Hand Press 9mm problems


February 14, 2013, 02:28 PM
Hello all -

I am using a Lee classic press with lee carbide dies for 9mm. I am having problems sizing the brass to accept a new bullet cleanly. I follow the directions on the die setup but kind of get lost when they talk about the "flare". Anyways I have tried a few dummy loads and when the bullet is seated you can see where the brass expanded just a hair to accommodate the bullet. I have never seen this on any reload or factory load. I figure it will be a feeding nightmare for my semi-auto pistol. Anyone have any idea what I am doing wrong? I have never had this problem loading rifle cartridges so I really have no idea. I find it hard to believe that a new die set would not function as intended.


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February 14, 2013, 02:58 PM
Perfectly normal. The proof is doing a "plunk test". Take the barrel out of your gun and drop the dummy round into it. Make sure the case goes all the way in and stops when the case mouth stops at the "ledge" of the chamber. Since the 9mm is tapered, the round could possibly stop too soon. In that case, you need to make sure your flare is straightened out or slightly tapered but not so much that the bullet drops deeper than it should.

"Flare" means using the powder through/expansion die to open the case mouth wider than it comes after resizing. This is done to allow the bullet to start straight into the case and not "tilt". Adjust the flare to barely allow the bullet to go into the case straight and no more.


February 14, 2013, 03:02 PM
Sounds like normal handgun loading. Let's see a picture.

February 14, 2013, 03:02 PM
you can see where the brass expanded just a hair to accommodate the bullet.That is a good thing.
It means you have plenty of case neck tension to prevent bullet set-back during feeding.

It won't hurt a thing, and like I said, it prevents bullet-set back and high pressure excursions.
And thats a good thing.


February 14, 2013, 03:11 PM
When you bell the case mouth or flare that slightly expanded area must be closed back to it's original diameter. This function is accomplished during the bullet seating step. The seating die has two functions built into it, taper crimp & seating depth. When you thread the entire die deeper into the press it increases the amount of taper crimp. When you thread the seating plug, ( located on top of the seating die), down it increases the seating depth.

Take an empty piece of brass, (no bullet) and place it in the shell holder.
Now with the press ram fully extended, begin threading the seating die down until you feel it contact the brass. Then back the press back down and give the die about 1/8th of a turn, this will be further adjusted later on if necessary.
Now back out the seating plug most of the way.
Now place a bullet on top of your belled case mouth, extend the press to full extension and then begin adjusting the seating plug in until you are achieving the amount of seating depth desired.
Once the depth is determined to be correct then adjust the die body down, or up, until you've achieved the correct amount of taper crimp, or until the belling is closed back up to original diameter or with a .001" (approx.). While adjusting the taper crimp function, loosen the seating plug so that you can keep it stationary while making crimp adjustments so your seating depth doesn't change with crimp adjustments.


February 14, 2013, 03:28 PM
There's three dies in your set: 1) resizer/deprimer; 2) powder through/expansion; and 3) bullet seater/crimp.

The powder through expansion die flares the mouth so you can seat the bullet.

The bullet seater/crimp die crimps the mouth closed so it will feed. Use your caliper to measure the case mouth after you crimp to make sure it's in spec, or do the plunk test with your barrel.

February 14, 2013, 05:18 PM
Thanks for the info everyone. I will try to get a picture up later if I am still having problems

chris in va
February 14, 2013, 06:40 PM
If it bothers you, get a Lee Factory Crimp Die. It'll iron out those slight bulges to SAAMI factory chamber specs.

Try firing a few first.

February 14, 2013, 07:41 PM
Applying the correct taper crimp should solve the issue.

February 14, 2013, 07:54 PM
It sounds like you are describing/experiencing the "Coke bottle effect", not a/the residual mouth flare. If it looks like a Coke bottle (as long as the flare is gone), that's good.

February 14, 2013, 07:57 PM

None of the offered suggestions so far concerning more or less belling, Lee FDC dies, or more crimp are going to fix it, because it doesn't need fixing.

If the base of the bullet is showing through the case wall, it is perfect case neck tension for a tapered 9mm pistol cartridge.

Don't mess with it.


February 15, 2013, 01:05 AM
Ah, after RC's post I know what it is you are referring to. You are saying that the bulge of the seated bullet is visible, as in a coke bottle appearance, yes? As RC said, that is normal and a definite good thing, as in, it visibly indicates that the bullet has a nice tight fit in the case. And since a 9mm caseis not a straight walled case the bullet should expand the case body a bit in a properly re sized case.


February 15, 2013, 12:11 PM
Wow thanks guys. You have addresses my problem to a T!! I fired a few clips last night and they fed no problem. The bulge of the seated bullet worried me but I guess I was just being over cautious. Figured I may as well be as cautious as possible when dealing with explosives lol

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