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problem with 380 lee seating die

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jeeping, Oct 12, 2011.

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  1. Jeeping

    Jeeping Member

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    I'm having a problem with lee seating die and lead bullets. As soon as case touches the seating die, it begins to close the flare on case mouth; causing it to shave some lead of the bullet. I set the die just like instructions tells me, screw it in until it touches the case and then back it out 3/4 of a turn so that it wouldn't crimp it. But it still closes the flare as soon as I start to put the case in the die.
    This is a 3 die set that I got of the midway. Did Lee put in a FCD instead of the seating die?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    An FCD would have a sliding carbide sleeve inside the die.
    A seating die would not.

    rc
     
  3. Jeeping

    Jeeping Member

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    Sliding, as in I can take it out by hand?
    Thanks RC, I'll look at it when I get home.
     
  4. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    The model # on a Lee seating die is:

    AUTO C-9
    Check your die
     
  5. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    I load 380 Auto and I have never had that problem. I seat with an RCBS die then do a separate operation of crimping all the cartridges with the Lee Factory Crimp Die. The Lee Factory crimp die has a loose collar in there that you can hear if you shake the die.

    Isn't there an adjustible stem in the middle to raise or lower the seating plug?
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You can take it out, but not easily.

    And there is no adjustable seating stem in the FCD anyway, so it still won't work for a seating die.

    rc
     
  7. ROCKFISH

    ROCKFISH Member

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    If you correctly back off the lee seating die 3/4 turn, it can never come into contact with the case mouth.
     
  8. Scimmia

    Scimmia Member

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    Hold on a minute, 3/4 of a turn doesn't sound right at all. Are you sure it doesn't say 3-4 turns?
     
  9. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Back out the expanding stem a small amount on your flaring. You are flaring the case mouth wider than the die opening which is more than is needed. There should be no shaving of the lead bullet. Sit the bullet on top of the case and then bring it up to the seating die.

    A factory crimp die has a carbide insert at the base that can be seen, the FC does not have a seating stem and will not seat the bullet, it does have a sleeve that is the crimping portion. Below are pictures of both types of dies.

    Seating Die
    [​IMG]

    Factory Crimp Die
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  10. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    My Lee die instructions say: screw bullet seater die in until it touches the shell holder--then screw it out 3 full turns--then screw the adjusting screw in or out to seat bullet to desired depth.
     
  11. Jeeping

    Jeeping Member

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    Well the stamp on the die says B-1. From your picture Steve-c it looks like a seating die though. I understand that there shouldn't be any shaving of the bullet, but there is. Can you please explain to me what I can possibly be doing wrong? My 357 die works just fine with lead bullet, but this is first time I'm having trouble with this.
     
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Try chamfering & deburring the case mouths before you bell them.

    May be too many sharp edges there somewhere doing something weird.

    rc
     
  13. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    The seating die will also crimp if you have the body of the dies screwed in to far. Do you have a Lee manual? Look on page 75. If you are using a FCD you do not want the seating die to be crimping.

    With a flared case in the shell holder move ram to the top

    Screw whole die in until you feel it hit the top of the case (hold the lever so it doesn't move)

    The die is now 1/2 turn from a light crimp. LEAVE it there if using a FCD. Tighten the lock ring.

    Now turn the adjustment screw out untill you see threads. Start to seat the bullet and keep adjusting untill you get the depth you want. Done.

    Now move to the FCD and follow those instructions for crimping.
     
  14. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    I would take your dies apart & compare them to photo from steve c
    to make sure you are using the correct die
    Have fun
    H
     
  15. Scimmia

    Scimmia Member

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    I just went out and played with my 380 dies a bit. The seater/crimper is marked Lee 380 Auto B1, so you've got the correct die. It is a bit tight at the entrance, if I bell the mouth just slightly more than I usually do, it does contact the die when entering. If it's enough that it's shaving your bullets, maybe yours is just slightly undersized? I do see what you mean now, the issue is all the way at the bottom of the die, not where the taper crimp is normally applied.
     
  16. Jeeping

    Jeeping Member

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    Thank you Scimmia, maybe I got the bad die here? I'll give Lee a call tomorrow; maybe they'll be able to help.
     
  17. Scimmia

    Scimmia Member

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    You know, it's also possible your bullets are a bit oversized, too. Have you put the calipers on one yet? What bullets are you using?
     
  18. Jeeping

    Jeeping Member

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    Now that you mention it... I'm casting Lee 105gr SWC and size them to .358 ( barrel on my Bersa is .357). I might have to open up the die a little? How would one go about doing that?
     
  19. Scimmia

    Scimmia Member

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    Yeah, having them a couple thou over the normal size could explain it. I bell the mouth just barily enough to start a .356 bullet, and as tight as that is, I wouldn't want to go any larger. I don't know if there's a good way to open up the die. I wonder if you could seat the bullet with a 9mm die then crimp separately? The 9mm dies don't seem to be as tight as these 380 dies do.
     
  20. Jurist

    Jurist Member

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    All my dies are Lee

    I looks as if you have the internal parts switched in thier respective dies.Try switching them around and let us know how things work out.
     
  21. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    They must have different markings on Lee 380 seater die
    As you can see mine says C9
    BTY---I don't use a Lee seater die--I don't like it---I use a Hornady seater die & then a Lee FCD.

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
  22. Jeeping

    Jeeping Member

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    Fellas I think it’s a two part problem here. First we got a classic case of “I’m a men, I don’t need instructions”, where like some of you pointed out, I need to back out the die 3 FULL TURNS; and not ¾ of a turn. Second is that like Scimmia said, my .358 slugs might be just a tad too big for this die. Unfortunately I wont have any bullets made up to try until Saturday.
    I’ll be sure to report back on how this works out. Really hoping that all I have to do is set the die like Lee tells me to.
    Thanks for all your help, really goes to show that two brains are better than “mine” hehe.
     
  23. Scimmia

    Scimmia Member

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    Actually, I'd like some clarification on that one. I know I'm contradicting myself since I brought up the three turns instead of 3/4, but reading your original post again, I'm wondering. IIRC the instructions say to screw in the die until it touches the shellholder, then back it off. You mentioned that you were screwing it in until it touched the case, then backing off. If you were setting it from a sized case and not from the shellholder, that could very well be enough to keep the die from crimping.
     
  24. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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  25. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Most bullets for the .38/.357 mag have a beveled base and start in the case easily. They also have a long body that helps self correct any out of alignment with the case as you push them into position.

    Short bullets don't have much length to self adjust so if you don't have them started straight they can scrape lead on one side or the other. See it you can hand start the bullet in the case by applying pressure on the top of the bullet with your finger to prevent the bullet from tilting to one side or the other. Another thing I've found is if I seat bullets that's been shaving 1/2 way and then spin the case 180 degrees in the shell holder and seat the rest of the way it helps in bullet alignment. This is usually with a flat point or SWC that's being seating using a round nose seating stem that doesn't guide the bullet as well as one made for flat point bullets.

    Try one or the other and see if that doesn't help end your lead shaving problem.
     
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