Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

mattmcg

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Ok, I guess when I was new to the whole reloading biz, I wanted to dial everything in and spent a pretty penny on all the best stuff to extract absolute perfection out of my hand loads. Now with a bit of experience under my belt, I often ask the question, "Is this necessary?" when going about my business.

Which brings me to the subject of neck turning. I've purchased a number of different neck turners over the years (K&M, Sinclair, Hart, Redding) and have turned more cases than I care to count and in the end, I'm not sure that it was really worth all the time and money. I've tried turning as well as leaving cases unturned. After doing A/B testing between identical loads with one turned and the other not, I didn't notice any real difference in accuracy and was still able to extract MOA performance with good cases and a well constructed rifle in either case.

I do confess to owning tactical specific rifles that tend to have a bit more leeway when it comes to neck thicknesses (versus the benchrest crew with specific neck thickness specifications) and perhaps that I why the whole neck turning thing is seeming like it is all for not in my particular rifles. With brass being a fairly fluid material, I also believe that any high or low points tend to work themselves out after a firing or two when using an expander in your typical die. Zediker's books also seem to conclude that roundness is often best with the included expander in Type S like dies.

So what say you? Is neck turning essential or for the birds?
 

Grumulkin

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

My experience is similar to yours; a lot of necks turned in the past but no longer.

I think that in a gun with a tight chamber made especially for target shooting, neck turning is not only beneficial but probably essential. Guns made for hunting, self defense and made to shoot factory ammo in general have to have looser chambers if they're going to function dependably with a variety of ammo. For the later, I doubt neck turning is of any significant benefit.
 

dirkreader

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

I don't turn necks and routinely achieve sub MOA results. I wouldn't say it is for the birds, but for our applications it is not required.
 

Emergencynrse

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Scooty Puff Sr.</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I don't turn necks and routinely achieve sub MOA results. </div></div>

I don't reload yet and it's not because I haven't had several people try to get me to do it.
I really have no time. It has been easier just to work an extra shift and buy quality factory ammo.

The sub-moa thing is the single most motivating factor in ever getting me to reload. CAVER has been doing it forever and the performance is awesome. I just don't get the performance from factory ammo that he does.

3-gun and Carbine matches just don't require sub-moa tolerances.
100 yards seems to be the most anyone demands from a shooter and 1 moa is enough.


One day... one day I'll come over to the dark side and join you and find out what it's all about.
 

gunman_7

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Strickland</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I only turn a neck if the chick has big tits. </div></div>

HA! Good call.

I've been meaning to pick up a neck turning tool, any of you guys looking to unload one? With that said the only time I could really see it being beneficial outside a full BR gun is initially on virgin brass to eliminate thickness indifference's.
 

steve123

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

My opinion,
To realize the true and full potential of neck turning you must have....

A benchrest grade rifle/system and top notch gunsmith doing the work.

A chamber cut tight for under size neck thickness.Preferably for one brand of brass.

Custom dies(size and seater) made to brass that's been fireformed in that specific chamber.

Neck turning and all the other brass prep procedures are just ways to reduce variables/flyers.You have to decide for yourself when and where to start and stop and how much accuracy is acceptable to you.

If you have a stock rifle and 1 MOA is all you want then why bother.If you are not shooting in high level competition don't waste the time doing brass prep.Besides it's surprising what can be done with 1 MOA.

Steve




 

raptor99

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

I turn necks on most all my cases to "Clean" them up. I only take off about 2/3s of the neck around the case and leave the rest. This way it gives me a neck size of equal thickness all the way around. I have found a lot of cases with necks thicker on one side than the other. When loading these cases the bullet has more of a tendency to be pushed off to the thiner side for more bullet run out. Lapua or Norma cases tend to be more consistant but I have found some bad ones in them too.

Does it do any good?? I think it helps and like someone said its just one more varriable to take out of the equasion. I guess to each their own.
 

Victor N TN

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

For the rifles I have had that are custom barreled & chambered, plus my benchrest rifles, I turn the necks. On the benchrest rifles, when they were new neck turning was almost mandatory. For the other rifles that have potential, it centers the case neck and projectile in the chamber and it gets a straight shot into the lead of the throat / barrel.

Like stated above. It just helps get the very straightest start on the shot. Even if it is a very small amount.

For plinking rifles or others that are capable of shooting "minute of duck", I don't bother with it.
 

CoCaDoRi

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

to add a bit to this....unless you have a tight chamber you really don't "need" to neck turn. Possibly you might want to just "clean up the necks" to even out the neck thickness. Often times you are only shaving a bit off once side of the neck. As was previously said.

Your really don't notice this too much at shorter distance. neck turning leads towards a more uniform tension on the bullet when seated as well. Inconsistent tension will lead to inconsistent velocity.

This in turn will show up a vertical dispersion way out there.

 

E.Shell

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

I worried way more about every little thing when I shot crap rifles. With a good rifle, even factory ammo tends to shoot well.
 

mattmcg

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: raptor99</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I turn necks on most all my cases to "Clean" them up. I only take off about 2/3s of the neck around the case and leave the rest. This way it gives me a neck size of equal thickness all the way around. I have found a lot of cases with necks thicker on one side than the other. When loading these cases the bullet has more of a tendency to be pushed off to the thiner side for more bullet run out. Lapua or Norma cases tend to be more consistant but I have found some bad ones in them too.

Does it do any good?? I think it helps and like someone said its just one more varriable to take out of the equasion. I guess to each their own. </div></div>

So I used to be on the same page as you thinking that turning to take off the high points by removing 50%-60% of the neck surface on new brass would help center the bullet to the bore better. But after turning literally thousands of cases and playing with order and sequences after firing, I haven't really seen any true improvement in one scenario over another. In addition, I see that there are other issues that are introduced as well with neck turning at this stage. Frankly, the better option that I've concluded is to treat problem cases with non-round necks as you do other faulty cases when an issue is found (e.g. shoulder ding, misplaced flash holes, severe neck dents, etc.). Just throw them into the recycle bin!

First off, the thinning of the necks is obviously an effect of turning. This results in weaker necks that are more prone to denting (especially if you extract to the ground for competition), splitting, and reduced neck tension (arguably leading to lower velocities).

Secondly, if you are not absolutely precise with the cutter bite into the shoulder, you are prone to creating an excess amount of brass at the neck/shoulder junction creating a donut inside this area after firing. With that as a result, donuts are a bit** to remove effectively and do severely impact accuracy in my experience (and sometimes they are hard to see). This results in me having to ream the neck to hopefully remove the offensive dastardly ring. I used a K&M carbide cutting mandrel (one of the only tools I've found that worked whatsoever) to attempt to reverse the donut formation and had some success with removal of brass in this area, but I also succeeded in pushing the excess brass back to the outside with the malleability of the thinner brass neck! This turns into a dog chasing its own tail exercise after a while! I have also heard the argument that brass is fairly fluid when young and will migrate from high to low points under pressure (i.e. fire forming) and in my experience this seems to be true. That would tell me that I should turn brass after the second or third firing once brass has settled down in my rifle's chamber and evened out a bit. I've tried this and found that it does remove less brass from the neck albeit the exercise of turning at this point is a bit more challenging (unscientifically tested of course).

Thirdly, many neck turning tools do not create a truly smooth surface from front to back and as you run the case neck back and forth over the cutter, create a subtle spiral of brass around the neck. While this may not be as severe as a high side low side issue, it does introduce variability in the neck surface that is transferred to the inside of the neck upon firing. Now I haven't figured a way to test for this but the variation on the inside of the neck at best reduces the bullet to neck seal which surely has an effect on velocities. I'd love to test this one to see if my hypothesis is correct......

Lastly, turning necks is just a big pain in the ass. For all the trouble that you go through to remove any high points, you sure seem to introduce a whole host of additional problems which can effect your accuracy and velocities of which both are precious commodities for me. If you buy good cases and invest the time to sort at the very beginning, it actually eases the effort to creating sub-MOA ammo down the road.

Just my $.02.

 

mattmcg

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 427Cobra</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I 'll take the Hart turner off your hands Hazardus. </div></div>

I luckily got rid of that turner a long time ago!
grin.gif
The blade profile on the two Harts that I tried were too curved and only allowed for a microscopic contact point on the neck. This meant that I had to be ultra slow when turning to reduce the striation on the neck (visible lines) which allowed for the brass and mandrel to heat up causing the mandrel and brass to tighten up (taking more brass than necessary). I considered grinding a different profile on the cutting blade but given the tools I had available, there was no possibility of creating an accurate parallel cutting surface to the mandrel.

Of all the turners I tried, I preferred Sinclair's newest gen tool. The blade profile was right and the adjustment mechanisms worked well.
 

Victor N TN

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

Personally I have 4. 1 I made while I was still on my apprenticeship. 2 different Sinclair's models and a "Pumpkin". The Pumpkin is hands down the most repeatable and most accurate I have ever used in 30+ years of handloading.
 

sobrbiker883

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Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Scooty Puff Sr.</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I don't turn necks and routinely achieve sub MOA results. I wouldn't say it is for the birds, but for our applications it is not required. </div></div>

My sentiments exactly on the subject. I'd think differently if I shot a caliber that was tight necked by design and in a chamber reamed to be a tight neck (the latter of which I wouldn't do in a rifle that may endure a tactical/practical comp setting).



<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Strickland</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I only turn a neck if the chick has big tits. </div></div>

Just to make sure the ass matches?
 

fx77

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    According to Benchrest.com the pumpkin is the turner of choice.
     

    mattmcg

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    Yes, I haven't tried the pumpkin although I have definitely had my eye on one......
     

    427Cobra

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    Good luck getting a pumpkin, Don's website has been down for a while.
     

    Victor N TN

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: fx77</div><div class="ubbcode-body">According to Benchrest.com the pumpkin is the turner of choice. </div></div>

    I was a member there several years before I came here.
     

    Victor N TN

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Hazardus</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Yes, I haven't tried the pumpkin although I have definitely had my eye on one...... </div></div>

    I've let several people come to my place, or sit at our trailer at a match and use mine to turn a few cases. If you lived closer I'd make the same offer.

    Mine is special. It's electric... DeWalt 1/2" keyless chuck cordless drill. If you get the "Pumpkin" be sure and get the carbide mandrel. No more brass gauling.
     

    Victor N TN

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 427Cobra</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Good luck getting a pumpkin, Don's website has been down for a while. </div></div>

    From BR.com

    A reminder

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I spoke to Jim Kelbly yesterday. They are handling the sale of Don Nielson's Pumpkin Products. If you need a Pumpkin Product call 330-683-4674
     

    Tom S

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    Let me ask this question. I too wanted to try neck turning so I just got a the attachment for my Forster trimmer. Remember I have never done this before so I pulled 10 brass out and commenced to turning, set everything up per the instructions, everything seemed right. Some things I noticed is it only would take brass off one side of the neck, odd I thought, no way I pulled 10 brass that were high on that side and I just happened to chuck them with that high side facing me every time. Anyway, I think this turner is crap and I didnt know to go slow or "lube" the necks to keep them cool so I really marred up the inside of the necks. I will say this they shot like crap and I am really questioning whether or not I'll do any more.
     

    mattmcg

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    Tom S, if your trimmer is shaving consistently from one side only across a lot of 10, your trimmer is definitely out of alignment and I would stop trimming with that setup until you get it fixed (or replaced). You might want to purchase or borrow another setup to see if you have the same results (heck if the brass is from the same lot, maybe they are all high on one side) before continuing on the Forster trimmer.

    Frankly, I've looked at the Forster trimmer and believe that it is a setup very prone to error for neck turning. If you do see that another setup gives a different result, I would be suspect of the Forster for not only neck trimming, but any other function that requires perfect case alignment.

    Good luck. This may be another perfect example of the error introduced when neck trimming. I guess the pumpkin may be my last resort before leaving the neck turning religion altogether!
    smile.gif
     

    Tom S

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    Hazardus, it was...the depth or how much would vary a little but it always was the side of the neck facing me. I tried a few more after the 10 but called it quits soon when I saw the same pattern forming. I will be loading some of the same loads with un-turned brass to see if my theory is right and if it is I wont turn any more at all unless I have a rifle that has to have it based on the build specs...meaning a BR gun.

    Good thread here....nice to see and read others thoughts on the subject....
     

    Agent Ronin

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    The only neck turning i do... Is to uniform the military brass i shoot out of my match M1A... Its too rough on brass to justify using my Lapua brass. Now my R700 Tactical uses the Lapua brass thats just neck sized.
     

    sinister

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    There are TONS of benchresting techniques you can choose to do if you have boatloads of useless time you need filled.

    The biggest on-target performance boost I have read about from multiple sources (doing nothing else) is to simply chamfer the flash hole from the inside. This helps ignition consistency.

    Unless you have a tight-necked custom chamber neck-turning really won't make much practical difference.
     

    Clark

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    In my past quest to shoot sub moa, I mistakenly did many benchrest things that made no measurable improvement.

    I have three rifles now that average sub moa, with best groups sub 0.5 moa. None of these 3 rifles have ever seen a turned neck.

    I have shot rodents past 300 yards and ruminants past 500 yards.
    Those were difficult shots, but turned necks would not make them any easier.

     

    Grump

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    I'm still willing to try the VooDoo and am *this* close to ordering an RCBS turner, based on some shopping and reading of user reviews.

    BUT, in the interests of helping fellow 'Hide folks out with their unused/unwanted stuff and because I'm cheap and willing to try a "lesser" unit and futz around with my own shop mods even if it's almost a turkey...Anyone with multiple units have one they want to unload?

    I really am serious on this, and *will* spring for the $50 plus shipping for the RCBS on my next order if no one speaks up to strike a deal in the next few days.

    The operating theory here is, hey, might not have worked for everyone but I'm in load development with a rifle that NEVER did much better than 1 MOA.
     

    mattmcg

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    Good luck with that one Grump. I personally found the RCBS turner to be a bit finicky and not very accurate at the end of it all. I'd say if you're going to invest the time, the best option I've tried (albeit I have yet to try a pumpkin) is the new Sinclair turner. I own one of these and with the carbide mandrel and their expander die, it is about as accurate as I can get. I typically would achieve .001" consistency across the neck, save the other issues listed above in my OP.
     

    our gang

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    If you are not a benchrest shooter and you match your brass to your chamber's dimensions and you use quality brass from the same lot, IME neck turning is way down on the list of "need to do" items. I believe that buying Redding neck bushing dies give a lot bigger bang for the buck than neck turning. I have an ancient 22-06 with a very tight neck that I went round & round with for years, turning , reaming etc until finally I took a chamber cast and found out that only the thin WRA 25-06 brass could be necked down with the Redding bushing die and give excellent accuracy with no other messing around. Cerrosafe will tell you a lot!
     

    flashhole

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    There's another aspect to neck turning. I re-form 223 brass to 221 Fireball brass. A lot of the 223 re-formed brass is considerably thicker in the web that becomes the neck of the 221. Turning is essential to get it to chamber in the gun. This has the added advantage of being a custom fit to the chamber and I have seen accuracy improvements using my re-formed brass.
     

    mdesign

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    Here is another twist to neck turning. I have found that some of my rifles are more sensitive to loaded cartridge run-out than others and there is a correlation between amount of run-out and group size. Some more, some less, depending on the gun.

    I like to keep the run-out of my loaded cases to under .002 if possible just to eliminate that variable. Some batches of brass do this very well without any work, others, not so much.

    While there are many causes of run-out, your brass and dies usually are the big players in the equation. Bushing dies do allow you to adjust the amount you resize the neck and can minimize problems related to over-sizing the neck but they are not the fix all answer in my experience. Talk to Pat at Redding, he is a very experienced reloading engineer.

    I turn necks (80% clean up) because I found that if I do this and than anneal the neck at regular intervals, my run-out is .001 or less on my loaded cases. My brass lasts longer because of the annealing and my groups are better. When I put work into brass, I am very careful not to lose it and to make it last as long as I can.

    Early in my career, I subscribed to Precision Shooting and started to learn what the benchrest shooters did to make their guns more accurate. Soon I bought a run-out gauge to see how much run-out I had and found the range was between .001 and .015. I sorted them and took the 5 worst ones and the 5 best ones and shot two groups at 100 yds. The results were eye-opening with a substantial difference between the two that repeated every time I performed the test.

    I was convinced and have used this turn/anneal technique ever since then. I am not a competitive shooter but I really enjoy accurate rifles and working with the details to make them so.
     

    Red Ryder

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    Re: Losing confidence in neck turning - What say you?

    This has been an incredibly useful thread. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.