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9MM bullet depth seating problem...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Shinbone, Aug 2, 2010.

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  1. Shinbone

    Shinbone Member

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    I sent for some MBC smallball and thought I'd try them out. After all, the price is right. I'm using a Lee Turrent press, although I'm using it in the stationary mode and the turret is not turning. I'm also using a Lee die set.
    The problem is that I can't get a consistent bullet depth. I actually did get one to seat at 1.15" COAL. I've tried for hours over several sessions using several dummy rounds. :banghead: I even took the die apart and cleaned it. No matter how high I adjust the seater plug, the bullets get seated deeper! So I use a hammer type bullet puller and take it apart and try again. I also reset the entire die depth per Lee instruction sheet. I've never seen anything like it. I also have a Lyman Turret press and thought maybe I'd place the die in that.
    I'm really stuck on this one. I could use some ideas.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    The bullet must be hitting something in the seating die and not the seater plug.
    Unscrew the seating die a couple of turns and try seating a bullet in a dummy round.
    Use a fired case for the dummy rounds instead of a sized case and pulling the bullet will be much easier.
    Note the OAL, screw the seater plug in a turn, run that dummy again, and if the OAL is shorter, the seater plug is now controlling the OAL.
    Lock the seater die there and adjust the seater plug to get the OAL you want.

    My experience with MB smallball is a OAL of 1.080-1.100 works best. YMMV
     
  3. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Bullet Seating Adjustment

    The trick is to set the bullet seating depth first, then the crimp. This is done as follows; With an empty, sized case in the shell holder, hold the ram at the top of its stroke. Turn the bullet seating die body down over the case until you feel it come to a stop. This will be when the case mouth contacts the crimp shoulder inside the die. Mark this position by turning the lock ring down against the turret or press frame. Now adjust your bullet seating depth. Once you have the bullet seated to the desired depth, back the bullet seater adjuster out about 1 turn. Now turn the bullet seating die body in to apply the desired crimp. Once this is established, hold the ram at the top of its stroke and spin the bullet seater adjuster down until it stops.

    It is a good idea to carry this out with an empty case, so that after you have seated the bullet, you have a perfectly safe "dummy" cartridge (or gauge) to repetitively set seating depth and crimp on future occasions.

    Once you have this "dummy" gauge, all you have to do is place it in the shell holder, raise the ram to the top of its stroke, turn the bullet seating body down until it stops, and then turn the bullet seating depth adjuster in until it stops. Since the crimp and the seating depth were already set, the die will return to very close to the same settings.
     
  4. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    243winxb:
    OOPs, I gave up seating AND CRIMPING at the same time long ago, because of this type of problem, and just assumed the OP was seating, THEN crimping....my bad.

    Seating, then crimping...the reason most progressives have 5 stations!!
     
  5. Shinbone

    Shinbone Member

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    Thanks, I'll give that a try. I have a taper crimp die for crimping, so I can set the other die rather high if I have to.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Taper crimping auto calibers in the same step as seating is simple because there is so little crimp going on. No need to seat and crimp 9MM in separate steps unless one just wants to.
     
  7. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    Is there a bullet stuck in the die?
     
  8. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    I don't mean to be pedestrian, but are you fully stroking the lever every time? Is the lock ring snug against the press so that the die can't wiggle up & down?

    I sympathize, but can't say I've had a problem keeping an approximate OAL every time. By approximate, I might vary a couple hundredths but not much more. I have to squeeze my 9mm Smallballs down to 1.07" or shorter OAL to run in my CZ. I am set for OAL of 1.068 per my caliper. I might vary a little over a run of 100 rounds, but never by much.

    Q
     
  9. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Mr Bone -
    Several thoughts...

    • One issue might be you are expecting the die to seat the bullet within .001" which simply can't be obtained or held. You should be happy with a range of OALs falling within + or - .007" of the listed length. That will give you a range of about .015" in total variation. As you learn your machine this will decrease.

    • I also agree you might be crimping before the seating is finished. Unscrew the body of the seating die about 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Once you get your OAL going (inner anvil adjustment), then slowly work the body (the outer adjustment) of the die up or down to correct the crimp. I like to see about .378" on just the last 1/32 of the case mouth.

    • Is the bullet seating anvil up inside the die round or flat? Pushing on RN bullets with a flat anvil will give you issues sometimes.
     
  10. Shinbone

    Shinbone Member

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    The crimping part of the die was too low. So I raised the die up several turns and then adjusted bullet depth. It works fine now. Thanks.
     
  11. Tilos

    Tilos Member

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    Shinbone:
    Thanks for posting back and glad we could help.
     
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