New setup help


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Telperion
April 8, 2007, 03:34 PM
I set up my Lee classic turret yesterday with Lee's 3-die set for 357 SIG. As I wait for powder and primers to arrive, I've been adjusting the dies. I followed the directions to screw in the sizing die until it contacts the shell plate. When running the sizing die, the die scores the brass, but it is not going all the way down the case body, and it is also uneven; here is the same cartridge, rotated 180 degrees. (Yes, I know the bullet is crooked ... both brass and bullet have been abused over the course of making adjustments.) Is this normal? Certainly the asymmetry looks suspect.

Second question: I also have the Lee factory crimp die on the turret. Again, I followed the instructions in screwing it in, but I do not feel any resistance when running the cartridge through the die or see any change after. How can I tell if it is working properly?

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/240/451007018_87264e86af.jpg

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Shoney
April 8, 2007, 03:55 PM
Can you give us a history of the brass? Weapon fired in and number of times fires. There are only 3 conditions that I can think of that will cause the uneven sizing.

1. The brass was fired in a weapon with an unsupported chamber, such as a Glock. Unsupported chambers cause a a small bulge on one side of the brass.
2. the ram or shell plate of the loader is not in perfect line with the die.
3. the case was not solidly against of the back of the shell holder, causing a misalignment.

The ring is typical in most sized brass, because the case is held in the sell holder and the die simply cannot get that far down. If the case will chamber properly in your weapon, then it is of little concern.

There are some very expensive dies that will size the brass down closer to the base. Or the ring can also be entirely removed by roll sizing, but that processing equipment is expensive, and most often only used by commercial reloaders.

RustyFN
April 8, 2007, 04:14 PM
The ring around the bottom is where the die stops sizing. I get the same thing on my brass. Take the barrel out of your gun and drop the round into the barrel. If it drops in and back out when you tip the barrel up then they will be fine. As far as the FCD you shouldn't need to crimp normally you just want to remove the bell that the powder die put in the case. Run an empty case into the FCD and then run the die in until it touches the case. Then lower the case out of the die and give the die another 1/2 turn in. You can adjust from there if you think you need more or less. What I did was run my fingers down the side before it went into the crimp die and could feel a little lip. After I ran it through the FCD I couldn't feel the lip any more. There is so little resistance in the FCD that it will feel like it isn't doing anything. You have to be careful not to over crimp with plated bullets so I pulled a bullet and could barely see a mark in the copper plating. I knew that was the crimp I wanted after doing those steps. Hope this helps.
Rusty

Telperion
April 8, 2007, 04:34 PM
It's all once-fired Speer brass from a SIG. Well, the resized brass drops cleanly into the chamber. Thanks for the tip on using the FCD.

I think now that the press ram is not straight with the die -- doing a "line of light" test as the shell plate moves up to the die shows a just perceptible difference. This also might explain why the die scores the brass more on the right, as seen when pulling out the case. So is this a big problem, since I also want to reload .223 for matches?

RustyFN
April 8, 2007, 05:04 PM
If you put a crescent wrench on the indexing rod and turn the turret by hand you can line it up to where it is in line. Go to the Lee web site and they have a help video in the video section showing how to do this.
Rusty

Telperion
April 8, 2007, 05:08 PM
It's not a problem with the auto-index... in fact, I removed it for getting things adjusted. It's more like the die axis and ram axis are just slightly at an angle.

Walkalong
April 8, 2007, 05:34 PM
Something is out of whack and you need to figure out what.:eek:

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 8, 2007, 05:52 PM
"I set up my Lee classic turret yesterday with Lee's 3-die set for 357 SIG. As I wait for powder and primers to arrive, I've been adjusting the dies. I followed the directions to screw in the sizing die until it contacts the shell plate. When running the sizing die, the die scores the brass, but it is not going all the way down the case body, and it is also uneven; here is the same cartridge, rotated 180 degrees. (Yes, I know the bullet is crooked ... both brass and bullet have been abused over the course of making adjustments.) Is this normal? Certainly the asymmetry looks suspect."

You may be over analyzing things. I suggest, when you're setting up your dies, you use multiple brass and not resuse the same one as as you're making adjustments to the dies, you're subject to throw the blank round you're working with outta whack. I've made as many as two dozen dummy rounds when working with a particularly onery bullet or cartridge configuration if something wasn't adjusted right. Don't worry about the marks the die makes on the brass for right now. Brass never seems to "mark" uniformly in the sizing die.

"Second question: I also have the Lee factory crimp die on the turret. Again, I followed the instructions in screwing it in, but I do not feel any resistance when running the cartridge through the die or see any change after. How can I tell if it is working properly?"

You need to also adjust the "depth" using the knob. You start with the brass up in the die and turn the adjustment knob until you "feel" the crimper touching the case. That's your starting point and you may need to turn it further to get correct crimping.

You can use your chamber as a measuring device to see if the blank cartridge has been made right.

One last thing:

Make sure you use blank rounds with no primer or powder to set up your dies. Only introduce primers and powder at the end and of course, double check things.

Regards,

Dave

mek42
April 8, 2007, 05:55 PM
I would call Lee. I have called them once before and their customer service is very good. All of the reloading companies that I have dealt with have very good customer service. I've always gotten the impression that the reloading companies would much rather spend 5 - 10 minutes of their time fielding even the most ignorant newbie questions than have something bad happen as a result of using their products.

Telperion
April 8, 2007, 06:39 PM
That's the thing Dave, I'm new and not sure what counts as acceptable tolerances in fit. So, here is a typical picture of a brass being offered up to the sizing die. Looks off center to me (and the turret is firmly in a detent, auto-index off), but it pops the primer out fine, and the case chambers. If that's within limits, it would make me feel better to hear it from someone more experienced.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/186/451273290_b967b5a8b3_o.jpg

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 8, 2007, 08:28 PM
Telperion,

"That's the thing Dave, I'm new and not sure what counts as acceptable tolerances in fit. So, here is a typical picture of a brass being offered up to the sizing die. Looks off center to me (and the turret is firmly in a detent, auto-index off), but it pops the primer out fine, and the case chambers. If that's within limits, it would make me feel better to hear it from someone more experienced."

I think I can help you with your problem. Yes, you're over analyzing, which is ok, shows you're paying attention. Here's what is happening:

1. The tilt you're seeing there is normal. Your case holder on your ram has fairly loose tolerances to allow you to quickly insert and remove cases during the reloading process. In fact, it's loose enough to allow the case to tilt a bit.

If it were tight enough to absolutely prevent this tilt, you wouldn't be able to insert and remove cases very easily, if at all. But, you ask, will this affect accuracy? The answer is no, it will not. In fact, it will enhance the smooth functioning and alignment of your brass into the die.

But why doesn't it affect accuracy and how does it help alignment of the brass in the die?

It allows the case to move around and as the case is inserted into the die, align itself with the die. As the case raises into the die, the case/casehead will be square to the sizing die, while the case head may be slightly tilted to the case holder on the ram. It is the sizing die you want it to be square to, as it is the die, not the ram, that does the sizing.

Remember, your brass is a cylinder of soft sheet metal (brass) that's been expanded inside another cylinder (your chamber) to make a seal, then removed and has shrunk a bit. The object is to get it into another, smaller cylinder (your sizing die) to "resize" it back closer to it's original diameters to insure good feeding. To do this, you need the brass to center up with the sizing die. The looseness of the case holder allows this to happen. If the brass were held ridgidly in place, the brass would go into the sizing die at an angle and you'd get brass that was cocked.

So you're good to go. Don't worry about it and reload some rounds. The die will not necessarily make sizing marks on your brass evenly. But, if it's greatly concerning you, get a case gauge in your caliber (The Midway brand will do nicely.) and check your cartridges to insure they're right.

Regards,

Dave

Telperion
April 8, 2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks, Dave, for the excellent explanation. I noticed that the shell plate retaining spring tends to push on it from one side, and causes that tilt.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
April 9, 2007, 01:07 AM
If by shell plate retaining spring, you mean the shell holder, then the spring should hold it, but not cause the shell holder to tilt. If the shell holder retaining spring tip protrudes that far into the ram that the shell holder is tilting, you may want to take a small file and file a bit of the spring tip off. You want it snug and held in, but not tilted.

That said, your picture is showing your shell holder solidly against the top of the ram and the tilt I'm seeing in the pic is well within normal ranges of most all presses, including single stages, I've seen.

Regards,

Dave

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