How straight (upright) does the bullet get seated when you reload?


September 1, 2006, 09:26 AM
I noticed that some are not perfectly upright... and may be off center slightly.
Will this cause problems?

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September 1, 2006, 09:32 AM
sounds like, possibly, that your using the incorrect seater plug in your loading dies...

what brand you using? and does this happen with ALL bullets?


September 1, 2006, 09:38 AM
I'm just using lee carbide dies (the set) for .45ACP.
It doesn't happen to all of them, but if I don't seat the bullet very well centered, and run it through the seater die, it will come out off center.

September 1, 2006, 09:52 AM
I am going off of memory here, but I think that there are diffrent seater plugs for wadcutters and round nose bullets...not sure if you have that option on that, however.

perhaps its a defective die....perhaps.

Does this happen on jacketed bullets or cast?

September 1, 2006, 10:01 AM
I wasn't aware that there are different seater plugs.
I'm using rainier 200gr RN bullets which are plated, not jacketed.

September 1, 2006, 10:10 AM
db_tanker I am going off of memory here, but I think that there are diffrent seater plugs for wadcutters and round nose bullets...not sure if you have that option on that, however.

I believe that is with Dillon dies, LEE's don't have that.

Make sure to clean the dies periodically. I found mine collecting bullet lube, resulting in the occasional tilted round. If you're only loading SWC's, another trick is to bore out the dies so that you seat the bullet by the shoulder.

September 1, 2006, 10:21 AM
I'm using round nose bulllets.
I just rechecked and a lot of them came out slightly off center (tilted).
This will probably hurt accuracy?
But more importantly, will this be unsafe?
Do I need to redo all of them?
I do need to get this problem fixed somehow.


September 1, 2006, 10:26 AM
for eight dollars you can send lee the seater die and a bullet, and they will make a custom seater to fit the bullet.

September 1, 2006, 11:22 AM
You are using the 4 die set with the seating die and crimp die as seperate dies, right?

What happens when you taper crimp one of the ones that are "tilted"?

I'm thinking the taper crimp might straighten these guys out, however I have never used a 4 die set so I am not sure.

What do you measure at the case mouth? Should be around .47 when seated and crimped (and that's from memory, correct me if I am wrong, someone.)

If you roll the tilted ones on a flat surface, do you see the bullet wobble? (Much like you would check a pool cue for straightness.)

If they straighten out after going through the crimp die, my guess is you are flaring the case mouth a bit too much.

September 1, 2006, 11:59 AM
I honestly don't ever remember seeing a cockeyed bullet SEATED that way without the case wall being severely damaged.

I hate to keep asking what are apparently silly questions but what do the bullets mic out at? are they .451-452?

Also, if they WERE cast, then it might be an indication of a problem with the mould.


September 1, 2006, 12:26 PM
He's using 200gr. RN plated from Rainier.

IIRC, 200 gr. bullets are shorter than 230 gr.

That is why I am thinking his cases are belled a little too much.

Seismic Sam
September 1, 2006, 01:56 PM
if you can see with the naked eye that they're off center.

Take the seating die apart, and check the nose of the bullet versus the top of the seating punch.

This could be caused by you belling the cases too much, or conceivably because you didn't bell them at all.

If you are trying to seat and crimp the bullets at the same time, the crimp portion of the die could be cocking the bullets before they get fully concentic down in the case.

The other thing it could be is that you have a screwed up seating die that was ground out too much, and if the die can't hold the bullet dead vertical, that could be the cause of the problem. For pistol bullets, Hornady New Dimension seating dies have a sliding collet that holds everything in place while the bullet is seated, so you might want to get a better seating die.

Good luck figuring this out....

September 1, 2006, 02:30 PM
The times I see that happen is usually because you don't have adequate belling of the case mouth. I think the lack of belling causes the bullet to seat at whatever angle you have started the bullet at when you place the bullet on the case. A little more belling of the case mouth seems to allow the bullet a chance to center up from the seater plug. At least that is what I have seen.

September 1, 2006, 02:44 PM
I will go out on a limb here and disagree with just about everyone that has posted.

Bullets seating somewhat crooked is very common. It is a result of two things, the primary being that the seater stem does not fit the bullet nose. The second cause is that the die has clearance around the bullet that allows it to tip as seating starts.

Bullet seating stems that fit the bullet will help quite a bit, but it won't cure the problem. The Redding Competition seating die is the only rock solid cure for this that I know of.

I don't worry too much about crooked bullets in most guns, as long as they chamber OK you won't see a terrific amount of accuracy degradation. If the gun is a match chamber gun or a gun that I desire every bit of accuracy I can get from I use the Redding die.

September 1, 2006, 03:08 PM
I'm stooopid. I don't get this.

How can a 45ACP bullet seat 'crooked' when about half an inch of it has to seat down inside a dimension-controlled tube under a mild interference fit? In order for the bullet to be 'crooked', wouldn't that imply that the case (not just the mouth, but the whole bloody case) is larger than the bullet?

September 1, 2006, 03:22 PM
I have seen a minute bit of runout when I've reloaded once-fired .222 Rem through RCBS dies, single stage press. In this bottleneck case and boltaction rifle, along with the barely noticeable amount of runout, I've never worried about it, everything seems to work fine. YMMV significantly. -FNR

September 1, 2006, 04:06 PM
When I reload they go in straight, but then again, I use the best seating die, period.
The redding competition seating die, look it up sometime. It rocks.

September 1, 2006, 04:29 PM
rbernie, the part you are missing is that the cartridge case is more or less elastic in this instance. That help?

September 1, 2006, 07:34 PM
hsmith, i assume what your'e talking about is normally called 'runout' and is typically measured with a micrometer.

the original post gave the impression the bullets were so crooked that it was obvious by simply looking at them.

i've occasionally seated 45acp bullets that crooked, but in all cases, the brass ripped open or bulged so bad that it was clearly impossible to chamber the round.

i don't see how you could possibly seat the type of bullet he's talking about with enough runout to be visible without a measuring device but still capable of chambering.

September 1, 2006, 07:51 PM
Thanks so much for the help so far.

I just got done fiddling w/ the die/turret setup a bit...

Let me first try to clarify some things.
It is not "tilted" bad enough to wabble when rolled on a table, but if
I set it down on a desk and centered one eye over it, or look at it
from the side (by turning it around slow a full 360), I can see a very
sligh tilt.

On my very first try at setting up the dies, I did not flare the cases enough
and the bullet did get seated with a bad tilt and the case did indeed bend
quite a bit and crack. So I immediately adjusted it. Perhaps I adjusted it
too much... so I just readjusted so that it is not being "belled too much."
I think it is about the same as before the adjustment, but possibly better.
Eitherway, the bullets get seated w/ no damage to the case or anything
like that.

I am also using the factory crimp die. After crimping I get measurements from
.472 to .4725/.473. The bullet is shoulder is at .452.
(Winchester factory ammo that I have measures .472 exactly).
The length right now is set at 1.267.
They do seem to chamber just fine when I hand cycle them.

I tried taking a picture to see if I can capture what I am seeing, but the
lighting/focus makes it very hard.. I'll keep trying.

What exactly is a runout btw?

Thanks again.

September 2, 2006, 09:59 AM
taliv, I guess it is a matter of perspective and what you are used to. I work with precision levels a handloader just can't imagine let alone measure. I can see .002" runout with the naked eye given a clean case, and see it easily.

I assumed he was talking about runout and not case ripping blunders.

Owen, the little bit of tilt you see is runout. If you spin the case true the bullet will wobble or 'run out of concentricity to the case', runout is the common term for this. It is a fact of life given the dies you are using. It is normal, everyone using similar equipment has it, and it really doesn't hurt anything for 99% of shooting.

The Redding Competition Seating Die is the best die available to reduce runout if you decide it needs to be reduced.

Ol` Joe
September 2, 2006, 10:27 AM
What exactly is a runout btw?

Runout is what shooters call the deviation of the cartridge from its axis. Here is tool for checking it.

September 2, 2006, 11:14 AM
I guess I shouldn't worry about it then.
This was my first time reloading, so I wanted to just make sure.
This is definitely very rewarding.

Thank you all so much for your help.

September 2, 2006, 11:17 AM
Best to have a good set of dies. That is No. 1. However, adjustment and modification can help a great deal. 1. Take a factory round nose round and put in shell holder. Loosen the lock nut of the seating die and back the seating stem out a bit. Raise the ram so that the loaded round goes into the die. Screw the die body down gently till the case/die /ram is a firm but not hard fit. Tighten the lock nut down firmly. That centers the case in the die. Now screw the seating stem down till it just touches the bullet. Try seating a few bullets and see if that gets you enough improvement. Next, if you wish, replace the factory loaded round in the shell holder. Lubricate the bullet with case sizing lube. Just a little bit. Remove the seating stem, clean and degrease the end that touches the bullet, mix up some epoxy or heat some glue stick and moderately fill the recess. Replace the stem into the die. Gently lower the handle of the press till it comes to rest and, if the bullet isn't touching the stem, screw the stem in until it gently touches. Let the epoxy set or the glue cool. Unscrew the stem and clean it up. Now reset the stem into the die and adjust it for the proper seating depth for the bullet you are using. You should have minimum runout then. Good luck.

September 2, 2006, 02:25 PM
I can see .002" runout with the naked eye given a clean case, and see it easily.

dang, dude. were you bitten by a radioactive spider or something? maybe i could get you to help my wife hang pictures :)

September 2, 2006, 08:54 PM
In pistol ammo for auto calibers, the combination of a EGW U-series sizer/decapper, the redding competition seater die and the crimp die of your choice (Crimp dies are a personal thing to some reloaders.) is the best possible scenario to make good ammo.
As with anything, bad components and bad equipment make bad products.
Good dies and good components make good ammo.
The best dies, adjusted correctly for the load you're using makes the best ammo.

September 2, 2006, 10:57 PM
Before I started reloading, I bought several boxes of 7.62x25 new, commercial ammo. It turned out that a few out of each box had the bullet seated just crooked enough to cause it to jamb the side of the chamber or lands when chambered, and occasionally blow the primers.

So I decided to get a Lee hand press and a set of lee dies for 7.62x25 to try to straighten the crooked rounds out a little. The Lee dies did not usually help at all. I looked at the seating die, and found that the seating plug fit the nose pretty well, but there was so much lateral play in the seater plug inside the die, that it would just follow the crooked bullet. Then I tried some rcbs 30 mauser dies, and they helped a little more, but still not consistently. They were a little tighter in the die, but still not what I considered a precision fit between the case, the die, and the seater plug.

After I actually started reloading (45 colt) I liked the Hornady seating dies. But they don't make a 7.62x25 or a 30 mauser die set. They do, however make a 30 luger die, which has almost identical upper dimensions. So I emailed them and asked if it would work for 7.62x25, and they replied in the affirmative. So I bought one of those, and it does the job everytime.

To make a long story short, I think it is a combination of how the plug fits the bullet, how the plug fits the die, and how the die fits the neck of the cartridge that determines how well the seating die aligns the bullet. Dies like Redding competition and Forster bench rest, or all Hornady dies, have the sliding sleeves that align the bullet with the case before inserting the bullet into the neck. Redding or Forster may be better dies (they cost more), but they are not available in all calibers, especially handgun. Every seating die Hornady makes has that feature, plus they all accept an optional micrometer screw, and disassemble for cleaning without affecting the settings. And they can crimp too, if so desired.


September 3, 2006, 03:44 PM
Taliv, .002" is a mile in my business. Most of the stuff I do is measured in .0001" increments, a lot of it now is single digit micron level. A micron is .000039" btw. Geometric alignments are .0002" over 20". You get used to it.

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