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I was working on some cases tonight to put Hornady XTP 158 grain bullets in Hornady cases. The first thing I thought was odd is the new cases passed the go/no go gauge without sizing. I even started putting them through the sizer die but had almost no resistance. After flaring the cases the bullets seated with the expected resistance. Fast forward to the once fired Hornady cases. After sizing (with some resistance)I flared the cases and test fit the bullet. Pushed right in with my fingers. Almost no resistance. I’m using an older set of carbide Pacific dies. I don’t recall this happening with my other brands of brass. Some of those have been reloaded several times. Any thoughts? I’m stumped.
 

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"The Real Deal"
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I ran into this with an old set of rcbs dies in 45acp. I got them well used from a friend in a bulk equipnent.buy. Never could figure out what happened. Have seen that with not sizing new brass too. I purchased a new set of lee dies 4pc set, and never had another issue. Is it possible the dies met their service limit? Or is it possible the expander was set too deep? Use the same shellholder everytime,? Each set of dies i have, has its own shellholder regardless of duplicates because they can be different dimensions. Just a few thoughts.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I thought about service life with the die. I just remembered I have a newer set of RCBS dies. I have them set up for my .357 loads. Perhaps I should give the sizing die a go and see what happens. It did flare just enough to start the bullet. Is it possible the carbide sizer has a service life? I’m certain the previous owner loaded many .38s with that die.
 

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Anything is plausible. I have never heard of a determined service life of dies, or read about it but im sure their has to be a service limit. I would try the 357 dies and see what happens. What do you have to loose right? If they are bad, then replace them, set the new set up for the 357 mag.

Did you chamfer or debur the case or trim them? Just trying to think of all possibilities..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don’t normally chamfer or debur pistol cases. I will try the other dies. Thanks For the input.
 

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Hey you may be able
I don’t normally chamfer or debur pistol cases. I will try the other dies. Thanks For the input.
I only do on new standard pistol brass, more so on magnums. All the time on rifle. Glad i could help somewhar. Let me know what you find, im curious as well.

I sometimes chamfer for flat base bullets and use the expander mimimally with good results.
 

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I can't exactly remember why, but I sort and remove all Hornady brass. Hornady brass is different, but for the life of me I can't remember why! I do not reload Hornady for some reason. It might be because it is different length than all other brass I use. I'll try to scrounge up some old stuff and compare.
 

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A fired case should NOT easily chamber in the chamber it was fired in.
If a sized case does not easily "plunk" in the chamber, the sizing die is incorrectly set or worn.
The expander plug diameter should be 0.001-0.002" smaller than the bullet diameter so you have the right bullet/case tension. Any smaller and you might swage the bullet down and the bullet is more likely to be seated crooked. Any larger and the tension won't be high enough.
A reloader should always push down on all seated bullets with thumb or finger pressure to ensure sufficient tension so the bullet is not pressed into the case further.
 

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I have Hornady brass in several calibers set aside because it is non standard length. Be very careful to measure everything with Hornady brass.
 

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Brand new brass seldom needs resizing, but I do it anyways. See if your .357 dies work better, I can't imagine brass cases wearing out a tungsten-carbide die, but you can't argue with failure. Old 45 Colt dies were manufactured to size for .455" bullets, but .38 Spcl has always been .357, so that isn't the problem here. Hornady .355 and .356 bullets are for 9mm and 38 Super and aren't made in 158 gr. so that shouldn't be the problem either. The simplest answer is a worn out die.
Hornady brass for cartridges that fit in leveraction rifles tends to be shorter than SAAMI spec (30-30, .35 Rem .357 Mag, 44 Mag, 45 Colt., 45-70). This is so that their flex-tip bullets will work in Marlin actions.
 

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Can you measure the wall thickness of the Hornady brass and compare it with other brass that 'acts normal'?

I would be very surprised to find a 'worn out' carbide sizing ring (and most of us seem to be presuming that you are using carbide dies), however they are brittle and can break so be sure that it is still in place.

Bruce
 

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"I would be very surprised to find a 'worn out' carbide sizing ring (and most of us seem to be presuming that you are using carbide dies), however they are brittle and can break so be sure that it is still in place. "

FireEscape: You have a point there! I knocked out a carbide ring with a punch once (won't get into it here) and it didn't break, but I did pull out a carbide ring with a stuck case, so maybe the ring is missing?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The bullets are .357. Carbide ring is intact and I just cleaned it again. I sort by brand so the length issue should not be a factor. Case mouth opened Only enough to allow bullets to start. I switched out the Pacific sizer die for the RCBS sizer I had on the shelf. Wouldn’t you know, it solved the problem. I resized the cases then flared a couple. Bullet starts like it should. If I measured correctly, the RCBS opening is a couple thousandths smaller than the Pacific die. Is it possible for the carbide ring to have a service life? For comparison, I took out two Winchester cases. Sized one in each sizer die. Flared both and the Pacific result was the same. Too loose. RCBS sized just right. So, I guess it was not the brand that mattered.
 

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I believe you found the culprit, just by a second set to replace the defective ones. Lee makes a good set, rcbs, hornady, redding, etc.
 

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I’m surprised you had issues with the Pacific dies. I have a few I use and they’re top notch......but everything fails eventually.
 
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The bullets are .357. Carbide ring is intact and I just cleaned it again. I sort by brand so the length issue should not be a factor. Case mouth opened Only enough to allow bullets to start. I switched out the Pacific sizer die for the RCBS sizer I had on the shelf. Wouldn’t you know, it solved the problem. I resized the cases then flared a couple. Bullet starts like it should. If I measured correctly, the RCBS opening is a couple thousandths smaller than the Pacific die. Is it possible for the carbide ring to have a service life? For comparison, I took out two Winchester cases. Sized one in each sizer die. Flared both and the Pacific result was the same. Too loose. RCBS sized just right. So, I guess it was not the brand that mattered.
I was kinda thinking along the line that the expander/flaring stem diameter on the Pacific is oversized. It would be interesting if you could mic the stems from the Pacific and RCBS diesets to compare them. Also, mic the upper section of a resized but not expanded/flared case from each die.

I have carbide sizing dies that are over 30 years old. I would think it would take an enormous amount of sizing cycles to wear a carbide sizing ring several thousandths of an inch.
 

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I can't exactly remember why, but I sort and remove all Hornady brass. Hornady brass is different, but for the life of me I can't remember why! I do not reload Hornady for some reason. It might be because it is different length than all other brass I use. I'll try to scrounge up some old stuff and compare.
I bought some Hornady brass 45-70. They were approx. 1/8 inch shorter than Starline brass.
 
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