Need 9mm and 357 Mag seating dies that seat via ogive, not meplat

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JimGnitecki, Sep 25, 2022.

  1. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Press test against the bench top is a good quick test to check neck tension. :thumbup:

    I found rounds with proper neck tension that won't experience bullet setback when fed/chambered from the magazine won't move the bullet in the case no matter how hard I push against the bench.

    With that said, there will be some in the THR peanut gallery that will point out that static force is different from impact force and actually feeding/chambering from the magazine will duplicate the forces involved to produce bullet setback of finished/chambered rounds.

    BUT, push test is certainly way better than not checking bullet setback. :):thumbup:
     
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  2. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Dies don't seat to ogive or meplate. You can adjust the seating depth for any die. You should be seating to bullet mfg's data. They know the bullets' profile and can give you OAL. If they don't know you should call them and ask.
     
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  3. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    I found a way to get a PARTIAL improvement. It got the COAL variance down to about .004". Here's what I did:

    Fiirst, I changed back to the Dillon seating die, because I found that its insert was actually better shaped to capture the bullet ogive than the Redding insert was. However, that did not help. The Variance in COAL was still up to about .010".

    Then I thought of something else.

    I am loading on a Dillon XL750 press. The press uses a "toolhead" design, where different toolheads can be slid into the frame for different previously set-up calibers. This design of course requires that there be sufficient clearances between the toolhead and the frame to allow the toolhead to slide in. And, both the toolhead and the frame have production tolerances that can make the clearances tighter or looser than the target clearance.

    The XL750 has 2 threaded holes threaded through the frame on the perimeter of the toolhead, and 2 matching unthreaded holes in the toolhead. You screw in 2 tiny bolts that secure the toolhead snugly into the frame to prevent movement of the toolhead during operation. This compensates for any excess clearance issues between the toolhead and the frame. I thought of checking the tightness of the 2 screws on my setup, especially since it had been physically moved cross country between the last time I used it and this time.

    Both screws were still fairly snug, but I WAS able to tighten them just a bit without overtorquing them.

    I then tried seating bullets again into just-belled but empty cases, as I had been doing. Recall that before I tightened these 2 screws, I was getting about 0.010" variance in COAL, with either the Dillon or Redding die. After tightening them, the variance, at least with the Dillon die (I have not yet retested the Redding die) was down to .004".

    Now this is not a "complete" test, since I was seating at the seating station, but had no other stations on the progressive press occupied. As most of us, occupied stations versus empty stations do make a difference on the outcome at any one station, because the forces exterted via the press handle movement get amplified a LOT - enough to distort the combined relative positions of the shellplate, the toolhead, and the die components at each station.

    But, at least so far, tightening those 2 screws, which did not even seem to be visually loose, seems to have made a favourable difference. Who knew.

    The investigation continues . . .

    Jim G
     
  4. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    What you are describing is shellplate tilt/deflection inherent to progressive presses using shellplate with ram under the center of shellplate with support of subplate acting as fulcrum to lift/tip the shellplate. When resizing force is applied to the shellplate, often bullet seating die on opposite side of the shellplate can tilt/deflect varying amount affecting OAL variance.

    BUT, there are other reloading variables to contribute to the .004"-.010" OAL you are seeing:
    • Consistency of bullet nose profile/ogive
    • Tilting of bullet
    So depending on the type/manufacturer of the 9mm bullet and bullet feeding/setting consistency, you can "tolerance stack" on top of OAL variance from shellplate tilt/deflection.

    I do not believe you posted what type/brand of 9mm bullet you are using but if it is regular plated, often soft lead core can deform under bullet seating pressure to add further to the OAL variance (And why you are looking for bullet seating stem that pushes on bullet ogive). I found in-house jacketed bullets made by RMR (Which BTW is used by ELEY to produce their centerfire match ammunition) to be very consistent in bullet nose profile/ogive to produce .001" variance with pre-resized mixed range brass with Lee combo seat/taper crimp die (Which uses seating stem that pushes on the bullet ogive as there is a hole where the tip of the bullet goes).

    So try reloading with pre-resized brass and if OAL variance decreases, you are experiencing shellplate tilt/deflection. (To minimize this issue, Lee designed Pro 1000/4000/6000 by placing ram under station #1 where resizing force is applied the most so during heavy resizing, shellplate simply drops flat on top of shellplate carrier instead of tilting/deflecting off subplate ring to produce greater OAL variance of bullet seated rounds).
     
  5. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    livelife: Thank-you! Your postings above are very helpful!
     
  6. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    That’s interesting, I’ve been loading a lot of pistol caliber rounds and have never seated on the ogive, nor measured to the ogive. I do measure COL from the tip of the bullet to the base of the case. And yes, there is a tolerance on the finished COL. Regardless of where you’re seating or measuring, if you want a custom seating stem that matches a specific bullet, the RCBS service was mentioned as was JB weld. Be advised there are different “set” times for the JB weld epoxy. You need to press the greased bullet into the epoxy before it sets. You can also wad up tinfoil and have the bullet form it in the seating stem. If you have a hot glue gun, that also can be used as a filler for the seating stem - heat the metal stem up first and the glue will stick to it a bit better. And grease or wax your bullet so you get it unstuck.
     
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  7. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    livelife: I did actually mention, but you might have missed it, that I am using the Hornady HAP 115g hollow point jacketed bullet, which my SIG P210A loves. And yes, I agree that the Dillon shellplate support system, which is central versus perimeter support, and the inherent clearance needed to support slide-in/out toolheads, both contribute to tilt deflection under actual operating loads.

    My Forster single stage press, which I use for my 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, holds base-to-ogive variance to around .001" (basically, the measuring device is the true limiting factor on COAL consistency), and the slow production rate is fine for the rifle, because I shoot only an average of 50 rounds per range session, at 300 yards and further. But, a single stage press is too slow a way to make handgun ammunition, where I shoot 150 rounds per range session. Hence, the progressive Dillon press.

    The Hornady HAP is a popular jacketed 115g bullet for action shooting, but I also use it as a target round because of its relatively marvelous consistency in weight, diameter, and OAL. Its shape is shown in the attached photo. Note the UNcurved ogive, which makes it relatively easy for a properly sloped, hollow seating insert to catch the bullet consistently at the same relative point on the ogive, preferably closer to, but not at, the bore of the bullet versus close to the meplat.

    The "best" shape for a bullet seater insert would be a hollowed out cylinder whose ID is just a bit smaller than 9mm bore diameter, and which has NOTHING inside it that is smaller than that ID until at least well above the meplat of the longest bullet likely to be encountered (even great bullets vary somewhat in OAL due to the manufacturing processes used). That guarantees that the ONLY point of contact between the bullet and the insert is on the lower portion of the ogive, each time, and EVERY time, as that is the most accurately controlled portion of the bullet shape.

    The Dillon 9mm insert appears to meet that criteria. The 9mm Redding competition die insert does not, as proven by the fact that you cna "rock" the bullet in the insert when the bullet is fully seated in the insert.

    It sounds like the Lee die does a good job of grabbing the bullet ogive at just the right point. But the built-in crimping is not what I favour. I like to leave the (taper for 9mm) crimping to a separate crimping die, so that there is no chance of crimping and seating interacting negatively. It's just a safer thing to do for best control of both OAL and degree of taper. But it sounds like the combination of the Lee die and your specific bullet choices is working well for you!

    I am now wondering if I should just ask a local machine shop to make me an insert for the Dillon die that meets the following criteria:

    1. Same OD as the Dillon insert (so it will fit into and "slide" properly inside the Redding die)

    2. ID = slightly but adequately smaller than the .3548" bore diameter of the HAP bullet, say maybe .345" ?

    3. A VERY small chamfer on the ID right at the bottom of the insert, so as to not dent the jacket of the bullet. Keep the chamfer very small, as making it larger hurts the consistency, due to the interaction of the chamfer and the very slight variance in bullet shape found on even very good bullets. (The UNcurved ogive of the HAP bullet helps limit the inconsistencies.)

    4. A mounting hole location and diameter that matches the OEM Dillon insert.

    The above would ensure that the ONLY part of the bullet that the insert could touch is the lower portion of the ogive, which is what I want.

    The above would be too costly to do for the Redding die, as the Redding insert required a larger diameter "head" on top of the insert diameter, in order to retain it inside the die. Machining that head would cost a LOT more than simply drilling a hole in the insert! So, I would lose the micrometer adjustment, and have to resort to iterative setting of the COAL whenever I want to experiment with different COAL or a different bullet.

    Likewise, the Lee insert, per the photo above provided by livelife, also has a larger diameter head, so again, making a replacement Lee insert would be costly.

    The Dillon's simple cross-hole mounting is a plus when considering replacing it with a custommade insert.

    Jim G
     

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
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  8. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    Your COAL measuring method will indeed produce a COAL variance on a jacketed hollow point bullet (which is what I need to use) because on any quality bullet, the biggest variance is in the meplat dimensions. So what you are measuring is a COMBINATION of seating variance AND bullet meplat variance.

    The JB Weld molding idea has some attractions, but it still has one inherent weakness: It creates a closed "pocket" that the bullet must fill during seating. But jacketed bullet OAL varies as stated above. Therefore, the actual seating will be controled by meplat length and shape of any specific bullet, rather than by the ogive.

    The big advantage of the "open-ended" cylinder insert is that the exact shape and length of the bullet's meplat is irrelevant, since ONLY the ogive makes contact with the insert. This takes meplat inconsistencies right out of the picture, and you are indeed then measuring the actual inconsistency on base-to-ogive, which is what actually controls the amount of bullet jump to the rifling, or the degree of "jamming" into the rifling, or the EXACT volumetric size of the "combustion chamber" inside the cartridge case (which is CRITICAL on some powder loads). THAT is what is important.

    Jim G
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  9. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Okay, here goes…

    First some caveats…you will not be satisfied with my pictures, explanation, nor technique. Most of you won’t. So be it.

    First the pictures:

    1064F304-9E3A-442A-91C3-71996D1E825F.jpeg

    AF34C12D-10D5-446E-95E3-455A90976904.jpeg D8AD3512-76ED-4151-A404-BBB455AA7A0F.jpeg Now that @GeoDudeFlorida has explained JBWeld, I won’t have to other than to say I’ve been using it and other epoxies for decades (casually, not professionally) and have a “feel” for them—their set up time, etc.

    I use only two brands of bullets with this die, Berry’s & Extreme, and only 230gr RN. I had been using a Lee seating dies as shown by @LiveLife with fine results but wanted the cool looking micrometer of the Redding and its absence of the crimp capability.

    But, for some reason, I was getting inconsistent OAL with the Redding and getting marking on the bullets. Maybe I miss diagnosed the problem, maybe not, but I decided all I needed was to have the bullet nose contact the stem, not the ogive.

    Using the nose of only two brands of the same bullet meant I didn’t have to be precise as to depth (cue the freaking out & hair pulling).

    I read on THR about using hot glue or JBWELD for something similar and a light went off. If I had access to a glue gun that’s what I would’ve used.

    Took the die apart and grabbed a dozen bullets and placed them in the stem to see what was going on — eyeballed it & literally guessed about how much JBWeld would be necessary and how much displacement would occur.

    Put the die back in the press and used a couple of dummy cartridges and raised the ram to figure out how high it needed to be for the bullet to just enter the stem.

    Again, eyeballed it.

    Took stem out of die and without a spare or backup plan, I mixed up the JBWeld and used a toothpick to schmear it into the stem. Set it upright overnight I’m guessing and once it had set up sufficiently, dropped it in the die and with a dummy cartridge, raised the ram to the height I had determined and let it sit there for a day maybe. Did not put any lube or release agent on bullet to prevent sticking. Got lucky.

    When satisfied, I lowered ram, took stem out of die, and voilà EXACTLY as shown in the picture. No touch up, not sanding, no polishing. It was perfecto.

    Sorry class, no micrometers or any other professional equipment or techniques used here…just the imagination of a 70yo tinkerer. And lots of luck!
     
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  10. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    cqb45acp: i'm impressed that it worked for you! You obviously have a good experienced eye as to volume of JB Weld required to fill the void without forcing it to extrude downward onto the bullet, and you got lucky with the JB Weld not weldng itself to your bullet.

    And, for cast bullets, where I would assume the shape and length of the meplat might be far more consistent than for a jacketed hollowpoint extruded bullet, so your method of controlling COAL might be just fine.

    BUT, as I have stated above, the inherent weakness in the concept of using the meplat of the bullet to control COAL when using a hollowpoint jacketed bullet, which is what I need to do, is that hollowpoint jacketed bullets vary the MOST in the meplat, so you are using the worst measure possible to control base-to-ogive, and base-to-ogive is what is really important for both accuracy and safety, especially with a higher power load. My accuracy load is 8.0 grains of a specific powder, which almost perfectly fills the case, just short of compression, and delivers 1350 fps with the 115g bullet, giving a muzzle energy of over 450 ft lb out of a 9mm handgun, and incredible accuracy. But such a load requires very consistent control of base-to-ogive, along with excellent powder charge consistency, for both accuracy and safety reasons.

    Jim G
     
  11. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    I told you you wouldn’t like it:) And it wasn’t really luck (I was being self deprecating) it was experience. Lots of experience.

    I can offer this…and intend no disrespect…but I’ve never read such a granular discussion about a thousandth variation in OAL for a 9mm handgun cartridge in my life. For a hollow point self defense round? In a panic, one is fortunate just to upholster, and hit a target just 20 feet away, especially when it’s shooting back:)

    Good “luck” on your quest.
     
  12. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    The SIG P210A is an absolutely incredible handgun. It's the most accurate handgun I have ever owned in over half a century of shooting. Its inherent accuracy is what makes chasing small base-to-ogive variances worthwhile for me.

    And the safety factor is also a strong driver for me. With high powered loads, you cannot let the base-to-ogive vary much at all. Too short, and you risk making the combusuiton chamber in the cartridge case too small. Too long, and you risk the bullet jamming into the rifling and thus potentially upping the pressures.

    It's the exact opposite of my Cowboy Action loads, where the pressures are low, and I am firing very light loads in 357 Magnum chambers, because the lever action rifle and the revolvers both dislike long bullet jumps, and the bullets are unjacketed lead, and the shooting distances are laughably short. The COAL can vary there significantly with no ill consequences. :)

    Jim G
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  13. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Awesome stuff, regardless.

    I just loaded 8 45ACP. Four using the Redding Competition and four with the Lee. I got 1.260-1.261. Now, thanks to you, I'm going to be chasing that .001 the rest of the day!
     
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  14. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    Yes, it's addictive. :)

    Jim G
     
  15. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Jim -
    Open your mind, son !

    A) You are correct !! Dillon does not offer a wide variety of seating stems with their dies. Their offerings are limited and not perfectly suited to every bullet ogive on the market. How could they be ? New ogive shapes seem to appear every year. However, it's NOT how the dies interface with the bullet, it's how YOUR particular bullet interfaces with the Dillon's seating stem. And the seating stem is only one TINY part of the Seating Die, so this situation can be easily rectified.

    B) This is the perfect opportunity for you to buy the metal lathe you've always wanted !! Your need is abundantly apparent. The spouse will immediately recognize your dire circumstances, and appropriate the necessary funds from the household budget to procure the appropriate machine and tooling.

    Then you too can start generating Dillon-style Seating Stems to fit all your favorite bullets.
    OYNtIYBm.jpg

    jjklQNTm.jpg

    5fuTRRkm.jpg

    zV4VqAIm.jpg

    rgy9E6rm.jpg

    The ONLY question is: Why are you still reading this ? Why aren't you on CraigsList looking for metal lathes ?


    Hope this helps.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
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  16. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Very interesting information! I do have a question. What is the tolerance (length, tip diameter, etc.) of the dimension of the bullets you are using. The reason I ask is because I load mostly lead, plated or coated. They start out as castings non the less and do have slight variances in some dimensions. I can see a thousandth being an issue in precision rifle but for handgun I don’t see the slight variations being an issue. Factory ammo has OAL variances, not huge but it’s there. Just curious if the variance ever showed up in shooting?
     
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  17. Mauser fan

    Mauser fan Member

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  18. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    Yes, I have done the testing. With most handguns, a COAL variance of a few thousandths won't be visible on a target grouping, because the handgun itself, and or the shooter, have larger variances than the COAL causes. But with a very accurate handgun, yes, you can see the difference in group size. My SIG P201A is accurate enough to show the COAL variance effect. Of course, with rifles, especially precision rifles, the group size difference is VERY apparent, and long range shooters pay a lot of attention to it.

    Jim G
     
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  19. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    rfwobbly: My wife is VERY tolerant of large expenses for my hobbies, but my very rare need for machining skills and a lathe, and the shortage of time to both learn the skills and do the work, make the acquisition of a lathe a non-starter for me. :)

    Jim G
     
  20. roval

    roval Member

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    i am curious as to how you shoot the p210and at what distance that the minute coal variation shows up in the results. ransom rest at 25 yrds?
     
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  21. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    wcwhitey: I'm sorry. I have a file showing the consistency of the Hornady HAP bullets, but this forum won't support uploading pdf or Excel files.

    But that pdf sheet, which I personally prepared after measuring 20 consecutive randomly drawn bullets from a batch, shows that:
    the standard deviation on overall length was .0019"
    the std dev on diameter was .0002"
    the std dev on weight was 0.2 grain

    Jim G
     
  22. drband

    drband Member

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    The Lee seating die can be set to apply NO CRIMP.
     
  23. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    I know that when I could shoot a rifle at distance without optics (a back in the day story) my loads were batched by OAL as some variance as considered unavoidable. Prior to that components were batched by weight then loaded, powder charges trickled to as close to exact as possible. However, no matter how much care was taken perfection was never achieved. I have always accepted the fact that variations do exist and tried to keep them to a minimum.
    I like the idea of a seater plug being made for a specific bullet, I actually never thought of that. If I was shooting matches and shooting “one” bullet type and brand I would consider that a good idea. One less variable.
     
  24. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    I don't own a Ransom rest. 50 yards from a bag rest showed the variation clearly enough to be definitive and repeatable.

    Jim G
     
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  25. JimGnitecki

    JimGnitecki Member

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    THAT is good info. But since the Lee insert does have a cap or collar on the insert, it is not nearly as easy and as inexpensive to make a new insert as it is for the Dillon die.

    Jim G
     
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