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Old January 1, 2007, 07:27 PM   #1
Join Date: August 5, 2005
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Need some help!

Have been reloading straight wall pistol cases for forty years but now have branched off to a couple off bottle neck rifle calibers, 30/30 and 223. Questions are (1) In both calibers I have the Lee Deluxe die sets with both full length and neck resizing dies, a bullet seating die, and a factory crimp die. Neither set has any provision for belling the case mouth for bullet (lead) insertion. Do I have to buy yet another die for this phase of the operation? (2) Oops! This is a pistol question. Neither my RCBS or Lee powder measures seem to want to drop consistent charges of 3 grains of Bullseye. Highly erratic drops from both measures. Anything over four grains is right on with either measure. What do you guys use for small pistol load measurment? I have the Lee dippers and a scale but find that tedious. Need a reliable powder measure. Thanks in advance for any help you can give, Tom.
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Old January 1, 2007, 08:58 PM   #2
Smokey Joe
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Pistol powder measure

Tomf--Re pistol powder measuring: You could spend bo-koo bucks and get the pistol powder measure that Sinclair sells. It's the Harrell model, or the Culver, IIRC. (Don't have a Sinclair catalogue to hand.) The Sinclair measure would, I'm sure, measure the small powder charges accurately.

Short of spending bo-koo bucks, I too was frustrated with my RCBS when I took up pistol reloading, and I stayed frustrated until I bought a Lyman Model 55 @ a gun sho.

The 55 has 3 different sliders in its cylinder, a large, medium, and really tiny. So it will measure very small amounts of powder, with quite satisfactory accuracy. (Large amounts too for that matter.)

I'm sure it isn't as good as the Sinclair measure, but OTOH I didn't have to take out a 2nd mortgage on the domicile to obtain it, either.
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Old January 1, 2007, 09:15 PM   #3
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I started reloading in 1960. Yes, for bottleneck rifles, you need another tool, but it is a relatively inexpensive deburring/chamfering tool. The deburring end of the tool removes burrs from the outide of the case after it has been trimmed. The chamfering tool puts a slight bevel into the rim in order for the bullet to seat properly. A very light debur and chamfer is all that is required.
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Old January 1, 2007, 09:19 PM   #4
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I chamfer my .270 cases before loading per Lee instructions (I have the Lee dies) but when I set the bullets in the case I still have to hold the bullets in place with one hand while I activate the press with the other. The Lee bullet seating die is supposed to seat the bullet correctly even if you're a little off vertical while you're holding it.
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Old January 1, 2007, 09:36 PM   #5
Join Date: August 5, 2005
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Smokey Joe - Thanks for the info. Will look into a Lyman

Shoney and Arkie2 - Cases have been trimmed, chamfered, and beburred. Still will shave lube and lead as bullet enters case mouth. Need some kind of belling die for smooth entry of the bullet I think. As is, the Lee tumble lube will most certainly get scraped off if some lead doesn't also.
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Old January 4, 2007, 12:34 AM   #6
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Standard rifle dies (bottleneck cartridges)

Are not good for loading lead bullets. They do not bell the case mouth, a needed step for using cast bullets, even in bottleneck cases.

Lyman used to sell an expander die ("M" die). Don't know what they call it now days, but I am sure they still have something like it. It is just an open die body (not fitted to the case) with an expander for belling the case mouth like their pistol dies.

Loading cast rifle bullets in bottleneck cases is becoming something of a lost art, and it is good to see someone is still wanting to do it.

Cast hard, and keep velocities below about 1800fps (up to 2200fps with gas checks), lube properly, and leading should not be a major problem, unless you have a very rough bore.

Rereading your post, I may have misunderstood you. I thought you meant lead rifle bullets. If you didn't mean lead bullets, and meant jacketed bullets, then you do not need to have bottleneck case mouths flared. A slight chamfer on the case mouth, and the bullets can be seated without any deformation. (just get them straight on the way into the seating die) There will be a little more resistance felt than what you are used to seating pistol bullets in flared cases. Once you get the feel for it, it works just fine.

Make sure you have the right seating stem for your bullet. Otherwise you could alter the bullet nose shape. Rounding off a flat point, or flattening a round nose slightly. It won't affect accuracy (usually), just the looks of the finished ammo.

Straight wall rifle cases (.45-70 for example) load just like straight wall pistol cases, with a 3 die set.

I do not care for Lee dies, I prefer RCBS or Lyman. This is a personal thing, and not anything against Lee quality. I just don't care for some of their features.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old January 4, 2007, 08:48 AM   #7
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I have been using the lee universal expanding die for my 30-30 cast loads.
Here is an article that may interest you.
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