Case trim express, Fedex, Forster and Lee walk into a reloading room...

Glock 40

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Okay so this all started in April when @Cowcatcher picked up a Lyman case trim express in a beat up box. He posted some very good results from his testing. That was all I needed to throw down the money on one. So mine arrived 2 months ago the first part of May. I started testing it on some .223 brass and my results were less than spectacular. I have multiple pieces of Lyman gear and its all top notch. So I decided to try some .243 brass and it was similar results to CC. All within a .002 across 40 or 50 pieces. So this got me wondering how could my .223 be so awful I am talking .010 differences. Could it by my processing? My Lee die? My press? So I decided only way to find out was I need a better die to compare against. So I order up a Forster resizing die. Thanks to the Rona it was on back-order about 1.5 months. Thanks to Fed-ex it took a tour of most the states east of Ok. Finally today my die showed up. So I grabbed 20 pieces of cleaned deprimed brass and measured each piece. I wanted to make sure everything was longer than 1.740 with a trim length that would be that number.

Below are my results with this brass. What I learned was your resizing has to be spot on and use the same die. Brass that has been processed by a different die, press or changes made will affect the shoulder length and will cause issues with this trimmer. The orange side is the Forster FL die and the Red is Lee FL die.

The chart shows individual and averages for Case Length, Shoulder Length before and after resizing and Trim length after running through the Lyman case trim express. The Lyman was setup on the first case of each batch. So for the Lee that pushed the shoulder back on average .010 more than the Forster it was adjusted. Also both dies were setup according to the manufactures recommendation on a Dillon 550.

So overall the Lee has a slightly better SD on starting Length and shoulder length. The Forster had a better SD on Resized Length and Trim length. This is a small sample and the differences are in the thousands. So all I can gather from this is. One the Lyman works good if all your brass is similar. Two you need the same person pulling the handle on the same machine if you want good results on the trimmer. As for Lee vs Forster. Well my Lee die has made a lot of ammo. For resizing it has more variation than the Forster. Is it enough to matter to most folks? I would imagine not.

Where I do know the Forster reigns supreme is in the bullet seating. Absolutely no comparison in runout and repeatability the Forster wins out. Still my Lee has made .5 MOA ammo consistently. So its really how much do you want to spend and how much do you want the convenience of the micrometer.

One thing not in the chart below was the spread after resizing on the Forster it was .002 on the Lee it was .005

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Shadowrider

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You really need a set of comparator gages to set the shoulder setback. You can get several thousandths variation depending on how hard you set the camover on your press. Most FL dies set it back plenty far enough to work in any chamber that’s in spec and there’s a range for that too. I bump mine back about .005” from my shortest chamber so my ammo will work in all my guns. If you are just loading for one gun you can go lower than that but I don’t sort brass and spring back can be different between head stamps. This is for general purpose ammo, precision stuff requires more attention and you can be fine at .002 setback for a specific chamber or even .000” in a bolt gun.

But yea, if your shoulders are all over the place, your OALs will be too if your trimmer located on the shoulder.


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swampratt

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I measured shoulder ogive and found it to be different by quite a bit depending on how much lube iis used on the od and on the ID of the case and surface finish of the case also makes the ogive different if you mix a smooth case with a rough one.

All my dies pull an expander through the case neck so surface texture between cases is very important for making brass all the same.

What lube were you using? How was it applied.
Were all cases cleaned the same way?
If some were corn cob and others pin tumbled you will get different readings.

Annealing cases also helps all my cases get darn close to each other on measurements.
Try annealing and see if those numbers shrink.

Brushing case neck ID also helps in my search for perfection.
On the Lee FLS die I polish the expander to a chrome finish.
That with very slick case neck ID (brushed and thenlubed with Sizing die wax) makes numbers very small.

My press does not cam over.
Shadowrider mentioned that aspect
 

Jcann

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I've come to the conclusion that handloading for accurate distant steel work and hunting can be achieved without measuring in the ten-thousands of an inch. Don't get me wrong, there is certainly nothing more rewarding than handloading and achieving a zero moa group with both a zero SD and ES. I've never seen it or heard of it but I'm sure that fairy dusted unicorn is out there somewhere.

There are so many variables in handloading it boggles the mind. Mitigating one or two is a start but there are a host of others. Not to mention the possibility of tolerance stacking due to brass thickness, hardness, temperature, spring back, etc. I doubt any of us would spend the money necessary to purchase a high quality set of calipers or any set of quality measuring instruments necessary to measure in the thousands not to mention in the ten-thousands. And if we did are we using them properly?

I went down the road you're traveling after my rifle was first built. Weight sorting brass, measuring and sorting bullets (length/ogive/bearing surface/weight), setting shoulder's back, trimming and turning necks to ten-thousands of an inch, reaming primer pockets, chamfering flash holes and necks, measuring concentricity....on and on and on I went chasing that dusted unicorn. After a while, I came to the realization, I'm not a good enough shooter to hit that damn unicorn. There are even added variables in the shooting process, not to mention the weapon I'm using. It wasn't even fun trying, I would rather spend more time shooting than at the reloading bench. So I gave up, applied what I needed to achieve the level of accuracy to accomplish my mission and carried on. I tip my hat to those F class shooters that can shoot sub MOA groups at a 1000 yards, I just wonder if that same level of OCD goes into their hunting reloads. I also tip my hat to you for trying as well. You will certainly learn a lot in this endeavor.
 

Jcann

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You really need a set of comparator gages to set the shoulder setback. You can get several thousandths variation depending on how hard you set the camover on your press. Most FL dies set it back plenty far enough to work in any chamber that’s in spec and there’s a range for that too. I bump mine back about .005” from my shortest chamber so my ammo will work in all my guns. If you are just loading for one gun you can go lower than that but I don’t sort brass and spring back can be different between head stamps. This is for general purpose ammo, precision stuff requires more attention and you can be fine at .002 setback for a specific chamber or even .000” in a bolt gun.

But yea, if your shoulders are all over the place, your OALs will be too if your trimmer located on the shoulder.


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There are variances even in comparator gages and without a reamer print or a slugged chamber we really don't know what to compare it to.
 

Shadowrider

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There are variances even in comparator gages and without a reamer print or a slugged chamber we really don't know what to compare it to.
Sure we do. We compare it to a case fired from our own chamber.

The object isn't to set a designated and fixed hard dimension on a SAAMI drawing, we just move it from a known which is OUR chamber. That's why they are called "comparator" gages. I just take into account the two chambers I happen to own and go to a point that works in both and that's just for blasting/range type ammo too. I still get 1 MOA in one gun and have no problem hitting an 8" plate at 300 in the other. That's all I need. I wouldn't do it this way if I was loading long range precision stuff but instead work to that particular chamber like they are really supposed to be used.
 

swampratt

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I strive for under 1" at 200 yards and my unicorn goal is under 1" group at 300 yards.
My target ammo is my hunting ammo.
But in reality most of my kill shots are under 100 yards and it does not take bench rest target accuracy to kill cleanly at 100 yards.
I do want that accuracy though.

That coyote standing in the thick brush 200 yards away looking towards you and you have a 3" open window through the brush to
anchor the sucker.
Accuracy and lots of practice with your gun.
 
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