1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Seating bullet too deep? 338 lapua

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by EYESOFTEXAS, Dec 25, 2005.


    EYESOFTEXAS Active Member

    I posted this elsewhere. Looking for advice/opinions.

    I'm a handloading newbie. I reloaded for the first time ever last night.

    I have a question about bullet seating and case bulge (and pressure).

    I was reloading for 338 lapua magnum --- 225 gr Hornady SST bullets, Norma brass, 87,0 gr RL19. I seated the bullet ~.571 inches, all the way to the cannelure. I did not crimp the neck.

    I didn't seat to this depth for any particular purpose, except that I was copying step-by-step the RCBS Precisioneered Handloading VHS tape. And the guy in the video was seating his bullets to the cannelure and crimping.

    Looking at the charged rounds this morning, some of the cases look like they're bulging slightly in the neck/shoulder area. Is this dangerous? Do I need to scrap the lot and start again? If so, how do I go about that? Pull the bullets, primers, etc., out and resize again? How do I get live primers out?

    Also, what are the proper guidelines for how deep to seat a bullet? This morning someone told me you seat to about the diameter (eg. seat a .338 caliber bullet .338"). Are there benefits/advantages to seating to other depths?

    Sorry if these are newbie/stupid questions.

    BTW... I'm shooting these in an AR-30.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Does the "bulge" show or follow the conture of the bullet? Or is the "bulge" below the bullet or below the shoulder? If it the former all is O K...If it is the latter then all is NOT O K. Here again a picture would help a bunch...You might see if it will chamber. Warning: Make sure that you have the rifle pointed in a safe direction when you do this...Insure OAL (Over All Length) is correct also...
  3. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Factory Lapua 338 LM "match" ammo is seated to about 3.610". At this length, the 250gr Scenar bullet protrudes into the case below the neck/shoulder junction.

    In general, I prefer to seat as long as possible, with at least 1 caliber's-worth of purchase on the case neck, but so that it will fit in the magazines, provided the bullet is not colliding with the lands when it's chambered.

    EYESOFTEXAS Active Member

    As requested, here are some photos.

    Listening to the round as I shake it, it's clear there's still a lot of empty space still in the case. So I don't think it's powder compression that deformed the neck.

    Is it possible I had the bullet seating die at an improper height, and warped the shoulder?

    I ask because, looking at some of the close-ups, I notice two horizontal lines probably made by die contact: one line at the shoulder and one line half way between the shoulder and the base of the neck.

    Here are the photos (click images to enlarge). I've included a factory round in some photos for comparison.

    Left to Right: Black Hills 250gr (Lapua brass), reloaded round (Norma brass)

    Black Hills 250 gr on left

    Reloaded round by itself

    Black Hills 250 gr by itself

    Reloaded round by itself

    Could only upload five (5). Links to a three more.

    reloaded round closeup
    reloaded round top view
    Black Hills (left) and reloaded top view

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    EYESOFTEXAS Active Member

    Also, if I were to decide to scrap the lot (only 20 rounds) and start over again with the brass, what is the procedure for doing so? Thanks.
  6. xring44

    xring44 Well-Known Member

    Looks like improper die set up to me, looks like the die is pushing the case mouth back into the shoulder. If you have a manuel with explanation of proper die setup you should be able to correct this easily enough. This being Christmas day and fewer minds available, I'll try to watch this thread and help where I may.

    Not knowing your powder choice or the amount I hesitate to give advice on this issue of pulling the bullets or shooting the load in your rifle, also determine that the proper diameter bullet is being seated in the case, an over sized bullet can cause this condition...PM me if I can help if you wish. xring

    EYESOFTEXAS Active Member

    PM sent. Thanks for your comments.

    The dies are Redding. Bought them used (no instructions/manual).

    Specifics: once-fired Norma brass, hornady sst 225 gr bullet, powder = 87,0 gr RL19, bullet seat depth = ~.570".
  8. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    I'm with xring44. I would look at the bullet with a caliper and you might make sure the resizing is of the correct size also. It may have been stamped wrong at the factory. If the die is incorrect or the bullet is too large of a diameter this may cause your problem. Also measure the large portion of the decapper rod.

    Keep us informed. And thanks for the photos. They did help...

    Merry Christmas to you and yours...:)
  9. xring44

    xring44 Well-Known Member

  10. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    just from holding up a ruler to my computer monitor, the bullet in your reloads looks substantially wider than the factory bullet

    can you verify the diameter of both for us?

    EYESOFTEXAS Active Member

    Dies are stamped 338 lapua. Redding box reads "338 Lapua magnum, #18 shellholder, series: CUSTOM."

    Bullets are .338" (average measurements were .337-.338"; RCBS digital caliper).

    I think it was definitely a matter of setting the seating die improperly in the press. I very carefully reloaded 36 cases today to see if I got the same result. I didn't.

    I reloaded in Lapua brass:

    20 rounds ... 95,0 gr IMR 7828, 185 gr. Barnes Triple Shock bullet seated to .352"
    16 rounds ... 90,3 gr IMR 7828, 225 gr Nosler Accubond bullet seated to .340"

    Everything came out fine.
  12. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

  13. xring44

    xring44 Well-Known Member

    Thats great, beginning is always the hard part,,it gets easier from this point on...welcome to the world of reloading...be safe, shoot often,,enjoy...

Share This Page