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Old September 3, 2005, 08:40 AM   #1
jcims
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Problem seating/crimping 9mm on a Hornady LnL

Hi,

My brother has had a Hornady Lock N Load progressive reloader all set up for a little while. About a year or two ago he started working on reloading 9mm, but ran into a problem with the seating die (it's one of the 'new dimension' dies). The bullet would seat ok, but there was really no crimp to speak of, and he could push the bullet into the case with his thumb.

He bought the little microjust seating stem to give him additional control, and an attempt to get a better idea what was going on, but that didn't really help much either.

Fast forward to last night. We're both looking at .45's and the thought of having a reloader available to make the shooting a little more cost effective is attractive. We tried seating some bullets into empty cases to try to get it right, but just got more confused.

It looks like the crimping part of the die stops independently from the seating depth part (the 'cone' in the center). So we're working under the assumption that you have to get two parts right. First, the coarse threaded outer portion of the die has to be set to the right 'elevation' to correctly crimp the case. Once you have that correct, you then tweak the seating 'microjust' knob to get the seating depth you're after.

We moved things up and down a bit, and got to the point where we were getting great crimps, but it seems that the seating die was too low, because the sidewalls of the case got crumpled and the bullet is slightly deformed at the top with a 'ring' about 3/16" down from the tip.

So, how in the world do you adjust this die correctly? We couldn't find anything in the manual that indicated how to adjust it, only how to install it.

I'm trying to get a pic of the loads we did last night, they're comical looking.
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Old September 3, 2005, 09:36 AM   #2
crazylegs
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JCIMS, And allthough I don't have a Hornady LNL ( I have a Dillon 550), I also use the Hornady New Dimension seating die and I really like it, BUT, I don't seat and crimp in the same operation. For crimping, I use Hornady's taper crimp die which works quite well for me and I would suggest that to you.
http://www.hornady.com/media/new_dim...stom_grade.pdf
Follow this link for instructions on seating and crimping in the same operation.
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Old September 3, 2005, 10:08 AM   #3
jcims
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I just saw that taper crimp die last night. The only thing for me is that it would use up a spot for the powder check die, another one that we're thinking about getting.

Thanks for the pointer, i'll take a look at it!
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Old September 3, 2005, 11:13 AM   #4
Zekewolf
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Do either you or your brother have access to the instructions that came with the press or dies? It's pretty common knowledge that seat/crimp dies are adjusted for crimp by raising and lowering the die body. Of course, the seating stem works independently. How else could it possibly work? I really believe you'll be successful if you'll just read and follow the instructions that came with the press/dies.
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Old September 3, 2005, 02:50 PM   #5
Jim Watson
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It is not wise to try to seat and crimp a smooth sided autopistol bullet in one step.

That said, you have other problems. You cannot crimp a loose bullet tight. All a taper crimp does is remove the flare and streamline the cartridge for feeding, bullet pull is increased only slightly. Not enough if you can set the bullet back by hand.

Either your sizing die is not taking the brass down small enough or the expander is taking it back out too large, or you have some thin brass or undersize bullets. Or a combination. Going to take some troubleshooting.
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Old September 3, 2005, 04:27 PM   #6
Zekewolf
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Yeah, what Jim said: could be that the sizer and belling dies also have instructions available.
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Old September 3, 2005, 04:55 PM   #7
LHB1
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Typical instructions for a combined seating/crimping die:
Note: Crimping normally adjusts by screwing the die body further into the press. Seating normally adjusts by screwing the seating stem further into the die body. The following instructions MUST BE FOLLOWED IN SEQUENCE. DO NOT TRY TO SHORTCUT OR YOU WILL ENCOUNTER PROBLEMS AS YOU ORIGINALLY POSTED. Recommend you use an empty, unprimed case to make a dummy round while adjusting die.

1) TEMPORARY SEAT
Back off die body to totally eliminate all crimp AND THEN adjust seating screw to push bullet into a properly sized and belled case to desired seating depth. DO NOT LOCK SEATING STEM AT THIS POINT. THIS WILL NOT BE THE CORRECT SETTING LATER.

2) ADJUST CRIMP DEPTH
NOW BACK OFF seating stem/screw so it does NOT touch bullet at all during this step AND THEN adjust die body by screwing it in (trial and error) until you get just the crimp you want. NOW tighten the lock ring on die body to prevent die body from screwing into the press further.

3) ADJUST SEATING DEPTH
NOW raise the press ram fully (to insert dummy round into seating/crimping die), turn the seating stem in until it bears lightly against top of the bullet, AND tighten lock ring on seating stem. YOUR DIE IS NOW CORRECTLY ADJUSTED.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB
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Old September 3, 2005, 09:20 PM   #8
jcims
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Thanks guys for the help.

Unfortunately we were unable to find the instructions for the seating die. We do have a (the?) Lyman book but it didn't really have anything that directly addressed this, as far as we could tell.

Following the link that crazylegs provided, I did see some instructions on how to properly adjust the die, and found more instructions on some of the other components as well. I felt kind of dumb posting here but it just seemed like we didn't have any instructions to go by, and the die just didn't seem to be operating by any intuition that i could muster.

That said, i'm going to study up on the points posted here and the instructions from Hornady. I just want to take things slow and make sure i understand what's going on rather than just following directions and assuming the results are correct.

Thanks again for your help.

(BTW LHB, thanks for the write up.)
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Old September 4, 2005, 01:12 AM   #9
crazylegs
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Hope it works out for you.
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Old September 4, 2005, 08:59 AM   #10
jcims
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHB1
AND THEN adjust die body by screwing it in (trial and error) until you get just the crimp you want
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hornady Instruction Manual
At the completion of each stroke, inspect the cartridge for the proper crimp.
Sorry, did a quick round through some manuals and found that i get stuck at this part.

What is the 'proper crimp' for the 9mm? I certainly know an improper one


(He does have clean brass, btw, we just didn't feel like wasting them on this exercise

Do i just go for 'not moving around in the case'? In the two crimps on the left, the brass is actually pressed into, and slightly deforms the bullet. The flare is completely gone from the expanding die, it's just that pesky massively deformed case that makes me think this is way wrong too.

I'm going to take another stab at following these steps today, hopefully with some better results. Thanks again everybody!!!
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Old September 4, 2005, 12:04 PM   #11
Zekewolf
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Make sure that the case is belled. Make sure that the seating stem is screwed out so it can't touch the bullet. Raise the case, with seated bullet in place to the top of the ram's movement. Slowly screw the die body down until you feel the resistance of die body's contacting the case. Lower the ram a little. Screw the die body down 1/4 turn, and tighten the lockring. Raise the ram and crimp the cartridge. Leave the ram up and screw the seating stem down until it touches the bullet, then secure the stem.

You only crimp enough to remove the bell.
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Old September 4, 2005, 02:05 PM   #12
LHB1
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Zekewolf: "You only crimp enough to remove the bell."

RIGHT! With straight walled pistol cases that headspace on the rim, ie 9mm and 45 ACP, the taper crimp only needs to remove the bell. The bullet is actually held tightly in the case by the sizing operation which sizes the case smaller than the bullet. This is why you must bell the case mouth to seat the bullet and then must remove the bell by taper crimping.

Also note that in Step 2 the seating stem MUST be backed off and NOT touch the bullet at all. Failure to do so will cause problems in the final adjustment of die. Step 3 readjusts the seating stem correctly.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

ps: Ex 1 & 2 appear to be OVER crimped (seat/crimp die body screwed too far into press) and Ex 3 appears to be seated WAY too deep (seat stem screwed into die too far; failure to perform step 2 correctly?).

pps: Were those cases SIZED and BELLED before seating the bullet? Looks to me like maybe those steps were skipped. For proper seating and crimping, cases MUST be sized (even if new cases are used) and belled BEFORE seating bullet and crimping case. Failure to do so will typically give results like your examples.

Last edited by LHB1; September 4, 2005 at 05:40 PM.
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Old September 4, 2005, 03:56 PM   #13
jcims
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHB1
ps: Ex 1 & 2 appear to be OVER crimped (seat/crimp die body screwed too far into press) and Ex 3 appears to be seated WAY too deep (seat stem screwed into die too far; failure to perform step 2 correctly?).
Ex 3 has been affectionately named stubby. It was the first of the three that i hung on to and was when we realized the seating stem needed to be backed way out.

One and two were perplexing us. It looks like they got crimped (too much), and _then_ the seating die pushed the bullet down into the case. Both of them have a line imprinted into the tip of the bullet (it's pretty clearly visible in the middle one, just above halfway down the copper jacket).

Quote:
Originally Posted by LHB1
pps: Were those cases SIZED and BELLED before seating the bullet?
Well, they went through the sizing/depriming and belling dies...but they could both be about as well adjusted. The case does get a reasonable flare on it, but it's possible the sizing isn't working 100% because if the crimp is light, you can push the round into the case by tapping it on the desk. Should we expect these crimps to be as firm as factory?

Round two coming up tonight.
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Old September 4, 2005, 04:28 PM   #14
Jim Watson
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To quote a reliable source (me) You cannot crimp a loose bullet tight. If you can move the bullet by finger pressure BEFORE the crimp, something else is wrong with sizer, expander, or components.

The "telescoped" rounds you illustrate might MIGHT be due to a roll crimp shoulder in the die trying to bend the case mouth sharply and no cannelure or groove to move it into.
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Old September 4, 2005, 05:46 PM   #15
LHB1
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Sizing Die adjustment:
The sizing die should typically be screwed into the press until it just misses touching the shell plate/holder when the press is raised to its full max travel.

Belling Die adjustment:
The belling die should typically be screwed into the press until it just flares the case enough to start the bullet into case by hand.

The basic steps in my first post will work if you follow them carefully. No disrespect is intended but are you new to reloading? Your problems indicate a lack of knowledge/experience. Getting an experienced reloader to help you adjust the dies and trouble shoot your reloading process can save you lots of headaches if you are a beginner.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

ps: Also recommend buying one or more good reloading books, ABC's of Reloading, or one of the reloading manuals with good section on basics of reloading.

pps: Are you using correct diameter bullets? Check your components against a good reloading manual to be sure they are correct. Your results would be similar if you were using bullets a few thousandths undersize.
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Old September 4, 2005, 07:00 PM   #16
artbyaccident
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This is info already given but maybe the pics will help. take your belled brass
put it in your shell holder and with the seating die all the way backed out of the press and the bullet seating portion of the die backed out of that


raise the rammaking sure that the bullet or the case contact the die
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Old September 4, 2005, 07:02 PM   #17
artbyaccident
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now with the center of the die backed out all the way turn down the die until it just touches the case the maybe back it off 1/4 turn. Now lower the center of the die until it touches the bullet (just the center you dont want to touch the case yet) now press the bullet in a little at a time until you have the correct over all case legnth



now back out the center of the die all the way again

and lower the outside of the die to the case until it touches
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Old September 4, 2005, 07:03 PM   #18
artbyaccident
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and a little at a time until you remove the bell (just enough to remove the bell too much and you turn your gun into jammomatic)

lower the center of the die to touch the top of the bullet that you have already set to the correct o.a.l. tighten down these settings and viola .

shiny new bullets with no wrinkled sides.
btw if you can take a belled brass and shove the bullet in with your thumb you probably have a case sizing die out of specs (this also has already been said just wanted to agree with the other members)
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Old September 5, 2005, 01:10 PM   #19
jcims
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artbyaccident, thanks for the awesome pictures and write up! It's amazing how much pictures can do to clear this kind of thing up!

A little information goes a long way...i headed over last night for some shooting and another stab at this. As i pulled in to his drive, he pulled three perfectly formed cases out of his pocket. I think we just had the wrong mental picture of how the thing was supposed to operate, and after getting set straight it all came together very quickly.

Thanks again for everybody's help! It's a testament to the kind of folks at TFL, plenty of patience and lots of good help for what's obviously a rookie issue.

Take care!!!
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Old September 5, 2005, 08:48 PM   #20
BigJakeJ1s
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Here is a link to the new dimension die instructions on Hornady's website.

Hope this helps,

Andy

OOPS! Just saw the link also posted earlier... That's what I get for not reading the entire thread first!
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Old September 8, 2005, 08:19 AM   #21
MADISON
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L-N-L crimping problem

I have the older PROJECTOR.
I have the L-N-L stuff I use on my Rock Chucker, occasionally.
Those dies are a bit hard to adjust down to where you want them, in L-N-L.
Take the time to adjust the crimping die dowwn to where it does the job.
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