New brass and neck tension

MTtrout

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Jan 2, 2013
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I’ve reloaded for several years now for another rifle but consider myself a novice. With that rifle I started with once fired nosler brass using RCBS FL die and found a load that suites my needs for that gun.

I’m now starting load development for a new 6.5 prc and using new lapua brass. My question relates to neck tension. My lapua brass measures .15 thick and neck diameter of .292. I started running them over a 6.5mm Sinclair exp mandrel to smooth out any dings. After running them thru, the neck diameter is .2925/.293. This is going to give me a neck tension of .001. If important, this rifle will be used for hunting as well as long distance at the range. My understanding is that loads for hunting, people prefer a tension more around .003. Would it not be wise to load and fire them with the current tension of .001 and then use a .291 bushing in my Redding die moving forward? Or do you think the change of .002 neck tension could negate the load development?

My thought is I could run them thru the die with a .291 bushing (with expanding ball removed) to tighten it up some and then start load development. I don’t want to go this route if it’s not necessary.

Much appreciated.
 

cmahoney

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I’d shoot them, the new brass isn’t formed to your chamber yet anyway.


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Tesoro

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I like to anneal all new brass, Lapua included. I have found that otherwise I get hard and soft seats if I dont anneal first. Not 50/50 but definitively get hard ones every now and then. But not after a freshannealing. Need to light chamfer case neck too obviously. For new brass without carbon I use a little imperial wax on the bullet by rolling in my fingers before I set it on case to seat. Not much but even. I use an arbor press to seat and I get a better feel of the pressure ( = neck tension) than with a single stage bench press. I run the new brass after annealing ( wait a day) thru a f/l neck bushing die and then finish them on the arbor to transfer any uneveness to the neck exterior. Try grabbing a 1 tho neck tension bullet and twisting or pulling it out with your fingers. Cant do! For hunting I would f/l size so do em all that way and have consistent cases. If you can get a Lee collet neck die for your prc then faster and straighter. Neck size first then run it thru a f/l die with the bushing removed. They can make mandrels for whatever you want for tension but I wouldnt go over 1.5. Lots of ways to skin a cat! If you dont anneal you can get set up to do it for 50 bucks and do it as well and as fast as a $600 machine.
 

XLR

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I’ve reloaded for several years now for another rifle but consider myself a novice. With that rifle I started with once fired nosler brass using RCBS FL die and found a load that suites my needs for that gun.

I’m now starting load development for a new 6.5 prc and using new lapua brass. My question relates to neck tension. My lapua brass measures .15 thick and neck diameter of .292. I started running them over a 6.5mm Sinclair exp mandrel to smooth out any dings. After running them thru, the neck diameter is .2925/.293. This is going to give me a neck tension of .001. If important, this rifle will be used for hunting as well as long distance at the range. My understanding is that loads for hunting, people prefer a tension more around .003. Would it not be wise to load and fire them with the current tension of .001 and then use a .291 bushing in my Redding die moving forward? Or do you think the change of .002 neck tension could negate the load development?

My thought is I could run them thru the die with a .291 bushing (with expanding ball removed) to tighten it up some and then start load development. I don’t want to go this route if it’s not necessary.

Much appreciated.
All of the Sinclair expanders are .001 under bullet diameter which should give you .0015 of neck tension. Personally, this is what I run for everything and haven't had any issues. If you want a little more neck tension you could resize and use their neck turning mandrels which are .002 under bullet diameter so that should give you around .0025 neck tension. I would personally run it and keep running it! You will see a small difference between virgin brass and fireformed brass but I think that is kind of an old myth from when everyone was neck sizing. You are going to size it back to whatever your resize dies dimensions are, not really to chamber dimensions (unless you have a custom die). As long as you have consistent neck tension your load development is going to be valuable.

One of the most overlooked parts of load development though is making sure that your rifle is broken in. You really shouldn't be set on a load until you are at around 150-200 rounds through a rifle. In those first rounds, the barrel is getting broken in so velocities will change. With components being how they are right now this is hard to justify but it depends a lot on how much you are going to be shooting!
 

XLR

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I like to anneal all new brass, Lapua included. I have found that otherwise I get hard and soft seats if I dont anneal first. Not 50/50 but definitively get hard ones every now and then. But not after a freshannealing. Need to light chamfer case neck too obviously. For new brass without carbon I use a little imperial wax on the bullet by rolling in my fingers before I set it on case to seat. Not much but even. I use an arbor press to seat and I get a better feel of the pressure ( = neck tension) than with a single stage bench press. I run the new brass after annealing ( wait a day) thru a f/l neck bushing die and then finish them on the arbor to transfer any uneveness to the neck exterior. Try grabbing a 1 tho neck tension bullet and twisting or pulling it out with your fingers. Cant do! For hunting I would f/l size so do em all that way and have consistent cases. If you can get a Lee collet neck die for your prc then faster and straighter. Neck size first then run it thru a f/l die with the bushing removed. They can make mandrels for whatever you want for tension but I wouldnt go over 1.5. Lots of ways to skin a cat! If you dont anneal you can get set up to do it for 50 bucks and do it as well and as fast as a $600 machine.
@Ryan Avery has a podcast with the unknown and ADG guys and they mention whether or not you should anneal new brass. Might be something to check out because they do advise against it. Like you said there are a lot of ways to skin a cat that is for sure! The ADG guys said they have a lot of technology and man-hours into making sure they get the perfect hardness when the brass is sent out. Made sense to me so I have never tried annealing at the start!
 

Lawnboi

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Shoot them to form to your chamber and break in your barrel, assuming this is new brass in a new gun?

Virgin Lapua can be goofy, that squeaky clean annealed neck creates a lot of friction, I’d see how a few seat before going tighter. Only way Iv overcome this on virgin Lapua is a little imperial on the rim when seating the bullet.

Pin gauges are fairly cheap and nice to have for measuring actual inside diameter of your case, and are what I use to assure that going forward your sizing is creating consistent results on the neck.
 

Tesoro

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Feb 19, 2018
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Southern Oregon
Well Annealing dosent hurt anything and components are too costly now to just waste ammo by fire forming. IMO you do that for wildcats. It only takes me 20 min to anneal 100 by hand so whats the big deal. Plus its fun if not screwing with a machine setup when switching calibers. If you have a hunting rifle then best to always f/l size your brass. It dosent take much effort to do and can skip the fireforming as you dont have a ss bench rifle. Or use the lee neck collett and a body die as mentioned. I can sure feel the diff in neck hardnesses with fresh annealed vs new brass with Lapua.
 
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MTtrout

MTtrout

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Thanks for the input everyone and the suggestions of other components to try. I went a head and primed so hoping to send some live ones down the barrel next week. I have some new brass for another rifle that I will be working on this summer so will look into annealing fresh brass and will give that podcast a listen.

@Tesoro, I’m not setup with an annealing yet. Do you have a recommendation of the setup you use?
 

Tesoro

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Feb 19, 2018
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watch the correct videos first. 80% are incorrect one way or the other. I’d say primal rights has best video of under to over anbealing. Start off by hand annealing. Get a torch head with pencil flame and adj wheel. Can use a socket and drill press. Do it in the near dark. Never use tempilac. Use yr eyes and look for start of cherry red glow inside case neck then stop! Aim flame slight downward angle at neck base. Longer the neck lesser the angle. Unless u do 100’s of cases at a time a machine waste of money and no time savings. I had one! I now use a 18 dollar mini potters wheel with adj speed and a holder. Collect clean range brass to practice with. Have fun

Here is a lil video of potter wheel
 
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