Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,060 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have long loved the 218 Bee in my Marlin 1894CCL, but finding brass for it has been a problem since before I even got the rifle. At one point all I could find was 25-20 brass, so I bought that and ran it through my 218 Bee sizing die and it turned out just fine, even better after fire-forming.

I've since sold that rifle but have another one on the way, this time a G1 Contender. I remembered a long-hoarded box of Starline 32-20 brass on a high shelf, decided to make 218's out of some of it, and bought a 25-20 sizing die to neck it down the first step, then it would be finished with the 218 Die.

Not so fast, Powder Hoarder! I quit after ruining these two, there didn't seem to be any point in wrecking more new brass. It was lubed properly, the die was set correctly, yet here's what I got.




Any suggestions from those who have had similar results and figured out how to make it work?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,251 Posts
Not the same, but I push back the shoulders on .223 to make .222, using Lee dies. Having the mandrel inside the neck may help you. Also I buckled a couple of shoulder with excess lubricant, so go easy on that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
784 Posts
Sorry, i’ve never had problems necking down .32-20 brass to .25-20 - three different brands in fact. I only used new brass, but it appears the OP did too. Looks like a problem with the brass itself, poor annealing or grain structure. What sizing lube is he using?




.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I have long loved the 218 Bee in my Marlin 1894CCL, but finding brass for it has been a problem since before I even got the rifle. At one point all I could find was 25-20 brass, so I bought that and ran it through my 218 Bee sizing die and it turned out just fine, even better after fire-forming.

I've since sold that rifle but have another one on the way, this time a G1 Contender. I remembered a long-hoarded box of Starline 32-20 brass on a high shelf, decided to make 218's out of some of it, and bought a 25-20 sizing die to neck it down the first step, then it would be finished with the 218 Die.

Not so fast, Powder Hoarder! I quit after ruining these two, there didn't seem to be any point in wrecking more new brass. It was lubed properly, the die was set correctly, yet here's what I got.




Any suggestions from those who have had similar results and figured out how to make it work?
Had a similar situation doing 32-40's from 38-55's. Agree annealing helpful. Crazy as it sounds, how warm was your shop environment? About this same time of year when I was doing 32-40's. Shop was coolish 35-40 degrees so brass & dies we're also chilly cold. Just on a whim, I placed a few pieces of brass on the hopper lid of my pellet stove and took a blow drier (sorry wife, don't know that got in the shop) to the sizer die & press turret. Brass now warm to handle, not too hot but much warmer. Quick lube and into sizer worked perfectly. Previous 4-5 had been like yours. Next 15 all came out perfect (minor wrinkles to fire form out).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,060 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Neck Size 25-20, then Fire Form In the chamber you are going to use.

PM sent
I don't have any 25-20's, or I would! All I have is 32-20 brass. And I never would have thought I'd have to anneal brand new brass to neck it down. Then again, Starline is pretty stout stuff.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Maineiac

·
Registered
Joined
·
875 Posts
I don't have any 25-20's, or I would! All I have is 32-20 brass. And I never would have thought I'd have to anneal brand new brass to neck it down. Then again, Starline is pretty stout stuff.
I used Starline brass when I formed 256 win mag from new 357s. Total failure until I annealed. The case necks ended up pretty thick. I had to neck turn them to get them to eject from a Marlin 62, but they worked as is fine in a Contender barrel.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,107 Posts
I form 25-20 from 32-20 using a Redding form die with Imperial lube. I lost a couple in the beginning until I started using short strokes while backing off each time on the press handle. Then anneal when done with my AMP annealer.

With four different 218 Bee's on hand, I bought 400 Hornady cases. I haven't tried it yet, but am planning on necking up 218 brass to 25 cal then fire forming to 25-20.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,578 Posts
Try using the 25-20 seating die first. It is “looser” than the sizing die and gives a lower percentage of failures. The case neck must be round and dent free before you start. Adjusted down as far as possible the seating die will start to crimp the case before the shoulder is pushed fully back but you can finish form them at that point.

Assess the brass carefully after forming the first few. If tiny longitudinal striations barely visible to the eye exist try annealing first. If still no joy then you are back to using 25-20s which are almost as hard to find as 218. Sometimes brass does not take kindly to large caliber reductions without a forming die intermediate step.

Such is life. If tiny striations exist this is a route to eventual failure as opposed to a cleaner looking case. Assess under a 3-5x magnifier or some such.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,657 Posts
I almost wonder if this isn't an issue of thick brass getting drawn out and instead of getting crushed, it just buckles. Try trimming the neck off of one and then forming it, and see what happens. I know when I form starline 45/70 brass into 40/50 Sharps Bottleneck I have to take a considerable amount off the case or else I have to do the forming process in steps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,522 Posts
Try using the 25-20 seating die first. It is “looser” than the sizing die and gives a lower percentage of failures. The case neck must be round and dent free before you start. Adjusted down as far as possible the seating die will start to crimp the case before the shoulder is pushed fully back but you can finish form them at that point.
I tried the above and it works.
Well it did and then It didn't.
So
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,060 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
35remington, I'd try a 25-20 seating die if I had one, but I only bought a sizing die because I thought that's all I'd need, I don't shoot 25-20 so I didn't want to buy a full die set. I'm a cheap old fudd......but I also recently dropped some serious coin on a K&M Neck Turning kit, so I might try outside turning a few 32-20 necks and see if that helps any.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
I am lucky. I have found gregarious amounts of 218, 25/20 and 32/20 loaded ammo. When the time comes to reload I won’t have much of an issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,426 Posts
I have long loved the 218 Bee in my Marlin 1894CCL, but finding brass for it has been a problem since before I even got the rifle. At one point all I could find was 25-20 brass, so I bought that and ran it through my 218 Bee sizing die and it turned out just fine, even better after fire-forming.

I've since sold that rifle but have another one on the way, this time a G1 Contender. I remembered a long-hoarded box of Starline 32-20 brass on a high shelf, decided to make 218's out of some of it, and bought a 25-20 sizing die to neck it down the first step, then it would be finished with the 218 Die.

Not so fast, Powder Hoarder! I quit after ruining these two, there didn't seem to be any point in wrecking more new brass. It was lubed properly, the die was set correctly, yet here's what I got.




Any suggestions from those who have had similar results and figured out how to make it work?
Papajohn,

#1. Anneal first and between steps down.
#2. Use Imperial Wax lube.
#3. Do not size all at once. Start with a 1/8" step and turn you die down into the press about two turns per pass. Expect 5 to 6 passes to fully size the neck.

In your case, you will need to complete two cycles. That much work on the brass hardens it and requires annealing between each step down and again before fire forming the final case.

The necks on the 32-20 cases are thin. I have formed 25-20, never 218 Bee from 32-20 Starline brass.
The other item to watch out for is neck length. As you constrict, the neck grows. If too long, you run the brass into the end of the final 25-20 die. You may also consider a trim between if needed.

Good luck. I lost 10% to 15% when going from 32 to 25 caliber using a 25-20 FL size die.

A labor of love, time, and frustration because of the losses.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top