Anyone ever have reloaded ammunition that was hard to close the bolt on? What I do?

Hummer

AH senior member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
69
Reaction score
108
Location
Cradle of the Confederacy
Media
6
Articles
1
Member of
NRA Benefactor, Freemasons, Shrine, Eagle Scout,
Hunted
US
Your dies may not be doing their job. When I went to work at the Army Small Cal Lab the guy that trained me told me that a fair amount of dies are reamed too deep and if you have a rifle with min headspace the die my not bump the shoulder back far enough and you will get into a "forcing the bolt closed" situation.

When he found such he would take the size die in to work (at Springfield Armory Mass) and after work the shop foreman let him use a lathe and he trimmed off the bottom of his dies as needed. I ran into similar situation,remembered him telling me about his. I got my lathe in 85 and of the 57 dies I have it has been necessary to remove stock from the bottoms of about 15 sets. Generally I take of .010" so the size die won't ever touch a shell holder.

About 20 years ago a friend told me he had seen the tops of three reloading tools broken off by folks that tried to force cases up and lowering the die till it jammed into the shell holder.

One die was so bad that I had to take off .025" to get it to bump the shoulder back properly.

This is not restricted to one brand. Guess I have dies by four or five different vendors and all but one have had the problem.

One vendor will now sell you a set of shell holders that have the heights reduced for a nice piece of change.

I have had friends who ran into same problem and brought them to me after I told them what they needed and all were quite pleased after I removed stock from bottom.
 

Luvthunt

AH enthusiast
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
387
Reaction score
275
Media
2
Make sure you have not set the shoulders back too far. Or you heave completely resized the full length case.
To minimize shoulder set back I neck size only on non DG cases. To do this I use a powdered graphite on the neck of several cases and set the die so that it does not go all the way to the base of the neck.
 

tedthorn

AH enthusiast
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
431
Reaction score
517
Location
South East Missouri
Media
32
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
Eastern Cape of South Africa
If you can't close the bolt you have NOT pushed the shoulder far enough back.....or
Your expander ball is pulling the neck forward and changing the newly set back shoulder to a forward position
 

Hummer

AH senior member
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
69
Reaction score
108
Location
Cradle of the Confederacy
Media
6
Articles
1
Member of
NRA Benefactor, Freemasons, Shrine, Eagle Scout,
Hunted
US
I quit using expander/decap rods years ago for that very reason and such shortened brass life to boot. Now I expand with a mandrel I make that expands neck to the exact grip I want on my ammo.

I set my FL dies to bump shoulders back .002 on rapid fire ammo and .001 for long range precision ammo.
 
Last edited:

Luvthunt

AH enthusiast
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
387
Reaction score
275
Media
2
Ok let’s start over—-can you close the bolt on a fired case—-if so your resizing or oal may be the issue. If you can then your shoulders should be ok —so only neck size the case as suggested above. If your oal is the problem you should see marks on the bullet when you extract the unfired cartridge.
Let us know what you find.
 

dchamp

AH enthusiast
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
382
Reaction score
566
Location
Bakersfield, California
Media
35
Member of
SCI
Hunted
USA, Australia, Namibia, Canada, Argentina
Nice fix for the shoulder bump problem Hummer. I have had that problem before and hadn't consider shortening to die or shell holder from their respective faces. Do you only trim down the amount you want to bump or go further and work the shoulder down incrementally?
 

sestoppelman

AH ambassador
Joined
Apr 25, 2010
Messages
7,689
Reaction score
7,727
Media
172
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
NRA, NA Hunt Club
Hunted
Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia (2), South Africa (2)
OP's post sounds like a question but its really not is it?
 

postoak

Silver supporter
Bronze supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Dec 2, 2012
Messages
826
Reaction score
552
Location
Texas
Media
30
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
2
Member of
Patron Life member NRA
Hunted
U.S.A., R.S.A, Namibia
This is actually a very common problem. Most likely cause is to have the bullet seated out a little too far. So, as badsection mentioned, check the length of your loaded round. The bolt doesn't have enough camming action to push a bullet in that is seated out even a few thousandths too far.
 
Last edited:

sestoppelman

AH ambassador
Joined
Apr 25, 2010
Messages
7,689
Reaction score
7,727
Media
172
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
NRA, NA Hunt Club
Hunted
Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia (2), South Africa (2)
Actually most bolts will close on a round with the bullet a little too far out, its usually the body or the shoulder that holds up a round. You can tell usually which it is by how far the round goes into the chamber. I had some .308's the other day that wouldn't chamber, the body needed more sizing for the particular chamber, so a small base die was used, problem solved.
 

fourfive8

AH elite
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
1,808
Reaction score
3,100
Media
234
Hunted
USA, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana
I know exactly what the OP was stating in the title-- loaded question with answer :)

I have loaded and shot a ton of different calibers in different guns and have found it extremely rare to get such a mis-match between the guns's chamber headspacing length and the ability of a regular brand X, Y or Z sizing die to set the shoulder back enough for correct chambering. Actually, my experience is if the die is set to bottom against the top of the shell holder... the more common outcome is too much shoulder set back. I guess others' experiences may vary??

The only time I've purposefully trimmed (ground to shorten) the bottom of a regular sizing die and cut the top off the same die just below the shoulder was to create a small base die.
 

sestoppelman

AH ambassador
Joined
Apr 25, 2010
Messages
7,689
Reaction score
7,727
Media
172
Articles
2
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
NRA, NA Hunt Club
Hunted
Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia (2), South Africa (2)
I have never modded a die for anything, though I have known others to do so. I think I only had one size die that I simply could not get to size enough no matter what. I just chucked it got one that would
 

James Adamson

AH veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
111
Reaction score
314
Location
Shetland
Media
45
Hunted
Namibia
The only times I have had a bolt tight to close is when I have been neck sizing. I only neck size my practice/plinking ammo for the .223 because it's what I shoot most with and I find it quicker to neck size. I neck size until I start feeling the bolt slightly tight to close then I full length size to knock the shoulders back, usually after 4 or 5 firings.
 

fourfive8

AH elite
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
1,808
Reaction score
3,100
Media
234
Hunted
USA, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana
Here are a couple of pics showing the type of dies I usually use for reloading.
Top is for a non-belted cartridge - 7x57.
The bottom is for a belted mag - 375 HH.

Not shown are the other tools used but they include but may not be limited to: inside neck brush, inside primer flash hole uniformer (done only once to new brass), lube pad, inside and outside neck chamfer tool (s), primer pocket cleaning tool, powder measure, beam scale, trickler and funnel, hand primer, case length trimmer.

The OP's point and method of removing the neck button/decapping pin from the sizer die is well taken- a method I use for most of my reloading. A universal decapping die is first up in the process. Once the case is resized, a neck expander like the Lyman M die works well.

Dies for 7x57 .jpg
Dies for 375 HH.jpg
 

tarbe

Bronze supporter
AH legend
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
4,275
Reaction score
7,266
Location
Cypress, TX and Romance, MO
Media
120
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life, Handloaders Anonymous
Hunted
USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe
I once owned a 308 with a chamber so minimum that I had to reduce the height of a shell holder to get enough sizing on cases fired in other rifles.

I just made sure not to use that faced shell holder by accident...you could mess up a case for other rifles with it if not careful!
 

Forum statistics

Threads
37,639
Messages
719,330
Members
67,302
Latest member
VenusGilla
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

RicardoT wrote on Jan007's profile.
Hallo , ek stel belang as die 375 steeds beskikbaar is 083 511 9921
Cervus elaphus wrote on Bob Nelson 35Whelen's profile.
Hi Bob, how's things going in Wyong?. Down your way a couple of years back but haven't been in NSW since Ebor for the fishing. just getting over some nasty storms up here in Qld, seeing the sun for the first time in a few days. I'm going to NZ in the spring and hope to clean up a few buns while there and perhaps shake the spiders out of my old .303LE (currently owned by my BIL). Cheers Brian
A couple pictures of the sable i chased for miles in Mozambique, Coutada 9!! We finally caught up to him and I had the trophy of a lifetime. Mokore Safaris, Doug Duckworth PH
sable Coutada 9.JPG
sable 2 - Coutada 9.JPG
Safari Dave wrote on egrmpty507's profile.
Did you purchase your hunt at a US SCI fundraiser?
uplander01 wrote on colorado's profile.
Heard you may have load data for the 500 Jeffery,.....any info would be appreciated. Was thinking 535gr, but already had a response that the 570gr would be a better way to go, not sure why.
 
Top