I just reloaded my first couple of 45-70 cases and noticed there's a slight bulge in the case right where the bottom of the bullet would be. It doesn't go all the way around the case, just maybe 1/3 or so. I'm using .458 diameter bullets. Is this something to be concerned about? Am I doing something wrong? I've never reloaded a straight wall rifle case before.
Edit: Forgot to mention, I'm using new, unfired Winchester Brass and Lee dies. Maybe not expanding the case mouth enough?
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January 10, 2008, 01:51 AM
This is normal. You need neck tension, especially if you're loading for a lever action rifle. As long as the rounds chamber in your rifle, you're good to go.
Hope this helps.
January 10, 2008, 08:06 AM
Thanks....so, would it be safe to say that for best accuracy I would want to always load the cases with the bulge facing the same way (it's a Sharps rifle)? Just to keep things consistent?
January 10, 2008, 01:13 PM
I've had the same issues in the past. The rounds are safe to shoot and you may want to align them the same for best accuracy.
I got rid of the bulge by changing the resizing die setting and not oversizing down the case, you're getting the bulge because the brass is having to over expand the accommodate the bullet, depending on the play in your seating die and the entry angle of the bullet you'll get that uneven bulge instead of a uniform expansion of the case mouth. I'd suggest resizing only as much as necessary for neck tension and while seating the bullet set in in half way then dropping the ram enough to rotate the bullet a half-turn then finishing seating. Unless you have a cowboy or custom expander insert, deeper expanding prolly isn't going to do more than work the case wall and mouth excessively as the expander plug is undersized. With the cases properly sized I got rid of my problems with both .458 jacketed and .459 cast.
January 10, 2008, 01:16 PM
You could give it a try and see if it makes a difference. My two .45-70's are both lever guns, but I've also got a .45-120 Sharps on a Browning B-78 action, and it doesn't seem to make any difference with it. On the longer 3.25" case of the .45-120, the bulging is more pronounced than on my .45-70's. I don't pay any attention to how the rounds lay in the chamber with that rifle and it will put 3 rounds into a cloverleaf at 100 yards, and into about 1.5" +/- at 200 yards, if I do my part.
Experimentation will tell you what's best for your rifle, but my experience has been that most of the Sharps reproductions have been very accurate.
Hope this helps.
January 10, 2008, 03:08 PM
That your bulge is consistently on one side only, indicates the bullets are probably being seated slightly crooked.
This can be due to a shell holder cut off-center, or to die thread slop when the lock rings were tightened without a loaded round in the die.
Try loosening the seating die lock-ring, and the seating stem lock-ring, then run a loaded round in and out several times while rotating it each time. Now leave the ram up and lock the lock-rings again.
That will allow the die threads to better center themselves in the die press threads.
You can also get more concentric bullet seating by rotating the case 180 degrees in the shell holder after the bullet is partially seated.