Rainier OAL Problem

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Feb 2, 2009
I am experiencing some problems with reloading Rainier 124 gr HP 9mm bullets. I adjusted the bullet seater die for a OAL of 1.130, however checking the next bullets I'm getting an OAL from 1.120 to 1.140. I can not get a consistent OAL. Is it the Rainier bullets, or my equipment? I am using a Lee 3 hole turret and Lee dies.

How much variation in OAL is tolerable? I am not worried about a few .001, but .01 seems unacceptable. I have measured the cases and bullets, but the combined differences do not add up to .01.

Anyone else experiencing this problem?

MJ -
Welcome aboard, and welcome to THR.

It could be your equipment.
- Sizing
- Belling
- Some multi-stage presses aren't accurate unless every stage has a case

It could be your powder.
- Too great a volume pushing the bullet back out

It could be [gasp] YOU.
- Not taking the handle to the stop each time
- Not knowing how to read a caliper

You are correct. .001" is nothing to worry about, but with 9mm .010" is something to investigate. Right now. OAL will vary with different brands of presses, but IMHO you should at least be within +/-.004 of your objective OAL. Hopefully half to a third of that.

We need more info. What nose bullet? What brand/ model press? What type dies? How long have you been reloading? Date of birth?

And copies of your last 3 tax returns.:D
mjlarch...As an owner of a 3 hole Lee press I can tell you to just keep adjusting the seating stem in VERY fine incroments. For some unexplainable reason they do that on ocassion. It will settle out. But make sure your die is well seated on the turret. You might also try it with the "O" ring removed and the die locked down tight...I have a couple that I have removed the "O" ring just for that reason...

By The Way...I'm able to keep my OAL within +/-.002 with Rainier 124 grain hollow points.

I am using a Lee 3 hole turret. Basically a single stage press, with a turret. The dies have maybe 600 rounds of use.

Using 5.2 gr of Unique, so there is plenty of space in case.

Yes, [gasp] it could be me. I am over 50, and I know that I can be the problem once in awhile...according to my wife...

I am been reloading rifle cartridges for over 20 years, and pistols for over 10. I just brought a new digital caliper, last week because I thought the problem was with my old plastic RCBS caliper. With cheaters on I think I read it.

Reloaded 500 Rainier 115 gr HP last summer. Got frustrated with the same problem. Tried Speer TMJ's and had no problems with OAL variations. Bought a box of 124 gr Rainiers and having the OAL problems again.

I just want to set the dies and be able to crank out bullets without having to worry about excessive OAL.

Thanks for responding!!

Tax returns being delivered along with first born...
The flex in the Lee O rings can vary when mixed cases are used. Some have thin walls and some are thicker, changing the pressure needed to seat bullets. That can give a little varience even when the die is tightened down tight with other lock rings.

I like the Hornady lock rings best myself. The Forster ones are great as well, but the Hornady rings have flats to tighten them a bit better. Sometimes the Redding or Forster rings will loosen up when finger tightened. The Forsters have more area and are less prone to loosening than The Redding rings.
I gave it try. Took lock ring off and installed upside, so O ring is on top. Wrench tightened. Ran 10 bullets thru and it Works Great! OAL within .002 limits.

The clouds left and the sun is back out.

Thanks all!!
I've not seen that with Rainiers. I'm loading on a Dillon 550B and never seen that kind of variation in OAL. With mixed brass, may be 0.003" and without all stations filled it varies only 0.001". My guess is your seating die is not fully tightened down. Check that first. If you've loaded lead, there could be some wax build up in your seating die. If die is tight, you might try giving it a good cleaning.
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