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Setting up my dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jjensen229, Jan 7, 2011.

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  1. jjensen229

    jjensen229 Member

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    I am a noobie to reloading, having caught the bug from my brother. I just got my Lee turret press in and have my brass in the tumbler getting ready. I'm trying to get my press set up for 9mm and have the 4 dies in their respective spots and am noticing that the tops of the dies also screw in and out. I know that the de-priming die should touch the brass holder but am not positive on how to PROPERLY adjust my dies to avoid any complications. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give to me about this and everything else!
     
  2. wrench

    wrench Member

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  3. jjensen229

    jjensen229 Member

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    My brother sent me that book, i guess i just need to read it a little better. I understand that the top screws are to make adjustments, I was just wanting to know if they were preset to a specific location, or if there was a proven way that someone else has used to get them set. I don't plan on attempting to seat a bullet until I know what I am doing, which is why I am asking.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  4. alfack

    alfack Member

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    They usually come from the factory pre-set. They come apart mostly for cleaning, extracting stuck cases, swapping seating cone shapes or swapping out broken primer punch pins.

    Yours should be good to go. They sometimes have a little instruction sheet in the die case which explains the function and when or why you should take them apart.
     
  5. kennedy

    kennedy Member

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    I always assume the adjustments on the top of the dies are set at random at the factory, so I make up some dummy rounds, no primer or powder and seat the bullets, measure over all length and adjust the die untill the length is correct.
     
  6. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Try the Lee link below
     
  7. ustate

    ustate Member

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    You can actually back the top screw out a ways if you'd like on the seater and crimp dies and once you have the actual die to the proper placement (based on the shell plate) you can adjust those top screws to give you the cartridge overall length and crimp level you prefer.
     
  8. jjensen229

    jjensen229 Member

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    I may try using some snap caps for verification (as long as the OAL is compariable to a real round) and set them that way. Appreciate the input from everyone
     
  9. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    I have never found a set of dies that was "set" from the factory and I've had/have over 80 different sets of dies in my 40 + years of reloading. Some are close, but never "set".

    Steel sizing dies are screwed down until they make contact with the shell holder then add an additional 1/4- 1/2 turn to take up any slack in the press linkage. Some carbide dies are set the same way, but some say for the bottom of the dies not to touch the shell holder. This is because the carbide insert it very fragile and will break if pressure is applied to it. Other carbide die have a Steel ring around them to protect the carbide insert.

    You have the perfect case gauge already ... the barrel of your pistol, your ammo has to fit "it" , no matter if it fits anything else it has to fit your barrel. Take it out of your gun and use it.

    Walkalong will be here shortly to explain the process of taper crimping, which the 9 mm uses, he is better than I am at explaining it.

    Jimmy K
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    The Lyman #49 would be a great investment.
    Nor have I.

    I believe directions for setting dies come with every die set regardless of maker. I could be mistaken. They are quite easy to set up IMHO. I enjoy helping with problems when folks have legitimate questions after having studied for themselves. I do however, get impatient with folks who seem to want it done for them.

    Any specific questions about setting up a particular die?


    I'll give it a try:

    Adjust the carbide sizer die for 9MM until it barely misses the shell holder with a case fully inserted. It may actually touch the SH without a case. The 9MM case is tapered and we want to size it as far down as we can.

    Adjust the expander die down until it is around 1/16" from the SH. Lock it down. Adjust the expander stem until it flares the cases enough that the case mouth will not shave lead/lube. You will need more flare with lead than plated and a hair more with plated than jacketed. Use enough flare that the bullet can be started into the case 1/32" to 1/16" at most.

    To adjust the seater die to seat with no crimp put a case in the ram and run it up all the way into the die while the die is screwed 3/4 of the way in. Now adjust the die down until you feel the crimp ledge hit the case mouth. Stop, and adjust the die back up 1/2 turn. Lock down the die. Adjust the seater stem until you get the O.A.L. you want.

    To adjust the 9MM seater die to seat and crimp first make several rounds with the O.A.L. you want as described above. Then put one of the rounds in the ram and run it up all the way into the die while the die is screwed 3/4 of the way in. Adjust the seater stem all the way up. Now adjust the die down until you feel the crimp ledge hit the case mouth. Adjust the die down about 1/4 to 1/3 turn. Try a couple more of the rounds to see if the crimp is right. Adjust a little if needed. Then adjust the seater stem down until it contacts the bullet firmly. Lock the die and the stem down. This will be close, but you will have to tweak the stem up or down a hair to get the O.A.L. you want. The crimp should be OK. There is so little crimp going on that seating/crimping in one step is fine. No need to crimp in a fourth step unless you just want to.

    To crimp die in a fourth step just adjust the crimp die down onto a loaded round until you fell the crimp ledge hit. Adjust it down a hair at a time until you have the crimp you like. Lock the die down.

    For 9MM all you need in a crimp is to remove the bell or a hair more. Perhaps .001 or max .002. I use mixed cases so I have the crimp adjusted so the shortest cases get the bell removed and the longest will get a bit of inwards crimp.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=6085151&postcount=44

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=6284211&postcount=63

    Welcome to THR jjenson229
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  11. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Mr 229 -
    You really only want to set your dies once. The wisdom of that statement will become obvious the more you work with them. True, you may have to go back and tweak from time to time, but you want to avoid gross adjustments every time you go to reload. If you can't, you'll soon tire of reloading and say THWI. We certainly don't want that outcome.

    You only said "Lee Turret", but not which one. If your machine has the removable die holders like one of these things...
    517748.jpg 117856.jpg 292460.jpg

    ....then buy some of those and then leave each set of dies set-up in that holder permanently. In that way you are simply swapping die holders to swap calibers. Follow ?

    If you have to remove individual dies to change calibers, then you're going to need to swap out your lock rings for some different types that stay put when the die is withdrawn from the press. I would suggest Hornady, which come in a handy multi-pack. HERE Using these, you can remove the die if you need. Then on re-install simply run them down until they bottom out on the lock ring and you'll be set to go again. No readjustment necessary.


    All the above would seem to me to be prudent FIRST steps (ie the place to start), especially if die set-up is a quandary and not especially something that you're able to do fast. I say that because we generally refer to this hobby as "reloading" and not "die setup". :D The first one is fun; the second can become a headache.

    So if you can do something along these lines FIRST, then you'll never have to re-visit this again.

    ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  12. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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  13. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    I was just wanting to know if they were preset to a specific location,

    No. The factory has no idea of what firearm or press or bullet you will be using. And it's smart to take new dies apart for cleaning before you use them anyway.


    or if there was a proven way that someone else has used to get them set.

    No. None of us know any more about die set up than the makers and it's not rocket surgery anyway, almost anyone can do it. What you will find in the book is better written than any of us can explain it.
     
  14. alfack

    alfack Member

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    Also, the book will have no idea what dies you are using. They are all a little bit different and most books I've seen do not cover internal die adjustment. I think there is some confusion in this thread between setting the die height and tweaking the die itself.
     
  15. jjensen229

    jjensen229 Member

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    Thanks for the information and help. Unfortunately, the Lee 9mm dies that I got did not come with any instructions on how to properly install them. Since I didn't want to be one of "those guys" that thinks he knows what hes doing, that is why I asked.
    Also, to answer one of the questions from rfwobbly,I have the four hole turret die set, and also invested in 2 additional die holders. I'm starting off reloading 9mm and .40.
    Someone sent me a link that has a lot of good information for newbies like me that I believe someone had linked above, but I'll put the link up again:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://manual.loadmastervideos.com/

    I found this very helpful as well as the links above. Thanks for the advice and tips, and when I finish my first batch, I'll put up pictures. I plan on getting them loaded next monday!
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Now that's funny right there!
    I don't care who ya are!!

    rc
     
  17. chineseboxer

    chineseboxer Member

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    You can also go to Lee's webasite and they have alot of info on there. You Tube is loaded with videos, but please read more. I do not mean any disrespect but you need to be a little more informed before you start if you are asking that question. Play around with some dummy rounds before you go live it will be worth the waste of a few dollars. This can be a safe and fun hobby, or it can ruin you for life.
     
  18. alfack

    alfack Member

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    Glad you are so easily amused! The only die I've had to internally adjust has been a sizing die for a bottleneck rifle cartridge to change the position of the expander ball. All the rest worked right out of the box.
     
  19. jjensen229

    jjensen229 Member

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    Thanks for all of the help and information. I know I truly have a lot to learn about this and am anxious to learn. I ask these uninformed questions to make sure that I am safe and informed when I start. I am here to learn and am loving all of the information I'm getting here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I suggest you go straight to the track, cause you are one lucky fellow. :)
     
  21. orrwdd

    orrwdd Member

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    With all due respect I would imagine that one of two situations exist.

    1. You are extremely lucky.
    2. Your dies are not really adjusted correctly.

    I will put my money on #2.

    Bill
     
  22. orrwdd

    orrwdd Member

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    Don't be afraid to ask questions, but also don't feel that these answers are putting you down,k they are not. The experienced reloaders here just want to make sure you understand the processes fully before you go on to live rounds. All for your safety and enjoyment.

    There are those out there that attempt to use the internet forum as a shortcut so they do not have to learn the ins and outs of reloading. But that is not safe for them and anyone shooting close to you.

    We do not mind helping, we even like it, but will not give it out to those that will not put the effort into understanding why things are like they are.

    Good luck and come back here often.

    Bill
     
  23. billybob44

    billybob44 Member

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    Where the CONFUSION comes from is your post (#4). Anyone who tries to tell a Noob that hand loading dies are FACTORY set, either has NOT pulled a press handle much at all, or is trying to send the Noob down the wrong road!
    Sir, use WalkAlong's post (#10) to set up your dies and you will be good to go. Bill.
     
  24. billybob44

    billybob44 Member

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    I, myself, do not believe that you have loaded very many rounds of ammo. If you had, you would know that your previous statement would be FUNNY!
    The problem with that, is that the OP asked serious questions, and expected knowledgeable answers-Sir YOURS was NOT!
    A proper answer to the OP first question would be-NO-the die Mfg. do NOT set the dies for proper loading at the factory. How could they-They do NOT know what press that their dies are going to be used in-the height of the press-the length of stroke, etc.
    It has been my experience that die Mfg. Co's thread the adjustments all the way in, and then all the way out, and then center the adjustments, more/less, to look good when placed in the box. Usually in the center point of the threads.
    I guess my point of this post is: If you really do not know the answer to the OP's question, then it would be wise to wait around for someone to post that does know-that way we all learn something PROPERLY..Bill.
     
  25. billybob44

    billybob44 Member

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    orr, you said that a lot nicer than I did..HA HA...Bill..
     
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