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Old January 10, 2013, 05:59 PM   #1
Gitsum
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Inconsistent oal's

Got a new die set for Christmas. A second 9mm set. After setting up and running a few im seeing the oal going from 1.007-1.042. Im after 1.014. Whats going on here. My other die sets only differ about .002 oal.
These are mixed brass and 125 tcfp bullets (bhn12) on a lee classic turret and using the factory crimp die
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Old January 10, 2013, 07:09 PM   #2
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Have you measured from the ogive? I found the same when measuring my 9mm when I first started. When I measured with my Hornady comparator though, the measurements were the same every time.
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Old January 10, 2013, 07:13 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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How much do they vary before you crimp?
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Old January 10, 2013, 07:57 PM   #4
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Are you using the correct seating plug? There should be two in your die box. One for flat points and one for round nose.
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Old January 10, 2013, 08:28 PM   #5
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I dont think the lee carbide die sets have 2 seating plugs. I have 3 sets and have never seen an extra

I will check the oal before i set the crimp

How do you measure the ogive?
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Old January 10, 2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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I measured after the bullet seating die on 2 rounds and got 1.009 and 1.013 the first try. Then the factory crimp die adds. .002 to the oal.
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Old January 10, 2013, 08:44 PM   #7
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So your OAL increases after the FCD? How much crimp are you using?

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Old January 10, 2013, 08:46 PM   #8
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I run .358 bullets so i use it to ensure no bulges. Generally just barely any pressure on the fcd and a light crimp
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Old January 10, 2013, 10:44 PM   #9
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It's not my experience but I've read on reloading forums that an FCD can increase OAL somewhat. How much, I don't know. But if you're squeezing those lead/plated bullets too much, I can see a whole lot of problems starting with some potential for serious set back. Could get exciting. Key holing may be a tell-tale sign of too much crimp also.
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Old January 10, 2013, 10:57 PM   #10
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The only way I can conceive of the OAL increasing after the crimp die is if the round is being significantly resized. My concern is if the soft lead is being compressed by the FC die, while the brass springs back. Are the bullets tight in the brass? 9mm should not need a roll crimp, just remove the case mouth expansion.
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Old January 10, 2013, 11:51 PM   #11
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I have seen bulges in mine and backing off on crimp does not do much. Does not affect performance though and I have not checked a bunch of them after initial setting for variances in OAL.

Remember, the OAL is just a minimum recommended or at least that is what someone told me. Try increasing a touch and see if you gain consistancy.
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Old January 11, 2013, 08:29 AM   #12
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I notice you are loading cast bullets. In the past I also had problems with inconsistent OAL on my loaded rounds. Make sure the bullet seating plug fits the nose profile of the bullet. If it doesn't fit it will mar the nose of the bullet. Lee can make you a bullet seating plug that will fit the bullet if needed. If it is a bullet from one of their molds they can send you a seating plug that will fit using the mold for reference. If you don't know the source of the bullet mold you will need to send them a sample bullet and they will make you a seating plug up using the bullet for reference. I have had them make several custom seating plugs to match bullets I use. They did a great job. Another issue I encountered was build up of bullet lube on the bullet seating plug when loading cast bullets. Before each loading session I remove the plug and clean all the build up off of the area that contacts the bullet.
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Old January 11, 2013, 09:21 AM   #13
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Hmmm... ok I will check for marring on the bullet noses when I get home. Also I use a minimul crimp due to using unique powder that is large enough to create a compressed load (3.4gr). I use the light crimp to help NOT create too much pressure upon ignition.

Before this die set I was using one set for 2 different 9mm loads and would have to adjust every time I wanted to load for the other. My STI requires an extremely long oal. (Almost to the lube band but cant recall exact length off the top of my head.) The other loads are set up based on the pickiest gun. (CZ 75b) This gun requires an extremely short oal of 1.014 and all the rest shoot this load fine. All loads are with the same bullet and I havent had this problem before. I did however apply some spray lithium grease on the dies when I got them to help with corrosion.

Does any of this info help?
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Old January 11, 2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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should I remove the FCD? I use it to ensure chambering since Im using the .358 leads that are oversize but are brinnell hardness of 12. This has been fine in the past for all my 9mm's but......
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Old January 11, 2013, 09:42 AM   #15
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What sort of calipers are you using? A cheap set can lead to inconsistent readings
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Old January 11, 2013, 10:01 AM   #16
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lol... A Harbor Freight red light special.

it may not be great but it does seem to be consistent when rechecking individual rounds. I would even be ok with a little inaccuracy but the stretches Im getting are way unacceptable

Im also using a new lot of bullets. (Missouri Bullet Co) Never had a problem with them before but Im going to check for consistency when I get home too. Just thought of that one
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Old January 11, 2013, 11:00 AM   #17
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I also use the FCD on some of my cartridges. Do you feel any resistance when the cartridge enters the FCD? If it is sizing down the case because it is over size then you will feel some resistance as the cartridge enters the die and before it actually crimps the case. That resistance will be the sizing ring in the die sizing down the cartridge. If you feel no resistance then it shouldn't be sizing it down. Have you measured the diameter of the case before using the crimp die and after? Measure near the mouth where the bullet is located in the case. This will also indicate if the case is being sized down by the FCD. Food for thought.
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Old January 11, 2013, 11:24 AM   #18
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yes I do get a little resistance when I run through the FCD. I will check the diameter of the case before and after when I get home also.

I am just unable to get my head around the fact that it keeps changing. I would expect anything that is wrong to be wrong on every round. the dies dont move, the bullets are supposed to all be the same, I have always used mixed brass, (with no previous problems) and so on.

A couple of thousandths no big deal, a couple of hundreths, big deal.

I keep wanting to think that something is loose but everything seems to be locked tight and seems ok.

How about the brass? I return spent cases to the spent cases pile regardless of how many times they have been loaded and inspect during loading. Does the amount of times loaded matter much? Some have only been spent once, others have been spent as much as 5 times.
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Old January 11, 2013, 11:29 AM   #19
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Gitsum,

Loose neck grip could be your problem. If you are using lubricated lead bullets, I've seen the air compressed in a case when seating a generously lubed bullet partly push the bullet back out of a loose neck grip. Usually this happens on thinner necked cases (e.g., Remington, IME) that don't size down as far to grip the bullet as firmly as thicker necked cases do. Compressed powder could assist the air in this.

To tell if you have this problem, find a round that measures significantly longer than the others after seating, but before crimping. Set it on the bench and push down on its bullet nose with your thumb. If you can seat the bullet deeper with your thumb fairly easily, then you've got the loose neck grip problem.
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Old January 11, 2013, 02:24 PM   #20
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Oh yeah, I have had this happen in the past as well. I simply adjusted enough crimp to hold properly. I will check this as soon as I get home as well. When I used the bullet remover last night on those rounds it only took one little smack to free them.
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Old January 13, 2013, 01:43 AM   #21
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Can you seat ten bullets into unprimed brass and measure and then fcd them and measure? Low neck tension and compressed powder could push then back out I would think

Were your old bullets also .358?

What happens with your old dies and these new bullets? What happens when you set the new dies to the oal of the old ones and load?
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Old January 13, 2013, 11:06 AM   #22
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I'd suspect one of two problems....

Bullet lube build up in the seating stem area...I clean this out periodically with WD40 or brake cleaner.

Your cast bullet's ogive is varying. Cast bullets vary in length more than jacketed and this could be your problem. Tho it shouldn't change actual seating depth much if at all.

I find that jacketed bullets vary far less than the cast variety, but in reality, in my experience, it doesn't seem to matter much in my groups shot from rest. But you're experiencing upwards of .030"+ seems a bit much....

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