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.30-30 Win reloading problems

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Old Grumpy, Dec 12, 2011.

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  1. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    First off I am not new to reloading (in general) however I am new to reloading bottleneck rifle rounds.

    I am trying to load for my .30-30 and I'm having problems. I decapped and resized my cases without any noticable problems. Next I checked case length and found no problems there. The cases were primed using my Lee Auto Prime and then run through my (new) Lyman "M" die to expand.

    I am using Saeco #316 150gr cast Flat Nose Gas Checked bullets. The bullets are sized to 0.311".

    When I went to seat the bullets they would slide into the case, some even dropped completely into the case. Those that seated (or at least seemed to seat correctly) were crimped. Being cast bullets they did have a crimp groove but my die (RCBS 14601 FL) must "taper crimp" because the cases were obviously not roll crimped into the groove.

    Half of the rounds I crimped did not hold the bullet firmly. I know I must have several problems so where should I start?

    Why does it appear the "M" die is over expanding the case? I measured the expander and it measured 0.306" at the start, then a step up to 0.309", and finally a flair. If the inside of the case neck has been sized to 0.306" it should hold a 0.311" bullet but it is not.

    Are these dies (RCBS 14601 FL) taper crimp or roll crimp? If they are taper should I seat the bullet above or below the crimp groove? Or do I need to look for a crimp die that applies a roll crimp?

    Is it possible the decapping/resizing die is not resizing the case neck?

    Was I foolish to think the .30-30 would be an easy round to reload?

    Help!
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Do you have the sizing die adjusted all the way down so it is bumping the shell holder at full ram travel?

    O.K., next:
    I'd take the decapping/expanding stem out of the sizing die and size a case.
    Then measure the I.D. of the unexpanded case.

    It should be at least .306" before any expanding at all.

    Next I would measure the RCBS expander button on the rod.
    It should also be .306 or slightly less.
    You may have a .310" lead bullet expander button in it?
    If so, I would go to the .306" one if you are also expanding with an M-Die.

    I can't say what the current RCBS die set does as far as crimp, but my old set crimps just fine on jacketed bullets.

    BTW: I ask a Mod to move your thread to the Reloading forum.
    It will get a bunch more answers from M-Die users there I think.

    rc
     
  3. popper

    popper Member

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    Try it without the M die. The standard crimp for 30-30 is ROLL. Adjust the die for a real good crimp. Are you using a gas check? I shoot .310 and .31 and just use the standard F/L sizer.
     
  4. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    Popper, when I tried to load without running the case through the M die the bullets would not sit on top of the case. When I backed the M die off a bit (the bullets would sit on the case if I applied some silght pressure) the case shaved lead from the bullet and pushed a slight lip of lead ahead of the case mouth.

    rcmodel, I'll run a couple cases thrpugh the resizer die (without the decapping assembly) and measure the inside, plus I'll measure the expander ball. I picked the die set up used so who knows what has been changed. It is an older RCBS die set if the box is any indicator. Thanks for getting the thread moved.
     
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I'm not familar with the M die, but if the neck is giving you proper tension after sizing I would just give the mouths a light ream and chamfer so the bullets will seat without shaving, and then crimp if you still feel you need more neck tension.
     
  6. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    Do you have the .30 or .31 plug in your M-die? Lyman makes both.
     
  7. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    kelbro, The expander insert has 30R on it so I'll say it's the .30.
     
  8. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    gamestalker, the M die gives the case a two-step (actually three-step) flair. The first expands the neck all the way down to 0.306", the next step is 0.309", with a final flair. I may have to chamfer the case mouth a bunch and use hardly any flair at all.

    The biggest problem is I've never reloaded any bottleneck cases. They're proving to be a pain.
     
  9. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    If the expander measures .306 it`s the 30

    Ensure bullet dia.

    Try this , resize a case then flare it slightly with a pair of needle nosed pliers (yeah it`s redneck as allgetout but it`ll work in a pinch) if it holds the bullet then there ya go .

    The dies should have a roll crimp but as ya said used dies could have been modified.

    Maybe ya can roll crimp em in a 308 die if ya got 1.

    If this works check ya measureing tool .

    I use the Lee universal flareing die for rifle as my alloys are usually hard enuff to not be affected by case tension.
     
  10. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    That may help the situation, as just a smooth inside chamfer with a light flair should be adequate.
    I use the lee universal expander to put minimal flair as needed, to prevent shaving lead.
    The loading procedure is really not too complicated, and once you establish the proper depth on your expander, it should be easier for you, as long as the lower part of the case neck is the correct size to secure the bullet when seating.



    NCsmitty
     
  11. popper

    popper Member

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    +1 on the lee expander. Just a touch of flare that you can feel with your fingers works for me. Then crimp which removes the flare. You can use needle nose pliers to do the same thing. A GC will size the brass and prevent the bullet from being resized by the brass, so I don't consider a need for the M die. My bullets are also pretty hard.
     
  12. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    rcmodel, I ran some cases through the resizing die and measured the results. Right at the case mouth (the very edge) I got 0.304" with 0.306" further down the neck. The "ball" on the decapping rod measures 0.306".

    This is an older set of RCBS dies and what brings a big question to my mind is the resizing/decapping die has RCBS 30-30 SEAT 68 stamped into the top while the seating die has RCBS 30-30 F.L. 68 stamped into it. The threaded part of the dies are the same length with the resizer/decapper die having a longer knurled top (it is the longer of the two dies). The assembly holding the decapping pin has a round knurled jamb nut. The stem in the seating die fits into a removable insert (also knurled). The seating stem can be replaced and it is held in place by a round knurled jamb nut. The seating stem appears to have a rather long and sharp bullet profile built into it rather than a round blunt profile.

    The dies were dirty but had no rust (inside or out) and appeared in good servicable shape. The bullets measure 0.311" in diameter and 0.429" from the crimp groove to the bottom of the gas check. That tells me when I seat the bullets to the crimp groove the base of the bullet (and gas check) should still be within the neck.

    The resized cases drop into and out of the resizer die easily (about like doing the "plunk test" for my .45acp reloads). They do not however fit completely within the die body. The cases bottom out 0.130" before the rim hits the die. Since there must be space for the shellholder I'm assuming this is acceptable.

    The more I measure the more stumped I am.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, thats stranger then frog hair.

    I can't imagine how a resized case could just "plunk" back in a full length sizing die once it got to the neck portion.

    Normal brass will rebound back oversize enough when you pull it out of a sizing die that it won't just drop in freely again.

    It seems like maybe you have some very soft brass, and there is no rebound at all when you size, or expand it?

    Maybe try some other brand of brass.

    I have about 500 empty 30-30 cases of mixed headstamp, and have found more goofiness in length, neck thickness, and hardness then in any other rifle caliber I have ever reloaded.

    Trying another brand of brass is the best I can come up with right now.

    rc
     
  14. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    rcmodel, my brass is also mixed. I have quite a few R-P, some W-W Super, and regular Winchester. The problem seems to be fairly evenly spread across all of the cases.

    Without exception they all have been laying around for several years (20+) since they were fired. I have about 100 rounds of factory ammo that I can shoot giving me some fresh brass. It will still be R-P and Winchester but at least it will be fairly fresh (if that makes any difference).

    Has anyone else had similar problems with bottle-necked cases?
     
  15. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I've been reloading the old 30-30 for 50 years.
    Some of my brass is probably that old too.
    I've never seen any kind of case that would drop into a sizing die, no matter how many times you ran it in and out.
    Maybe if it had been heated way past annealing temperature.
    Not even sure if it would lose all elasticity even then.
    How about exposure to something like ammonia?
    Could that make a case brittle enough so that a pass through a sizing die would keep it from rebounding on removal?
    I think I'd try to get hold of another set of dies to try out.
     
  16. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    Will those of you who have RCBS dies please check and tell me what is stamped on the top of your resizing/decapping die.

    As I said in one of my earlier posts the die with the decapping post says RCBS 30-30 SEAT 68 on it while the die with the seating stem says RCBS 30-30 F.L. 68 on it. I just checked my .30-06 dies and these dies appear to have had the guts switched.

    What do your RCBS dies say on top?

    Which of your dies is the longest?
     
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I just went and looked at mine for you.

    Come to find out my "RCBS 30-30 dies" are Herters dies in an RCBS box!

    However, I think the die bodies are switched?
    Measure them at the hole in the bottom.
    The sizing die is sure to be smaller dia then the seating die.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  18. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I think RC nailed it.

    I'll bet you inadvertantly got your dies mixed up. I did the same thing for the first time in 30 somethin years and couldn't figure out why my 7 mag neck die wouldn't resize. I knew something was up, and in a matter of minutes I realized what I had, or maybe my Son, did.

    Good luck!
     
  19. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Must be it.
    I can't check, I gave a guy a big stack of dies I thought I would never use again and the 30-30 set was in there.
     
  20. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    What an idiot!

    You hit the nail right on the head. I bought the dies from an estate and the guy selling them was not a reloader. Either the dies were disassembled and he threw them back together or someone at some time cleaned them and put them back together wrong. Either way no one could have reloaded with them as they were when I bought them. :banghead:

    I switched the guts and tried everything over. The cases resized with the same effort you would expect (pretty tight close to the base) and the "M" die expanded them perfectly. I charged them and held my breath as I seated the first bullet. Unlike the last bunch the bullet has moderate resistance all the way into the case and a nice roll crimp finished them off. I pressed several against the side of my reloading bench and could not move them one bit. :D

    Aside from one wrinkled neck (done while adjusting the amount of crimp) all ten rounds look great. I pulled the damaged round, charged another case, and reseated the bullet. The wrinkled case was then run back through the resizer and came out OK. :)

    Live and learn. I did take the dies apart and clean them when I bought them (one die at a time) but I did not examine them as close as I should have. :cuss:

    Thanks to everyone who chipped in to help. I feel like quite the rookie, but at least no major damage was done to anything except my pride.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well Alby Jiggered! :D

    Glad you got it figured out.

    rc
     
  22. El Guero

    El Guero Member

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    Well I'm glad you got this figured out! I'm considering to start loading some 30-30 and you had be pretty worried there for a minute :p
     
  23. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Cool.
    The mystery was driving me nuts. :D
     
  24. Old Grumpy

    Old Grumpy Member

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    I've had several guys tell me the .30-30 is an easy round to reload (maybe that's why it's been around over 100 years). I knew something simple was causing my problems. Once I got the dies set the .30-30 was no harder to load than a .38 spl.

    The only thing I'll point out, if you are not experienced loading bottle-neck cases watch your crimp. Start out with a real light crimp and adjust it down a little bit at a time. I got my panties in a bunch and tried to adjust the crimp all in one move. :banghead: Bad idea. I wrinkled two cases applying too heavy if a crimp. Take your time and apply a nice "moderate" roll crimp.

    I can see where the .30-30 will be a favorite of mine to reload. :)
     
  25. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Any bottleneck lever-gun caliber is one of the best and only places I see for the Lee FCD collet crimp die.

    It is not case length dependent, and operates entirely off shell holder contact.

    Conventional crimping dies requires ALL cases to be trimmed to the EXACT same length to get good results, (and no buckled shoulders).

    rc
     
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