Cam Wire & The Whirligig of Doom

This could be about Cam Edwards and his radio-show but its not. It’s about the non-moving gizmo on the Whirligig-of-Doom that moves the wheel on primer-feeding “transfer-bar” contraption as it rises and falls, and on the up-stroke seats a fresh one in the brass case that was just de-primed on the earlier rotation’s down-stroke. And it’s supposed to have a specific bend in it, besides a small circlip that has a tendency to fly into orbit and hide in the carpet.
After a few weeks (OK, a month) of waiting patiently by the mailbox, I called RCBS again (3rd time) to inquire about the status of my “order.” Their call-center is open from Monday thru Thursday from 6:00AM for the East Coast guys until it shuts down at 4:00PM out West here. The needed parts I lacked were on-file and awaiting to be filled – some time in May when they get time to run-off some bearing-bushings, a part I had briefly complained about (since the operation of the Whirligig is anything but smooth) but didn’t exactly require. What I really need(ed) and explained to the nice but harried lady, was (#16) the Cam-Wire. I have one but it’s the wrong one – it’s about 7-1/2″ long and is for another Press-product, the now discontinued AmmoMaster. It’s too long, but it does-has “the bend.”
Finally today the Cam Wire arrived, notched precisely for the ever-disappearing circlip, but straight as an arrow.
I think I can get my High-Master shootin’ buddy Google-machinist to give me a hand and impart the proper angular coefficient to the dead-straight rod, but the label prominently marked with ATK on the package from RCBS reminded me of what Louis Awerbuck warned in Pistol I and II class, when he said much of the ammo (the ammo you CAN’T GET) that has been coming out from a certain cartridge-company umbrella-ownership group (= ATK) has been lacking a certain Q.C. je ne sais quoi – the stuff is bad. Bullets that are not at all crimped tie-up guns (this I have seen), OAL is sloppy, upsidown primers have been noted, backwards bullets too.
Judging from my earlier telephonic conversations with the very friendly, super-knowledgeable and more polite than they need-to-be RCBS staff, I think the people trying to do business there are amazingly overworked and stressed. Perhaps it is the dumbrella Über-company corporate-ownership that is spinning lazily like the angry man in Zapruder’s film, or an ineffective overhead ceiling-fan on a hot day that is providing the source of conflict and anxiety. I hope things improve for them and that some time this year I get this thing ammo-construction device operational, before I have some kind of cardiac event.

About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

7 thoughts on “Cam Wire & The Whirligig of Doom

  1. Excellent point NC, and you’ve GOT to check everything now; parts is parts and pieces is pieces and the two seem to be crossing lately…


  2. I recently found something out re. my RCBS .223 sizing die. It sizes just a tad too long. Well, I don’t know what I can do about that. With that die, you screw it in until it touches the ram, lower the ram, and do another 1/4 or so turn. The little bit extra is because all dies will flex a little bit when the ram goes up. Well, I have a Rockchucker. It ain’t going to flex much with .223 cases. Not sure how I could measure that. But I wish the die body was just a tiny bit shorter — then I could set headspace using a feeler gauge between the ram and the die, and be dead nuts on every time. Well, I know a machinist too. Gotta find some unsized brass and try my older RCBS die and see if it does this too.

    This isn’t a huge problem, BTW, it all chambers fine in the AR. Not so much in my M700 though.

    I might get crazy one day and try another brand. I have Lee and Hornady dies for other cartridges, and I’m not thrilled with them, but not unhappy either. Maybe Redding?


    • Hi Jed! During the component frenzy I went and fubar’d my Hornady .223 die, and in desperation I grasped for what became FIRST available on Midway – a Redding “S-die.” When it arrived I realized that it requires a bushing to push the shoulder back to exactly where you want it – and it didn’t come with a bushing. So…I asked my high-master buddy for advice and we got into a conversation about it: “To determine proper Bushing size, measure the outside neck diameter of a loaded cartridge with a precision micrometer, then subtract .001” to .002″…?
      He suggested I’d probably need a 244 or 243.

      Weird thing with these is, the more you’re sizing it down, the bigger the bushing you need to get the size you want. Yeah, ‘Like, WTF?????’

      The neck comes out smaller than the bushing if you step it down a lot. Damnedest thing I’ve seen. Like toothpaste or something, it flows through the hole and keep getting smaller. I suspect a FL die does the same thing, but the expander fixes it coming back out.

      If you’re only sizing it a couple thou’, like the tight neck in my 6BR, it more or less comes out the size of the bushing. So some guys size them in a couple stages, 2 or 3 thou at a time. They have more patience than I do. These are generally used without an expander, and you swap bushing to get the neck tension you want.

      Most AR chambers have 9 to 10 thou clearance on a loaded rd, so the neck is expanded a lot after firing. So I’m pretty sure the neck will come out smaller than the bushing, but I don’t really have any idea how much. But if you’re still using an expander, 2 under on the bushing is probably more than enough.

      Clear as mud?


    • Well, that’s interesting. I’ll have to try to remember that if I go looking for a another sizer. I’m just fine with a die that resizes the neck the traditional way, i.e. a RCH too small, and then size the inside of the neck with the expander button. All that other stuff sounds like something you’d do if you were shooting benchrest, but then those guys will turn the neck on a lathe too.


  3. QC/QA is one of the first places the bean counters start hacking away at, since they don’t understand the function of the departments. Doesn’t appear to be where any value is added to the product, so away it goes. In actuality, it is where value is subtracted, in inverse proportion to it’s size/activity.

    If the workers are intelligent, well trained, dedicated, company oriented people, you might not see a huge change in product quality. Most times, they are lacking in some, or all, of those important qualities, and their output will reflect this. Add in some unfortunate conditions on top of this, and companies have been known to die. Somewhat common, in my experience/observation.


    • In class he talked about all the ATK owned properties, but since the drought/crunch all the others have seen increased pressure and that magnifies QC issues for them too.


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