This page includes the questions that we've received from hundreds of shooters who reload belted magnum cartridges.   If you can think of a reloading question that isn't listed below, email it to me and I'll add it to the list.   There must be other shooters with the same question.

Reloading Belted Magnums (Questions & Answers)

  1. What causes belted magnum cases to not chamber after the second or third firing?

        This is caused when fired cases have expanded to the exact size of the chamber, and they don't get properly resized.   The required pressure from reloading doesn't help either.   A slight "bulge" forms just above the belt (at the pressure ring), and it never gets fully reduced by using conventional resizing dies.   That is why I designed the Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die.

  2. A friend of mine says that his belted magnum handloads never get this case "bulge" at the expansion ring.   What is he doing different?

        Most reloaders don't accurately record the number of times that they reload each case.   If they did, and if they measured the area "just above" the belt, they would see that their cases are not getting resized enough in this area to insure reliable chambering.   Your friend just might be lucky.   This can happen .... but it is fairly rare.   If the brass hardness is absolutely perfect, and his particular sizing die is incredibly close to his particular chamber size, and the stars and the moon all line up just right, things might work out pretty well.   However, sooner or later your friend will find his belted handloads difficult or impossible to chamber.

  3. I've heard some shooters say that they like to "feel" their handloads fit a little snug as they chamber?   Is this correct?"

        That's not good.   Your handloads should chamber with absolutely NO resistance as your bolt closes - not even a little bit.   Your bolt provides camming force that can wear your bolt lugs, and jamming handloads into the chamber causes your concentric handloads to become anything but concentric.   Our Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die makes chambering much easier, and iy avoids this problem by reducing case diameter just above the belt.

  4. Why can't conventional full length sizing dies reduce the "bulge" on belted magnum cases?

        Belted cases prevent conventional FL resizing dies from traveling far enough down the case.   In order to reduce any given area of your case, a resizing die needs to travel about .100" beyond contacting that area, just to reduce the diameter by .001".   Then the case is withdrawn and the brass "springs back" slightly.   Have you ever noticed the tension that is felt when you start to withdraw a lubed case from a resizing die?   You're feeling tight fitting brass at the transition of the case web as it "springs back".   Small base dies have the same problem with belted cases, except they can also "shave" cases, and they'll still get some "spring back".

  5. Why not use a less expensive small base die?

        Small base dies just make this problem even worse, because they swage the brass inward and rearward.   This causes brass to "pile up" over the web (solid part of the case).   They work like a bulldozer pushing a mound of dirt against a wall.   Instead of resizing your case, after 2 or 3 reloadings, they can actually increase case diameter tight against the belt.   That's why they're not very popular with belted magnum calibers.   If brass is allowed to accumulate over the web of a case, you'll never be able to resize it with ANY resizing die.

  6. How do you know if and when this "extra" case resizing Is required?

        You can easily see when your sized cases need "extra" resizing.   The top of our collet die also works as a case widrth gauge.   Just insert your FL sized case into the top of our die.   If it fits all the way down to the belt - you're good to go.   If it doesn't fit, then you'll need use the collet end of this die.   However, if your cases have been reloaded two or three times, they will rarely come even close to fitting.   That's when you need the extra resizing that our collet die provides.

  7. I've heard that it is best to headspace on the shoulder and not on the belt.   Is that true?

    Yes.   Factory ammo is headspaced on the belt, but handloads should always have minimal chamber clearance at the shoulder.   Otherwise - when your cases are fired, the case will be blown forward against the shoulder of your chamber.   This will stretch your brass and cause case head separations.

  8. How do you adjust a FL resizing die to reduce shoulder clearance?

        I use our Digital Headspace Gauge to display the exact clearance (at the shoulder) that my handloads have in a particular chamber.   This gauge is calibrated to one of my fired cases, then it shows how to adjust the die height to make handloads fit perfectly.   This allows your FL sizing die to bump the case shoulder back no more than .001" to .002".   It consistently displays the actual shoulder clearance.

    CAUTION - Don't try to use the same headspace as "factory" ammo, or you might find that your handloads will be too short at the shoulder.   That could cause case head separation after a few firings.

  9. I've heard that it is better to neck size belted magnum calibers, and that it might help my cases last longer.   Is this true?

        That is not entirely true for belted magnums.   Shooters that neck size know that they'll eventually need to FL resize.   This happens because case dimensions are obviously changing during the reloading process - not just when a case is fired.   Why would you want different size handloads?   Belted handloads often fail to chamber after just 3 reloadings.   You can neck size or full length size, but sooner or later most shooters will need to reduce case diameter with our collet resizing die.   This "extra" resizing ensures a reliable (and very close) fit in your chamber.

        Measure the diameter of a "new" factory case just above the belt, then observe how much it expands each time after it is reloaded . . . . you will be surprised.   Your best bet is to accurately use a FL die like most benchrest shooters.

  10. Does a "tight" belted magnum chamber have less problems with case expansion in the web area of the case?

        No.   I have seen an equal number of case expansion problems with tight chambers, average chambers, and oversized chambers.   Remember: To reduce the diameter on any tapered case, a resizing die has to travel quite a distance beyond contacting that area - and the belt will limit the travel of any conventional resizing die.

  11. Is there one brand of brass that will last longer than other brands with belted magnums?

        I have noticed a great deal of difference in quality of brass as far as uniform neck thickness, flash holes and case weight.   However, I have not found any particular brand that can reduce the case expansion that occurs just above the belt.

  12. Which brand of conventional resizing dies do you like best for reloading belted magnums?

        I personally like the Redding full length bushing style (Type S) dies.   These dies do not require an expander button, and the necks don't get worked as hard.   You can also adjust the exact degree of bullet tension, whenever you use thinner case necks or if you use moly.   Unlike some other brands, they seem to always give the "right" set back to the shoulder (about.002") without going too far.  You should verify that your headspace is set on the shoulder and always use the same shell holder.

  13. Instead of removing the "bulge" with your collet resizing die, why not just buy new cases?

        Our Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die will pay for itself by increasing the number of handloads per case - by as much as ten times.   Quality belted cases are usually quite expensive, and some shooters spend a lot of time prepairing their cases for top accuracy.   You don't want to just throw them away after they are perfectly weighed, trimmed, sorted and fireformed to your exact chamber.

  14. Doesn't your collet resizing die cause fireformed cases to lose their perfect fit?

    No.   You can full size (or) neck size your cases.   Our collet die is an "extra step" that insures that your belted cartridges will always chamber.   You can now control the amount of resizing "just above" the belt without affecting any other case dimension.   It's sort of like using a bump die, only it works on reducing just the pressure ring.

  15. How many handloads can you get from a single belted magnum case when using your belted magnum collet resizing die?

        That depends on variables such as; cartridge type, chamber pressure, your loading procedure, quality of your brass.   However, I have reloaded HOT 300 Win. Magnum cases 20 times without getting signs of case weakness.

  16. My case life is shortened by swollen primer pockets.   What can you do about this problem?

        If your cases fit the chamber properly, you can be sure that prematurely expanded primer pockets are a sign of too much chamber pressure.   Primer pockets will loosen up very gradually and this should not be a problem.   You might try using a slower burning powder, change your seating depth, or lighten up a little on your load.   Remember that individual chamber and bore sizes will vary - enough to produce significant pressure in some rifles.

  17. My belted cases always crack at the expansion ring after just 2 or 3 firings.   What causes this, and what can I do about it?

        This is caused by handloads with excessive shoulder clearance in the chamber.   This can cause a combination of problems.   Belted "factory cartridges" are made to headspace on the belt.   This causes the first firing to blow the case shoulder forward - this can be as much as .020" to .030", and it really stretches your brass.   Well .... that's bad enough, but if your handloads don't have 100% of the sizing lube cleaned off - your cases will stretch even more.   Be sure to always headspace your handloads on the shoulder.

  18. Can your collet resizing die be used to resize loaded cartridges?

    I have done this many times, and there is obviously no more risk than when you reseat a bullet in a loaded case.   However, due to the fact that we have more trial lawyers than mosquitoes in this country, I recommend pulling the bullet first, and then resize your case.   Having a good deal of imagination, I suppose that someone could get careless and get a loaded case stuck in their die.   That would create a bomb that needs to be disassembled.   Therefore, I don't recommend it.

  19. Does your collet resizing die require a special resizing lubricant?

        I strongly recommend using Imperial Sizing Die wax.   It works far better than any other resizing lubricant that I've ever tried.   If you're not already using it for all your resizing, try it . . . . you will like it.   I've recommended it a jillion times, and I've never heard of anyone going back to using anything else.

  20. Does your collet resizing die need to be used after every firing?

    No.   Always avoid working the brass whenever possible.   The top of our die is used as a "quick check" chamber width gauge.   If a case fits in, all the way down to the belt, then it will fit in any chamber that uses that same cartridge.   You should get to know the exact size of "your" chamber "just above" the belt, and resize your cartridges only when your cases reach .512" or as needed for your particular rifle.

  21. Can the "bulge" on belted magnum cases expand beyond recovery for your die?

        If you repeatedly fire belted cases without ever using our belted magnum collet resizing die and if you have an extremely oversized chamber, it is possible - but not likely.   I have reduced cases that have swelled up as much as .009" oversize.   That's a real whopper.

  22. Does your collet resizing die increase case length?

    No.   The only increase in case length comes from actual firing, or if you use a die with a neck expander button.   I try to use quality resizing dies that let you avoid using expander buttons.

  23. Is it possible to heat treat belted cases (just above the belt) to eliminate the case "bulge" problem?

    No.   The exact hardness of your brass "just above" the belt is critical to safety.   If your brass gets too hard it can separate and put extreme pressure on the face of your bolt.   If your brass becomes too soft you may get a case "bulge" after just one firing.

  24. Do you make different size dies and collets for resizing different cartridges?

    No.   We make only one size collet and one size die.   There is no need to buy extra collets or dies for resizing different calibers.

  25. How does your ONE collet resizing die work on so many different size belted cartridges?

        The area "just above" the belt is the same size on all belted magnums (except the 224,240,378 and 460 Weatherby).   Our collet die only reduces the area "just above" the belt.

  26. Why is your collet resizing die so expensive?

        Unlike conventional resizing dies, our collet die is made from D2 steel, and it's hardened to Rockwell 56.   This material is more expensive and very difficult to machine.   Our Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die also requires considerably more manufacturing time.   Tolerances are kept very tight by machining some operations "after" the hardening process.   The collet is precision ground (inside and out) to a polished finish, and special EDM machines are needed to cut the slots in the collet.   This patented die is presently custom made in much smaller quantities than any major die manufacturer would make.

  27. Why didn't the major die manufacturers come up with the "Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die" a long time ago?

        Before I started working on prototypes of the Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die, I called one major die manufacturer and asked them to come up with a solution to this resizing problem.   I was told "The cost of R & D would be too expensive to pursue it, and this would only benifit the few shooters who reload belted magnum calibers".

  28. Why didn't the major die manufacturers buy your patent?

        After my collet die became a success, I received a small offer to buy my patent.   Well, this patent won't come cheap, because they were right about the high cost of R&D.   I later had another major reloading company offer to manufacture these dies for me.   They didn't have the equipment to do the whole project without farming it out to other companies, and they never did get it right - even after trying for 6 months.   I asked one reloading company "Why don't you let me lease the patent rights to you, and let you sell the Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die?"   I was told "After selling reloading dies for decades, it would be a bit embarassing to tell our customers that we finally solved this known problem ".

  29. Does the belt add strength to a belted magnum case?

    No.   Not even a little bit.   If you look at a cutaway view of a belted magnum case, you will see that the belt is around the solid area (the web) of the case.   If the belt was longer and extended above the web area, then it would add some strength.

  30. If the belt adds no strength to the case, why do maufacturers still use the belt on magnum cartridges?

      Marketing.   The original belted magnum case design was so successful, that manufacturers believed shooters would never accept any new magnum caliber that didn't have a belted case.   The belted case has always been recognized as the sign of having true "Magnum" power.

  31. Where did the idea of the belted case come from, and what purpose does it serve?

        The belted cartridge was first used by Holland & Holland (H&H) on their magnum cases to provide a positive forward stop for the extremely tapered shoulder on their cases.   These cases actually need to have a belt, because H&H cases have almost no shoulder and without a belt, they would be pushed forward absorbing some of the firing pin strike.

  32. Your Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die was available for over a year.   How many of these dies have you sold so far?

        We have already sold well over 4,300 of our Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Dies to experienced shooters (including the U.S. Secret Service), long range shooters, and hunting guides around the world.

  33. With a "Five Star" product rating at MidwayUSA, why don't they keep your dies not in stock anymore?

        We used to sell our dies through Cabela's, MidwayUSA, Midsouth and a few others.   However, they all require manufacturers to carry a one million dollar product liability insurance policy.   You can imagine the cost of an insurance policy for a tool that reloads ammunition.   I paid for this insurance for 2 years, and it's just too expensive.   Thank the lawyers!

        I can make more profit without the insurance AND now that I don't have the insurance, there's no big money for lawyers to pursue.   The chances of being sued are far less without the insurance.   Large manufacturers need to carry this insurance because they have too much to lose (deep pockets).   That raises the cost of their products.   Thank the lawyers!   In fact, there are a whole lot of GREAT products that will never be made available to the public, due to a lack of profitability.   Thank the lawyers!

    (You can currently purchase our die only from this website)

  34. Why don't you get one of the conventional die manufacturers to make your dies for you?

        I tried one of the very best die manufacturers in the US, and after 6 months they still couldn't make an acceptable sample of our dies.   Manufacturing our Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die requires some pretty expensive equipment that is not normally used by die manufacturers.

  35. Why don't you have your dies made in China?   That way your increased profit would allow you to make more dies, and always keep them in stock.

        I prefer to have my money support American jobs.   The Chinese are developing a reputation for making very good quality products.   However, even without the language barrier it's a nightmare trying to make this particular die exactly the way I want it.   I believe that one of these days ALL Americans will understand that our government has exported our nation's wealth to foriegn countries, and it's important to understand the cause of this.   Our perverted legal system and corrupt politicians are to blame.

  36. What do you think about the new unbelted magnum calibers?

        Some of the new unbelted magnums look cool and shoot very well.   However, these extremely wide cases often have feeding problems, and they reduce your magazine capacity by one round.   They also deliver a bit too much thrust against the bolt.   We're finding that it's fairly common for the unbelted magnums to experience case extraction problems.   That's because they're loaded to extremely high chamber pressures - just to perform like existing belted magnum calibers.

        Some of the new unbelted magnums will become popular, while others will disappear forever.   If you already own a good rifle in a belted magnum caliber, try our Belted Magnum Collet Resizing Die.   I think you'll enjoy reloading and shooting a whole lot more, and you'll save a lot of money on brass.
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