243 reloading help

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243 reloading help

Post by Cal-ApeR » 05 Jan 2020, 3:12 pm

Good afternoon all,

I am after POLITE and constructive assistance...please.

I am still in novice land when it comes to reloading. I was fortunate enough to have a father that loved to do most of it for me and older mates who enjoyed the same. I eventually bit the bullet a few years ago and started it up. So when i ask for polite help, don't expect me to know it all. I shoot a lot but haven't reloaded nearly as much.

In the last 6 months I picked up a cheap Howa 243 to beat around with. Shoots well. I have tried reloading it in the same manner as I did for a Tikka 243 i had (no issues at all) however i get more resistance on the bolt close with this rifle. It is not ridiculous by any means but compared to cycling a brand new case or factory round, there is definite resistance. On reloads this has also meant slightly harder bolt lift after firing also, however primers etc appeared good. I have the same issue with Hornady, Winchester and federal brass.

I have attached an image of an old case that I have played around with a little. There is a definite ring on the bottom however I don't think this is imminent separation. There are no bumps etc when running a paperclip through. There is also a slight line on the shoulder. When running this case through my FL RCBS die I get the resistance on an empty case that is closed. I also have a cheap Lee FL die. Same story. I did manage to see my father and borrow his Redding dies. Same story.

Now, when setting my FL die, I have set it according to instructions, just having the case holder touch the die and then either a 1/4 or 1/3 turn further. Worth noting, on the LEE and Redding die when i have turned approx 1/2 a turn further (very hard to use pull the lever on the press) the bolt closes on the cases perfectly smooth. The photo is one of these cases i have tested. Are the lines on the shoulder simply it being pushed back further? Is it safe to do this as i've read of over pressure issues bumping the shoulder too far. I also imagine it isn't good for the dies?

I also don't understand why my old tikka worked fine but this Howa doesn't want to come to the party.

I hope this makes sense and apologies in advance for the long reading.

Cal
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by sungazer » 05 Jan 2020, 3:28 pm

How far you turn the FLS die for a Lee die wont make any difference in how it sizes. As the shell holder is pushed up tight against the bottom of the die. The fact that you have tested a case by itself in the rifle after sizing is good and the bolt closing easily means the case is well sized. Which is what I would expect. If you ever wish to size it less to minimize working the brass excessively I would recommend a set of Redding Competition shell holders. Was the brass ever used in another gun?
The cause is most likely to be that the projectile is seated a little long perhaps try seating the projectile and keep pushing it back further and keep trying the case to see if the bolt closes more easily.

If that does not show up the problem and the cases have been fired in another gun then the best course of action is to buy some new brass and only use it in the Howa. I think that would solve your problems.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by Am88 » 05 Jan 2020, 4:28 pm

Another thing I found if it helps mate. Some people recommend using the same brand shell holder to the dies, maybe only be a little thing but if I am using Lee dies, I use a Lee shell holder, RCBS same etc etc. They say to do so in case the shell holder may just be a little different from brand to brand, it may be a small useless bit of info and it may well do nothing but keeps things consistent I spose.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by No1Mk3 » 05 Jan 2020, 4:58 pm

G'day Cal-ApeR,
Seems like your Howa has a tighter chamber than your Tikka, you may need to shave a bit off the bottom of your die, I have done this to get a bit more shoulder bump on a tight 25-06 for a friend, had to take .015" (0.35mm) off it. Also you may need to trim f your brass a bit shorter, say .020" (0.5mm). Don't take any notice of scuttlebutt about bumping shoulders increasing pressure as the amount you need to reduce volume to be a problem is more than you will get just bumping a shoulder back .010" or so. We regularly fireform brass from one caliber to another with full loads pushing a shoulder forward by more than 1/8th (3mm) without problems (CAVEAT- I have been reloading and making wildcats 50 years, not really recommended for novices) What Am88 said about dies and holders has some merit as different manufacturers may have different tolerances regarding internal length, but generally speaking dies and shellhloders are interchangeable, until you get a combination of everything on a minimum tolerance. But try a differnt shellholder, then shave .010" off the die and see what happens, Cheers.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by Blr243 » 05 Jan 2020, 6:32 pm

Monitor case length. Be mindful of brass flowing towards and into the neck necks will gradually thicken on 243 cases with each firing They do this more so on cartridge shapes that have Shallow shoulder lengths I think. When my 243 necks get too thick they exert more pressure one the bullet .... when chambered the bullet is held tighter than normal. I think this could raise pressures and be dangerous ...I doubt if dangerous neck thickening could occur in as little as 5 reloads Whenever I adjust my full length sizing die I don’t follow the instructions regarding half turn or whatever after touching the shell holder. I start light and test for fit in my chamber ....if it won’t fit I turn perhaps a quarter turn then try chamber fit again. I keep doin this until I get to the point where I feel a slight resistance as I close the bolt handle ... then I’m confident that my shoulder is firm against the chamber and the base of my case is firm against the face of my bolt. I like a snug fit I don’t like it bouncing around in there with so much space that there is room to swing a cat. ... is this correct? Buggered if I know it’s what I have been doin forever. This method combined with me shooting mild loads gives me great case life. I hardly ever have to ditch a case
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by Cal-ApeR » 05 Jan 2020, 7:21 pm

Thanks all for your advice. I'll start with the case holder. To be completely honest, I never thought of that one. One thing I didn't mention was that the brass was used brass from previous rifles. I'll grab a new batch and try that also.

BLR243 as mentioned in my first post, there isn't a serious amount of resistance when closing my bolt with this brass when I do the standard FL resizing procedure. Perhaps I am paranoid however the bolt close is definitely harder than it is with factory ammo. Maybe I was on the money as it was. I also haven't ever run stupid hot loads in my 243. It always performs flawlessly.

No 1. Cheers also. Its nice to know my shoulder bump isn't anything to worry about. Far too much info on the internet. Good and bad.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by marksman » 05 Jan 2020, 7:45 pm

as long as you are happy that there is no pressure
"if your bolt is hard on closing you need to push the shoulder back, if your bolt is hard on opening the area near the base is not sized enough"
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by SCJ429 » 05 Jan 2020, 8:15 pm

No1Mk3 wrote:G'day Cal-ApeR,
Seems like your Howa has a tighter chamber than your Tikka, you may need to shave a bit off the bottom of your die, I have done this to get a bit more shoulder bump on a tight 25-06 for a friend, had to take .015" (0.35mm) off it. Also you may need to trim f your brass a bit shorter, say .020" (0.5mm). Don't take any notice of scuttlebutt about bumping shoulders increasing pressure as the amount you need to reduce volume to be a problem is more than you will get just bumping a shoulder back .010" or so. We regularly fireform brass from one caliber to another with full loads pushing a shoulder forward by more than 1/8th (3mm) without problems (CAVEAT- I have been reloading and making wildcats 50 years, not really recommended for novices) What Am88 said about dies and holders has some merit as different manufacturers may have different tolerances regarding internal length, but generally speaking dies and shellhloders are interchangeable, until you get a combination of everything on a minimum tolerance. But try a differnt shellholder, then shave .010" off the die and see what happens, Cheers.


Is it possible that this is caused by sloppy chamber dimensions where the die is pushing the shoulder back excessively while FLS and causing the case to lengthen when fired?
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by SCJ429 » 05 Jan 2020, 8:20 pm

Cal, is it possible to measure a fired case at the point where the shiny ring is apparent and at the shoulder datum line and then the same for an unfired case of the same brand?
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by Cal-ApeR » 06 Jan 2020, 10:06 am

SCJ, I thought I replied last night but it must not have gone through. I don't believe I have any cases that haven't been resized. I assume this matters? I'll see if I can find something but I'm doubtful.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by Cal-ApeR » 06 Jan 2020, 1:07 pm

So I've grabbed a cheap bag of Winchester brass this morning. Cycled a few cases with no closing issues.I've attached a photo. Appears I'm getting light impressions On the body towards the head of the case. Is this ok?

I've started full length sizing this brass and it also had no issues with bolt closure.

Is this simply a tight chamber as mentioned by No.1 or something more serious?
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by SCJ429 » 06 Jan 2020, 3:38 pm

My 243 cases come out of the chamber after firing at 0.469 at the web where your shiny mark is located. At the datum line it measures 2,665.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by GQshayne » 07 Jan 2020, 7:31 pm

From what I read, new cases cycle fine, but once fired and then resized, do not????

I would be off to the gunsmith with the Howa to get it checked over.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by marksman » 07 Jan 2020, 8:27 pm

would have been interesting to see one of the loaded cases before firing
l have seen slight bulges at the top of the shoulder in cases cause this problem "stiff open and close" from FLSing cases a little bit more than should
the marks left on your cases show tightness, as said in another thread by a smith "some people pay a lot of money for a tight chamber"
l'm sure the cases will form to your chamber, you may need a small base die or file a little off your FLS die or shell holder but only if its a problem
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by GojiraSteve » 08 Jan 2020, 6:20 am

Definitely sounds like a tight chamber/short throat to me.

Take a loaded round of the spec that seems to be causing resistance on bolt close and measure COAL. Drop it in the mag and slap (reasonable force not excessive) the bolt home. Then eject the round and check for both a change in COAL and rifling marks on the projectile. I'm betting you'll see both.

Solution, seat projectiles deeper.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by Cal-ApeR » 08 Jan 2020, 8:49 pm

Thanks all. Steve, I'll try this with some factory ammo.

If there isn't a glaring issue from what you all are, I won't be too worried. I don't use excessive loads and don't find bolt lift to much of an issue.

It also shoots factory ammo fine so that is always a fall back option if needed.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by GojiraSteve » 09 Jan 2020, 6:49 am

Cal-ApeR wrote:Thanks all. Steve, I'll try this with some factory ammo.

If there isn't a glaring issue from what you all are, I won't be too worried. I don't use excessive loads and don't find bolt lift to much of an issue.

It also shoots factory ammo fine so that is always a fall back option if needed.


No worries dude. Actually though you might find reloads to be the better fallback. I had the same issue with my .243, and on the factory ammo side it would chamber Norma 100gn ammo fine, while Browning 87 grainers would jam into the lands. Real PIA if you are only shooting factory ammo because you never know what specs a manufacturer might use as far as overall length, and as above projectile weight/length itself doesn't help in making a more educated guess as to whether a factory cartridge will or wont be too long. However, if you have the luxury of speccing out your own ammo you can (all things being equal) tune your seating depth for much better accuracy than if you had a barrel with a sloppier "one size fits all" throat.
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Re: 243 reloading help

Post by rustypic » 12 Jan 2020, 11:46 am

Hey Cal-ApeR,
The pic shows a new case that has been chambered but not fired, am I right, I think a few where on the wrong track.
Anyway after you load and fire your new brass, try and chamber it again, I think you will find it will glide in as if it was greased, the brass has now been fire-formed to suit your chamber. When this happens to me, nearly all the time, I will neck size only which lengthens case life. After a few loads and when the case needs length trimming I will full length size just to be sure.

Cheers, hope this helps, feedback from the others would be appreciated.
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