Getting into the 7 TCU like Hersh5317 and wondering what die sets are best to use. I have Lee in most calibers but they don't make anything for this caliber. RCBS has a two die set with a neck sizer. I'm thinking neck sizing would be the best way to go once fireforming is completed. This will be in a 21" Contender Fox Ridge bull barrel. Be interested in hearing what specific dies have worked best for you all. Also wondered if a 7mm-08 set could be used by first opening the neck with .243 die, then going the rest of the way with the 7mm-08 die. Lee makes a collet neck sizer for the 7mm-08 cartridge. Would this work, or am I thinking wrong about this?
My first choice would be Redding and if I couldn’t get them, then probably Redding and as a last resort I guess I would choose Redding.
In contender barrels I've always partial full length sized with Redding dies(backing off the sizing die until your just touching the shoulder). This way I don't loose my fireforming to the chamber but I also don't have issues with getting the action to close.
If your interested in a new Redding die set, we can help you out, let us know.
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I would be interested.
The way I make my 7mm tcu brass is use a 243, 25-06, 260 and then a 7mm tcu die. That works the brass up slowly and I don’t have near as many splits that way. Then I fireform the brass, after that I just partial size It until it gets hard to close the action. Then I just barely bump the neck. Lake City brass with last forever like this, shoot it til the neck splits and start over.
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ya know if you anneal the necks the brass will last longer
I have RCBS, Redding,and i believe Hornady (older red box) dies. They all work about the same when it comes to forming and sizing. In my opinion, process perfection is the best thing you can do to make an accurate 7TCU round. If you cant make accurate ammo, you will not get the gun to shoot well. It will frustrate the heck out of you.
You can form brass that fits your guns chamber, but it is not easy, and it is time consuming. It is faster, to load ammo, that will fit your chamber, then let the gun form the brass.
5.56 brass is hard i.e. brittle. LC, WCC, PMC, TWC, etc are some of the headstamps found on military 5.56 brass. You can use it, but you need to anneal it first. Most of my TCU brass is RP aka Remington. Other good brands are Winchester, Federal, and Hornady. You can also get the really good stuff like Lapua, Starline, Nosler, and Norma. You can usually form these without annealing first.
When you get your brass, the first thing to do is deburr the inside and outside of the neck. Most cases that have split on me was due to a burr that i missed. You also need a good case lube before sizing. It is hard to beat Imperial Sizing Die Wax.
Most brand name dies have interchangable decapping stems, and or sizing buttons. Using a tapered expander in a couple different sizes usually work better than the "one-step" tapered button that sometimes come with the dies. I created a stepped pin with a Lyman 'M' die early on, but now i use the carbide expander buttons since i already have what i need. .243, .257, then .277 is the progression and i am opening the neck only. Dont forget to check your lube between sizings. After necks are opened to .277, I size the brass in a full length 7TCU sizing die. Sizing is done so throw them in the tumbler to clean.
The sized brass, small rifle primers, a pound of Unique powder, and some RCBS 145 cast bullets is what i assemble next. Leadheads sells these bullets if you need to buy them. Start with one primed case, 8.0 grains of Unique, then seat the bullet so gas check is about 3/4 of the way into the neck of the brass. Check fit in your chamber. Most of my barrels dont even come close to closing on the action. Seat the bullet a little deeper (half turn on seating stem) and try again. With this first round keep checking fit until you can just firmly close the action. If action closes easy you are seated too deep. Firm closing has bullet into the lands and case head against chamber face. Bullet is a bore rider and will self center. Perfect for forming the brass to your chamber. These are very accurate loads in every Contender i have shot them in. Good for hunting or for silhouette. Fire away.
Now the time consuming part. Clean brass, size brass down about 95% of the neck. Try not to bump the shoulder. Check fit in your chamber. You should get 3-4 firings before you have to bump the shoulder again. You do need to check sizing before loading every time. This is especially important if hunting or shooting silhouette. You do not want to drive many hours only to find the ammo doesnt fit. After partial sizing, polish brass. You have the option of annealing now, or after the next steps of prepping the brass. Measure the brass and trim at the shortest length. Book length is 1.750". Most of my RP is trimmed at 1.720" that first time. PMC ia about 1.740". After trimming, deburr inside and outside of the neck. I usually run my brass on a flash hole deburring and sizing tool then put them in the annealer. If you are anxious to go shooting you can load a book load and head for the range.
As stated above, three to four partial sizings and you may have to bump the shoulder back for good fit. This is also a good time to check length and trim or anneal again as necessary.
If you over work the brass (size it too much) it will stretch in the web near the case head. This is often found after polishing (brighter ring above case head) and can be confirmed by running the wire of a bent paperclip down the inside of the case wall. The wire will detect a crack if one is forming. If you get a couple case head separations, toss the brass and start over. It is inexpensive and easy to make.
Once you get started making brass and enjoying shooting your own loads, you will find it easy to have multiple boxes in various stages of forming. First sized, loaded for fireforming, and full house loads.
Most dies will work just fine. Ammo prep is paramount.
I hope this helps.
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Shaggy - this is just what I was looking for. Thanks for the detailed tutorial!
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