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Case preparation for reloading

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Zed View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 10 2020 at 4:04am
Having a bit of spare time over the last 8 weeks; I decided to write up my case preparation process for .303 brass.
Please feel free to comment and advise me of any errors or improvements that could improve my method.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2020 at 7:12am
You basically do the same as I do, only the details vary.
There's no NEED to quench brass, thats used to anneal STEEL. Having said that I do quench mine anyway. Mainly because I tend to anneal in large batches so my "catcher bucket" can get quite hot with a freshly heated cased dropping in every 7 seconds. It does no harm either, its just an extra step.
I use "templisticks" heat sensitive wax "crayons" to verify temp has reached what I want on the first dozen or so cases, then I just go with that averaged time. A local welding & gas supplier may have them, or something similar there?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Black Prince Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2020 at 2:33am
Originally posted by Zed Zed wrote:

Having a bit of spare time over the last 8 weeks; I decided to write up my case preparation process for .303 brass.
Please feel free to comment and advise me of any errors or improvements that could improve my method.

I am glad some one else is like me, I modified my father-inlays old beer bottle caper (same as drill press action), but to clean my cases I put them into a small plastic bucket with cheap household vinegar (white or brown cover the cases, when done put the vinegar back in container for next time) for about an hour or so then empty the cases into old stainless dog dinner plate wipe out side of case dry and place it on top of the wood heater, after an hour or so they are dry inside, if it's summer time place out in the sun to dry out.
For annealing I use a similar torch and hold the case in a gloved hand and turn the case as soon as the colour blue goes just past the neck (like yours) I just put into the stainless dog dinner plate (no dog food at the time) to cool.

thanks for your effort, my son lost his Lee decaping base, I'll tell him to find a nut like you.ClapClapClapClap I mean a nut to use, not as I wrote "a nut like you"Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2020 at 6:55am
Brass doesn’t “quench” in the metallurgical sense of the word.  Dropping in water just cools it and will arrest the annealing process.  

I’ve tried different ways to anneal brass, what I’m doing now is simply hold the case head in my bare fingers and turn the case as the neck is heated in the flame.  I do this in dim lighting and stop when I see the neck starting to change colour or the case becomes too hot to hold, usually about 4 to 5 seconds.  I then just drop on a old folded up towel.  That way I don’t have to wait for the cases to dry to run thru the sizing die.

I typically don’t anneal .303 cases, perhaps only once, after many reloads.  Since my .30-06 brass is FL sized every time (for M1 rifle), I will anneal perhaps two or three times.  

I’ve tried to simplify brass prep as much as possible.  For .303, it’s pretty quick:

Tumble for 30 mins to 1 hour in corn cobb media
Neck size in Lee Collet die (No lube required)
Set calipers to 2.222 and check each case for go/no go thru calipers
Trim to length and chamfer case mouth if > 2.222 (usually first trim is after about 8 to 10 reloads)
Clean primer pocket (I use the depth uniforming cutter chucked in a drill motor)





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 25 2020 at 11:28am
Reloading is enjoyable; especially when you get to test what you've reloaded!
I will be testing a few rounds this weekend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 303Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2020 at 8:06pm
I've been known to over anneal brass cases once or twice.  It doesn't matter when one is using minimal neck sizing just to hold the bullet in line with the bore or just so it doesn't fall out the case.  But when consistant ignition is a requirement and there isn't enough neck tension then accuracy goes south (or so it seemed to me).  I am now scared to anneal but of course, what I need to do is make my process more consistant (dead soft is pretty consistant but doesn't help when actual tension is required).

I have a pretty accurate load in a particular rifle that doesn't seem sensitive to the degree of annealing - the annealing is done to prevent neck splitting.   But one day, I pulled the trigger and nothing happened and I thought I hadn't reloaded after the last shot (I mean really?  I wouldn't have reloaded?).  Anyway, I jected the spent case and there was no bullet so I thought that was the case. I chambered another round and the bolt wouldn't close.  I pushed harder and still harder then thought I better see what's going on.  It was not some dirt in the chamber but the previous bullet fired into the throat!  The fresh round bullet wouldn't push back far enough into the case to close the bold - lucky for me.

The point being that there was insufficient neck tension to prevent a primer from driving the bullet out of the case and into the throat.  Hey, these thing happen but you only hear about the onse that survived!  I survived and I will never make that mistake again.  And just to add, the case full of powder was not an accident.  That was part of the safety plan.  I dodged a bullet so to speak.  I avoided the mysterious SEE which in reality is often a double charge or a double bullet from an un-powdered cartridge!

But, should a primer be able to drive a bullet out of a case neck?  Well, it will if there is insufficient neck tension.  So just beware of this possibility and do what I do and use a powder that fills the case.  Another consideration is that if the bullet is being driven out by the primer, there may be an inconsistent ignition scenario that might wreak havoc with accuracy (and chamber pressure!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 08 2020 at 7:00am
 Yes, a primer is capable of lodging a bullet in the bore. They are surprisingly powerful, especially a magnum primer.  I’ve also seen cases where the primer failed to ignite the powder but pushed the bullet into the bore.  With ear defenders on and shooting at a range with others, you may not hear the primer ignite, and you won’t feel it.  So, when you retract the bolt and all that comes out is an empty case, you must stop!  Never load another cartridge into the chamber until you check for a bore obstruction.  

Here’s a real story. One of my coworkers told me that her .38 special revolver was doing something strange and “wasn’t working”.  She had me look at it, and I could see the bore was obstructed.  I took it home and I first tried to drive out the obstruction with a bronze rod, but no way.  I then wrapped a drill bit in tape, and proceeded to drill out the obstruction.  Three bullets came out.  After clearing this, I test fired the revolver with the three remaining rounds in the chamber and they were all live loaded cartridges.  So guess what would have happened if she pulled the trigger one more time...



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 08 2020 at 7:10am
Absolutely. I've had to use a cleaning rod from the muzzle to tap a primer only fired bullet out of the leade.
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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