so don’t try. I usually use an Optivisor magnifier while I turn necks, very handy for a clear view of what’s happening on the neck.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

Expanding the Neck
Put some lube on the inside of the case neck and run it into the expander. Really, this isn’t hard. I prefer to expand each case immediately before turning it as opposed to expanding all the cases and then turning them. Brass is somewhat springy and will tend to go back toward its original size; therefore, by expanding and turning immediately, you are more likely to have all cases fit the mandrel with the same degree of tightness and to get a more consistent depth of cut.

Cutter Adjustment for Cut Depth and Length
All the tools I’ve seen have pretty good adjustment instructions. The only thing they don’t tell you is that you should have five to ten spare cases to get it right initially. Anything of the right diameter will do while you learn, for instance, just use that cheap surplus .308 brass to do initial setup and save the precious .30-06 for when you know what you’re doing. Be patient and make your adjustments slowly; you’ll need to set the cutter for thickness as well as length of cut (just into the shoulder). The depth of cut (brass thickness) takes a bit of fiddling, the length of the cut is generally easy to set.

The Finished Product — A Perfectly Uniform Neck
If you read the whole article, and follow the procedures using quality tools, you should get very good results — with a little practice. To demonstrate, here’s an example of my finished, neck-turned brass. You’ll see there is a perfect, 0.0125″ thick neck. It’s very uniform around the circumference, usually I only see 1 or 2 ten-thousandths variance. Now, with the necks uniformed like this, we can select the bushing size that will give us our preferred neck tension and experiment with various levels of tension, secure in the knowledge that all of the cases will actually have the desired neck tension.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
December 6th, 2011

See-Through Expander Riser and Ergo Holder from K&M

K&M PrecisionK&M Precision Shooting Products has two very handy products you may not know about yet. The first, a brilliantly simple device that lets you see your case necks as you expand them, can be used by anyone who necks-up brass (with a compatible expander die body). The second new product is a specialized “fat grip” holder that will make neck-turning easier for those of you out there who use K&M neck-turners.

K&M Expand Mandrel Window Riser
This is a simple threaded extension placed between your expander die body (K&M Expand Iron) and the top of your press. It carries the expander mandrel higher, above the press, and has a cut-out view port so you can see the mandrel as it passes through the neck. Smart, eh? This provides visual feedback during the process of expanding your brass. The patent-pending view riser costs $20.00. Will it expand necks faster, or reduce run-out? We doubt it, but we still would like to have one, if only to eyeball the mandrel to control the neck-entry rate more consistently from case to case.

K&M Expander Riser

Installation: Thread the Expand Mandrel Window Riser into the top of your loading press, then thread the K&M Expand-Iron (Expander Die Body) fully into the top of the window riser and adjust each so you can stroke out the press completely without driving the case mouth into the press adapter. This allows you to view the expanding operation which is typically blind under the press. The riser also eliminates the need for the stop screw in the expander mandrel. LINK: Expand Window Riser Instructions (PDF).


Ergo Holder K&MErgo Holder for K&M Neck-Turning Tool
K&M’s rounded, oversized Ergo Holder lets you hold the K&M neck-turning body more securely (and with less hand cramping). Priced at $35.00, it is an expensive accessory, but we suspect many guys with K&M neck-turners will spring for an Ergo holder just because it gives you a more secure and comfortable grip on the small, square-edged K&M neck-turner.

Customer Feedback Inspired K&M’s Ergo Holder
The folks at K&M told us that their new Ergo Holder was produced in response to customer requests: “[Customers reported that] the neck turner can be hard to hold due to its compact size, especially in high-volume use. The Ergo Holder is machined from aluminum, providing a fatigue-proof grasp of the neck turner. Its mass works like a heat sink to help dissipate heat from the pilot during the turning process. The neck-turner body easily assembles into the Ergo Holder and is held in place with one set screw. The Ergo holder is also designed with the dial indicator in mind and actually makes its use more convenient”.
LINK: Ergo Holder Installation/Use Instructions (PDF).

Credit Forum Member EdLongRange for spotting these new K&M products.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
May 2nd, 2011

Gear Review: PMA Neck Turning Tool

The PMA Neck Turning Tool, review by Danny Reever
PMA Tool was founded by Matt Harris and Pat Reagin, two former employees of Fred Sinclair. They both worked their way through college working for and designing tools for Sinclair Int’l. They now have branched out on their own and are offering some unique tools for the reloader.

PMA Neckturner Neck Turning Tool

I, like many other shooters out there, would sooner take a beating than change the settings of my neck turner. Many shooters even go out and buy a separate neck turner for every caliber — just so they don’t have to adjust the settings. Most of you know what it’s like, you ruin half dozen cases (or more) getting your neck turner just right, and if you change it the chances of getting it back to where it was are practically nil. Let me be the first to tell you those days are over! Like many of you, I first saw the PMA Neck Turning Tool in an advertisement on this website’s home page. It’s hard to miss, blue anodized finish with the large PMA logo on the body.

PMA Tool Moves the Mandrel, Not the Cutter Tip
From PMA’s website I learned that this turner does NOT use a coarse or fine drive screw to move the cutter towards or away from the mandrel. Nor does the PMA tool move the mandrel on an eccentric (another method of cutting depth control). The PMA tool does something very different. PMA’s Model A Neck Turning Tool simply adjusts by moving the mandrel toward or away from the stationary cutter with an 80 TPI drive screw with 60 indicating marks. Each mark moves the mandrel .0002″ (two ten-thousandths). I found, if you stop between the marks, .0001″ isn’t out of the question. It’s such a smart arrangement, I wondered “why didn’t anyone think of that before?”

Use PMA, 21st Century, or Sinclair Int’l Mandrels
My interest now piqued, I contacted Pat Reagin for one of the PMA tools. Pat suggested that I also use PMA’s stainless expander and turning mandrels since they have put a lot of effort to get them exactly right. I might mention that the 3/8 shank stainless or carbide mandrels from 21st Century or Sinclair Int’l will work also. PMA does have carbide turning mandrels in the works — a nice upgrade for those of you who turn lots of cases at one sitting. I personally didn’t encounter any unnecessary heat build-up with the stainless mandrels only turning 10-20 cases at a time. Considering that carbide mandrels run about $40.00 compared to $7.95 for stainless, it’s nice to save a couple of bucks when you can.

Cut-Depth Settings Can Be Dialed “Dead-On” (Even after Caliber Changes)
Upon receiving the PMA tool I immediately went to my reloading room to set it up for turning some culled .308 Lapua brass — to clean it up 75% for a no-turn chamber. I followed the directions included with the turner and it was a snap to set up. After turning a few of the .308s I made note of my setting and changed both mandrels to 6MM to turn some Lapua 6BR brass for my .269″-neck chamber. Again the change went smooth as silk and I was turning the 6BRs in no time for my preferred loaded neck diameter of .26730″. I then decided to take the leap of faith and change back to turning the .308s after making note of the 6BR setting. That worked, so I then again switched back again to the 6BR setting — again with success. I have gone back and forth (between calibers) numerous times in the last couple of weeks. Each time I easily returned to my caliber-specific settings and I did not ruin a single case in the process. Without sounding like I’m gushing here I must say this is the nicest neck turner that I have ever used. The adjustments are so easy and repeatable “Even a cave man can do it”!

If, like me, you absolutely hate setting up neck turners, for fear of losing your settings, you owe it to yourself to give the PMA Model A neck turner a try. I think you’ll be impressed. The PMA Neck Turning Tool costs $95.95, complete with one carbide cutter with your choice of 30° or 40° shoulder angle.

Disclosure: Danny Reever is a Forum Member. He received no “freebies” or compensation. PMA Tools advertises on AccurateShooter.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
February 9th, 2011

NEW Neck-Turning Tool From 21st Century Shooting

Gear Review: 21st Century Neck Turner
by Germán A. Salazar
A new neck-turning tool with easy adjustments, super-high quality of manufacturing and an ergonomic design sounds like a good thing to me. If you also like good tools and like to keep up with developments in the field, read on (most of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them).

I recently received the new Neck-Turning Tool made by John at 21st Century Shooting. I always enjoy seeing John’s work because he really has a good grasp on how a tool should be designed to work effectively and this tool certainly fits that mold. The basic requirements of a good neck turner are: (a) accurate adjustments, (b) good blade design, (c) ergonomic design and (d) a well thought-out system of ancillary items. Let’s look at each of those areas and give the tool a test drive.

21st Century Neck TurnerHandy Cut-Depth Adjustment Dial
The 21st Century neck turner has a unique dial adjustment for the depth of the cut which makes small adjustments simple and fast. Each full number represents 0.001″ of cutter movement, and the fine lines in between let you zero in on the exact neck wall thickness that you need. The dial is simply turned in until the desired neck thickness is reached. If you go too far, it’s best to turn it out a full turn, then back in once again; this reduces the effect of any backlash that might exist in the threads. I found the dial easy to use and had no trouble getting to my usual thickness setting of 0.0125″.

Excellent Carbide Cutter Blade Design
At its core, a neck turner is a cutting tool and good blade design is what sets any good cutting tool apart from the competition. Here, John really shows his ability as a designer and manufacturer. The blade supplied on my tool is carbide and cuts brass effortlessly, however, that’s not the real point of interest. Many neck turners have blades with less than ideal nose radius and create a “threading” effect on the neck unless the tool is fed over the brass at a very slow rate. The 21st Century blade has a good radius at the transition to the shoulder angle which allows for a smooth cut with a reasonable feed rate.

The shoulder angle is another well thought-out feature as it is a very close match to the actual shoulder angle of the case. This allows you to bring the cutter a bit further into the shoulder without weakening it and definitely avoid the subsequent occurrence of the donut of thick brass at the base of the neck. (When ordering, 21st Century lets you specify one of four (4) different cutter shoulder angles to match your particular cartridge: 20°, 30°, 35°, and 40°.) The photo of the case in the cutter shows the cutter making solid contact with the shoulder after a substantial cut on the neck, yet the shoulder was really just lightly touched. I backed the cutter off a bit from this setting for the final adjustment. If you tend to use heavy bullets which extend below the base of the neck, this feature alone makes John’s tool worthwhile.

21st Century neck turner

Turning necks is tedious, especially if you’re turning a large number of cases as High Power shooters generally do. Accordingly, a design that takes ergonomics into consideration is highly appreciated. Note the slight hourglass shape of the tool, that really lets your hand take a grip that counters the natural tendency of the tool to turn with the rotation of the case, especially when turning with a power case driver. The size of the tool itself also helps; if you’ve used one of the smaller tools on the market, you know just how tired your hand can get from trying to hold on to it after a while! I turned 70 case necks in two sessions with the 21st Century tool and my hand and fingers remained comfortable throughout.

However good the turner may be, it doesn’t work alone. Any neck turner needs a matching expander. The 21st Century expander is a nicely designed unit that allows you to change expander sizes with no tools by simply unscrewing the cap of the die body and dropping in the appropriate expander.

K&M Arbor Adapters Available
I’ve been using a K&M turner for some years now and have accumulated turning arbors (mandrels) in various sizes. John knows that’s the case for many of us, so he makes affordable adapter bushings for his tool that allow the use of K&M turner arbors. That’s a nice feature that will allow me to save the price of a few arbors and expanders. The adapter for K&M arbors costs $12.00.

Although I use a cordless screwdriver to turn the case, I still like to have a manual option for case turning. Sometimes the cordless driver dies with just a few cases left to go in a session and I know that, one day, when I most need it, it’ll just quit altogether. John’s case handle for manual case turning is another well-designed, ergonomic piece that shows his careful, thoughtful approach to tool design. He even makes a version of it for the .50 BMG if your tastes in cartridges run on the large side!

21st Century Neck-turner

Neck-Turning Tool and Accessory Order Information
Order the Neck Turner and accessories through www.21stCenturyShooting.com, or call (260) 273-9909. The 21st Century neck-turning tool, by itself, costs $78.00, including a carbide cutter (standard size). You can chose among four different cutter shoulder angles, to match your particular cartridge: 20°, 30°, 35°, and 40°. Additional carbide cutters cost $26.00-$28.00. Caliber-specific turning arbors and expander mandrels are priced at $7.95 each. The standard size Universal Case-Holding Handle (photo above), costs $16.95.

You can also purchase a complete Neck-Turning Tool Kit from 21st Century. This $112.99 package includes everything you need:

Neck Turning Tool w/cutter
Turning Arbor
Expander Mandrel
Expander Die Body
Loading Die Locking Ring
Neck Turning Universal Handle

Disclosure: 21st Century Shooting, an advertiser on this website, provided a neck turner tool and accessories to German Salazar for testing and evaluation.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
August 6th, 2009

NEW Large Flash-Hole Reamer and Large-Caliber Neck-Turner from Sinclair Int'l

Sinclair Int’l has introduced two important new reloading products. Both are items that reloaders have requested for quite some time. Sinclair listened and now offers: 1) a precision large (.081″) flash hole reamer; and 2) a neck-turning tool for large cartridges such as the 50 BMG.

Large Flash-Hole Reamer
Sinclair has released a new, .081″-spec “outside-in” Flash Hole Reamer (item 07-3081) designed to designed to uniform standard flash holes to exactly .081 inch. This 3-piece tool features all stainless steel construction, a double-ended reamer guide for both large and small primer pockets, a knurled handle for easy turning, and a straight-fluted .081 inch reamer. With this tool you can remove burrs or obstructions in the flash hole and ensure that all your flash holes are the same size. NOTE — this tool works for both small primer pockets AND large primer pockets, for cartridges with .080″ nominal diameter flash holes. The new 07-3081 tool costs $37.50.

AccurateShooter Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer

For quite some time, Sinclair Int’l has sold a similar device for small (PPC and BR-size) flash holes. Like the new 07-3081 unit for large flash holes, the 07-3000 Reamer for small flash holes works from the outside, so it can index off the primer pocket. It reams to .0625″, and also costs $37.50. The standard dimension for Lapua 220 Russian and 6mmBR flash holes is 1.5mm or .0590″. This tool will permit standard-size decapping rods with .0625″ tips to work without binding. However, note that both Forster and Redding normally supply .057″ decapping pins with their PPC and BR dies. So, it is NOT necessary to ream your Lapua BR/PPC flashholes, unless you prefer to do so for uniformity. It IS, however, a good idea to check BR/PPC flash holes for burrs before loading the first time.

AccurateShooter Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer

NOTE: If you purchase either the 07-3081 or 07-3000 Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer tools, we recommend you mic the cutter tip before you process a bunch of cases. Sometimes a tip comes through that is oversize. This will ream the flash holes larger than you may intend.

Large Caliber (35-50) Neck Turning Tool
Jumbo rifle cartridges, such as the 408 Chey Tac and 50 BMG, are becoming more popular with precision shooters, and Sinclair’s customers have asked for a neck-turning tool which will handle the large calibers. Sinclair’s new NT-5000 Neck Turning Tool will work for cartridges from 35 caliber all the way up to 50 cal, including the 50 BMG. This new tool uses the same smooth, cutter adjustment system as Sinclair’s NT-1000 Neck Turner, but a special oversize case-holder is furnished with each NT-5000 tool. Special large-caliber Expander Dies, and large-caliber turning and expander mandrels are available individually or as part of a Large Caliber Neck Turning Tool Kit.

AccurateShooter Large Caliber Neck Turner

Permalink New Product, Reloading No Comments »
July 21st, 2009

Three-Jaw Case-Holder for Neck-Turning Duties

Grant, one of our Forum members from New Zealand, asked if there was a universal shell-holder that could hold cartridges securely for neck-turning, trimming, and case prep. He complained that the screwdriver-type case holder he was using didn’t center easily, was hard to tighten, and the case sometimes came loose during rotation. Another forum member agreed that he has experienced the same problems using a screwdriver-type case-holder.

This editor has found that a K&M screwdriver-type case holder CAN work securely if you tighten the locking mechanism tightly with the supplied wrench. But then you need the wrench again to get the case OUT. We were interested to see if there was a better solution that held the case securely, yet was easy to lock and unlock without tools.

Forum member Gunamonth provided a solution: “I use a Lee Zip Trim three-jaw case holder. With a little practice it centers the case quite nicely and holds just about anything. Chuck it in a cordless drill and have at it. It is much better than either the K&M or Sinclair [case-holder] in my opinion and the Zip Trim jaw is a lot cheaper (about $12.00). To use with power, you also need the Zip Trim three-jaw spindle, which is another $2.00.”

Lee three-jaw universal case holder

Permalink Reloading No Comments »
June 1st, 2009

Expander Mandrels — Not Just for Neck-Turning

Lapua brass is so good that you’ll be tempted to just load and shoot, if you have a “no-turn” chamber. However, some minimal case prep will ensure more uniform neck tension. This will produce better accuracy, more consistent bullet seating, and lower Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation (ES/SD). Lapua brass, particularly 6BR, 6.5×47, .243 Win and .308 Win comes from the factory with tighter-than-optimal necks. Before you seat bullets, at a minimum, you should inside chamfer the case mouths, after running an expander mandrel down the necks.

The expander mandrels from both Sinclair and K&M will leave the necks with enough neck tension (more than .001″) so you can then seat bullets without another operation. Put a bit of lube on the mandrel before running it down the necks — but remove any lube that gets inside the necks before seating bullets.

Sinclair Expander Tool Mandrel

Both Sinclair and K&M Tools make a die body specifically to hold expander mandrels. Sinclair’s Generation II Expander Die Body (item 05-3000, shown above) completely captures the mandrel within the die so the mandrel cannot pull out. An O-ring in the die cap allows the mandrel to float a bit and find its own center within the case neck. This $24.95 unit fits caliber-specific expander mandrels (item E-XX, $8.75) which measure approximately .001″ less than bullet diameter for each caliber. Once you run the Sinclair expander mandrel down the necks of Lapua brass, after you account for brass spring-back, you’ll have about .002″ neck tension. This will make the process of seating bullets go much more smoothly, and you will also iron out any dents in the case mouths. Once the case mouths are all expanded, and uniformly round, then do your inside neck chamfering/deburring. The same expander mandrels can be used to “neck-up” smaller diameter brass, or prepare brass for neck-turning.

Forum member Mike Crawford adds: “These expanders can also reduce runout from offset seating. Prior to bullet seating, expand the sized necks to force thickness variance outward. With the Sinclair system, the necks will springback fine, and will not be pulled out of center. This leaves plenty of tension, and bullets seated more centered. I do this, even with turned necks, to get improved seating.”

Mandrels vs. Expander Balls on Decapping Rods
If you haven’t acquired an appropriate expander mandrel for your brass, but you DO have a full-length sizing die with an expander ball, this will also function to “iron out” the necks and reduce tension. However, using a die with an expander ball will work the necks more — since you first size them down, then the ball expands them up again. Typically (but not always), run-out is worse when using an expander ball vs. an expander mandrel.

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