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Thread: Problems with Lee seating die

  1. #1

    Problems with Lee seating die

    Just putting a few loads together and using my new comparator. I know what some of you are thinking - put the stupid thing away it just causes problems... Well it has certainly made me think. I am getting loads varying by up to 0.015" head to ogive without moving the seating die.

    I pulled the die apart and measured the oriface that seats the bullet. It measures about 0.2". It's a 243 btw. Comparator measures .236 as does the rifling I imagine (give or take a couple of thou).

    As the seating die is seating the bullet way up on the nose where the diameter is 0.2", unless every bullet has exactly the same curvature, the ogive to head length will always vary, and by up to 0.015" (or more sometimes) with these 80gr remington PSPs. Now I know a few variations won't hurt hunting accuracy that much, but I would have thought this is a bit much. What do people think, could this be part of the problem here - Flyers ? I will be trying some other bullets ASAP at least.

    For the moment I've adjusted the die for each bullet to give me 0.01" off the lands, but this is not on for big batches. How about I drill the seating mandrel out to .236? Will that give it too little bearing surface - will it just bight into the bullet and grab it - maybe even permentaly or at least giving a false reading?

    Has anyone else thought about this problem? What would a redding competition die measure?
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

  2. #2
    Harrygrey.
    You are going to make yourself ill. I suggest that YES ! Do PLEASE put that thing away, buy some new bullets and use those Remingtons as fishing weights, and get some of your new loads sorted and up that rifle.
    Your comments on the Lee seating die are puzzling. The die parts are static if locked into place, and no bullet pressing is going to work a thread loose on the bullet mandrel.

    So, ensure that the base on which your press is fixed is firm - preferably near a bench leg. Ensure that your press is robust and not pliable so that it gives the same amount of pressure on each stroke of the arm to close the base of the seating die against the shellholder.

    Given all those things, the only other variable possible is that the bullets are not uniform in ogive shape. If some are fatter than others, and if the actual seating cone in the adjustable part of the die has been drilled out too narrowly, the bullet ogives on the fatter ones might cause the bullets to be seated slightly deeper.

    I cannot imagine that such a slight difference is going to change the shooting perfomance of the rifle, and I'm getting more and more of the opinion that you stay well away from Remington bullets, especially as the .243 - as Brithunter mentioned earlier, can be a fussy calibre.

    On the other hand, the ordinary, run-of-the-mill P.Hale and BSA rifles in .243 seemed 'easygoing' in my experience, and I reloaded for both makes with no thought to how far off the lands I seated the bullets.

    I simply got a factory production bullet, sat it in the shell holder with the seater die screwed well open, then gently closed the press to full close, and screwed the die base to the shell holder - then screwed the bullet mandrel down until I felt the pressure of the seated bullet.

    Lock off and get production going.
    Opinions often differ according to unknown circumstances.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ecoman View Post
    Harrygrey.
    You are going to make yourself ill. I suggest that YES ! Do PLEASE put that thing away, buy some new bullets and use those Remingtons as fishing weights, and get some of your new loads sorted and up that rifle.
    Your comments on the Lee seating die are puzzling. The die parts are static if locked into place, and no bullet pressing is going to work a thread loose on the bullet mandrel.

    So, ensure that the base on which your press is fixed is firm - preferably near a bench leg. Ensure that your press is robust and not pliable so that it gives the same amount of pressure on each stroke of the arm to close the base of the seating die against the shellholder.

    Given all those things, the only other variable possible is that the bullets are not uniform in ogive shape. If some are fatter than others, and if the actual seating cone in the adjustable part of the die has been drilled out too narrowly, the bullet ogives on the fatter ones might cause the bullets to be seated slightly deeper.

    I cannot imagine that such a slight difference is going to change the shooting perfomance of the rifle, and I'm getting more and more of the opinion that you stay well away from Remington bullets, especially as the .243 - as Brithunter mentioned earlier, can be a fussy calibre.

    On the other hand, the ordinary, run-of-the-mill P.Hale and BSA rifles in .243 seemed 'easygoing' in my experience, and I reloaded for both makes with no thought to how far off the lands I seated the bullets.

    I simply got a factory production bullet, sat it in the shell holder with the seater die screwed well open, then gently closed the press to full close, and screwed the die base to the shell holder - then screwed the bullet mandrel down until I felt the pressure of the seated bullet.

    Lock off and get production going.
    ha ha, well you're right on the first few. But I may use them to try and work out whether it's the mod or something bedding related first...

    As for the seating die, yes I think the only variable is the bullet curvature. The only thing that can change is the curvature of the nose - one bullet may have a long thin curve, the next a short fat one. So that 0.2" diameter mandrel will be 0.015" further back on the first. I guess 0.015" isn't the end of the world, and wouldn't shrink a 3" group into a 0.5" one. It just pisses me off!

    Has anyone else measured their seating die mandrel - I bet they're all that narrow... Do you think drilling it out would wreck it?
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

  4. #4
    Seriously! Get rid of the damned thing. Unless you are using bench rest components seated with an inline seater you are peeing into the wind with such a tool.~Muir

  5. #5
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    Check the projectiles with the comparator, I have checked match bullets with .003" variation those Remington's are not worth the powder to push them down the barrel, get some Hornady 100 grain spire points you can't go wrong with them. Robert.

  6. #6
    Harry, move away from the drill, seriously put it down and move away!!

    Your Lee die is not the problem, since using my kit my rifle will now print sub .75" groups, when my swine of a friend uses it, it prints sub .5". The bullets are your problem, buy some decent ones and take a chill pill then go stalking, not reloading!!

    ft
    Blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection. Nature is neither kind nor cruel but fiercely indifferent.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by flytie View Post
    Harry, move away from the drill, seriously put it down and move away!!

    Your Lee die is not the problem, since using my kit my rifle will now print sub .75" groups, when my swine of a friend uses it, it prints sub .5". The bullets are your problem, buy some decent ones and take a chill pill then go stalking, not reloading!!

    ft
    mate i do tend to agree !

    harry ive got the next batch of n160 , get some hornadys and load them up and lets go shoot some hinds !!!!!

    cheers lee

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  8. #8
    To cap all of the above, Harry, (And Muir will probably second this), I loaded for quite some time with a pocket set of dies made by Lee - powered by a mallet for all parts of the operation. It gave marvellously accurate hunting cartridges. If a bullet seating mandrel slammed down on top of the bullet with a mallet can produce that sort of reliability - what worry do you have with your lever-operated one.

    I'd still investigate that bedding though - and get it resolved.
    Last edited by ecoman; 18-11-2010 at 19:51. Reason: 'missed a bit out
    Opinions often differ according to unknown circumstances.

  9. #9
    Now't wrong with Remmy bullets, they just need to go through the right rifle, same as all the other bits & bobs that go into reloading.
    (The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of The Uneatable.) " If I can help, I will help!." Former S.A.C.S. member!

  10. #10
    There will be variation in actual bullet head size. just thought i would throw that into the equation, which is why i always measure a random sample of a batch of bullets to give me a reading to the lands, then take a mean measurement, then work back from this mean measurment.

    then i scrap the whole idea, wack the head well down off the lands and factory crimp it.

    i still get 0.585 inch (tightest) groups @100m which i am happy with.

    skipp

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