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Thread: rifle case trimming question...

  1. #1
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    rifle case trimming question...

    I got the final components for starting my first rifle cartridges! I understand there is a maximum length. Do you just trim a few thousanths short of that measurement, a length that will cover all of the cases being used? This might help, I'm loading .223. Right now I'm trimming to 1.755, maximum is 1.760

    Thanks for your help.

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    The Maximum is just what it says the max that that case can be, anything under it to a point is fine. What most people do when trimming cases is to measure all the cases to be trimmed and then trim them to the shortest on if it is below max, if all are above max then at or just under max would be best.

    Something to remember however is that unless your cases are above max length you really don't need to trim them, most who do trim are looking for that little bit extra in accuracy of every single shot, ie being able to hit a nail on the head instead of scraping the side of the nail kind of thing. If you are loading for just hunting and your cases are all close in length with none being over max you will be fine. If you are looking at sub MOA then need to trim.
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    You can acquire a lee case trimmer with a ball handle + the approprate case length gauge & holder. It's what I use. If the cases don't need trimming, nothing gets trimmed. If the cases do need trimming, spin the case until you do not feel any dragging/resistance.
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    I trim my .223 cases to 1.735-1.740. Reloading manuals say to trim to 1.750 but, I have checked several factory cases that are in the same range that I trim to and some are shorter. I look at it this way, I trim once to this length, put a good radius on the primer pocket and I shouldn't have to mess with the brass for several reloads. The brass may be cracked by the time I would have to do anything to it again. This is my method and my way of thinking.
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    been years since I loaded rifle cartridge but i do believe that there is a set trim to length for all rifle cases.
    lee's trimmers are set at this trim to length, which is a few thousands shorter than maximum.
    a for case length if to much out of whack then you can get chambering problems, especially in semi auto and lever action guns.
    some cartridges are worse than others at needing trimming as well.
    any magnum case is going to stretch a bit more cause they head space on the magnum rim and so have a tendency to stretch all along the case, as regular rifle rounds tent to just neck stretch.
    hope this helps a bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by olfarhors View Post
    been years since I loaded rifle cartridge but i do believe that there is a set trim to length for all rifle cases.
    lee's trimmers are set at this trim to length, which is a few thousands shorter than maximum.
    a for case length if to much out of whack then you can get chambering problems, especially in semi auto and lever action guns.
    some cartridges are worse than others at needing trimming as well.
    any magnum case is going to stretch a bit more cause they head space on the magnum rim and so have a tendency to stretch all along the case, as regular rifle rounds tent to just neck stretch.
    hope this helps a bit.
    The length of .223s is not a huge issue as long as it is not too extreme one way or another. .223s headspace on the shoulder so as long as that is in the right spot you are good to go.

    I sold my guns because the Government says they are dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulrabe78 View Post
    The length of .223s is not a huge issue as long as it is not too extreme one way or another. .223s headspace on the shoulder so as long as that is in the right spot you are good to go.
    again , I have not reloaded rifle cartridges for many, many years but i believe that all rifle cartridges that are not rimmed cases or magnum cases headspace on the shoulder don't they?
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    Quote Originally Posted by olfarhors View Post
    again , I have not reloaded rifle cartridges for many, many years but i believe that all rifle cartridges that are not rimmed cases or magnum cases headspace on the shoulder don't they?
    You are correct sir. Just don't confuse a shoulder with the neck. The neck is what holds the bullet. The shoulder is the tapered part farther back from the bullet and neck.

    I sold my guns because the Government says they are dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaPes View Post
    You can acquire a lee case trimmer with a ball handle + the approprate case length gauge & holder. It's what I use. If the cases don't need trimming, nothing gets trimmed. If the cases do need trimming, spin the case until you do not feel any dragging/resistance.
    JaPes is very close to what I do.

    I mount the shellholder in my Makita and run every rifle cartridge through it, couple seconds on the trigger of the Makita and it's at spec length. As JaPes says, if it doesn't need trimming the case length gauge won't let any get cut off (and if you look at where the blade is you can easily tell if the case is too short as well), if it does need trimming it'll cut it down in a hurry. Takes literally seconds per cartridge so I figure "why not?", I'd rather know they're within spec than take the chance that it's not.

    It also gives me a better chance to look 'em over for wear signs and blemishes and after they're trimmed and still on the Makita I'll hit 'em with a soft cloth to remove the polish/lube.

    Then again, I'm very anal about my rifle rounds. I weigh the bullets (140gr Hornady SST...swear by 'em) and any that are too wonky get thrown in the "save for throwing lead down range" box for loading for the next plinking session I have. I full length size and trim all cases, hand weigh all charges (exactly 53.50 gr 4831), and when everything is done I go over each round with my digital calipers to make sure they're exactly where I want them to be.

    My pistol rounds get done on my Lee Pro 1000, my rifle cases are all done on my Lee single stage. Factory bullets are nowhere near as consistent as my home rolled.

    It's time consuming, but, it's relaxing. With my rifle rounds I look at it as the more exact my requirements, the better chance I'll have at putting meat in my freezer. I missed a nice buck one year and thought "WTH? I just sighted this thing in!", I went in the house and started tearing my store bought ammo apart, come to find out that the CoreLokts I'd bought had varying amounts of powder in 'em (as much as 1.5 gr difference) and bullet weight was all over the place. No more store bought for me!


    Ok guys, very funny, bring back the Constitution now...

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulrabe78 View Post
    You are correct sir. Just don't confuse a shoulder with the neck. The neck is what holds the bullet. The shoulder is the tapered part farther back from the bullet and neck.
    NO problem there!
    thats easy for me to remember what the neck is.
    its got my head on one end and my shoulder on the other.
    darbo likes this.
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