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LnL - Totally appalled at these results

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by HK SD9 Tactical, Jul 6, 2011.

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  1. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    I was loading some 9mm RN bullets on my LnL AP and was having difficulty obtaining a stable COAL. So in an effort to get a stable COAL, I decided to seat my bullets with the seating die stem for flat nose bullets figuring that I would at least obtain some semblance of consistency in COAL.

    Out of 594 rounds loaded, here are the results of COAL.

    476 had a COAL of between 1.156 and 1.164 (I was shooting for 1.160 with +/- .003 but I decided to accept +/- .0045)
    25 had a COAL of 1.155
    14 had a COAL of 1.154
    12 had a COAL of 1.153
    20 had a COAL of 1.152
    10 had a COAL of 1.151
    8 had a COAL of 1.150
    and 29 had a COAL of between 1.140 and 1.149

    This means that a full 25% of the cartridges I loaded on the LnL AP were out of generally accepted specs (my specs as well) for COAL.:eek:

    The LnL AP was set up as follows:

    Station 1 Deprime/Size
    Station 2 Charge and Bell with PTX expander
    Station 3 RCBS Lock Out die
    Station 4 Hornady New Dimension Seat Die with flat stem, set for seating only.
    Station 5 Lee Taper Crimp Die

    All cases were previously cleaned and primed so there was no priming done on the LnL AP. Cases were auto fed with the Case Feeder. I took special care to insure that all stations were occupied at all times so that any flex would be accounted for.

    Obviously something is out of whack to get this variance in COAL. It could be a warped/bent shell plate but near as I can tell, the shell plate is flat. I ran a stainless steel ruler edge over both sides of the shell plate and no variance was noted. No variance was noted on the sub plate using the same method. The shell plate did not come loose at any time and was properly tightened down. The press is in alignment and is timed as indicated in the instructional videos. No adjustment had to be made to the timing. No die is touching the shell plate and powder drops measured (about 1 in 10) were within .1 grain on my RCBS Charge Master 1500 scale. The combo seating/crimp die is set up for seat only and the die is backed out to compensate for the small variances in the brass length. All brass measured between .744 in and .754 in with the majority at or near .754in.

    COAL variances of this magnitude can mean pressure changes of ~ 2000 psi if not more.:uhoh:

    What am I doing wrong?
     
  2. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Are you using the same plated Raniers as in the above post?

    Try something once. Take a micrometer to the bullets themselves, measure the length, base to nose. Then make another list with the variances you find. I'll bet you'll find about the same range of different lengths you found after they're loaded. Plated bullets are just not that consistant. They're made for blasting ammo that doesn't foul the bore as bad as lead bullets, and don't cost as much as jacketed.

    Another thing, what are you complaining about? These are semi auto handgun shells, not some bench rest rifle. The OAL is NOT that critical! Do you suffer from OCD? It would seem so!:neener:
     
  3. Waldog

    Waldog Member

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    I don't think the problem is with the press. You state you were using LEAD bullets. Did you buy the bullets or are they commercial? Lead commercial bullets are quite inconsistent. Some are better that others and some are terrible.

    1). Lead bullet molds are cut with a cutter called a "cherry". Commercial molds are usually cut on a multi-tool head machine. A four hole mold will/may be cut with 4 different cutters. Commercial casters may have more than one machine turning out raw bullets. The bullets are sized an scooped into a carton. You could have bullets cast from several different molds. Unless each mold cavity is cut with the same cherry, you will have variations in each bullet. They are not "dead-on" consistent. They vary a bit. In some cases, quite a bit.
    2. Bullet lube will build up on the bullet seating die. This can build up surprising fast. This will also change your seating depth.
    3. Ditch the flat seating stem and use the stem for round nose bullets
     
  4. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    Did the micrometer thing on the bullets. The variances are limited to .005in in length. A sampling of 100 bullets resulted in the following: 7 @ .593, 20 @ .594, 30 @ .595, 19 @ .596, 12 @ .597, and 2@.598. Total variance is calculated at .005 which is irrelevant due to the use of the flat nose stem during the seating process.

    I also understand that plated bullets are not that consistant. That is the reason that I used the flat nose stem to eliminate the variances in the length of the bullet. Using the flat nose stem, the bullets regardless of their ogive should have all seated approximately to the same length because the seating was done on the nose of the bullet, not the ogive, hence my concern about the excessive variances.

    Agreed this is not a bench rest rifle test but I am concerned about potential over pressure. I do not suffer from OCD, I suffer from "I don't want my handgun blowing up in my face syndrome". While I agree that COAL is not that critical if the bullets are seated using the round nose stem, variances from 1.140 in to 1.164 in (.024 in) using a flat nose seating stem is excessive. I have used these RB bullets in the past and have always been able to seat within +/- .005 in on a SS press using the SAME DIES. A progressive seems to have tolerances far more forgiving than a SS and that is fine but before I start to crank out 10,000 rounds I want to make sure that the ammo being cranked out is not dangerous.

    If you consider me OCD due to this, I rather be OCD than blind and missing a hand.:(
     
  5. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    Well looks like I lost that bet. That's why I don't go near any casino's.:what::rolleyes:

    And of course you're right about the flat nosed seating stem should negate any length variations. Hey, it was late at night, not thinking clearly.

    I don't remember you saying if all the cases were the same headstamp. AND were they all the same age, fired in the same gun? What I'm trying to get at is; case neck tension. Differing case neck tension might be allowing the bullet to seat easier on one, then harder on the next resulting in different lengths. BUT a good loading machine should control that. Are the bushings all tight? If there's play/looseness in them, that would be one answer, especially the seater die.

    That leaves us to conclude the loader is NOT doing it's job. How can this be? All the followers of the LNL here will be shocked, saddened, maddened!

    I'm going to go measure some 9mm ammo I just loaded on my D-650. It will be the first time I ever did this. I'm just not that concerned about OAL on handgun ammo. My loads are no where near max, so a bit of variance is of no concern.
     
  6. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    It will take a lot more than that little variance to blow up a gun. Unless of course you have a really crappy gun that already has some latent manufacturing defect.

    I shoot and sell a lot of plated bullets. One thing I have noticed with ranier and berry's bullets is that seating can often cause the nose to deform or flatten. The plating on them is very thin and it doesn't take much to deform them. Also, they call their bullets double struck, but they don't actually double strike them to ensure complete uniformity. All they do is push them through a tube of the right diameter to make sure that they will fit in the casing. X-Treme and Powerbond both actually double strike their plated bullets to ensure complete uniformity all around the whole entire surface of the bullet. If you are wanting perfect bullets, I suggest you start with Powerbond (though their price reflects their higher quality) then x-treme.

    Also, you might want to see if the bushing is being moved at all when you are loading. I have noticed that my bushings might rise a little while I am loading. If I don't over cam my sizing die for 6.5 grendel enough it won't bump the shoulder back far enough to chamber in my gun. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why it wasn't sizing enough until I watched it push the bushing up a little. Try over caming your seating die just enough to see if your bushing might be moving when you seat.

    Yes Snuffy, we know you hate the LNL and you love your Dillon.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  7. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Sounds like snuffy got up on the wrong side of the bed! :D :neener:


    But I too am surprised by the results.
    I'm in the process of loading some .38 Special.
    So I calipered a bunch & they came out very consistent - +-.001
    Not trying to thumb my nose at any color press, but I ran my stuff on a blue one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Something is wrong. I have loaded a bunch of Ranier 115 Gr RN bullets on my old Projector and now my LNL, and the O.A.L. varies about +/- .002 to .003.
     
  9. rangerphil

    rangerphil Member

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    Just a thought, is it possible that you might have some variance in your primer seating depth? A high primer, if not noticed can drive you crazy with the OAL measurement.
     
  10. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    Both Hornady and Dillon have their upsides and downsides. Lets try to fix the OP's problem with solutions that don't include changing presses all together. It just starts complaining and name calling.
     
  11. wild willy

    wild willy Member

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    Its probally the shell plate doing it.Thats what caused it on mine some cases rest on the extractor groove instead of the base plate
     
  12. gregj

    gregj Member

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    I've run into this exact thing, almost drove me crazy trying to figure out why I was seeing such differences.

    I have a LNL I picked up used, and am seeing different OALs using the wad cutter flat stem. I am very curious to see what the resolution will be.
     
  13. DILLONHELP

    DILLONHELP Member

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    A better way to compare one bullet to the next is to unscrew the seat stem from the die, put the bullet up into the cavity of the seat stem, and then measure from the base of the bullet to the top of the seat stem. My personal suspicion is that the diameter on the bullet where the seat stem contacts it is higher/lower from one bullet to the next. RN bullets in particular seem to be most prone to this. One batch of 100 jacketed RN 9mm bullets from a popular name in ammo manufacturing had .026" extreme spread in this dimension. I would expect most any machine/die brand to hold within .002-.006" OAL, with the rest of the variation in the projectiles themselves.
     
  14. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    I would say hate is too strong of a word. I just see a lot more complaints coming from lnl owners than from dillon. Since I already have a D-650, I'm not about to buy a LNL. I can't keep components in stock for one progressive, how would I keep two presses supplied?

    Until a couple of weeks ago, I could say I had NO complaints with my dillon. Then it started to tip primers,(large pistol, 45 acp), sideways and upside down. I was in the process of doing a complete caliber change to 9mm for the first time! That 3 hour process will be shorter now that it's set up once.

    Anyway, I discovered a sliver of lead that was probably sheared off one of my cast bullets during seating had gotten into the primer punch. Must have been hooking them, flipping them over.

    That problem with the thin plating over very soft lead could be the culprit. Especially if the shells are NOT the same headstamp and age,(all the same lot, all the same number of firings.) IF the nose is deforming, then the base or bottom of the bullet is at the same level. Differing amounts of case tension is what I'm talking about. One is larger ID and softer brass, the next is harder and a smaller ID. The harder/smaller ID is going to require more force to seat, possibly deforming the nose,(flattening).
     
  15. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

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    Here is what I am thinking is causing all the threads about the LNL. First, it is capable of doing everything that the 650 can do and it does it at a much cheaper price as well as including some bullets. I think that this has given a lot of guys the chance to get into progressive reloading at a cheaper price and when we had the reloading and ammo rush of '08 there were a ton more people buying the hornady's than the dillons to start out with. Whenever you get a bunch of new guys buying one machine to do something they are unfamiliar with, you will get a lot of questions on how to get them to work correctly. My guess is that 99% of the problems asked about can merely be chalked up to unfamiliarity with the system. I too had some problems with the LNL until I got used to its little querks. Flipping primers was the only actual problem that I have had and that was pretty easily fixed. Any other stoppages I got were from spilled powder or brass flakes getting into stuff. That kind of thing happens to the blue presses too. Once you learn the system you rarely have issues.
     
  16. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    No bets. Just trying to understand the variances.

    Mixed headstamps. Either FC or Speer so about a 50/50 split. OAL that were within specs were also mixed FC or Speer as were the ones that were out of specs. All the same age, all fired the same number of times, all fired from my SD9 Tactical. All bushings were tight. All rounds sit on the support plate and not the shell plate so the extractor groves are open enough to not allow support by the shell plate only - thus supposedly eliminating any flex caused by the shell plate.

    It could be the machine or the operator. This is what I need to find out.
     
  17. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    You should be getting around 0.005" variation max. I would install the proper bullet seater to start with. Using the flat base on plated bullets is not a good idea. Then I would loose the Lee FCD if that's what your using on the crimp station, Taper crimp is OK. Next I would clean your seating die (completely disassemble it). I suspect you have something causing the floating stem to be hanging up. It may be the flat base causing side forces. Make sure your shell plate is tight. These loosen up with use unless you really tighten them.

    I would run a few test with only one round at a time, checking your OAL. Without the crimp die. Note this will be different different than fully loaded. Mine runs about 0.010" difference. You should have a deviation of around 0.005". If good run the ones back through the taper crimp die and check your OAL. If it's different you found your problem. The TC should not change the OAL, that is the reason for doing it on a separate/final station.
     
  18. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    I agree except in the case of 5.7X28mm. A .1 grain difference in powder IS enought to severly damage a firearm, so is a .010 variance in seating if the rounds are loaded hot enough.

    Even if the plating on the RBs deformed would not the use of the flat nose seating stem eliminate this potential problem? If the case sits on the support plate and the seating die/stem is fixed, the distance between the support plate and the top of the bullet/bottom of the flat nose stem should be the COAL distance in every instance (if the support plate does not flex and the seating die does not move). I spun a mixture of the cases around the shell plate to make sure that they all sat on the support plate, which they did.

    I have some other bullets that I can try. I will reload some .357Mag using some Hornady 158gr HP/XTPs. I also have some RB 125gr Flat Nose that I will try as well to see if the variances can be repeated. If they can, it would pretty much eliminate just about everyting except the mechanical aspects of the loading process. I might buy a box of Powerbonds for my next attempt after this one. I'll do a 100/100 split and post the results.

    I will assume you mean the bushings in the LnL press itself. The bushings on the dies are all tight and do not move and for the life of me, I can not get the bushings on the press itself to move either.

    Please, no Blue, Red, Green or other color wars here.:uhoh: This has me vexed right now and I need to find a cause/solution to this problems.:)
     
  19. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    This is what I would/was expecting. Something with a max variance of +/- .003in.
     
  20. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    All primers were seated using a RCBS press mounted priming system. All primers were checked and all were sitting just below flush prior to loading on the LnL.
     
  21. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    Thanks. That is what I need to do.
     
  22. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    Out of the hundred rounds that I tested after I read this post, every single round was sitting on the support plate and not the shell holder. Both the in-tolerance and out-of-tolerance loads. There is enough room in the extractor groves to allow this to happen. It would pretty much eliminate the shell plate as the cause of this problem. I suspect that if the shell plate was warped, then sometimes during the travel of the circle, the round would have risen perceptably above the support plate, which they did not. Used a set of automotive feeler gauges to determine this.
     
  23. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    I am not sure I follow you on this. If I remove the seating stem out of the seating die the the bullets just fall through the die Alignment Sleeve without any resistance what-so-ever.

    I do not think that I am understanding what you want me to check. Could you please elaborate a little more on this?

    Do you mean the crimp die?

    Thanks
     
  24. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    This may be something to look at. Let's see what happens after I load the .357 Mag rounds this evening. I have two batches of cases, 100 *-* brass cases and 100 Winchester Nickle plated cases. All are twice fired. I'll load 100 with the Hornady bullets and 100 with the RB Flat Nose (50 brass with Hornady, 50 brass with RB Flat Nose, 50 Nickle Plated with Hornady, and 50 Nickle Plated with RB Flat Nose).
     
  25. HK SD9 Tactical

    HK SD9 Tactical Member

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    I am not eliminating operator error. This is my first progressive but in my defense, I have been reloading on and off for over 40 years now with single stage presses including Redding, Hornady, Lee (just for small stuff like priming), and RCBS. I do not find the progressive any more daunting but I see that it will require more attention to detail until I am fully versed in its operation. As a matter of fact, I found it to be rather repetative but I did not loose my attention to detail during this process.

    I almost bought my first progressive in 06 after the change in political structure and again in 08 after the major upheaveal so it is not something that I took lightly. I appreciate your help and hope that it is something that can be corrected with a minor adjustment.
     
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