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Case Gauge kickouts


Stoph
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I posted for the first time a while back about my newly rediscovered enjoyment of reloading 9mm and .44Mag. I have a vintage 1986 Square Deal press, which between Dillon and me now has a few newer parts and overall works great. I am gradually getting wiser as to how to ensure quality at various points in my process-installing an inexpensive light near the bullet setting station, to ensure powder level looks right, using a case gauge on the finished rounds BEFORE I take them anywhere near a range. I also check and record the COL for that particuar batch. I've become a brass collecting fiend on my range visits. I sort the brass pretty carefully, culling out the .380, .40, +P, etc. I then clean the brass in a tumbler-really prefer the walnut media for getting them clean.

I notice though with these once or more-fired cases that I'm getting anywhere from 5-15% which fail to fit in the case gauge. Most fit great, easy in easy out; these few absolutely refuse. Haven't traced it to a particular brand. I ensured my sizing die was going all the way down the length of the case, I began checking COL more frequently, thinking maybe I'm seating the bullet too deeply and bulging the case. I spend a little while after every loading session with the bullet puller, trying to save the bullets and powder.

Recently I heard about an "undersized" sizing die made by Lee and maybe some others, which sizes the case .001-.003 smaller than spec. Supposedly competition shooters who want to avoid ANY problems feeding use them, as do some who experience some problems with re-using range brass. I have an RCBS partner press I picked up for a good price, thinking I'd use it for sizing cast bullets. The undersized die would fit this; and I could pre-size my used brass before putting them thru the Square Deal.

 

Does anyone have any experience with these? Is it a good idea? Should you seat the bullet not as deep, since shrinking the case might increase the pressure?

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The u die helps a good bit. I often get ones that fail the gauge slightly but I have plunk tested and shot enough of them to know which to toss and which to keep. I accept ammo that I can push flush into the gauge with a little force that then passes on subsequent tests, and ammo that sticks out of the gauge by about rim thickness. 

 

Ammo that hard stops and won't go at all gets tossed, everything else goes to the practice bin

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What case gauge are you using and how does it compare to the barrel of the firearm you wish to shoot said cartridge from?

 

I have found that my Dillon single case gauge and shockwave case gauge (100 rounds) to have differences of opinion on what is acceptable.  I use my barrel to break the tie.

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I load a lot of 9mm, and I use range pickup brass exclusively, that likely includes a lot of glock brass and some 9mm major. I use regular lee dies in my 650 (no u die) and case gauge every round in a shock bottle hundo.  I get the occasional round that wont plunk all the way into the gauge, but it's nowhere near 5%. 

 

The biggest factor I've found to affect rounds dropping in is the powder drop stage. Putting just a little to much flare on the brass drives the reject rate way up. 

 

As for the occasional 'reject' they go in a box marked 'practice' and I have yet to have one not run in the gun. Just not worth it to me to have questionable rounds in the main mix. 

 

Toby J

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Power Jack: I normally try for OAL of 1.55 to 1.15, depending on whether I am loading FP or RN. I haven't used the chamber test with my 9mm much (but I do with my .44 Mag revolver reloads).

 

Muncie21: Using a Dillon Case gage for both my 9mm and .44 Mag reloading activities. Do you recommend the Shockwave tool? Do you consider it more accurate?

 

TobyJ: I may revisit the flare. Initially I was having trouble getting the bullet to stay put during seat-there hadn't been enough flare. Does anyone else hold the bullet until it starts up into the seating die? Any finger injuries?

 

All: Thanks for the input and affirmation that I am on the right road. I've been trying different weights and diameters of bullets, to see what works best in my Glocks (have a 17 Gen 4 and a 43), as well as trying different powders, different charges. I have noticed some brands of brass must be thicker than others, and of course the bullet can be either .355" or .356". I am trying to get to the place where I can detect "trouble brass" BEFORE I spend much time on it. 

As to bullets, at lest in semiauto pistols, I think I am growing a preference for other that flat points. Maybe it's because the ones I've tried are .356", but they all create a "mid-case bulge". They pass case gauge, but still give me trouble feeding out of certain mags and chambering properly; I have to pull the slide back and release to get them to finish chambering,

Edited by Stoph
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U die may help.

 

I use regular Lee. I thought Dillon dies were supposed to be in the small side?

 

With a hundo gauge I find bullet diameter matters, the bigger the more rejects, brass headstamp makes a difference, a lot of the imports are quite thick at the mouth, doesn't matter much at .355/356 really matters at .358, CBC, GFL, and S&B make up a lot of rejects. 

 

The only affect I've noticed from flare was if it wasn't removed all the way.

 

I toss rejects in a practice bin, probably <1% of those don't chamber and fire. 

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29 minutes ago, Stoph said:

 

Muncie21: Using a Dillon Case gage for both my 9mm and .44 Mag reloading activities. Do you recommend the Shockwave tool? Do you consider it more accurate?

 

To me, the main benefit of the hundred round case gauges (I use the Shockbottle one) isn’t accuracy, it’s the time saved by being able to do 100 at a time. They’re also nice because they’re the same spacing as the typical 100 round plastic ammo boxes, so you can go straight from the gauge to the box. 

 

If you want the best (most accurate) check possible, then you need to use your actual barrel.

 

That’s a pain, so the next best is a gauge that’s tighter than your barrel. You’ll over-reject rounds that might work, but that’s better than having reliability problems at a match. Just run the rejects in practice unless there’s something visibly wrong with the round. 

 

Using a gauge that’s looser than your barrel, obviously, would be pointless. 

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6 hours ago, Stoph said:

Muncie21: Using a Dillon Case gage for both my 9mm and .44 Mag reloading activities. Do you recommend the Shockwave tool? Do you consider it more accurate?

I hope no one went searching for a shock'wave' case gauge :)  it's actually made by shockbottle.

 

The tolerances of the shockbottle may be tighter than a dillon (mine is) however that doesn't necessarily make it better.  The advantage is speed.  You can case gauge more quickly with the shockbottle than a single case dillon gauge.  I've used my shockbottle enough to know how high is too high for my pistols.  Just because it doesn't sit flush in the case gauge doesn't mean it won't shoot fine from my guns.

 

I haven't loaded 44 mag.  However for 9mm I can tell you that if you're loading 147 (or heavier) bullets if you seat them too deep the bullet will start to bulge the middle of the case, because of the tapered case design.

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I use a Hundo (Shockbottle) and find that the vast majority of my rejects still plunk in and out of my Glock barrels no problem. However, I have found in my experience that sorting brass by headstamp eliminates virtually all rejects. YMMV

Edited by Helios
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Stoph

  If you look carefully & compare dillon dies to other brands, you will see the opening of the dillon die has a bigger flare than say a lee die.  This is to facillitate feeding into the die.  What you get in exchange though is other brands of dies will resize lower.  This is why lots of folks use other brand of resizing dies.  Problem w square d press is your dies are proprietary.  To work around this, try lowering sizing die down until it contacts the shell plate a tiny bit before full stroke of the handle.  You should still be able to pull handle full stroke, its just flexing or common term, "camming over" the handle.  If this seems offensive to you, you can always grind a tiny bit off the bottom of the die.  I use my regular old belt sander I use when building cabinets.  You dont need to take much off!

If you remember that the 9mm cartridge is a tapered round & is larger at the case head than the bullet end, you will see why this can help your sizing do a more thorough job

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You can fix your flare problem and stop holding bullets by hand if you change out the Dillon expander/funnel for a Mr. Bullet feeder expander/funnel.  It has two steps on the expander.  The bottom step is normal.  The top is about .001" larger than bullet diameter.  The bullet drops in and it held vertically.  It will not fall out when the shell plate rotates.  You do not need flare with this expander, because the bullet drops in.  I set mine for a microscopic amount of flare and have zero problems.

 

There are several people selling modified U dies.  They grind the bottom off so that the die sizes farther down.  A lot of 9mm Open shooters use them so they don't have to push through or roll size.

 

If it drops into my Shockbottle checker it will run in all my pistols.

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