Case Prep

If you shoot full-bore, then you're welcome to use this forum to discuss your sport.

Moderator: Mod

Posts: 571
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:22 pm
Location: far north brisbane

Case Prep

#1 Postby scott/r » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:11 pm

As t/r shooters, how fare do you guys go with case prep. Do you bother with neck turning (if needed) , anneal (and how often) ? I do uniform the primer pockets and de burr the flash holes. But I was wondering how far to go?

Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:36 pm

Re: Case Prep

#2 Postby LoneRider » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:59 pm

i chamfer inside and outside the neck,primer pocket,and if the cases are used i run a small drill bit threw the flash hole to clean it.
i also use a primer pocket cleaner tool.

i havent got a full length sizer yet,so i am using a neck sizer only atm [but only using each case twice until i get one]

more money = better prep tools :wink:

Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:49 am
Location: Barossa Sth Australia

Re: Case Prep

#3 Postby Peterla » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:50 am

I am a fclass shooter but must has rubbed off to some TR shooters in my club :D
The TR champion for us batches cases, anneals cases every firing, neck turns and sorts out primer pockets
Then he batches the projectiles too

Look like it works for him now being the club TR champion =D>

Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:43 am

Re: Case Prep

#4 Postby wilson85 » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:27 pm

I think anything you can do (within the rules) to make your ammo more consistent or shoot better, is worth the effort if you have the time and equipment to do it. It becomes very expensive if you spend money on a good rifle, components, fuel to the range etc, to not have your gear work the best it can. Just my opinion mate.



Posts: 6828
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: Maffra, Vic

Re: Case Prep

#5 Postby AlanF » Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:19 pm


I think its fair to say that an F-Open rifle needs to more accurate than TR to be competitive, in fact F-Open almost needs to shoot 1 ring inside TR, if you know what I mean. Despite that, many F-Open shooters, both here and overseas, don't bother doing things that others consider necessary e.g. I have never cleaned my cases with a tumbler or ultrasonically, have never annealed cases, and don't neck turn anymore. Despite that I've been able to remain competitive in any company. You're doing the right thing trying to work out where best to invest your time and money. If I was going to suggest some priorities towards rifle accuracy, here's a few things for a start : engage the best (by reputation) gunsmith you can find - in my experience they don't charge much more, and don't go cheap with your action, get a Barnard or other quality custom action. Allocate sufficient of your budget to barrels, and don't persevere with ones that don't want to shoot (life's too short for that :D ). Put a scope rail on your rifle and use a scope and rest when doing load development, and with reloading, just do all the basics well, using quality press and dies. Not being a TR shooter, I can't give advice on jackets, sights etc., but F-Class has created a need for the rifle accuracy bar to raised, and hopefully we can pass on what has been learnt to TR shooters.


Posts: 571
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:22 pm
Location: far north brisbane

Re: Case Prep

#6 Postby scott/r » Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:39 pm

Cool , thanks guys. I should expand a bit on my original post as to my preparation of my cases. I do full length my cases, then trim them to length. I am using an Omark action and have found that if I don't, I'll get the dreaded sticky case. They then get the primer pockets cleaned and stuck in the ultrasonic cleaner. Once they are dry they get batched to weight from lightest to heaviest. I have annealed them once in 6 firings, but am unsure of if you can anneal to much. So I do do a fare bit of prep work, but most of it through necessity with the O'mark. Granted it's a good one, but it is an Omark.
My main question I suppose is, apart from the rail and scope for development (which is a good call, thanks Alan) what else if anything is there to do that may help?

Posts: 614
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2005 12:15 pm
Location: Innisfail, Far North QLD.

Re: Case Prep

#7 Postby pjifl » Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:07 pm

Although it is not exactly Case Preparation, monitoring the finished result after loading is important. I would measure runout or how crooked the bullet seats.
If you confirm this is under control you do not need to measure each one.

One of Alan's comments applicable to every part of shooting is to prioritize accurately. Do not waste time on something of little importance until the most relevant choke points are identified and if necessary are cured. And I would place case prep as much higher on the list than a lot of other things. Far higher than bullet sorting. And do not waste time on test firing looking for nodes or some other magic trick until you are doing quality loading.

But you are on the right track. For accuracy, there are only a few things that matter - but they do really matter.

1/ The internal Volume needs to be as consistent as you can get it. Hence fire them the same number of times, size and trim, and sort. Keep them in order. You do not need to sort again for a few shots. Get 2 boxes of 100 for cases and keep them separate. Shoot one box away entirely then load while ,moving to the other and mark the boxes with the number of firings.

2/ Very consistent feel when seating the bullet. And the primer.

3/ Very tight powder weight control and seating depth.

4/ Monitor the final product. Measure runout and measure velocity looking for a Velocity SD under 10 for long range shooting. Well under if you can. Even if you cannot monitor your rifles accuracy or your own accuracy, you can monitor the quality of reloading quite well.

This all assumes good quality brass with consistent thickness necks and a well chambered barrel.

I do not bother with neck turning, nor any special case cleaning or primer pocket cleaning apart from running a small screwdriver blade around the pocket.

Maybe some day I will anneal but don't bother until all of the above are as good as you can make them.

Finally, bow to the three most important rules of reloading quality ammunition.

They are, in order,

A/ Cases
B/ Cases
C/ and finally again Cases.

Peter Smith.

Posts: 2168
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:55 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Case Prep

#8 Postby johnk » Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:32 pm

When talking about the .308 Winchester (though it applies to other calibers too), I would suggest that the single most useful tool that has ever been devised is the Lee collet die - when it is properly used. I have found that often the supposedly superior bushing dies result in eccentric necks causing excessive projectile runout & sometimes have a propensity to change the case's chamber fit.

The most useful writing on the Lee die I have read is this:

Using The Lee Collet Die.

I started using Lee collet dies when they first came on the market and have found that they are very good for the purposes for which they were designed .
I have found that there is a lack of understanding of how to use the die properly and as a result people fail to see the advantages that the die can deliver over standard neck sizing dies.
This is not the fault of the product , it is just a lack of understanding of how the die works and what it will feel like when you operate the press correctly.
Standard dies use a neck expanding ball on the decapping rod and size by extruding the neck through a hole and then drag the expander ball back through the inside neck.
The collet die achieves neck sizing by using a split collet to squeeze the outside of the case neck onto a central mandrel which has the decapping pin in it’s base .
One advantage is that there is no stretching or drawing action on the brass.
The inside neck diameter is controlled by the diameter of the mandrel and to some extent by the amount of adjustment of the die and the pressure applied to the press .
This results in less misalignment than can occur in standard dies because of any uneven neck wall thickness in the cases .
Cases will last longer in the neck area and require less trimming. If cases have very uneven neck wall thickness then this can cause problems for the collet die they definitely work smoother and more accurately with neck turned cases but it is not essential.
When you first receive the die unscrew the top cap and pull it apart check that everything is there also that the splits in the collet have nothing stuck in them then inspect the tapered surface on the top end of the collet and the internal taper of the insert to make sure there are no metal burs that might cause it to jamb.
Next get some good quality high pressure grease and put a smear onto the tapered surface of the collet .
Put it back together and screw it into the press just a few threads for now . The best type of press for this die is a press of moderate compound leverage that travels over centre .
Over centre means that when the ram reaches its full travel up it will stop and come back down a tiny amount even though the movement on the handle is continued through to the stop .
eg. is an RCBS Rockchucker.
This arrangement gives the best feel for a collet die sizing operation.
Place the shell holder in the ram and bring the ram up to full height then screw the die down until the collet skirt just touches on the shell holder , then lower the ram .
Take a case to be sized that has a clean neck inside and out and the mouth chamfered and place it in the shell holder.
Raise the ram gently feeling for resistance if none , lower the ram.
Screw the die down a bit at a time .
If you get lock up ( ram stops before going over centre) before the correct position is found then back it off and make sure the collet is loose and not jammed up in the die before continuing then raise the ram feeling for any resistance , keep repeating this until you feel the press handle resist against the case neck just at the top of the stroke as the press goes over centre and the handle kinder locks in place .
This takes much less force than a standard die and most people don’t believe any sizing has taken place .
Take the case out and try a projectile of the correct caliber to see how much sizing has taken place.
If it’s still too loose adjust the die down one eighth of a turn lock it finger tight only and try again .
Once the die is near the correct sizing position it takes very little movement of the die to achieve changes in neck seating tension .
This is where most people come undone , they move the die up and down too much and it either locks up or doesn’t size at all .
It will still size a case locking it up but you have no control over how much pressure is applied and some people lean on the press handle to the point of damaging the die. A press like the RCBS Rockchucker , that goes over centre each time gives you a definite stopping point for the ram and the pressure that you apply .
There is a small sweet spot for correct collet die adjustment and you must find it , once found , how sweet it is ! Advantages : With a press that travels over centre it is possible to adjust the neck seating tension within a very limited zone. No lubricant is normally required on the case necks during sizing .

If you still cant get enough neck tension to hold the bullet properly for a particular purpose then you will have to polish down the mandrel.
Be careful poilishing the mandrel down and only do it a bit at a time as a few thou can be removed pretty quickly if you overdo it.
You can't get extra neck tension by just applying more force. The amount of adjustment around the sweet spot is very limited and almost not noticable without carrying out tests.
For example , to go from a .001 neck tension to a .002 or .003 neck tension you would be talking about polishing down the mandrel.

There are some other advantages but I will leave you the pleasure of discovering them .
One disadvantage that I have found with the collet die is that it needs good vertical alignment of the case as it enters the die or case damage may result so go slowly.
Also some cases with a very thick internal base can cause problems with the mandrel coming in contact with the internal base before the sizing stroke is finished.
If pressure is continued the mandrel can push up against the top cap and cause damage . If you are getting lock up and cant get the right sizing sweet spot, then check that the mandrel is not too long for the case you can place a washer over the case and onto the shell holder and size down on that.
It will reduce the length of neck sized and give the mandrel more clearance. If it sizes Ok after adding the washer then the mandrel could be hitting the base.
This is not a usually problem once you learn how to use them .
The harder the brass is the more spring back it will have so very hard brass will exhibit less sizing than soft brass because it will spring away from the mandrel more. If this is happening to excess then use new cases or anneal the necks.
Freshly annealed brass can drag on the mandrel a bit in certain cases because it will spring back less and result in a tighter size diameter.
I have experienced it. I always use some dry lube on the inside and outside if I get any draging effect . Normally you dont need lube.
I make up a special batch 1/3 Fine Moly powder. 1/3 Pure graphite. 1/3 Aluminiumised lock graphite. Rub your fingers around the neck and It sticks very well to the necks by just dipping it in and out and tapping it to clear the inside neck . After a few cases it coats up the mandrel .
Other dry lubricants would work also.
Use the same process for normal neck sizing also.

I noticed a definite improvement in the accuracy of my 22-250Rem. as soon as I started using a Lee collet die instead of my original standard neck die.
Readers are encouraged to utilise the benefits of responsible reloading at all times. Although the author has taken care in the writing of these articles no responsibility can be taken by the author or publisher as a result of the use of this information.
John Valentine. © 21/01/2002.

Posts: 571
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:22 pm
Location: far north brisbane

Re: Case Prep

#9 Postby scott/r » Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:47 am

Hopefully I'll be picking up a Barnard actioned rifle by the end of the week, pending postman. So now I will have the option of neck sizing instead of the mandatory full length size with the O'mark. Generally, is it better for the brass to be necked instead of full length. I understand that it'll be a lot less work for the brass, but for accuracy surely it's must help. Or am I just wish full thinking?

Posts: 571
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:22 pm
Location: far north brisbane

Re: Case Prep

#10 Postby scott/r » Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:48 am

Oh, and thanks heaps for your input so far guys.

Posts: 639
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Cowra NSW

Re: Case Prep

#11 Postby KHGS » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:46 am

scott/r wrote:Hopefully I'll be picking up a Barnard actioned rifle by the end of the week, pending postman. So now I will have the option of neck sizing instead of the mandatory full length size with the O'mark. Generally, is it better for the brass to be necked instead of full length. I understand that it'll be a lot less work for the brass, but for accuracy surely it's must help. Or am I just wish full thinking?

Full length sizing does not reduce case life, IF the FLD is set up correctly to provide no more than .002" shoulder bump. FL dies set up correctly in this manner actually improves accuracy, but by only a small, teensy amount. Case life can suffer by full length sizing when the chamber is large & the die is small i.e. both at apposing ends of tolerance scale, or when the FLD is set up to bump the shoulder too far.
Keith H.

Return to “Full-bore/Target Rifle”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest