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Wilson Case gauge

This is a discussion on Wilson Case gauge within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; I've been using my Wilson case gauge as my primary test for each case sized. When testing my cases, the case must drop right in ...


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Old August 30th, 2012, 09:24 PM   #1
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Wilson Case gauge

I've been using my Wilson case gauge as my primary test for each case sized. When testing my cases, the case must drop right in (no friction allowed), must be meet the gauge specs and fall right back out. If the test isn't successful, I'll resize the case again; if still not successful, I reject the case.

As my current stock of Winchester brass reached four firings, I rejected two out of a hundred and twenty cases. At five firings, I rejected four out of 100 cases. This evening, I was going to prime some cases for reloading and discovered a case that didn't pass the Wilson test. Confused as to how that happened, I examined the case and its dimensions. The RCBS Precision Mic found the headspace to be 1.627, my calipers measured the neck at 0.331 and the base just above the web measured in at 0.467.

Confused, I dropped the case into the Wilson gauge again and it fell right in, passed the gauge specs and fell right back out as it's supposed to do. Now I was really confused; thinking that I must have a brass chip or some debris on the case or in the gauge, I thoroughly cleaned both and tried it again. No good the case failed to seat in the gauge by a large margin (none of the rim entered the gauge).

What? I spluttered, this can't be right. Cleaned the case and the gauge again, tried the case once more and it fell right in, passed specs and fell right out. One more time, I dropped the case into the gauge and no go; the rim failed once again to even enter the gauge.

Tried several of the other cases, several times each and discovered the same problem with most of the cases. Upon very close examination, I discovered that the cases were developing what can best be described as 'love handles' just above the webbing and encompassing about one third of the case's circumference.

The I started to drop the cases into the gauge, pull them out, rotate them 90 degrees and try again. Sure enough, the cases consistently failed at certain degrees of rotation that coincided with the 'love handles'.

OK, I've got four reloads out of half these cases and five reloads out of the other half; that's enough, crush the case mouths and toss 'em in the reject bin.

But what do I do with a case gauge that isn't consistent? Like a dummy, I didn't preserve any of the suspect cases to send back to Wilson along with the gauge; nor do I have any cases with which to test a new case gauge.

I'm under the impression that Wilson is the standard to which other gauge makers strive to meet. Is this true? Are there other manufacturers known to meet or exceed Wilson?

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Old August 30th, 2012, 09:28 PM   #2
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Extraction is distorting the case lip. Happens to me all the time. Doesn't fit the gauge.

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Old August 30th, 2012, 10:38 PM   #3
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Extraction is distorting the case lip. Happens to me all the time. Doesn't fit the gauge.
Thanks hammonje; I should then incorporate testing each case with several rotations with respect to the Wilson gauge in my procedures? The distortion (what I referred to as 'love handles') is difficult to discern with the naked eye; I to have to catch the light just right to see it.

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Old August 30th, 2012, 11:24 PM   #4
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What kind of sizing die are you using?

Cut the failed cases lengthwise and I'd bet that you will see a ridge that has developed like the case on the right.


That's the ridge that develops due to case stretch and resizing. While you measured 0.467" at one point along the case my guess is that somewhere it exceeded 0.470". While the Wilson gauge isn't supposed to verify case diameter, it does to some degree.

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Old August 31st, 2012, 07:26 AM   #5
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I also reload 3X and chuck them for these very reasons. If you get them for 15c/case then it is 5c/firing. Cheap enough.

RAMMAC....you have a die solution to prevent this stretch/distortion???

Mine hang up in my Wilson dueto lip distortions. They easily fit down past the web. They don't get hung up to the very end and it is obvious the area in question. I don't reload mine past 3X.

I use RCBS full length resizer or Lee. Whichever is on top of the pile. My Wilson gauge often picks up cases where the body is oversized. It doesn't tend to hang up and the end of travel, but at the excact point of distortion. At the end it tends to be the lip. They just barely won't fit.

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Old August 31st, 2012, 08:29 AM   #6
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What kind of sizing die are you using?

Cut the failed cases lengthwise and I'd bet that you will see a ridge that has developed like the case on the right.


That's the ridge that develops due to case stretch and resizing. While you measured 0.467" at one point along the case my guess is that somewhere it exceeded 0.470". While the Wilson gauge isn't supposed to verify case diameter, it does to some degree.
Thanks RAMMAC,

I cut a good sample from the cases. I marked the stretch area with two lines crossing the diameter of the case. I've marked the distorted area with two short lines on the left of the case. My fully automatic, 18 bazillion pixel electronic wonder just wouldn't let me take the picture I wanted of the distorted area, so finally I said "Camera, you can't fool me, I'm too ignorant" and proceeded to bend, twist and hammer on the camera until it finally relinguished control and took the picture I wanted of the outside of the case.

In the second picture, the two short lines mark the area of the distortion that encompasses 2/3rds of the case circumference. The two longer lines indicate the stretch area.

My main concern though, is that the Wilson gauge is inconsistent. Why would it detect this distortion only if I happened to insert the case with a particular rotation. If, for instance the 308 win on the headstamp is aligned with one end of the lower ledge, the case drops right in the gauge; rotate the case 180 degrees so the 308 win is aligned with the other end of the lower ledge and there is no way the case will drop into the gauge.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg case1.jpg (109.1 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg case2.jpg (16.6 KB, 15 views)

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Old August 31st, 2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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Because...it's picking up the lip distortion. You can press the case in with force to fit most of the time. Also if the cases have such handles they should be discarded. You will get case head separations with high frequency. Not really as dangerous as they are annoying.


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Old August 31st, 2012, 09:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by hammonje View Post
Because...it's picking up the lip distortion. You can press the case in with force to fit most of the time. Also if the cases have such handles they should be discarded. You will get case head separations with high frequency. Not really as dangerous as they are annoying.

Thanks hommonje,

I checked that rim possibilty (I thought the same thing as you) by flipping the case over and inserting the case rim first. There was no direct interference from the rim itself, no matter the rotation. Nor was there interference from the stretch area you've indicated. There was interference from the area marked by the two short lines on the left. With some rotations of the case, there was significant interference, with other rotations, there was no interference.

It is worth noting that when interference occurs, the case mouth appears to be cocked to one side of the gauge opening on the other end. With the same case rotated so there was no interference, the case mouth was centered on the other end.

It's as if the Wilson gauge is cut slightly oval in shape, rather than round.

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Old August 31st, 2012, 10:55 AM   #9
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To bring this tiresome thread to a close, I've concluded that what I'm seeing is a tolerance stack up and that I owe thanks to the fine engineers at Wilson for uncovering an issue that their gauge is not intended to address. As RAMMAC has, with great patience, repeatedly told this slow and stubborn student, the Wilson gauge is not designed to check case 'fatness' or 'bentness'; its job is to check only headspace and and case length.

It is my job to more thoroughly inspect cases for these sorts of deformations and not attempt to misuse a tool that was designed to perform different tasks.

Thanks to all of you for assisting in my education. I truely appreciate all of your help!

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Old August 31st, 2012, 11:03 AM   #10
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Very well done. Cleared up my misconception. Thanks for your thoroughness 4Quangs and RAMMAC for his ever present expertise.

You live and learn. Guess my little hang ups were due to this distortion as well. Never thought to put them in backwards to check.

Thanks again for taking time for pics and reporting back Wilson's responses.

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Old August 31st, 2012, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Quangs View Post
It is worth noting that when interference occurs, the case mouth appears to be cocked to one side of the gauge opening on the other end. With the same case rotated so there was no interference, the case mouth was centered on the other end.

It's as if the Wilson gauge is cut slightly oval in shape, rather than round.
I hate to add one more comment that will probably start the whole conversation all over but I really need to point out something.

The highlighted comment made the 5 watt light bulb go on over my head.

The problem is the distortion of the case due to the shape of the chamber's mouth. Look at the opening/mouth of the chamber and notice that the shape is actually a little out of round with the bottom of the chamber mouth being larger in diameter. That's the area around those little ramps at opening to the chamber, some people call them feed ramps. That area is large enough that the case is actually distorting slightly. I've noticed this before and posted info about it.

If you put a straight edge along the side of an unfired case it should look like this


But after firing the cartridge it will come out looking something like this


The same case is actually used in both pictures. What I did was rotate the case from one picture to the other. The top picture shows two black marks on the case, that's where the side is lined up with the straight edge in the bottom picture. So I took a picture with the straight side against the edge, then turned the case about 90 degrees and the case's side now leaned away from the straight edge.

This angle is due to that expanded area around those ramps. The case stretches more in that area and that pushes the length out a little on that side. The end result is that the rims and bases are canted a little after firing. My guess is that the Wilson gauge is tight enough to catch this deformation of the case. When you said that it seems that the gauge is slightly oval, I realized that it's the case that's slightly oval, not the gauge.

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