difficulty controlling COAL with .45 XTP bullets


February 18, 2013, 09:14 AM
Apparently the contour of the seating insert in my Lee .45 acp bullet seating die doesn't like to play with the Hornady XTP.

Much frustration trying to set up for 1.23" COAL, with +/- .004 the best I could hold.

Has anybody out there played around with using a flat seating insert?

I know some manufacturers provide both a profiled and flat insert with their bullet seating dies, but I don't see any such option to purchase a flat insert on Lee's web page.

In the big scheme of things, this is likely not a huge issue, but I've become accustomed to holding half that tolerance when using premium (i.e. uniform) bullets, and would like to continue to do so.

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February 18, 2013, 09:48 AM
Can you just flip the insert over, end for end? I seem to recall having a seating die that allowed me to do that, but I don't recall if it's Lee or not.

<edit>Yes it is the Lee dies that do this. The other end of the seater plug is flat.</edit>

dagger dog
February 18, 2013, 10:06 AM
I have heard of reloaders making "custom profile" seater die plugs using epoxy such as Marine Tex 2 stage putty sticks.

February 18, 2013, 10:10 AM
if you mail a sample bullet and a check for something like $12 to Lee, they will make you a custom seater plug. call them and ask about it.

February 18, 2013, 10:15 AM
Or you could just shoot them as is, since you aren't going to notice a 4 thousandths deviation in the real world. Just a thought.

For what it's worth, I don't think I had this problem with this bullet and my Lee dies but later today I could check to see what variation I have on my 230gr XTP's. I only measured a few but I remember them being right on.

February 18, 2013, 10:39 AM
Oh these will get shot as is .... and I'm not going to loose sleep over it...

but I'd like to be able to "set it and forget it" in the future.

February 18, 2013, 12:02 PM
Unless you are using a bullet comparator of some kind to measure off the bullet ogive?



.004" variation is possible measuring base to tip just off the buggers on the different jacket HP holes.


February 18, 2013, 12:32 PM
With a COAL range of 1.226-1.234 I think you're way more consistent than a lot of factory loads. I'm actually kind of impressed.

Remember, with many (most?) bullet profiles, no part of your pistol "knows" were the tip of the bullet is. The actual tip doesn't touch anything. As RC points out, it's some point on the ogive that counts. That point makes contact with the feed ramp, and a slightly different point is what first contacts the rifling. Your ogive OAL may be very, very consistent.

February 18, 2013, 01:11 PM
.004" isn't really out of the norm for most any bullet olgive. That is in fact what is creating most, if not all of the inconsistency in OAL you are experiencing.


February 18, 2013, 04:43 PM
ssn vet,

take a fired, or sized (not belled) 9mm case, place it inverted over the top of your cartridge. measure the total length with calipers. measure the length of the 9mm case.

measure all your cartridges this way. total length should all be the same, or no more than .001" different. hint: use the same 9mm case for all these and subsequent measurements so you can set up your seating die the same next time.

i just measured half a dozen 230 gn xtp bullets loaded in 45acp cases. total length was between 1.859 and 1.860 inches.


February 19, 2013, 11:06 PM
That's a good idea Murf, I'll give it a try.

FWIW, Just prior to this XTP batch, I ran 300 of Berry's 230 gr double struck RN loads through the press an was holding +/- .002" with out any real effort.

On the XTP, +/- .004" was only achieved after a lot of farting around.... with unexplained shifts of up to .015".

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