TightNeck

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TightNeck

Postby Hoot » Sun May 13, 2012 10:20 am

Since I began reloading for the 450B, at the top of the challenges chart was the need to achieve consistent and adequate neck tension. The powders we use seem to shine their brightest when we can hold the bullet back until the powder gets really cooking, before the case opens up and releases it to go down the barrel. It is certainly not as easily accomplished as with smaller caliber, bottleneck cases.

Hornady's solution for this is the Taper Crimp, to be applied after the bullet is seated in the resized brass. It does a good job, doesn't scar the brass and is what most folks who reload for the 450B, use. For the most part, I have had good results with mine. My experience has been that if the bullet I am using has a cannelure, as in the case of the 200 and 225gr FTX bullets or driving band groove, as in the case of the Barnes XPB bullets, then seating the bullet to where that cannelure was almost buried at the mouth of the case and driving the taper crimp into it gave even better results.

Before I became a follower of the 450B, Wildcatter had conceived of a modification to be performed on the .45-70 Lee Factory Crimp Die that permitted using it to apply a stab crimp to the 450B instead of, or along with the Taper Crimp. It helps apply greater resistance to the bullet's movement out of the case before the case has expanded and released it as the normal part of ignition. I've made about 7 or 8 of them and there are several how-to threads on making the modification. While I can personally attest to the fact that it does it's job as designed, I can also attest to the fact that for me, a little accuracy was lost whenever I employed it and it scarred my $1.00 a piece brass to the point where the stab ring did not totally iron out from the pressure of ignition pressing the case against the chamber wall. Afterward, when re-using the case, the bullet I was seating went through a change in resistance as it squeezed past the scar ring left on the inside of the case. If the case had several stab crimps in different locations, the stutter step of seating happened at each one. That did not imbue me with confidence. For folks only interested in Minute of Deer accuracy, it is a not a big deal. Still, I need all the confidence I can get, not to mention the satisfaction of small groups. So, the scarring along with the slight hit on accuracy are the reasons mine doesn't get used much. Some folks agonize over rifle weight, spray paint colors, tacticool doo-dads, barrel length, suppressor compatibility, whatever. We all have our schisms.

A short while ago, I was participating in a thread about the Taper Crimp and out of the blue, a member who goes by the handle of LlindeX offered up one of those "Why didn't that ever occur to me?" great ideas. You can read it Here. In a nutshell, instead of driving the Taper Crimp or Stab Crimp into the case, through the case wall and into the bullet, LlindeX's idea was to make the case hold tighter to the bullet's bearing surface by sizing the case several thousandths narrower than the regular Hornady sizing die does, in the area where the bullet seats, before the bullet goes in. If you've worked with metal fitting, you've no doubt seen elasticity in action. Given the tendency for material to spring back to where it was displaced from. If you push it in to make a crimp it's first inclination once that force is removed is to spring back, losing some of the grip it just imparted. This is apparent with both the taper crimp and stab crimp. So much that I tend to over-crimp to allow for the springback. News flash: Brass springs back more than it's softer bullet made of copper or copper and lead. If however you pre-load the tension in the opposite direction, then that displacing force is the bullet stretching the case on it's way in and in that scenario, springback makes the case want to hold it's grip even more against the bullet.

It appears to be a good idea. I say "appears to be", only because I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet. I only yesterday reproduced the concept in my shop and it certainly stands up to Theory (see my signature). A short while from now, I will see how it works in Practice.

LlindeX used a .45 Colt die to do the shouldering on his cases. I do not own a .45 Colt, hence no die, but I do reload for the .45 ACP. Using his method, I successfully shouldered one of my cases and seated a .451 Barnes 275gr XPB bullet in it. The resistance between the bullet and the case was both firm and consistent throughout the entire seating stroke once I got it started. Even before following that up with a Taper Crimp, it took 7 strong smacks with an inertial puller on concrete, to get it out. Having just seen the negative effect of varying neck tension upon the .451 Barnes bullet using what was probably a powder that borders on too slow for it, I'm certainly open to giving it a try. Having seen the benefit from stoking up the pressure before letting the bullet go, which can account for an additional 100-150fps for the same charge, I am eager to try this new method since the extra velocity from the more complete combustion does not come at much of a price, save the effort to implement it. Enough historical context.

Here's a simple How-To, to implement this method yourself. I'll leave some of the details for you to flesh out and improve upon.

Even if you don't reload any 45 caliber handguns, both new and used dies can be had quite reasonably. No need to obsess over the brand. Cheap is good. Just not rusty or damaged for obvious reasons. If you have to get one of those dies and the price difference isn't too dire, get one with the same decapping stem type as longer rifle caliber dies you have. IE, Lee uses a smooth stem and all the immobilization effort for it is achieved only through compression of the collet. RCBS, Hornady, Lyman and I'm sure others use a threaded stem. It is immobilized by a combination of the threads and a collet. You will need a firm grasp upon the stem if you are to rely upon it to signal when to stop running the case up into the die. As I played around in the shop, I saw the issue of applying the TightNeck that relates to applying it to the same depth with each case we process. The sizing dies are designed for calibers where the case is significantly shorter than our 450B. Since we control how far a case goes into the die at the top of the ram stroke by virtue of how far we screw the die into the press, we can not unscrew these shorter dies far enough to permit that. So, an alternate method needs to be devised that limits that. Normally, when using a decapping/sizing die, we set it up so that the decapping stem extends far enough into the case so as to push out the primer, but not run into the top of the web in the bottom of the case. Voila! Just adjust that stem so that it does run into the web and you have your limit indicator. However, since the die is designed for short cases, the decapping stem does not go far enough down to accomplish this. All you need to do is borrow a decapping stem from a longer rifle caliber die set such as 30-06, 270, 300 Win Mag, 7mm Mag, I think you get it and it should be long enough to bottom out.

It is important to pause a moment and tell you that since we are only interested in shouldering down the portion of the case needed to cling to a particular bullet length, you will need to measure, adjust and record in your reloading log, how far to set the decapping stem for each bullet you load for and at what COL. Change to a bullet of a different length or seat it to a different COL and you'll need to re-determine and record that setting. Good news is you only have to do it once for each and it's not a discipline depending upon precision down to the thousandth.

What I did was lay my bullet alongside the case so that the overall distance of the two represented the COL I intended to seat it to and I marked a line on the case:

Image

I then removed the stem from my die:

Image

With the stem removed, I placed the die in my press, screwing it only one or two rotations until it felt sufficiently aligned and locked it down with the set nut. I took a processed case, lubed it up with Imperial Wax and while watching it atop the shell holder, I ran it up into the die stopping what I felt was short of the mark. There is resistance as you would expect when sizing brass, but not undue resistance. I withdrew the case and looked at where the shoulder was in realtion to the mark. I ran it back up a little further, emphasis on little, withdrew it and re-checked. I repeated the process until the shoulder was at the mark:

Image

Image

I ran it up one more time, stopping when I sensed I was at the point where any further would advance the shoulder past my mark. at that point, I ran the stem down until it bottomed out on the top of the web at the bottom of the case and locked it down firmly. At that point, The setup was complete. In my particular case, I had a Lee .45 ACP die, but no Lee long rifle caliber dies with appropriate length stems, so I had to improvise and use a piece of rod stock the same diameter as the Lee stem instead. Same result, but I have to de-prime my cases beforehand as the rod could not do that for me. If this works out as planned, I'll probably pick up a stem for a longer Lee die:

Image

At this point, I was set up to run as many cases as I wanted to test the impact of the TightNeck process. Today being Mother's Day, I will in all likelihood not be able to do so until I get some free time after work this coming week, that coincides with good weather or better yet next weekend, to write the final chapter on this article.

A special shout-out to LlindeX for sewing the seed of inspiration on this.

Hoot
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Re: TightNeck

Postby Jim in Houston » Sun May 13, 2012 10:49 am

Great write-up! I am adding that to my notes on crimping the 450B. One thing I may have missed: how much of a "shoulder" are you inducing in the case, i.e. what is the OD at the case mouth vs normally sized 450B brass?

OK, I see that you have answered my question on another thread (http://www.450bushmaster.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12152) - .468 vs .474 for the original.

Did you have any problems getting the bullet started? Would this work (improve performance) with the OEM FTX 250 and 225 gr bullets, or is it only applicable to "specialty" bullets that are less than .452?
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Re: TightNeck

Postby Hoot » Sun May 13, 2012 2:59 pm

Jim in Houston wrote:Great write-up! I am adding that to my notes on crimping the 450B. One thing I may have missed: how much of a "shoulder" are you inducing in the case, i.e. what is the OD at the case mouth vs normally sized 450B brass?

OK, I see that you have answered my question on another thread (http://www.450bushmaster.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12152) - .468 vs .474 for the original.

Did you have any problems getting the bullet started? Would this work (improve performance) with the OEM FTX 250 and 225 gr bullets, or is it only applicable to "specialty" bullets that are less than .452?


I wasn't sure whether to cross-patch them into this thread, so I linked to the original thread.

Here's they are:
Image

The other image I did not include shows the case once a .451 Barnes 275gr XPB bullet is seated in it:
Image

I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to seat the bullet, but it started almost as easily as with a normal mouth. That was a relief. As you can tell, I'm very enthused about this concept and really want it to work like I think it will.

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Re: TightNeck

Postby commander faschisto » Sun May 13, 2012 3:52 pm

Great report there, Hootster! I'm printing all this out concerning the 275gr XPBs, which are my next learning curve in metallic reloading. Thanks for the info! :)
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Re: TightNeck

Postby Hoot » Sun May 13, 2012 4:43 pm

commander faschisto wrote:Great report there, Hootster! I'm printing all this out concerning the 275gr XPBs, which are my next learning curve in metallic reloading. Thanks for the info! :)


If this doesn't work out, there's always the bird cage. ;)

Seriously, reloaders for other calibers have been doing this for years with sizing dies that accept different ID neck bushings, when they needed a little more neck tension. It's not at all far fetched. I'm finally released from my Sentenced to Serve as the wife has passed out from eating too much. I'm not far behind and it's too early for my 1 1/2 mile evening walk through the neighborhood with Zeus (my Dalmatian). I'm going to crawl down to the shop and try to prep the brass I'm tumbling from yesterday's outing. That put's them in the 3 and 4 fired category now. Like it ornot, there's something to how many times they've been loaded. I can load up two runs meticluously prepared with the only difference being say 1-fired versus 5-fired and even though the 5s will look like new when I'm done with them, they'll perform ever so slightly more erratic. We'll see. I have some 1-fired also. Anyway, I track all my brass with microdots in the extraction groove to keep things straight. If you look closely at the image with the two pieces of brass side by side, you can see three dots on the left one showing.

You should see the looks I get at the range, when I take each spent case from the catcher and peck it with my push-punch that has a lighter spring in it before inspecting the head and placing them in order of use back in the tray. Looks like I'm punching them for drilling. Shooters are a funny lot though. Out of the corner of your eye, you'll see them looking at what you're doing and you can tell they're dying to ask, but when you look their way, they quickly look away and just go back to their own business.

I really want to reproduce the experiment from yesterday to have an A/B comparison using the "TighNeck" approach. Based upon my experience with the 200 XPBs and the double driving band groove stab crimp from last year, I doubt I'll get as far up the charge weight as yesterday because they will reap all the power from the two powders such that they'll max out before I get all the way up. Something I expected but did not see yesterday. I'm wondering if I should use cheaper bullets for testing, though it would require twice as much effort since I'd need both a control and an experimental group...

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Re: TightNeck

Postby Texas Sheepdawg » Sun May 13, 2012 5:55 pm

Snip
Shooters are a funny lot though. Out of the corner of your eye, you'll see them looking at what you're doing and you can tell they're dying to ask, but when you look their way, they quickly look away and just go back to their own business.

LOL! That drives me nuts.... I have had guys that you could tell were itching to walk up and ask me a question and when I look up, they act like, "Oh Nothing.... Nevermind us, we are just watching." some times I will just turn and ask them.... "Hey. You wanna shoot this" or "is my brass hitting you?". That usually breaks the ice. Usually, it's just a couple of city boys admiring something that they've never seen before.
Those were the days. Now on my own private range, the only admirer I have is my Rotweiller who by now is probably stone deaf.
Thanx for this post Hoot.
I have one question. I am also the proud owner of a Lee Carbide 45ACP die set. Do I still need to PRE-lube the case? Next run, I may just make up some MagTechs using this technique.
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Re: TightNeck

Postby Hoot » Sun May 13, 2012 7:38 pm

Texas Sheepdawg wrote:Snip...
I have one question. I am also the proud owner of a Lee Carbide 45ACP die set. Do I still need to PRE-lube the case? Next run, I may just make up some MagTechs using this technique.


I have not tried it without lube, but consider that normally, when you resize (or at least me) using the standard Hornady die, you lube before that and the step down to .468 is a lot further than a regular resize.

I'm thinking I would like to try this on some less expensive bullet to start with, but preferably one that is for sure .451 and possibly one known to have trouble with erratic behavior. Most of the bullets I have are pretty good performers with just a normal resize and taper crimp. Then again I seat them to take advantage of the cannelure. Seems like the times I've had erratic behavior were when I crimped on a shiny flat part of the bearing surface. That was the case with the 275 XPBs recently where I really wanted to load them out at 2.26 as opposed to on one of the driving band grooves. IIRC, that occurs around 2.20 with the 275. This may also be an issue of case age. The more times they have been shot and resized, perhaps that is when they are most vulnerable to erratic results.

What pee's me off with this last run is I felt uneasy about how they felt when I was seating them. I felt uneasy after the first few shots and considered knocking down my test setup, gathering up my targets and going home. But it was a perfect sunny day with hardly a breeze, comfortable temp and I had the range to myself and it might get better the next shot and and and... I'm sure everyone can relate.

A bullet that has had my interest is the really light C.O.P .451 bullets, either the 160gr or the 185gr. Their a lot cheaper than the XPBs. Yeah, that's probably fightin' words for the heavyweight gang, but for White Tails, I think they would be devastating with the large frontal area and smokin' out of the barrel around 2800 fps. Others have written of experimenting with them and spoke to the fact that it was hard getting good neck tension due to their short bearing surface. Seems like it would be the perfect challenge. Otherwise, the interest is in using some of the heavier bullets with the slow AA1680. Given the velocities in some of the 275s with it were really up there, without any pressure indication lends me to believe it could yield some interesting velocities from the 20" barrel if only you can hold the bullets back for it to get really cooking. On some of the loads yesterday, when it was delivering the right velocity, the recoil experience was much more tame than the same velocity with W296. Other times when it wasn't right, I could see a fireball indicating some of the powder and obviously the power was definitely being wasted. I get my orders from Midway pretty fast and I may just order some of those ultra-light .451 bullets to experiment with along with some limited experimenting with the 275s. There is the ever present interest in experimentation, but I have to temper that with whether the resulting data will benefit the larger number of people here who reload for their 450B. If the TightNeck format turns out to be a boon to our cause, I'll become an insufferable evangelist for it. It's so easy to implement, even for the casual reloader. Time will tell.

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Re: TightNeck

Postby LlindeX » Sun May 13, 2012 9:19 pm

Hoot,

Once again, we tackle "skinning of the cat" with differing methods. In order to consistently control the length of the "tightneck", you came up with using a de-capping rod from a longer rifle case. I went down to my local Ace Hardware and picked up a bronze bushing and some shim washers to put over the shell holder. (similar to what you've been doing for raising or lowering the LeGendre Side Crimp). Both ideas work, but I think your's will take less time, and be a bit more adjustable when a differing series of bullets is used. With my method, it takes time to place and remove the bushing and shims from every cartridge; and I'm a bit more limited by the variety of shim thicknesses that I have. In summary, I think your method is much better than the one I came up with. If we see the results we're hoping for, I'll be switching over to using the de-capping pin real quick. Keep us informed of your results, and I'll do the same. I'll be attempting to get to the range to test some more loads with the Hornady RN 230gr. FMJ's this next week end. However, it's about an hour drive each way to go to the nearest shooting range, and I know I'm going to have to do some gardening for the wife before she'll give me a half day off to play with me new "toy". For some reason, she seems to think I have all Summer to work up a load for the 450B. "Besides, you can always use the old 30-338 next Fall, instead of that new black one you really didn't need anyway. Just don't understand why you men think you always have to have the latest and greatest in your collection of firearms. You no sooner get a load worked up with a rife, then you go out and buy another one to begin the same process all over with it."
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Re: TightNeck

Postby Texas Sheepdawg » Sun May 13, 2012 10:02 pm

".... and I know I'm going to have to do some gardening for the wife before she'll give me a half day off to play with me new "toy". For some reason, she seems to think I have all Summer to work up a load for the 450B. "Besides, you can always use the old 30-338 next Fall, instead of that new black one you really didn't need anyway. Just don't understand why you men think you always have to have the latest and greatest in your collection of firearms. You no sooner get a load worked up with a rife, then you go out and buy another one to begin the same process all over with it."

I'm sorry honey, but why do you sound like the adults in a Charlie Brown Cartoon?
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Re: TightNeck

Postby LlindeX » Sun May 13, 2012 10:53 pm

:lol: Heck Dawg, I didn't even mention the part where she gets to: "It's no wonder you can't hear me anymore, after all the shootin' you do", & I just go on down the stairs to my loading room.
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