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Old October 4, 2013, 05:39 PM   #1
iamdb
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9mm issues

I am having problems with my 9mm reloads. I have not been able to get a round to fit my wilson chamber gauge without using a factory crimp die. The bullets seat at a slight tilt and the base of the bullet is apparent through the case. I am kind of at a loss. My dies are set correctly.


Hardware: Lee turret, RCBS FLS and seater die, lee powder through and FCD. 124gr fmj. using mixed brass, seating to 1.161

I would like to be able to run my press with out the FCD. I was thinking that perhaps the RCBS dies were bad or perhaps the turret has too much play. I suppose its possible it's user error as well. Any suggestions?
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Old October 4, 2013, 06:07 PM   #2
BigJimP
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It could be any number of things....but my hunch is the shell holder is not square with the die / or something is flexing / or the dies are not adjusted properly.....but I don't see anyway to tell you what's wrong over the internet.

I also don't understand your reluctance to use a crimp die....all of the handgun calibers I load for use a 3 die set.... sizing and depriming die / a bullet seating die / and a crimp die....../ each die is intended to be used as part of the process.....

Find someone local to look at your setup ....but if you can't do that, go back to your manuals / setup the press again ...and go thru the whole process again.

If your bullets are not straight up and down in the case..( you said they're angled ) ...and your finished rounds will not drop in and out of a "case gague"...you need to understand, the rounds have to drop in and out of a "case gague" ...that's the reason you bought the gague..that's what its for.....if your dies are set up properly / and the press is sound - the bullets will not be angled in the case...that's not ok ...

and you need to use the crimp die ...its the last die in the process ...to do the final sizing of the case...that's why they're part of a set ....its not like they're an optional die...they're required...

you need to go back thru this entire setup / look at all the manuals again / and carefully analyze your processes...not look for a quick fix.../ or a reason not to use a crimp die, in my opinion.
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Old October 4, 2013, 06:30 PM   #3
Nick_C_S
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I swear by Lee FCD's.

I have wadcutter rounds that won't drop in my cylinder charge holes without first running them through the FCD.

So I run them through the FCD - problem solved.

Seems to me you should not omit this step.
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Old October 4, 2013, 06:58 PM   #4
iamdb
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The RCBS seater crimps the bullet when used properly. I shouldn't have to use a separate seating die. I did back the seating die up so it does not crimp while I am using FCD. I just would like to figure out why I can't get it satisfactory with out the FCD. My dies are set right. I also switched out shell holders.
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Old October 4, 2013, 07:05 PM   #5
iamdb
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also the "case gague"? is a "pistol max gauge."
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Old October 4, 2013, 07:22 PM   #6
Wreck-n-Crew
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My buddy mixed his seating dies up. Usually the bullet will straighten up it starts crooked.

Quote:
It could be any number of things....but my hunch is the shell holder is not square with the die / or something is flexing / or the dies are not adjusted properly.....but I don't see anyway to tell you what's wrong over the internet.
I have also seen the bullet move in the shell holder because of vibration. Little WD40 on the press and wallah!
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Old October 4, 2013, 07:34 PM   #7
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I know what you're saying iamdb. Using my problem as an example: I don't know why some of my rounds won't chamber in my cylinder charge holes. In theory, my RCBS dies should make a good product - without having to use the FCD.

In theory.

But in reality, it doesn't (sometimes). It is at this juncture where I ask myself do I really need to get to the bottom of the issue and find out what is happening that isn't supposed to. Or, do I clear the problem with the FCD and move on.

I choose to move on. I figure I'm not launching space shuttles. I can live with the root cause of the issue remaining a mystery. It's okay.
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Old October 4, 2013, 08:55 PM   #8
iamdb
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i feel you. i just have been ignoring the root of the problem for long enough. I think i might try some comp dies and see if the problem persists.

Don't get me wrong, I make some good bullets with the FCD but it feels like im just putting a band-aid over the issue.
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Old October 4, 2013, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
it feels like im just putting a band-aid over the issue.
You are.

And you're fixing it

Further pursuit is okay too. Part of the fun of loading is the tinkering. I get that too.
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Old October 5, 2013, 06:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
It is at this juncture where I ask myself do I really need to get to the bottom of the issue and find out what is happening that isn't supposed to. Or, do I clear the problem with the FCD and move on.
I would have to know what is causing that problem of yours.
Did you check the profile of the seating stem to see if it matches profile of the bullet your using? A round nosed bullet doesn't seat well with a flat nose seating stem profile.

I use RCBS dies a lot and found them to be excellent. How far do you have your die screwed into the turret? Try screwing the RCBS seating die down a few more turns (just make sure it doesn't hit the shell plate) and back out the seating stem to reset your overall length.

9mm is a tapered case and if the die isn't screwed into the turret far enough you may have excess space where you bullet is trying to seat. Just something to check.


Quote:
I make some good bullets with the FCD but it feels like im just putting a band-aid over the issue.
Your basically using the LFC die to straighten out the sides of a defective round and I think you should be going after the real problem of finding out why the bullets are seating crooked before you end up with more problems like a lot of bullet setback from re-sizing all you loaded rounds which could reduce the neck tension on them by reducing the diameter of the bullets.

Don't get frustrated and give up.
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Old October 5, 2013, 06:54 AM   #11
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Are you using a dedicated seating only die or a normal taper crimp seating die backed out to not crimp?

I'm sitting here looking at my RCBS seating die, I can see the taper crimp part of it up in there and the area above it is sized to hold the bullet straight, if that die were backed out a little to far I think the base of a round nosed bullet could be down in the area below the taper crimp and flop around little and make it seat crooked. Round nosed 9mms have such a small area that is full diameter.

Above the taper crimp shoulder is a reduced dia and holds the bullet straight. Try using that die as if you were going to taper crimp but back it up just far enough that the taper crimp just straightens out what ever flare you have and see if the bullet is seated straighter.
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Old October 5, 2013, 06:59 AM   #12
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Are you seating and crimping at the same time?
I always seat and then crimp separately.
Also be careful to not overly bell mouth the case as this will tend to prevent the bullet from seating straight.
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Last edited by Brutus; October 5, 2013 at 07:04 AM. Reason: Added thought.
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Old October 5, 2013, 01:27 PM   #13
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NEVER use WD-40! Leaves a residual deposit. If you have to use something, use a silicone spray lubricant.

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Old October 5, 2013, 03:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
NEVER use WD-40! Leaves a residual deposit. If you have to use something, use a silicone spray lubricant.
Everything is below and away from the loading area, no chance it will get on/in the rounds.
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Old October 9, 2013, 05:33 PM   #15
iamdb
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I think I figured out the problem. My RCBS dies are 9mm/38 spec. My seater die had a .38 rn plug in it. I switched out to the other plug it came with, 9mm fp/tc plug and my bullets are seating much better and fit my pistol max gauge without the lee fcd step. I'll load a few hundred tomorrow and test them out over the weekend.

Thanks for everybody who had input on this. Much appreciated!!!!
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Old October 10, 2013, 11:35 AM   #16
BigJimP
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It seems like it's always something in the setup / the little things.....

Glad to hear you got it worked out .
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Old October 10, 2013, 03:49 PM   #17
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iamdb, nothing personal against case gauges because they are useful for quick measurements, or when loading for multiple pistols where your handloads that get "passed" by the case gauge will work in the pistols with the tightest chamber dimensions.

Ultimately, the best case gauge you can get is the chamber in YOUR pistols barrel. If you only want to do a single handload for multiple pistols, load for the pistol that has the tightest/shortest chamber. For best accuracy, load specifically for the bullet you're using and the pistol it's to be fired from.

I realize that RCBS states that you can seat and crimp in a single operation, but what you're gonna find is a greater variation in OACL. To get the best uniformity, you really need to seat and crimp in 2 seperate operations. Maybe not so much a consideration for blasting ammo, but if accuracy is what you're after . . .

I've used dies from all of the major manufacturers and have found only one brand that will consistently seat and crimp with uniform OACLs and those are REDDING Titanium Carbide die sets. I used to never seat and crimp in a single operation because LEE, Lyman and RCBS dies just weren't capable of giving uniform OACLs. With a bullet like the Rem. 124 gr. JHP (old style) where I load my defense rounds on a REDDING boss single-stage press, I can maintain an OACL tolerance of +/- .002". What variation there is is likely from the bullets ogive variations.

And a word of caution about the LEE FCD. In cases where case-wall thicknesses vary and they do regardless of brand, or where bullet diameters vary, you can end up with a condition where the case-mouth diameter is above the SAAMI Spec for MAX. Like everything else, somethings gotta give for that cartridge to pass through the FCD. In some cases it can result in bullets being resized to a smaller diameter. Not a good thing and particularly not when using cast lead bullets that can get sized down to actual groove diameter or less where leading will result. My .45 ACP defense loads are a bit different because I keep my REDDING die setup to go with cast lead bullets and little to no crimp. Just enough to remove any flare, in other words. So my JHP defense loads get taper crimped seperately in a dedicated REDDING taper crimp die that does exactly what it's supposed to do and the real taper is only on about the top 2mm's of the case-mouth.
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