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Stoph

Using a Case Gauge

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I am relatively new to reloading. My dad and I did some for .44 magnum many years ago, but I'm just getting back into it, more thoughtful this time. I am loading mostly 9mm, with a Dillon progressive reloader, and I'm understanding that COL is important. The longer or shorter than "the norm" your round is, the lower or higher will be the pressure for the particular load and bullet weight than "the norm". I've been loading practice ammo thus far, well within recommended limits, so COL has not been a problem.

 

I've begun using a case gauge recently on my finished products before boxing them for range use. I found out the hard way that some rounds wouldn't chamber, not due to length but to case girth, like the size die hadn't done its job. I now catch these before going to the range, but after I've loaded the round. Seems like about 5-6 out of every hundred. It's slow work to disassemble the faulty rounds, trying to save the bullets and powder-usually not the casing.

 

I retrieve my range brass (plus some) each visit, sort out all but "9mm Luger" casings, no +P or other such. I then clean with spent primers intact, to keep media out of the pocket. Does anyone take the time to deprime/resize, then check case fit in a gauge BEFORE reloading?

 

Any more experienced than I have suggestions? Thanks!

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8 minutes ago, Stoph said:

I am relatively new to reloading. My dad and I did some for .44 magnum many years ago, but I'm just getting back into it, more thoughtful this time. I am loading mostly 9mm, with a Dillon progressive reloader, and I'm understanding that COL is important. The longer or shorter than "the norm" your round is, the lower or higher will be the pressure for the particular load and bullet weight than "the norm". I've been loading practice ammo thus far, well within recommended limits, so COL has not been a problem.

 

I've begun using a case gauge recently on my finished products before boxing them for range use. I found out the hard way that some rounds wouldn't chamber, not due to length but to case girth, like the size die hadn't done its job. I now catch these before going to the range, but after I've loaded the round. Seems like about 5-6 out of every hundred. It's slow work to disassemble the faulty rounds, trying to save the bullets and powder-usually not the casing.

 

I retrieve my range brass (plus some) each visit, sort out all but "9mm Luger" casings, no +P or other such. I then clean with spent primers intact, to keep media out of the pocket. Does anyone take the time to deprime/resize, then check case fit in a gauge BEFORE reloading?

 

Any more experienced than I have suggestions? Thanks!

Welcome to the forums! God no, don't waste time gauging before loading. Before we get too far into the weeds, what bullets are you using and what dies? Is your sizing die just touching the shell plate? You want to get as low as possible so make sure it just kisses the plate.

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9mm seems to have a higher than average reject rate.  Do what Sarge said and get your die down to the plate.  Also, consider a Lee Carbide die which goes lower on the case.  Also, if you still have a single stage press that you're not using for something else, consider getting an RCBS collet bullet puller to unload those oversized rounds.  It's 10 times faster than the hammer style puller.

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You can pull a few cases off the press after the sizing station and drop it into your gage to check it. If you do this at the beginning of a loading session and your die is locked down well then everything else loaded should be good. If you are only concerned with bulged cases getting sized down correctly size a few of those down and check them against your gage. 

 

Using a U type die and setting the press to cam over at the end of the stroke will help your problem a lot.

Edited by bwikel

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Sarge,

 

Thanks for your reply. I am using a Dillon Square Deal B, originally for .44 magnum. Got the conversion dies for 9mm, and have had a crash course in getting seating depth and powder measure/bell flaring dies adjusted right. I don't think I've done anything to ensure the sizing die is going down to kissing distance as you suggest. Will check that asap.

 

Bullets. Tried some Berry's 115 gr plated RN (.356")

                                   Berry's 124 gr plated RN (.356")

                                   Hornady 115gr RN (.355")

                                   Speer 125 gr LRN (.356")

                                   Berry's 147 gr FP (.356")

 

Thanks!

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There's a huge amount of threads on how to load the perfect round for your pistol here on BEF. Do a topic search on "plunking," "OAL," "Hundo case gauge" or any thing else you might want to know about. 

 

Your question is:

 

3 hours ago, Stoph said:

Does anyone take the time to deprime/resize, then check case fit in a gauge BEFORE reloading?

 

Here's what I found works best for me:

 

Sort out 380 brass (hate this stuff in the reloading process, they foul up the progressive press)

Roll Size

Size and deprime (I use "One Shot" for case Lube)

Wet tumble clean (no pins just "Brass Juice")

Dry

Reload

Gauge with Hundo (this is where inspection of primer depth and case quality happens).

Box

Shoot

Do over again

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Something to try if you are not doing it already, seat and crimp your bullets in "separate"  operations. This reduces OAL variations and bulges below the crimp.

 

Use the Lee factory crimp die with the carbide ring in its base, on the down stroke of the ram it will size any bulge below the crimp.

 

Shooters rarely trim their cases to a uniform length, and what happens is the longer cases can bulge below the crimp.

 

The only problem with the Lee Factory Crimp Die is the carbide ring in its base may size cast oversized bullets and reduce the bullet diameter.

 

The Lee undersize die is good to use with range pickup brass. This die reduces the case diameter .002 to .003 more and increases bullet grip. This helps with older well used cases that become work hardened and "spring back" more after sizing.

 

Checking a few cases after sizing with a case gauge will let you know that sizing reduced the case diameter enough "before" loading the case.

 

Checking the cases after loading with a case gauge will also let you know if the case is bulging below the crimp

 

Chambers, dies and case gauges can vary in size and your barrel is your best gauge. Meaning the rounds that failed the case gauge testing may drop right in your barrel and work fine. Case gauges can vary in diameter, and some are at minimum SAAMI diameter and will be "smaller" in diameter than your chamber.

 

 

 

Edited by bigedp51

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i suspect that 9mm major is one of the causes of high reject right in 9mm. 

 

Nonetheless, there is no need to disassemble the rejects. Unless you have a crazy tight gun, they will probably shoot just fine. I just throw the rejects into a separate box, and save them up until I practice on a snowy or muddy day, then just leave them at the range.

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Since you are using a SDB, you are locked into those dies because they are proprietary.  9mm and 40sw brass are problematic, because so much of it is fired in guns with unsupported chambers.  I had exactly the same problem loading 40sw on a SDB.  20% case gauge rejects.  Most of them would still chamber and fire, but many did not.  I solved that problem by moving to a Hornady Lock 'n Load so I could use standard dies.

 

Your only other viable alternative is to push through size each case.  You will only be 'sizing' the bottom of the case, but that's okay.  That's where the bulge will be.

 

I shoot 40 and 9mm Open. I have zero issues with range brass in 40, because the Lee Factory Carbide Crimp die takes a care of the 'Glock" bulge.  That die for 9mm only resizes the neck of the case when crimping, so any bulge is still a problem.  I shoot a lot and I'm not willing to invest the time to push though size the 7 or 8 thousand 9mm cases I will use in a year.  So I buy fully processed once fired brass.  It is resized and deprimed, swaged, push through sized, cleaned in SS media and lightly waxed.  It runs 100% in my guns.  I still drop them into a Shockbottle case gauge to check, just in case.

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When I was loading 9 with the SDB I was having similar failure rates.  Check the press to make sure shellplate is tight and that the compression bumps are not worn down on the blue friction plate .  Beyond that I started using case lube and found my reject rate dropped to 2 or 3 per 100, for those completed rounds I simply ran them through a Lee Bulge Buster in 9x18 Makarov so that the brass was completely resized.

 

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I appreciate hearing there are reasons and remedies for what I’m seeing. I’ve not heard of the Glock “smile” before, but will be alert for it in future. Someone recommended a Lee undersized 9mm sizing die, which does what it sounds like the bulge buster or push-through dies would do? Thanks for your help.

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I appreciate hearing there are reasons and remedies for what I’m seeing. I’ve not heard of the Glock “smile” before, but will be alert for it in future. Someone recommended a Lee undersized 9mm sizing die, which does what it sounds like the bulge buster or push-through dies would do? Thanks for your help.

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Stoph, you cannot use standard dies on your SDB.  You are stuck with what you have unless you buy a new press.  So most of the suggestions you got were worthless, because the posters were not familiar with a SDB.

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Right about the dies difference; but I picked up a partner press (no dies) so I could use it to size bullets I’m casting. The lee undersized die fits it great.

its an extra step, deprime/size, then run the round thru the SDB. Works well for most (not tulammo or others crimped primer 9mm)

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I’ve yet to buy a gauge for my 9mm but have yet to have an issue with bulged cases (I use Lee dies). I do case gauge my .40 and I put the rejects in a separate box and chamber check, ie. plunk test, the rejects with my gun while it’s dirty. If they drop in, spin and drop out they’re good to go. 

I see threads where guys get hung up on their Hundo’s reject rate but the real test is how the rounds fit your gun(s). For me the Hundo just identifies the ones I need to test.

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