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Old April 16, 2010, 12:31 AM   #1
slowr1der
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Any tips to set seating die for consistent results?

So I successfully reloaded my first couple of cartridges. I did a couple different amounts of powder and shot 3 shots each. I set the bullet seating die to a result to come out the same as the factory rounds measured. I didn't have much of a an issue.
I found a load that is shooting around .45" groups at 100 yards. To me this is just amazing as it's the best group I've gotten. .8" or so is about normal. One of the other loads shot around this and one shot about 1.5".
So I thought great, I will just load up a few more of this same load. That's when the problem started. I went to set up the seating die again and for some reason I couldn't get it to seat the bullets to the same depth as I had before. I tried several different times to get it set. I finally got a few rounds loaded but I was having to seat them. It would often be a few thousands too tall so I'd then adjust the die and run it through again.

I finally got it to where I thought it was adjusting to the right depth. That was until I tried the next one which seated way too deep. I just can not get it set to seat the bullets the same depth as the load I had before. The last time I don't remember this trouble. I set it which didn't take long then all of them came out the same. This time I can't get it exact and then it seems like none of them are coming out the same.

Are there any tips to do this? It's really being a pain to try to get set.
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Old April 16, 2010, 12:39 AM   #2
slowr1der
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Also should I be adjusting the whole die or just the seating punch part of it? I'm not sure if it's actually called a seating punch but that's what I've seen it referred to.
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Old April 16, 2010, 01:25 AM   #3
Jim243
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Ok, take a deep breath and relax this is solveable.

You didn't say what type of press or mfg of dies you were using, but this should work with any of them.

I am going to give this for a single stage press loading rifle case, but it works for all kinds.

A) take an empty resized case ready to be primed and put it in your case holder on the press, bring your ram all the way up, screw in your die till it covers the case and go slowly till it just touches the case snugly now lock down the die with the locking ring. Make sure it is locked tight.

B) On top of the die, depending on who's you are using is a stem or nob, turn this counter-clockwise (that's right to left) to bring the stem or nob up about 5 turns.

C) Bring your presses ram back down all the way.

D) Set your Caliber to the OAL that your are going to use and lock your Caliber for that setting.

E) Place a bullet into the case mouth of the unprimed, unpowdered case (you are going to make a dummy round with no powder or primer), bring your ram up slowly to start seating the bullet, when your ram is all the way up, bring it down again and remove the cartrage and measure with your Caliber. You should be too long. Turn the nob or stem clockwise now to bring it down a little. Put the dummy round back in and bring your ram back up all the way, now remove the cartrage and measure again. You will do this many times bringing the stem or nob down just a little each time till you get the correct OAL. Put the dummy round in a small plastic bag and mark on the bag the bullet mfg weight and OAL, this will be your guide the next time you set your die for the same bullet.

With your die locked in you should get the same OAL each time. Now you are ready to prime, powder and seat your bullets.

Jim

When you again want to load the same bullet, just take your dummy round out and use it to set your die height and seating depth (be sure you bring up the stem or nob so that you do not change the dummy rounds OAL). Once the die has been set for the depth with the dummy round you can bring the stem or nob back down till it just touches the bullet. You are now set to reload the same as before.

Last edited by Jim243; April 16, 2010 at 01:37 AM.
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Old April 16, 2010, 01:27 AM   #4
slowr1der
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What do you do to crimp them? By moving the inside part of the die to change the OAL I won't accidentally crimp them if I set it too low will I?
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Old April 16, 2010, 01:40 AM   #5
Jim243
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No, the crimp is set by bring down the whole die. you will bring it down only by 1/8 turns of the die at a time till you get the crimp you want. However by doing this you are also bring down the OAL so you must bring up the stem or nob by a like amount.
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Old April 16, 2010, 11:10 AM   #6
F. Guffey
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I do not know what press, die or caliber, not an issue, the part in the die that seats the bullet is a seater plug, when adjusting the seater die/plug forget the die. it is only important that the die does not contact the case while seating the bullet when adjusting bullet seating depth.

You can install a case in the shell holder, raise the ram, adjust the die down until the case contacts the crimp portion of the die, THEN, back the die out, I do not care how much, you can use the fractional guesstimate of a turn or you can use a feeler gage as in contact is '0' Zero then back the die off an additional .020, .030 thousands, not a concern just back the die off then back off the seater plug to prevent contact with the bullet that is to be seated, then place a bullet on top of the case and raise the ram, at this time the case and bullet does not contact the die and or the seater plug, after the ram is raised start adjusting the seater plug down to the bullet until it makes contact, after contact screw down (lower) the seater plug in increments of your choosing and check progress by lowering the ram, removing the case with bullet and measuring the length (COL-case overall length), continue until the correct length is obtained.

Then back the seater plug off, insert the case in the shell holder and raise the ram, loosen the die and adjust the die down until it contacts the case, secure the die with the lock nut and finish by adjusting the seater plug down until it contact the bullet then secure the lock nut on the seater plug stem to the top of the die, that is it.

Crimping is no more than a breath of effort, any more than that the crimping process will cause the case to squat and bulge causing the neck to loose bullet hold (neck tension) and difficulty in chambering, Dillon down while being crimped was a conflict, the crimp grabs the bullet and locks it while the bullet is moving down resulting in the case bulging below the crimp, again crimping is not much more than a hint of movement when working with bottle neck cases.decided it was better to seat the bullet in one precess and crimp in another, logic said the bullet moving while crimping was a conflict.

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Old April 16, 2010, 11:25 AM   #7
F. Guffey
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Aids in crimping and seating to accomplish predictable results, cheap and inexpensive tools, the companion to the press tool the feeler gage and the dial caliper, the height of the die above the press can be measured when the dial caliper is used as a height gage, the height of the seater plug stem can be measured when the dial caliper is used as a height gage meaning if the bullet needs an additional .020 increase in seating depth measure the height of the stem then use the dial caliper to adjust the height of the stem down an additional .020 thousands, as opposed to the fraction turn without an index.

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Old April 16, 2010, 03:44 PM   #8
slowr1der
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I read this on another forum
Quote:
If you measure the length of your bullets themselves, you'll likely find that they vary in length by a few thousandths. That's pretty typical.

The seating stem in the die doesn't contact the very tip of the bullet during the seating operation, rather it contacts the bullet further down the ogive where it gets fatter.

All this adds up so that your cartridge OAL will very by a few thousandths, and you can go nuts chasing the different lengths up and down with your die setting.

If I'm going for an OAL length of say 2.850, I'm happy if they all come out of the press between 2.847 and 2.853.
I think this is what's going on. Can anyone comment any further on this? I was trying to set the length of all of them to 2.616. Some were coming out 2.616 then the next one would be 2.6175 or similar. I could not get them to all be 2.616 or even 2.6165. Since I'm a perfectionist I like to have everything perfect.

Are the rest of you guys having this issue? Or can you get them exactly the same?

I got out a box of factory ammo and measured them for the first time and each one of those varied a little too so maybe it's normal.

Anyway, I reloaded some and got them all within .001 of each other. .0015 at max. Now some of them didn't seat as deep and I had to put them in the die again and then it would seat it a little deeper and get it close to the same as the last. A few it seated too deep and I put it in the bullet puller and just pulled the bullet out a little and re seated it down to normal. Since I got them all within .0015 of each other should the accuracy be pretty good? I thought the last batch they all were 2.616 but maybe not everyone was exactly the same. I know they shot .457-.520" groups consistently which I really liked.
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Old April 16, 2010, 04:18 PM   #9
F. Guffey
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Be to sure to thank the responder to your question on the other forum for his effort.

Had I known you were a perfectionist that did not know the nomenclature of the tools he was using I would have suggested you ground the lip of the seater plug/punch thing, the flat surface would allow for seating with consistent length, or you could trim the bullets to the same length but that would present another problem, trimming bullets reduces weight, not easy to have it both ways.

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