For Reloaders: shoulder issue

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I recently encountered an issue on a run of 50 I loaded for my .338LM, which I didn't experience on the previous run, using the same recycled brass, projectiles and powder. Pertinent info: Brass: Once-used S&B (Lapua from what I can tell) Powder: Hodgdon Retumbo Primers: Federal Projectiles: Hornady 225gr SST Dimensions: I'm using standard dimensions (OAL, powder load...etc) for everything at this juncture as these were made to be "safe" hunting rounds for the rifle. I had 5x out of the 50 that had a visible bulge in the shoulder. I caught this when the first one wouldn't chamber, resulting in my inspection of subsequent rounds. 45 of them chambered and operated without issue. Nothing changed during the reloading process, my buddy mentioned he thought it was due to too much lube on the cases when they were done. I was thinking maybe I had the seating die a bit too tight (for the crimp)? Some pics: 1. This is one of the other ones, fired, no problems: [Linked Image] 2. Bottom is an S&B (unfired, not a reload), middle is one of the bulged reloads, top is a Federal soft tip: [Linked Image] 3. S&B on the left, other two are both same case, but reloaded, both with bulged shoulder: [Linked Image] 4. Three of the reloads (middle) with the two box rounds on either end: [Linked Image] First thing I was going to try was to back off the seating die to reduce the crimp a bit, see if that fixes it, but wanted to see if anybody else has experienced this before and if so, is that what you did to solve it? Thanks!
 
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Too much lube, too much resizing, too much crimp, could all be culprits. I also wouldn't crimp bolt action rounds. Neck tension should be plenty if it's correct. Resize just enough to chamber or get a neck sizing die.
 
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Originally Posted by hatt
Too much lube, too much resizing, too much crimp, could all be culprits. I also wouldn't crimp bolt action rounds. Neck tension should be plenty if it's correct. Resize just enough to chamber or get a neck sizing die.
OK. I'm using a Hornady full-size resizing die. This would have been the 1st time these were reloaded I believe, so only the 2nd use of the brass. Too much lube is definitely possible. They ARE set to have a crimp, I'll probably start there.
 
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Originally Posted by wwillson
I've done this several times, it's too much seat/crimp die.
That's usually the cause, sometimes too much lube. I load up a dummy round, and see how well it chambers and ejects from my bolt action rifles. I learned that early on when I started reloading ammo.
 
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Back off the crimp. You will get better accuracy and most likely avoid the neck bulge. Neck tension needs to be consistent and crimps destroy that. Since you said that this is the first time they have been reloaded you probably dont have a neck thickness issue yet but you may want to measure some once fired wall thickness's as a reference for later. Its also a good idea to use a dab of neck lube on a brush before running the expander ball through.
 
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I have bad eyes, even with my glasses on! Really only need them for computer, reading, and working on something right in front of my face. But, I took the time to eyeball your disturbingly large cartridges. I have been reloading for almost 40 years, and bench rest has been my main core for shooting for the past 15 years. Its not too much lube, too much lube dents the shoulder, that the only thing too much lube will do. It appears to my eyes that you have crimped the projectile way too hard and the seating plunger continued to push the projectile down after the projectile would no longer go into the case because of the tension of the crimp, its the most common bottle neck reloading error that most everyone makes unless they have a mentor teaching them all the way through every step. It looks to me as you have used a single die to both seat the bullet, and crimp as many die set sell their die sets for rifles in 2 die sets. One die decaps, and sizes, the other seats and crimps in the same die at the same time or stage. The problem you are experiencing is during the seat and crimp, your seat plunger is still pushing your projectile down well after the crimp has already been applied with enough tension to stop the projectile from being pushed any farther into the case, resulting in a shoulder bulge right at the case wall where the shoulder angle starts. You can plainly see it in picture #2, and pic #3, if I can see it, you can see it now that I show it to you. Measure that bulge with your calipers, its probably well over .005, closer to .008/.010. I'm not high tech enough to circle your pictures, but I have faith that you can see it now. Remedy, # 1, Two steps, Seat the projectile without crimping it at all, remove the seating plunger and then crimp as a separate step. This way the seating plunger will not be in the die while crimping and can not push the projectile down and bulge the case. # 2, Buy another crimp die, a "Taper" crimp die and still do the two step, seat projectile as one step, and crimp as the final step. Progressive presses always use separate seat and crimp dies. If you have RCBS or any other common dies you most likely have a roll crimp die, and they are very unforgiving and very well known for the exact problem you are having. Buy a Dillon Taper crimp die and continue to use the die set you have, but with the two step method I described. Get this worked out, and if you wish we could discuss where your projectile should actually be seated in the case, its not always in the cannelure, in fact, for a bolt rifle for accuracy, its pretty much never in the cannelure! Its a measurement off of the riffling lands, the throat of the bore. Looking at your reloads, your projectiles may very well have a pretty good gap to jump before it touches the rifle lands. Not good thing. =================================================== The chambers neck is loose as a goose that's why your necks are Black! Or they are Really short! Short necks turn black too. There is nothing you can do about it. If you have a rifle re barreled you can set the neck tighter. Short brass will grow in length. Brass does not look polished, this will be harsh on your dies over time. You can clean them by hand pretty easy for now if needed. Full length size your brass only enough so your fired brass chambers in your rifle, works the brass less and it last longer and is stronger. You will need to anneal your brass every 3/4 firings or its going to crack at the neck, and cases will not have correct neck tension. Annealing is a little bit of an art. Dillon should make a case gauge for your 338 lapua, you might want to buy one, it will help you a lot as far as case length, shoulder angles, which your having issues with now, and when to trim your brass. If your brass gets too long in the neck your pressure will spike and you could have a catastrophic event. Sorry about writing a book, but you have stepped into a hobby that will rack your noodle for years learning useless to the rest of the world information. P.S. buy a smaller caliber rifle to shoot for fun, that thing has got to be brutal!
 
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Originally Posted by samven
Back off the crimp. You will get better accuracy and most likely avoid the neck bulge. Neck tension needs to be consistent and crimps destroy that. Since you said that this is the first time they have been reloaded you probably dont have a neck thickness issue yet but you may want to measure some once fired wall thickness's as a reference for later. Its also a good idea to use a dab of neck lube on a brush before running the expander ball through.
I've been doing that (cleaning the neck), and only use a q-tip to apply the lube as well.
 
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Originally Posted by Ursatdx
I'm going with the too much case lube crowd. Is there any way to get your cases cleaner?
If I buy a tumbler, which I haven't done yet. These have been sitting around a while, hence the discolouration.
 
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Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
I have bad eyes, even with my glasses on! Really only need them for computer, reading, and working on something right in front of my face. But, I took the time to eyeball your disturbingly large cartridges. I have been reloading for almost 40 years, and bench rest has been my main core for shooting for the past 15 years. Its not too much lube, too much lube dents the shoulder, that the only thing too much lube will do.
Thanks, this appears to be reasonably consistent in the thread and what I was thinking, per the OP.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
It appears to my eyes that you have crimped the projectile way too hard and the seating plunger continued to push the projectile down after the projectile would no longer go into the case because of the tension of the crimp, its the most common bottle neck reloading error that most everyone makes unless they have a mentor teaching them all the way through every step. It looks to me as you have used a single die to both seat the bullet, and crimp as many die set sell their die sets for rifles in 2 die sets. One die decaps, and sizes, the other seats and crimps in the same die at the same time or stage.
This is correct. I'm using a Hornady die that does both the seat and crimp function. I followed their process for setup. As I noted, 5x out of 50 had this issue, which I assume means I'm right on the edge.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
The problem you are experiencing is during the seat and crimp, your seat plunger is still pushing your projectile down well after the crimp has already been applied with enough tension to stop the projectile from being pushed any farther into the case, resulting in a shoulder bulge right at the case wall where the shoulder angle starts. You can plainly see it in picture #2, and pic #3, if I can see it, you can see it now that I show it to you. Measure that bulge with your calipers, its probably well over .005, closer to .008/.010. I'm not high tech enough to circle your pictures, but I have faith that you can see it now.
Yes, the bulge is quite visible, that's why I started the thread and placed the bulged cases next to those that weren't.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Remedy, # 1, Two steps, Seat the projectile without crimping it at all, remove the seating plunger and then crimp as a separate step. This way the seating plunger will not be in the die while crimping and can not push the projectile down and bulge the case. # 2, Buy another crimp die, a "Taper" crimp die and still do the two step, seat projectile as one step, and crimp as the final step. Progressive presses always use separate seat and crimp dies. If you have RCBS or any other common dies you most likely have a roll crimp die, and they are very unforgiving and very well known for the exact problem you are having. Buy a Dillon Taper crimp die and continue to use the die set you have, but with the two step method I described.
OK, what about just eliminating the crimp step altogether as advocated by another poster?
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Get this worked out, and if you wish we could discuss where your projectile should actually be seated in the case, its not always in the cannelure, in fact, for a bolt rifle for accuracy, its pretty much never in the cannelure! Its a measurement off of the riffling lands, the throat of the bore. Looking at your reloads, your projectiles may very well have a pretty good gap to jump before it touches the rifle lands. Not good thing.
Yes, I just went with factory dimensions, these are all just per the advice by Hornady and the other reloading handbook I have for "standard" rounds. I've not experimented with deviating from that at this juncture.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
=================================================== The chambers neck is loose as a goose that's why your necks are Black! Or they are Really short! Short necks turn black too. There is nothing you can do about it. If you have a rifle re barreled you can set the neck tighter. Short brass will grow in length.
Interestingly, box ammo doesn't go black at all (I can post a pic of fired brass if you'd like), it's only these reloads. Barrel is a Bartlein, action is a precision unit based on the 700.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Brass does not look polished, this will be harsh on your dies over time. You can clean them by hand pretty easy for now if needed.
Yeah, I haven't got a tumbler yet, I know they are ugly. I do wipe them off but I haven't shined them up, just brushed them and cleaned them by hand before reloading.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Full length size your brass only enough so your fired brass chambers in your rifle, works the brass less and it last longer and is stronger. You will need to anneal your brass every 3/4 firings or its going to crack at the neck, and cases will not have correct neck tension. Annealing is a little bit of an art.
I don't think my resizing die is adjustable? It's this one: https://www.hornady.com/reloading/dies/custom-grade-dies#!/
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Dillon should make a case gauge for your 338 lapua, you might want to buy one, it will help you a lot as far as case length, shoulder angles, which your having issues with now, and when to trim your brass. If your brass gets too long in the neck your pressure will spike and you could have a catastrophic event.
I do measure case length already.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Sorry about writing a book, but you have stepped into a hobby that will rack your noodle for years learning useless to the rest of the world information. P.S. buy a smaller caliber rifle to shoot for fun, that thing has got to be brutal!
No problem, I sincerely appreciate the effort you put in to writing this, hopefully my responses help! I have a .308 that I shoot as well, but this gun really isn't bad to shoot. The brake on it is massive and extremely effective.
 
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Originally Posted by Driz
Too much lube will dent your cases. Ike the old Aqua Velma ad says " a little dab will do ya🤗
I don't load much in the way of bottleneck cases-in fact about the only one I do regularly is 32-20, which is hardly a high pressure round(but does come with its own loading challenges). With that said, I've also loaded a decent number of 30-06(mostly M2 ball equivalent for a friend with a Garand who didn't reload). I use to lube cases from a big tube of Lee lube that's about like hand cream. My usual procedure was to dab a little on my hand and spend some time smearing it around. I'd usually get it pretty even, but sometimes would get some pile-up that would do weird things to the cases. Somewhere or another along the way, I bought an RCBS loading kit from a local gun shop-it was on close-out, and I bought it primarily for the handy little "Partner" press(the whole kit was less than the normal price of that press). Included in it was a couple of bottles of RCBS case lube along with a lube pad. Using that completely changed my world as far what's an appropriate amount of lube. I put just a drop or two on the pad at the start of a resizing session and then use my finger to spread it out. My usual procedure then is to LIGHTLY roll the shoulder over the pad, then roll the case body. Doing that leaves a barely perceptible film of lube on the cases-you can't really see it, and can just barely feel it. If it goes from "just barely able to feel" to "not at all" I add another drop to the pad. With standard rifle cases, that's probably every 15 or so(I can usually get 50 of the tiny 32-20 cases without having to add more).
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
I have bad eyes, even with my glasses on! Really only need them for computer, reading, and working on something right in front of my face. But, I took the time to eyeball your disturbingly large cartridges. I have been reloading for almost 40 years, and bench rest has been my main core for shooting for the past 15 years. Its not too much lube, too much lube dents the shoulder, that the only thing too much lube will do.
Thanks, this appears to be reasonably consistent in the thread and what I was thinking, per the OP.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
It appears to my eyes that you have crimped the projectile way too hard and the seating plunger continued to push the projectile down after the projectile would no longer go into the case because of the tension of the crimp, its the most common bottle neck reloading error that most everyone makes unless they have a mentor teaching them all the way through every step. It looks to me as you have used a single die to both seat the bullet, and crimp as many die set sell their die sets for rifles in 2 die sets. One die decaps, and sizes, the other seats and crimps in the same die at the same time or stage.
This is correct. I'm using a Hornady die that does both the seat and crimp function. I followed their process for setup. As I noted, 5x out of 50 had this issue, which I assume means I'm right on the edge. ======= "Well, no not really. No cartridge needs anywhere near enough crimp even with the seater plunger in the die to bulge the shoulder. I think you just have not got the feel of the crimp and how little pressure it really needs in most cartridges. Two staging the seat and crimp will enable you to feel the crimp only as you cam over the press lever. You should just have little thin brass rings on the case mouth when adjusted with correct tension if the mouths are square, trimmed." "Your firing with high recoil and if you have cartridges in a magazine then you would want fairly strong crimp. Bolt rifle, single loading at the bench, if the projectile had to be pushed into the case with any force by the press at all, you could get by without crimping at all." "I don't know how your measuring, if your using calipers for overall length to measure brass or do you have shoulder gauges. There can be a number of dimensions that could have been off on those 5 cartridges. I can tell you it was not the dies fault unless they were adjusted for those 5 cases. Overall length means not much unless really short or couple thou too long, its the other measurements that matter. Shoulder/Neck" ======
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
The problem you are experiencing is during the seat and crimp, your seat plunger is still pushing your projectile down well after the crimp has already been applied with enough tension to stop the projectile from being pushed any farther into the case, resulting in a shoulder bulge right at the case wall where the shoulder angle starts. You can plainly see it in picture #2, and pic #3, if I can see it, you can see it now that I show it to you. Measure that bulge with your calipers, its probably well over .005, closer to .008/.010. I'm not high tech enough to circle your pictures, but I have faith that you can see it now.
Yes, the bulge is quite visible, that's why I started the thread and placed the bulged cases next to those that weren't. ====== "My bad, I can't see...lol" ======
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Remedy, # 1, Two steps, Seat the projectile without crimping it at all, remove the seating plunger and then crimp as a separate step. This way the seating plunger will not be in the die while crimping and can not push the projectile down and bulge the case. # 2, Buy another crimp die, a "Taper" crimp die and still do the two step, seat projectile as one step, and crimp as the final step. Progressive presses always use separate seat and crimp dies. If you have RCBS or any other common dies you most likely have a roll crimp die, and they are very unforgiving and very well known for the exact problem you are having. Buy a Dillon Taper crimp die and continue to use the die set you have, but with the two step method I described.
OK, what about just eliminating the crimp step altogether as advocated by another poster?
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Get this worked out, and if you wish we could discuss where your projectile should actually be seated in the case, its not always in the cannelure, in fact, for a bolt rifle for accuracy, its pretty much never in the cannelure! Its a measurement off of the riffling lands, the throat of the bore. Looking at your reloads, your projectiles may very well have a pretty good gap to jump before it touches the rifle lands. Not good thing.
Yes, I just went with factory dimensions, these are all just per the advice by Hornady and the other reloading handbook I have for "standard" rounds. I've not experimented with deviating from that at this juncture.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
=================================================== The chambers neck is loose as a goose that's why your necks are Black! Or they are Really short! Short necks turn black too. There is nothing you can do about it. If you have a rifle re barreled you can set the neck tighter. Short brass will grow in length.
Interestingly, box ammo doesn't go black at all (I can post a pic of fired brass if you'd like), it's only these reloads. Barrel is a Bartlein, action is a precision unit based on the 700. ====== "Is box ammo Hotter? If your loading on the lighter side, the neck is not making a seal, case is sealing at the shoulder. If your loading mid to Hot, measure neck thickness of a loaded "Box" round, and measure your reload, write this data down and start a diary. Case brand, dates, powders, ect. Measure case neck thicknes= .015/020? Maybe more for the Elephant gun...lol, measure neck thickness different manufactures brass if you have it, log it in your diary, this is going to figure into things like neck tension later on." ======
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Brass does not look polished, this will be harsh on your dies over time. You can clean them by hand pretty easy for now if needed.
Yeah, I haven't got a tumbler yet, I know they are ugly. I do wipe them off but I haven't shined them up, just brushed them and cleaned them by hand before reloading. ====== "If your not married you could put them on the top rack and turn the switch on the dishwasher. Or, Soft scotchbrite, green, for the necks. little compound on a rag, couple twists and they are cleaned enough." ======
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Full length size your brass only enough so your fired brass chambers in your rifle, works the brass less and it last longer and is stronger. You will need to anneal your brass every 3/4 firings or its going to crack at the neck, and cases will not have correct neck tension. Annealing is a little bit of an art.
I don't think my resizing die is adjustable? It's this one: https://www.hornady.com/reloading/dies/custom-grade-dies#!/ ====== "Looks to me like a regular old screw in single stage press die, so yes it is adjustable. Should probably be a set screw on the side of the Hex Nut Ring that you use maybe a 1 1/8th wrench on?" ======
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Dillon should make a case gauge for your 338 lapua, you might want to buy one, it will help you a lot as far as case length, shoulder angles, which your having issues with now, and when to trim your brass. If your brass gets too long in the neck your pressure will spike and you could have a catastrophic event.
I do measure case length already.
Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Sorry about writing a book, but you have stepped into a hobby that will rack your noodle for years learning useless to the rest of the world information. P.S. buy a smaller caliber rifle to shoot for fun, that thing has got to be brutal!
No problem, I sincerely appreciate the effort you put in to writing this, hopefully my responses help! I have a .308 that I shoot as well, but this gun really isn't bad to shoot. The brake on it is massive and extremely effective.
 
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Like others have said, it's almost certainly too much crimp. If you have proper neck tension no crimp is necessary on a bottle neck rifle cartridge. If you like Hornady dies I would suggest you invest in their Match Grade Bushing Die. I assume you are trimming the cases as part of the reloading process as well? I would suggest that you clean your brass as well, dirty brass is not good on dies.
 
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Originally Posted by TurboLuver
Like others have said, it's almost certainly too much crimp. If you have proper neck tension no crimp is necessary on a bottle neck rifle cartridge. If you like Hornady dies I would suggest you invest in their Match Grade Bushing Die. I assume you are trimming the cases as part of the reloading process as well? I would suggest that you clean your brass as well, dirty brass is not good on dies.
It gets cleaned, lol, just not polished. I do plan on getting a tumbler though, as I stated earlier. Yes, the cases are being trimmed as part of the process. I'll start with backing off on the crimp and see where it gets me.
 
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I'd just not crimp at all. Most people don't crimp bolt action precision ammo. That heavy rifle doesn't have tremendous recoil. Crimping is likely adding a variable with nothing but downsides
 
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I'm with you on this one hatt. I reload .338LM, 300 WM, 300 WSM, 300 RUM, 308 Win, 6.5X55 SE, 264 Win, 7mm-08, 7mm WSM, 7mm Rem mag, and 325 WSM. I neck size only when possible and don't crimp any of the above. Mag primers in all.
 
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I'm late to the party, but I see buckled shoulders. Those are coming from _way_ too much crimp, or from defective parts. Stop crimping altogether for a few rounds, then start with a LIGHT crimp and see what happens.
 
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