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Old 08-13-2019, 09:54 PM
Dobeardsley
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Small caliber reloading



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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?
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:13 PM
PigButtons
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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.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:17 PM
Litetrigger
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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.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:20 PM
dufferDave
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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.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:42 PM
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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 , 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.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:21 AM
56S

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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.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 56S View Post
Don't plan on shooting factory ammo then getting away with a neck size only.
Would you expand on that statement please?
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:51 PM
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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.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:23 AM
max503
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobeardsley View Post
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.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:04 PM
Dobeardsley
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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 I’ll try neck sizing only after firing in just one rifle. The Vickerman dies sound like an easier option, I’ll look into those. I hadn’t thought about handling those tiny bullets!

Also, this project will be my first steps into the world of rifle reloading, but I’ve loaded shotgun for quite a while. I’ve researched about some of the pitfalls of reloading small cartridges and the necessity of accurate powder weighing. There will be a learning curve......
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:15 PM
B23
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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.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:51 AM
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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.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:54 PM
B23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 56S View Post
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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Old 08-16-2019, 09:28 PM
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In that 'case' I have used fully fire-formed brass and only resize to where it easliy rechambers in one gun and lock the adjustment. You will have a compromised thin spot in the case but will get far more reloads than if you conventionally full length resize and blow it back out over and over; that is a recipe for case separation. This is the virtue of reloading, you can custom produce ammo to a given chamber that is less than optimum and still get satisfaction.
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Old 10-02-2019, 12:56 PM
Dobeardsley
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“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.”

B23,
Do you ever turn the brass to get more uniform neck sizing? I can see how varying neck tension can be a problem for consistency. Or is the brass too thin already to shave more off?
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