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How do I know if my dies are adjusted properly?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by brockgl, Apr 19, 2008.

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  1. brockgl

    brockgl Member

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    Never reloaded a bullet before, and I am reading through the Hornady reloading manual. However, all it says is, "Once your die is adjusted you can do this..." But it never tells me how to adjust my dies or how I know if they are adjusted already. Can anyone enlighten me? I am using RCBS Competition Dies for .30-06 in a Redding Big Boss single stage press. This is a 2-die set. I ran one cartridge through the shaping/depriming die, and it knocked out the primer just fine. But I don't know what the case should look like after it is reshaped. Also, I haven't used the loading die yet, but I definitely would like to know how to know if I have that one adjusted right or not.
     
  2. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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  3. jeepmor

    jeepmor Member

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    Do just what you did and decap the die and resize it. Make sure to use lube, a stuck case is a pickle without the right parts. Now, take that case and chamber it in your firearm. If the bolt does not close hard, you've sized enough. If the bolt is stiff or difficult to close, crank the die down a little more and try again until you have a good fit.

    It is common to have to adjust the die a 1/4 turn or more past shell holder contact. A little camover effect when resizing is usually required for proper resizing of rifle cases.

    That's all there is too it really. Check your total length once resized also, 30-06 is 2.494" max case length. You can purchase a trimmer and add it to your reloading goodies. Or, just use a fine file and keep it square. Then deburr it with a reloading deburr/chamfer hand tool.
     
  4. 33rowdy

    33rowdy Member

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    I think the things he is looking for is the MAX. CART. LENGTH (3.340 for 30-06) and proper BULLET SEATING. You pros can chime in on those answers. I'm in here to lern too!
     
  5. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    The Hornady manual is a poor start for a newbie. I`d pick up a Lyman manual or Speer. Both are much better at discribing the steps we take loading ammo. The Lyman is IMO the better of the manuals out there today just because of this.

    The sizeing die needs to screwed down with the ram at the top of its stroke. When the die touches the shell holder lock it in place and size a cartridge, be sure to lube your brass before doing this.
    Try to chamber your sized case in your rifle. If it chambers easily you`re fine, if you feel resistance to closing the bolt, screw the die about 1/16-1/8 deeper USEING A NEW UNSIZED CASE once more size and recheck for chambering. If you need to go more the 1/4 turn deeper I`d take a look as some other problem may be present. A old sized case will not spring back like a unsized one and your adjustment may not be correct, use an unsized case to check all sizeing adjustments.

    To adjust your bullet seating depth, you will need to put a case in your shellholder with the ram moved to the top of its stroke screw in the die WITH OUT THE SEATING STEM IN IT until it contacts the case. Back it out a turn and lock it. YOU DON`T at this point want die contact with the brass.
    Lower the ram and start a bullet in the case mouth. The neck may be too tight to get a bullet in it but at least have the bullet as straight as possible in the mouth and with the ram still at the top of its stroke screw in the seating stem until contact is made. Lower the ram and a little at a time screw in the seater and seat the bullet. Measure the OAL and continue setting the seater deeper until it seats the bullet to your desired depth (OAL).

    Once you have the bullet seated to the desired depth, color the bullet ogive (curved part of the nose) with a magic marker and chamber it in a safe place. Extract the bullet carefully and check for contact with the rifleing. If present, it will show itself as marks in the ink. If you are contacting the rifleing seat the bullet another 1/8 turn deeper and recheck until no contact is present.
    Lock the die ring and enjoy your new hobby!!
     
  6. 33rowdy

    33rowdy Member

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    See...I knew I would lern something about this. QUOTE "To adjust your bullet seating depth, you will need to put a case in your shellholder with the ram moved to the top of its stroke screw in the die WITH OUT THE SEATING STEM IN IT until it contacts the case." I never done it without the seeting stem.
     
  7. CmpsdNoMore

    CmpsdNoMore Member

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    Would it be a good idea or helpful to make make a dummy round without powder and primer?
     
  8. Mt Shooter

    Mt Shooter Member

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    I make a dummy round for everything keep them in a box on the table. when ever iam making that round I put it in the the seater die run it up and screw it down until it contacts the dummy. All the rounds are the same every time.
     
  9. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Some just use the barrel (I did), but the round may pass this test then be clocked differently when actually loaded into the barrel and snag on the hood (it happens). The case gage covers the entire case and gives you assurance your round will fit. The only area it can’t check is the rim/extractor grove, but unless you have a casepro sizing machine you are not resizing this part anyway. Bottle neck cartages have “stepped” case gages as you can size them too much and compared to straight walled cases do need to be trimmed much more often. A damaged rim (from the extractor/ejector, center left photo1) seems to be the most common reason a round fails the case gage test. If you insert it into the gage backwards and rotate, more often than not, it will now drop into and fall freely from the case gage (only use that procedure if your gage is made from steel). Also, times do exist for the bullet to extend over maximum OAL, (long loaded 40, center right photo1) or reduced pressure (dependent on leade). Leade, throat, or freebore is the section of area between the end of the chamber and the beginning of the rifling and is different from gun to gun. It is that difference and the different ogives of individual bullets that you really can’t say “x” is the best OAL for “Y” round. http://www.dillonhelp.com/xl650english2/pg28.htm is a good step by step.
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