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Bullet setback problem

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by eam3clm@att.net, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Active Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    I am having an reoccuring problem when resizing brass that I cannot quite figure out. MY resized brass will not give enough neck tension to hold the bullet in multple calibers. It first started about four months after I got my LNL AP press. I had been using a Lee classic turret press with my lee dies, but I got to the point that I needed somthing faster. After shoping around I decided that I would get the LNL press. I also got the free hornady bullets in 40s&w. When I went to load these, I was not getting enough neck tension, so I ordered some more of the berrys bullets in 9mm and 40 cal, since I was out, and they normally are larger than true FMJ bullets. When I loaded my 40 cal berry's bullets the neck tension was a little better, but I was not satisfied. I measured the bullets with my caliber ( my micrometer was and still is MIA) and they measured at .400 ( hornady's were .398). I first emailed berry's, but I didnt get much help. I then called LEE and they sent me an undersized die. This die solved the neck tension issue with my 40 s&w reloads.
    Fast foward a few months I was low on my stock pile of 9mm ammo. When I started loading these berry's 9mm bullets on my LNL believe it or not I had the same problem. :banghead::cuss: Though with the 9mm it was only with certin headstamp brass. Win and and remington brass was ok, but fed and a few others gave me problems. I understand that some brass is thicker and thicker brass leaves a smaller inside diameter when sized. So I went to the trouble to sort my brass by headstamp for the next year or so. A few months ago I decided I had an excess of Fed headstamp 9mm brass and that I needed to get it loaded. I ordered a Lee undersized sizing die for 9mm and loaded these.
    Not long ago I decided to start reloading 380 acp to feed my pocket pistol. I ordered a 250ct of berry's 100 grain bullets. And who would have guessed it, I could not get enough neck tension with these either. So I ordered some 95 grain MBC bullets and today I had the same problem, but not as bad. :cuss: :cuss: :
    :banghead: :banghead: This was with all headstamps ( rem, win, S&B,and federal). None had enough to keep the bullet from settimg back under pressure.
    This is a long post to read so let me sum it up. First off I am not new to this game, but I have only been using my LNL for a little over two years. I am having problems getting enough neck tension with regular dies. I started with my new press with tried and trued dies ( except 380 acp dies), but with a new lot of bullets in 40 S&W, 9mm, and 380. The dies worked fine in my Lee classic Turret press with all the bullets I loaded previously, but I sold the press and cannot try the new bullets on it. The sizing die is adjusted to the shell plate , and I even set it up where the press would cam over to see if that would help. I have had this problem with three different calibers of lee dies. My 45 acp and 38/357 mag dies work fine, but maybe due to me only loading my casted bullets in them, which I size oversized. My casted 9mm and 40 cal bullets also work fine in the standard dies, but they too are oversized. I have also noticed that when I resize .223 on the press that the shoulder is not pushed back as far as it was on the Lee press. This was verified by my hornady compator, and with both presses the die does hit the shell holder.
    I have gotten to the point that I am :banghead: and cant think of what to try or if it is a die, bullet, brass, operator, or press problem. I have adjusted and readjusted the regular dies more times than I can remember, but always with the same outcome. I am not putting too much pressure when I press the cases, and I have similar results by just cycling the rounds in a gun, by hand.
  2. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Mentor

    Apr 28, 2005
    Oregon Coast
    Try seating a bullet in a sized, but not expanded, case and see if the bullet will seat. If it won't, then the sizing die is doing it's job correctly.

    The next area to look at is the expander. If it's over size, it will expand the case too much to hold the bullet. If it is over size, you can chuck it in a drill press, lathe or any other spinning tool and polish it down to the proper size for the caliber.

    Also, on those .380 cases, look inside your Speer, Federal and Blazer headstamped cases. The newer ones have a step on the inside of the case to prevent bullet setback, but only works with a bullet that is the same length as the bullet the case was loaded with at the factory. It was a rather ingenious way of solving bullet setback issues in the .380, but can give reloaders fits until they figure it out.

    Hope this helps.

  3. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Active Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    I have tried seating a bullet on a case that has not been belled on all three calibers. It is a little harder to seat, but they all will seat except for lead cast bullets. I have not adjusted the expander when switching from the standard dies to to the undersized dies, so I have ruled out an oversized expander since the same amount of the case is expanded with both dies. My logic was that it would expand the cases to the same amount no matter how small the inside diameter is beforehand.
    I did not know that about the 380 brass. That gives me new hope on the 380 and maybe I just need to seat a little deeper for the bullet to reach the step.
    I have gotten to the point that I am begining to believe that lee dies are too short to work with my setup. I mean the inside sizing portion is too high inside the die. I have read somewhere that although the sizer is carbide, lee still puts a taper on the sizer ring. I dont know if that is true or not. The fact that my .223 rem lee dies bump the shoulder back less on this press, when the die hits the shell plate, also leads me to believe that the actual distance is greater from the shell plate carrier (where the case head rests) to the bottom of the die. I am considering trying Hornady pistol dies to see if thay work better in my LNL. The lee dies really works good using cast bullets since the case body does not swage the bullet when seating.
  4. hoghunting

    hoghunting Participating Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Lee makes an undersized 380 expander as a buddy found out trying to load .380 with his Lee dies. He had the same problem as there wasn't any neck tension after sizing the cases, and it did not matter what manufacturer of cases. He tried different bullets and still had the same problem. He finally called Lee and they sent an undersized expander, obviously they are aware of a problem.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  5. 918v

    918v Senior Member

    Mar 16, 2006
    I think your expander is the problem. The reason you are doing better with undersized dies is due to brass springback. What is the diameter of the expander? Also, I have never seen Hornady sell .002" undersized bullets. Maybe your calipers are off?
  6. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Participating Member

    May 20, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    You should set the expander to flare the mouth of the case to just barely prevent shaving the bullet as you seat it. Try that out with one bullet in the press at a time. Do it so that you have to hold the bullet on the case until it goes up into the seating die (I know you don't want to do this all the time).

    If the bullet has enough neck tension, your flare is the problem. If the bullet seats and still doesn't have enough neck tension, it's your sizing die.

    BTW, I never set the dies so that they will cam over in the LnL.
  7. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Participating Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Lockport, IL
    Try cleaning your expander of any old bullet lube and try again.
  8. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Senior Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Peidmont/Triad, NC
    I use all RCBS dies and have not had the problems you are describing, but I have had problems on my lnl-ap with the length of the cases varying so much that I had to pick out all the cases shorter than .742 in length and set my expanding die for this new starting point.

    What I discovered with my situation was that my loose neck tension on my lnl-ap was coming from setting my neck expanding die to do the minumim flare on the shortest case and on the cases around .748 to longer it was over expanding my cases.

    This may not be the same problem you have but my 9mm brass varying from .735 to .755 is more than my die would adjust for. If you are adjusting for the shortest ones your expander may be over expanding the longer ones.

    I backed my neck expanding die off to the point that I can't tell it does anything and bottomed out my resizing die to the shell plate and my neck tension is almost too tight now. But I leave it that way

    I know our brand of dies are different but our presses and cases are the same.

    good luck
  9. dickttx

    dickttx Active Member

    Feb 9, 2011
    Fort Worth
    I moved my Lee dies from my LCT to a new LnL a couple of months ago and of course had to reset as they are now in the bushings. Took a little more fiddling to get them right, than with my LCT.
    I too would look at the expander. When I started loading 38 Super about a year ago the first loading of Precision Delta JHP into new Starline brass was OK. However, when I started to reload the same cases after firing them my calipers would push the bullet into the case more just by rolling the thumb wheel. I exchanged the expander for my 9mm and they worked fine. And measuring them with my calipers I even get the same diameter on my calipers. Doesn't take much.

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