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Thread: Preventing case separation

  1. #1
    Member
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    May 2013
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    Lander, WY USA

    Preventing case separation

    I had an interesting case separation yesterday (08/04/2019) at a 600 yard match. This is Hornady 6.5 CR brass. I don't know for certain how many times it's been loaded. I would say 3 - 4. The load is 42.4 grains of H4350 and a 140 grain Berger hybrid. I've had no issues with this load and no signs of excessive pressure. I'm meticulous about charging the proper powder weight and visually inspecting my work during the loading process. My questions:

    1. Is there an effective way to screen cases for potential separation?

    2. How many times are you loading rifle cases before trashing them?

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  2. #2
    When I shot rifle High Power competition with the M1A, case separation was common. One means of detection was taking a piece of wire (paper clips will work) and place a small hook at one end. Insert the hooked end into the mouth of the case and scratch around just above the case head. Normally, you can feel a slight "ring" when the case starts to separate.

    You may want to check to see if either you are setting the shoulders back too far during resizing or is the rifle's headspace a little too long. One way or the other, the cases are getting stretched and those factors will determine how many times a case can be fired and reloaded.

  3. #3
    are you neck-sizing or full-length sizing?
    I was into 10mm Auto before it sold out and went mainstream.

  4. #4
    Member SecondsCount's Avatar
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    Using good brass? Do you neck size or full length size? Semi-auto? Firing the same cartridge in different guns?

    I have had case separation happen 2 or 3 times in the 25+ years I have been reloading and it has only happened in my 223 bolt guns. Each time it happened, the case extracted and either fall apart when it hit the bench or I could see the crack in the case.

    In my 6x47L, I keep very good record of how many times I have reloaded the brass. Some of my brass has been reloaded 14 times but this is Lapua brass which is known for being quality stuff. I barely bump the shoulder when I am reloading this round where the 223 gets a full size with at least a .005" bump every time. This is because I run the same brass in several bolt guns and AR's, and I want to be certain that it will function in the different chambers. Oversizing can cause the cases to stretch and create the separation.

    ETA: It looks like a few of us are giving you the same answer.
    Last edited by SecondsCount; 08-05-2019 at 03:27 PM.
    -Seconds Count. Misses Don't-

  5. #5
    Member
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    Lander, WY USA

    Thanks

    I've been full length sizing. I have 2 6.5s and want to be sure that my loads chamber readily in both. I will check the adjustment on my sizing die. Best, ELN.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming Shooter View Post
    I've been full length sizing. I have 2 6.5s and want to be sure that my loads chamber readily in both. I will check the adjustment on my sizing die. Best, ELN.
    That's where I would start. I presented an either/or with the full-length sizing vs. neck-sizing question, but the reality is there a different degrees of full length sizing that work the brass more or less. You might be able to find a compromise setting that allows the brass to chamber in both rifles, while working the brass less, if that makes sense.
    I was into 10mm Auto before it sold out and went mainstream.

  7. #7
    For rifle I only load .233, in ARs.

    I chuck 'em after 5 loadings, or when they appear suspect during inspection.

    When in doubt, throw it out.

  8. #8
    Fornicates with shovels Hambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViniVidivici View Post
    I chuck 'em after 5 loadings, or when they appear suspect during inspection.

    When in doubt, throw it out.
    Same here. Wildcats sometimes get tossed at 2-3 because the brass gets worked hard in forming.
    Reed, the dicks have their job, and we have ours.

  9. #9

  10. #10
    As mentioned, case head separation is mostly caused by setting headspace back too far when resizing. You can get the Hornady gauges for measuring how far you set the shoulder back for pretty cheap.

    Since you're wanting the ammo to work in two separate rifles, I'd set your die up so your bumping .001 back from the fired dimension in your tightest chamber. With any luck they'll be close in dimensions and it won't be that much more in the other.

    I was getting them after only 3-4 firings in my 06 a while back and when I got the gauges found out I was setting them back something like .006 every time when I had set the FL die up according to the directions.

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