Case neck - bullet / ???

Wile E Coyote

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Has anyone experienced anything like the following and if so, how did you correct the problem?

Recently, I had the occasion to disassemble some rounds to recover bullets and powders from the remains of several reloaded lots. The reason for pulling the rounds apart was because each lot had not performed as expected. In the dis-assembly process, I discovered that the effort required pull the bullets from the cases varied considerably. Most cartridges pulled apart easily but a few didn’t give up without a fight.

I’m using a Hornady collet puller in the press to hold the bullet and only enough pressure is applied to grip the bullet without slipping off while drawing it from the case. All in the effort to not deform the bullet.


When originally assembled, all of the above case mouths were lubed with Imperial Dry Neck Lube as illustrated in the DE reloading video. The lots were a mix of cases, some brand new and others previously fired. Each lot though was uniformly prepared. In other words, all new in one lot, 2x fired in another and so on. Just before assembly, the previously fired cases had been SS media washed in their preparation and some cases were annealed while some were not annealed. (Those were assembled before the annealing machine was acquired.) All were neck sized using a Redding S type neck bushing dies. The bushing size selected gave approximately a .002” interference fit, i.e. bullet diameter of .284 and the case neck ID ~ .282” and similarly done with other calibers.

With just about anything I build, I can get 2 or 3 to shoot into a bug hole then one or more will miss, sometimes by several MOA. I do not see any common indicators other than those “flyers” are almost always high and/ or to the right. Once in a great while, one is low, but never left.

These differences show up too, on the chronograph. In a typical example, if I were to shoot 10 rounds, 5 or 6 will be mid-single digit ES if taken alone while the others will be considerably faster, perhaps 30 to 50 fps faster, though I have seen greater. I am all but convinced this accuracy/ velocity issue is directly tied to the bullet release differences observed in the dis-assembly.

This brings me to question; what could be causing the inconsistency in neck to bullet friction I’m witnessing. Could it be reloading technique or order of operations? Is there a step I've missed or or perhaps misapplied? Does the SS media wash or the annealing process change the brass surface? I’ve been wrangling with this for quite some time and I’m almost out of ideas.

If anyone has an idea or a suggestion, I’m all ears and most grateful.

Pete

 

Sam Millard

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I would guess it's the elasticity of the brass. The tighter ones are probably "harder" and lack the spring back of the others. Lubing the necks might have masked it somewhat during assembly. I notice this a lot with my WW brass. Very inconsistent once it's been fired. Annealing took care of it.
 

Wile E Coyote

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Sam, The elasticity verses hardening of the brass is what convinced me to start annealing. The foremost reason was to extend the brass life by keeping the neck and shoulder area malleable and therefore less prone to cracking. Unfortunately, a few annealed cases were also among the "offending" bunch above.

Don't know if this means anything but, the oldest and most often fired brass above is R-P. The new brass and those with less than 3x firings are Hornady. Neither has been immune from the problem. Neither shows the problem noticeably more or less than the other.

Right after posting earlier, I talked with a couple people about this problem. One, who is not a shooter but a good technician otherwise, happened to be present for the conversation. He made a suggestion that won't fix the problem but may isolate or ID it more definitively. That is, where possible, to change the order of, or not do, or otherwise do in a completely different manner, each of the steps in producing the reload. The idea being to get the problem to change or move in some manner then re-analyze and identify the culprit.

At first I blew it off but the drive home from work had me thinking... I could pass on annealing a couple times or anneal right after initially cleaning up the brass, perhaps not "wet" cleaning the brass but drag out the old tumbler with walnut shell media and the like. In the back of my head has been the notion that the brass is "grippy" after being wet cleaned and that the annealing exacerbates the condition. For the record, annealing has been my last step in case prep before assembly to remove any stress before seating and firing.

I've got to give this some thought but I'll probably set aside some cases, perhaps 10 new and 10 fired. Then do one thing differently with the reload procedure until I get a change. Gotta' go think about this a little.

Thanks,

Pete
 

yobuck

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This is a good topic for discussion, and im glad someone other than me started it.
Im also glad to hear you go to more trouble than me in case prep.
I hate case prep. I just wish i could afford to throw them away and use new ones.
All that said ive been having issues with loaded cartridges that have been laying around for awhile.
Maybe up to 5 years. I pretty much load for max performance in my guns which are all hunting guns.
This year before season i was shooting my 7x300 wby with my old load of 81 gr 7828 with a 162 hornady.
On several rounds i had trouble getting the bolt open. I then switched to my sons ammo with same load and no
issues at all. I pulled apart 2 of his and 2 of mine and weighed the charges. 81 GR exactly in all 4.
I could not pull the bullets on my loads without using large dikes to grab the bullets. Of coarse that ruins the bullets.
I pulled every one i had loaded and threw away all the components. The bullet sticking to the case issue bothers me.
Im sure that would have an effect on pressure and could have contributed to my problem. It could also contribute to inconsistancy
in our shots.
Ive since bought an rcbs case prep machine. Ive spun those cases on the bronze case mouth brush for several minits and their still not shiney.
Ive been using a hand tool with a bronze brush for cleaning inside necks. Frankly im also becoming a little suspicious of 7828.
 

Wile E Coyote

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Rest assured, I too am no huge fan of case prep. I'd rather shoot than clean and prep cases. Though last year, I had plenty of time to do as much cleaning and prep as I wanted. But that is another story for another day.

The 7RM I have is where I first noticed this issue. When it was newly blueprinted and barreled a few years ago, its accuracy didn't go un-noticed by a couple buddys who shoot benchrest. It is a hunting rifle but I still want to squeeze out everything I can from it. And with the price of and the availability of components today that becomes just that much more important. Though I've tried a number of load combinations, it still shoots the original recipe load the best. Retumbo, CCI250, Berger 180VLD. She just throws one wild every few shots and I want to and will figure out why and report what I find.

Pete
 

oneshot

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I had made the comment to a few folks in the past that annealing has not only save my brass from getting cracked necks do to work harding, but also has made the effort or pressure applied to seating bullets more consistent from one bullet to the next. This in turn resulted in the bullets seating close to all the same depth with in a thousands or two and if they are more consistent in the pressure or effort being pressed in, the same will be on the release as pressure builds when fired.

I usually
cleanup the outside of the brass some with a clean rag
then run a brush down the neck
size the brass in the press
trim to length
chamfer the end inside and out
brush down the inside of neck again
anneal
then a quick IOSSO wash and dry
prime and reload.
 

yobuck

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Well i think the proceedure is pretty much the same with most people regardless as to wether you enjoy doing it or not.
Certainly annealing is a case saver and (possibly) contributes to more accurate loads.
That said several of my closest friends have been very successful 1000 yd Williamsport
shooters and to this day they dont anneal brass.
But i dont feel thats the issue here. What causes bullets to weld themselves to the case is the issue?
Over the years ive been given brass and loaded ammo from shooters/hunters ive known who passed on.
On taking apart this ammo ive often had to resort to using dikes to pull the bullets. So its not just me or my
own loads ive experienced this with. There is no doubt this situation can and does cause pressure spikes as i
experienced this past fall.
 

Mudhen

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I quit stainless steel tumbling for that reason. I brush the neck once, in then out, and clean the outside of the case. The inside necks are smooth but still look sooty. Just before seating i use imperial neck graphiter. This seems to give me much more consistent release. The bright squeaky clean necks i had before when i was stainless tumbling seemed to cause the bullets to stick occasionally.
 

yobuck

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Well like most of my reloading equiptment my tumbler is rather old fashioned also and i just use the plain old media for cleaning the cases.
Ive been on the same page as to how ive been cleaning necks with just a couple strokes with the hand tool. I do use the Imperial wax
lube and always apply a scrape of it accross the case mouths. The issue appears to worsen if the ammo sits around for a spell. Ive not done
any experimenting with new or squeaky clean brass either. But its my intention to do that as a comparison to dirty neck brass. Problem is its
best not to be doing any long term experiments when your 80 lol.
 

oneshot

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Years ago I would load up a large batch of ammo and run with it throughout the year, I noticed that when having to tweak a load that some of the bullets seemed bonded to the case as if a corrosion factor had welded the two together some. I don't preload up large batches anymore. Case neck or bullet lubing would help against the two adhering to each other in time. I know some folks that want to preload a large batch of ammo will not seat the bullet as far as needed and then later bump them a few thousands to the correct depth to break any type or chance of a bond. Thats all and good but last year a fellow forgot to bump his bullets to the final step and in the middle of a course at Ft McCoy was blowing primers and all hell was breaking loose until he remembered that the bullets weren't set at the correct depth. You can about imagine the pressure spike when running a load on the verge of being hot, then go from say 5 off the lands to being jammed.


Cheers
 

yobuck

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Well i would agree its probably best not load too many at one time unless you plan on shooting them soon.
Ive tried breaking the bond by seating them deeper and still had the problem however. Worked on some but not all.
 

Scrubbit

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I quit stainless steel tumbling for that reason. I brush the neck once, in then out, and clean the outside of the case. The inside necks are smooth but still look sooty. Just before seating i use imperial neck graphiter. This seems to give me much more consistent release. The bright squeaky clean necks i had before when i was stainless tumbling seemed to cause the bullets to stick occasionally.

Hi Mudhen. Did using the imperial neck graphiter allow you to load larger batches while still maintaining low ES, or would cases still weld over time? As with the other folks here, I've had sporadic issues with this. Am trying using a very small sheen of RCBS case lube on the inside of the necks. Basically brushing it on and then wiping it off with a rag pressed over top of the bristles on my brush so the powder doesn't stick to it at all. Seating has gone extremely well. I've tried different generic graphite lubes with little success. Haven't shot the newly loaded ammo yet. Thanks.
 

Eagles1181

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Check your case length. If some of the brass is longer than spec it will cause a tighter crimp on the bullet. This would account for both the harder to release and the increased velocity although I have no idea why the fliers are drifting right. Just something to consider.

Eagle
 

Greg Duley

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Cold welding is definitely the issue you're talking about here, and the easiest way to minimise/avoid it is don't clean your brass. We never do, no cleaning or tumbling, inside or out. This might sound like heresy but a good layer of carbon inside the neck and a dipping in the dry neck lube after annealing before you seat the bullet and you won't have a cold welding problem. The cleaner you get your necks, the worse it will be.
New brass is a problem, and the longer you leave it loaded for, the worse it will be. As we fireform all our wildcats with a charge of fast burning shotgun powder, we largely eliminate this issue in new brass as well.
The other thing to do if possible as others have said above is don't load ammo for the year ahead in one sitting if you can avoid it. Just load what you'll need a month or two at a time. Saves the amount of formed brass you need per rifle too doing it this way. I know this won't work for some who maybe don't have a load room set up permanently, but I usually only have 10 or 20 rounds loaded at a time for my own hunting rifles. Varmint rifles are a a different story of course.
 

Mudhen

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Hi Mudhen. Did using the imperial neck graphiter allow you to load larger batches while still maintaining low ES, or would cases still weld over time? As with the other folks here, I've had sporadic issues with this. Am trying using a very small sheen of RCBS case lube on the inside of the necks. Basically brushing it on and then wiping it off with a rag pressed over top of the bristles on my brush so the powder doesn't stick to it at all. Seating has gone extremely well. I've tried different generic graphite lubes with little success. Haven't shot the newly loaded ammo yet. Thanks.

Yes i think the graphite helped. The graphite does not stick on clean brass, and likely wont help. I dont tumble at all...the brass gets wiped down with alcohol on the outside and one pass of a brush inside the neck. The graphite sticks to the carbon and coats the inside of the necks nicely. The seating pressure seems more consistent and the ES is down but still not great at 20-25 ish although the vertical on target seems better than that.
 

Scrubbit

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Thanks Mudhen and Greg. Agree with you all the way on no aggressive cleaning or tumbling. I usually do 3 brushes in and out of the neck, but will cut it down to 1 and try the graphite. Cases are all uniform and fire formed Norma Eagles, so length shouldn't be an issue. Eli

 

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