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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its pretty convincing to me today that the alerts about S&B 303 brass being problematic
is not smoke.

I took the once fired brass , resized it and loaded it up for some serious range
testing of loads 200 to 600 yds last Sunday.

On inspection of the 40 cases fired that day, 3 have clear head separation ring marks
on the exterior with one almost a complete cut through the brass. All cases before loading
were checked with the paper clip test and none found to be with issues.

Frankly, I was expecting S&B to have a low life span , maybe 3 firings if I Neck Sized brass
and shot in same rifle. I was not expecting first reloading to yield this result.

If offered S&B brass in the future, I will pass immediately.

YMMV and of the 40 cases, 37 survive and I am not certain their next firing is not going to have more
head separation signs arise.

FYI, YMMV.
 

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I know that this topic has been beaten to death on the Brit forums, but I'm pondering powder coating my Enfield bolt heads and sanding them down to new specs using gauges.

There are 3 types of powder coating and one of them is very impact resistant yet sandable. There is a powder coater not far from me,. He couldn't see any problems and the added 6 thousandths or so would help eliminate this problem.Later this year I may try this with 0, 1, and 2 size extra boltheads....couldn't hurt?
 

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Try annealing the cases before resizing.
^You can't anneal the brass where it would do any good... you need the body of the cartridge to be on the hard side. You only anneal the case mouth and the neck and sholder to make it more ductile.. if the annealing gets much down past the sholder of the cartridge you are asking for worst than splits. There is no partial annealing to some midrange hardness.. you either alter the structure of the brass or you don't. Not all brass is equal in compostion or performance .. .303 S&B has a lousy rep for reloading, deservedly so.
 

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I'm obviously missing something here. I have never had a casing that I was "neck only" sizing even come close to a head separation. I really can't see how that is possible. You are not working the case body at all. For my first 10 years of reloading I only had 2 or 3 centerfire rifles and neck only sized for all of them. Some of my silhouette brass was loaded over 10 times. This S&B .303 must be very bad stuff not being able to withstand one full length sizing then neck only after that.
Motor
 

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I wonder if your experience would be any different if you were using that neck-sized S&B in a P14 instead of an SMLE?

It might make for a good experiment, at least.

Question: Have you tried comparing the weights of some empty cases to those from other manufacturers to confirm the thin verdict?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Motor, my Privi brass once FL sized and there after neck sized lasts a long time in 303 British, so does my HXP and South African military brass (SA is berdan primed). This S&B must be very thin walls to only be FL sized once and then head separate. The remainder 37 case have been neck sized and I will shoot them but I suspect, more head separation issues. I think S&B 303 should be avoided, its junk in my opinion.
 

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I know that this topic has been beaten to death on the Brit forums, but I'm pondering powder coating my Enfield bolt heads and sanding them down to new specs using gauges.

There are 3 types of powder coating and one of them is very impact resistant yet sandable. There is a powder coater not far from me,. He couldn't see any problems and the added 6 thousandths or so would help eliminate this problem.Later this year I may try this with 0, 1, and 2 size extra boltheads....couldn't hurt?
I don't think that would solve anything for many LE's, because the problem is not excessive headspace, in many cases. Instead, it is likely the fact that the SAAMI chamber specs are undersized, compared with most military chambers. The Brits intentionally cut their chambers large, reportedly (so I have read....) to make them less susceptible to extraction problems if the chambers got sand or dirt in them. This is an intentional design feature for LE's to make them more combat capable, and does not represent a flaw. After all, military weapons never were intended to shoot reloaded ammunition, so case life was simply not a concern, but reliability of the weapon was.

SAAMI reportedly designed their specs using numbers that would allow a reloaded round to fit in all .303 military rifles, hence the undersized specs.

My problem with S&B brass was that the rim thicknesses in one lot were too thick, and would not fit in my P14, which when measured by my gunsmith was found to have the the absolute minimal acceptable headspace. I was shaving off brass from the rim when I closed the bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Taking a departure from the quality of S&B brass, "The Expert" has me wondering if I sent Lee a fired case from my match No.4 rifle, if a die made to size brass just enough to chamber in that rifle might be a good investment. Seems to me the less I work brass when FL resizing , the longer the case life will become. I only FL once and neck size brass till I just have to bump shoulder back and FL size again at that time. If a custom FL sizing die were on hand, it would FL size only minimally and not work brass so hard. One only reload a few hundred cases and yield better case life to pay for the die cost.

Just wondering.
 

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You have the right idea, but the execution seems flawed.
Why not just get good brass like Prvi & partial full length resize?
All you have to do is back the die off a tad & match to the chamber by working it in slowly.
 

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I kind of agree with plonker. Another thing you could do is try the brass in your rifle before you FL size it. If it fits why bother. Neck size it and go. I must be missing something, again. I have neck only sized brass until the necks were worn out and never had to "bump the shoulder back" along the way. But this was in modern (Ruger & Rem.) bolt action rifles which may be why.
Motor
 

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thanks for the explanation expert..I'm not likely to wear these gals out any further,but was also looking for a solution to the unnumbered No bolt heads since I don't have a bin full to choose from...
 

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thanks for the explanation expert..I'm not likely to wear these gals out any further,but was also looking for a solution to the unnumbered No bolt heads since I don't have a bin full to choose from...
There is a 'local guy' where I live (I'm in NW Ohio, he is about 1 mile over the border in SE Michigan) who has a $150,000 microwelding rig, and he LOVES working on guns. I am sure he could 'extend' a bolt head or two for you, if you were able to give him specific instructions and sketches as to exactly what you want him to do.

So far, he has rewelded a cracked G43 firing pin carrier, and rebuilt from scratch the front upper corner on a C96 Mauser bolt (which had broken off) and so far the repairs are both holding up for me.

Other than a VERY minor color difference in the metal if you know exactly where to look, you can't really tell that the C96 bolt was repaired.

PM me if you are interested, and I will give you his name and phone number.
 

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thanks for the explanation expert..I'm not likely to wear these gals out any further,but was also looking for a solution to the unnumbered No bolt heads since I don't have a bin full to choose from...
Happy to help, even if it wasn't too much help.

This might be of more use to you: If you use a good quality of steel, you can cut a steel shim (washer) of the appropriate thickness to correct the headspace error and place it between the bolt head and the bolt body. Gap gauges can be used if they are large enough. I have heard of this being used to correct excessive headspace problems, although in the interest of full disclosure I have never actually seen it used. Ask your gunsmith what he thinks.

Milprileb: RCBS used to make custom dies of that sort, but I have been told that they no longer offer the service. You might consider making a chamber cast using Brownell's Cerrosafe alloy and measure the appropriate dimensions, comparing them with a resized case from a reloading die, to get a better idea if a custom die might be useful.
 

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i had the same problems with S&B 8mm mauser brass
i had bought several boxes of S&B 8mm mauser to use in my mausers. instead of old surplus, and to start building up a supply of 8mm boxer brass to reload..
i had issues with almost half of them on the first reload...mostly neck splits and the cases were only neck sized and shot from the same rifle. others had smoke marks around the primers.
i scraped all the fired brass and plan on never using S&B brass again for reloading.
Pete O.
 
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