May 13th, 2007

Tech Tips from Sierra Bulletsmiths

Among the many helpful and FREE services offered by Sierra Bullets, is the “X-Ring” Technical Newsletter. With contributions by bullet designers and Sierra’s team of tech experts, the X-Ring provides some great info on bullets and general reloading matters.

Here are Questions answered by Sierra’s Carroll Pilant in the X-Ring.

Q. [Why do] some cases chamber easily, while others you almost have to crush them into the chamber when they are all the same batch of cases and all been full length sized?

A. The expander ball is pulling the neck / shoulder area up as it pulls out of the case. It usually squeaks as it comes out. Cure–Lube the inside of the case neck better, or slightly decrease the diameter of the expander ball ( about .003 under bullet diameter at the most ) and polish or both.

Q. I have a rifle that has a long throat and it doesn’t shoot boat tail bullets very well at all.

A. Try a flat-base bullet. They will often shoot better in a long throated or a worn throat gun than the boat tail bullets.

Q. Why do my case necks have a lot of smoke residue all the way down the case neck?

A. This usually comes from a mild load that doesn’t have enough pressure to seal the case neck against the chamber wall or the case necks have work hardened and aren’t sealing. Cure–Bump the powder charge up if it is a mild load; and, if the case necks have work hardened, either anneal the brass or replace it with new.

And here are some of Carroll’s Reloading Tips:

● When using a collet style case trimmer, try to tighten the collet down equally each time to keep lengths uniform. If you tighten it down hard, the case will be longer than one you tighten down lightly.

● A little lube on the pilot and cutter on a case trimmer every few cases will help keep it from trying to gall in the case mouth and helps keep the blades sharp and cutting smoothly. It makes trimming an easier task.

● Just because two bullets weigh the same doesn’t mean they can be loaded the same. The amount of bearing surface can vary drastically.

Editor’s Note: This last point by Carroll is something we have to emphasize often to novice reloaders. Not only do same-weight bullets vary in bearing surface, but you can have variances in shank diameter up to .001″ among bullets of the same weight and nominal diameter. Yes there are “skinny” bullets and “fat” bullets. Obviously the fatter bullets (given similar bearing surface) create more drag in the bore and this will affect the appropriate load.

SIERRA BULLETSMITHS — 1.800.223.8799

Back Row: Robert Treece | Carroll Pilant | Rich Machholz
Front Row: Duane Siercks | Paul Box | David Brown

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