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Old May 31, 2011, 07:48 AM   #1
Gregad
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Loose bullets problem.

Let me see if I can explain this.

.38 SPL reloads, Berry's 158gr plated. (All measure .357)
Hornady XTP 158gr. (All Measure .357)

Using 3 different FL sizing dies, some cases will allow bullets to slip down inside them. Have checked, bullet size, case OD and ID and all measure the same within .0002"

Still I am getting some that will still allow bullets to be loose. Others cases are nice and tight. Some the bullet will slide right down inside with not effort.

Using an old Lyman die and resizing the case, the case will drop right into the Lee and RCBS dies. (The old Lyman die is scored bad and don't want to use it)

Even with a tight heavy crimp the bullets will jar out of shells when shooting in a revolver.

I am drawing a blank on this, What am I missing? Will case thickness cause this? Hardness? Seems if it measures the same as a tight case, it shouldn't matter.
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Old May 31, 2011, 08:15 AM   #2
Rifleman1776
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It would help if you named brands of brass and how each acted. Winchester brass is reputed to be thinner than others. If OD is consistent the ID has to be larger.
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Old May 31, 2011, 08:16 AM   #3
MW surveyor
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I'm scratching

my head over this one.

So let me get this straight. After sizing and before belling, your bullets slip inside the case? Are you sure that you are using the correct sizing die for a 38 special. I know, sounds like a dumb question but....

How much belling are you doing? Just enough to get the bullet started or something a bit more?

Are the cases all brass or something other than brass?

How about just a bit more information. I'm sure that others would also like to know more.
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Old May 31, 2011, 08:40 AM   #4
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Are you using R-P brass? I've had the same issue with the R-P in 38SPL and 357. Only the cases without the crimp line at bullet seating depth.
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Old May 31, 2011, 08:53 AM   #5
Gregad
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Remington Peters(Mostly), Magtech, Western, Federals, Winchester's They are totally random. That is what I don't understand. You can tell when you seat the bullet that there is no resistance. Using the proper dies, in the same batch. I do about 50 rounds at a time then change to different dies.

I just tried sizing another and without expanding it, I can start bullet into shell and push it in with my fingers holding case in my other hand.

Thought about them stretching but case length was alright.

As best as I can measure with digital caliper, I measured .3560 on the ID which should be enough to make a tight fit?
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Old May 31, 2011, 09:45 AM   #6
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It should be, but the inside probes on calipers are notoriously unreliable for holes. Nothing with a flat edge works in principle, and having them report two thousandths smaller than reality isn't unusual. If .357" bullets fall in, then they are actually bigger than .357". No two ways about it. Calipers being off a thousandth even with the OD jaws isn't uncommon either. For measuring bullets and the small hole gauges used to make transfer measurements of the insides of holes, you need at least a thimble micrometer with a ten-thousandths Vernier scale. For a couple bucks more, a mechanical digital is available at Harbor Freight. If you intend to slug bores to size bullets, or do other critical measuring, forget fighting the caliper and get one of these. Just don't forget to wipe off the anvils and check for zero offset. There are usually a couple ten-thousandths error at zero that you need to add (if low) or subtract (if above zero) to your final reading.

As to the brass, yes, alas, this is typical R-P brass behavior. I found it with .45 ACP years ago. The walls were too thin (thinner than Winchester BTW) and the stuff could be reloaded maybe two or three times before it work hardened and got so springy, you couldn't size it in a standard die. It's not worth the time or effort to try to figure out how to safely stress-relieve cases as short as pistol cases. I recommend you bite the bullet, or, in this case, the case, and get yourself some new Starline brass. It's made to tighter tolerances than what you have, will reload well and last through more reloads than you need to justify the price. It's just under $70 for 500 and $120/1000, S&H included. Some vendors, like Midway, break it out into 100's, but they charge for that service and clobber you with S&H, so it hardly seems worth it unless you are ordering enough of something else from them anyway to use one of their 10% coupons.

Starline says most of their brass does not require resizing all the way to the head, with the exception of .454 Casull. They recommend you only resize to the seating depth of the bullet (for maximum case life), but I've had no issues FL resizing it in .45 ACP.

Scharch also makes good, high tolerance brass (Top Brass brand, but don't confuse it with the used brass company calling itself Top Brass) when they have it available. It's equal to Starline, but costs fractionally more, plus you need to order $150 or more to get free shipping.
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Old May 31, 2011, 09:50 AM   #7
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What is the diameter of your expander plug? It should be several thousandths smaller than the bullets.
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Old May 31, 2011, 09:51 AM   #8
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On occasion I get a call about this and I tell them to do the math:
1. Re-size a case and measure the ID
2. Measure the OD of the bullet

Where is the wrong number, sometimes it point to the brass but usually the die. RCBS has tightened their spec's on sizing dies over the years to accomodate the variables in bullets and brass. This also backfires when you deal with thick brass and plated or cast bullets that are .001" over.
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Old May 31, 2011, 10:38 AM   #9
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I think maybe Dillon dies are also a bit smaller to accommodate brass variation. I don't think the R-P brass has ever caused an issue in the 1050 a friend of mine uses. He doesn't sort. Perhaps it wouldn't be a problem in my Square Deal, either, but I'd stopped picking up R-P at the range long before I had it. Never thought to give it another try.
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Old May 31, 2011, 10:43 AM   #10
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All my pistol dies are Dillon, I don't sort my brass and have never had a problem with bullet set-back.
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Old May 31, 2011, 01:03 PM   #11
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Cool. Then I don't likely need to avoid R-P anymore, though it did seem to split mouths sooner than Winchester or Starline or Top Brass or Federal, so I won't go looking for it especially, either.
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Old May 31, 2011, 01:06 PM   #12
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Nevermind.
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Old May 31, 2011, 08:33 PM   #13
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I am currently loading 38WC from Berry's into mixed brass. I am using Dillon dies and do not have this problem. I have sorted 38 brass and have more RP than other brass. Still no problems at all with RP Brass. I used to not even sort nickel from brass, but I do now because I like lead loads in Brass and Jacketed of Plated in Nickel. (Looks better)

Something is not right with your resizing dies.

I have had this happen occasionally with other calibers. But very Rare 1 in 10,000 rd.
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Old June 1, 2011, 05:15 AM   #14
Gregad
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So I have been listening to all your comments. Seems the R-P brass is the problem. I ran some up and down in both the RCBS and Lee sizer dies and they did tighten up. I measured until my eyes hurt and see now the dies are not true. I am ordering a Dillon sizing die today but want to talk to these guys first.

I just started reloading .38SPL and .357s with jacketed and plated. Never had this problem with lead.

I 'm wondering, after shooting brass so many times, if the cases harden and begin to act like a spring and pop back out of size? Any thoughts on that?
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Old June 1, 2011, 08:31 AM   #15
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Gregad - You will experience "Spring-Back" when sizing the brass. After they come out of the sizing die they will expand a little once the pressure is off. I know people talk about annealing their pistol brass but my time costs more than the benefit of doing it. I think a Dillon sizer will end the problem and you won't have to sort your brass. I have plenty of RP brass in my shooting bags and have never given it a thought.
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Old June 1, 2011, 10:21 AM   #16
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Gregad,

Yes it does work harden. As I mentioned, I got neck splits sooner with the R-P .45 ACP brass because of that. How much or how hard you crimp will affect it, too.
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Old June 3, 2011, 05:34 AM   #17
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Just bought a new set of calipers from Graingers Industrial supply. (corporate discount) Now I can see my old ones were getting out of whack. I can now measure the R-Ps are thinner cases.

I have hundreds of older R-P cases. My Dad use to be range master for State Police shooting range and always brought home the brass.

I contacted one of his old contacts from Remington and they said that their cases back then were designed for wad cutter lead rounds and have heard thousands say they had problems reloading jacketed bullets in them.

Knowing I got all my Dad's stuff, he recommended I anneal them in a batch so I could reuse them. He said their formula for brass use to contain more zinc and even some tin and they would stiffen up after a few reloads.

So My son is sorting them out for us.

A friend took some home with him and he run them through a Dillon sizing die which took care of some yet others still had problem.

Anyway, with all your comments, Out with the old R-Ps and a few others and lesson learned.

Thanks!
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Old June 4, 2011, 12:32 AM   #18
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I don't have any trouble with R-P. I even have some that just say Peters on them and they all load just fine for me with Dillon Dies.

I totally agree with the Berry's guy. I rarely ever sort pistol brass.
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Old June 4, 2011, 07:00 AM   #19
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I have owned and reloaded with dies from Lee, RCBS, Lachmiller, Hornady, Pacific, Lyman, Herter's, Forster, Redding, Eagle, Savage, Hollywood, Jax, Wells and more. They have all done well for me.

I've used cases from most every maker on the planet it seems; they all worked well. Especially so for handgun ammo.

Ditto for a wide range of cast and factory made bullets.

I have a small wad of machinest type precision measuring tools but the only way I can even see .2 thousanths of an inch is with my old Brown & Sharpe 1" vernier micrometer.

Berry's is right about sweating over handgun ammo, it need not be assembled as if it were going to be shot in a BR competition. And, if we do make a mistake in a batch of reloads, a Berry's impact bullet puller is an excellant way to pull them down and save components!

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Old June 5, 2011, 06:44 PM   #20
Clifford L. Hughes
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Gregad:
Check your expander ball, it might be a tad large and expand some cases larger then speciation. Also check the diameter of your bullets, some could be out of speciation also. A crimp is only to prevent bullet movement during recoil: not to hold a loose bullet in the case.

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Old June 7, 2011, 06:15 AM   #21
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Well guys, I think we figured this out. As long as we are reloading with cast lead bullets, they are fine. We have been switching over to Berry's plated and other jacketed bullets.

The Lee carbide dies my son bought seem to be the culprit. They don't size them down tight. Borrowed a friends Redding dies and they all work great. I am waiting on a replacement RCBS carbide die now and will try it when we get in in the turtle mail.

I really think it is the Lee dies causing me this problem now. Didn't seem to have this problem before he bought those Lee dies.
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Old June 7, 2011, 06:48 AM   #22
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You might let lee know that you have this problem. They will probably replace the sizing die for you. I have never experience that problem with 380, 38 or 357 lee dies.
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Old June 7, 2011, 04:18 PM   #23
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Lee rifle dies have a reputation for being on the large side of spec so as not to overwork the brass nor make it so small it no longer centers the round as well in the chamber. Perhaps they're carrying that philosophy over to handgun dies, too. Makes sense if you don't use Remington. I agree that if they are inside the 2 year Warranty, Lee will likely swap you for something smaller.
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