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Old October 14, 2012, 03:46 PM   #1
Bubba the Roach
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bullet seating problems

so Im getting inconsistant measurements when seating .223. They can range from 2.251 to 2.234. I try to use a smooth downward stroke not trying to be to hard. Im using a lee die set. 1st)is it going to put my pressure to high seating at that depth 2nd)do you think that maybe its the die because i dont have this problem when seating other cal. thanks
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Old October 14, 2012, 04:27 PM   #2
UtopiaTexasG19
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Is the seating pin in the die turned with the flat end down or the hollow end down?
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Old October 14, 2012, 04:34 PM   #3
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0.023" is a bit more difference than usual. There are several possible causes in addition to the reversed seater ram (stem), but that's a good possible call. It should have the hollow recess down so the bullet tip enters the recess.

Since this is a .223, are you firing in a semi-auto of some kind? If so, look for bent rims. They can make a case stand tall and angled in the shell holder. They'll flatten back out on firing, but can make it hard to chamber the round from a magazine, so the hard extraction may need to be addressed if you are getting this. Soft commercial brass, like Federal and some recent lots of Winchester, according to some forum posters, have had problems with expanding primer pockets, which would make them candidates for rim bends, too.

It's not uncommon to get 0.010" variation in bullet length, especially HP match bullets. I would measure the bullets to see how much they vary. If that doesn't account for it, then I would mark some bullets with Magic Marker to see how far down on them the seater ram was making contact with them. If that location moves, but is the same diameter on the long and short rounds alike, then you've got some kind of variation in bullet ogive profile.

Another question is do you have the seating die set up to crimp? If so, make sure all your cases are trimmed to the same length. If they are trimmed and you are crimping, try backing the die body out an eighth of a turn and setting the seater in to compensate. This is to make sure it's not forcing the whole case shoulder down by pushing from the neck. Sometimes a bullet will be prevented from completing seating due to the crimp shoulder pushing the case mouth down, then when you withdraw the cartridge, the case springs back up, making the round high. If you are crimping into a cannelure knurled into the bullet, look to see if the cannelure is the same height on every case mouth.
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Old October 14, 2012, 04:35 PM   #4
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What bullet are you using?
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Old October 14, 2012, 05:09 PM   #5
Bubba the Roach
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im using 55gn FMJ got at the gun show so there proably is some length difference. I am loading for mini-14. When I took the die apart noticed the seating stem doesnt look centered like the machining is off center. Think maybe this is the problem since it looks like it would not contact the bullet the same each time what do you think. Thanks
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Old October 14, 2012, 05:23 PM   #6
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There is room for those seating stems to float and self-center. Stick a chopstick or something up into it and be sure it can slide over to center.
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Old October 14, 2012, 05:33 PM   #7
1stmar
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Certainly possible, unclenick is generally bang on, I would check out the last two paragraphs of his post. If you have a bullet puller seat the same bullet in the same case several times and see if it is more consistent.
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Old October 16, 2012, 08:23 PM   #8
dardascastbullets
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Bubba,

Are you by chance measuring from the base to the point of the bullet? If so, you will see variations such as what you are experiencing due to the variations of the finished bullet point. The only way to get an accurate measurement for your OAL is to use a comparator such as a Sinclair. It contacts the bullet's ogive. The device fastens to the jaws of your caliper. You will move the jaws out to allow the cartridge to fit between the jaws. Place the nose of the bullet into the comparator and make your measurement. Easy.
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Old October 16, 2012, 11:40 PM   #9
p loader
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great info Matt, thanks for sharing. I think I learn new things about reloading every time I log into this site.
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Old October 17, 2012, 07:59 PM   #10
zeke
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win 223 55 grain fmj's are inconsistent enough to get ya that difference in col. Other types may also.
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Old October 18, 2012, 12:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Are you by chance measuring from the base to the point of the bullet? If so, you will see variations such as what you are experiencing due to the variations of the finished bullet point. The only way to get an accurate measurement for your OAL is to use a comparator such as a Sinclair. It contacts the bullet's ogive. The device fastens to the jaws of your caliper. You will move the jaws out to allow the cartridge to fit between the jaws. Place the nose of the bullet into the comparator and make your measurement. Easy.
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Hornady is offering the same setup (may be a knock off, rod is plastic).

Local store stocks all the shells but not the comparator.

Also a help is a competition seating dies. Much better shape and does not mess with the ends of things like the Vmax plastic points if you go that route.
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Old October 18, 2012, 09:08 AM   #12
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I think there's a terminology issue. There's a plastic depth setting rod in the Hornady LNL Overall Gauge, but what Matt is talking about is not the gauge but the comparator. The comparator has an aluminum caliper adapter head with aluminum inserts available both for bullets and for case shoulders. The Sinclair version also has an aluminum head, but stainless inserts for bullet ogives. Another difference is that the Hornady tools have a slight side offset to fit over their gauge when using it to take a measurement off a chamber, while the Sinclair head is centered.

Hornady's design is actually the first of this type. It was invented by Stoney Point's founder, and I bought one of the early ones (aluminum depth rod rather than plastic) from him on Commercial Row at Camp Perry when it was a new product; around 1990, IIRC. He seems to have sold that business off a few years ago. I note Stoney Point's web site now sends you to Bushnell for customer service, and Hornady bought out the gauge and comparator tools.
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Old October 20, 2012, 10:48 PM   #13
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I got the Hornady comparator as well, nice anodized aluminum per previous and matches the tool.

Plastic rod on the gauge itself seems to have a bit of give that takes a bit more feel than I think a metal one would.

The caliber adapters on the comparator are plain aluminum.
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Old October 21, 2012, 07:00 PM   #14
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I had the same issues and Nick helped me with this. Speaking for my experience, I had to adjust seating die to lightly crimp and now my bullet OAL is almost spot on. Back the die out to not crimp and I get more variation to the OAL.

I didn't see where you mentioned if your die is set to crimp or not and if your trim to uniform length?
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