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loose bullets??

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by nastynatesfish, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. nastynatesfish

    nastynatesfish Well-Known Member

    I've been reloading rifle cartridges for about 3 years now. By no means an aged vet or professional but the pistol dies are kicking my butt.
    I got a set of Lee dies off ebay and I bought a set of rcbs dies in 44 mag new. They seem to size fine and they decap fine, but after I charge the cases and try to seat a bullet to canneuer the bullet is loose? Loose like you can hand turn it in the crimp? I've tried adjusting my crimp and moving my sizer in and out but nothing. Do I need to polish some metal off my sizing bell or what? Thanks
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Might be what it takes, if your sizing die is not too big.

    Do you have calipers or micrometer to measure the expander plug below the flare? It ought to be WELL under bullet diameter. Elmer Keith thought .424" was plenty big enough.

    Try to flare a case mouth without expanding it; a large ball bearing ball or even a smooth ball pein hammer will do it. If a bullet will seat tight, then your expander is too big.
    If not, you are not sizing down the case enough to start with and need to have it replaced.

    Good approach, you cannot crimp a loose bullet tight although a lot of people try.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    First, check a bullet in a sized, but not expanded case, and see if the sizing die is doing it's job with the brand of cases you are using.

    Then, measure your expander button.

    It must be at least .002" smaller (.427") then the .429" jacketed or .430" lead bullets you might be using.
    For .44 Mag, -.003" would be even better. (.426")

    Just chuck it in a drill and use emery cloth to reduce the diameter.

    More crimp is not the answer.
    If you have poor case neck tension, you have to fix that first.

  4. Maj Dad

    Maj Dad Well-Known Member

    What diameter are your bullets? 44s should be .429 for jacketed & .430 for lead. I encountered some thin 9mm luger cases in past that wouldn't hold the bullet - scrapped them - but don't recall problems with others except in a rare instance. I load 44 mag in pistols, & 44-40 in my M92 Winnie carbine and those bullets are .426. I mixed them erroneously & feloniously a couple of times and had your problems, but that was my inattention to detail. Time to get out the mic/caliper as rc suggests & start checking for over/under sizes in the dies (though I wouldn't think both sets would give the same problem). Post what you find, and good luck. It ain't the end, just a rabbit hole you have to run in... ;)
  5. nastynatesfish

    nastynatesfish Well-Known Member

    When I size my brass and decap, I don't feel the expansion "pull" like I do with my rifle dies. My bullets are 200gr hornady xtp's that are .430 not .429. I've moved my die down farther but it just shorts the stroke of my press ram. Ill try to get the expander polished tonite. I have the same exact problem with my .357 mag dies??? I'm using mixed headstamp brass that I've shot through the revolvers, no way I should be having the same problem with two different pistols unless its my method. Can someone list there steps to die set up sop I can check mine please. Thanks again gun junkies
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    As pasted already.

    Size a case. Seat a bullet. If it is tight, your sizer is OK.

    Size a case, expand the case with just enough flare to get the bullet started, no more. Seat a bullet. If it is loose now, your expander plug is too big in diameter.
  7. nastynatesfish

    nastynatesfish Well-Known Member

    Well my .44 bullets are running .428.5-.429. The mouth of my brass is running all about .429.5
  8. RidgwayCO

    RidgwayCO Well-Known Member

    You don't say what brand of brass, but is it Remington by any chance?
  9. nastynatesfish

    nastynatesfish Well-Known Member

    I have remington, federal and hornady. It doesn't seem tomatter which brass it is. I had a few pieces run right and loaded 5 rounds.
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    If that is as expanded, not flared, it is way too big.
  11. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    1) read the die instructions (go to manufacturer's web site and download or send them an e-mail for the instructions—you can even tell them your problems)
    2) measure everything before and after each step (why is this such a last ditch effort after everything else has been done? Shouldn't this be what you always do?).
    3) determine where problem is (if the case was 0.427" I.D. before bullet seating and the bullet measure 0.429", then if bullet falls in the case, one of those two measurements has been destroyed by something in that step).
    4) If you are following the die instructions, call the manufacturer. They are all more than willing to replace a bad die and make you happy. They are also more than willing to talk to you as you work through reloading a round.

    Attached Files:

  12. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Well-Known Member

    Straight walled pistol dies normally don`t have an "expander" like the dies for bottleneck brass. The expander on a pistol die is usually only meant to "bell" the case to allow the bullet to start straight in the mouth. Case tension on the bullets shank should be enough at this point to prevent bullet movement by hand. If after crimping the bullet is loose you have over crimped and bulged the case behind the lip of the brass. Reduce the crimp and see if the bullets tighten up

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