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Let's make a custom seating die

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Tech Ninja, Jul 19, 2013.

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  1. Tech Ninja

    Tech Ninja Member

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    Nosler 158 .357 grain hollow points are reasonably priced good quality bullets. The problem is the soft noses are easily compressed by the shallow curve Lee bullet seating die.

    Lee Precision will make you a custom die for a fair price but I reload to save money and that means making a die not buying one. But how are you going to do that without any machine tools? Guns were made for hundreds of years without machine tools and that means we can make a simple seating die without any too. Just a hand drill and bench grinder and some files.

    And you know a file in your hand is a machine tool.


    Go to the hardware store and get a suitably sized bolt. I paid .49 cents.

    [​IMG]

    Put the bolt in your drill, clamp the drill down to a bench top. Use a file to reduce the diameter to the same diameter as the seating die. 0.352 in this case.

    [​IMG]

    Move to the bench grinder and grind the side of the bolt head. I had the grinder off to make pictures taking easier.

    [​IMG]

    Reduce the bolt head thickness. You can make it thicker than the factory seating die.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  2. Tech Ninja

    Tech Ninja Member

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    It looks like this after grinding.

    [​IMG]

    Move the bolt out further in the chuck so you can cut a groove with a file.

    [​IMG]

    Now file three notches equally spaced around the head.

    [​IMG]


    The notches allow you to put the seating die in the chuck so you can size the post with a file.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Tech Ninja

    Tech Ninja Member

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    Polish it up with some emery cloth.

    [​IMG]

    It fits like this.

    [​IMG]

    And the result is happy hollow points!

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  4. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    I've made so much stuff like that using my drill press, hacksaw, and files it isn't even funny. Everything from trimmer pilots, and seating stems, to trigger guards and other stuff.

    Usually when I need something like this it is either out of stock, or would cost more to ship than the item itself cost.

    Long live the frugal machinist.
     
  5. critter

    critter Member

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    I like that.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Very cool indeed. Nice job.
     
  7. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Why not just get the RCBS die with multiple seating plugs. Your .49 bolt, plus your electricity and time just cost you $30
     
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    The entertainment and education values are priceless, though.

    Tech Ninja, nice work.
     
  9. Delmar

    Delmar Member

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    Had a similar issue with my Lee seating die for my 270 Weatherby..it was flattening the nose of my 130 grain ballistic tips. I took a 60 degree countersink and drilled a relief in the center. I is now a happy reloader
     
  10. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    This is great for those that have the tools.
     
  11. fguffey

    fguffey Member

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    A Quote" post 7

    "Why not just get the RCBS die with multiple seating plugs. Your .49 bolt, plus your electricity and time just cost you $30"

    ------------------------------------------- ------- --
    Tech Ninja. In the real world there is critique and criticism, if the criticism is not objective it is just plain-o b*tch$ng.

    The diameter of your seater plug should be the same diameter of the bullet. There seems to be something missing, I would suggest the bullet be supported when forming/punching the hollow points, meaning you could use a cylinder to support the bullet and align the bullet punch/seater plug.

    More money: I have RCBS and Lyman bullet lube/sizers, finding/making a top punch would allow for bullet support and punching hollow points.

    I can not see punching the hollow point and seating the bullet at the same time.

    F. Guffey
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  12. Tech Ninja

    Tech Ninja Member

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    It's just ordinary tools that many people have. Certainly stuff that anyone can afford.

    Yep! Someone once said that you are not wasting your time if you enjoyed what you did.

    And I have more time than money. Thirty bucks matters to me.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Making something yourself, priceless.

    They are already JHPs, he is just using that to his advantage with his unique seater plug.
     
  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "Why not just get the RCBS die with multiple seating plugs. Your .49 bolt, plus your electricity and time just cost you $30"

    Why not apply that logic to reloading itself?

    Add the costs of loading tools, components, the supposed value of our leisure time and the very real costs of a loading books, bench/room, electicity/heat/cooling, storage shelving, etc, against buying factory and the whole thing is foolish for at least 80% of us.

    Maybe you think we could better use our valuable spare time drinking beer and watching TV ??
     
  15. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I prefer to spend mine shooting more....but to each his own.......
     
  16. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Nicely done. I have found that the very slight deformation I get with both the 158 gr .38 caliber and the 240 gr .44 caliber Noslers when using the standard seating plug makes no difference at all when it comes to accuracy/velocity whether they are shot from revolvers or carbines.
     
  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I've gone the other way and hollowed out the seating die. But that does tend to reform the lead a bit for spitzers in .357 Maximums.
     
  18. horseman1

    horseman1 Member

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    Great job and very innovative!
     
  19. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    [​IMG]

    I was taught not to use the side of the grinder wheel. Weakens the wheel.

    Turn the drill 90* and grind the corners down. Then support the drill (or the shaft) and turn the drill on and grind with both the grinder and drill running. The part will come out very round. Doesn't seem to matter which way the drill is turning.
     
  20. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I have made firing pins for side hammer double shotguns this way. Used socket head machine screws.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    + 1,000!!

    I have seen them crack and blow up, badly injuring the grinder person.

    They are not designed for side loading, or heat buildup on one side while spinning at 3,600 RPM!!

    rc
     
  22. Safetychain

    Safetychain Member

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    "I was taught not to use the side of the grinder wheel. Weakens the wheel." Yes, we all know the safety rules that are provided with our tools. But we usually find that when following all those rules, we are definitely safer but take the shortcuts that come with familiarity to save on time. The side of the wheel usually gives a longer straighter grind and avoids having to constantly redress the wheel. I'm not saying that not following the safety rules is a good thing. How many times when you need to hit something with a hammer, even one blow, do you run down a pair of safety glasses? How many times have you put on safety glasses to put air in a car or bike tire? By the rules, you should. How many who wear normal prescription glasses in place of safety glasses or even know that they are typically not interchangeable? I try to follow the rules but usually don't. By the way, the two rules to follow with a bench grinder is to not stand directly in front of the wheel and wear safety glasses. I do follow those rules, especially the one not standing in front of the wheel as it sure keeps the debris from getting on your clothes and face, even in the eyes with fully enclosed (perforated sides) eye protectors. As a side note: my Craftman grinder has gone through at least 3 wheel changes due to wearing down and at least 25% of my grinding is on the side of the wheel. In 40+ years I have yet to have one come apart, but I will agree a wheel could come apart and probably will now that I've said this, however that is why they all come with a wheel cover that is designed to catch and prevent the explosive wheel disintegration.

    Tech Ninja, very good tutorial and pictures. I find it very satisfying to do-it -yourself little projects like this. Hang, that's why I started reloading in the first place. Even though I have found a small stoneaged little lathe, I still use the battery powered drill and sometimes the drill press with a side angle grinder to get it done faster if exactness is not required.
     
  23. Captaingyro

    Captaingyro Member

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    Jesse Heywood: Excellent tip about running both the drill and the grinder. I love learning little bits of expertise like that. Thanks!
     
  24. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    Nice job. I am impressed at your results and have to hand it too you for doing it.
     
  25. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    And then there is the other "time" factors:

    1. What you made you have....now, not a week from now. Matters when you need/want it now.

    2. Some things you build just aren't available any other way.

    Good job!
     
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