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Reloading Berger Bullets


How can I minimize bullet runout?

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Unread 04-04-2008, 08:54 AM
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I have read that many people are getting less than perfect necks from the Redding button dies. Seems the buttons aren't always held rigidly so maybe they slide just a bit to one side or other under the forces of sizing. ??? I don't know, but it sounds plausible.

Most bullet misalignment rises from bent necks and most of that comes from poorly aligned expanders with conventional size dies. I've used Kirby's methods for years, ever since I got my first set of Forster BR dies in which the expander ball can be adjusted to anywhere we need it to be. Kirby is right in that many other dies can also be adjusted to do the same thing. If you do it that way get yourself a universal decapping die and use it instead of the FL die's decapper. But, there is another way to expand that I like even better.

Getting seating started square is a real problem area, especially so with flat based bullets. For my FL sizing, I have removed most of my expanders and use a Lyman "M" expander, mostly intended for cast bullets, instead. First, it pushes IN rather than pulling OUT on the sized necks and that leaves the necks measureably straighter. Importantly, it also expands the mouth of cases just a slight bit over bullet diameter which allows me to actually set the bullet IN the mouth, not just balanced on top and hoping it will enter correctly. I love the M dies!

IF you wish to neck size only, the only way to fly is Lee's Collet Neck Sizer die, IMHO. As it comes, it works the brass minimually, won't deflect the neck at all and needs no lube. I have lathe modified my Lee neck sizing collets by cutting a short taper into the split-fingered mouth section, about .030" deep and about a 35 degree angle. Thus modified, they will leave a slight "M" type flair on the case mouth for easy bullet entry. I think it would be easy to grind the same kind of taper with a Dremel tool and grinding point.

While it is certainly possible that some bullet meplats could bottom in a conventional seater stem, and that could be easily corrected by drilling the cup deeper, there is another problem with most of them. They usually are a sloppy fit in the dies bullet chamber so there is little support for centering the undersized stem until the bullet is significantly off line. In my experiments, using a concentricty gage, the "seat part way and turn to complete" does little because the stem is largely unsupported in the critical area of the die. The only cure for this poor fit is to lathe turn a new stem that snuggly fits the die. OR, you can use the full-chamber seaters made by Forster and Redding, which you are already doing. Given that excellant seater, I think your problem is with bent case necks and no press or other seater can fix that.

Good luck!

Last edited by boomtube; 04-04-2008 at 09:00 AM.
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Unread 04-04-2008, 10:28 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 322
I am seating my bullets on cases with very low runout(I check them before I seat the bullets).I called Redding the other day,and they told me this happens from time to time,sometimes they have to make special seater stems for people,because of some bullets.Sometimes they change the degrees,or other thigs that need to be done to make the stem work for a particular bullet.
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Unread 04-04-2008, 02:15 PM
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I completely agree with your free floating/ alignment concept and use "O" rings to allow alignment movement. Any experience with this? You gave a great input; well done and thanks. Cordially, Overbore
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Unread 04-04-2008, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by overbore View Post
I completely agree with your free floating/ alignment concept and use "O" rings to allow alignment movement. Any experience with this? You gave a great input; well done and thanks. Cordially, Overbore
I second that,you just gave out some great info.,thanks for the help!
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Unread 04-04-2008, 05:06 PM
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Very good advice indeed, thanks. I have been chasing RO for awhile now and I have a couple of ways I have reduced it.

In cartridges where standard FL and Seating dies are the only ones available (9.3x62), I use Kirby's method along with a universal decapping die. It works very well and the price is right.

In other more popular cartridges where there are many different types of dies available I use the Lee Collet Die followed by a Redding Body Die or Bushing Die for sizing. The Lee Collet Die is a great die for producing very concentric brass. Follow it with a Redding body die and you have an FL sized piece of brass with very very little runout. My choice for seating dies is the Forster BR seater. It works great and is fairly inexpensive.

I also have a several Forster BR FL dies sets. For a simple two die set these are the best I have ever used. Only two dies, size it and seat it and the concentricity is simply outstanding.
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Unread 04-05-2008, 09:56 PM
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Is there a particular reason why no one mentions the RCBS Competition or Gold Medal Match seaters?

I hear talk of expanding neck mouths in order to set the bullet in the neck to get a straight start on seating and the RCBS seaters solve this. You put the bullet in the side and it drops into a collet that holds it straight and there is a collet that fits on the case to align it with the bullet. I have a couple of Redding Competition Seaters in calibers that I can not get the RCBS Competition Seaters in, but other than that it is the RCBS all the way. And believe me, I monitor runout and mostly solve it Like Steve with the Lee Collets and Redding Body Dies. Then finish it off with the Bersin Tool.
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Unread 04-06-2008, 06:49 AM
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i'm convinced that 90% of getting straight ammo is having straight cases to put the bullet into. i ordered a one piece FL die from Forster with the neck at the size I wanted. it makes perfect brass. for really straight brass i think this is a better tool than a bushing die.the down side is, i don't have any flexibility on the diameter. then i use a 15 dollar generic seater and get very straight ammo. the only thing i do that hasn't been mentioned is to run the brass into the die several times, rotating it between each stroke on the sizing operation. same as when seating the bullet. i also like to hold the brass in the die for at least a couple of seconds while at the end of stoke position. like i said, the trick to making straight ammo is to make straight cases.
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