Lee Bullet Seating Die Setting


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jbeltz7
May 20, 2013, 10:20 PM
After much researching I'm still unclear.

Press in the up position. Seat the die, three turns out.

How do you adjust the actual bullet depth?

In theory you insert a loaded round, set the die bullet depth adjustment knob to contact the bullet and then proceed loading your empty cartridges.

Loaded round will not go into the die without undo force. Empty round gets a nasty crimp when inserted with a full press.

Hopefully I do not need to scrap several rounds getting the correct bullet seating depth.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Walkalong
May 20, 2013, 10:27 PM
You have the die body too far down. Adjust the die body to crimp properly. Adjust the inner stem to seat the bullet properly. There is no magic three turns out for the crimp adjustment. You have to adjust it until you have it right.

Fire_Moose
May 20, 2013, 10:28 PM
Sounds like the die is too far down. Unscrew until there is no crimp.

This for hand Gun or rifle?

Unscrewing the bullet seating knob, on top, will let you pop out the seating stem, make sure that is free floating and not stuck or anything.

Sent from my CZ85 Combat

jbeltz7
May 20, 2013, 10:48 PM
Lee .38/.357 four die set.

With the die removed from the press and the bullet seating knob and plunger removed a loaded cartridge will not insert into the die. The neck of the loaded cartridge stops about 1/2" from being fully seated.

I could force it up into the die but this does not seem reasonble based on manufactures and online instructions.

KansasSasquatch
May 20, 2013, 10:54 PM
1. Size a piece of brass to proper dimensions.

2. A) If you're reloading pistol calibers you'll need to then expand the case mouth, just enough that you can place a bullet by hand and turn the casing upside down without the bullet falling out. OR
B) If you're reloading bottleneck rifle rounds skip to step 3.

3. Take your sized piece of brass, run the ram up with the brass in the shellholder/plate, thread your seating die down until it just touches the mouth of the casing. Back it off 1/4 turn, lock the die down. Back the seating stem out almost all the way. Lower the ram, place a bullet in the case mouth and raise the ram. Screw the seating stem in until it touches the bullet. Lower the ram slightly and screw the seating stem in 1/4 turn, then raise the ram again. Lower the ram and measure the round. Screw the seating stem in in small increments until you reach your desired OAL. It's best to do this with a sized piece of brass with no primer or powder, you can always pull the bullet later. Doing it this way will no crimp the round.

4. If you wish to crimp: Once you've set your overall length, back the seating stem out. With the ram raised, unlock the die and screw it in until you feel it (not the seating stem) touching the bullet. Lower the ram slightly and screw the die in 1/8-1/4 turn, screw the lock-nut down finger tight, raise the ram and check your crimp. Once the crimp is set to your liking, lock the die down, raise the ram with the round in place, and screw the seating stem in until you feel it touching the bullet.

joecil
May 20, 2013, 11:23 PM
Screw the Lee bullet seating die in until it touches the shell holder, then back it out three full turns. Lightly finger tighten the lock ring. Set the bullet depth by turning the top adjustment screw in until you have the depth you want.

Now if a crimp is desired, using the same round back out the seating die screw out a few turns and tighten the turn the die down till you feel it stop on the top of the case. Now turn the die down slowly until you get the proper crimp.

Now place the loaded round at the top and simply turn the bullet seating screw down until it touches the top of the bullets. Keep in mind cases must be trimmed to the same length to provide a uniform crimp. I also suggest you use a micrometer to measure the bullet seating as you go. Once you have it lock it down and you should be good to go. I use a dummy round (no primer or powder) to set it up and then save the round for future setups.

stubbicatt
May 21, 2013, 07:43 AM
Perhaps the "3 turns out" instruction is inadequate. IIRC, the 38 spl die set is also used with 357 mag cartridges. 3 turns may not be enough.

Go with what Kansas Sasquatch recommends.

StandingTall
May 21, 2013, 08:13 AM
You've got the 4-die set, right?

Are you sure you're not trying to use the factory crimp die (FCD) as your bullet seating die?

You keep saying "loaded cartridge will not insert into the die". Not sure what you are trying to do here - adjust the bullet seating depth or crimp the cartridge.

There is nothing in the instructions for adjusting the bullet seating die with a loaded cartridge. A loaded cartridge is used to adjust the FCD or when crimping with a bullet seating die after you have seated it to the proper depth.

Make sure you are using the correct die and follow the instructions provided with your die set. Unless the die itself is defective, you should have no issues if you follow the instructions.

Walkalong
May 21, 2013, 08:23 AM
You've got the 4-die set, right?

Are you sure you're not trying to use the factory crimp die (FCD) as your bullet seating die? Sounds like it.

jbeltz7
May 21, 2013, 02:01 PM
100% sure I am not mistaking the Bullet Seating Die with the Crimp and Post Die. The factory recommended "three turns" could very well be for the .38 case which would explain the excessive crimp on the .357 case I was testing with. Got it - More turns out

Standing Tall - Good catch.
"There is nothing in the instructions for adjusting the bullet seating die with a loaded cartridge."

I found there was very little in the Lee owners manual (step#5) about setting the initial depth of the bullet so I went online and found a You Tube video where he used a loaded cartridge to set the bullet depth. The obvious answer which I failed to grasp is, this won't work.

Sasquatch - Thanks for the detailed instructions, I will give them a go.

Fire_Moose
May 21, 2013, 02:11 PM
I keep dummy rounds handy to set seating depths...

Sent from my CZ85 Combat

joecil
May 21, 2013, 03:23 PM
You start with a loaded or dummy round either way start turning the seating adjustment in. Now take the bullet into the die and then lower it and check it. If more is needed which it probably will turn it in some more until you get it close. Then turn it down smaller amounts until you have what you want. Now back out the seating adjustment so it doesn't touch the bullet. Now to set your crimp turn the die in until you feel it hit the mouth of the case. Lower the lever a bit and turn the die in about 1/2 turn for a light crimp or more if wanted. Now you should have a roll crimp simply run the round back up into the die and turn the seating adjustment until you feel it contact the bullet. You are now set up and ready to start making ammo.

ngnrd
May 21, 2013, 08:13 PM
The factory recommended "three turns" could very well be for the .38 case which would explain the excessive crimp on the .357 case I was testing with. Got it - More turns out
Yep... the added length of the 357 case means the die has to back out more than the 3 turns given in the instructions.

So... for zero crimp, back the die way out - maybe even remove it. Then, put a 357 case in the shellholder and raise the ram all the way. With the ram up, screw the die in until it just touches the case. Then, back the die out a turn or so and lock it down.

StandingTall
May 22, 2013, 08:01 AM
The factory recommended "three turns" could very well be for the .38 case which would explain the excessive crimp on the .357 case I was testing with. Got it - More turns out


OK...didn't know you were using it for .357 Magnum. You're correct, definitely should be more than three turns out then.

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