Two Problems


February 19, 2008, 12:11 AM
I had two problems reloading tonight on a Dillion 550B with Lee dies.

1) The bullet OAL are ranging from 2.255 to 2.275. The seating die is tight and they don't get shorter or longer as

2) About half of the Nosler 69 grain Competition Bullets have cuts or scratches in them. There are about 10 parallel lines that are "cut" into the bullet from about 3/16" from the tip of the HPBT and run about 1/4 to 3/8" down the bullet. They are very even.

I don't know if it's the seating die or the FCD. I suspect it's the seating die.

Any ideas?

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February 19, 2008, 12:44 AM
OAL variation of 0.020" seems way out of line; 0.005" would be more reasonable. Bullets should be unscathed to the naked eye.

We're in the dark as to caliber: 223?. I would suspect the seating stem lock nut is loose and/or something is wrong with the die to cause the scratches-but that may relate to only the Dillon dies I use. I don't use Lee or the FCD (that may also cause the scratches?).

I would suggest a step-wise solution: fix the length variation problem then find the cause of the scratches.

February 19, 2008, 11:18 AM
Thanks jfdavis58,

The length variation isn't linear. The shells don't grow or shrink as I go. One will be long and the next short, etc. There is no pattern that I can detect. The dies are properly seated and do not appear to migrate.

I'll look at:
The inside of the seating die.
If the OAL changes if I have one cartridge in the loader verses one at each station.

Any other ideas or is there anyone that has a similar problem?

Grandpa Shooter
February 19, 2008, 12:35 PM
I suggest adjusting your dies on a manufactured round. Back the seat/crimp die out of the tool head (up) and back the seating die rod out of the die a good ways, and put in the commercial round. Screw the die body back in gently until you feel it start to touch the top of the round. Watch the ram and it will start to move down. Then screw the bullet seating screw down until you feel it hit the tip of the round.

That will give you an APPROXIMATE setting for the die and the seater. Adjust accordingly to get the seat depth and crimp (very little if any) you want. Most people agree that a crimp is not necessary on rifle cartridges unless you are loading for a tubular magazine. Upon reading your post again, I am guessing it is the FCD. Sounds like it is set wrong and is skipping down the surface of the bullet. If you don't bell the case mouth, you won't need a crimp, since the neck tension will hold it securely.

February 19, 2008, 02:05 PM
The OAL is going to vary because the bullet's aren't the same from one to the next. It's fine because the tip is not important--the location of the ogive is. Your die presses near the ogive, so chasing a constant OAL is actually counterproductive. I would expect your OALs to be +/-0.005" or thereabouts.

You're seeing more than you should. I would clean the shellplate, the seating die and then try a bunch without any crimp (you shouldn't need it) and then see what the variation is.

Marks, scratches and badly banged up tips on the bullet aren't going to affect anything (especially since we're talking about a short range 69grMatch). The scratches might indicate a dirty die though.

February 20, 2008, 02:49 PM
Thanks for you help with these problems. I solved the bullet length variation by cleaning and readjusting the seating die.

The scratches appear to be coming from the Bullet Seating Punch. I sent this e-mail to Lee:

Dear Sirs,

I recently purchased a Lee Deluxe Die Set in .223 Remington.

The Bullet Seating Punch appears to be gouging the bullet; a Nosler 69 grain HPBT Competition Bullet. I count twelve roughly parallel lines. Six of the lines start at 0.10" from the tip and alternate with six that start 0.19" from the tip. All lines run down the ogive and stop at about 0.235" which is just inside where the Bullet Seating Punch stops.

I've tried cleaning the inside of the Bullet Seating Punch with a cotton cloth and Hoppe's No. 9. This did not help.

You can feel the gouges and are visible to the naked eye.

I'd like you help in solving this problem.

Thank you,

I'll let you know Lee's reply.

February 21, 2008, 02:29 PM
Lee's documentation states that it make mess up the bullet and the piece may need to be modified.

February 22, 2008, 07:08 PM
Lee responded saying that they will replace the Bullet Seating Punch. Here's their response:

"Please forward your snail mail address and remind me to send a replacement bullet seating plug and the bullet type you are using."

I consider that to be good customer service!

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