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Old 04-30-2019, 03:03 PM
Oso Polaris Oso Polaris is offline
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Default Hornady OAL Gauge - Forming Own Cases

The Hornady OAL Gauge is a handy little tool to quickly determine the COAL of a cartridge for a specific bullet (where the ogee engages the lans). Hornady offers a modified case in all the popular cartridge flavors. If you have a specialty round (most of your varmint/wildcat rounds) then you will have to make your own from a piece of your brass.

The Hornady gauge is threaded 5/16" x 36tpi. You will need:
1. Drill bit size "L" or 7.3mm
2. Tap (5/16" x 36tpi)
Note: you can buy a set of above on Amazon for $15-$20.
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Old 04-30-2019, 03:52 PM
Oso Polaris Oso Polaris is offline
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Default Hornady OAL Modified Case - Stuck in Die

The real reason for this thread... I purchased Hornady's modified .17 Remington case. I planned to slowly bump back the shoulder until I matched my chamber of my 17-222. Applying mild pressure, Imperial Wax, and small incremental bumps, I started moving the shoulder as planned. On the 3rd bump I must have gotten a little greedy...Stuck Case in my die! I attempted to extract the case with slow consistent downward pressure. The case head separated cleanly from the body along the extractor groove. The 5/16" threaded hole through the center of the case left this area too thin for any torque.

The standard Stuck Case Removal Kits offered by all the die manufacturers ($15) will not work because the kit comes with a much smaller screw & tap then the existing 5/16" hole in your modified case. You may want to consider buying the 5/16" x 36tpi die when you buy the tap. I tried everywhere to source a 5/16" x 36 tpi screw/bolt. I was told by the specialty fastener supply companies that this is a specialty item that must be custom made. I ordered the Die off Amazon ($10) and visited my friend (hobby machinist) to mill a bolt that would screw into the case stuck inside the die. I planned to use the steel cap that screws over the die from my Lyman Stuck Case Removal Kit.



Next Discovery - the cap is made from hardened steel that laughed at the HSS drill bit as we tried to open the hole to fit the 5/16" bolt. A Carbide Cutter, either drill bit or endmill cutter, is required to cut this metal. Unfortunately, he did not have a carbide bit that size. If you don't have one then let me warn you these are not cheap!!! I had some initial sticker price shock (Amazon) with carbide drill bits averaging $275 and carbide endmill cutters averaging $75 (shorter length means less carbide material = cheaper). I found a really cheap carbide endmill cutter for $25 that did the job.





It was a 17-222 forming die from a set (vintage 1971) that is no longer available so I made the extra effort. A machine shop probably would have charged me a few dollars less, but not a whole lot of difference.

Last edited by Oso Polaris; 04-30-2019 at 04:11 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2019, 06:07 PM
Grey_Wolf Grey_Wolf is offline
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I have the tap to do this for my wildcats but haven't figured out how to hold the case without damaging it and get the threads square
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Old 04-30-2019, 07:24 PM
Oso Polaris Oso Polaris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf View Post
I have the tap to do this for my wildcats but haven't figured out how to hold the case without damaging it and get the threads square
One of my other hobbies is woodworking. I chucked the case into my mini lathe (wood turning lathe) and used a Jacobs drill chuck in my tailstock to drill out the hole through the case, and then I chucked up the tap and slowly advanced it to square the threads. When I went to my friend's place and used his metal lathe the process was even easier.

If you have a drill press then you have an easy solution. First, drill out a block of wood, hardwood is best, with a hole the size of the cartridge neck. Second, enlarge part of the hole to the size of the case body. You will need a tight fit so that the case doesn't spin freely while drilling and tapping. You can wrap the case with tape and jam it into block &/or leave a portion of the rear of the case protruding out the rear of the block so that you can hold it. Place the block facedown on the drill table and use the drill press to drill out hole in rear of case. Chuck up the 5/16" tap and use drill press to assist guiding and turning the tap while applying light downward pressure and hand twisting the drill chuck to cut the thread (drill press turned off). Note: You need to drill the first hole all the way through the block so that you have a way to extract/press out the case from the block if you jam it in the block really firmly.

It doesn't have to be perfectly square... there is plenty of clearance/leeway for the gauge in the receiver. The only thing that is important is that the case is pressed firmly into the chamber and as long as the rod can run through center of the OAL Gauge and into your case neck to advance the bullet then everything is fine.

Last edited by Oso Polaris; 04-30-2019 at 11:59 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2019, 07:44 PM
B23 B23 is offline
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It's been my experience using the generic one size fits all Hornady modified cases that it never seems to fit my particular chamber all that well. Those Hornady modified cases always seem to be a fair bit undersized and I can never get a consistent length to touching. I stopped using them a long time ago and instead have a piece of brass that's been fired in my gun, drilled and tapped, to use as my modified case on my OAL tool. Now when I measure for land engagement the case fits perfectly in my chamber and doesn't wobble around and I can measure as many times as I want and get the same reading or within a thou of the same every time. Before, when I used the generic Hornady modified case, I could never get the same measurement twice and it was hard to get exact, repeatable, measurements.
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:13 AM
GLWenzl GLWenzl is offline
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Nice work!!!

I havenít bought that tool or used it yet. But I bought these tools and have been using them more often than I ever thought.

https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/10...with-6-inserts

https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/10...with-6-inserts

Works very well, especially in conjunction with my chamber cast.
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2019, 11:24 AM
Grey_Wolf Grey_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso Polaris View Post
One of my other hobbies is woodworking. I chucked the case into my mini lathe (wood turning lathe) and used a Jacobs drill chuck in my tailstock to drill out the hole through the case, and then I chucked up the tap and slowly advanced it to square the threads. When I went to my friend's place and used his metal lathe the process was even easier.

If you have a drill press then you have an easy solution. First, drill out a block of wood, hardwood is best, with a hole the size of the cartridge neck. Second, enlarge part of the hole to the size of the case body. You will need a tight fit so that the case doesn't spin freely while drilling and tapping. You can wrap the case with tape and jam it into block &/or leave a portion of the rear of the case protruding out the rear of the block so that you can hold it. Place the block facedown on the drill table and use the drill press to drill out hole in rear of case. Chuck up the 5/16" tap and use drill press to assist guiding and turning the tap while applying light downward pressure and hand twisting the drill chuck to cut the thread (drill press turned off). Note: You need to drill the first hole all the way through the block so that you have a way to extract/press out the case from the block if you jam it in the block really firmly.

It doesn't have to be perfectly square... there is plenty of clearance/leeway for the gauge in the receiver. The only thing that is important is that the case is pressed firmly into the chamber and as long as the rod can run through center of the OAL Gauge and into your case neck to advance the bullet then everything is fine.
Good idea thanks. Holding the case without damaging it has been an issue. No lathe here but do have a couple of drill presses
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2019, 01:30 PM
Oso Polaris Oso Polaris is offline
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Default alternatives holdfast

Due to body taper you might not be able to get a tight enough grip on case in the wood block even after building up with tape. If this happens then two possible solutions:

1. Use CA glue (superglue) to bind the case to the block. After completing drilling and taping use CA Glue Remover to dissolve the glue. Wood working store should have these items, if not then Amazon.

2. Drill initial hole the diameter of neck. Enlarge hole to diameter of case at the shoulder. Drill a set of holes on either side of hole so that you can run bolts through block. Split/saw the block down the length to form a clamshell. Use a Dremel, round gouge/chisel, or round file to contour the body taper of case into both halves of wood block. Now you should have plenty of surface contact between case/block and able to apply pressure by tightening the bolts.

Last edited by Oso Polaris; 05-01-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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