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Old March 28, 2013, 12:23 AM   #15
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,340

Originally Posted by balderclev
Fired (or tried to) my first rounds today. Hadn't noticed (got to look into that) that some of the cases had ring bulges on them and wouldn't load into the cylinder. I assume that is because I am caming over on the resizing die. Anyway, I will inspect the cases after each operation until I get the dies set up correctly.
I see a red flag here. Not sure what it is, but camming over is NOT the cause.

Where exactly is the bulge?

What kind of cartridge are you using?

Take a handful of fired cases and use them as experimental samples.

Rechamber them. Try them in all chambers (revolver?). Do they fit?

Install and adjust your sizing die (with no case in the shell holder) so that, with the ram at top dead center, the die barely does NOT touch the shell holder.

Camming over is not necessary, but does not hurt anything, either.

Size one case. See if it chambers OK. If it does, do the rest. Check them.

If it doesn't, measure the case, figure out why it won't chamber. If a freshly sized case won't chamber, nothing you do after that will make it right. (OK, the FCD will EVENTUALLY make it right, but in the wrong way, and is sloppy procedure.)

At this point, your bullets should NOT be able to fit in the case.

Install the case-mouth flaring die.

Take one case, bell/flare the case mouth. Only a little, not even enough to get a bullet started. Adjust the die for a little more flare and pass the case into the die again. Then see if the base of the bullet will fit in the flared case mouth. Repeat until the base of the bullet does just barely fit.

Just for kicks, see it the flared case will chamber.

The flaring/belling die is now adjusted. Flare the rest of the cases.

Install the bullet seating/crimp die. The seating stem should be backed out far enough that a bullet will not be fully seated.

Place a bullet on a case mouth and run the case into the seating die, partially seating the bullet. Withdraw the bullet/case and check the seating depth. Also check the diameter of the case.

If the empty, flared case was able to chamber see if the cartridge will still chamber (note that the bullet is not fully seated yet). If you can, determine what is keeping the cartridge from chambering. This is not all that important if it is the cartridge length, but if it is the cartridge diameter, might be.

Repeat the seating process, adjusting the seating stem down further and further until the correct seating depth is achieved. Determining the proper seating depth is a subject for another question, but whatever depth is correct is your target.

Seat bullets in all the sample of cases.

Back the seating stem out of the seating die one full turn. Take one cartridge and run it into the seating die. Turn the seating die down until the crimping shoulder makes contact with the case mouth. (Take care that the seating stem is backed out further so it does not make contact with the bullet.)

When contact is made, pull the cartridge and see if it will chamber. If it won't, repeat, applying more crimp (by adjusting the die down).

When enough crimp is applied that the flare is gone, the cartridge SHOULD chamber.

If it doesn't chamber, figure out why.

If it is because the case if bulged from the bullet, there is a possibility that your bullets are too large. The FCD may be able to help with that, but the the cure may induce a problem of its own. When the FCD post-sizing makes the bullet too small, you can get leading, erosion or accuracy problems. It is FAR better to prevent problems than to cure them.

If you bullets are not actually too large for your bore, but the FCD post-sizing ring is too small, it can be reamed to the proper size. Lee Precision will help with that.

If, at any step in the process I have described, you notice anything odd, please post, email or PM before proceeding.

What I have described may not be the only way to diagnose the problem, but I believe it is the most thorough and will find the truth more certainly with its plodding step-by-step. So, while it is tedious, I believe it is worth it, else I would not have written.

When using a single stage press, the fourth die extends the process from three steps to four. If it is not necessary, I would consider leaving it out. Things that would legitimately make it necessary are (in my opinion) wanting a very strong crimp or having difficulty applying crimp at the same time as bullet seating. The FCD is great but spending the extra time to use it is only worth it if it is necessary. Carefully adjusting the dies and carefully choosing the size of the bullets usually makes it unnecessary. Even so, I am a fan of the FCD (see my links in my earlier post), but only those features that contribute the the quality of my ammo and CERTAINLY not any that take away quality.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; March 28, 2013 at 12:33 AM.
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