Ring around tip of bullet from seating die


August 27, 2008, 09:31 PM
Just a quick question - I'm loading up some Hornady 68gr OTM bullets for work-ups to shoot this weekend, and am getting an unpleasant ring around the tip of the bullet. I know this has been discussed and have done several searches but can't find any definitive answers.

Does this ring at the ogive have an adverse effect on accuracy, in your opinion? I know I could have the seater stem modified for this bullet, but it works great with my Hornady 55gr FMJBT and Nosler 77gr OTM bullets - I think the "pointy-ness" of the Hornady 68grs is the problem, whereas the 55gr and 77grs I load are very "curvey" through the ogive, mating better with the stem.

So what's the word? Will accuracy suffer as a result? Thanks!

EDIT - This is .223 Remington I'm loading up, in case anybody missed that... and the die is an RCBS precision micrometer seating die.

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August 27, 2008, 09:39 PM
Use something like steel whool to buff it off if you think it might be a problem.

August 27, 2008, 09:47 PM
I can only speculate.
Pics might get a more definite answer.

My guess is that if it is slight & uniform enough it should not affect accuracy.

August 27, 2008, 09:55 PM
Well the Wife has the camera so I can't take pics... as for how severe it is... well...

I'm loading up H335, RL15 and Varget with these 68 grainers, 5 sets of 5 rounds for each powder in .3gr increments. With the H335, even the highest charge is not compressed, so the ring there is extremely slight. By the time I got to the higher RL15 charges, the ring was becoming more and more pronounced, and I keep having to screw my seater die down to keep my bullets at mag length - it's down about .05" from where I started, with the same bullet! I just loaded my 4th set of Varget, and I'm guessing the powder is SO compressed, it's basically not allowing the bullet to seat any further into the case and the bullet itself is deforming as a result. And I've got .3gr to go, and I'm not even at max pressure - I've got it listed for this combo at 26gr, and this will just be 25.7gr...

So I'm not expecting much in the way of accuracy from these Varget loads I suppose.

I guess my new question is, on a continuum of deformation at the ogive, how much is acceptable and when do you really see accuracy suffer... although I know this is a more difficult question to answer :(

August 27, 2008, 09:56 PM
Any deformation of the bullet effects accuracy. How much would be outside my field of study.

Specific types of texturing improves drag. I've wondered why bullets aren't textured like the bottom of a racing boat.

highlander 5
August 27, 2008, 10:04 PM
chuck the bullet seating stem in an electric drill and get yourself a cratex stick if you can't find one cratex points are made for a dremel tool. Put the stem in the drill run it a the highest speed possible and use the cratex to polish the edge of the seater. If that doesn't call the die manufacturer and ask for a replacement.

August 27, 2008, 10:10 PM

I would have thought the same thing until I read this -

(Quoting Slamfire1)

I have shot, and am using the Hornady's 68's, and you can shoot high X counts cleans with them out to 300 yards. They are excellent bullets.

As for the front end of the bullet. I was at an Across the course match, at 300 yards, and we had a delay. The delay was after our sighters, so the match director gave us another sighting shot.

The conditions had not changed, so I decided to conduct a "science" experiment. I took my leatherman tool and proceded to crunch the heck out of my 168 SMK bullet tip, and then, used the wire cutter tool to make a diagonal cut across the tip.

Fired the thing, and it was a pin wheel X. No joke, the thing was in the middle of the X.

I stopped worrying about the front end of the bullet after that.

But the back of the bullet, don't make any tiny scratches back there.

here... http://www.thehighroad.org//showthread.php?t=388068

Which does make sense, that the most accurate bullets (BTHP / OTM) tend to have a decent amount of variation at the open tip... I guess my only question is, how far back does the "tip" go for deformation purposes? It seems like everyone here is assuming that the ring WILL affect accuracy, but THAT'S the heart of my question... will it REALLY?

Howard Roark
August 27, 2008, 10:11 PM
A slight ring will not change a thing. I have shot tens of thousands of 80gr. SMK's at 600 yards with a ring around them with no ill effect.

A friend one time loaded his 77gr. SMK ammo too long to feed from his mag for 300 yard rapid fire. He clipped the nose of the bullets off with my Leatherman right there on the firing line. He shot an almost 200 clean. That's 20 shots in less than 6" at 300 yards.

August 27, 2008, 10:13 PM
Chup, have you removed the seater stem and examined one of your ringed bullets with its nose actually inside the stem cavity? Find out what part of the stem is ringing the nose. The posts above are recommending that you polish the rim of the seater stem, but that may or may not be the part of the stem circumcising your bullet (I just coined a nice little phrase).

August 27, 2008, 10:20 PM
Ants - You make a good point - I don't think it's the rim that's ringing the bullet, it appears to be the... upper rim? I'm going to attempt to ASCII a diagram of what the bullets look like... here goes...


So the ring is actually lightest at the rim and really seems to come in more at the top of the seater stem. That stem wants a "curvier" bullet, like M193. These Hornady 68gr OTM bullets are almst straight from the ogive to the meplat, and the stem seems to be stamping the curve it expects into the bullet near the TIP rather than lower down. Does this make any sense?

August 28, 2008, 01:08 AM
I get that same little ring around my 30-06 rounds using a 168gr bullet using a Lee seating die. It doesn't seem to effect the accuracy at all. (not that I'm good enough shot to notice anyway!! LOL)

Jason M
August 28, 2008, 07:38 AM
It is because the ogive is narrower than your other bullets. I get that with my Hornady A-Max 105gr 6mm bullets. The narrower ogive yields me a ring just under the ballistic tip of the bullet on the copper jacket. So far, no noticeable ill-effect.

August 28, 2008, 07:43 AM
The base of the bullet, and the concentricity of the jacket are the two biggest factors in accuracy. That deformed tip is not realy hurting anything. You can get a seater stem that matches the bullet better, or change it yourself. (A simple drill press will work for this). Just polishing would help some. It would have to be very deformed before it would measurably affect accuracy. :)

August 28, 2008, 08:04 AM
Well that's good to know. Like I said earlier, I don't really want to replace the seater stem, because it works well with the other bullets I use, and then I expect I would just start ringing THEM instead... I'll take these loads out this weekend and see how they shoot then. If I think some of them may be suffering but might have more potential (the higher charges of the Varget loads really do have QUITE the ring!) , I may try to work them up again with a "curvier" 69 grain bullet, like a Nosler or Sierra. I'll post back after I shoot them to let yall know how they did.

August 28, 2008, 11:00 AM
Except for making rings around your bullets. Man that always gets me mad too. Guys are right i have never noticed any problems with accuracy. i think its more of a quality control thing. I mean if i take a new guy shooting with me and i open a box of reloads. he may or may not ask whats this round groove on the bullets. its one of those things where if you made it, you want them to look good.

August 28, 2008, 11:19 AM

Yeah, I hear that - one of the happiest things in the world to me is looking across the open top of a plastic MTM 100-round rifle ammo box and seeing 100 perfect, shiny, UN-BLEMISHED bullets poking out, all in neat little rows, and knowing that I made them myself and they'll shoot better than anything I could buy in any store for any price :)

But now all I see are these ugly rings... :mad:

August 28, 2008, 02:45 PM
Specific types of texturing improves drag. I've wondered why bullets aren't textured like the bottom of a racing boat.

Supersonic flow is NOT the same as sub-sonic flow.

Supersonic flows have standing pressure waves.

August 28, 2008, 05:31 PM
Well, I would say the volume of your brass is quite small.. I can load 26gr in my LC brass with no issues? (yes it is compessed and is full up but?) I'm just curious here.

As for the rings, I would not really worry about that.

August 28, 2008, 05:42 PM
I think the problem is not the volume of the brass - it does all fit, maybe just around the shoulder, with some room to spare - but when that bullet gets pushed down, instead of the powder compressing, it seems that the bullet compresses a bit because the stem doesn't fit it properly. It's like sticking your foot into a shoe that's too small - you may well get your foot in there, but instead of the shoe giving properly to accept your foot, your foot may have to SQUEEZE to get in there! I'm sure if my stem matched the bullet properly the powder would crunch right away and the bullet would look ok.

August 28, 2008, 07:13 PM
Ah.. That's quite the better description.. I'd say that your stem has something funny going on there with your stem.. I'd give RCBS an call and see what they say.. I use Lee dies and I do also have loaded the 68gr and can say that they are excellent.. As for the lee dies, I don't get any marks.. Sorry this doesn't help with your problem.

Here's a thought, just for giggles.. If you do have a pc. or two w/ different headstamps load them up and see what happens.

Call RCBS and see what they have to say. Good luck.

August 28, 2008, 09:10 PM
but when that bullet gets pushed down, instead of the powder compressing, it seems that the bullet compresses a bit because the stem doesn't fit it properly

You are right. With compressed loads the bullet, is more prone to deformation by the seater stem because of back pressure trying to compress the powder.

August 30, 2008, 06:24 PM
One of the more common reason for "rings" is the degree of champfer in the case neck. Using a VLD neck champfering reamer may well aleiviate your problem, also sometime you can use the same VLD reamer to reform the seating punch. Try it it may be simpler than you think. And yes all those folks telling you accuracy is not affected are telling the truth, as long as your not ranging 1000M or so. Any damage to bullet base is real trouble though. this is an easy experimentif you wis to ty and compare accuracy of tip or base deformation. Good holiday to all -rogn

September 1, 2008, 09:18 PM
Well you guys were all right - I took the rifle out today and shot my workups, and believe it or not, one of those VERY compressed Varget loads produced a nice tidy .75 MOA group - just what I have been looking for. And let me repeat, these particular bullets had more than just a slight ring - they were becoming FRIGHTENINGLY deformed about 1/8" below the meplat... but the rifle didn't seem to mind, as they grouped better than anything I've loaded yet.

Thanks again for all the input guys.

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