Bullet seating and OAL

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  • Yerman

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    I am running on a Hornady LNL progressive with Lee Carbide dies. I am reloading 115gr 9mm Barnes bullets.


    When setting up my seating die, I get the OAL perfect at 1.135". Note, this is when the stations are empty and I only have a singe case in the bullet seating die.


    My problem is when the stations are all full. While seating when I am also sizing, crimping, etc all in the same time, the OAL increases to around 1.145".


    I narrowed down the problem to mainly reside with the crimp die. I loaded one round into the crimp die and one into the seating die, and I get the variance as stated above. I backed out the crimp die so there is barely any crimp going on, but I am still having problems no matter how much I adjust it.


    I checked the dies that are supposed to be low enough to touch the shell plate, and they are barely touching so I don't think it's a problem with having a die screwed down too low and pushing on the shell plate.


    Here are my stations:


    1. Resize and decap
    2. Powder charge with a PowderFunnel
    3. Powder cop
    4. Bullet seat
    5. Crimp


    Thanks for any help.
     

    Younggun

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    I set my dies to firmly press against the shell plate.

    Remember, when you have only 1 case there is only pressure in one spot, when you have several cases the is pressure all the way around the plate.

    If you adjust your dies to sit firmly against the plate there will be the same pressure with or without a "full deck".

    Or adjust your seating die for a loaded shell plate and only have variation on the first and last round.

    The guys using an LNL may have other advise but this works well on my progressive.


    Another option, chunk the factory crimp die for 9mm. Your seating die should be able to crimp. I don't trim pistol cases and have had 0 problems seating and crimping in the same die.
     

    shortround

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    In 9mm a too short OAL will cause higher pressures.

    The longer OAL will not cause a problem unless the round fails to chamber.

    When you fill the other stations, you probably have small bit of "flex."

    Take any box of factory ammo off a shelf and measure OAL, cartridge weight, and bullet diameter. The results will surprise you.

    To eliminate any chance of variation, I have only batch loaded on single stage presses. It is much slower than other methods, but you control every step of the process from priming, to sizing, to belling, to charging, and finally seating and crimping.

    I also keep a set of loaded case gauges handy: If the round fits flush, it is good to go.
     

    noylj

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    1) Is ten 1/1000 of an inch enough to worry about? Are you maybe obsessing a bit? Can you even SEE the difference without the caliper?
    2) Tighten down the shell plate so there is a slight drag.
    3) Place a case in the crimp and sizing station when you are setting the seating die for the dummy round or, if the increase in COL is consistent, set the COL of the dummy round that much shorter so the real rounds will be "right."
     

    scap99

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    Check the manual, but I believe you're supposed to dial in the dies with a case at each station, as that is the condition the machine will be in when turning out ammo...
     

    ROGER4314

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    The Human hair is between .004" and .006" in diameter depending upon color and race. I'm not sure the components in a cartridge are precise enough to hold tolerances closer than that.

    Just tonight, I loaded 100 rounds of 270 Win. and because of the bullet design, had to seat them so the OAL was short. It happens.

    For me, I load to the cartridge OAL when I can. I'll let that vary under the OAL dimension but not over.

    Flash
     

    Dawico

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    I set my dies to firmly press against the shell plate.

    Remember, when you have only 1 case there is only pressure in one spot, when you have several cases the is pressure all the way around the plate.

    If you adjust your dies to sit firmly against the plate there will be the same pressure with or without a "full deck".

    Or adjust your seating die for a loaded shell plate and only have variation on the first and last round.

    The guys using an LNL may have other advise but this works well on my progressive.


    Another option, chunk the factory crimp die for 9mm. Your seating die should be able to crimp. I don't trim pistol cases and have had 0 problems seating and crimping in the same die.
    I agree completely with everything he said.
     

    57K

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    I am no fan of the LEE FCD. Get a seperate REDDING taper crimp die and it will solve your problem while you learn to do an accurate taper crimp. Many don't realize just how easy it is to be precise, particularly with jacketed bullets that are .355" diameter.

    Measure case-wall thickness within about 1mm of the case-mouth with your dial caliper. Be aware that thicknesses can vary by the brand of case. You can either sort by headstamp, or you can sort by case-wall thickness. Take the average measured thickness and multiply by 2, add the bullet diameter and this will be the finished case-mouth diameter with NO taper crimp. It may be all you need for oversized cast and plated bullets so long as you're at or below the SAAMI Max. recommendation of .380" at the case-mouth. Personally, I like 1 1/2 thousandths of taper crimp on my 9mm JHP loads .0015", or halfway between .001 and .002. As an example, say you have some thicker cases that measure .011" at the case mouth. .011" X 2 = .022" + .355" = .377" - .0015" = .3755" Finished case-mouth diameter with .0015" of taper crimp. You have no control with the LEE FCD which is really a post sizing die rather than a true taper crimp die. Get a true taper crimp die like the dedicated REDDING I mentioned and you'll be much happier.

    As far as auto-pistol OACL and particularly the 9 x 19mm, OACL should be established by the pistol's barrel/chamber they're to be fired from. With jacketed bullets, there's another very easy way to go about it. Remove the barrel from your pistol. Using an inert 9mm case with spent primer/no powder, just barely start the bullet into the fired case. Then insert it into the chamber and it shouldn't take more than thumb pressure to push on the case-rim until it stops on the forward ledge in the chamber. The throat/leade/rifling is seating the bullet. Remove the "dummy" cartridge and measure its OACL. This is the Max. allowable for that bullet in YOUR pistol's chamber. Repeat four more times to insure you're getting the same Max. possible OACL each time. Then depending on the OACL variation you get with your press and seating die, make your handloads .005" - .010" shorter than the Max. allowable OACL. If you load for multiple 9 x 19mm pistols and don't want to use a different OACL for each pistol, set your OACL for the pistol with the shortest throat/Max. allowable OACL.
     
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    Younggun

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    I'm gonna disagree in that there is no reason to go through that much trouble loading 9X19.

    Recoil is low, rounds are not smashing in to the front of the mag.

    Seat and crimp in the same step. OAL and crimp will be plenty consistent to insure proper function and safety.
     

    57K

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    I'm gonna disagree in that there is no reason to go through that much trouble loading 9X19.

    Recoil is low, rounds are not smashing in to the front of the mag.

    Seat and crimp in the same step. OAL and crimp will be plenty consistent to insure proper function and safety.

    The trouble is too minimal to consider, especially after it's been done and learned. I've been handloading for 28 years even while 9mm was around $5/50 rounds because I always wanted better ammo and this is the method I teach that most find relatively simple.

    If you just wanna' make blasting ammo, that's one thing. If you want Match Grade autoloading ammo. This method is fullproof and OACL should always be established by the pistol's barrel it's to be fired from rather than generic OACL recommendations from load data. If you load for multiple pistols of the same caliber and only want to use a single OACL, load for the pistol that has the shortest chamber.

    Recoil may be low, but set-back is still a very real possibility with autoloading rounds and why a precise taper crimp is a part of the process along with case-neck tension by using a properly sized expander. The very good Taper Crimp dies like the REDDINGs apply aditional external pressure up to the point where the internal angle changes that effects the top 1mm or so of the case-mouth.

    Using the LEE FCD just simply post-sizes and if you use it with oversized plated and lead bullets, it will squeeze them down in diameter which can lead to leading with lead bullets.
     
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