Fix for minor Headspace problem

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  • Last Post 19 November 2018
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BigMan54 posted this 02 April 2017

I know there are a lot of military surplus rifles out there with headspace problems, like the SMLE & Moisin Nagants. When I was a kid(late 50's/early 60's), my Dad, along with his buddies & brothers, used to do a lot of cast bullet shooting with these guns and just about anything they could get NORMA ammo for.

The  Moisins, Carcano's  and others often had minor headspace problems. The SMLE with it's rear locking bolt would stretch brass on the very first loading. Often causing casehead separation on the 1st reload.

To avoid this problem. The EXPENSIVE & often hard to get NORMA ammo/brass was treated with great care.

Usually 2-3 boxes of brass were “mated” to each rifle. Then each factory round was broken down. the case neck was heavily lubed on the inside and passed over an expander ball ONE CALIBER LARGER. The case was then lubed on the outside of the neck and gently NECK-SIZED until the bolt would just close on the partially neck-sized case. After any needed trimming the rounds were reloaded with their factory components. Brass was always neck or partially-sized from then on. Each case was carefully inspected before each reloading to check for signs of case stretching. LYMAN 310/Tru-Line dies were used for neck-sizing.

Any one else ever hear of such a trick. I haven't gone through the entire website to check for references to this ?

 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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OU812 posted this 02 April 2017

Yes some wild cat cartridges (more powder capacity) require doing this to blow shoulder more forward.

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Rich/WIS posted this 02 April 2017

On my Krag I have to back the FL die out about 3/4 of a turn to not set the shoulder back.  Rounds sized for this rifle will not come close to chambering in another rifle my SIL has.  The SMLE is noted for this problem, last year we had a shooter at out club getting partial and complete head separations with R-P factory ammo. . Fortunately my Krag is the only rifle I have that has this issue.

 

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RicinYakima posted this 02 April 2017

Naramore and Whelen both wrote about this technique in The American Rifleman in the 1930's. Your dad must have been a real student of the rifle. That is not a technique that most people know about in the 1950's.

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BigMan54 posted this 02 April 2017

Rick,

My Dad was a hell of a Rifleman. If he could see it, he could hit it. Didn't need glasses until he was past 50yrs old. One of the GREATEST GENERATION.  Grew up in the days when a missed shot ment no dinner. 

On the monthly camping/shooting weekends we went on in those '50/60's the last shoot on Sat afternoon.  Was something to see. Golf balls starting at 50yds. 25yds increments until the last shooter missed Miss and out. The old man won as often as everyone else combined. Winner bought the Steaks for next time.

He used an 03-A3 & a #308284. That's all I can remember about his gear.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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BigMan54 posted this 02 April 2017

The SMLE is notorious for case head separations, probably more than any other rifle. I bought a box of once-fired brass that I was told was shot in  a P-14. Every case head cracked at the Web. So much for knowing better.

The “new” #4 mk 1/2 that I got 25yrs ago is still working on the same 60 Winchester reworked  factory loads & 50 new R-P unprimed brass.  Don't know what I'll use when my last can of SR4759 is gone.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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Ed Harris posted this 02 April 2017

I solved my .303 problems by rebarreling with proper chamber and getting rid of the “trench” tolerances.  I had a reamer ground to the WRA print provided to me by Bill Learned who was one of the Winchester engineers producing ammo for the Lend-Lease program.  I neck size only and am using WRA and Norma brass which seems to last forever in the proper chamber.

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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R. Dupraz posted this 02 April 2017

I use that technique when loading for a 1902 Remington 7x57 Rolling Block . Run the empty case over a .30 expanding plug, Then successively sizing the neck in a 7x57 die until the case just chambers. Size no more than that after each firing. Creates a false shoulder.

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BigMan54 posted this 02 April 2017

I think you can also seat the bullet out far enough to contact the rifling. Use a starting load. That's what I was told by the old PACHMYER GUNWORKS  near downtown Los Angelus,CA when I bought a MAUSER 98 Sporter in .280 ACKLEY IMPROVED from them. I got the gun in 1981, it was stolen in 1988. A BAIR 3 die set came with the rifle, Included in the set were a FL sizer die, a Neck sizer and a seat/crimp die, with shell holder. The FL sizer would barely set the shoulder back.

This way worked very well for me , with no case stretching at all.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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45 2.1 posted this 02 April 2017

Then there is the method used by Roy Weatherby to form 220 Rocket brass. Lube the outside of the case (loaded with a medium cast load for the current crowd) and fire it in the rifle. Case head thrust is low and the case fireforms to the chamber with no case head stretching. Clean everything afterward.

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Ross Smith posted this 19 May 2017

All: I have a Rossi 30-30 with excessive headspace. About 1 in 5 reloads would not ignite. Had a gunsmith look it over. The no-go die just slips right in. Would these methods work for the 30-30? I've thought about shooting the cartridges and then not resizing ,just using an expander and m-die and crimp. Or is there going to be stretching and case separation because of headspacing on the case head?????????????????????

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BigMan54 posted this 19 May 2017

Yes this would work. If ROSSI can't/won't fix your rifle. Don't mention handloads. 

Try this carefully,  .30-30 cases have very thin necks. You are better off starting with new cases.  The rim/case head must be held back TIGHTLY against the bolt face. This is a sideways type of partial sizing. 

If you need exact instructions step by step PM me.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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GWarden posted this 19 May 2017

I do this with new 375H&H brass for my Ruger #1; use only cast bullets. I expand the neck to a larger caliber, then start neck sizing with the normal neck sizer until the brass with chamber. This helps a lot with brass have an extended life. 

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Ross Smith posted this 20 May 2017

Thanks Guys: This helps. I'm really working up the spit to try it. I have new win. brass loaded with cast bullets and a reduced load of 4895. I will shoot those as is cuz they are crimped in and I can't pull them out a little without ruining the bullet. I've had 1 case head separation before in a bolt rifle and I don't care to have one in a lever gun. Rossi does not have a replacement warranty on long guns, just hand guns. The cost of a replacement barrel plus gunsmithing equals a fair chunk of a new gun. 

So thought I'd try making the rifle headspace on the shoulder instead of the case head. After fire forming they will not be sized only work the neck to hold the bullet, a 165fn gc from NOE. Thanks again. Give all these a problem solved smiley face. 

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BigMan54 posted this 20 May 2017

I partial size all my .30-30 brass.  It still fits in an H&R Handi-Rifle, a MARLIN 336 COWBOY & 2 WINCHESTER 94's. I keep the brass for my T/C barrel separate,  no particular reason. I also keep rifle only brass for my .357mag, 44mag & .44WCF separate.   

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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pisco posted this 16 November 2018

comeing in a bit late but i only shoot smle and martini 303s i check head space on them all and tighten them up by changing bolt heads in the smle and putting in a larger dove tail block in the martini i have lost count of how many reloads i get out of my brass

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Millelacs posted this 16 November 2018

comeing in a bit late but i only shoot smle and martini 303s i check head space on them all and tighten them up by changing bolt heads in the smle and putting in a larger dove tail block in the martini i have lost count of how many reloads i get out of my brass

 

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Wouldn't it be nice if all rifle manufacturers designed their bolts with replaceable bolt heads to compensate for headspace like Enfields and Russian Mosins?

 

It would sure make life easier.

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pisco posted this 16 November 2018

never had any thing to do with mosin how do you correct the head space on them

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Millelacs posted this 16 November 2018

never had any thing to do with mosin how do you correct the head space on them

 

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Just disassemble the bolt, and the bolt head comes right off.

 

If I recollect correctly, some bolts are marked and some are not, similar to Enfield bolt heads.

 

That said, I just took the bolt head off a Mosin 91-30 and saw no markings to identify length.

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Millelacs posted this 16 November 2018

The SMLE is notorious for case head separations, probably more than any other rifle. I bought a box of once-fired brass that I was told was shot in  a P-14. Every case head cracked at the Web. So much for knowing better.

The “new” #4 mk 1/2 that I got 25yrs ago is still working on the same 60 Winchester reworked  factory loads & 50 new R-P unprimed brass.  Don't know what I'll use when my last can of SR4759 is gone.

 

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I bought a Pattern 14 and a #4 MKI in South Africa in the early 990's.  I could take the fired brass from one rifle and easily chamber it (unsized) in the other rifle, but not the other way around.

 

I just kept my brass segregated by rifle and neck sized with no problems.

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Millelacs posted this 16 November 2018

Somewhere I read that you could take orthodontist rubber-bands for straightening teeth, to help fireform .303 British casings.

 

Run the rubber-bands up the case body all the way to the rim, and then chamber and fire the round.

 

They are supposed to center the round in the chamber, keeping things straight.  It would seem that it would also keep the rim of the cartridge pushed all the way back against the bolt face.

 

By the time I located the rubber-bands, I had gone on to other projects, and never tried it.  It seems reasonable that it would work with other rimmed cartridges, 7.62x54R, 30-30, etc.

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M3 Mitch posted this 16 November 2018

I think you can also seat the bullet out far enough to contact the rifling. Use a starting load. That's what I was told by the old PACHMYER GUNWORKS  near downtown Los Angelus,CA when I bought a MAUSER 98 Sporter in .280 ACKLEY IMPROVED from them. I got the gun in 1981, it was stolen in 1988. A BAIR 3 die set came with the rifle, Included in the set were a FL sizer die, a Neck sizer and a seat/crimp die, with shell holder. The FL sizer would barely set the shoulder back.

This way worked very well for me , with no case stretching at all.

 

I was going to say, with cast bullets you can "headspace on the bullet" and then just neck size or partially size the brass.  I thought this was common knowledge. 

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Wineman posted this 17 November 2018

My trick for the original 38 Super barrels (thanks Ed) is to seat out to let the bullet act as the headspace rather than the tiny semi-rim. Pie plate to 2" groups at 20 yards. Amazing.

Dave

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Brodie posted this 18 November 2018

The only cases that I full length size are pistol cartridges (except my TC contender 22Hornet), and anything going in an auto.  Even then I size only as much as necessary for them to reliable chamber.  I have been doing this since I began reloading in the mid 1960's, and it has meant for long brass life.  The only hickup was a friends 06 which had an egg shaped chamber.  The factory fixed the rifle.

B.E.Brickey

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pisco posted this 19 November 2018

i cut one thread off a smle barrel once and did not have to put a reamer near it was better on brass some of the barrels were made with loose tolerances

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