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Belling case mouth on .243 Win

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Grandpa Shooter, May 15, 2008.

  1. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Well-Known Member

    Trying to get my buddy set up with .243 Win. He ordered 85g jacketed soft point Flat base bullets. I have them sized and deprimed. Set out to do a test run and found that the die does not bell the case mouth at all and the base of the bullets is catching on the mouth of the case.

    Bent a couple of cases and had to disassemble the seating die once to get a bent bullet out. Started looking through my spare parts and dies and came across a decapping sizing die for 9mm where the tip of the spindle just fits in the mouth of a .243 case.

    Set up my RCBS rockchucker with the die and played around with trying to bell the mouth of a case. Actually with a little "bump" it opens the case mouth up just slightly and allows me to set the bullet in the mouth so it can be seated. Prime the case, throw some powder, seat and crimp and it's done.

    Question is: Isn't the depriming/sizing die supposed to bell the case mouth slightly? I don't mind the extra step, but it would be a PIA if I wanted to produce much.
  2. Bad Flynch

    Bad Flynch Well-Known Member

    If you are seating lead bullets/cast bullets, then the case mouth should be belled slightly or slightly flared/expanded. Lyman makes their "M" die for this.

    When seating jacketed bullets, even flat-based jacketed bullets, one customarily slightly chamfers the inside of the case mouth. Sharpening the case mouth with an excessive chamfer is not recommended.

    On rare occasion, a sizing die will size a case neck down too far, in which case, the seated bullet is frequently off center and looks like the "snake what swallered an egg."

    On a rare occasion, an inside expander that is too small will look like the ammo produced in the die above.

    On occasion, a lot of brass will have excessively thick necks that are too hard and the brass will spring back after neck expanding to a diameter that is really too small for the job. The fix is to anneal the case necks.

    Do a little sleuthing.
  3. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    Unless you get a Lyman "M" die or a Lee universal "belling" die, bottleneck rifle dies will consist of one die to resize and expand out the "hole" to the proper size, and the other die to seat and crimp.

    If the expander button is correct in the sizing die, a good chamfer of the hole should be sufficient using jacketed bullets. If the bullets are falling sideways during seating, you need to hold on to them longer before letting go, and make sure they start.
  4. Shoney

    Shoney Well-Known Member

    You need to chamfer the mouth with a chamfering tool.
  5. mkl

    mkl Well-Known Member

    I always used the Wilson deburring tool to chamfer the case mouth before I tried to reload the case.

    I don't think my dies can bell a case mouth in .243 Win (RCBS dies).

    I've loaded a couple of thousand rounds in .243 and never ran into a need to bell as long as I chamfered the case mouth. I use several weights of flat base jacketed bullets.
  6. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Well-Known Member

    I did chamfer the inside of the mouth but wasn't pleased with the result. The brass is quite thick on these cases and chamfering them didn't let the bullet stand on it's own. I always buy bevel base (boat tail) so I don't run into this on my 308 or 30.06.

    Any harm done as long as I don't over do it and split the neck? It sizes right back down and holds the bullet tight. With the Lee, the case mouth is what comes in contact with the universal charging die so it would squash if it was going to do anything.

    Does anyone make a belling die for rifle?
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Bottle necked cases don't ever get flared. Inside the case mouth chamfering only. If the neck is thick, chamfer the case mouth a bit more or ream the inside of the neck.
  8. CBS220

    CBS220 Well-Known Member

    What Sunray said. Lee makes the belling die for cast bullets, which necessitate the larger diameter... but chamfering always works fine with FB bullets in .243 for me.
  9. mkl

    mkl Well-Known Member

    Gradnpa, you've probably been stuffing bullets as long as I have (40+ years) but until I came to this fourm, I never heard of belling to "let the bullet stand on its own."

    For lead handgun loads, I bell only a few thousands of an inch. The rule I learned is "just enough so as not to shave lead." Some of my bells are so slight that they are not even visible, but as long as the bullet dosen't shave lead, they work just fine.

    For rifle, I've never used a bell, and maybe my bullets will not "stand alone." Don't know; I'll see next time I load up a batch.

    Perhaps it's the dies I use (mostly RCBS), but the seat die seems to align the bullet up with the case neck perfectly, so that only a light chamfer is required to seat the bullet.

    I load for six bottle neck rifle calibers and have never run into a need to bell the case. Not saying you don't, just it is a suprise to me that this is required.

    Where did the "bullet should stand on its own" rule come from? Maybe I should read the intro to one of my newer loading manuals :)
  10. cdrt

    cdrt Well-Known Member

    I'm confused about this as well. I've been loading .243s with a set of Lyman dies for over 30 years and never had a problem with flat base bullets and seating them. I just loaded a couple of boxes the other day and did not have any problems. I do chamfer the case mouth after I size and trim the cases, but the expander plug on the resizing die seems to do just what it's supposed to.
  11. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Well-Known Member

    I am using a Lee three die set. The resizing die does all the work. Using bevel base bullets allows the bullet to stand on it's own. The ones my friend bought are flat base. In the Lee bullet seating die, the case has to travel so far up into the die it is not possible to hold it in position for the seating to take place.

    There has to be a way to bell the case enough to seat a bullet. I could take a bunch out with a reaming or chamfering tool and weaken the neck, or I can think outside the box and produce rounds that work.

    Referring to the manuals is fine if what you are dealing with is a "text book" case. This is not one of them.

    My question still stands: Is there a way to bell the case mouth enough to seat a flat base bullet, other than the way I have found to do it? I am asking for creative suggestions here, not quotes out of the book.

  12. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Well-Known Member

    Check and see if Lee makes an "M" die for that caliber. If you are going to bell them, that's about your best bet. I use one for my cast, and while it is an extra step, it really doesn't take all that long to do. It is certainly better then ruining cases at what they cost now.
  13. CBS220

    CBS220 Well-Known Member

    I see what your problem is now, Grandpashooter.

    The Lee dies don't have any way to hold the bullet in alignment with the case- like on, say, Hornady dies, or the bullet seating "window" on RCBS dies.

    With short bullets, like the 55gr Blitzking or 58 V-max, I have this problem too.

    I simply run the ram up a little ways, put the bullet in there so that while the base is resting on the mouth of the case, the bullet is leaning against the inside of the die, and then finish the stroke.
  14. Eagle103

    Eagle103 Well-Known Member

    Try running just the expander ball through the neck a second time. I have to do that with some .243 bullets to get just a little more stretch so they'll go in without crushing the brass.
  15. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Well-Known Member

    Did you measure that expander ball on the 243 die by any chance? Maybe it is under sized.
  16. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    Seating flat-based jacketed bullets should not need extra belling IF the neck is expanded correctly AND the mouth is chamfered correctly. Even so, I find that the Lyman "M" expander dies, including for the .243, are an asset for flat base bullets of all kinds. There is much less tendency to bend necks with the expander plug as is true of a conventional expander when it's withdrawn. I now use a universal decapper and rarely use a conventional expander of any kind anymore.

    For those unfamiliar with Lyman's "M" die, it was first made for cast bullets but I've found it to work exceptionally well with jacketed too. It has a two diameter expander plug and flaring bell on the working part; it's used by pushing the mouth of the case up and over that die plug. The first, longer part, expands normally, to bullet diameter or just under. The second part is only about 1/16th of an inch long and is just a bit over bullet diameter, expands the mouth just enough to allow the base of a jacketed bullet to set IN, not just on top of the case. Bullet entry is eased and it never cuts the critical edges of the base. (The user may wish to crimp the case mouths to remove that larger section but I rarely do that anymore, it is so small it's almost undetectable and bullet tension is good enough without a crimp.)

    The third step of the expander is a true flaring shoulder that can be used to insure oversized cast bullets can also enter.

    Expanding from the mouth, rather than from inside the case, means it's easier to lube the inner neck. Simply passing a lightly lubed finger over the case mouth leaves a slight ring of lube which gets pushed in as the expander plug enters.

    I like that ease of clean seating so well that I've modified all of my Lee Collet Neck Sizers to NOT size about 1/32th inch of the mouth of my cases. Now they leave a slight bevel/flair that duplicates the effect of the "M" die without the extra step.

    Thinking outside the box is good.

    ADKWOODSMAN Well-Known Member

    Never had a problem, always chamfered the case mouth with a Wilson tool, load at least 9 flat base bullets in many calibers but never in .243. I guess that one calibre I'll have to add. That Remington Model7 .243 in CDL is a looker.
  18. Doug b

    Doug b Well-Known Member

    Grandpa Shooter I was under the impression that all rifle bullets have a tapered heal therefore we do not need to expand the case mouth.I wonder is your Lee seater die a dead length seater?
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I have never had a problem seating flat base bullets, but I have never had a Lee .243 die set either.

    Normally, bottleneck rifle cases are not flared or belled.
    Normal reloading dies I have used just pull the expander button through the case neck as the case is drawn out of the die.
    There is no provision for belling, and no need for it either, that I have found.

    The only exception is cast lead bullets, in which case a Lyman M expanding die is used to open / bell the mouth enough to prevent lead shaving.

    After resizing, I just chamfer the necks inside & out, and flat-base bullets seat just fine.

    Unless your brass has already been reloaded several times and have thick and / or work hardened necks, I can't imagine what the problem is.

  20. Grandpa Shooter

    Grandpa Shooter Well-Known Member


    I went back into the cave this morning and took the full length sizing/depriming die apart to check the configuration of the spindle. When I try to slide it into an already sized case the expanding ball does not slip into the case mouth as it should (in my opinion).

    I pulled the 9mm die out of the Rock Chucker and put the sizing/depriming .243 Lee die in and resized some cases. Moved the resized ones over to the Lee turret and primed/powdered and seated some bullets.

    If I hold the bullet in place at the case mouth until the ram is pinching my thumb and finger it will seat them without catching on the case mouth or bending the bullet over.

    Having to hold them in place, or having to bell the mouth of the case is more work than I care to do. The bullets Steve bought (1,000) of them are .243 in diameter at the base. They are so flat at the edge of the base it looks as though they were cut off a brass rod. Personally I have never used bullets that didn't have at least some bevel at the edge of the base.

    If he shoots this Winchester Model 70 as much in the next ten years as he has in the last ten, I'll never have to touch it again. End of problem.

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