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Old December 29, 2013, 01:28 AM   #1
mattL46
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Recommend a better seating die.

I'm having some trouble with some rifle bullets with soft lead tips. My seating die is distorting them. Something that seats from and makes contact with the ogive maybe. Anything you like in particular? Your best experiences from brand to brand? Current dies are all Lee.
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Old December 29, 2013, 04:15 AM   #2
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I do not have a Lee set close to look at,but generally the seater plug has a small diameter clearance hole in the center to provide space for soft lead tips.

Is it possible some solid matter has plugged up the hole?

Id bet a call to Lee will get you a remedy plug cheap,or no charge.

Myself,I like Forster seating dies..but they are more than you need.
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Old December 29, 2013, 05:11 AM   #3
Old Stony
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I've recut the recess in seater dies before and solved some problems in this area. Buying another seating die might not necessarily solve your problem. I've known of guys that overcut their dies and used things like metal epoxies to make a perfect fit to the bullet. Just use the fast setting JB weld and let it get to a thick consistency and run a bullet up against it...and let it finish hardening.
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Old December 29, 2013, 11:14 AM   #4
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@hibc I have a look. I had it apart once and don't recall that hole.
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Old December 29, 2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Well I took it apart and sure enough it does have a hole in the center of the plug which contacts the ogive. The edges of this hole are quite sharp and there was a small build up of lead around the Outside edge. Which makes me believe my cartridges aren't ascending squarely into the die. The more I think about it I do recall ocasionnaly I would feel a slight rub as I was seating if you will and inspection of the finished cartridges shows that the damage done to the tips are all on the sides of them. So I'm ocassionaly shaving a tip while seating. Hmmm. I had to move my set up inside temporarily and its not the sturdiest bench in the world. Could this be press play?
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Old December 29, 2013, 01:48 PM   #6
Merad
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Lee advertises on their die instructions that they'll make you a seating plug to fit your bullet for $8.
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Old December 29, 2013, 01:53 PM   #7
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I didn't see that merad. Although Ive discovered that the plug ( as far as I can tell) is not the problem.
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Old December 29, 2013, 01:57 PM   #8
jepp2
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Quote:
I'm having some trouble with some rifle bullets with soft lead tips.
Pictures would help a lot. Are your lead tip bullets spitzer or round nose?

The Lee rifle dies I have should contact the ogive on spitzer bullets. for a round nose, you could always take a HS steel burr and open up the opening of the bullet seater. A Dremel stone would also work. The bullet seater floats in the seating die body, so minor imperfections in the enlarging shouldn't negatively affect bullet seating runout.
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Old December 29, 2013, 02:09 PM   #9
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@ jepp2 I think I may have figured this out. ( see above post) spitzer by the way. I think I'm not perfectly square in the die which is causing some to shave a bit off of one side of the tip. Either that or there's some small defect in the die? Like I said above my loading operation had to move for the time being. More and more investigation shows that my press isn't 100%level on the bench iI'm using. There is a slight sag in the bench top where the press sits. Think I'll shim it up and get it as true as possible and try again.
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Old December 29, 2013, 07:32 PM   #10
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I myself would leave the Dremel out of it.

What you might try:If you have a ball shaped mounted stone or burr,about 3/16 dia,put it in a chuck or vise and just rotate the seater plug against it enough to chamfer the edge of the clearance hole a bit.A case chamfer tool may work,especially a VLD version.

Or,you may be able to chuck the seater plug in a 1/2 in drill motor,take a small stone and just polish a small,uniform corner break at the edge of that center hole.

That center hole needs to be larger in diameter than the exposed lead of your softpoint,and it needs to be clean.The lead should not touch the seater plug.The cone part of the seater plug should bear on the jacket,more down the ogive.

If your round is going into the die off center,try cleaning your shellholder and the recess in the ram it snaps into.If it is a turret press or an old 2 column "H" press,there may be other issues.
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Old December 30, 2013, 12:03 AM   #11
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Thanks gentlemen for all of the input. I'll start with trueing up this press. It has a noticeable lean to it. That probably makes the bullets fall to that side and rub the seater plug. Stupid of me not to notice that sooner. I'm dying for my permanent set up.
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Old December 30, 2013, 09:34 AM   #12
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I use Hornady dies, and have seen some Redding dies that have a guide sleeve. I'm pretty fond of that sleeve.
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Old December 30, 2013, 10:36 AM   #13
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Most people talk about better seating dies to get more concentrically.


But even the best seating dies can rub bullets the wrong way.

That is because ever bullet is shaped differently.

Often I take the seating stem out, put it in a chuck, spin it, and rub sand paper on it to get the shape and smoothness I want.

I have not done it, but others have glass bedded the bullet, with release agent, to the bottom of the seating stem, while the die is assembled. That dedicates the seating stem to that one bullet shape.

Other things to consider are:
Are the case mouths flared?
Could you lube the bullet or case mouth?
Is the neck inside diameter too small?
Did you cast the bullets from pure Lead?
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Old December 30, 2013, 02:06 PM   #14
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One old fashioned way to correct the fit of the seating stem and bullet is wax. A hard wax, like sealing wax. put the softened wax into the stem, and insert the desired bullet, the wax will harden, forming a good fit to the bullet.

It won't last forever, but can last a surprisingly long (# of rounds) time.

A well built die should be smooth enough inside that a slightly tipped bullet will be straightened without shaving any lead. I don't use Lee dies much, RCBS & Lyman dies that I have will do this, if you use just a little bit of care about the "feel" of the press as you seat the bullets.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:02 PM   #15
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I've used all of the common brand of dies. For the last 15 years or so I've only bought REDDING and will continue to do so. Because of higher grades of steel and manufacturing tolerances held, they're definitely worth the few extra $ and will erase the small difference in short order. For seating, they work as they're supposed to and seat on the ogive and will give very small OACL variations.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by44 AMP:

One old fashioned way to correct the fit of the seating stem and bullet is wax. A hard wax, like sealing wax. put the softened wax into the stem, and insert the desired bullet, the wax will harden, forming a good fit to the bullet.

It won't last forever, but can last a surprisingly long (# of rounds) time.
I've heard of folks doing this with a hot glue gun.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:45 PM   #17
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Try a Vickerman seating die. With this die, you can actually see the bullet being seated. Google it up, I strongly suspect you will like what you see.
I have used them for many years for my target rifles. They consistently give me zero runout
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