new problem with bullet

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Nov 29, 2009
bakersfield, ca
i was seating some 168 gn amax today in some hornady match 308 brass and the bullets would compress and ruin the brass towards the end of the press stroke.

i measured the bullets and the measured .310 and the neck of the brass is .305 after full length sizing with my redding dies.

i've never had this happen with any other calibers and i did camfer the inside of the neck.

is this normal?????
Could the seating die be adjusted too low and crimping on you? You did have the expander in the sizing die when you sized them, right?

Also, they should be exactly .308 inch. Check your calipers on some other brands. If they're too big, send em back to Hornady for a new box.

i screwed the die down to the shell holder and backed it off a quarter turn. yes, i have the plunger in the die and it is adjusted correctly.

i could be off base but, normally the bullets are the correct diameter and you size the case neck slightly smaller for a snug fit and good neck tension.

still baffled. ....
You adjusted your seater die wrong. Back it off two turns. Run an empty case into the die. Turn the die in until it touches the case neck, then back off half a turn. That way it won't crimp as you are seating.

I think your caliper is off. .308 A-maxes are extremely consistent and there is no way in hell they mike .310"
you could be right...but i doubt it. i already tested them on some smk's and they all miked perfectly at .224.

that still doesn't explain why when seating they cause my case to buckle and collapse.

the expander ball measures .307 but after sizing the case neck only measures .304-.305.

that is why the curiousity regarding annealing.
918V gave you the right answer .... you adjusted your seating die to far down. Go back and read the directions again. If you have it adjusted like you stated, then of course you cases will be buckled.
Like 918V said ... ram all the way up... case in shellholder... screw die down until it touches the brass(not the shellholder... the brass) .. back off 1/2-3/4 turn. Make sure you chamfer the insides of the case neck, but not to a knife edge. The Amax is a boat tail bullet, it should slide right in. You should be good to go. No need to crimp.

Jimmy K
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I dont load .308 or know anything about them but why are the bullets .310 and not .308? I have a bunch of bullets for a gun i used to have (7.62x39) and i think they are .310.
Either the wrong bullet, or a wrong measurement. I agree with 918v, no way those A-Maxes are off by .002.
You have been given the answer by three very experience handloaders, 918V, Walkalong and JimK. Follow their advise and adjust your seating die correctly. If that doesn't work then look towards something else.
i measured the bullets and the measured .310 and the neck of the brass is .305 after full length sizing with my redding dies.

Is .305" an ID measurement? If it is OD you're trying to seat a .308" (or .310") bullet in a neck sized down to .275" (depending on brass thickness); way to tight.
I rechecked the die... it was run down to the shellholder and backed off a full turn. That is exactly how the instructions say to do it.

I checked that this was correct by running an empty case into the die and it came out fine.
Running an empty into the die to check your setting is not the right way to do it. Your press has too much leverage and not enough sensitivity to allow you to feel the case mouth hit the die. You'll be crimping without even knowing it.

You have to unscrew the die, raise the ram, and then screw the die down.
The seating stem will adjust down to seat them deep enough. Just screw it down further.
i was screwing it down until the stem bottomed out against the die...?

just talked to redding and they are sending me a new stem with a smaller opening for the tip of the bullet so i get more length on the stem. have you had this problem with this bullet and this die?
This happens with VLD bullets, ones with long pointed noses, a proper seating stem fixes it with a better fit to the ogive. I would guess your old stem was not seating the bullet straight.
Something about all this is not adding up right!!!

The seating stem, too short or too long, would not cause the cases to crumple.

I am not going to say that you may or may not have the right stem, but it ain't what is crumpling your case.

Adjusting the die too far down is what is crumpling the case.

The stem may not be seating the bullet deep enough, but that is a different problem altogether.

Once again ...screw the seating stem all the way up in the die... Take a case without a bullet in it... place it in the ram-shellholder... raise the ram all the way to the top.... now screw the seating die in and down until you feel it contact the brass... back it out 1 turn...lock the die down...lower the ram... place a bullet on a charged case .... raise ram all the way back up to top.. screw the seating stem down until it contacts the bullet... turn the stem several turns ... measure OAL ... keep screwing stem down until bullet depth is what you need... fine tune by turning the stem up or down....again no need to crimp any rifle except maybe a semi auto and even then there is little need.

Now if the stem will not seat bullet deep enough, time to replace the stem, which I understand you have on the way.

Jimmy K
Something about all this is not adding up right!!!
+1 Yes, boatail bullets dont normally crush cases, even if seating crooked. The .310" bullet dia. measurement is screwy also. Strange, very strange. I have seen a guy crush a 44 mag. case seating the bullet crooked.
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