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Hornady 6.5 CM full length match grade dies issues

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I've gone through all the steps of setting up my match grade dies set and getting frustrated.

Did all the measurements such as measuring loaded Hornady  match grade 6.5 CM round for a benchmark. Middle of neck, multiple cartridges .292 Minus .004 have bushing .289 and .287

Did all the test with the headspace comparator and came up with 1.557 for the shoulder using the 375 gauge. Using the Hornady case gauge a factory round drops in and fits perfect. I'm lucky if I can get one in ten cases to pass using this gauge after sizing.

Normal set-up, screw down till touch shell holder, back off 1/8 turn. run a case, measure. test, adjust. I'm at probably a full turn down where the die hits the shell holder at 3/4 stroke and I still can't get cases to pas the gauge test. Shoulder length is coming up OK at +/- 1.557 after sizing. Testing case length and trimming as needed at 1.914. Sized cases will only drop into the case gauge where the edge of the base is still high.

Summary is....can not adjust the die long enough to get a full length size to fit the gauge. Became suspicious when rounds were being tough to go into battery closing the bolt.

Anyone have issues using this die?

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If your die is making hard contact with the shell holder with press cam over and a case does not chamber I can think of two things.


1. You have a chamber set very close to the GO gauge.

2. Your die is longer in headspace than your chamber.


You can try lapping the top of the shell holder a few thousandths at a time until the case chambers. I'm 68 and have been reloading for over 47 years and only had to lap the top of the shell holder once in all that time. And most of the time the average die will push the shoulder back more than needed if not adjusted upward. I use Redding competition shell holders with five shell holder that do not push the case as far into the die. Meaning I do not have to touch the die to adjust the amount of shoulder bump in .002 increments.


Chambers and dies vary in size and you may have a die that does not match your chambers dimensions. And it simply may be a defective die and if factory ammunition and new cases chamber the die simply is not pushing the case shoulder back far enough.


Example below of .308 Forster dies, and lapping .003 off the top of the shell holder is the same as the National Match die.  And lapping a shell holder is much cheaper than buying a new die. (subliminal suggestion) ?




I prefer Forster full length non-bushing dies with the high mounted floating expander. Thes dies produce very concentric cases with very little neck runout.


Watch the 6.5 Guys video below on Forster dies.



Edited by bigedp51
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Good stuff, Bigedp51!

Before giving up I just ordered a Wilson case gauge as a back-up. The Hornady gauge is so long just the tip of a loaded round extends beyond the end of the gauge. Some of the other gauges are set up to measure just the casing. Dillon has a nice gauge for the 223 but didn't find one for the 6.5. Going to try the Wilson and see if I get different reading.

 One would think using Hornady brass, bullets, dies, gauge and press the reading should be correct. Starting to wonder.

On a related topic, I use the 9mm Hornady cartridge gauge for my USPSA competition loads. All Hornady equipment. Strange that  a completed load can be dropped in the gauge and drop two-thirds in but when rotated 90 degrees will drop all the way in???? Shouldn't round be round?

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I agree 100% with milanuk above, with the Hornady cartridge case headspace gauge you can measure factory loaded ammo, a fired case and a resized case to set your shoulder bump.


And on the plus side with the Hornady gauge you only need to buy one gauge for all your firearms.

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Latest info for the case gauge delema. I just received my Wilson gauge last night and only had time to walk out into the shop and drop a few cases in it. I tried some cases that would not drop into my Hornady gauge and then dropped them into the Wilson. The Wilson seems to be a larger diameter as cases drop in and out where I have to use a rod to push the cases out of the Hornady. I like the fact that I can see the end of the case and use the gauge to determine case length and whether to trim without using the calipers. Some cases did not drop into the Hornady gauge but stopped 3/4+ but did drop into the Wilson. Seemed to show the same issues for head space which would hold some cases up about a 1/16".

I'll check internal diameter with the calipers tonight and do a few more plunk test and see what I find.

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Went out to the shop and measured the two gauges.

Hornady Case Gauge internal diameter: .468 - .471 (taking several measurements at different locations around the diameter) apparently NOT round

Wilson Case Gauge internal diameter:  .480 - .481

Unfired Hornady 6.5 CM round case diameter:  .466


.002 tolerance seems a bit tight, .012 seems a bit sloppy.

Dropped a sized case into the Hornady that failed to drop all the way, dropped the same case into the Wilson and it dropped all the way into the gauge, flush ???



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Seems like the Wilson case gauge is just trying to check your headspace / trim length, and leaves enough room to let differing chambers not run into problems around the case web.  Which is pretty much right where your Hornady case gauge is giving you grief.


What do your fired (preferably deprimed) cases measure using the LnL comparator?  They are a *relative* measurement, not an absolute.  My comparator would likely read slightly differently than yours even on the same case, due to +/- production tolerances, the light radius at the edge of that hole, etc. etc.  What matters is your 'before' measurement vs your 'after' measurement.


And before you get too caught up in only sizing the brass a certain amount because of some random numbers off the internet... here is what is currently probably considered 'best practice' for fitting the brass to your chamber:



Bear in mind, this is coming from guys that do 1k BR and LR F-class, where they want top-shelf accuracy... but part of that involves not having to wrestle your gun every time you close the bolt! 


Edited by milanuk
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