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Dobeardsley 08-13-2019 09:54 PM

Small caliber reloading
 
I am considering a reloading setup for 17 Hornet, and am wondering about presses. Because itís a small case, is it easier to resize than a bigger case, say a 243? In other words, less force required from the press? After firing, I may get away with just neck sizing, right?

PigButtons 08-13-2019 10:13 PM

I don't reload the 17 hornet, but I do reload the 22K hornet, and yes they are easy to process from an effort point of view. The case walls are thin and easy to deform so take it slow and easy. If you keep the brass sorted to the rifle it came from you should only have to neck size each time, which by the way makes the brass last a lot longer as it minimizes the working of the case.

At first I annealed my cases but have since stopped since by neck sizing only my brass lasts at least 10 firings and sometimes 15.

Good luck with your efforts, the hornets are a lot of fun to shoot.

Litetrigger 08-13-2019 10:17 PM

Do yourself a favor and get Vickerman seater. Don't have to pinch your fingers trying to hold that little pill on top of your case. The Vickerman is made in Dayton Washington now.

dufferDave 08-13-2019 10:20 PM

Probably should go ahead and get the full tool set for that caliber
 
But then, I am a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy, if you know what I mean.

You may indeed get away with only neck sizing. That would reduce some of the metal work-hardening around the cartridge shoulder. You should still check case length (maybe every other reload cycle?) and be prepared to trim. And if you start running into seating problems (binding/jamming in the chamber) you will need to resume full-length sizing.

I don't know if you can buy only one or two of the sizing dies, especially the one or two that you would need for neck sizing, but my luck would be that later when I needed the last sizing dies I would have to buy the whole set all over again.

And yes, the cranking pressure on the loading press handle should be a lot less than for a larger piece of brass like .243 or 30-06.

gcrank1 08-13-2019 10:42 PM

I loaded over 3K 22 Hornet a few years back during the course of a couple years working with reduced velo, cast bullet loads.
Even fls'ing doesnt require much of a press so any of the light duty ones will work but if you ever get into bigger stuff you would probably want something beefier. Thing is that the lighter duty press would still be useful for a lot of functions; I have several :rolleyes:, so I dont see a downside starting with a light duty simple one.
I preferred by far using the Lee Collet Die which just neck sizes. All I wanted was a smidge from fully fire-formed to the chamber to lightly hold the cast bullet. Now here's the rub....when I did load jacketed at higher end loads I needed to fls. And I found I needed to check trim-to length really every reload, those little cases stretch! The simple Lee trim spud is almost too easy, Ive got them for every caliber I mess with. Setting up and using the little case trimming 'lathes' is waayyy too much trouble.
I do not know if Lee has the 17H in a collet die, but I understand they will do some custom 'builds', and if they made one for someone else already you may not have to foot the set-up fee, they can pull it 'off the prints' (I suspect it is all cnc now).
Iirc Lee sells the 22Hornet collet die set c/w a std fls die too, that would be the ticket in 17H also, youd be set for anything to try. If you dont care about the collet die option just plan on fls those cases, trying to 'neck size' them with a backed off fls'er isnt really how it is done and the case is so easy to fls just do it and never have chambering issues.

56S 08-14-2019 07:21 AM

Don't plan on shooting factory ammo then getting away with a neck size only. I have the Hornady dies, a RCBS neck sizer and a Lee crimp die. My press is a light duty Lee that gets used for the big boys too.

max503 08-14-2019 09:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dobeardsley (Post 11574001)
I am considering a reloading setup for 17 Hornet, and am wondering about presses. Because it’s a small case, is it easier to resize than a bigger case, say a 243? In other words, less force required from the press? After firing, I may get away with just neck sizing, right?

I've been reloading 22 hornet for decades. Yes, I partial size cases. Normally, you screw the sizing die down until it touches the shell holder. To partial size, I back the die off 2/3 of a turn. Makes my cases last longer and seems to give better accuracy by centering the case in the chamber.
17 Hornet should be a fun round to shoot.

Any press should work. Mine's the basic RCBS.

Dobeardsley 08-14-2019 12:04 PM

Great information, thanks to all of you. I plan on getting all the dies and fully resize all brass the first reloads, as they were shot in 2 different rifles, and I did not sort them. After that, however I expect Iíll try neck sizing only after firing in just one rifle. The Vickerman dies sound like an easier option, Iíll look into those. I hadnít thought about handling those tiny bullets!

Also, this project will be my first steps into the world of rifle reloading, but Iíve loaded shotgun for quite a while. Iíve researched about some of the pitfalls of reloading small cartridges and the necessity of accurate powder weighing. There will be a learning curve......

B23 08-14-2019 12:15 PM

Whatever die/s you end up getting for the 17 Hornady Hornet, I suggest you make sure it is a bushing die so you can control, as well as keep consistent, neck tension. Also, keep your brass segregated by Lot # because there is quite a bit of variance in the neck thickness of the 17 HH brass.

The neck thickness varies from 9 thou to 13 thou which may not seem like a lot, but depending on the FL die you're using, you'll go from having so little neck tension that you can push the bullet in and out with your fingers, to having 3-4 thou of neck tension. Such a variance in bullet neck tension will have you chasing your tail trying to get decent accuracy from your hand loads.

Except for large calibers with heavy recoil, I run 1-1.5 thou neck tension on everything.

JDWinCO 08-14-2019 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 56S (Post 11574185)
Don't plan on shooting factory ammo then getting away with a neck size only.

Would you expand on that statement please?

gcrank1 08-14-2019 01:51 PM

My experience was that factory 22Hornet was pretty HOT, cant speak to the 17H. Those high end loadings, factory or my reloads, expanded the brass tight to the chamber walls and though they extracted/ejected fine the next load w/o fls were tight to chamber even into the same chamber. I backed off my reloads since I rarely needed them up there. A common rule of thumb has been back off the top load by 10% anyway and that reduces pressures by more than 10% 'they' say. Worked for me. Small cases are touchy about loads toward the top.
Btw, dont ever expect to use ammo in different guns if the brass hasnt been fls'ed.

JDWinCO 08-14-2019 10:11 PM

I was hoping there was a good explanation for that statement, and there it is. The smallest diameter I have gone to is the 223 and have not had that problem with that round. Good to know. Thanks.

Dean1151 08-15-2019 12:02 AM

Dobeardsley; A few thoughts
 
Been reloading for a few years and have used single stage, turret and "automatic" reloading machines. If you are looking at a new press, consider the turret press from one of several good makers. Buy an extra turret or two so you can set up for another caliber easily. A shell holder rack or pill holder type plastic case will let you mark the # of holder you have. I use both now, I built the shell holder rack out of 1"x4" pine with holes of 1/8" size and trimmed bronze brazing rod to hold them. I digress. A turret press will work for many calibers and allow you to add more when you are ready. The "Vickermann": style is one of many of this type. An RCBS competition seater die with the load thru window is another, Buy one seating die in your first caliber, and then just by changing the seating collet you need for the next caliber. My first was a 300 win mag, then seating sleeves in .257, 270 and .22. The seating collets are universal for any bullet of that caliber/cartridge. They work great. Also think of a Lee factory crimp die, some don't like them, but they do provide consistant neck tention. Last on my list would be the extended shell holder. It is a lengthened version of the standard shell holder found everywhere. for .22 Hornet caliber in the RCBS is was almost mandatory. I would think the same in .17 caliber if you use the Competition seating die. Go Slow on the seating step, the Hornet brass will sometimes krincle if rushed on the neck and shoulder. Take care, Randy

56S 08-15-2019 06:51 AM

gcrank1 covered it pretty well. The factory loads expand the brass to what many of us think to rather excessive levels and once extracted will not rechamber without being full length resized. The 17HH case body has very little taper. There are some pictures on RFC of the swelling of factory shot brass. There's a defined step or ring where the case wall swells to meet the chamber wall. I wish either the brass was closer to chamber dimensions or the chamber tighter to prevent this.

B23 08-15-2019 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 56S (Post 11575171)
gcrank1 covered it pretty well. The factory loads expand the brass to what many of us think to rather excessive levels and once extracted will not rechamber without being full length resized. The 17HH case body has very little taper. There are some pictures on RFC of the swelling of factory shot brass. There's a defined step or ring where the case wall swells to meet the chamber wall. I wish either the brass was closer to chamber dimensions or the chamber tighter to prevent this.

I've measured quite a bit of 17 HH brass from multiple different guns, the ammo and or new brass, is all to SAAMI spec but the chambers in these factory guns seem to be a fair bit longer causing the brass to stretch 10-12 thou at the shoulder datum. When you see fired brass from these things some of it has what, at first glance, appear to be a bulge, but it's actually a stretched section that is a couple thou smaller in diameter then it bumps back up.

Factory chambers are generally a bit on the longer/larger size but for some reason they seem to be excessively over sized in the 17 HH.


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