Help... I'm completely baffled at this point.

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by skip4502, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. skip4502

    skip4502 Member

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    I reload with a Lee Hand Press. I started about 9 months ago, and just wanted to get my feet wet reloading so I went in cheap. Now I'm about ready to smash everything on my reloading bench, and I think it's a result of my equipment... but I'm not sure.

    I have had my bullet seating die locked at 3.400 OAL for the past 7 months or so. Tonight I go out there, put 190 gr SMK on top of 73g of RL22, and the first four lengths are:

    3.312
    3.321
    3.309
    3.308

    I remeasure every round. I instantly get pissed because its a simple mechanical device, and I don't understand where there is any room for error with regards to this. I try again with new rounds.

    3.318
    3.318
    3.316
    3.327
    3.327
    3.319

    This is all with the same press and seating die mind you. What in the blue blazes is going on here? Thanks guys.
     
  2. Lefty7mmstw

    Lefty7mmstw Well-Known Member

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    The length at the tip often varies a bit with bullets; it doesn't really matter as long as the length at the ogive is the same on every round. What is your accuracy like?? If it's good your hanging up on a non problem.
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    I agree with Lefty.....

    Not familiar with the Lee tools but would assume that that the bullet seater would touch the bullet in a ring below the point. However, it seems that the seater presses directly on the tip. That's a bummer as the base-to-ogive length will vary with how the points are formed. Some bullets are pretty poorly pointed.

    The point, in and of itself, doesn't make "that" much difference in shootability. However, varying base to ogive length usually is very noticeable in group side and shot to shot velocity variations.

    When shooting less than 500-600 yards if it groups well @ 100 don't worry about it.
     
  4. skip4502

    skip4502 Member

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    Well, my accuracy with these 190 smks is embarrassing. I can't seem to make them work, and I'm just about ready to give it up (300 win mag). 180 gr Scirocco IIs are a best of .833 at 200 yards and 168 VLDs are right on a moa at 100.

    Ok, so I am able to accept that this may be a non-issue (for you non-concrete sequential folks), but how is it even possible for me to produce 3.400 ammo last week, and then tonight have all my rounds SHORTER than that with the same die?

    With the seating die that I have the tip of the bullet impacts the inside of the die. Therefore, it makes sense to me that I have 3.400 inches of space remaining when the ram is completely up.

    My head hurts. Golf I can do all day, the physics in it all makes sense. This reloading stuff is going to have me on medication before too long.
     
  5. Lefty7mmstw

    Lefty7mmstw Well-Known Member

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    First of all you have a good load with the other bullet (the swift Scirocco) and some barrels seem to be bullet brand finikey, so you are doing fine. Secondly, you need to either get a different seater plug or only use bullets that fit that plug without the tip touching.

    Are you using a different lot of bullets this loading session or different brass? Either could cause this difference between this week and last. A simple die bump could also... I use a pedro to set my dies and then reset to compensate for any brass springback.
     
  6. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I had a minor issue that was solved by taking the seater shaft and plug out to inspect the hole to which the tip of the bullet is to extend into. The hold had some machining crap from the factory in there and some bullets were touching this stuff. I cleaned it out, no more issue.

    Another thing, I use a concentricity guage to true all my loaded rounds. I noticed that if I seat the bullet about 25% and turn it 180 degrees and then finish the seating the bullets are aligned within .003. I still finish them to .001 or less. Just a thought, regarding bullet alignment.
     
  7. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "...how is it even possible for me to produce 3.400 ammo last week, and then tonight have all my rounds SHORTER than that with the same die?"


    Well, forgetting the physics, lets think about this. You're working with the same press; same dies; same shell holder; same cases but new bullets, right? Now, lets see if we can figger out what's changed .... :D

    No rifle cares where the tip of a bullet hangs in space anyway. It's jump to the lands that matters and that has nothing useful to do with a book OAL.
     
  8. g0rd0

    g0rd0 Well-Known Member

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    I personally do not loose sleep over this issue. What I do is I set my seating depth so that only a miniscule of the bullet is in the neck, no crimp and as I chamber the round it is seated at the lands. But, for hunting I do seat to the listed OAL and crimp.
    BTW, I have been useing Lee since the early 80's and have no problems with their equipment but, I would loose the that knuckle buster and get a o press mounted on your bench if at all possible.
     
  9. chrishatley

    chrishatley Well-Known Member

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    Measure 7 or so unloaded bullets, and set them in a line according to length. Set the seater die with the bullet in the middle of the line. That should help with your difference in oal.
     
  10. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I just thought of something. Groups are .833 at 200 yards, Right? so that is .42 MOA. If you are getting .42 MOA at 200 and seating depths are not consistent, plus concentricity is likely off, then that is not embarrasing accuracy.

    How did you determine 3.4 was the magic seating depth for this rifle?
     
  11. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    First , a .833 at 200 yards is some fine accuracy for what you are working with. Second , if you are measuring lenght over all that would explain the variations in lenght. You need to be measuring to the ogive. Third , if the long nosed bullets are bottoming out you can send one off to Lee and they will make you a custom seater plug. That said , I don't think they are bottoming out. The different bullets have different shoulder angles and nose lenghts so the lenght overall and to ogive will both be different if you do not change the seating die. The overall measure will vary greatly like you are seeing and the ogive length will vary slightly with different types of bullets.
    I have used plenty of Lee dies and find them to be just as good or better than most other brands and to me there is nothing better than their collet neck die. The hand press I have no idea about but the Lee Classic Cast Press is as good as any O type press. I you want the best then a Forster seater ,
    Forster co-ax press , Wilson trimmer , Mitutoyo calipers and the list goes on but they will only get you .001 to .0005 better and cost a fortune. Start measuring to the ogive and maybe a bench mount press and see where that gets you. As for the smk's , fiddle with the jump to lands and see if you can find a node.
     
  12. old_heli_logger

    old_heli_logger Well-Known Member

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    Nothing at all wrong with the Lee hand press...they work great! I know you won't believe this, but the best 3-shot (100 yard) group I've ever shot was using a Lee hand press.

    Winchester model 70 w/Robert W. Hart & Son barrel (.340 neck) 308 caliber
    Winchester brass--Fire-formed, neck turned, uniformed primer pockets
    168 gr SMK
    Large rifle primer Federal Match
    42.0 gr Varget

    0.017" I know, I know...
     
  13. skip4502

    skip4502 Member

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    The .833 3 round group was my past time out... with a different bullet altogether. I probably pulled a shot that made the group smaller. All I know is that my whole life I've tried to improve. Anyway I appreciate all of the help you guys have given me. I don have a permanent bench to bolt a press down to yet, so that's why I'm stuck with the "knuckle buster" for a bit.

    I'll have to see of there is anything inside the seating die causing an issue.

    Last question. I've been caught up measuring OAL since I started, and apparently I should chamber an uncrimped round and measure from the ogive from here on out? OAL seems to be just to ensure rounds fit into a mag and chamber properly? Thanks again everyone!
     
  14. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Skip,

    Take a gander at this thing.

    I made it in 1966 when living in an apartment. Been using it ever since. Never used anything else since then.

    That's an RCBS Rockchucker Supreme press. Original press was the RCBS Jr. Had to upgrade when I got the 375 Allen Mag.

    I can resize and bullet seat the 375 AM (408 CheyTac improved) on the kitchen table or the coffee table in the living room for that matter. (if the wiffy isn't home.:))

    Something to think about....