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Thread: tolerances while reloading?

  1. #1

    tolerances while reloading?

    A few months ago, when i bought a comparator, i loaded up a batch of 20 rounds using a lee die in a lee press, using hornady bullets. I found that there was a difference of upto 8 thou between the longest and shortest. Since then, ive been checking every round loaded to ensure the OAL is correct. Nearly every time it needs tweaking to be spot on as i would say every other round would be out slightly.

    Am i being OCD? Would more expensive dies give smaller discrepancies? Does it matter?

    Well, actually, it matters to me, hence why im asking the question. It doesnt bother me for stalking but when playing around trying to optimise a load for the rifle, i want all variables the same apart from the one being tested..

    The snag with checking each round is that it takes forever. I was thinking of getting some new dies anyways, ones with adjustable neck sizing bushes.

    Next question.. has anyone had a go with a target master powder system? Ive gone off my digital scales (they were cheap) because they werent accurate to within +/- 0.5gn. So i have gone back to a balance beam, which is also Lee. Now although i think it is a little crude and may not be giving me exactly the charge i want, it is consistent. i think.

    Im fully aware that the deer wont know the difference, or any other cliches along that line, but im looking at this from a more scientific PoV..

    Mucho grassy ar*e!

  2. #2
    A lot of bullets vary in length, just check a few in the box. If you use a tool such as the stoney point it will allow you to measure from the ogive of the bullet when checking a loaded round and it should then be consistant.

    A lot of dies actually seat the bullet from pressing down somewere around the ogive (can you see a bright ring on the bullet) therefore they are probably seated consistently even though the oal varies.

  3. #3
    You need to measure your bullets before assembling the round using the comparator to measure to the ogive.
    I bought 100 Sierra Varminter in .224. The variation in length to ogive was from 0.307" to 0.312".
    A difference of 0.005".

    The dies if new should be fine, I use Lee collet die.

    Check there is no muck on the shellholder as well.

  4. #4
    FFM unless you are shooting benchrest a few thou wont make any noticable difference unless you are into long range shooting.
    As for the scales lee ones are crap put the money to one side for a chargemaster you wont look back.
    Anglo deer management and training
    Yet another 7mm 08 user ..................... if Carlsberg made calibers.........................

  5. #5
    Personally i think this re-loading malarky can get quite anal. I have reloaded for years, sometime i clean , sometimes i dont, sometimes they are with in .5gr sometime they aint , even the lengths can vary a few thou. I try get them consistant , but hey...they all do the same job wether mint & a gleam of a mirror,or black & scuffed, ! As long as the components are in good order, no burrs, no splits & bumps. I neck size , prime, powder & head & they do the job real good, on all the cals i reaload 22H , 223, 243,6.5x55, 308 & 303. Maybe i just have the golden touch ! All Lee equiptment too.

  6. #6
    fast replies! I am measuring to the Ogive.. i will give the die a good clean out i think. I do shoot at extended ranges so would like to ensure i have the most consistent ammunition that i can produce. Im probably being slightly too involved but only because i enjoy the subject and the challenges it brings. Does anyone use forster or the likes, if so, what discrepancies do you get?

  7. #7
    The only other thing that i have experienced is some of the vld style bullets (7mm amax and 180grn berger) are the wrong shape for the seater on my die. The bullet tip actually contacts the top of the seater before the ogive is touched. This gave a consistant oal but not a consistant length if measured from the ogive. I had to drill the seater a couple of millimeters deeper so that the tip didnt contact.

    but as you say start with a good clean first.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by flyingfisherman View Post
    .... Would more expensive dies give smaller discrepancies? Does it matter?.............

    In answer to your first question, it depends. More expensive dies with micrometer heads are certainly easier to tweak and may produce better concentricity, but it's a fine call and I am not sure many of us take the time to do a blind trial loading the same brass and bullets with two different seating dies. I have certainly worried about seating variations too. A key point not mentioned in the thread is neck tension and that's one of the factors that produces differing seating depths without adjusting the seater.

    If I hand pick the necks, I can get seating variation down to +-1 thou. If I don't hand pick the necks, I typically get +-3 thou variation. Worrying about neck tension is a frustrating place to go, but I do think it's a big part of what you are seeing. I attach a link for you to have a look at:

    Factors that may help address the issue include: better brass, neck turning, neck sorting, bushing dies, better brass prep. None of them by themselves fixes the issue, but better brass and better brass prep are probably the best places to start. Hopefully others will add their suggestions too. The other thing to consider is tackling the problem through better load development and actually finding loads that are less sensitive to these variations. That's how Federal, Remington, etc play the game, but they have much more data at their fingertips than we can ever dream of.

    Good luck. JCS

  9. #9
    Seating depth with standard hunting bullets, you're looking at +/- .006" of an inch. Micrometer seating dies are worthless with regard to cleaning this up: they just allow you to seat the bullet deeper by metered increments. If you want absolute seating perfection (+/- .001") you need BR grade bullets, carefully selected brass, and an in-line seater. With this unit you will experience no linkage play and other nasties that would add varying tolerance to your task.

    Really? Ditch the micrometer and quit measuring every cartridge. It will make you crazy.~Muir

    PS: Lee Classic Loaders are pretty good for shaving off the variances. I have had as little as +/- .0025 with good bullets. Of course, this is an in-line seater...

  10. #10
    I think a key issue here is what do you shoot at and what ranges???

    Up to 200yds at deer sized targets with expanding bullets it wont make a huge difference.

    If your an F-Class shooter plinking away at 1000yd targets your gonna struggle.

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