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Old February 8, 2013, 03:36 AM   #1
overlordofwar
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.223 O.A.L. ?

I need help.
I recently started reloading and just finished batch of .223 Remington. I am using CFE 223 powder (26.5 gn) and 50 gn Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint bullets. The load data I have says the OAL should be 2.210, I have maxed out the adjustment for my seater die (I am using Lee dies) getting to 2.215. Is that going to be close enough or do I need to do something special to get that last 0.005 of seating depth?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Old February 8, 2013, 07:05 AM   #2
4runnerman
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I have maxed out the adjustment for my seater die

??? Your die is turned in all the way and that is all you get out of it?. Something is fishy here. Loosen adj screw on top of die. turn die farther into to press maybe 1/2 turn and that should be it. Are you setting the die up right. Bottom of die is touching shell holder when ram is up?.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:23 PM   #3
overlordofwar
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I can try that, I followed the instructions for setting up the die, shell holder does touch it when at full stroke. The confusing part for me is that I also loaded some 53 gn Sierra Match Kings to an OAL of 2.200 without maxing out the adjustment on the die.

Thanks for the input, I will post the results.
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Old February 8, 2013, 02:42 PM   #4
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It's a known issue with the Lee dead length seater and short ogive bullets. Call Lee and I think they will send you a substitute seater ram to help get the bullet in.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:26 AM   #5
overlordofwar
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Tried adjusting the die a couple different ways but could not get the bullet to seat to the prescribed depth. I think I figured out what the problem is though. The Sierra bullets have a different contour than the Noslers, so the seater isn't engaging the two bullets the same. Oh well I guess, I hope being within 0.005 is close enough to work, it's at least under the max cartridge length.

Thank you again guys.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:58 AM   #6
Colorado308shooter
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I seat my 50 grain .223 bullets at 2.220" and never had an issue, in a Mini-14.
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Old February 9, 2013, 10:31 AM   #7
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Overlordofwar,

If you look at the SAAMI drawing you will see that any COL between 2.125" and 2.260" is within the standard. This standard is to ensure fit into and feed from a SAAMI compliant magazine. If you load singly or if you find your magazine and feed mechanism will tolerate a greater range, then you can use that. The only trick is to develop the load with whatever COL you are using. Common practice is to tune the seating depth for best accuracy in your particular chamber. If you are using a self-loader, like an AR, you will want to stay in the normal range except for single-loading.

As to the die, the issue is indeed the ogive profile of the bullets and the Lee seater plug. On another board they made a custom plug for someone with a bullet that wouldn't seat in their gear, claiming they'd been unaware of the issue. The die owner had to send them a couple of cases and bullets, IIRC, but they made him a seater stem (ram, plug) that worked and didn't charge him for it.

If you would like a workaround, you can seat the bullets in two steps. Do what you already have done, unscrew the adjuster from the die and remove the seater plug and turn it around so the flat part rather than the conical hollow end is on the bottom. Once the bullet has started in, that can give you the final few thousandths, but beware the die adjustment will be completely different and you may have to back the die body out a little to get the added range of adjustment. It may flatten the tips slightly, but it takes a lot of nose distortion to affect accuracy. It's base distortion that's critical to avoid.

As to 0.005" of difference, take some bullets and measure their lengths and you will find they often vary that much. Ditto with commercially loaded ammo. It's very unlikely you can see the effects of such a small difference on paper.
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Old February 9, 2013, 11:01 AM   #8
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Where did you get your load data from??
Quote:
The load data I have says the OAL should be 2.210,
This looks like data from Hodgdon's web site, correct??

Hodgdon data is for the 50gr Speer SP and completely different bullet than the Nosler BT, loading the Nosler to this length will most certainly be shorter than necessary.

Also, Hodgdon data list a Min(start) charge of 27gr with CFE 223. You are loading below Min at 26.5gr. Min (start) means just that. Do not go below Min.

The OAL listed in manuals is not an absolute and written in stone. It is there only to show the handloader what OAL was used during the test. Nothing more. Hell, Some manuals do not even list the OAL used for testing it is that un-important.

Here is what Accurate and Ramshot say about OAL.

SPECIAL NOTE ON CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH “COL”
It is important to note that the SAAMI “COL” values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must be seen as a
guideline only.
The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as 1) magazine length (space), 2) freebore-lead dimensions of the barrel,
3) ogive or profile of the projectile and 4) position of cannelure or crimp groove.
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Old February 9, 2013, 12:21 PM   #9
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Steve,

Good call. I just assumed he had the number from Nosler, but my Nosler book just lists 2.260" for all their bullets. The Lengths file at JBM says the Speer 50 grain Soft Point is only 0.620" long, while the Nosler BT is 0.800" long. Also, the Hodgdon data uses a Winchester SR primer. Others can be warmer or milder.

It looks to me, from QuickLOAD, like you not only want to seat the Nosler all the way out at the maximum 2.260", but then will need to reduce the Hodgdon loads about 2.5%, assuming a WSR primer and Winchester case. The longer bullet eats up some powder space, which accounts for this result. So this becomes 26.3 grains as a starting load to 27.8 grains max.

If you were using, say, a Remington 7½ primer, you might have to knock another 4% off those numbers, coming to 25.2 grains to 26.7 grains maximum. Same with a CCI 450 and #41 magnum primers (formulated specifically for St, Marks spherical powders).

I believe these loads are all well above 70% case fill, so no underloading pressure issues should be involved. My advice, if you don't know how your primer compares to the WSR and are not using a Winchester case (though case differences in .223 are small), is to start at 25.2 grains and work up toward 27.8 grains while watching for pressure signs.
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