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Old December 8, 2018, 07:12 AM   #1
jetinteriorguy
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Bullet seating depth issues

I'm having such issues with seating bullets for my AR in .223 Wylde. I'm getting variances of up to .010" and I believe it's due to how the bullets are being deformed by the seating die. Ive tried three different dies, RCBS, Lee, and Now my Forster Micrometer seating die. I tried using the hot glue method and that didn't work, the glue wouldn't stay in the die. Then I put some of the steel/putty type epoxy in and it worked great for a while, but it eventually disintegrated and I was right back where I started. I'm open to any ideas, or maybe I'm just overthinking this and it's no big deal. I've been thinking of taking some valve grinding compound and jigging up the seating stem and putting a bullet in a drill press and just using this to grind the seating stem to a better fitting shape. But this method worries me about keeping it concentric and not ruining the seating stem.
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Old December 8, 2018, 08:34 AM   #2
hounddawg
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first thing I would ask myself is what are the odds of getting three bad seating dies in a row.

what kind of bullets are you using and what method are you using when you measuring them
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Old December 8, 2018, 09:26 AM   #3
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I agree with dawg , need more information . How are you setting up the dies , prepping your brass , are you using a compressed load and what bullet are you using . Never had to form a seating stem , VLD bullets they may not position in the stem , if that is the issue a call to the die company may be the best way to go .
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Old December 8, 2018, 10:46 AM   #4
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FWIW, I was experiencing a similar problem with my 308 handloads. After trying adjusting and re adjusting and new dies, I drilled the seating die stem so the stem would only touch the ogive of the bullet, not the point. I also measured my Nosler HPBT bullets and found some difference and on close inspection, I found the mouth of the HP was uneven and on some were a bit ragged (Nosler Seconds?). I tried some Sierra "match" bullets and the .008" variation shrunk to .001"-.002"...
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Old December 8, 2018, 11:33 AM   #5
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I'm using two sizes of Hornady hollow point boat tail match bullets, both 68 grain and 75 grain. I'm loading them in LC brass that's been sized so the shoulder is "bumped" .003", and neck sized using a Lee collet neck sizer with a .001 undersize mandrel. I'm annealing in between body sizing and neck sizing and all brass is trimmed to the same length. I'm loading them on compressed loads, which could be the problem and I am going to try reducing the loads to see if it helps. So far the only experimenting I've tried is sizing the necks using the following method. First with the Lee collet sizer and standard mandrel, then collet sizing with the undersized mandrel. Then using the RCBS die with the standard expander button, and the same with a Lee die with a standard expander button. The bullets are still deforming with all these methods. I'm measuring these with the Hornady system from base to "ogive" with my digital caliper. I guess other than just trying to seat a few with no powder to see if it's the compressed load causing this, I feel I've eliminated anything else beside the shape of the seating stem that could do this. I just got the Forster die hoping it would eliminate this problem, but no luck.
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Old December 8, 2018, 12:21 PM   #6
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what exactly do you mean deforming ? I canot imagine needing enough seating pressure to deform the copper. Mikld's suggestion is a good one
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Old December 8, 2018, 12:36 PM   #7
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There is actually a circular dent around the bullet about half way up. But, I believe I've figured it out. I just seated ten bullets into empty cases and they were perfect and all seated to the same exact depth. So, must. Be the charge is so compressed the pressure on the bullet is enough to deform it. I've never had this happen before, but I worked this load up at a much shallower depth, then tried to fine tune it using Berger Bullets method. In doing this I found they were more accurate by seating them quite deep, but this is what apparently has caused the deforming. So I guess I have two choices, back off on the charge until they no longer deform, or seat them further out. But, since I've already shot them seated out when working up this load, I'll try reducing the charge to see what happens. I'm going to go back to my original load workup and look for a node at a lower charge and then redo the depth test if there is a lower node. Thanks for the suggestions, seems like having these conversations with you all Spurs my brain into more of an analytical mode and then I get things figured out.
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Old December 8, 2018, 12:56 PM   #8
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hope you have it figured out. Reloading is really a very simple process, it just has a number of steps to get it done precisely. For whatever it is worth but base to tip has never had any effect on my ammo when I single load as long as the base to ogive measurement is consistent
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Old December 8, 2018, 01:19 PM   #9
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Glad you figured it out , backing off on the load and giving more jump seating the bullet deeper you may be in the same node . If your seating goes well it will tighten your groups even more . Your not new at this from reading your responses , not a problem with the seating dies . Never like the idea or reforming dies to solve a problem . Most of the time it's something we are doing . Good luck .

Chris
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Old December 8, 2018, 01:40 PM   #10
jetinteriorguy
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Funny how you can load for years, read a ton of stuff to learn more, and yet until you actually experience an issue sometimes the simplest things can throw you. When I first started loading in the early 80’s the only sources were using manuals, and if you were lucky enough to have a mentor or two. I was lucky enough to have three really good mentors, but all of our loading revolved around hunting, not target shooting. But since starting target shooting a couple years ago, and just getting more serious about a year ago, the learning curve has taken a big jump.
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Old December 8, 2018, 02:07 PM   #11
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jetinteriorguy
I only shoot benchrest , started with all the different improvements to the rifle , then the world of Precision reloading . Never seems to end , learning different methods , tweaking everything possible for that 5 shot one hole group . Be Well and keep up the good work .

Chris
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Old December 8, 2018, 02:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
But since starting target shooting a couple years ago, and just getting more serious about a year ago, the learning curve has taken a big jump.
Yep, that is me as well. I am not CW308 class, just recreational target, but that is a huge step. And the drive to get below 5/8 MOA is a hard one.
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Old December 8, 2018, 03:47 PM   #13
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RC20
Believe me , We are in the same class . I'm still trying for the 1 hole 5 shot group . Some can do that all day . I still call it recreational shooting , I'm not competing , I shoot every Sunday with a group of friends that are benchrest shooters , weather permitting . The more you shoot the same rifle the better you get . I'm so comfortable behind my rifle , it's the only one Im shooting for many years. I like reloading as much as shooting . Great Sport . Be Well .

Chris
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Old December 8, 2018, 04:20 PM   #14
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Competition formal or informal is great way to spend time with good people and motivate you to the next level. I never competed on any regular basis till a year ago. Now will drive a couple of hundred miles for matches and compete in internet 'scouts honor" matches. I became sorta obsessed
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Old December 8, 2018, 04:45 PM   #15
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dawg
I find most of the people in this game are willing to help with problems and share things that work .Great Sport , Great Forum and a Great Group of People . Plus I can talk gun talk all day . Be Well .

Chris
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Old December 8, 2018, 05:35 PM   #16
jetinteriorguy
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Yep, great people and good times. Tailor made for obsessive people like me. I mostly shoot at a real nice new indoor facility right down the road from work. I spend 90% of my time on the 100 yd range, and in the summer at Quantico with a lot of nice ranges available all the way out to 1000 yds.
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Old December 8, 2018, 11:34 PM   #17
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Sounds like Heaven . 100 - 1000 in my neck of the woods max. Is 200 yards , 200 is hard enough but would love to try long range . Wide open spaces is dream Land , enjoy it while it lasts .

Chris
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Old December 9, 2018, 07:42 AM   #18
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Are you crimping at the same time you are seating? Do you chamfer the case mouth?
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Old December 9, 2018, 10:27 AM   #19
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My thinking is in line with PA Joe.
I wouldn't try to crimp while seating, but a crimp wouldn't hurt.
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Old December 9, 2018, 02:07 PM   #20
jetinteriorguy
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I do not crimp, and I do chamfer all my cases. I do use a .001 undersized mandrel in my Lee collet neck sizing die. I have determined the problem was an overly compressed load and am currently working up a new seating depth test with a lower charge in another node. I have tested seating bullets in empty cases with both the standard size mandrel and the undersized mandrel with no noticeable difference in seating depth variations. Now my seating depth variance is only +or- .002" or less. I do still get a slight mark on my bullet but the affect on seating depth seems tolerable to me. I'll know tomorrow at the range.
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Old December 9, 2018, 02:26 PM   #21
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A crimp might have helped keep the bullet from popping out, but I don't like to put the extra wear on my case mouths when I can avoid it. I am wondering, though, if you needed a load that highly compressed and it still wasn't producing pressures over SAAMI MAP, if perhaps you haven't got a powder that's really too slow for the job. Such has been known to cause bore ringing, and the chance of having that problem can actually get worse as you lower the charge and, with it, the peak pressure timing. Mind you that isn't always so. Some very bulky powders could still be in a good burn rate range even at high compression.
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Old December 9, 2018, 03:02 PM   #22
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I read articles stating .001 neck tension was best for target shooting , some even soft seat there bullets . I experimented with bushing dies for that reason . What worked best for me was the standard F/L RCBS Die with the expander ball . Goes against all that I read , the standard die is giving me on the average .004 neck tension. All my cases are trimmed to the same length , sized to .001- .002 headspace , no more or less , .002 jump with the same powder charge , groups for me are good . Would change a thing at this point .
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Old December 9, 2018, 04:27 PM   #23
jetinteriorguy
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I did try a crimp test with the Lee collet crimp die. I screwed the die in according to the directions, then turned it 1/8,1/4,1/2, and last maximum crimp. There was no real noticeable affect on group size, but minor shifts in POI. Now I only crimp on plinking loads with cannelure bullets. This is why I tried the undersize mandrel in the Lee die, to get more neck tension so I could eliminate crimping. Plus this did tighten up my groups and seemed to make for more consistent groups as well.
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Old December 9, 2018, 04:51 PM   #24
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I went down the same road , you found what worked best , I started out on the low side an when I found a load that shot well at 200 yards I kept it there , never needed the need for speed when my max. range is 200 yards , if the ranges in my area were longer I would have tested higher and probably had the same problem as you . Backing off alittle and getting accurate seating is all good, just takes alittle tweaking and you will be much better off with that powder and bullet combination . With the problems you were having with the compressed load , I feel you will get better results with your rounds being more exact . Hope it works out . Keep us informed .

Chris
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Old December 9, 2018, 06:40 PM   #25
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I'll definitely post my results.
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